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Thread: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

  1. #1
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    Hello, after shooting B&W handheld with my super technika I have realised the challenge of using low speed film under certain circumstances...i.e. impossible to stop down without getting too long exposure times. So I am thinking of using a flash, both for indoor and outdoor.

    Do you have suggestions for which flash I should look for and which features that are particularly good to have? (minimum strength, computer/aperture, ...)

    Any experience you can share will be very much appreciated.

    Kind regards, Patrik.

  2. #2

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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    It's really a matter of what aperture you need to shoot at, whether it is to "hold focus" or to achieve seperation between the subject and background or for creative effect.

    I can get f/8 with a simple Vivitar 283 for medium distance photos. But if you don't think you can accurately focus and hold for f/8 you may want to stop down to f/16 - requiring more power.

    I think a lot of the old time press photographers shot around f/16 -f/22 when they could.

    Once you determine which aperture you want to shoot at, then the rest becomes an equation of ISO, distance, etc.

    A cheap 35mm shoe mount flash will give you f/8 all day at ISO 400 and medium dsistances.

    A battery powered Lumedyne or Quantum Q Flash will have the power to give you f/16 all day under the same conditions.

    The handle mounted Metzs sort of fall inbetween. The larger Metzs can be very powerful.

    The auto flash features on the modern flashes work really well. Plus there is a nice range of brackets and light modifiers.

    The latest PDN magazine has a good article about how Philip Borges uses battery flashes and modifiers for his Tibetan portraits - he is using digital now but it is all relevant.

  3. #3

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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    I got a used handle mount Metz, the oldest model with autoflash capablity. I think it was about $150 in great shape from KEH. The bracket attaches perfectly to the tripod socket on the bed of the Technika and clears the Technika grip. I have done some shooting with it and Tmax 400 and it works great.

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    I usually use a Norman 200C setup myself, but all the options that Frank mentions are workable. Sometimes I'll use a small Metz flash, if I only need fill or if a wider aperture is all I need.

    With the Technika I mount the flash on a simple Norman bracket and remove the Linhof ergonomic grip. I've drilled an extra hole at the flash end of the bracket so I can mount the flash head right over the lens axis.

  5. #5
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio
    It's really a matter of what aperture you need to shoot at, whether it is to "hold focus" or to achieve seperation between the subject and background or for creative effect. ...

    ...I think a lot of the old time press photographers shot around f/16 -f/22 when they could.

    ...The handle mounted Metzs sort of fall inbetween. The larger Metzs can be very powerful.
    Frank,
    I use an angulon 6.8/90mm which needs stopping down to get sharp corners, at f/16 and say a distance of 5 meters would mean a flash of about strength 80 using ISO100 film and about strength 40 with ISO400 (am I right?)
    For my Symmar 150mm I could probably use f/8-f/11 and a flash of 80 would give me a range of up to 10 meters with ISO 100 and 20 meters with ISO 400.

    There seem to be alot of Metz 45ct's out there...this is nearly half of what I calculated above...am I pushing it too far with 80..should I be happy enough with 45?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Richards
    I got a used handle mount Metz, the oldest model with autoflash capablity. I think it was about $150 in great shape from KEH. The bracket attaches perfectly to the tripod socket on the bed of the Technika and clears the Technika grip. I have done some shooting with it and Tmax 400 and it works great.
    Ed, which strength is your Metz flash and what distance do you use it for?

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    I usually use a Norman 200C setup myself,...
    David, What is the 'Norman 200 C setup'...how strong is it and which film speed do you use?
    Last edited by Patrik Roseen; 9-Aug-2006 at 10:46.

  6. #6

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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    Well, the soft corners of the Angulon can actually be effective in your photos, at least if your subject is near the center.

    In general, I think using a smaller flash and maybe a combination of longer ambiant exposure is a very nice way to work, as a too powerful and overpowering flash tends to make everything look like a point & shoot amatuer photo on sterioids.

    Another fun flash to consider is the ring flash type set-ups used by some fashion photographers. There are a lot of home made adaptations used by fashion show type photographers that acheive something nicer than the usuall grip and grin type lighting.

  7. #7
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrik Roseen
    David, What is the 'Norman 200 C setup'...how strong is it and which film speed do you use?
    A Norman 200C is a 200 Watt-second portable battery pack that uses a barebulb flash head with interchangeable reflectors, like the Quantum or Lumedyne systems. It's an all manual system, but I also have an old GVI Vari-strobe head that works with the Norman pack, which can do auto flash and auto fill. I believe that GVI was the precursor to Quantum, since the technical info for GVI can be found at the Quantum website.

    These shots were all done with the 200C, GVI on auto, plain 5" reflector, Symmar 210/5.6 convertible at f:8, except for the scene in front of "Le Pescadou," which was at f:5.6. I was shooting Efke PL100 at EI 200, developed in Acufine (click the image to cycle through about a half dozen shots).--

    http://www.echonyc.com/~goldfarb/halloween/

    f:8 was an aesthetic choice in this case, f:5.6 because I was shooting from across a 5-lane street. At normal portrait distances, I can get f:16 or more, depending on which reflector or diffuser I'm using. There is a tele reflector that will get another 1-2 stops over the standard reflector for use with long lenses, and they make a reflector with an opal glass diffuser, or you can use a 12x16" softbox.

    Norman makes a 400 W-s unit as well, which gets you another stop if you need it.

    Info here--

    http://www.photo-control.com/

  8. #8

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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    I think my Metz is about 120, which gives me F16 out to about 15 feet with ASA 400. It might be 160. I am not trying to light trains.:-)

    http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/la/mardi-...llo/000470.jpg

    http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/la/mardi-...llo/000484.jpg

    Look at the detail in the stands in the background, which were very poorly lit.
    Last edited by Ed Richards; 9-Aug-2006 at 13:18.

  9. #9
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    David, thanks alot for your information ...that Norman setup is really tempting from what I see in your photographs. Really Nice - The lighting seems very delicate and soft and spreads evenly - not like most flash which tends to be more 'snapshot' like as Frank puts it.

    David, What is the reason to shoot Efke PL100 at ISO200, in normal situations I need to shoot it at ISO50 ... Is this a trick to avoid those really strong highlights??

    Ed, thanks for coming back to me. Since you are using 'feet' I guess 120 (or 160) corresponds to a GN of 40 (or 50) something in meters.
    Great photos too, Ed...Looks like this GN would be strong enough.

    Ed, Do you have any experience from using this flash as a 'filler' in daylight, say late afternoons?

  10. #10
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: Which flash for Handheld LF 4x5"?

    The mechanics of using electronic flash for fill with an LF camera is the same as with smaller formats. Use the f-stop to adjust the flash unit's contribution to the exposure (making corresponding adjustments to shutter speed for the ambient light's contribution), or use the flash unit's compensation adjustment if in "auto" mode on the flash. The only difference might be that (with leaf shutters) one isn't limited by the sync speed of focal plane shutters, as with most smaller formats.

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