Procedure: Adapting a View Master for electronic flash

Thanks to: Vance Bass

Disclaimer: This data is provided for informational purposes only. You must assess your ability to perform the operations described. Neither the individual contributor nor Rocky Mountain Memories assumes any responsibility for damage you may inflict on your camera by following these directions.

Regarding the addition of a PC connector to the Viewmaster camera: this camera was designed by the creator of the TDC Stereo Vivid (my all-round favorite "Realist"-type camera) -- it has the same feel ergonomically, and shares many design features including the dual guillotine shutter mechanism.

I modified mine and a friend's six or seven years ago with the addition of a PC plug at the 5-o'clock position on the front of the face. It was fairly simple, due to the fact that the contact mechanism is the first thing you can see when you remove the bottom plate of the camera body. (The only caveat, in case you want to start, is to make a detailed drawing of how the contact goes together, because you'll have to remove a screw to do the soldering and it's not easy to see how it goes back.)

That said, I can say that it's also possible with a Viewmaster. The contact is essentially identical as I remember. There was a difference in the shutter timing, however, since the Vivid's shutters were timed to work with both bulbs and strobes, while the Viewmaster's were timed only for bulbs. A friend who added a PC contact to his Viewmaster camera ended up having to disassemble the shutters and trimming a little bit off the "finger" on the bottom of the shutter blade to slow down the closing of the contact. (Bulbs have to start firing a few milliseconds early so they're burning full strength when the shutter opens. A strobe's 1/10000 sec. comes and goes before the shutter starts opening on the Viewmaster.) This was a guy who built his own Realist macro cameras from spare parts, and he had a hell of a hard time getting it right, so I would warn that this is not a dead simple operation and also that you should query your technician carefully about what is planned, how it's to be accomplished, and how it will function.

Rocky Mountain
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