Help

sorcadmin's picture

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 editorial@shutterbug.net with Help in the subject header. 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 original question.
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.
George Schaub
Editor

Rebel 2000 Pre-Flash
Regarding the question on Canon's pre-flash using the Rebel 2000 and the ex420 flash unit on page 198 in the August 2003 issue. Please do not compare this camera to your EOS A2. The whole subject of using or disabling the pre-flash is a very extensive one, and varies with different flash units and camera models. There are many articles written about this, which can be found on the Internet. Also, "the camera's pre-flash is normally a focus assist light" is erroneous--or at the very least, confusing. Placing the lens in manual focus mode does not disable the pre-flash, which is always used to help determine the correct exposure. If one wishes to bypass perusing the Internet for many helpful articles, just call the Canon help line at (800) 828-4040. They know the limitations and solutions for each combination of flash and camera.
Lowell Crist
via Internet

Thanks for sending your very excellent comments about the pre-flash light on the Canon (and most other brands of AF cameras I'm sure). As you indicate, the Canon help line should be able to assist this reader and others with Canon technical questions.

Honeywell Strobe Specs
Q. I need values of the capacitor (dead) to replace it in a Honeywell No. 180 high-performance power pack, or parts list. None are shown on part.
James Huris
Darien, IL

A. Heiland/Honeywell electronic flash units have not been around for many years. My files show several firms that work on older models of electronic flash units and power packs; possibly one or more of them can provide the information you seek. Please be aware that some of these listings are years old and the telephone area codes may have changed: Robal Company, Inc., 1545 No. Wilcox Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028, (213) 466-8662; Larry Light, 737 Steward Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, (213) 469-0972; TW Technical, 514-2 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15202, (412) 766-1669; House of Batteries, 776 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, (714) 642-8222; Amglo Kemlite Laboratories, Inc., 215 Gateway Rd, Bensenville, IL 60106; Glastronic Sales Co., PO Box 391, North Lima, OH 44452.

Rollei Filters
Q. I am looking for filters for my Rolleiflex 2.8E Xenotar lens. If I find filters made by Rollei they are very, very expensive. Can you tell me if there is a secondary market for these? Years ago I was able to get filters for my Rolleicord from a company called Spiratone. Do they still exist?
Harry N. Wellhouser
Solana Beach, CA

A. I assume you are looking for either bayonet mount filters or a bayonet mount adapter to use regular round series sizes of filters on your Rolleiflex. Although a few dealers and mail-order firms still carry filters, in recent years I have found the following firm to be a good source for most any type of adapter ring or reasonably priced filter. Just contact: The Camera People, PO Box 1069, Bayfield, CO 81122; (970) 884-6045; fax: (970) 884-4481; www.camerapeople.net. Sorry, I lost track of Spiratone years ago after they relocated from New York City to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area. They used to be an excellent source of odd photographic items. If any reader has had recent contact with them, I would appreciate getting a current address.

Hawkeye Query
Q. I have an old box camera that belonged to my aunt, mother, or grandfather. It was made by Blair Camera Co., Rochester, New York. It is a No. 2 WENO Hawkeye. I was wondering if it was worth anything to some collector. The shutter still works on it.
Allen J. Bard
Rensselaer, IN

A. My current, 11th edition of McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2001-2002 shows your box camera that uses 101 size film to produce 3.5x3.5" images was made from 1904-1915. They show a price of $30-$50 for it. This old rollfilm size has been unavailable for years.

Glass Plate Processing
Q. I recently came into possession of glass plate negatives that can be developed. Can you please refer me to any place in the Washington, DC area that may do this?
Paul McVinney
Alexandria, VA

A. Are these exposed glass plates, or unexposed? If they are quite old exposed plates, the latent image may be very weak and may not be salvageable. If they are relatively fresh and unexposed raw film, you will first have to obtain the very specialized holder needed to accommodate them for exposure, probably in a view camera. I exposed and processed many hundreds of 4x5 glass plates when doing experimental lens testing in the Engineering R&D department of Argus Cameras way back in the late 1950s. Each plate had to be very carefully processed separately by hand because of the sharp edges and fragile glass. But who can process glass plates today is something I really don't know. I suggest you contact the Photo Marketing Association International, 3000 Picture Place, Jackson, MI 49201, (517) 788-8100, and ask them. They have subgroups including the Society of Photofinishing Engineers and also a directory of member processing laboratories. I would think a non-automated lab that does custom or industrial processing could provide the lab work you seek. They have geographical breakdowns of these member labs, so you should be able to locate one in the DC area and if one can do this work. You might also want to check the Photo Lab Showcase ads in a recent issue of Shutterbug and contact some of them to determine if any can assist you.

