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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

Light Meter Correction
I think the HELP! department may have misled Tony Forrest with his "Incident Metering Query" (April, 2003). I have a strobe meter (Minolta Flash Meter III) which has an "ambient" setting and this is not necessarily used with "reflected light readings." It simply means that, when reading a strobe exposure, the meter will also consider the ambient light level when calculating the correct lens opening. For photoflood exposures one would measure the light in ambient mode (with dome in place and pointed toward the camera) and the correct exposure settings will be calculated.
George Dunbar
Toronto, Canada

Thanks for your comments. I primarily use a Sekonic flash meter, which I believe doesn't have this feature, and have never used any Minolta flash meter. Guess I was thinking back to old Norwood exposure meters which had to be adjusted for ambient reflected or incident lighting situations.

Battery Comments
Looking through the July 2003 issue of Shutterbug, I turned to your column first (as always). Thought I'd weigh in on some battery questions: Richard Kuzia asked about the internal battery for his Maxxum 7000 AF. These cameras have a CR2016 lithium "coin" battery located on the right side of the camera. (By the way, repair people always refer to the right and left of a camera as you are holding it for use.) Remove the battery holder, and you will see a sliver plate held on by six Phillips head screws. Remove the plate and the battery is visible. Just note that the screws are different lengths depending on if they are in the front or back. The battery is available at any well-stocked drugstore or Radio Shack. Its purpose is to maintain counter settings and ISO data if the main batteries are removed mid roll. I have changed lots of these batteries and never once found one bad. The owners have concerns after a careful reading of the manual, so I change them for peace of mind.
Craig Schuler wrote about his Mamiya Sekor DSX camera. That camera takes a single S-76 silver oxide 1.5v battery, available everywhere. You stated that the silver oxide batteries are not available, but I believe you were thinking of mercury cells like the RM400 or PX13. He did say the batteries stored with the camera had "400" on them, but the RM400 is the wrong battery for that camera, both in voltage and physical configuration. The only camera I know of using the RM400 is the Pentax Spotmatic series.
Finally, I have an issue with zinc air batteries: short life. At best they last about 6-9 months and this can be frustrating and costly to replace them that often. A better solution is to convert cameras and meters designed for the 1.35v mercury batteries to use the readily available alkaline substitute. Most good camera repair shops can modify the circuit and recalibrate the meters to read accurately with these easy to obtain alkaline cells. This would be a good, permanent solution to John E. L. Robertson's problem with his Gossen Super Pilot. Cost to convert and recalibrate a Super Pilot should only be around $30, and then he can be assured of its accuracy. He may, however, want to weigh the cost and consider the new Gossen Digisix meter since it offers much better low-light performance. Hope this helps.
Kerry Stamey
Gulf Coast Camera Repair
Baton Rouge, LA

Thanks for your many valid comments. Several alert readers also wrote about the extra battery in the Maxxum 7000, how to replace it, and the fact that the S-76 silver oxide battery is still readily available.. Although I tested a Maxxum 7000 years ago and still own an 8000i, I did not have to do anything with the internal battery. I know some cameras do have an extra battery to power dating, frame count, and other functions you would not want to lose when changing the power/flash battery. Several readers have written that the S-76 silver oxide batteries are still readily available. I really goofed on that reply. I was not aware meters could be recalibrated for use with slightly lower voltage batteries.

Leica M3 Help
In the July 2003 issue Steve Swift raised a question concerning his Leica M3. Kindermann Inc., one of your advertisers, can easily service the M3 or older Leicas. Also, for an exposure meter, why not try the Voigtländer clip on? It matches perfectly with the M3.
M.Di Bella
via Internet

Thanks for your suggestions and comments.

Royal Gold Replacement
Q. Is there someone I can contact to determine if there is a film out there equivalent to Kodak's Royal Gold 100? I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.
Martin Pothier
via Internet

A. There have been so many variations of the 35mm format Kodak Gold color negative films in recent years that I have lost track. I just came across an early 1992 press release from Kodak announcing the then-new Kodak Gold Plus 100 and they also had Super and Ultra versions. Of course today most all you see are the Kodak Max films. Your best bet to track down what's the current equivalent of Royal Gold 100 would be to call the Kodak information hotline toll free at (800) 242-2424. They have the database needed to answer your question accurately.

Digital Polarizer
Q. I have a Canon S40 digital camera, and would like to use a polarizing filter with it. None of the big dealers (e.g., B&H) list such an item. Can you help me find one?
M. Phillips
Fort Lee, NJ

A. Does your Canon S40 digital camera have filter threads around the lens? If so, and if you know the proper adapter ring thread size, you could get a ring from The Camera People, PO Box 1069, Bayfield, CO 81122; (970) 884-6045; www.camerapeople.net. They also carry many different filters. Cokin just introduced an adapter that attaches via the tripod socket so you can use their square filters with compact film and digital cameras without any lens filter threads. But, if your camera does not have TTL metering, or manual exposure override, you probably will get underexposed images due to the 1-2 stop filter factor needed when using a polarizing filter. One of these suggestions might permit you to use a polarizing filter on your digital camera.

Rolleiflex Filters Decode Needed
Q. I have a Rolleiflex TLR and was recently able to purchase two sets of filters for it from a local photo show. The first set of three is bluish in cast and has ratings B2, B5, and B11. The second set is amber cast and has ratings of R2, R5, and R11. I am unable to find any literature to explain the ratings. Could you please let me know what the present-day equivalents are and what these filters are used for? Your response would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks for your kind help.
Ismat Asha
St. Lazare, Quebec

A. I have not been able to locate any data about these decades old filters in my reference material and neither could the people at Rollei U.S.A., the current importers, or Marflex who repair old Rollei cameras. Since the filters are bluish and amber in hue, I would imagine they might be light balancing filters that were used to adapt daylight color transparency film to tungsten lights (bluish) and for using tungsten-balanced color film with daylight or electronic flash (amber). If this is the case, the darkest amber filter is probably equivalent to today's Wratten 85B, and the other lighter amber filters are 85C and 81EF. The darkest blue is probably an 80A and the others 80B and 80C. Sorry I could not be more definitive. If any readers can provide the correct equivalent or use for these filters, we will send the data to you.

Minolta Repair Required
Q. I need a manual and list of repair facilities for a Minolta SRT MCII inherited from my father. Can you help me?
Charles Gosnell
via Internet

A. There are several good sources for instruction books for older cameras. Try one of these: John S. Craig, Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790, (860) 496-9791, www.craigcamera.com/ib_a.htm; Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060, (315) 491-1188, www.photobooksonline.com; or for camera manuals check www.manualsrus.com. As for repair facilities, just look at a recent issue of Shutterbug under the Shutterbug Service Directory heading to locate firms that specialize in working on Minolta products. Hope you get your SRT operating. It's a nice SLR.

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.

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.

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