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Installing Kalart Sistogun II--tips?
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Micah in NC



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 94
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Graflex folks,

I just received an item today which I bought on ebay: a Kalart Sistogun II. It is a device which adds flash sync to the focal plane shutter of Anniversary and "Old Style" (Kalart's words) Speed Graphics.

Anyone installed a Sistogun on their Speed? Ever used such a gadget?

(I suppose I'll need to scrounge for some FP-class flashbulbs, not the #5 and #25 I have at present, correct?)

The item came "new" in the box with instructions, so it should be rather straitforward, but I won't shun any tips from the more seasoned Graflexers here.

I'd be glad to take pics of the installation before/after, if folks are interested.

--Micah in NC
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Top



Joined: 06 Apr 2002
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New England USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 8th ed. 'Graphic/Graflex Photography' addresses this gizmo in detail. If you come up dry, I'll send you some scans.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose this is a mechanical synchronizer, which closes a switch when struck by some part that moves when the shutter travels. Perhaps the winding key? I'd be glad to know more about this.

On suitable FP flash lamps, you might review some of the messages posted about these. The #26, common in my youth and used with miniature cameras like "Exaktas," will only work with the "Miniature Speed," and only at 1/1000 second. For the larger "Graphics," the factory recommended #31 or #2A lamps. These are not cheap, when found. Powdered magnesium is looking better and better all the time...
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Micah in NC



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 94
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top & T.R.,

Thanks for the info. I got the Sistogun II installed late last night. It only took about an hour, but a more experienced person could probably do it in 10-15 minutes.

I have not adjusted it yet--it was late, I was tired, so I went to bed.

T.R. -- you are correct, the Sistogun manual says to use #2 or #31 lamps. It is dated 1947, so I wasn't sure if there were newer ("midget") bulbs which might work, like #6 or #26, but I see it's nix on 26 bulbs.

You said, " I suppose this is a mechanical synchronizer, which closes a switch when struck by some part that moves when the shutter travels. Perhaps the winding key? I'd be glad to know more about this."

You're absolutely correct. There is a crescent-shaped ring (circle with 1/3 missing) which has a spring along part of its curve, acted upon by the underside of the winding key. A housing goes over top of this crescent ring, underneath the winding key, leaving only part of the contact spring visible. Inside the housing resides the other flash contact. The exterior of the housing has a bi-pin plug outlet to connect your Kalart flash gun, etc.

Normally, (when shutter is at rest) the winding key is depressing a spring contact on the crescent ring. When you trip the focal-plane shutter, the winding key rotates, no longer depressing the spring contact. This spring then pops up and touches the contact on the housing installed beneath the winding key.

There is a notch, or "window," in the upper part of the housing hole (around the winding key shaft) through which you can see numbers stamped on the crescent ring beneath. A small adjustable catch on the housing's lower portion holds a tab on any one of eight matching notches on the crescent ring. This is the adjustment to your particular camera--move the crescent ring to a different number (notch) if the synch isn't quite right.

The instructions detail this process, involving a test lamp in your flashgun and observing the shutter travel with the spring back removed. You guide the shutter through its motion S-L-O-W-L-Y by keeping firm grip on the winding key, noting when your test light illuminates. After lamp lights up, the shutter should travel about 1/4 inch before the curtain aperture appears--that's on "Old Model" or Pre-Anny Speeds.

The Sistogun II instructions note that the first model required removal of the winding key to put on the Sistogun--the model II does not require this step, due to two vertical slots in the housing for the winding key to fit through.

Amazingly, my Sistogun II even came with a Kalart sync cord in good shape and the longer screws which you replace the three you remove on the shutter winding key plate. (You don't remove anything else from the Speed.)

However, I had trouble getting the Sistogun II housing to screw in place due to close proximity of the Kalart RF on my Pre-Anny Speed. The RF eyepiece blocked one of the Sistogun's screw holes. I had to remove the RF shell to install the Sistogun housing, then put the RF shell back on. And the focus knob on my Speed, with camera closed, butts right up against the Kalart RF housing, too! Rather tight squeeze, but it's all on there...

(Hope this isn't information overload!)

--Micah in NC

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-04-13 08:53 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-04-13 08:54 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-04-13 08:58 ]
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kalart products always were ingenious and well-thought-out, and the manufacturer certainly knew as much or more about flash photography as any of its contemporaries.

The issue with flashlamps seems to be the total burn time, in relation to the total travel time of the shutter. The bigger lamps appear to have burned for a longer time, necessary to illuminate the film evenly during the full travel of the slit. Even so, I have the impression (based on the manual for the "Pacemaker Speed" with its simplified FP shutter) that the big lamps only worked with higher tension settings.

(This is one reason to be interested in the long-burn Irish flashlamps).

I quite agree that things get pretty crowded around the wind key and release lever. My "Anniversary Speed" 3X4 pretty much offers me the choice of convenient access to the key OR the use of a tube or "Focuscope" on the rangefinder -- not both.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...BTW, there's a 5X7 "Home Portrait Graflex" up for auction on eBay, at a stupefyingly high start price, that seems to be fitted with some kind of mechanical flash synchronizer. Hard to tell from the photos, but I have the impression that the contact is made by the lever that rotates with the mirror. This widget also seems to terminate in a bipost connector.
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Micah in NC



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 94
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks,

I can't seem to figure out whether I can use this Sistogun II attachment for flash pictures at speeds OTHER THAN 1/1000 sec. Anyone know?

