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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.
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Regarding Speed-O-Scope
This reply is in reference to a query in the July 2006 issue of Shutterbug. As a Graflex Audio-Visual dealer (Audio-graphic Supply, Inc.), I sold this product in the early 1960s. This was part of our Graflex Audio-Visual dealership (same company as Speed and Crown Graphics, etc.).
Graflex acquired SVE (Society for Visual Education) around '59 or '60. SVE manufactured filmstrip and slide projectors marketed to schools, industry, and the military. As best I recall, the
Speed-O-Scope was simply an Acme (#1?) self-cocking shutter with a clamping ring that would fit over most slide and filmstrip projector lenses of the time. This was before Eastman Kodak introduced the Carousel. I think that the retail price back then was $39.95. It was used by a fair number of schools in our sales area (Southern California) for teaching speed-reading. A local Air Force base bought a few to use in teaching aircraft recognition to pilots and aircrews. I hope this information is a little bit helpful.
Laurence K. Wormser
via Internet

Thanks for your comments about the SVE Speed-O-Scope shutter. Having information from somebody who actually used the item assists greatly in responding to reader letters.

IR 120?
Q. Is there a source for color infrared film in 120 format? Someone is respooling aero film; Shutterbug wrote about it, but I can't find the issue that notes the source.
Louis H. Pinkney
via Internet

A. I have not heard of 120 color IR film for about a decade. I believe Konica made a bit of it each year, primarily for distribution in Japan. I don't remember hearing of any respooled aero film nor do I have any recollection of an article on it. I e-mailed a West Coast firm I had in my files as a source for 120 IR film and here's the reply I received from Jean Calvert of North Bay Photographers Supply (742 Wilson St., Santa Rosa, CA 95401; (707) 546-6610; "As far as I know, 120 color infrared is not made any longer. Kodak has the color slide 35mm infrared. About $25 per roll. Check out the processing. Some labs may not do it. There is black and white 120 infrared by Macophot. We do carry that. It is $10 per roll." If any readers know about any current source for 120 IR film let us know.

AA Battery Storage
Q. I carry about 40 AA Ni-MH batteries per wedding, and was wondering if it is necessary to keep them in the cases that store 4-8 batteries, in their own slots and not touching each other, or can I just throw them all into a Zip Loc bag? I have been told that they shouldn't touch terminals, as this would short them out, and, conversely, I have been told that it doesn't matter and many people carry them in a bag. Can you help me?
Jimmy Sexton
via Internet

A. I called my contact person at Spectrum Brands, the firm that handles both Rayovac and Varta brands of batteries, which includes both regular, alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable cells in AA and other sizes. Their engineering people said the main thing to prevent is a group of batteries from accidentally shorting out when the terminals touch. A resealable plastic bag might do if you can keep the batteries in a single row so they stay parallel to each other. Ideally, they should be stored in a container that separates each battery, keeps them aligned, and allows air circulation around them. I know several firms that offer storage boxes that hold 4-8 AA-size batteries in a row. I have one from Ansmann that's a clear plastic box with a lift-up top that holds eight batteries. I can appreciate your wanting lots of spare fully-charged AAs along on a wedding shoot, but I wonder if you might be better off getting a rechargeable portable power pack for your flash unit? This might be less bulk and provide more flashes per charge than the large group of rechargeable Ni-MH AAs you currently use.

GAF Bulb
Q. I recently found a 1960s/'70s vintage GAF Anscomatic #660 35mm slide projector in my basement. All is well except that it needs a bulb. I am taking a stab in the dark (no pun intended), but perhaps someone could be of assistance in my search?
Tom Meyers
via Internet

A. One firm I have listed in my files that specializes in replacement lamps for photo equipment of all types is Bulb Direct, Inc. (1 Fishers Rd., Pittsford, NY 14534; (800) 772-5267; I believe they can assist you in getting your GAF Anscomatic projector operating again. I worked in the corporate office of GAF in New York City from 1964-'69 but I don't remember that particular projector. I know many of the projectors we sold then were made by Sawyers.

Seeking Al-Vista
Q. I am the great-granddaughter of Peter N. Angsten, the inventor of the Al-Vista line of panoramic cameras manufactured in Burlington, Wisconsin. I am interested in finding any of his models. Can you help?
Stephanie Dalton
Winfield, IL

A. My primary reference book on older cameras indicates that Al-Vista cameras were manufactured from 1897-1908. There were 10 different models listed from the 3B to 7F, plus an earlier Senior and a later Baby models. Some five-format versions could be adjusted to take panoramic pictures in lengths of 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12" on roll film. The Baby Al-Vista had no shutter and a lens cap was used at the beginning and end of the swinging lens exposure, but the Baby #1 had an adjustable spring for exposure control. My reference book, McKeown's Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2001-2002, indicates that most models of the Al-Vista sell today for $300-$450, but several versions command up to $2500. You could search the web under "Al-Vista cameras" as I did and you might find one of the dozens of listings there that will offer a camera for sale.