Long Roll Film Sought
Q. During the 48 years I was associated with the law I accumulated a library of about 750 books primarily on the Naval War. I thought I could develop a written memorial to the ship type I served on. That was the "easy" part. How about pictures? I was advised that photographs of interiors, on board, underway, and pier side would be necessary. Two problems. Any existing ships may only be found in Uruguay, Portugal, or Taiwan. The other problem, and the main reason I am writing to you, is I was advised that a medium format camera would be ideal for shipboard studies. Medium format means Hasselblad. Accordingly I now have an entry-model mechanical 501c, which I had to upgrade with an eye-level exposure meter finder. The standard lens was too narrow in field and I replaced it with a Zeiss Distagon f/4 40mm, which cost more than the camera, lens, and film back. The film back was replaced with two 70-exposure film backs. I was in business! Not quite yet! Bulk film, acquired from B&H had to be loaded in a darkroom, which I did not have. This problem was not amenable to improvement. My local camera store informed me Kodak was no longer furnishing bulk film for the 70-exposure backs. What to do? I was told that I had to bite the bullet and invest in three 24-exposure backs. I asked Hasselblad in writing for their input, but I have received no reply as of this writing. The reason I wanted to use 70-exposure backs is that the ships, though small, are packed with equipment and compartments which can best be photographed with a 200 watt-second flash and several exposures are needed to give the feeling of "being there." If push comes to shove, I can use 24-exposure backs, but if there is a reliable outfit from whom I can obtain bulk film and load 70-exposure backs, that would, I believe, solve my problem.
James S. Oneto
Ellicott, MD

A. I assume you are referring to long roll 70mm film backs, not 70-exposure film for your Hasselblad. I was not aware that this size film was becoming difficult to obtain, but with all the changes and advancements in digital imaging, I'm sure other little used film formats are going to become increasingly difficult to obtain as well. My suggestion would be to contact Kodak's hotline at (800) 242-2424 and ask where 70mm film is still available today. In addition, I wonder whether a good 35mm SLR with an ultra-wide angle lens, probably 20-24mm, would not give you the quality of images you seek? Prints for reproduction in a book do not have to be enlarged much, so even 35mm negatives should be able to produce the needed quality. I realize you have a major investment in medium format equipment, but 35mm is much more portable. This probably does not fully answer your dilemma or questions. If any readers working with 70mm format with their Hasselblads write me with any suggestions or ideas, we will put them in touch with you.

1950s Kodaks
Q. Members of my family are in possession of two antique Kodak cameras--Kodak Pony II and Six-20 Brownie E. I would appreciate if you could let me know of any interest that people might have in acquiring these cameras.
Ramesh Daga
Chennai, India

A. My 11th edition of McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2001-2002 shows your Six-20 Brownie E is a box camera made from 1946-1953. It is a metal camera that uses 620 film and has vertical stripes on the front by the lens and finder windows. It also should have flash contacts for plugging in an external flash. The value is $12-$20. The Bakelite-body Pony II was made from 1957-1962 and has an identical current value.

Half-Frame Repairs
Q. I'm hoping that you can help me with a problem. Many of our members use the Yashica "Samurai" and we were told by Yashica that none of the repair departments are doing any servicing of this camera now. This is a real blow. I've tried many outlets in the UK, Europe, and U.S.A., but nothing has come up. Please, have you any repairman in the U.S.A. who can service, etc., our "Samurai" cameras? Thanks for the "plugs" you have given us.
Fred and Pam Adcock
The Half Frame Group
Gloucester, England

A. I just spoke with a person at Kyocera, the importer of Yashica/Contax products in the U.S.A. Although they do have some Samurai parts, they do not do repairs. But, they told me this firm does: Nippon Photo Clinic, 920 Broadway, Suite 703, New York, NY 10010; (212) 982-3177. You might want to contact them to determine if they can fix your members' half-frame cameras.

