Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F2 - Early Nikon Bracket Mount Flash Units

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The SB-1 Speedlight is a handle-mount unit designed to deliver maximum power. It is a manual flash with one output setting -- full blast -- so you only need to know how to work the calculator dial.

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Exposure calculation is relatively straight forward, thankfully. Align the proper ASA number with the appropriate mark (color or black and white film); you will then be able to read the guide number for the film speed selected. Alternatively, determine your focus distance (compose, focus on the subject you'd like to expose, and transfer the indicated distance to the calculator dial) which will line up opposite the aperture you need to set. Based on this aperture, you may select a shutter speed at sync or slower to properly expose the background.

<<< Image provided by: Ted Wengelaar®, Holland

On the other hand, if you don't want your subject to have the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look, rate your film somewhat faster than normal -- and now you're doing fill-flash with thirty-year-old equipment. Yes, it's not 3D Matrix-Balanced but you've done most of what automation has taken over -- determined distance, trimmed light output, etc. Of course, if you really want to be serious about it, you should have the NPC ProBack® on, take a couple of test Polaroid, move the flash far off-camera ...

Michael Liu has quite a detailed write-up of SB-1in his Nikon F/F2 website:


Light Output Control:
manual exposure

Guide Number: 46ft (14m) for color film, ASA 25 149ft (43m) for black and white film, ASA 125 est. 100ft (31m) for ASA 100

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Flash Duration: 1/2000 sec.
Number of Flashes: approx. 80 (SN-1) 300 (high-rate manganese batteries in SD-2) 1000 (alkaline-manganese batteries in SD-2) 700 (SD-3) as many as you want (SA-1)
Recycling Time (manual setting is higher number): approx. 4 sec. (SN-1) 5 sec. (high-rate manganese batteries in SD-2) 4 sec. (alkaline-manganese batteries in SD-2) 1.5 sec. (SD-3) 5 sec. (SA-1)

Angle of Coverage: 65 deg.
Power Sources: SN-1 Ni-Cd battery six 1.5V D-type batteries (SD-2) one 510V and four 1.5V AA-type batteries (SD-3) AC source with aid of SA-1 converter/charger
Ready-light: provided
Open-Flash Button: provided
Synch Socket for Eyepiece Pilot Lamp: provided
Ready-light Contact for F2 Series Camera Finders: requires SC-4 adapter
Color Temperature: approx. 6000K
Life of Flash tube: approx. 30 000 flashes
Weight: approx. 670g bounce bracket approx. 270g SA-1 approx. 1000g

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Accessories: AC Unit/Charger SA-1; NC Battery Charger SH-1; NC Battery SN-1; D-Cell Pack SD-2; 510-Volt Battery Pack SD-3; Synch Cord SC-5.....

Coiled Synch Cord SC-6; extension cord SE-2; Bracket SK-2; Nikkormat accessory shoe; Eyepiece Pilot Lamp SF-1; Ready Light Adapter SC-4; Ring light Unit SR-1; Macro Ring light Unit SM-1.

" ... The front of the unit, from top to bottom, has the flash tube/head and the handle, which doubles as the battery holder for the SN-1 Ni-Cd battery (accessed by unscrewing the cap on the bottom of the handle). The right side of the unit (closer to the camera when mounted) has the two-prong-and-a-pin extension socket and the ringlight power supply socket (four connectors), while the left side has only the four-connector AC socket. The back of the flash head has the exposure-calculator disc, the on-off slider, the round white open-flash button, and the ready light. The three-prong socket on the bottom of the flash head is the flash sync socket.

First mount the bracket to the camera's tripod socket. Then remove the bottom cap of the SB-1 and slide the bracket clamp onto the Speedlight (this may already be mounted), loosening it with a coin, if necessary, and making sure that (1) the black quick-release lever faces up and (2) the clamp's ridge mates with the groove on the side of the SB-1. Re-tighten the clamp, if necessary. The SK-2 bracket has three distinct holes in it; the round hole is for use with the F36 (without cordless back), the center slot is for most 35mm bodies and the MD-1/2, and the longest slot is for use with the F36/Cordless and 6x6 SLRs.

<<<< ---- The SB-1 connecting an Nikon F2's accessory shoe via sync cord. The SB-5 uses the PC terminal.

The bracket should now be slid onto the SB-1's bracket clamp, from the clamp's top edge (the same side as the quick-release) to its bottom. After that, tighten the silver locking screw on the on the back of the clamp. To store the bracket on the flash, reverse the above directions and plug the pin on the bottom of the bracket clamp into the mating socket on the SK-2. The bracket-clamp connection tilts at intervals of 30 degrees up to 120 degrees to provide bounce flash.

Now you can synchronize flash and body by attaching the SC-5. For those of you with a choice, the PC plug should go into the "X" terminal, rather than the "M". Then, you can hook up the appropriate power source. Note that the SN-1 goes into the bottom of the handle, while the SD-3's cord attaches to the ring light socket, and the SA-1 and SD-2 both attach to the square four-connector port on the left side of the flash head. The SA-1 serves as a charger for the SN-1, which requires 7-8 hours of charging after 40 flashes, or 14-16 hours after 80 flashes. The SH-1 charges the SN-1 much more quickly, only 3 hours after 40 flashes. You can also hook up the appropriate eyepiece pilot lamp, via SC-4 (F2) or SF-1 (F, Nikkormat), at this point, and have wires dangling from virtually every port of the SB-1. If that's not enough, and you manage to dig up more SB-1's, you can connect up to two more for multiple flash (via SE-2 cord), as well as their various power accessories (although, thankfully, you only have to sync the first one; the SE-2 connects the sync socket on the left side of the flash head to the regular sync connection on the bottom of the next flash)...". . - Michael Liu -

The SB-1 can also be used to power SM-1 Ringlight. You can also made use of an accessory SF-1 flash ready light module to provide the F/F2 cameras with a viewfinder flash ready light and a SC-4 connects to the ready light in any of the F2 finders. The SB-1 remained as the sole electronic flash Nikon provided until many of their other flash units introduced in almost a product cycle of 8 years later !

The SB-1 was also referred as "
Nikon original Speedlight" as featured in Nikon F3's site. More info on other flash units

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Nikon Flash Units: BC-Series| Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site. Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; again, Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; CYLeow ® , photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works. Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell, Mr "Arsenall" and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Dedicated to KU Yeo, just to express our mutual regrets over the outcome of a recent corporate event. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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