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.

Ammo Box For Batteries
In the November 2006 issue of Shutterbug, page 203, Jimmy Sexton asked about carrying large quantities of batteries in a loose condition. A good remedy for that is to go to a sporting goods store that sells rifle ammunition and buy the 30.06 plastic box, which holds 20 and has a cover that slides over the top. A good rubber band will keep them secure. These boxes come in many sizes and depths, either for a pistol or rifle. Each box has individual compartments so no cartridge touches the next one.
John A. Tomassetti
via Internet

Thanks for your excellent suggestion of a source for small plastic boxes to safely carry large quantities of AA-size batteries while in the field. It sure sounds like an excellent method of carrying batteries so they have no possibility of touching and shorting out.

Nikon S On Contax
In the December 2006 issue William Wilson of Bozeman, Montana, asked about Nikon S lenses for Contax IIa and IIIa cameras. Indeed, Nikon S-series lenses will fit on Contax IIa and IIIa cameras. However, there are some caveats. Because the focusing pitch of the lens mounts is not exactly the same, the lenses will fit but will not focus correctly. This is not a problem with the wide angles, since their depth of field covers the difference (I had a 21mm Biogon that worked better on my Nikon SP than it did on my Contaxes!), but the longer lenses are problematic. I assume they focus properly at infinity; problems occur as you get closer, especially at large apertures. Another group of lenses for these cameras is the Russian Jupiter line. Designed for the Kiev brand cameras, which were copies of the pre-World War II Contax I, II, and III, they are exact copies of the prewar Zeiss products. The one to avoid is the 35mm f/2.8, which has a very large rear element and won't fit into the IIa and IIIa cameras. Also, they were made in both Contax bayonet and Leica screwmounts, so be sure the seller specifies the mount. By the way, they're a match for the Zeiss lenses optically and are usually cheaper. However, avoid the Kiev bodies. I hope this helps. Lenses in this lens mount are a little hard to find and can be shockingly expensive when you do find them. Good luck!
Tom Beckett
Winston-Salem, NC

Thanks for providing detailed information about the practicality of using Nikon S lenses with Contax IIa and IIIa cameras. I was not aware they could be used at all, so learned something myself. I had a complete Contax II system with all of the then available Contax lenses when I ran the photo service at Arizona State University 45 years ago. We also had one Nikon SLR (I forget the model) and other makes of SLRs, but I never attempted to try the Nikon lens on the Contax since we had the other prime lenses for it. I appreciate you sharing your expertise and will send this data to Mr. Wilson.

Long-Lasting Batteries
This response is for Ivan Reed, whose letter appeared on page 209 in the December 2006 issue. I've owned two Minolta Maxxum 9000 bodies and one motor drive for the Maxxum 9000 since 1988. During a three-week safari in Kenya that year, I used only Energizer or Duracell "AA" alkaline batteries in both the cameras and the motor drive. I probably exposed at least 25 rolls of Kodachrome (36 exposures) in each camera, with the drive attached only to one. (I also had an autowinder on the second camera.) The 12 cells in the motor drive lasted well beyond the trip and I've probably only changed them about once per year ever since then. In each of the next two years I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a total of six weeks in Australia on photographic expeditions and again exposed dozens of rolls of film using the motor drive. I might have changed the batteries once each on the two trips. Other brands of batteries might give different results but I've found either Energizer or Duracell to be extremely reliable in this well-used motor drive. I've never considered using anything else in it.
Art Taylor
Hanmer, Ontario

Thanks for sending your personal experience comments about battery life in a motor drive on an older Maxxum 9000 camera. I much prefer to send any reader testaments from a person who has extensively used the product/item than just what the manufacturer tells us. We will get your comments to Mr. Reed so he can learn from your experience using standard AA-size batteries while on extended shooting trips with the equipment he now owns.

Helpful Reader & A Color Temperature Meter
Re: The letter from Thomas E. Chipp about the Eastman Color Temperature Meter in the January 2007 issue. I have this meter boxed with paperwork. It was marketed in 1939. If desired, I can copy the small 28-page instruction manual, but the file will be too large for an e-mail message--should I send it to you or to Mr. Chipp?
Gerard A. Spiegel
via Internet

Many thanks for writing. I was sure some reader would have one of these old meters to assist this individual. We appreciate your offering to copy it so he can find out how to properly use it. I'll forward your e-mail to him so he can contact you about the manual. I'm sure he will be interested in obtaining a copy.