Tri-X Modern Developing Times
Q. Has Kodak gone mad? They've changed Tri-X 400 to a new version "400TX," with changed processing that doesn't work. The development chart wrapped around the film canister tells us to develop with HC-110 Dilution B, at 20ÞC for only 33/4 minutes, down from 71/2, which had been my old reliable for decades. I did as instructed, meticulously as usual, and lo and behold, weak negatives--drastically, grossly underdeveloped! To say I am outraged is speaking mildly. Those shots were treasures of my 3-year-old granddaughter and her kitten and are totally unusable. Kodak suggested, in print so tiny I needed a magnifying glass to read it, that development less than 5 minutes might be unsatisfactory. Gee, thanks Kodak. Then what business do they have recommending 33/4 minutes in their published chart? I think this is egregious irresponsibility on their part. They suggest we do our own testing to find a usable development time that might be satisfactory. Why should we have to do their work for them? It will cost us good money for the test film and chemicals, not to mention the time needed, none of which should be necessary whatsoever. And how to go about this? I have never seen in myriad photo books and three college courses any instructions on finding your own developing time. Well, I have vented my disgust and wonder if you have received other complaints. For me, it is enraging to look at that strip of 24 useless almost negatives and think of the lost expense, time, and effort in getting good shots for the family albums, shots that cannot be recalled, with more time and expense ahead.
Frank Lewis
Roque Bluffs, ME

A. I sympathize with you but this just helps drive home the point that before you undertake first use of any new product, be extra careful to read the small print. And in this instance, even better, actually process a roll of non-critical film prior to processing something that's not replaceable. It does seem that Kodak is expecting quite a bit of experimentation on the user's part instead of providing a good benchmark processing time to try on the product instruction label. I suggest you give Kodak's information hotline, (800) 242-2424, a call and explain your problem to them. Hopefully, they can give you better, more accurate, time/temperature suggestions to use in the future with their new 400TX in HC-110 developer.

Depth Of Field Query
Q. Recently I took some wildflower pictures here in Texas. I used my Rebel 2000 and the 28-90mm lens that came with it. I swear I shot 98 percent of my pictures at f/8, f/11, or f/22. But when I developed them, there was an obvious plane of focus in the pictures and everything out of this plane was out of focus. I know I used an aperture with a lot of depth of field (I set it manually myself) so what happened? Would my problems be solved if I buy the 200mm f/2.8 lens? HELP! I need lots of depth of field for projects. Thanks.
Matthew Schott
San Antonio, TX

A. First, the depth of field will be considerably less if you switched to a 200mm medium telephoto prime lens (or a zoom lens including 200mm focal length), so I don't believe that would help at all. If you were taking your wildflower pictures at apertures of f/8 to f/22 you should have a good depth of field, especially at f/22. Were you shooting in aperture priority mode when you set the aperture yourself, then the camera selected the correct shutter speed? This would be preferable to using program automatic mode when a wider open aperture is often chosen. Try using aperture priority at f/16 or f/22, and also switch over to manual focus and manually set the focus for a plane about 1/3 back from the nearest and furthest points you want in sharp focus, to get the greatest depth. If the shutter speed the camera selects is not suitable for handheld exposures (typically 1/125 sec or faster), then use a tripod. You could also activate the depth of field preview on the camera to see an approximation of depth of field before you shoot. The obvious plane of sharp focus you obtained is typically a result of shooting with the lens about wide-open, probably f/3.5 or f/4 on your zoom lens. I'm puzzled that this happened at the small apertures you said you were using.

TLR Film Wind
Q. I have a technical question I want to ask. I have a vintage Ciro-flex with my TLR. The old-style film for this camera isn't made anymore. My question is, with modern film how many turns of the film advance knob is required to advance the film for the next exposure?
Arthur De Cesare
via Internet

A. Boy, that's a difficult TLR question to answer. I really don't have any idea how many turns it would take to advance the film the proper distance for the next exposure as I have never used this TLR and my Rolleicord IV has internal measuring of the film advance distance. Your older camera should allow you to advance the film with the camera back open. If so, you could load an expendable roll of film and then make a pencil mark on the paper backing at the bottom of the mask opening. Now wind the film forward until it just clears the top of the opening. Keep track of how many turns of the winding knob it takes to advance the film past the mask. Just to be safe, you might want to add a half turn extra. This might give you only 9 or 10 exposures per roll, instead of the normal 12 square exposures, but at least you should not have any overlapping. If any reader has a better technique or method of estimating the number of turns and lets us know, we will pass on the suggestion to you.

Share | |