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.

Pinkey's Photo Customers: 35mm Stereo Transparency Mounting Still Available
Due to a death in the family of the owners of Pinkey's Photo, the company filed for bankruptcy and closed the business after 60 years. I worked at Pinkey's for 4-1/2 years and did stereo mounting at that time. I purchased all the equipment at the public auction, and I am now mounting stereos on my own. I have my own photography business, and have for 10-1/2 years. I fell in love with stereo photography while I worked at Pinkey's, and shoot stereos myself. I love mounting them. I have written letters to most of the customers of Pinkey's that sent stereos for mounting, letting them know that I am going to continue this service. My prices are the same as Pinkey's, as long as you can send me your 35mm transparency film already processed: 24-exp. $16, 36-exp. $20. However since Pinkey's is no longer available for processing, I will have to sub out the processing to another lab. If you are unable to send already processed film the cost will increase by $5: 24-exp. $21, 36-exp. $25. The turnaround time for processed film will be within two or three days after I receive them. If I have to send film out for processing, it will take about two weeks before I can get them mailed back to you.
Susan Blackstock
6209 W. Honeysuckle Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72206
(501) 888-5115

Our thanks to Richard Baillif for sending this letter he received and additional recent messages to me about Pinkey's Photo (a former stereo processing and mounting business) that recently closed its doors. Fortunately, a former employee is assuming some of the stereo business. We get frequent requests for current sources of having stereo transparency pairs mounted for viewing and/or projection so we want to pass this data on to Shutterbug readers. Having another firm to recommend is most helpful.

Beanbag To Replace Tripod
Q. I am a new digital camera owner who wants to reduce weight when traveling. Do you have any info regarding "beanbags" which could replace tripods?
Sylvia Stevenson
via Internet

It's unlikely that a beanbag will give you all the benefits of a tripod, but beanbags have been an accessory item for photographers for years. Last fall I saw THE pod, a hockey puck-shaped beanbag filled with weighted plastic beads having a tripod screw on the top that easily attaches to any camera. When attached the bag conforms to the surface it's placed on and can be adjusted slightly up or down or side to side to achieve the desired camera position. It's made of water-resistant nylon and has a non-slip base so it won't scratch. There are three colors and sizes in weights from 0.75-0.4 lbs. Prices start around $20. They are distributed by Bogen Imaging Inc. and should be available at dealers around the country by now. Or, you could make your own beanbag. My wife cut an 8" long piece of one leg from an old pair of jeans. Sewed one end shut, filled it loosely with pinto beans, and then sewed up the other open end. You just place the camera on the bag and it holds firmly without moving.

Large Neg Processing
Q. I recently purchased a camera made in Russia. It's a Lomography Horizon, which produces a 24+58 negative. I have called several big name camera stores and none can handle this size. They said I should not have purchased the camera. I would give you my farm if you could find a lab in the U.S.A. that could print the negatives from my new camera.
Louis Heil
Follett, TX

Several years ago Hasselblad USA recommended a lab called ABC Photo and Imaging Services, Inc. (9016 Prince William St., Manassas, VA 20110; (703) 369-1906; in the Washington DC area that could make machine prints from negatives made with their Hasselblad XPan cameras that produce an image measuring 24x65mm. Since your Russian camera produces a slightly smaller image, 24x58mm, I would imagine they could also print your negatives. I called them and they believed they could do this, too. Keep the farm and have fun with your camera.

Futura Fix-Up
Q. Who can fix an old German camera, the Futura-S? My camera looks like new, but does not work.
Paul Sulc
via Internet

The Futura Kamerwerk GmbH made your camera in Germany from 1952-'55. You don't indicate what's wrong with your Futura-S camera, but the Synchro Compur shutter on it is a common shutter and should be fixable by a number of repair firms, if that's the problem. I really don't have any recommendations as to who might be able to look at it to determine if it's repairable. I have heard that Ken Ruth at Photography On Bald Mountain (113 Bald Mountain, Davenport, CA 95017; (831) 423-4465; is good at fixing cameras when parts are no longer available. You might want to check the listings in our Shutterbug Service Directory in each issue to determine other firms that might assist you. My main pricing guide indicates your interchangeable lens 35mm camera with a 50mm normal lens is worth $120-$180 today, so you might want to hang onto it even if you don't get it repaired.