Here is a quick tip list on letters for the HELP! desk:
Please confine yourself to only one question per letter. Both postal letters and e-mails are fine, although we prefer e-mail as the most efficient form of communication. Send your e-mail queries to firstname.lastname@example.org with Help in the subject header and your return e-mail address at the end of your message. Although we make every effort, we cannot promise to answer every HELP! letter.
When sending a response or suggestion that refers to a published letter please include the month and page of the
All postal letters to HELP! must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope to be considered for reply. We will respond to e-mail queries with an e-mail.
Q. I have a very old Konica FS-1 auto-advance camera that has been a true workhorse. When I bought the camera, it came with an auto flash unit, which was damaged beyond repair and thrown away. After finding your site, I became aware that I might find a new/used replacement but do not know the model/type of that original unit. I found several options on your used equipment list but don't know which one will work on my FS-1. If you can provide me with the appropriate model/type, I can then make a proper selection. Can you help?
A. I looked up your 1978 vintage Konica FS-1 SLR camera in one of my reference books. It appears to have a hot shoe on the top of the body. Thus, any standard, current hot shoe flash unit should be adaptable to your SLR. I'm not sure what auto flash came with your camera but I doubt seriously that it had TTL flash dedication, the fully automatic operation cameras in the past 15-20 years have had. But, you can get a current hot shoe flash with a built-in sensor, which will give you a certain degree of automatic operation. With this type of sensor flash you simply set the ISO film speed guide on the side of the flash to match the film in your camera. The same guide will show either a color code or letter for different subject distances. Choose the distance most of your pictures will be made at. Beside that will be the f/stop that you must set on your camera lens. After making these settings, the flash sensor will tell the flash to cut off the flash intensity when enough light is produced to properly expose the subject at any distance from about 3 ft to the maximum distance you chose on the flash guide. This gives you flash automation after you make the preliminary adjustments. There are many moderately priced brands of sensor flash units you can choose from today. Some you might want to consider are from Achiever, Metz, Phoenix, Promaster, Sunpak, and Vivitar. You can get even less expensive manual hot shoe flash units, but then you will have to change the lens opening whenever the subject distance changes.
Q. I have just purchased a Starblitz 3300 DTS and I need some help with the settings. The first button has a white, green, and red setting. Then another switch has O, N, M, c/p, and S. If anyone can help me with these settings it would be great.
A. I cannot find any information about the Starblitz brand of flash units. I do remember this name, but have not seen any of their products for years. If readers can help it would be appreciated. There are several sources for instructions for old cameras that might also have flash instructions. Try John S. Craig, PO Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790; (860) 496-9791; www.craigcamera.com/ib_a.htm. Another site for camera manuals is Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060; (315) 491-1188; www.photobooksonline.com. Sorry I could not be of more immediate assistance.
Stock Slides For Home Use
Q. Several decades ago there were businesses that sold individual and series slides (autos, travel, railroads, etc.) to people who wished to augment their collections. One, I believe, was named Wolf's or Wolfe's that advertised in most photo magazines. Do you know of any such suppliers in business today?
Robert C. Steensma
Salt Lake City, UT
A. I could not locate the firm called Wolf's or Wolfe's you mentioned, nor do I remember them. Years ago Visual Horizons (a firm that sells slide storage pages and albums, transparent pages and pockets of all types for photo and media storage among other things) used to offer a large collection of photographs around the U.S.A., but they discontinued this service some 10 years ago. Dozens of years ago Sawyer's (the firm that also sold 3D View-Master viewers and slide reels) also sold packets of five 2x2 color slides--I still have hundreds of them stored somewhere--but I could not locate this firm today. You could check out gift shops in popular tourist sites around the world, where sheets of slides are often sold as souvenirs, and perhaps locate the manufacturer that way.
Q. How do I see if a slide film is unused or already used? I have quite a mess with my films and I can't figure out which one is new and which is just rewound after several shots. Is there a trick to find out (I presume I will have to sacrifice at least the first couple of shots)?
A. Most 35mm cameras using a power rewind after exposing a full roll of film will fully rewind the film back into the cassette so no leader is protruding from the slot. If there are several inches of film protruding from the slot (so there are perforations showing on both sides of the film) the roll is probably unexposed. The way out of this in the future is in how you rewind and "mark" the film. If you do remove a roll of film with a manual rewind camera after exposing just a few frames, stop rewinding when you feel less resistance on the winding knob so you don't fully rewind the film back into the cassette. Then fold over the tip of the leader and mark the number of frames exposed on the emulsion (non-glossy) side. Then, when you reuse this roll, advance the film several frames past the number of frames exposed (with the lens covered so you are not double exposing the few frames exposed) then finish exposing that roll of film. As to the films you have now in this state there's no way of knowing without processing the film.
- Medium Tools: Our Favorite Medium Format Cameras, Lenses & Accessories
- Photographer Uses GoPro to Demonstrate the Collodion Process Invented in 1851 (VIDEO)
- How I Opened My Own Photo Gallery (And Lived to Tell the Tale!)
- Always Remember to Take a Good Look: How to See What’s Right in Front of You as a Photographer
- 6 Photographers Capture Same Person But Results Vary Widely Because of a Twist (VIDEO)