The owner's manual only mentions using 1/1000. It doesn't say if the Sistogun will sync flash at the narrowest slit/curtain aperture (the one marked "1/8" on my Pre-Ann) on OTHER tension numbers, nor does it mention using the attachment at other curtain apertures.

I guess all this is a moot point: I have one Ektar lens in synched shutter (M & X), so I can sync flash that way at lower speeds.

EDIT: Though, of course, using the lens shutter will require different bulbs, but they are the kind I have now. Or, I can use electronic flash up to 1/400 (top speed) on the "X" setting...but I'm insatiably curious about the Sistogun's capabilities!

Thanks in advance,
Micah in NC

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-04-16 10:49 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-04-16 10:52 ]
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess (and it is no more than that) is that the device would work with any slit width, as long as the tension were the same. This would be so if the lower lip of each slit arrives at the start of the filmgate in the same amount of time, which I suppose they do. But I suppose the only way to find out is to experiment.

My sense is that people used the large, expensive flashbulbs required for FP work with 4x5 Graflex FP shutters only when they really needed stop-action exposure capability. Nowadays, electronic flash ought to take care of the majority of these situations: but not all.

I agree that knowing the capabilities of FP bulb flash will be useful. Under conditions of bright ambient light, you'd probably need a couple of thousand dollars' worth of studio strobes to equal the performance of a single FP flashbulb working with the narrowest slit.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3218
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2005-12-26 19:30 ]
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, a focal plane shutter is a very different proposition from a leaf shutter, whose adventures over time affect the entire frame at once.

What would be good to know, and I don't, is whether rolling up a Graflex shutter to bring a narrower slit into position also increases the tension on the spring -- that is, does the 1/8-in. or "D" slit get to the bottom faster than the 1-1/2-in. or "A" slit, without regard to the tension setting?

One way to find out would be to assemble the old original analog shutter speed tester, a white disk marked with a black radial line and placed on a 45-RPM phonograph turntable, and make some test exposures.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-04-16 20:21, t.r.sanford wrote:
Right, a focal plane shutter is a very different proposition from a leaf shutter, whose adventures over time affect the entire frame at once.

What would be good to know, and I don't, is whether rolling up a Graflex shutter to bring a narrower slit into position also increases the tension on the spring -- that is, does the 1/8-in. or "D" slit get to the bottom faster than the 1-1/2-in. or "A" slit, without regard to the tension setting?



Sure it does. think of the shutter as a roller blind. When you "wind the shutter" you are pulling the blind all the way down winding the spring from the outside-- rotating the tube its in and moving the outside anchor of the spring.. That first slit gets the greatest amount of tension. By the time you get to the A slot nearly all of the curtain is wound back up on the roller, the spring is more relaxed and "A" gets the least amout of tension.

The tension knob is akin to taking the window shade off and winding the spring with a pair of pliers. It winds the spring 'from the inside".

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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a doubt, Les it right.

On my Pacemaker Speed, I can see and hear the shutter moving slower with every press of the release. When I got the camera, I thought the spring was just worn out. But after getting a shutter speed tester and measuring those speeds, I was very suprised. They are ALL within 10% of the marked speed. I would have to give an awful lot of credit to the designer allowing for the slower spring rate in the dimension of the slits...


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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be sure, the Graflex shutter is a remarkable mechanical achievement. An old pool table manufacturer once told me that "a good engineer can do with one part what any fool could do with eight," and the Graflex designers demonstrate that point.

The question, then, would seem to be the interval between the appearance of a given slit, at a specific tension, at the top of the filmgate, and its subsequent disappearance at the bottom. If that interval is shorter than the burn time of a particular flashlamp, then that lamp will provide uniform exposure for the slit-tension combination under test.

It would be possible to build a single-curtain FP shutter in which the curtain rollers could be disengaged from the drive spring and rolled back and forth to select a particular slit width, then reengaged with the drive spring. That would make the shutter speed dependent only on the slit width. You could introduce additional options by adjusting the spring tension independently. I am glad to learn that the Graflex shutter does not work this way.
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MikeS



Joined: 25 Nov 2003
Posts: 71
Location: East Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2004 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All.

I just bought a junker Pre-Anny for parts, and it has a sistogun on it (not the II model). I was wondering if anyone knows if it's the same as the II just without the cutouts for the wind key (which means I have to remove the key to remove it), or if there are other differences? Also, instead of a 'normal' bi-sync connector, it has a single pin sticking out, and a hole that looks to be able the same distance away as the second pin should be (but from the way it's made, it's obvious that this is a hole, not a missing pin), is that another standard sync connector I just havn't seen till now? Thanks!


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Micah in NC



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 94
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

I think that newer model's slot is one of the main differences between the Sistogun and Sistogun II. My only information, however, is the owner's manual which came with my Sistogun II.

It states: "This new synchronizer for the focal plane shutter of the 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 and 4x5 Speed Graphic Cameras contains many improvements in design and construction over the justly-famous Original SISTOGUN. It is easily installed--no holes to drill: no special tools required and it is now even unnecessary to remove the shutter winding knob from the camera for installation. Its more positive contacts assure consistent synchronization without loss of shutter speed even at 1/1000 second."

So, I suppose there are other differences, but I can't find anything else in this manual about them.

EDIT: About that hole, can you post a photo here? If so, some folks might be able to identify the type of plug it takes, if it's not the standard bi-post type. (I lean toward the theory that your Sistogun is a bi-post and used to have two pins, as normal, but one broke off over the years.)

Hope this helps,
Micah in NC

[ This Message was edited by: Micah in NC on 2004-06-13 21:38 ]
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