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TALLAT Instruction Sheet

The TALLAT is a hinged filter shutter which, attached to any lens, creates a double flash exposure, typically a sharp flash exposure and a diffused flash exposure.

Overview - The TALLAT holds a 10 x 10 cm filter outside the path of the lens during focusing. During the moment of exposure (as little as 1/4 of a second), the first flash is synchronized by the opening of the camera shutter with the filter held to the side [the "sharp" exposure]. Then as the double cable release is fully depressed, the filter arm is released, pivots in front of the camera lens, closes a micro switch, and releases the second flash synchronization [the "diffused" exposure].

With experimentation, TALLAT can also be used to make split exposures mixing flash with ambient light sources for diffused effects or color corrections. Because of the limitless combinations of interchangeable color or/and diffusion filters available in hard acrylic and soft gelatin, the possible results of the TALLAT are endless. Fresnels, polarizers and diffraction grating may also be used as well as no filter - "rear curtain" blurs, etc.

INCLUDED PARTS - TALLAT, Double Cable Release, 2-Clear 10x10 cm Filter, 77mm Attachment Ring, rubber "O" Ring gasket and 3.5 mm Male Sync Cord adapter.

ADDITIONAL REQUIRED EQUIPMENT - A camera and non-rotating lens combination that accepts a cable release, a sync cord and a filter step ring; two separate flash setups [i.e., heads/generators]; a sync cord for camera to flash setup #1; a second sync cord for TALLAT to flash setup #2 [to be adapted]; and a Filter Step Adapter Ring from 77mm to the specific lens. If you will use multiple flash generators with the second flash setup, you will need some means to "hard wire" generators together.

ATTACHMENT TO LENS - The TALLAT attaches directly to most lenses by means of a 77mm filter step adapter [as above, this is not included]. Such step adapters are available from HAMA, Hoya, Tiffen and Sailwind USA. Place the rubber Ring gasket ["O" ring] around and between the TALLAT 77mm ring and your step adapter. If you are adapting directly to a 77mm lens, it is easiest to remove the lens, rotating the lens onto the TALLAT, then replace the lens. The rubber gasket allows a partial tension between the two rings [or ring and lens] so that exact position of the TALLAT is made easier.

CREATE YOUR OWN DIFFUSION FILTER - TALLAT is provided with two CLEAR acrylic filters. To remove and exchange filters, open filter arm fully, loosen the two screws, one at the end of the arm and second screw accessed through a hole in TALLAT body. Due to the impossibility of finding exactly the diffusion filter for your need, we recommend making your own diffusion filter by spraying the provided CLEAR filters with either hair spray [which can be removed with soap and water] or with artist's spray fixative [which can be removed with solvent]. Experiment because lighting and f/stop will also affect diffusion effect.

CREATE A SYNC CORD - We have included a 3.5 mm sync adapter which must be attached [soldered] to a sync cord of your choice. [So many photographers have strong opinions about the best sync cord configuration that we have avoided that argument by providing only a stronger male tip - the very common mono mini 3.5mm adapter found at audio suppliers.]

LIGHTING THEORY - Typical use of TALLAT is a sharp/diffused portrait. Divide the illumination on your subject into two separate flash lighting setups. Remember that the light from the first flash, sync-ed to the camera, remains sharp, uninfluenced by the filter, typically the face in a portrait. The second flash strikes the parts of the subject desired to appear diffused, for instance, the background and/or hair. Consider a lightbank with honeycomb or similar, to help minimize unintentional light spill between face and background


  1. Set shutter at 1/2 second and flash exposure / aperture at about f/11 to begin. Experience will easily allow a 1/4 second. Make certain that the ambient light / modeling lamp levels do not expose the film or instant test materials due to the slow shutter speed. [test with meter- ambient light should be at least 3 stops less than flash exposure.
  2. Install Sync cord from lens/camera to flash lighting setup #1 to result in sharp exposure. Slaves may be used to "connect" multiple generators for "sharp" flash.
  3. Install Sync cord from TALLAT to flash lighting setup #2 to result in diffused exposure. Turn off all flash #2 slaves/photocells and "hard wire" any multiple generators.
  4. Install double cable release, the longer cable to camera and shorter cable to release the TALLAT filter arm. Note that longer cable tip is adjustable, make certain that the adjustment is short enough to allow shorter cable to release TALLAT. Cock and release filter arm several times with the cable release to understand principle of TALLAT. Filter arm can only be released with a cable release tip or something of similar size.
  5. Make separate (sharp only, diffused only, combination) tests using instant materials [Polaroid, Fuji] until each is acceptable. HINT: keep the diffused exposure about 2/3 stop under: (1) sharp only [depress cable release partially]. (2) diffused only [disconnect sync cable ([flash #1) from camera and depress cable release fully] until acceptable and (3) make combined exposure [reconnect sync cord to camera, quickly and fully depress double cable release].
  6. Just do it [on film].

Intended diffused parts are sharp. Check ambient level or light from first flash is not striking intended diffused parts. Check that slaves are OFF flash #2.
Intended diffused parts are not exposed. Filter arm is not being released. Make certain that second cable release is releasing TALLAT filter arm.
Intended sharp parts are diffused-i.e.,everything is diffused
. Filter arm was not cocked open and out of the lens path during the first flash. If using a motor drive, don't. Ghost image of portrait subject. Lower ambient light level or close down f/stop (by increasing flash level).

INSIDE ADJUSTMENTS - The TALLAT is relatively simple to make internal tension adjustments. Remove the back plate to access all moving parts. If you prefer we make any modifications, just return the TALLAT to us.

Last Edited 07/13/04

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