Saturday, January 23, 2016

Argus Flash Units

The Argus Camera Company made a couple of nice flash units for the C-four and C-Forty-Four type cameras.
There are two types I really like:
The three volt unit uses two easily available "C" cell batteries.
The 22.5 volt unit uses a single, harder to find, but still available (as of 2016) "AA' size battery that is a low current forerunner of the modern transistor battery.

The 3-Volt Units.

The three volt units look much like this. They can usually be had on eBay for around eight dollars plus shipping.

Notice that this unit is flat on the bottom. The hot shoe has a spring that holds it to the camera. There is no lock to tighten it firmly to the camera. It may slip off. Avoid this style.

Locking Version

This unit has an extension on the bottom, making it a little taller. On the left is a lever that locks the flash unit to the hot shoe on the camera. This is the preferred version of this style of flash. The lever does not seem to have a very positive locking position. Since there is a temptation to use the flash as a handle, (something you should avoid), make sure the lock is pressed firmly down. Even then, it can work loose.

 Here are the two 3 volt versions side by side. The color of the eject button varies but does not indicate the presence or absence of the locking lever.

The three volt versions accept two sizes of  flashbulb basses. Without the included adapter, the use what looks like an ordinary household screw in base. (Edison Base)
The adapter can be removed buy turning it about five degrees counterclockwise and pulling straight out.Then you can inset the screw base bulb by simply aligning the two pins, push in and twist clockwise. Commonly available Bulb are Press 25 and M5 or #5. The big bulbs are hard to find and usually expensive. The PRESS 25 and No. 5 are easier to find and can generaly be found for less than a dollar per bulb.
An adapter is included so that a bayonet base bulb can be used. Use a 22-B flashbulb with the adapter removed as shown on the left. Use a #5 or PRESS 25 flashbulb when the adapter is inserted.
#22 Edison Base on the left, Press 25 bayonet base on the right.
You can make a photo memorable with the Press 35 bulb or a #5 bulb. Both produce a blinding flash that leaves people seeing spots for minutes. The #22 bulbs will break the bank. 
Never use the #22 in a crowded restaurant.
Anyone within 10 feet of you will likely sue in this modern age. 

One thing to keep in mind is that these bulbs only work once. 

OK! you knew that! They burn out and are disposed of after you flash them!

What I mean is that once you take one picture, the next time you point the camera at someone, they squint, close their eyes, cover their eyes, turn their heads and run. You won't get a second chance.

I'll add more here later.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sylvania Bluedot flashbulbs

These things come 12 to a pack. They are vintage collectibles. Since they are no longer produced, I use them sparingly, just to create a memorable event out of the picture taking experience.. IIt is unlikely I would need a dozen of them when shooting with a vintage camera.

Besides, a big box of 12 won't fit in my camera bag.