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.
George Schaub

Newton Ring Cure
In the September 2004 issue, Mr. Taylor wanted to know how to cure his Newton rings. For the last 40 years we have used matte picture frame glass directly on top of our negatives and have had no problems.
Si Simonson
via Internet

Thanks for the excellent darkroom enlarging suggestion. We will pass it on to our readers.

126 Processing
Q. I was referred to you by Kodak in the hopes that you could help me get an old 126 film processed that I came across while visiting my parents this past June. They informed me that they stopped the process back in 2002. Could you assist me or point me in the right direction?
Sara Clepper
via Internet

A. I don't know who you contacted at Kodak, but a few years ago when I called them, the Kodak hotline (800-242-2424) recommended some of these firms below for processing older films such as C-22 color negative, which I believe your 126 would be. It should say the intended process on the outside of the film cartridge. I suggest contacting them first to verify the mailing address and the cost, as it might be prohibitively expensive. Generally they wait till they get enough film, and then make the runs, so it might take a few weeks. Here's a list of the firms: Pinky Processing, Little Rock, AR, (501) 375-6409; Prep Film Services Lab, 21940 Cumberland, Northville, MI 48167, (800) 793-3456,; Vermont Color Photographic Craftsmen, PO Box 260, Bennington, VT 05201, (802) 442-6371; Film Rescue International, PO Box 44, Fortuna, ND 58844, (800) 329-8988,; Kolor Print, Inc., 2121 Thayer St., Little Rock, AR 72202, (501) 375-5581; Rocky Mountain Film Lab, 560 Geneva St., Aurora, CO 80010, (303) 364-6444, Hopefully, one or more of these labs can process your old 126 film. Just be aware that the latent image might have faded with age and may not produce particularly good, colorful images.

Konica Auto S3 Battery
Q. I was referred to you by Konica. They said you might be able to help me. I just inherited a Konica Auto S3. It seems to be a terrific 35mm auto rangefinder camera. The problem is the battery. It uses a 675 mercury battery that is not available in this country. Is there a substitute that I can use and where could I buy it?
Herb Semel
via Internet

A. I have a few sources for replacements for discontinued or banned batteries. Some were provided by readers. As some of these are a few years old, the area codes on the phone numbers may have changed. A reader informed me about a battery source via the Internet, (90 Orchard St., Boston, MA 02130); he said you could order PX625 and PX675 batteries through them. Another reader said a web source that was best for him was "" The company is Cell Energy, Inc. and their phone number is (800) 321-0714. (6024 West 79th St., Indianapolis, IN 46278; (888) 288-6500; e-mail: is a source for many types of batteries. You could also try Scherer Supplies (PO Box 250, Ewing, VA 24248; (276) 733-2615). Finally, your local RadioShack store is a good source for older and hard to find batteries. If they don't stock the one you need, often they can order it. I hope one or more can provide the replacement 675 size battery you seek.

4x5 Kit?
Q. For many years a 4x5 "build-it-yourself" camera kit was advertised in almost all photographic magazines. (I don't remember the exact name, but Benson or Bender keeps coming to mind.) The cost was around $300, I think. Now that I have the money and time to build one I discover that it is no longer advertised. Is that kit still available, and where can it be obtained?
Jerry Paul
via Internet

A. I show two firms in my files that offered wooden view camera kits. They are: Bender Photographic, Inc., 19691 Beaver Valley Rd., Leavenworth, WA 98826, (800) 776-3199 or (509) 763-2626,; Fader Photo Works, Lester Fader, 1402 Bardstown Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. The latter company is about 15 years old and I don't know if they are still in business. I did call the 800 number for Bender and got their answering machine. I built one of their 8x10 cameras 15 or so years ago and it was a quite complete kit that merely required some deft handling of glue and assembling the many precut components to make a usable camera. I'm not sure of the kit cost today. I hope one or both of these help you put your money and time to good use.

Searching For A Strobotone
Q. The Strobotone is a unit that touch fastens onto your remote flash and makes a sound when it "sees" the flash fire to confirm it worked properly. I am looking for a second one. The Strobotone is 2x3x3/4"; uses two AAA batteries; each flash is counted and the number is displayed on the LCD screen; can be set to signal with light and sound or sound only and has a flash sensitivity adjustment and a "time" adjustment that makes the light/sound go longer or shorter. It's pretty sophisticated. The main feature I am looking for is the sound at the flash. I own some Wein light confirmation units but they have no sound.
Dan Harris
via Internet

A. The Strobotone sounds like something that Spiratone might have handled 20 or so years ago, but after Spiratone was sold and moved to Pittsburgh a decade or so ago, I lost track of them. If they are still in business, I wish somebody would send me their current address. I have never heard of this device, so I called four friends who work with firms that sell different brands of studio flash units and none of them have heard of Strobotone either. Most of today's AC-powered flash units have built-in slaves and often have an audible sound to let you know they fired, so there is no need for an external sensor/audible device with newer studio flash units. If any readers know of this device and get in touch, we will forward the data to you so you can purchase another one.

Graflex Data Wanted
Q. Where can I obtain data on a Graflex XL camera?
via Internet

A. The Graflex XL medium format systems camera was made from 1965-73. There were any of three bodies (XLSW, super wide angle; XLS, standard; and XLRF, rangefinder). Eight lenses were offered having Graflex/Compur shutters and a modular, quick-lock design for rapid mounting to the camera body. The lenses were 47mm (for use with the XLSW body), 58mm, 80mm, two 95mm and two 100mm lenses, and a 180mm. You could use 21/4x31/4 Graphic sheet film, film packs, rollfilm holders (I assume for 120 film), and a Polaroid pack holder, all of which could be interchanged using a Graflok back. In addition, a variety of spacers (for close-up work), ground-glass focusing panels, and viewfinder masks were offered. That's the description provided in my copy of The All-American Cameras, A Review of Graflex by Richard P. Paine, printed in '81.

Koni-Omega Repairs?
Q. Do you know of anyone who repairs Koni-Omega film backs? Your help would be appreciated.
Dick Myers Photography
Westminster, MD

A. Sorry, I have no listings for repairs on Koni-Omega rollfilm cameras. However, there are several firms that regularly advertise in the Shutterbug Service Directory that might be able to help you, as they indicate they can work on many brands of older equipment, or possibly they can direct you to somebody who can help. Those firms are: Kelly Camera Repair, Inc., 2711 S. Alma School Rd. #7, Mesa, AZ 85210, (480) 777-2266,; and Ken Ruth, Photography On Bald Mountain, 113 Bald Mountain, Davenport, CA 95017, (831) 423-4465, One firm that indicates they work on Konica equipment is Photo Tech Repair Service, Inc., 110 East 13th St., New York, NY 10003, (212) 673-8400, I hope this points you in the right direction to get the repairs you seek. If any reader knows of a firm still working on Koni-Omega rollfilm backs and lets us know, we will pass the information on to you.