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

Bessamatic Viewfinder Repair
Q. I purchased a Voigtländer Bessamatic SLR about 40 years ago in Germany. Recently I foolishly left my camera bag in my car on a hot summer day and damaged the viewfinder. Since I have a considerable investment in lenses and accessories, I need to 1) get the viewfinder repaired or 2) get a replacement Voigtländer SLR or 3) find another camera which will accept the bayonet-mount lenses. Because the old German company has gone out of business, I am at a loss as to where I can turn.
Ward W. Danekas
Franklin Grove, IL

A. I recently found out that Stephen Gandy is the exclusive U.S.A. importer of Voigtländer products. I believe he can also direct you to repair facilities. You can contact him on the web at: When I checked his site, I did not see any mailing address or telephone number for him, but there were a number of new and used products listed that might fit your requirements. I hope this helps you get your accessories into gainful use again.

Owners Manual Search
Q. I have enjoyed each issue of Shutterbug and always look forward to the next issue. I have a question about where to obtain an Owners Manual for a used light meter I recently purchased. The reference librarians at our local library were not able to find out where to obtain an Owners Manual and I do not have Internet access. It is a Knight light meter by Allied Radio, model number KG-275A. The meter appears to be both an incident-light meter and reflected-light meter, having a white plastic slide with half-bubble on top. Do you have any suggestions where I can obtain an Owners Manual for this light meter?
Dick Thomson
Bend, OR

A. There are a couple of places I refer most readers to for old photo manuals. But, I don't know if they carry instructions for brands of products that are not typical, such as your Allied Radio meter. I have included the website addresses, too, as you might be able to access them from a computer in your library, as I did a few years ago when my computer was out at the shop being repaired. Try: John S. Craig, PO Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790, (860) 496-9791,; or Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060, (315) 491-1188, There is another website for camera manuals: We are pleased to hear you like the content of our publication.

Sharpness Sweet Spot
Q. I have a 4x5 Graphic with two lenses, a 135mm Schneider Xenar f/4.7 and a 240mm Schneider Tele. All of the equipment has been in storage for almost 40 years. I have taken both lenses and shutters to a camera repair shop and had the shutters cleaned and timed. They provided me with a data sheet with the correct shutter speeds listed. I intend to use the camera to do landscape photography. Since film (positive) and processing are so expensive, where can I inquire to find data related to f/stop sharpness? I realize I could do a test using various f/stops to check for accuracy, but I would like to avoid this testing due to the expense. I am aware that stopping down is normal and required to stop residual aberration, which can never be corrected 100 percent. Stopping down to f/32 is not always the best f/stop for the sharpest slide. Please advise me how to find out the data I need for sharpness.
Russell B. Meyer
Las Vegas, NV