Chaika (electronic flash)

Jump to: navigation, search

The Chaika (Чайка - a seagull in Russian) electronic flash was made in Kharkov (USSR) from 1964, as a simplified version of the Luch-61 flash (the Luch comprised of a power pack with two flash heads, Chaika had only one). The flash can be powered by 220 V mains or two 3R12 batteries (4.5 V each, lasting for at least 50 flashes). Typically for early electronic flashes, Chaika is of a two piece design: it comprises of a separate power unit in form of a solid leather bag and a the actual flash head, which is mounted on a camera. The elegant shiny bag (200x155x80 mm) houses the capacitor, power converter, electric circuits as well as batteries, it also provides a storage compartment for the flash head and connecting cables. A switch located inside the bag under the flap allows choosing the power source - Б (B) for batteries and С (S) for mains. The flash head has a stylish design of the era - a black handle with a huge circular reflector housing an U-shaped tube, a rotary calculator is located at the back. The flash is synchronized with a sync cord. The guide number is 20 m for 65 GOST (i.e. 23 m for 100 ASA), flash energy 36 Ws, lighting angle 45 degrees and flash duration 1/2000 s. The whole set with batteries weights 1.6 kg while some 1.25 kg empty.
A variation of this Chaika exist, made around 1970 (apparently by a different factory), with a distinctive pebble leather bag and a ringed flash reflector glass. Some specimens of this model were made with reversed reflector handle, i.e. with exposure calculator at the front.
A second version of the Chaika, sometimes called the Chaika-2 (although it's still officially designated as Chaika only), was made from 1974. It had the same two-piece layout as its predecessor, but was of a modernized design - shapes of the head were changed to more modern and simpler straight-lined ones (the flash head was the same as of the Luch-70 flash), there were also changes to electrical components, but basic characteristics were preserved, save the guide number raised to 24 m for 65 GOST (28 m for 100 ASA).
The final version of the Chaika, apparently made from late 1979 or early 1980[1], was equipped with a slightly bigger simplified flat-sided bag (210x165x85 mm), but its weight was the same as of the earlier models.


  1. Judging from serial numbers known to camerapedia editor Grzesio.


  • Chaika flash instruction manual, 1980.