2004 Itbs going to be a great Contax year

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Hello all.

I for one am going to stop focusing on the future (or apparent lack of one) and enjoy the Contax gear I have, use and love.

I just signed an all film (no digital) wedding in Miami for this spring. N1 and 645 will be my solution. I just bought a SunPak barebulb 120J with a 3 pin TTL Y/C module for use on the 645 and tested it with the Kodak 645C back and it works like a charm. More power & barebulb flexibility to replace the TLA360 at a fraction of the price. The 360 will now act as a back-up.

Have upgraded my MiMH to 2200 for the ND, and I have 4 battery inserts for the camera. Plenty of power source for extended shooting on location. Since shooting primarily with the camera set on J-Peg large, I've experienced few problems getting any shots. The dynamic range (or whatever it is) of this camera makes using J-Pegs a lot easier to handle in post adjust than any of my other digital camera J-peg files. I'm currently hunting down a second ND body.

I'm looking forward to a very happy Contax new year. I wish all of you the same.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Marc,

Greetings.

Can you tell us more about the SunPak 120J? I am thinking to get either the Quantum digital Q flash or the Metz 54 mz 3 (in case I get a R9 for HSS) for my C645. Currently I am using the TLA360 for my N1 and pretty happy with the results.

Al.
 

msadat

Well-Known Member
either the quantum or the sunpak 120j (bare bulb, if i remember = correctly), will give you the same thing. the quality of the quantum (light and = built is) better but also more $$. it also has more features and upgradeable. = the service is also wonderful. i have dealt with both quantum and sunpak and quantum wins hands down.=20

=20

mark, whose idea was it to shoot all film for the wedding? do customers/prospect care or ask for either digital or film??
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Hi Albert. I just sold a Quantum set up which I never used because it was to big, unbalanced, and required a tethered battery on your hip. The Sunpak 120-J can be used either with a rechargeable pack (Quantum or sunpak) or as a stand alone with 4 AAs in the flash itself ( I use Duracell Ultras). I hate having a battery pack tethered to the flash when shooting weddings, as I move fast, light, and am constantly swapping cameras.

The Quantum Q flash is more powerful, but not enough to warrant being forced to carry around a Quantum battery just to use it. ( I tested a Quantum, 120-J and a Hasselblad D Flash 40 and in normal circumstances all of them were pretty close in output).

In the end, I found the 120-J to be a good compromise between price, output and convenience. It's the bare bulb that makes them all attractive.

As far as service, I can't comment. Neither flash system ever needed repair. I can say that the 120-J that I already own (non-TTL), has seen hard service for over 10 years and it still is going strong. I once tried to make it fail in a test by firing it continuously until it exhausted the Quantum battery and a set of 4 AAs. Nothing happened. and that was about 7 years ago and I'm still on the same bulb.

Mehrdad, the client requested all film and silver prints. It is the first of my wedding clients to ask this. He probably wanted all film because he is an accomplished traditional photographer himself and has a relationship with a master B&W printer in the Miami area.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Here's what a 120-J looks like on a Contax 645. Easy to handle, not much bigger than a TLA360 and actually a tad lighter.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
This is same set-up with a ball diffuser for the barebulb.
If anyone knows where you can buy this diffuser please post it or e-mail me. I want another for my Hasselblad D-40.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Thanks all for the info.

BTW, Marc, any concerns or suggestions on vertical shots with top mounted flash setup? I am thinking to get a rotatable custom bracket, does it worth the trouble (on C645 or N1)? My guess is that, with the diffuser, shadow should not be a problem, right?

Al.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Albert, when shooting the 645 I usually have the Kodak 645C digital back on it. The sensor is 4X4 square. So, like a Hasselblad, flipping the flash for a vertical shot is not necessary.

When using film in the 645, or shooting an N camera, I use a Stroboframe Pro-T flip bracket. I haven't experimented with my new 120-J on a Pro-T yet, but it should work fine.

There are brackets that allow flipping the camera on it's side leaving the flash stationary, but they are a lot bigger and heavier than a Pro-T.

With the flash up above the lens and a diffuser mounted, cast shadows become less of an issue, if an issue at all.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
One post thought on the subject of brackets and off-camera flash.

