Here is a quick tip list
on letters for the HELP! desk:
A. I looked up a picture of your 1955 vintage Super Ricohflex TLR camera and it appears to have a rotary gear drive between the taking and viewing lenses for focusing. I don't know if the focusing is accomplished by physically moving the lens from front to back, or some other method. You did what I have done in the past to check the focus of a TLR, but I just used a piece of transparent wax paper flattened to the film plane when no film was in the camera. As to why there is no change in focus, I cannot imagine. Possibly the lenses are not rotating properly. Does the focus seem to change on the viewing screen? If it changes, I would think it would also change on the lower taking lens. The common price for this camera today is $30-$60, so it probably would not be worth trying to repair, even if you could find a place that could fix it today. Sorry I cannot be of more direct assistance.
Sounds like an internal sensor is detecting film resistance (as normally
occurs at the end of a roll of film) and prematurely starts the automatic
rewind in your Maxxum 3000i. This might be caused by excessive pressure
imparted by the pad used to keep the film flat against the film plane
opening. I don't have any personal experience with the following
firms, but they advertise in Shutterbug as being repair firms for many
major camera brands, so they might be able to help you with your Minolta
problem: Roman Camera Repair, 1021 Paterson Plank Rd., North Bergen,
NJ 07047; (201) 866-4673;
Dual Freedom Part
A. I don't know how easy it would be for an individual to replace the shutter release button on a compact 35mm camera. Since she checked with Minolta and they could not help, you might want to check with these firms that advertise in Shutterbug as being repair firms for major camera brands. They might be able to help you with your customer's Minolta problem. The firms: Roman Camera Repair, 1021 Paterson Plank Rd., North Bergen, NJ 07047; (201) 866-4673; e-mail: CamerasYes@aol.com and Photo Tech Repair Service, Inc., 110 East 13th St., New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-8400; e-mail: email@example.com. Possibly they will know if the button could be easily replaced.
A. My reference files show several labs that can process and print half-frame images, so possibly they could also mount the rolls of old half-frame Kodachrome slides you found. If they cannot assist you, give Kodak's toll-free hotline (800-242-2424) a call and ask them. Or you might purchase some half-frame slide mounts and mount them yourself. It's not too difficult to do. Check with Rocky Mountain Film Lab, 560 Geneva St., Aurora, CO 80010; (303) 364-6444; www.rockymountainfilm.com or Sundance Photo, Industrial Dr., Jackson, WI 53037; (414) 677-2233. Kodak's hotline recently told me these labs process and print half-frame color negatives: Photobition, 132 W. 31st St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10001; (212) 594-4800 and the Kodak processing lab in Minneapolis at 1201 W. Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411; (800) 377-7861.
Ektar 125 Film Processing...For
Your reloaded Kodak Ektar 125 is a fine-grained color negative film
Kodak introduced 10-15 years ago when the usual consumer color negative
films were called Kodacolor. This film had a much finer grain and I
shot some very nice images on it in 35mm format. In fact, I still have
a few rolls with an expiration date of 05/92 that are frozen and inert
just in case I want to use it again someday. It takes standard C-41
color negative processing, so it's compatible with today's
chemistry. The subminiature lab you normally use should be able to process
it. You can obtain C-41 chemistry for home processing also. Don't
know why it had the rather unusual ISO speed of 125. Several years after
the 125 came out they changed it to 100 and also introduced some faster
speeds. You can talk to a human at Kodak by calling their information
hot line at (800)
Shutter Speed Testing
A. I don't remember the particular article you mentioned. But, I did see the prototype of a device for checking the shutter speeds of various types of camera shutters at a PMA trade show. You can contact the firm to get further information at: ZTS, Inc., 6749 Bramble Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45227; (888) 796-2777; www.ztsinc.com. They might have just what you are looking for.
A. There are two firms I typically refer readers to for locating instructions for older photo equipment, but I recently learned of another online site which is www.manualsrus.com. If they cannot assist you then try these: John S. Craig, Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790; (860) 496-9791; www.craigcamera.com/ib_a.htm or try Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060; (315) 491-1188; www.photobooksonline.com. I believe your MC Rokkor lens is one intended for the earlier series of Minolta SLR manual focus cameras prior to the Maxxum autofocus line of SLRs.
Yashica Mat 124 Adapters
A. Adapters to fit filters to older cameras are becoming difficult to find these days. Two I have in my reference files are: The Camera People, PO Box 1069, Bayfield, CO 81122; phone/fax: (970) 884-6045 and Dave Bellmoff, Damar Photo Supplies, 486 Apache Trail, Chatsworth, GA 30705; (706) 695-8933. Possibly one or both of them will have what you seek for your Yashica Mat 124 TLR. I have not had any address for Spiratone since they moved from New York City to the Pittsburgh area many years ago. If anybody has a current address for Spiratone, or knows if they are still in business, I sure would appreciate receiving it for my files as many other readers ask about them and their interesting assortment of photographic gadgets and accessories.
127 Film Source
A. One of our advertisers--B&H Photo--often carries fresh films for old formats such as 110, 126, 127, 620, 828, etc. Another good source for old film sizes, and processing of same, is: Dick Haviland, Film for Classics, PO Box 486, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472; (585) 624-4945; www.filmforclassics.com. I am not aware of any adapter that would permit using any other film in a 127-format camera. Truthfully, I don't know of any film close in size to 127. The 120/620 films are close but they have non-compatible spools. We appreciate your continued interest in Shutterbug.
