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General Flash Questions

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Joined: 15 Jan 2017
Posts: 19
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:37 am    Post subject: General Flash Questions Reply with quote

I know from spending some time around the internet that discussions of flash units can get a bit hot, especially given the connection of one specific model to a film I've not seen.

I'm not sure that asking about flashes on this site is a good idea for someone's second post here , but I still have some confusion after reading here and elsewhere and this seems the best place to sort things out.

First of all, I should say that I'm the proud new owner of a 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic that I've had just for a few days. I bought it from KEH. This is not my first sheet film camera or my first Graflex-I've had a 2x3 Pacemaker Crown for years, although the only film I've had for it is a single box of Efke 50(from when it was still available) that I still have part of put back. I've shot the camera some and managed to keep my senses enough to get a few good exposures out of it.

In any case, I've been shooting medium format for years in both a Rolleiflex(my first love) and a Bronica SQ-A(instead of the Hasselblad I can't afford).

I've never done any flash photography in medium format, although I've done a lot of it in 35mm. I've also never used flashbulbs, although I've been buying them as I found them for years.

My primary interest in the Graflex is as a light and inexpensive field camera for landscapes and architecture, but given their history the appeal of using it as an action camera is definitely there at least for the challenge.

As a few general questions:

1. From reading the manual, it seems as though the Graphex leaf shutter is set to X-sync unless it has an M/X/F selector on it(my 2x3 has the selector, my 4x5 doesn't). Is that the case? If so, most of my non-coupled flashes are venerable Vivitar 283s. One of the concerns always brought up with these in Japanese SLRs is the sync voltage, which is in the range of 300V for the ones I have. Would this be a problem for the Graphex shutter? If so, can I assume that if I can either find an adapter from the 2-pin connection to the Vivitar or else go to an intermediate PC connection?

2. I see lots of reference to 2, 3, and 4 cell units. Those in and of themselves are pretty self-explanatory. My camera does have the solenoid on the only lens I currently have in it. Given that I(presumably) have only X-sync in the lens and don't have any F bulbs, the solenoid seems to me like a necessity to me. From what I understand, the 2 cell unit doesn't have the power to fire the solenoid. Do I need to bite the bullet and pay for a 3 cell or look for a 4 cell? Alternatively, I keep reading about cell extension tubes-could I put one on a 2 cell unit to reliably fire my solenoid?

3. If the 3 cell is correct for me, are the reproductions I keep running across functional as flash units? Even though I'd much prefer an original, at the point I'd be okay with a reasonably priced reproduction as long as it worked.

4. Given that I already have a decent stash of P25/#5 bulbs, this seems a logical choice for me to use. From what I've read, it seems like I need the 5" reflector for this. Is this the correct?

Thanks in advance for the help. I hope I'm not completely lost on this. I'd appreciate any advice or directions that anyone could offer.
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Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3839
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graflex Flash Synchronizer is the vintage one that the movie kids cut up to make their replica props from. Cables are hard to come by or are pricey custom made by .

Graflite Flash Synchronizers are newer, use more common sync cords, and should be less expensive than the vintage one above. I have seen them listed as the movie prop. or

Graphex shutters came in 3 versions, no flash sync, full flash sync, X sync only. A no flash sync shutter will have no flash connector, a full sync shutter has the M-F-X selector and usually a Bi Post connector, X sync will have Bi Post connector and say Graphex X.
1. Shutters of this vintage have metal contacts that are mechanically operated so the worst that will happen when using a high sync voltage flash is they will carbon up quicker than they will if low sync voltage flash are used. Bi Post to PC cords should be easy to come by.
2. Solenoids require 7 amps of current to operate. 3-D cells are needed to operate one.

Your other questions are likely answered in either of the manuals.
The best camera ever made is the one that YOU enjoy using and produces the image quality that satifies YOU.
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