Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F & F2 Shared Resources:
Specialized Flashes for various specific flash photography


Repeating Flash

Flash Duration: about 1/20 000 sec at one-half peak about 1/30 000 sec at one-third peak
Recycling Time: 1/3 sec (at 3 Hz)
Guide Number: 28m (92ft) for ASA 400 black and white film 13m (42ft) for ASA 160 color film (tested)13.5m (44ft) for ASA 100
Angle of Coverage: 65 deg.
Open Flash:
button supplied on flash head, center of calculator disc
Ready Light: neon lamp on flash head, above calculator disc

repeating Flash.jpg (10k)
Exposure Calculator Disc: supplied on flash head
Power Source: AC line voltage, switcheable between 100, 117, 220, or 240V
Rated Input: <=50VA (no load) <=500VA (successively loaded
Supplied Power: 12V, 300mA in socket for F36 motor drive
Color Temperature: appox. 6000K
Life of Xenon Tube: >=10 000 flashes (4-5 minute rest after 250 flashes)
Flash Foot: flash head has F/F2-type foot

Dimensions and Weight:
124mm diam.; appox. 386g (flash head)

4.88 in. diam.; appox. 14 oz. (flash head)
280 x 230 x 125mm; appox. 10.6 kg (AC Power Pack)
11 x 9 x 5 in.; appox. 24 lb. (AC Power Pack)

Input voltage is adjusted by removing the casing, and moving three wires between some connectors, which are internally labeled. Needless to say, don't do this with the power plugged in, standing in saltwater, wearing medieval battle armor ..

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Four cables are supplied with the unit, a three-conductor 5m power (mains) cable [from the power supply to an AC socket], a four-conductor 1.4m flash head power supply cable [from the power supply to the head, permanently attached to the head], a 1m sync cable [from the camera's PC socket to the head], and a 1m motor power supply cable [from the head to the motor].

The power supply has handles on the side. Its control panel has the power switch (two separate buttons for on and off); turning the unit on also lights a bright white warning light. The fuse socket and AC input indicator are also located on this panel. The flash head has an exposure calculator disc on its back, with the open flash button in the middle and the neon ready light located above it. This flash is recommended to be used at speeds up to 3fps.

The British Journal of Photography tested a Repeating Flash and found it to be a heavy, expensive solution to motorised flash. In sequence pictures, they found that the first picture was overexposed by approximately 1/5 of a stop. They were dismayed by the short length of the head-to-supply cable and the dinky handles on the supply itself, which made it less mobile than thought.

SB-6 Repeating Flash

As a versatile, high-speed electronic flash unit, the Nikon SB-6 has no equal. It is its own peer. For pure professionalism this repeating flash offers more options than any other high-speed unit around. Start with its fastest operating mode, strobe operation emitting up to 40 flashes per second, and you have the ideal high-powered unit for cine 18 or 24 fps or extra-rapidly moving subject, stop-action photography. For motor drive photography the unit operated at 1/8 illumination power will deliver synchronization capability for up to 3.8 fps. Additionally, there's a full series of 6 light intensity settings possible.

SB26 Repeat Flash.jpg (20k)

Complete automatic flash cut-off operation is also available by utilizing the Nikon SU-1 Sensing Unit either on or off the flash (
Note at the edge of the flash). A special built-in protection circuit will automatically cut the power off before the unit overheats. Power is supplied by a Nikon SA-3 AC Power Unit. Open flash and a ready-light are both built-in.

This unit mounts directly onto F2 Nikons while providing a built-in hot-shoe connection, and adapters are available for other cameras. When high-speed, power, and performance are required, the Nikon SB-6 Repeating Flash can deliver.

Light Output Control:

automatic with accessory SU-1 sensor unit (3 stops)
manual; full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 power ratios selectable
Guide Number:
45m (148 ft.) with ASA 100 film at full power
33m (104 ft.) with ASA 100 film at 1/2 power
23m (72 ft.) with ASA 100 film at 1/4 power
17m (52 ft.) with ASA 100 film at 1/8 power
12m (36 ft.) with ASA 100 film at 1/16 power
8.5m (26 ft.) with ASA 100 film at 1/32 power
Power Sources:
SA-3 AC Unit
SD-5 DC Unit (with eight SN-3 NC Batteries)

It's pretty clear to me, from the specs that I can dig up, that the SB-6 is not just a rehash of the previous Repeating Flash, although in concept and design it is similar. It consists of a flash head, which mounts to the F/F2-type foot, and a separate power supply. It provides rapid flash capability (from 5 to 40 flashes per second).

