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 email@example.com 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 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.
Where's Fuji Pro 400H Film?
Q. What happened to Fuji Pro 400H? B&H, Adorama, and the local store are all out of it. I can't believe Fuji would cede this business to Kodak (Portra 400NC).
A. When I checked the Fuji website (www.fujifilmusa.com) I found Fujicolor Portrait Pro 400H film listed and offered in 35mm, 120, and 220 formats. As to why the dealers you mentioned don't stock it, I don't know. Possibly they are temporarily out of stock. You might want to call Fuji toll free at (800) 755-3854 and ask their customer service for the names of dealers stocking this particular film in the format you seek.
Standard Flash With Digital Camera
Q. I'd be grateful if you could let me know whether one can use an analog flash with a Nikon D50/D70. I am really not bothered about the settings, which I adjust manually, but will using this flash with a D-SLR harm the camera?
A. You should be able to use your present flash gun with your Nikon digital camera without any problems, especially since you are knowledgeable about making the settings needed for manual shutter and aperture adjustments. If the hot shoe flash is Nikon compatible you should be able to use it in TTL Automatic mode also. The only possible problem you might encounter using an older flash with a new digital camera is if it is used as a slave flash. The built-in flashes on most digital cameras emit a pre-flash burst, which usually prematurely fires the slave flash so it does not correctly sync with the camera flash. For anything other than slave use, the older flash should work fine with your digital camera.
Save That Print
Q. I have a large photo mural measuring 40" wide by 6 ft long. It's very old, made back in the early 1950s, and is in good condition. However, it was originally rolled into a 10" diameter roll and has over the years rolled up into a 3" diameter roll. It has become very brittle and cracks on the ends and edges when carefully unrolled and viewed. I would like to preserve, frame, and hang it up to be viewed by all. That is impossible with the print being in its present delicate condition. I am hoping there is a company that specializes in preserving old prints and murals. Maybe they could flatten this print out with controlled humidity and later laminate it. I've searched locally at some photo shops and have had no positive feedback.
James W. Colgan
A. Check the Internet for conservators and/or picture framers who might be able to properly flatten, preserve, and mount your large mural for viewing. There is a group called the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) whose website is www.ppfa.com. When you access that site, click on "Consumer Resources." Also on this same PPFA website is a listing for "Conservators," which might be another method for finding the type of firm you seek to properly unroll and preserve your large mural. I believe you will be able to locate some capable firms in your area this way, as it probably would be tedious to properly package and ship the print.
Curious About Circuit Cameras
Q. I want to learn all I can about "circuit" cameras. I would like to order prints of the patent drawings from the patent office, but I know that they need as much information as possible about patent dates. Can you help me? Can you direct me to other sources of information about these cameras?
A. I checked my resources (including the website for the George Eastman House in Rochester, www.geh.org) and while I found no direct reference to circuit cameras, I did find a number of panoramic cameras with swing lenses that produced wide-field images. Could this be what you are looking for? In my copy of Kodak Cameras, The First Hundred Years there are several models Kodak offered that had a lens that moved through a 120Þ arc to produce images about 31/2x12" in size. These Panoram Kodaks were made from 1899-1907. In McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002, I found Turret Camera Co. made a swing lens in 1905 that produced a 4x10" panoramic image. Conley Panorama in 1911-1917 made a 140Þ camera that produced a 31/2x12" image. Multiscope & Film Co. produced a number of models of the Al-Vista panoramic camera from 1896-1908. They could be adjusted to produce up to five different lengths of panoramic images.
Super Graphic Flash?
Q. I bought my 4x5 Super Graphic at a garage sale for $40 many years ago. The shutter has an M/X sync switch and a bayonet flash pole, which I fitted with a PC adapter. Apparently a solenoid connection in the lensboard activates the bracket, which pulls down the linkage, which trips the shutter. The curved end of the linkage pushes down on the shutter release. This must be the way it works because when I put two 221/2v batteries in the camera I can trip the shutter with the red button on the camera body. I picked up a "Y" cord a couple of years ago, but I'm not sure which receptacles I plug the two leads of the cord into. My Graflite battery case has five receptacles--"extension," "shutter," "battery," "remote," and "solenoid" plus a switch that reads: "N," "1," "2," and an arrow that points down to the left. I'm guessing that one of the "Y" cord goes to the "shutter" receptacle and the other goes to the "solenoid" receptacle. However, since I don't have the Stroboflash head and none of my other strobes have a household-type plug, I can't test them. If I ever find a Stroboflash I'll have to guess where that plugs into also. It might be that a Stroboflash won't work the way I hope it will, so I will appreciate any help you can give me on this matter. My pretty good photographer son tells me to forget the whole thing and just go out and buy a good digital camera. Maybe he is right. However, it would be nice to carry a 4x5 Graphic around once in a while to impress people and make them think I know something about photography.
St. Louis, MO
A. Unfortunately, the 221/2v batteries needed are about impossible to locate today, so I just use a cable release to trip the shutter. There is an M/X sync on the shutter, but no flash terminal of any type. The flash sync obviously is all wired internally, running from the shutter to a special three-hole terminal on the lower right side of the body. I have a three-prong plug on a coil cord that plugs into the sockets on the right side of the camera, which terminates in a standard household two-prong terminal. I have Heiland flash bulb flash guns, but no Graflite unit or Stroboflash or similar older electronic flash units to use with this camera. Thus I, too, have the proper cords but no method of testing them to fire a flash unit, so I really don't know which terminals on your Graflite case should be used. If any readers more familiar with this trusty old Graphic know how to properly use the "Y" sync cord and let me know, I will pass the data on to you.
Picture Post Cards
Q. Do you have the address of a firm that does picture post cards?
A. Many of the firms producing post cards only offer quite large quantities of one image, typically starting at a minimum of 500 cards. Additional costs above and beyond just printing them can include one-time setup charges plus additional charges for overlaying captions or text on the image and printing text on the back of the card. If you only need a few photo post cards, one firm indicated they can make as few as 24 cards of the same image. This firm is Mpix (610 E. Jefferson, Pittsburg, KS 66762; www.mpix.com). Another firm is Postcard Press Inc. (18711 S. Broadwick St., Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220; (800) 957-5787; www.postcardpress.com). I searched the web and found literally hundreds of sources. Two more sources are 1-800 Postcards (121 Varick St., Ground Floor, New York, NY 10013; (212) 741-1070; www.1800postcards.com) and Pure Postcards, Inc. (1227 S. Lincoln Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756; (866) 413-1562; www.purepostcards.com).