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 email@example.com 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.
In the August 2004 HELP! I read a women's request for info about the slide viewers with built-in screens. It just so happens that I have one, a Singer Caramate, in working order. The unit will require cleaning, but at last use (about two years ago) it worked well. If she is interested, she may have the viewer for just the cost of shipping it to her. I have tried to sell it twice and received no response either time, so I would like to see it go to a good home rather than junking it or letting it rust away. A small bit of history about the viewer: It was sent to a radio station that I worked for as part of a sales presentation for Cincinnati Reds baseball. It has an audiocassette deck mounted on the side. You could record audio on one of the stereo channels for the presentation, and a tone on the other channel when you wanted to change slides, so it can be used to do a slide show with music, voice, sound effects, etc. The cassette mechanism does not work now, but I'm sure it could be fixed. I do not have the flight case that the unit came packed in, someone else at the radio station thought it would make a great CD case.
We received four e-mails from HELP! readers after I recently answered reader Marilyn Colman who inquired about a Telex Caramate rear screen slide projector. Reader Robert Eather in Brookline, Massachusetts, had one he would sell, as did reader Charles Lacy of Edson, Alberta, Canada, and Michael R. Walker. Probably the most interesting e-mail offer was that shown above from Paul Lyons who also expanded on how the unit could be used along with a built-in audiocassette for sales presentation messages synchronized along with the slide images. I had forgotten some of these units had the audio capability. We have forwarded the e-mail from all four to Ms. Colman so she can get in touch with these individuals to determine which units might be suitable for her needs. As always, we do appreciate each of these readers taking time to contact us in an attempt to assist another reader who had a photographic-related problem or question.
Anamorphic Lens Explained,
And Minolta A5
I have a Kowa anamorphic lens. The same lens is used for both filming and projecting. I used a bracket to hold the lens in front of the regular lens on my Bolex, and a bracket to hold it in front of the projector. Using the standard 16mm movie lens, I believe it is 25mm, caused vignetting, but this was not the case with a slightly longer focal length. Unfortunately with the compression and expansion of the image there was a loss of sharpness. At the 1956 photo show in New York, there was considerable interest in filming with this format. A Dutch company sold a prism for this effect made in Delft. With 8mm, the projected image was too fuzzy. Bell & Howell also sold an anamorphic lens for their cameras, and later I recall the same from Bolex. There was in the past year also a question regarding a Minolta A5 camera. I purchased mine at the PX in Korea for $24.50. It had a leaf shutter that went to 1/1000 sec. The shutter had to be set at that speed before the film was advanced. The lens was 2.8 and produced excellent Kodachromes that on projection were equal to an expensive German camera lens. Even though the rangefinder is broken, the shutter is still operational. Hope this little bit of history was of interest. I very much enjoy receiving my Shutterbug.
Thanks for writing to explain how you used your anamorphic lens. We will forward your e-mail to Joe who had originally inquired about the one he recently acquired. I believe you are correct about the 25mm lens being the normal for 16mm, at least that's what I remember being used most often on the Bell & Howell Model 70 wind-up 16mm cameras we still sold while I worked for B&H in the 1970s. I had the pleasure of writing up a press release then when the B&H Model 70 camera celebrated its 50th anniversary--quite a feat in photographic products. Today cameras seem to change every year, or even less, and they are not as rugged or durable as those made decades ago. That's progress, I guess. Thanks for the comments on the Minolta A5, too. I don't remember seeing that model in the Air Force and Navy exchanges while on Air Force active duty in Japan during the Korean War, but I was not as deeply into photography then either. Glad to hear you enjoy Shutterbug. We attempt to make it interesting for a wide variety of readers.
Q. Do you know where I could get pictures made from 110-size slides? They are old ones, I know.
A. My reference files show several labs that specialize in processing older disc films and discontinued processes. Possibly they can also print your 110 slides. They are: Vermont Color Photographic Craftsmen, PO Box 260, Bennington, VT 05201; (802) 442-6371 and Film Rescue International, PO Box 44, Fortuna, ND 58844; (800) 329-8988; www.filmrescue.com. Or you could call the Kodak information hotline at (800) 242-2424 and ask them since the 110-slide film probably was made by Kodak. Finally, any good professional lab in your area undoubtedly could put your small 110 slide into one of their enlargers and make a reversal color print, but this type of custom printing might get prohibitively expensive. I trust that one of these suggestions provides the printing capabilities you seek.
Classic Camera Value
Q. I would like to know the value of an Al-Vista 5B panoramic camera, manufactured by The Multiscope and Film Co., Burlington, Wisconsin; Pat. September 8, 1896-April 2, 1901. It includes a wooden case, a tripod, and some other accessories.
A. Congratulations! Your rotating lens panoramic camera was one of the more interesting and valuable older photo products I have been asked to evaluate and price. It was produced from 1900-'08 and can be set to produce any of five different panoramic formats 5" high by 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12" long on roll film. My primary reference book, The 11th Edition of McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras 2001-2002, indicates a value today of $350-$500. Since you have the original wooden box and some other accessories, the value might even be higher. As to finding a buyer, you might want to run a classified ad in our magazine, or contact some of those individuals looking for your type of old swinging lens panoramic camera who run an ad in Shutterbug.
What's The "EE"
Q. Can you tell me what the "EE" stands for in this Canon SLR camera? I am new at this, but am very interested to learn. It is an older camera from 1970 but I would like to learn how to use it. I would appreciate any information you can give me.
John Ten Hove
A. Way back when I worked for one U.S.A. camera manufacturer in the late 1950s when we introduced our first camera with a built-in exposure meter, it was called an "EE" for Electric Eye. I believe that's what Canon intended with their EX-EE SLR made from 1969-'73. This camera has a focal plane shutter but the lenses only have interchangeable front elements that are used with a fixed rear element, making it a rather unusual camera. Another difference is there is no aperture ring on the lenses or body front, just a ring concentric with the rewind knob, which has the aperture settings. Most SLR cameras have fully interchangeable lenses, not just the front components. Interchangeable front lens components were offered in focal lengths of 35, 50, 95, and 125mm. If you look for additional lenses marked "EX" for your Canon EX-EE camera, be sure they are for your camera and not earlier Canon lenses, which were also marked with an "EX" but were intended for use with Exakta camera bodies. My pricing bible shows it has a value of $70-$110 today.
Is That A Meopta?
Q. I have enjoyed your magazine for a while now and being new to photography have learned quite a bit from every issue. I always enjoy the articles you do on classic cameras and that brings me to my question. I wanted to start a small collection of operating classic cameras and of course my first camera is very difficult to identify. I believe that it is a Welta of some kind; I was also told that it might be a Meopta. I have been searching for days with no luck. If you could take a look at my pictures I would really appreciate the help. Thank you very much and keep up the good work.
A. The bunch of photos of your TLR camera you e-mailed only come up postage stamp size, but it does appear to look like several Meopta TLR cameras named Flexaret on a panel just above the lens and below the folding waist-level viewfinder. But, it looks like that nameplate is missing on your camera. Most of the 12 different models of Flexaret cameras use a helical focusing lever located just below the shutter on the front of the camera body. The shutters were Metax or Prontor but some had Compur Rapid shutters. The lenses mostly are Belar f/3.5. Possibly that will help you identify your camera. The Meopta TLR cameras were made from 1939-'64 and have a value today of $65-$125, depending upon the model.