The Contax off-camera, 3 pin TTL cord is a dangerously under designed accessory. When used with a flip bracket like the Pro-T and a TLA360 flash, the smallish connector on the bracket portion (holding the flash) is prone to breaking in half and flinging your flash to the ground. It's happened to me and another photographer friend of mine.

This would actually argue for the type bracket that flips the camera instead, leaving the flash stationary.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Marc,

Thanks for the warning. I am planning to use my C645 on location a lot in the next four months. Hence I am shopping for flip bracket and better TTL flash. I finally decided to give the TLA360 and the 3-pin cord a try as far as flash go.

I have not be able to find any third party flash provide wireless TTL. If there is one, I could just mount the flash on a light stand and shoot away (not for wedding of course.)

Marc, any suggestion on the problem you described above?

Albert.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Hi Albert,

The only cord solution I came up with was to undo the screws holding the two halves of the off camera flash holder and then epoxy them together along with replacing the screws. It still makes for a flimsy holder for such a heavy flash as the TLA360. Or use a bracket that flips the camera thus eliminating the need to flip the flash... which is the source of the stress on the shoe mount.

Just a note, I also had a Canon off-camera cord shoe bust at the bracket end. The 550EX is also a big, heavy unit. And a photojournalist buddy of mine had the same thing happen. Instead of metal, the shoe feet are plastic with a slot on one side that creates the weak point. I now use Canon TTL radio transmitters for a cordless solution. The only off camera cord I never had a problem with was Nikon. Beefier unit and shoe combined with lighter flashes.

As far as radio control of Contax flash, there is none as far as I know. Canon is far advanced by comparison. But I do use Pocket Wizard in studio with the 645 and N gear.
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Marc,

Thanks for your response.

I will look into the "Custom Bracket". I think it rotates the camera.

The Metz 54-MZ3 has wireless TTL feature. Unfortunately, the Contax body does not support it.

Albert.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Albert, where are you located?

I have a custom 645 rotating bracket that I got and never used because I went to the square Kodak digital back. So, it's for sale. It was the lightest one I could find without
compromising sturdiness.

-Marc
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Hi Marc,

I live in the BayArea.

I just find out that I can use the FreeWire to do TTL wireless with the Quantum digital Q-flash. It also allows compensation, auto-fill, 2nd curtain sync. If I go with this option, a bracket will be not be needed or feasible.

Thanks for the offer, if I decide to get the bracket, I will definitely contact you directly first.

Albert.
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Good find Albert.

To heavy for me, but evidently not for you. I presume use
of flash on a stand is the reason no bracket is needed?
 

albert4321

Well-Known Member
Yes Marc, Ideally, I would like to use the wireless TTL flash on a stand for my editorial work.

For those interested. You may go to the Quantum site to learn more on the TTL wireless flash.

Basically, For N1 and C645, you need:
2 FireWire transceivers
FW64 for sync-in adapter
FW31 sync-out to the Q-flash
Quantum Digital Q-flash
Battery supply, say Quantum Turbo C

They run over $1200 I guess. It is a very expensive option. I may use my mono-lites and my trusty flash meter instead, or TLA360 with the bracket or off camera cord if situation allows.

Still looking for options.
 

glarson

Active Member
Marc Williams-

Did you ever find out who makes the diffuser for the Sunpak 120J ttl? I ordered the $19.95 "socks" that Adorama makes for mine but I would like to find one like you posted. FYI...I usually shoot manual (meas w/ Sekonic 508) with my flash but I tried it TTL auto on my 645 with the Yashica/Contax mod and the ready light comes on but I never get the ttl "ok" light. Any advice? I have the Canon modules too and on my 10D the light does not work either. No response from Sunpak yet. Also...Have you had any experience with the new Sunpak Ringflash on your C 645? I just sent in my first roll of film using the new ringflash. I should have contact sheets in a few days. Any thoughts you or other forum members can share would be appreciated. ---Greg
 

fotografz

Well-Known Member
Greg, actually, that ball diffuser will fit a Quantum and the Hasselblad D-40 flash. I have never seen another one since I got that one 10 or so years ago. It was from one of those trinkets and trash type photo accessory companies who's name escapes me. IF you come across a supplier PLEASE let me know.
 

ivandp

Member
I just read elsewhere that a Contax rep had informed a forum user that Contax have an ND2 in the pipeline for the summer. Here's hoping. Anyone else know anything about this?

Cheers, Ivan
 
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