Canon Flash Unit Model J-3

Item Details
Purchase Date 12/14/2015
Price $1.5
Shipping $0
Make Canon
Model Flash unit model J-3
Item Id
Serial #
Cosmetics Very good
Condition Untested-no batteries
Value Estimate
Notes Bulb flash unit. Takes a 15 volt battery ( Eveready 504, Rayovac 220, BLR154, etc.).


Bought at St. Vinnies in The Dalles. Good looking bulb flash unit.

Product Description: Pictures are not of the actual flash. They just represent this flash. Case is different from that pictured. Original Canon flash unit for using flash bulbs on Canonet and other classic film cameras, with case

Genuine Canon flash unit
Compact and lightweight
Standard synchro cable
Accepts AG, PH flash bulbs
Requires 504 15v battery
For users and collectors
Includes carrying case
This is an original Canon J-3 Flash Unit, originally designed for use on the Canonet 35mm rangefinder cameras, but also usable on many Canon and other cameras, as it has a standard synchro cable fitting. It accepts either AG or PH type flash bulbs (not included), and is in good condition with Canon case.

Nowadays most flash units are electronic, but back in the 1960s most photographers wanting extra illumination in low light used individual flash bulbs for each picture, fired in a battery powered flash unit like this one. Two different popular fittings (AG and PH) were available, and this unit accepts either, with a sliding switch underneath selecting the type required. Bulbs were either clear (for artificial light film) or blue (for daylight film). These flash bulbs are getting harder to find nowadays, but a Google or eBay search usually produces some results.

The flash unit is nicely made (in Japan) from grey plastic, measures around 75x45x50mm (2.9x1.8x1.9 inches), and weighs just 90g without flash bulb or battery. It requires a 15v battery (Eveready 504, Rayovac 220, BLR154, etc.) which is NOT included, but see the link below for a possible supplier. There's a test button, plus an eject button for the flash bulb (don't forget that a just-used bulb will be HOT). A comprehensive calculator dial on top includes film speeds from ASA (ISO) 10 to 800 and DIN 11 to 30 for blue or clear flash bulbs, apertures from f/1.4 to f/22 and distances from 1.5 to 20m and 5 to 60 feet. A typical blue flash bulb will have a guide number of around 28m (90 feet).

Obviously using a flash bulb unit like this isn't as convenient or inexpensive as using a modern electronic flash, but it's the ideal complement for a classic film camera, providing the ultimate authentic retro experience.

A nice little flash unit for Canon users and collectors, and anyone else wanting to try using flash bulbs!

Condition: Excellent++ (8/10)
The flash unit is in good condition, and the controls operate smoothly. Cosmetically is shows just the normal signs of use with some surface scratches and scrapes here and there in the plastic finish. The battery contacts are clean and free of corrosion, and the case is in good condition, though the zip is a little stiff. Pictures in this listing show the actual item offered for sale.

No cracks, splits or deep scratches, and overall it's in good shape!

Please note that this flash unit requires a 15v battery (Eveready 504, Rayovac 220, BLR154, etc.) which is NOT included. It also requires AG or PH flash bulbs, which are NOT included.

Includes original Canon case but different from what pictured.

Click here for a company selling suitable batteries for this flash unit

This flash has the once-standard flash lead, which fits cameras with a PC flash sync socket. These connections have been fitted to cameras for generations, including many 35mm SLR and rangefinder cameras, medium format models and even large format lenses. The lead can plug into slave units or extension leads (not included) for multiple flash setups.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This type of flash was really designed for manual (mechanical) cameras such as the Canonet series of 35mm rangefinder models. As we don't have a battery to test it with we can't confirm the trigger voltage, so would not recommend using it with most modern film or digital cameras.