Synchronizing Photo Flash Lamp With a Camera Shutter (Aug, 1932)

Synchronizing Photo Flash Lamp With a Camera Shutter

THE difficulty of synchronizing the flare of a photo flash lamp with the click of the shutter is frequently encountered by enthusiasts of the camera art. There’s a way to overcome this difficulty, however, and that is by constructing the little gadget shown in the accompanying photo.

The contrivance consists of a flat type pocket flashlight battery mounted between two pieces of wood, on the top of which is affixed a common porcelain socket to hold the photo flash lamp.

On the base of this baseboard is mounted a pair of contacts in such a position that the loading lever will push them together when the shutter clicks. The wiring is illustrated in the insert.

Synchronization is achieved by the simultaneous clicking of the shutter and the closing of the photo flashlamp circuit through the silver contacts. The duration of the flash is 1/50 of a second, which occurs when the shutter is wide open.

For convenience, the flash lamp unit is secured to the head by an elastic band, thus leaving the hands free to operate the camera. The lamp should be backed by an aluminum reflector.

  1. Thundercat says: January 5, 20086:05 am

    Was this type of setup common?

    I was just wondering if this photo “hat” is how the “lightbulb over the head” comic came to symbolize an idea.

  2. Githyanki says: January 5, 20086:44 am

    I always saw two tripods. One for Camera, one for flash setup.

  3. jayessell says: January 5, 200812:39 pm

    Not sure about Flash Hats, but the scene in the original King Kong where the photographers are taking pictures of Anne where Kong could see them, showed single, double and triple hand held flash units with single use bulbs.

    To us the the 21st Century, the thought of expended flashbulbs discarded on the ground seems criminal.

  4. Charlie says: January 5, 200812:44 pm

    Somewhere, I’ll have to find it, I have a picture of someone with a flash unit with 6 single use bulbs arranged in an arc.

  5. Slim says: January 5, 200812:55 pm

    At least with this setup you wouldn’t have to ask your subjects to smile.

  6. Mr. Snacks says: January 6, 20081:48 pm

    This sort of thing was laughed at by professionals of the day. Convenient as it may have seemed, they were still conscious of their dignity. I on the other hand would use this in a heartbeat at the paper!

  7. hugh crawford says: January 7, 20088:39 pm

    “a picture of someone with a flash unit with 6 single use bulbs arranged in an arc”

    That’s nothing. This is the real deal.…

    It’s worth noting that O. Winston Link was without a doubt the greatest practitioner of flash photography.

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