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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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Pancolar Quest, Continued...
I would like to add to your answer to "Pancolar Quest" (August 2007 issue, page 168). You seem to be surprised that Nikon would make lenses with the Leica screwmount. Canon made all their lenses for their rangefinder cameras with Leica screwmounts. They also used Nikon lenses. In the late 1950s or early '60s I bought a Leica M2 with a Leica Summicron lens. Since I could not afford to buy more Leica lenses I bought much cheaper Canon rangefinder lenses and Leica adapters from screwmount to M mount. I still have a Canon 85mm f/1.9 SM and a 135mm f/3.5 SM. Later I bought a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 SM and another Nikkor 135mm f/3.5 SM, a very sharp lens. My favorite lens for my Leica is a Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 SM.
Josef E. Herz

You are right of course, early versions of Canon rangefinder cameras did use Leica screwmounting for their lenses--but Canon cameras of that era were basically copies of Leica cameras and even looked very similar to them. However, Nikon cameras of the 1950s were copies of Contax cameras, thus they had bayonet-mount interchangeable lenses, not screwmount lenses. I bought a new Nikon S rangefinder along with several lenses when I lived in Japan in the early '50s. I also bought a new Leica IIIf, which I still have. Unfortunately, I sold the Nikon S--but that's another story. That's why I found it unusual to purchase an 85mm Nikkon lens having a screwmount. Obviously they made other focal lengths such as the ones you have. I appreciate your writing to let me know there were other screwmount Nikkor optics offered.

Aero Info
In regard to Jim Quinn's letter (September 2007 issue, page 176) about an Aero Ektar lens, I have been using an f/2.5 Aero Ektar, removed from a World War II K2 aerial camera and mounted on a 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic, for more than 40 years. It has delivered needle-sharp scenics even with hard-to-focus infrared film. It's possible, as he surmises, that Quinn's focusing problem may be with a misaligned lens elements or the ground-glass back. But I suggest also taking a look at the front standard. An Aero Ektar weighs about 31¼2 lbs (more than the lensboard was designed for). If it's a Pacemaker model, check to see that the tilt radius is pulled back all the way to the adjustable stops. Also, if this was originally a newspaper camera, I know from sad experience that the bed may have been bent from being dropped or banged into a door. A quick check for this is to measure from each outside edge of the bed to a corresponding top corner of the camera.
Jack Jordan
via Internet

Thanks for your excellent suggestions on checking for possible mounting problems when using an excessively heavy, non-standard lens on an old 4x5 Speed Graphic camera. Your successful use of this lens proves that it can be used if properly mounted. I have heard from Mr. Quinn after my initial response and he is now getting good images with this lens on his Graphic camera. As you mentioned, some of these cameras were really abused, especially if used extensively in the field for general press photography. Just opening the front bed and extending the lens frequently can result in misalignment. My interest is aroused enough so I may try to locate a metal Super Graphic mount board for my Aero Ektar.

Books On Learning How To Use A Light Meter
Q. I am considering getting a light meter and wanted to read up on how to use them. I've seen a couple of Manuals but they really don't go into the proper use of them very well. They are written as if the writers assume you already have a good grounding in their use. Is there a book out there for the complete novice on light meters and their use? It would be great if there was one along the lines of John Hedgecoe's Manual of Photography that takes you through them step by step and explains the basics.
William J. Slater
via Internet

I looked through the listing of Amphoto books at and did not notice any books specifically devoted to handheld light meters. I also checked the Kodak books offered on and none were there either. I'm sure some of the general photography guidebooks will have at least a chapter devoted to handheld light meters. Have you checked your local library for such books? You might want to visit our website,, and in the Search box type in "meters." I found some articles listed there on several types of light meters you can read.
Later this year a new book by Jack Neubart will be published titled Photographer's Exposure Handbook that should help you in your quest--if you can wait that long. You also might want to read Neubart's review of the Sekonic DualMaster L-558R handheld meter at this URL: I hope these ideas will assist you in deciding on what meter to select and how to properly use it.