Help! Page 2
Q. I have a Minolta Maxxum 4000AF that needs to be repaired, as the flash does not make correct contact to the camera. Would you direct me to the correct site or store to have this checked out or repaired? Thank you.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ
A. If you have not done so, I would first check with Minolta to determine whether they can repair your Maxxum flash unit. Their address and contact information is: Konica Minolta Photo Imaging USA, Inc., 725 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, NJ 07430, (800) 285-6422, http://konicaminolta.us. For film camera customer service try Konica Minolta at (866) 515-0330. If they cannot assist, have you looked at the Shutterbug Service Directory that runs in every issue? The current issue lists two firms in the New York area for Minolta repairs: Photo Tech Repair Service, Inc., 110 East 13th St., New York, NY 10003, (212) 673-8400, www.phototech.com or Orange County Camera Service, 20 Mecca Dr., Salisbury Mills, NY 12577, (845) 496-6630, www.maxxuman.com. I'm sure one, or more, of these places can get your Maxxum 4000AF flash operating properly again.
Remote Shutter Trippers
Q. I'm inquiring about remote shutter trips. I'd like to obtain a setup in wireless mode. The ones I've found at photo stores are connected via wire to tubing--20-30 ft lengths. With today's technology I feel there must be a commercial product, or the means available to assemble a setup from electronic components. I do nature and bird photography and of course have telephoto lenses. But, I'd like to move right in close with regular optics. Please send any information as to available commercial products, or advice on where to start creating a setup using electronic components and advice/help from someone who knows what he's doing.
A. You don't indicate what type of camera you are using for your nature photography, but since you use telephoto lenses, I assume you have an SLR with interchangeable lenses. If you use an older camera system with cable releases, I don't know of any device that might help other than a long pneumatic tube with a squeeze bulb at the other end to trip the shutter from a distance. However, if you are using a more modern electronic SLR you probably have a terminal on the body for using a wired electronic remote control button. I would think that you could adapt a wireless flash tripping device such as the PocketWizard to provide the needed signal from a distance to electronically trip the camera shutter. The PocketWizard is now handled by the MAC Group (formerly Mamiya America Corporation) at 8 Westchester Plaza, Elmsford, NY 10523; (914) 347-3300; www.macgroupus.com. Another firm that offers wireless flash triggering systems is Ikelite Underwater Systems, 50 West 33rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46208; (317) 923-4523; firstname.lastname@example.org. I contacted a friend who does extensive nature photography and these were his suggestions. If any readers have comments and/or suggestions that might assist you we will forward their ideas to you on receipt.
Minolta Talker Lens Cap
Q. I have an old Minolta Talker auto 35mm camera. It was given to me by my parents when I graduated college back in the 1980s. I have lost the lens cap and wonder if you have any idea where I might be able to find a replacement. Any suggestions?
A. The only picture I located of your 1984 vintage Minolta AF-SV Talker compact camera was not very detailed. If the lens cap was built-in, I don't know where you can locate one. But, if it has filter threads at the front of the lens (as many compacts had in that era) you should be able to purchase a screw-in lens cap for it. Just measure the diameter of the threaded area, in millimeters, and ask for a lens cap of that diameter. Some of the many places where you can purchase lens accessories: The Camera People, PO Box 1069, Bayfield, CO 81122, (970) 884-6045, www.camerapeople.net; Porter's Camera Store, PO Box 628, Cedar Falls, IA 50613, (800) 553-2001, (319) 268-0104, www.porters.com; and Freestyle Photographic Supplies, 5124 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027, (800) 292-6137 (within North America), (323) 660-3460 (international), www.freestylephoto.biz.
Ye Olde Brick
Q. I still have the workhorse Argus C3 in great working order. Though I've owned and used Argus cameras for nearly 55 years, I obtained one recently that I'd never seen before. It has to be a very early one. Inside the film compartment is the No. 72178. The camera back is not hinged but snaps on. I was wondering just how old it is and how difficult it would be to get the shutter repaired (the only part that appears to not be functioning).
A. My reference book lists a number of different Argus models
that appear to have the snap-lock back you describe on your camera. The Argus
A (1936-41) has a bakelite body and a 50mm f/4.5 collapsible mount lens. The
earlier models had a steel back instead of the aluminum back found on later
models. Some of the earliest versions did not even have a tripod socket on the
bottom. The Argus AF looks similar but has a lens that focuses down to 15".
