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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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Q. Several months ago I went on an extended vacation and to secure my SLRs and lenses at home, I locked them in a safe with a desiccant package inside. Seemed like a good idea—it wasn’t! When I returned and opened the safe, noxious fumes billowed out and the lens barrels were very still to turn (although the irises were OK). The camera bodies were another matter: none of the shutters would work, even with new batteries. Any ideas as to what I can do?
John V. Girvin
Rotonda West, FL
A. Sorry, I have not been able to come up with any reasonable answer for your major problem. I would have thought desiccant would prevent moisture buildup in an enclosed space. It typically is packed inside a sealed plastic bag of most new electronic equipment to keep it dry. Obviously it did not do that for you. Have you tried contacting any of the dealers that advertise in our Shutterbug Service Directory, especially one that specializes in your brand of camera equipment/lenses? I would concentrate on any that are located in a warm climate along the Atlantic or Gulf Coast as they might have encountered this particular problem in the past.
Q. I have a Honeywell Auto Strobonar 782 flash that has NiCd batteries. These batteries need to be replaced, but I’m unable to locate a supplier or business that offers replacements. Please direct me to someone who offers replacement battery packs or can install new batteries in my pack if I send it to them.
A. I just spoke with the repairman at the following firm and they might have some replacement NiCd batteries that fit your old Honeywell Strobonar 782 flash. I’m not sure if they can still service the flash, or if they just sell the batteries. Contact them and explain your problem and see what they can do for you: Armato’s Pro Video, 6701 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, NY 11385; (800) 628-6801; www.armatosvideo.com.
Bronica Dealers Anywhere?
Q. I am having trouble locating dealers for Bronica ETR-Si equipment, new or used. Not only the equipment, but specs on the same, such as the difference between the AE-II and AE-III prism. Everyone says to “go digital,” but I am too old and broke to swap equipment now.
A. I did a Google search for “Bronica camera” and there were well over a dozen pages having about 10 different listings per page. I’m sure you can find the data you seek there and there were even some dealers offering Bronica equipment for sale. Since I don’t know specifically what you are looking for, I cannot recommend any particular place for you to look. I very much appreciate your problem of not wanting to scrap your extensive collection of film cameras. As you know, Bronica cameras are no longer being made.
Q. I was thinking about getting a new tripod. I would mainly use it for water shots and long exposures. What should I get?
A. When you say you want a new tripod for water shots, I assume you mean you want to actually use a sturdy tripod with its legs immersed in the water at least some of the time. If that’s the case, then you will want one that’s got water-resistant lower leg sections on each of the legs. The one that came quickly to mind was the venerable Benbo, which has water-resistant legs and a rather unusual tiltable extendable center column. You will find several Benbo models at these websites: www.adorama.com and www.bhphotovideo.com. A newer model with sealed lower section legs is the Uni-Loc distributed by Veach Company (www.veachco.com). In addition, the Giottos brand of tripods distributed by HP Marketing Corp. (www.hpmarketingcorp.com) has the new MG Classic magnesium/carbon-fiber models with water-resistant legs. They are of more lightweight material and have sturdy construction. My thanks to Jack Neubart who covered tripods at PMA this year for helping obtain some of this information.