Apparently, it also mates with the SU-1 sensor unit initially made for the SB-5, so it can be set to three automatic and one slave mode, as well as be hooked up off-camera via the SC-9 sensor extension cord. Other than being a rare flash, I have no data on the SB-6.

200f/5.6 Medical-Nikkor

The first Medical-Nikkor was a marvel, combining lens, flash, and data imprinting system in a relatively compact package. Note that the Medical-Nikkor came in two distinct versions. The original model has knurling on the film speed, reproduction ratio/aperture, and data imprinting rings; it also lacks the diamond studding at the front of the barrel, and has a round four-pin power connector socket.

The later model has satin-finished aperture/repro, film speed, and data imprinting rings; the aperture/repro and film speed rings have large silver locking screws, there is only one data ring (with a knurled chrome finish), and the power connector is a three-pin, half-moon socket.

The earlier model has "Medical Nikkor" engraved towards the front of the lens, while the later model has it towards the back. Recycling times range from 5-8 sec. on mains and 4-14 sec. on battery power, depending on type of battery and power ratio in use. The early lens (later lens is probably similar) weighs 665g (1.5 lb.), less than the later 200f/4 IF Micro, and is 78mm diam by 170mm long. Flash output is appox. 60 W-s, duration appox. 1/500 sec.

In all incarnations, the outfit includes:

  • 1 Medical-Nikkor 200f/5.6
  • 6 auxillary lenses (1/8x, 1/6x, 1/4x, 1/2x, 1x, 2x)
  • 1 power supply (AC or DC, later LA-1 or LD-1)
  • 1 power-source cord (1.5m)
  • 1 synchro cord
  • 1 front lens cap
  • 1 rear lens cap
  • 1 power-socket cover
  • 4 spare focussing-lamp bulbs
  • 1 safety cover for F/F2-type hotshoe
  • 1 leather compartment case

Optical.jpg (6k)
The AC Unit is included as standard equipment. The DC Unit was an extra-cost option, as was an extra-long power-source cord. The safety cover is probably a particularly annoying accessory to collect -- I saw one for sale (separately) at $75 US: not bad for a little bit of plastic. I say if you're using a 200f/5.6, make do with some electrical tape ($0.80/roll US).

Because the Medical-Nikkor is an autoexposure, fixed-focus lens, it is remarkably easy to use.

  1. select the reproduction ratio desired (may be determined by working distance or the desired subject field, tabulated below)
  2. add the appropriate lenses
  3. set the film speed
  4. set the aperture (via the reproduction ratio in use)
  5. set the desired data imprint
  6. "foot-zoom" the picture into focus (using the modelling lights, if needed)
  7. take the picture
| Repro | Attached | Working  |     Subject     |
| Ratio |  Lenses  | Distance |      Field      |
|  1:15 |   none   | 131.89in | 14.17 x 21.26in |
|       |          |  3 350mm |   360 x 540mm   |
|  1:8  |   1/8x   |  70.08in |  7.56 x 11.34in |
|       |          |  1 780mm |   192 x 288mm   |
|  1:6  |   1/6x   |  52.64in |  5.67 x  8.50in |
|       |          |  1 336mm |   144 x 216mm   |
|  1:4  |   1/4x   |  35.04in |  3.78 x  5.67in |
|       |          |    890mm |    96 x 144mm   |
|  1:3  |   1/6x   |  25.00in |  2.72 x  4.06in |
|       |  + 1/4x  |    635mm |    69 x 103mm   |
|  1:2  |   1/2x   |  17.56in |  1.89 x  2.83in |
|       |          |    446mm |    48 x  72mm   |
|  2:3  |   1/2x   |  12.83in |  1.38 x  2.09in |
|       |  + 1/4x  |    326mm |    35 x  53mm   |
|  1:1  |    1x    |   8.70in |  0.94 x  1.42in |
|       |          |    221mm |    24 x  36mm   |
|  3:2  |    1x    |   6.06in |  0.67 x  0.98in |
|       |  + 1/2x  |    154mm |    17 x  25mm   |
|  2:1  |    2x    |   4.25in |  0.47 x  0.71in |
|       |          |    108mm |    12 x  18mm   |
|  3:1  |    2x    |   2.83in |  0.33 x  0.50in |
|       |   + 1x   |     72mm |   8.4 x  12.6mm |

