X-24 & X-36 Flash

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Konica 35mm SLRs : One Thread

Can anyone tell me the difference between the X-24 and the X-36 Flashes? Also where can I gat one of the X-36 flashes?

Thanks Bill

-- Anonymous, October 31, 1998


X-24 and X-36 flash units

The X-24 was introduced along with the FS-1 camera in about 1979, and was the first to offer the "dedicated" features which work the same with all the F-series cameras. With the introduction of the FC-1 and FP-1, a "new" X-24 was produced which corrected a major design flaw of the original X-24. The flaw in the original was that the battery case was shaped in such a way that the flash had to be removed from the camera to rewind the film. The newer version of the X-24 has the same specifications, but the case was slightly redesigned to allow lifting the film rewind crank without removing the flash from the camera.

The X-36 is a very different animal. This has the same dedicated features of the X-24 but is a large, handle mount, "potato masher" type flash unit. It has a remote sensor which fits into the camera's hot shoe, and has its own shutter release built into the handle - which attaches by cable to the remote terminal on the F-series camera. Very elegant, very rare, very expensive. Also big, powerful and heavy. Maybe $450 - if you could find one.

As a practical matter, all the Konica "dedicated" flash system does for you is set the shutter speed to 1/100th sec when the flash is recycled and ready to fire. This is useful if you have no understanding of shutter speeds, or tend to forget to set the appropriate shutter speed when using flash. When using my FT-1 bodies, I prefer to use 1/125th sec shutter speed to sync with flash outdoors in daylight, and 1/60th sec indoors with flash to bring up the level of background illumination. With the "dedicated" flash mode, I am prevented from using either of my preferred flash sync shutter speeds - because it switches the camera to 1/100th sec by default.

Also, all flash units dedicated to the Konica F-series cameras force you to choose between 2 f/stops you must pre-select, either f/11 or f/5.6. Most lenses produce their best edge to edge sharpness at f/8, but you can't shoot at f/8 in dedicated mode - it has got to be f/11 or f/5.6. Personally, I find this too limiting - particularly since all I get in return is my shutter speed automatically set to 1/100th sec. - which is not my preferred 1/125th or 1/60th.

So what's the point of having a "dedicated" flash? In theory, it allows continuous shooting with a power winder while the flash is recycling by instantly switching to available light shutter speed and lens aperture from the automatic flash settings. Personally, I find this no substitute for instant flash recycling - such as one can achieve with an external battery pack. Dedicated flash is a nice compliment for the FP-1 camera, where the only control is an On/Off switch, but with the other F-series cameras I think better choices are available.

A good compromise is the Sunpak 444D, or 433D. These are essentially the same thing, except the 444D has interchangeable "dedicated" modules so it can be used with other brands of cameras. These Sunpaks have bounce and swivel heads, which the X-24 lacks. Their flash head is higher above the lens axis than the X-24, which reduces the possibility of 'red-eye." The Sunpacks produce 1 f/stop more in power output than the Konica X-24, and can also be used in non-dedicated automatic mode - with 3 f/stops to choose from. The Sunpaks can have their power output reduced over a 5 f/stop range in manual mode, which is very useful if you want to use the flash off-camera and bounced into an umbrella on a light stand. With the Sunpaks you can attach any of the numerous diffusion devices on the market, such as the Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer or the Sto-fen Omnibounce - either of which will produce much better lighting on human subjects than the "deer caught in the headlights" look you will get from the Konica X-24.

The Sunpak flashes can accept either high-voltage ni-cad (330 volt) or low voltage (6 volt) external battery packs for instant recycling. This is not easily accomplished with the Konica flashes.

In summary, I think the best flash solution for Konica cameras is a Sunpak 383 Super - powered with Nikel Metal Hydride AA cells, and a Sto-fen Omnibounce diffuser attached. For professional use, add a Stroboframe flash bracket and an external battery pack. The 383 Super is the same as the 444D, except it lacks the dedicated features and costs about $60 less.

Greg Weber may have a Konica X-36 for sale; Cambridge Camera Exchange may still have new ones in stock.

I have a .jpeg picture file of the Sunpak 444D with the Sto-fen Omnibounce diffuser attached, mounted on a Stroboframe flash bracket and connected to the FT-1 camera with the dedicated extension cable. I would be happy to send this picture file by E-mail to anyone who would like to see it.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 1998


Konica apparently also sold a flash unit designated X-28. Is it possible that the X-28 is the redesigned X-24 that you mention?

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000


No, the X-28 was for an earlier model from memory, i'm stretching a bit, but I suspect it was a non-dedicated unit.



-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