Yoshizen's Blog

Ring Flash / Flash Story

Ring-flash on Fisheye(B)455

——– (This Ring Flash was made to use with the Fish-eye lens on the

——– Yoshi-handy handmade camera, 36 years ago ! ¬†ūüėÄ )¬†

In some posts ago, ¬†I’ve shown Studio Flash and ring Flash tube. ¬†

May be I should talk a bit more about Electronic Flash-light. — Why It’s called “Electronic

Flash”¬†was, before, Flash-light meant Bulb Flash = the people over 60 might remember,

even if it was not a typical bulb shape, how about Flash-cube / Magicube at the time of

Kodak Instamatic camera, they are still flash bulb, but only small. ¬†ūüôā

Flash bulb was an “Explosive device” = thin¬†aluminium foil was packed into a glass bulb

with¬†Oxygen and ignited by an electric spark, with a “Bong” noise¬†! ¬†

( I only know from Antic collection though, yet before  Flash bulb, it was an explosive 

magnesium¬†powder = it’s¬†literally explode ! —– hence,¬†all the assistant of a photographer

used to have a lots of spot¬†on their face, burnt by the exploding¬†magnesium powder. ¬†ūüėÄ)


Unlike such hot staffs, electronic flash is using a discharge of high voltage electric energy

through a Xenon gas filled tube.  To make this, a capacitor inside of a Flash was slowly

charged-up to high voltage, then discharge it in an instant to produce very intense bright light.  

Like an electric spark, it needs to be high voltage, and the larger the capacitor,  

the light produced from it would be the brighter.  

This is the reason why¬†a camera’s¬†built-in flash, which got only small capacitor inside, was

not bright-enough to reach distance.             In contrast, a studio type big Flash having a bank of

Bank of Capacitors A09A0669

capacitors connected parallel to store huge energy, 

and the big flash tube was made by a quartz to

withstand the heat shock created by a

discharge of huge energy.  

And to charge-up those capacitors, studio type is

using the main electricity and a

portable type, clip-on type are using electronic

voltage converter to rise the battery voltage

to 315 ~ 350 V.  


Capacitors A09A0667

As I said, the electric energy is first charged into

the capacitor.  

The capacitor is an electric device, which was

made by insulated two metal plates or foils

to store electric charge.  In order to store as much

as energy, very thin two aluminium foils were

tightly wound together.    And to separate two

metal foils, paper or plastic film ect. which called 

dielectric material was sandwiched between.  

But most of the capacitor used in a flash equipment is a

type called Electrolytic capacitor which is not using common insulator, hence smaller in size.


It is not well known to the people that those Electrolytic Capacitor has a limited life.  

Especially if the equipment was not used long time (more than a year) they might be dead

and a moment when it was switched on again after long rasp of the time, the capacitor

would be¬†internally short-circuited and gone for ever. —– ? ¬† Why the insulation breaks ?


If you tested the conductivity of Aluminium, you may know, despite the Aluminium is a

very good conductor,  Anodised surface shows no conductivity.   With the Anodisation,

the surface  of Aluminium was covered with the aluminium oxide which is an insulator.

Instead to use a separate insulator between two Aluminium foil,  Electrolytic Capacitor

is using this oxide coating developed own surface as a dielectric / insulator.  

So that, as long as the capacitor was kept receiving electric current, they maintain

the oxidized coating on the surface of aluminium foil.   But if the equipment was left

unused long time, the insulative coating deteriorate.

—– And a moment when it was switched on again,¬†and the voltage rose high, ¬†the

insulation breaks down and makes two foils short-circuited and start to generates heat,

or the power transistor pumping the high voltage into the capacitor burns-out.  

If the capacitor over heat  it would explode.   (In fact, the situation is always the same

where ever electrolytic capacitor was used — such as even an audio power amp.)


The remedy to this situation is, the same as to initialise a capacitor in a factory.  

= slowly charge up the capacitor while waiting the insulating coat grows on the

surface of the aluminium foil (in its anode-side, hence it called Anodisation.)

—– To do this, professional people use variable transformer (Rheostat) and sloooowly¬†

rise the voltage while giving hours of time.  