The lens mounts like all other Nikkors. The diamond-studded ring which has the power and sync sockets (and a neon ready-light, as well as the microswitch for the modelling lights) probably does not rotate and so is your best grip. The camera-flash sync is set via a standard PC-to-PC cord, and the appropriate power cable is used from the mains or battery source to the lens. Note that because the earlier and later versions have different power sockets, power sources and cables are not interchangeable.

As noted above, the sequence of steps is logical, but the early and later lenses are sufficiently different to distinguish a few steps. The early lens has two index marks for the film speed; the one on the right, i.e. the one reading slower-speed film, is the full-power index, while the other one is the 1/4-power index. The later lens has a white diamond for full power and a "1/4" for 1/4 power. Both lenses may be adjusted from ASA 10 to 800. You may compensate for different tones by adjusting the ASA appropriately. The full-1/4 power switch is found on the power supply.

The data-imprinting system is also slightly different. Both models allow white numbers from 1 to 39 or yellow reproduction ratios to be imprinted. The earlier model has a series of letters (A, B, C, D) on the ring immediately in front of the data-selection ring; these correspond to the amount of light "leaked" to expose the data on the film and are:

The British Journal of Photography wrote up a fairly detailed users'-view of this lens, in which they note that the accessory lenses are of 2-element construction and are designed specifically around the 200f/5.6 prime lens. The great advantage of not using extension to create different reproduction ratios (note that the later 120f/4 Medical also did not use extension, relying on internal focussing, IF, instead) was in simplifying the design, i.e. there was no need to build in an automatically compensating diaphragm. Instead, you could use a simple slide-rule calculation (which you do with the film speed and reproduction ratio rings). However, since the supplimentaries work by (essentially) reducing the focal length (something that IF later did!), the working distance is somewhat compromised.

For both lenses, the front ring (upon which the lens combinations are imprinted) may be removed to gain access to the modelling lights. They are simple 2.5V bulbs, and can probably be replaced with similar threaded electric torch bulbs. The front lens ring (to which the supplementary lenses are attached) serves as a retaining ring for the flashtube, and may also be removed. The lens itself remains the same four-element glass of no particular optical distinction. As it was a somewhat rare item, especially as a complete outfit, it has attracted some collectors' attention. Practically speaking, even the current 120f/4 IF Medical-Nikkor is not the most useable ringlight/lens available; my vote goes to a 105f/2.8 Micro with an SB-21 (TTL metering, available autofocus) or the older 200f/4 IF Micro if you need more working distance. On the other hand, both Medical-Nikkors offer relatively painless ways of getting beyond 1:1 magnification, and their systemic integration is a delight to behold.

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
| SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SR2/SM-2 Ringlights | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 | SB-22 | SB-23 | SB-24 | SB-25 | SB-26 | SB-27 | SB-28 | Nikon SB-29(s) | Nikon SB-30 | Nikon SB-600 | Nikon SB-800 (updated)
Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series:
Nikon SB-28DX | SB-50DX | SB-80DX (updated)

| Next | Working with Ring Flash SR1/SM1 | SR2/SM2

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Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: Hansen, Lars Holst

Copyright © 1998. Michael C. Liu ®

Site rearranged by: leofoo ®. Credit: Hiura Shinsaku® from Nikomat Club of Japan for feeding some useful inputs on the introductory page. The great 3D logo by Kiasu; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input of early Nikon bodies. Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest; Marc Vorgers from Holland for his additinal images on Nikon F Apollo; Hayao Tanabe corrected my Red Dot and Early F assertions. Gray Levett, Grays of Westminster publishes an excellent monthly historical look at Nikon products, from where I learned about the high-speed F's. Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.

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