Later yet (1939-50), the Argus A2 and A2B added a narrow extinction meter on
the top, next to the viewfinder. Current prices range from $12-$40. The Argus
B of 1937 looked similar, but had a fast f/2.9 Argus Anastigmat lens.
I had examples of many of these cameras in the archives I maintained at Argus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when I worked there in the late 1950s. At that time the venerable Argus C3, C-33, C-4, C-44, C-20, and Autronic C3 were all manufactured in the plant. Even the lenses were ground and assembled there, quite different from today when nearly every film camera (the few you can still find, that is) is manufactured overseas. As to repairing the shutter, I really don't know. You might want to check with some advertisers such as: Kelly Camera, 2711 S. Alma School Road #7, Mesa, AZ 85210, (480) 777-2266, www.kellycamera.com; or Ken Ruth, Photography On Bald Mountain, 113 Bald Mountain, Davenport, CA 95017, (831) 423-4465, e-mail: email@example.com. Hopefully one of them can get your old Argus functioning properly again.
Q. There are videos and DVDs out on every subject. Do you know of a video/DVD about setting up and starting a darkroom?
A. The only video I know of that includes something about darkroom layout is titled "The Darkroom" and is one of 15 VHS videos on various aspects of photography offered by www.media-west.com. You can write them for a brochure at Media West Home Video, PO Box 2849,Gearhart, OR 97138; (800) 888-8273 (US only), (503) 717-1125. The videos sell for $29.95 plus S&H but your local library might have some of these instructional videos on their shelves for loan. I have not heard of any DVDs on the subject.
3D Slide Viewer
Q. At our wedding 48 years ago we had the traditional wedding pictures taken together with 35mm 3D slides. These slides were set in a plastic mount titled Plastaslide and measured 4x11/2". The same image appears on both sides of the Plastaslide. Our problem is that we no longer have the viewer. Is there anything you can do to help us locate a viewer for these slides?
Long Island, NY
A. I have two two-lens stereo cameras from the 1950s that I used to take color slides, which were mounted into dual cardboard mounts for use in a viewer or projected. I never heard of the brand of plastic mount you have, but there were many different mounts offered years ago. Here are a couple of places you might check to determine whether they offer the viewer you seek: Stereo World (a bimonthly publication), www.stereoview.org/stereoworld.html; and National Stereoscopic Association, PO Box 86708, Portland, OR 97286; www.stereoview.org. I know it is difficult to locate labs to process and mount 3D slides today, but I assume there should be some viewers available somewhere as there still are a dedicated group of individuals working in this interesting old format. If you cannot find a viewer and have some images you want to print, a local professional lab should be able to make a reversal print of one of the two stereo pair images on one slide.
A Note To The Lab
Q. I sometimes use either a Tiffen sepia fog or Cokin sepia filter. They each have a very different effect, the Cokin being much darker. The problem is that I don't live anywhere near a pro lab, or a good minilab, so I have to use the send off (overnight) service at Wal-Mart, which actually does a good job most of the time. But when I use sepia filters sometimes they do the prints right and sometimes they don't. So I had to start putting in a note which tells them what a sepia filter is and does, but I was told that the note confuses them because they don't color correct during printing because the printing machines don't automatically correct so they have to do it manually. Can you please tell me how to explain to them (in a way that will not confuse them) how to process color print film exposed through a sepia filter without taking out or color correcting the sepia effect?
A. Basically I believe you are using your sepia filters properly and exposing properly and the fault is primarily with the lab. Most printing machines do automatically color correct for vastly different overall color balance, such as you would obtain when using a sepia filter. My suggestion would be to use the special instructions panel usually located on the front of the processing envelope and put in bold print: "DO NOT COLOR CORRECT." Merely placing a note inside the envelope might not be seen by the lab personnel, but writing on the outside in the special instructions panel should be noticed. Finally, if you ever are not happy with the prints from any roll of film, take the prints back to the store and ask for reprints. Most reputable stores will do this, especially if you explain that you are trying to achieve a special effect and they have defeated the purpose of using the sepia or some other filter.