(If you try, — You need to constantly measure the¬†voltage of the capacitor —– first

second or¬†two of switch-on, when you see the voltage rise¬†to 5~10 V, then switch-off — if

the¬†voltage shows¬†“slowly” dropping, switch on again¬†to see it reach to 15 V —- then

switch-off and¬†wait till it’s drop to 10 V and switch on to¬†20 V again (like two step

forward, one step back) —— in this way¬†until¬†it reached to more than 300 V¬†then to

the full —– all the process will takes hours ! ¬†¬†ūüôā ¬†or ūüė¶ ¬†

¬†—– But if you see the voltage drops¬†rather quick, and¬† never rise¬†above

the certain¬†voltage, don’t push it further, and you¬†have to

accept that¬†the capacitor is already dead ! ¬†—– Sorry about ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†

(still better than to see it exploded in messy manner.)


In another approach, if the capacitor could be disconnected from the charging circuit.  

(But this is only for the experienced person.) —– Use the main AC power. ¬†

Connect a Rectifier to live, and 100 K (may be reduced to 50 K, 10 K on the later stage)

register to neutral.   And use this rectified direct current to charge up the capacitor.  

In the first few seconds, when the capacitor’s voltage ¬†rose to 10 V, then disconnect. ¬†

When voltage was dropped to 5 V then charge it to 15 V (Keep a distance of up and

down¬†proportional¬† —– repeat this again and again, while time to time having a break

(to¬†have a cup of tea ¬†ūüôā and make a capacitor to regain a potential to charge-up to

higher voltage) and slowly bring the voltage to the full.  

From the main voltage in Europe, rectified voltage would be 310 ~ 330 V, about the

same voltage of the working flash. ¬†But in the US ¬†110 V, it’s needs¬† to¬†use voltage

doubler circuit.   And a fully charged capacitor of 1000 microF, 2000 microF has an

energy¬†to¬†evaporate a tip of¬†screw-driver, if it was short circuited — and hell like Bang! ¬†

= Before you do any  work, always DO NOT FORGET to discharge the capacitor

through 5W 1K register.

(If you couldn’t understand ¬†what I’m talking¬†here straight, DO NOT attempt to try this !

—– to touch AC main, 200, 300 V DC is killingly dangerous for amateur ! ¬†

(Accident happens in a completely unexpected moment, in an unexpected situation.)


Assuming the capacitor is working perfect, the rest of the flash circuit is rather simple.

The thick two cables from capacitor were connected to the both end of a flash tube.  

And an additional cable was attached outside of flash tube = this is the trigger which

receives 3000 V or higher voltage pulse. —– To trigger this very high voltage pulse, a switch

inside of camera shutter-mechanism used to short circuit a small capacitor in the primary

side of trigger coil, then in the  secondary side 3000 ~4000 V pulse will be produced.    

But now-a-day,¬†sophisticated electronic camera can not take such high voltage, —– instead,

a trigger to flash was done by low-voltage signal.  

= (In another word, to connect very old flash to a modern DSLR is highly risky.  

(If you got Test Meter, you can measure how high the trigger voltage of the flash, on the

connector of  Flash extension cable.  If it shows more than 15 V, (it could be as high as 100 V),  

never use it direct to the camera = Use a Slave trigger.)


Once you understood the structure of flash-light, to modify it, is not very difficult.  

My Ring flash on the photo was made to take the power from Brown F900 power pack

but before it was connected to Kako hummer-head flash.   As long as it receives 300 ~ 350 V,

it will flash and the light-intensity is depend on the size of the capacitor.  

(By the way, Flash-tube’s life is also limited ! ¬†= Don’t expect it works for ever. ¬†ūüėÄ )

(That Ring Flash Tube can take, up to  200 WS = C x V-square x 1/2 = Wat-Second

such as—–1000 microFarad x¬†315V x 315V x¬†¬†1/2 = 50 WS = GN may be about 25~28 ¬†though

it’s all depends on the efficiency, size of the reflector, how old the tube is, etc. etc.)


Shallow Focus — Pan Focus (with tilting lens)

Some sharp eyed reader quizzed me, the photos of Dandelion seed are odd on previous post.

Very good eyes and the knowledge on photographic image !¬† —– So, I reveal the trick behind.

There is no such things [Lens Rivers Adapter for Canon EF lens].

But it is just a lens mount ring with a male filter thread on the other end.¬† That’s all.

If Canon is not selling,¬† make it ourself. ¬† Why not¬† ūüėÄ

Anyone can put two together with glue ! ¬† What’s the hands for ?¬† (not much brain needed ) ūüėÄ

But to make it,¬† I wouldn’t just glue together straight —– I glued them in 40 degree in angle !

