sorcadmin's picture

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 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.

Kenko Fish-Eye
Re: the Kenko Fish-Eye 180 lens inquiry in the September, 2010, issue. I own a Kenko Fish-Eye lens and it’s actually an auxiliary lens meant to be mounted on a master lens. It screws onto the filter threads of a normal lens. Originally the lens would be supplied with a screw-on adapter that matched the 52, 55, or 58mm threads of the master lens. To use the fisheye, you would set the master lens to infinity and wide-open. The exposure was controlled using the Kenko’s iris. There is a scale of focal lengths on the iris control. You set this to match the focal length of your master lens. Now you have a scale from say f/5.6 to f/32. Focus is by the master lens. I would suggest using the Sunny 16 rule and manual exposure. A 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera yields a circular 180? fisheye image. I’ve used this lens on a Hasselblad to make a medium format fisheye.
Russ Elliott
via e-mail

I was way out in left field thinking this was a prime lens with possibly a 42mm screw thread. I believe you correctly answered this reader’s problem. Thanks for providing this correction.

Sync Speed
Q. I’m researching cameras before purchasing my first D-SLR. I’ve noticed that the Nikon D40 has a sync speed of 1⁄500 sec and other manufacturers offer 1⁄180, 1⁄200, and 1⁄250 sec. For optimum and true-life color and scene rendition of what the eye actually sees, is there a minimum sync speed one should expect? Is faster (1⁄500 sec) better?
Elwood Porter
via e-mail

A. Many D-SLRs can flash sync properly at shutter speeds such as 1⁄250 or 1⁄500 sec as well as slower speeds. A faster shutter speed used with flash does not provide any extra action-stopping capability since the electronic flash itself fires at about 1⁄1000 sec or faster, which will freeze most any action. In my estimation, there is one notable use for a faster sync speed, the ability to use wider apertures (thus shallower depth of field) in bright lighting conditions. I believe you are worrying needlessly about a top shutter speed sync feature that won’t drastically affect most of the flash sync exposures you might make, and having that fast sync speed or not will have no affect on color or scene rendition.

Crown Graphic Light Leaks?
Q. Last March I ordered a used 4x5 Crown Graphic and a 135mm f/5.6 Symmar-S MC lens in Copal shutter plus six film holders. Digital simply does not completely do away with large format black and white for me. I plan to use my “new” 4x5 to photograph some of the few weathered buildings still standing in our area of Virginia. I applied Kiwi black shoe polish and the bellows covering looks like new. How can I check the bellows for light leaks?
Lowell F. Padgett
Manassas, VA

A. I’m glad to hear of your 4x5 purchase. The 135mm was considered “normal” focal length for 4x5 and the Symmar is a far superior lens than some originally supplied by Graflex. It’s relatively easy to check for possible pinholes in old bellows, which are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. First extend the bellows to the maximum extension so it’s as far away from the film plane as possible. Then remove the camera back (or the lensboard) and run a small 15 or 25w egg-sized light bulb in a socket on an extension cord inside the bellows. Move it along each of the four edges of the bellows so it gently presses against them. Do this in a darkened room and if there are any light leaks you will see light coming through the bellows, usually around where it folds for compacting. Don’t let the light remain on too long and get hot, which could burn you or the bellows. If you find any pinhole, just cover it with a short piece of adhesive black flexible electrical tape.

2CR5 Batteries?
Q. Can you tell me where I might purchase rechargeable 2CR5 batteries? I am told that they are available, but I have no clue as to where I might find them.
Dewitt J. Mathis
Burlington, NJ

A. If your local dealer does not stock this battery, they can order one with the Lenmar brand name from the distributor Dot Line Corp. ( I did searches on the websites for six of the larger mail-order dealers specializing in photo gear and one indicated they offer this product. At, a search for a 2CR5 battery brought up a listing for a Lenmar lithium-ion rechargeable battery for $13.95 and a charger from the same firm for $27.99.

Share | |