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. 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

Leica Historical Society Update
I read with interest your reply to Bill Bullis regarding the repair of Leica cameras on page 190 of the April 2003 Shutterbug HELP! department. Although Dr. Hodges was secretary/treasurer of the Leica Historical Society of America several years ago, current contact information is: LHSA Administrative Manager, 60 Revere Dr., Ste. 500, Northbrook, IL 60062; (847) 564-2181. Also, the Society does maintain a list of repair facilities that have been successfully used by our members, however this is a member benefit and should not be considered an endorsement of any facility by LHSA. Hopefully, you can correct this information in your next issue. New members with a genuine interest in Leica photography or history are welcome. Benefits include the quarterly Viewfinder Magazine, the Leica Catalog of Leica merchandise wanted or being sold by our membership as well as organized photo shoots, photo instruction, social events, and an annual meeting featuring Leica experts and professionals from around the world as well as a popular banquet. Membership and repair information is available on our website.
Dr. Richard K. Santee
President, the Leica Historical Society of America
via Internet

Thanks for the updated information on the LHSA. I'll correct my reference files and post your data for our readers as we get a number of inquiries about Leica brand equipment. In fact, I'm in the process of having my Leica IIIf (that I bought new in 1950) checked over so I can use it again as I did decades ago.

Leica Repair Recommendation
In response to the query by Bill Bullis, regarding the "Leica Rebuild," in your April 2003 issue, I would recommend Don Goldberg, DAG Camera Repair, 2451 Thatcher Ln., McFarland, WI 53550; (608) 838-4769. He has repaired my M3s a number of times, including re-doing the outside. He is fast, fairly priced, and does excellent work. I hope this is helpful.
Monroe Cole, M.D.
via Internet

Thanks for passing this information along. I'll get it to Bill Bullis and add this Leica repair facility to my master list. I much prefer suggesting any repair facility or firm with which a reader has had personal experience.

Check The Lens
Last fall Bill Birnbaum inquired about low contrast negatives with his Retina 1a camera. On a scale of 1-10, I'm betting a 10, if Bill takes a good close look at the internal lens elements he will probably find some "fogging" due to the loss of seal integrity in the lens barrel. Just open the camera back and open the aperture to f/3.5, then hold it up to a bright light and take a peek. It can be either a hazy look or a defined pattern but more than likely he has some type of mold that has taken up housekeeping on a lens element(s), which would not be unusual in a camera/lens of that vintage. Been there, had that. Essex Camera Services, Inc. cleaned mine to like new condition.
Dudley Stouch
via Internet

This sounds logical to me, especially on a camera with a known top-quality lens. You can contact Essex Camera Services, Inc., 100 Amor Ave., Carlstadt, NJ 07072; (201) 933-7272; Thanks for another good suggestion to a reader's question.

TLR Filters
Q. Where can I find filters and filter holders for my YashicaMat TLR? Thank you.
Joe Dunseith
via Internet

A. I believe your YashicaMat TLR takes the same type and size of bayonet filter as my old Rolleicord IV purchased in 1954. The Camera People stock many types and sizes of filters for older cameras. I just called them and although you can buy some filters with the bayonet mount you need (Bay 2, I believe), they said a more economical method would be to get a Bay 2 adapter with a step-up ring for using 49 or 52mm filters so you could then use regular size filters. You can contact them at The Camera People, PO Box 1069, Bayfield, CO 81122; (970) 884-6045; I'm sure they can provide what you seek.

Bracketing Practice
Q. I have been reading some of the tips on photography and a lot of them have details on bracketing, and I was wondering what bracketing is and how it helps to take a good picture. Thanks.
via Internet

A. Bracketing exposures is typically done when you encounter unusual lighting situations that might confuse the camera's metering. If you are shooting color negative or black and white negative film you normally don't need to bracket any exposures since the film's broad latitude can still produce a printable negative even if the exposure is not particularly accurate. But, if you are using sensitive color slide (transparency) film which typically requires exposures within plus or minus one/half an f/stop for optimum images, then bracketing can be desirable. Some cameras have bracketing capability built-in when they will shoot one frame at the metered exposure, then one 1/2 stop or more and one 1/2 stop or less. If the camera (SLRs normally can do this) allows you to set your bracketing range you can vary the bracket range to a stop over and under and sometimes set for three or five bracketed exposures in varying amounts of over/under. Bracketing is only practical on inanimate subjects as an outdoor scene or still life as you would not obtain the exact expression or pose you intended if you tried to bracket on human or animal subjects. Hope this helps clarify bracketing for you.

Hasselblad Queries
Q. I'm a senior citizen, recently retired. My interest in photography is boiling over and I just received a Hasselblad 500CM with a Carl Zeiss Planar f/2.8 80mm lens. I have been reading most photography magazines, but Shutterbug is the best! I am completely ignorant about this subject of photography so I have a few questions that I need answered and you are my source. 1) What is the difference between a Sekor and Planar lens? 2) When to use extensions and which is best for close-up photos? I'm using my grandkids for these shots. 3) I have a Sunpak Auto 544 thyristor flash. Where can I purchase an extension cord to fit the Hasselblad? 4) Most all Hasselblad cameras come with an 80mm lens. Why is this lens so popular? 5) Kiev makes a 45Þ viewfinder (cheap) for Hasselblad. Is this a good investment for a guy like me on a limited budget? I will be purchasing accessories from the Shutterbug buyer's list only. I have many more questions, but this list is enough at present.
Charles D. Russell
Cleveland, OH

A. You have a very nice medium format camera for learning about photography. I'll try to answer most of your initial questions. 1) Sekor is the brand name of lenses that fit the Mamiya cameras such as the RB and RZ67 and M645. They are not compatible with your Hasselblad. 2) Extension tubes are primarily used for extreme close-up subjects. I doubt that you will need one for most portraits or general subjects. Extension tubes require an exposure correction since they move the lens farther from the film plane. An easier method of adapting your 80mm lens for moderate close-ups would be to purchase a close-up lens that fits onto the bayonet front of the Hasselblad lens. A #1 close-up lens would probably be strong enough for general subjects, and no exposure correction is needed. 3) You should be able to purchase the proper extension cord for your Sunpak Auto 544 handle-mount flash at most better dealers. You will need a cord that has a PC terminal on the camera contact end. Have you tried contacting the Sunpak distributor, ToCAD America Inc. at (973) 428-9800? They should be able to direct you to a cord source. 4) The 80mm lens on 6x6cm format cameras is the equivalent to the so-called 50mm normal lens found on most 35mm SLR cameras. This focal length "sees" a similar field to that of human eyes, thus it's considered a normal lens. 5) I know of the Kiev accessories and cameras, but have no personal experience with them. I would think that a moderate priced Kiev viewfinder should be a handy accessory if you don't find the normal waist-level viewfinder on your Hasselblad convenient to use. We are pleased to hear that you find Shutterbug interesting and your main source for learning about photography. We hope this brief information assists you getting your new camera into more active use. Good luck. I'm sure you will enjoy learning more about photography with this camera.