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Thread: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

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  1. #1
    Roger William Barr
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    Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Just jumping back into LF with a nice little Burke and James Speed Press with the intent to make it my boardwalk hand held snap shooter.
    Looking for some advice on an inexpensive flash rig for fill and night portrait.. Vintage suggestions ?? Experience.. Would have to be portable camera/griop mounted..

    Hope this is the right forum or if someone has a like thread would appreciate being delivered there.. Cheers Chaps..

  2. #2

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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Go to graflex.org and see what they say about Graflex' potato masher flashes.

    There used to be -- I hope there still is -- a street photographer (Luis Mendes, I think, could be wrong) who used 4x5 Graphics with electronic flash. I've seen his gear, if I recall correctly he gutted a Graflex flash and somehow put a Vivitar 283's guts in it. If I had to do it, I'd try to make a bracket that would hold a 283 to a Graphic's flash bracket. I b'lieve, could be mistaken, that your B&J has a similar bracket.

  3. #3
    Roger William Barr
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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    The camera has the flat mount on the outside of the rangefinder... I thought the 283 was an auto flash.. I am thinking a fully manual flash that I can choose guide number on would be better... Wonder about user experiences..

  4. #4

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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    The 283 accepts the VP-1 variable power accessory. Full power down to 1/64. I have a couple, they work very well.

  5. #5
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Few use flashbulbs here

    This is my 1951 Speed with a 1951 conversion to use the Aero. I got it from the son of the original buyer

    I need 2 big handles to shoot this monster handheld, notice the flash bulb is covered with NOS flip up flash bulb safety shield

    However I do have trouble with the rear curtain sync, which is a metal strip on the curtain, but do use flashbulbs and normal lenses with working sync in the lens shutter

    I have made a laser FocuSpot for a smaller Speed, but don't use that on people

    IMG-2524 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    2022

  6. #6

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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    Few use flashbulbs here

    This is my 1951 Speed with a 1951 conversion to use the Aero. I got it from the son of the original buyer

    I need 2 big handles to shoot this monster handheld, notice the flash bulb is covered with NOS flip up flash bulb safety shield

    However I do have trouble with the rear curtain sync, which is a metal strip on the curtain, but do use flashbulbs and normal lenses with working sync in the lens shutter

    I have made a laser FocuSpot for a smaller Speed, but don't use that on people

    IMG-2524 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    Nice little monster! Do you have troubles getting it focused via rangefinder?

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Yes, however I will try again to set RF

    I have changed the lens mount to Jo Lo lens board which moves the lens back into the front standard, thus getting the RF lever in better position

    I do wish Jo had made his very nice filter hood from plastic...

    As I use flashbulbs the batteries do add weight, the left handle has no batteries, yet I do have another set of flectors and safety shields

    Fortunately this camera had little usage and the rear curtain shutter works great, but I don't constantly test my luck by using very high shutter speeds


    Quote Originally Posted by Bolshoi View Post
    Nice little monster! Do you have troubles getting it focused via rangefinder?
    2022

  8. #8

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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    By vintage to you mean flash used in that era, or approximate? I would think the best bet for a flash that is approximately vintage (at least with the later years of the 4x5 press camera) and yet still working is a Honeywell Strobonar. If a bit less concerned about vintage, I'd look for a slightly more recent Sunpak (perhaps the 611).

  9. #9

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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    I just put a cold shoe on top of my Crown Graphic. A Vivitar 283 (or very similar 285) is a workhorse that will work will with modern lenses. If you mount the strobe in the middle, you have less of a problem with the dramatic laterally offset shadows of the past. Unless that's what you want. Many smaller flashes work fine if you just want daylight fill.

  10. #10
    Roger William Barr
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    Re: Advice for Handheld 4x5 and Flash Please..

    Oops no I meant used.. .. Don't care to go way back.. The Vivitar 283 previously mentioned takes me back to the late '70s. good to know people still think of it as a go to tool..
    I might look for something like a Metz or unpack that has a handle built it.. any suggestions of good ones to look out for appreciated

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