Meet Your Barnack

Jul 31, 2017 

This is an occasional effort to reintroduce the long out of production “screw mount” (or “Barnack”) cameras to an increasing population of relatively new owners.

This time we’ll talk about the mysteries of the IIIf ’s flash sync. The IIIf was built from roughly 1950, all the way to 1957. It was built in three versions: a “black dial” referring to the adjustable flash synchronization dial under the shutter speed dial, a “red dial”, and a red dial with a self timer. What was new and (very) different about the IIIf was the introduction of built in flash sync. In the early 50’s “flash” meant flash bulbs. Strobe or electronic flash was just happening and units were fairly rare and expensive. Of course now, bulbs have disappeared from the market and the on-camera strobe unit is more often built in to a camera but shoe mounted units are readily available.

The IIIf ’s flash sync centered on the adjustable dial laying just under the shutter speed dial. It has some mysterious numbers around it running from “0” to “20”. Flash bulbs when fired, burned at different speeds. The trick was to have the focal plane shutter of the IIIf fully open at the peak of the bulbs

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