A. There is a thin metal device that can be gently slipped into the felt light trap where film comes out of a 35mm cassette to extract the film leader. I have one, but I don't know where you can locate one as it has been years since I got mine. Besides, it's tedious to remove a partially exposed roll of 35mm film (many of today's cameras automatically fully wind the entire roll of film completely into the cassette when you trigger a rewind button). If you have a manually operated film rewind camera, you can stop winding immediately when you feel the resistance stop--and thus leave the leader protruding. Then when you reload the partially exposed roll of film into the camera you will have to advance the film to at least several extra frames beyond where you stopped the first time. That is, if you exposed 10 frames, wind the film to about frame #12 before starting to expose the remainder of the end of the roll. In addition, you will have to block the lens so no light comes into the camera while you wind and trip the camera for the 12 frames to get to the first usable frame at the end of the roll. If you don't block the lens you will double expose and ruin the original images. The best bet is to switch the exposure to manual, set a fast shutter speed, and click and wind with the lens cap on in a dark room.
Big Prints From APS?
A. You can have any size negative or positive film image enlarged, but few local one hour (or minilabs) will have this capability. You usually have to take your original to a professional lab to have really large enlargements made. I have had a number of my APS negatives enlarged to excellent 10x12" prints. In addition, when APS first was introduced about seven years ago, I saw beautiful 16x20" prints made from the relatively small 24mm wide APS negatives. When you consider these films have been improved at least twice since then, and the cameras have evolved also, I'm sure you can get some really nice enlargements produced from your APS negatives. Check the labs advertising in our monthly Photo Lab Showcase for classified ads of labs that can produce the type of prints you seek, then contact them and ask if they can produce them from your APS negatives. I'm sure that most of these advertisers can assist you. For posters, you might want to have the prints mounted onto a matte board for easier display, so ask about that capability, too, before you send out your APS cassette containing the negatives.
Chinar Lens Mount
A. Sorry, I don't have any idea what SLR mount your Chinar 135mm telephoto lens has. Chinon used to make cameras for several different firms. I believe the firm now makes most of the cameras for Kodak. Even if you could get an adapter for your Minolta SRT SLR, this would add extra space between the lens and camera body with the end result that the lens could not be focused to infinity--but would be usable for close-ups and moderate distance subjects. Hope you did not pay too much for the lens, as it probably is fairly useless without the proper SLR body to attach it to.
Lighting Lesson Needs
A. It's difficult to diagnosis your problem without actually seeing an example of the 8x10 prints and the graininess you believe is a problem. I have been using 200 and 400 speed films for most all of my shooting in recent years and find the grain to be very satisfactory for 8x10 prints. I don't believe a different so-called "professional" film is the answer. You don't mention what type of lighting you are using. Are the photos mostly outdoors in daylight? If so, are you using any synchro sun fill flash to help cut the shadows? Even the built-in flash on your camera can help some, if the subjects are not too far away for the limited flash range. You said one shoot coming up will be inside with 300 people in a cafeteria lighting situation. Without using some powerful studio flash units (probably at least two light heads on stands 10 or so feet on either side of the cameras) you will have some serious lighting problems. If you try shooting by existing light (probably fluorescent, which produces greenish flesh tones, or tungsten lights, which will give overly reddish flesh tones) I can assure neither you nor your clients will like the color rendition of their faces in the prints. I believe you should research lighting techniques for large groups and plan to purchase more auxiliary flash lighting equipment (at least two powerful battery powered or AC powered flash units, light stands to hold them in place, and the proper cords to sync them with your camera) if you want to do this as an income-producing venture. You probably will have to also purchase a flash meter to determine the proper exposure to use for these large groups and use the camera on manual when you set both the lens aperture and shutter speed yourself. This only touches on some possible answers to your problem, but it's all we can do in this type of short reply HELP! format.
Light Source Disparity
A. I must admit this was an intriguing question that I had never thought of, nor did I know the answer. So, I remembered to ask this question when I saw knowledgeable old friends at PMA in March. The gist of the answer I obtained is you are looking at each individual image when it is projected and are not trying to compare images side by side to check color balance under identical illumination as you would do on a large "daylight" color corrected illuminator. Hope this is the answer you seek.
Pentax Repair Shops
A. I found several New York City area repair facilities listed in our Service Directory who indicate that they work on Pentax products. For example, Photo Tech Repair Service, Inc., 110 East 13th St., New York, NY 10003; (212) 673-8400; www.phototech.com. Another is just west of Manhattan in New Jersey: Roman Camera Repair, 1021 Paterson Plank Rd., North Bergen, NJ 07047; (201) 866-4673; e-mail: CamerasYes@aol.com. We hope this helps you get your older cameras and Pentax meter operational again.
A. You should be getting quite decent fine grain if the films you use are ISO 100 and 200. How are you determining the exposure? The camera's internal metering might be confused by the unusual sunset/sunrise lighting and thus is not setting the proper exposure. I assume you are using a really sturdy tripod so even a slight bit of camera movement is not being confused with larger grain. You did not indicate whether you were using color negative film or transparency film. If you are using color negative, and the exposures are not producing good printable quality negatives, the grain might be accentuated when printed, or transferred to CD format.