(I wanted to make it 45 degree though, it was too much, and caused image-cut off = I had to

compromise though, the photo is using the image to the edge, quality became pretty low )

—– With this tilted lens, Focused field is 80 degree in angle to the camera = much easy to have

a light and able to creates Pan-Focus effect.  (Photo above, Left)

But, when it was tilted to the opposite angle,  focused field is perpendicular to the object, hence

it shows very shallow focus and exaggerated off-the-focus “Boke.¬† (Photo above, Center)


In fact, I’ve been using this Pan-Focus effect since I created Yoshi-Handy and Conica-Tilt

40 years ago, long before Canon TS lens. (You can see both cameras in an old post = Link here)

unlike this Tilted Revers Ring on 5D,  Conica Tilt gave a Pan-Focus from lens front to infinity.

———————- (Without the Lens lock pin, lens was secured by a crow inside, operated by the top-left round lever)

———————- (Incidentally, the Iris was automatically operated by a solenoid on the moment of shatter release)

To have a pan-focus to infinity in one shot, one side of the lens has to sink into the camera body,

so that, the camera front had to be Huck-sawed,  giving a margin of lens movement.

(See the inside detail in a photo right —– to do this kind of work = to prevent the camera

mechanism jammed by the metal dust, all the mechanism had to be removed

= it’s mean, camera had to be completely disassembled and made it to an empty shell).


With this modification, lens can tilt 30 degree max, and one side of the lens is effectively

extended 18 mm = with such extension  to 15 or 16 mm lens meant, it is effectively

life-size macro !   (As I was an original member of  PCW (Personal Computer World Magazine,

until they were bought up by I.P.C) this tilting lens camera enabled to produce a photo 

“Foreground¬† is a CPU chip, and background is the computer company’s building, in one shot”)


I’m planning to make yet another lens tilting camera using Canon 5D body (though, I have to

do its hack-saw work without disassembling the camera body¬†¬† ūüėĬ† )¬†¬† May be I Just Do It.¬†

( It is a Zen in ACTION !   With open-minded way, there is no prohibition.  Only, Do the best  :-))

This is a photo of a Canon EOS Body.   Although this is the Body of EOS RT,  as most of the

camera designer in the same company are using the same layout of  the mechanism, even

using the same frame die-cast,  (since the position of Switch, lens-lock-pin are all same)

it wouldn’t be so different on 5D body.¬† = to modify the body to tilting-lens body only needs

to remove the metal frame marked between yellow stickers. ( —– in theory. ¬† ūüėÄ )


Photography / Zappa Photo

Posted in Art, Buddhism, Lemon Zen, Music, Photography, Who is Yoshizen, Zen, Zen in Action by yoshizen on December 9, 2009

” What a Hell,¬† Frank Zappa is doing in a¬† ZEN¬† blog ?

It was rather unexpected turn of the situation.

Since one of my great  friend artist, Wayne Chisnall mentioned this blog and me as a photographer in his

blog spot,¬† it became necessary to explain about my photography. (—–of strange kind¬† :-))

Frank Zappa and me on the live stage (Copyright reserved/ 2009/ Yoshi Imamura )

The photo above was taken by my hand made camera called Yoshi-handy,  with

17mm fish-eye lens attached on the 6 x 6 film format, hence it create whole circular image.

Yoshi-Handy Camera

(On this photo above, the lens attached was Nikon Fish-eye 16mm of which the Lens-hood was removed)

——As Zappa was so intrigued by this camera and its effect, he asked me to produce as

strange as possible photos.¬† —– And this is it.

When I was young, my interest was the nature. Close-up

photography was the essential tool and to do it I needed

to improvise or modify the equipments.—- If I got

to do, do it.¬†¬† If I didn’t know how, learn it or try it.

If not successful try again and again.

The camera here left, the body was hack-sawed and

made the lens to tilt, enabling a focus from lens front

to infinity in one picture.—— When I modified EOS, the boss of R & D in the Canon asked me,

How I could make the camera working again ? ¬† I answered ” If Canon can, I can do too, as

we are the same human being “.

Why not. ¬†¬† Ha ha ha¬†¬† ūüėÄ

( If you are the person who expected to see lots of photos—— Have a break, and see ” Zen in¬† Action”

It would be a fun ! )

Wayne’s Blog¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† < http://waynechisnall.blogspot.com >¬† or click / Associates / Wayne Chisnall

%d bloggers like this: