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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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Neg To Slide
Q. I recently photographed print film thinking it was slide film. Is there a process to make slide film from print negatives?
Al Perry
via e-mail

A. Most any full-service pro lab should be able to make color slides from your color negative images. I just checked the websites for several labs listed in a recent Photo Lab Showcase section in the December 2008 issue of Shutterbug and found these labs that could do this for you: Darkroom Imaging (Rome, New York; (800) 566-9504;; Specialty Color Services (Santa Barbara, California; (800) 207-7927;; and Holland Photo Imaging (Austin, Texas; (800) 477-4024; This is a rather routine task for a full-service pro lab and any of these labs, and probably some in the area where you live, should be able to convert your negatives into slides for projection.

Beltica 35
Q. I am trying to find more information about a camera I have in my possession that belonged to my grandfather. It is a Beltica 24x36mm camera and I don’t really know anything about it. When I brought it to my photography teacher in high school back in 2004 he told me it was about 75 years old. Can you tell me anything more about it? I am interested in its history.
Christina St. George
via e-mail

A. My trusty reference bible of most everything photographic, McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique & Classic Cameras, 2001-2002 lists three versions of the Dresden, Germany-made Beltica folding 35mm camera dating back to 1951. The first one has a front that folds down to the left side (from behind the camera) and has a small viewfinder on the side. Lenses included the Ludwig Meritar, Zeiss Tessar, and Trioplan, all 50mm. The price today ranges from $25-$40. The Beltica II of ’53 is horizontally styled with a self-erecting front that folds down toward the base of the body where the tripod socket would be located. The 50mm lenses still were Tessar, Meritar, and Trioplan, and again the price ranges from $25-$40. In ’55 a similar appearing version came out that had a non-folding viewfinder incorporated into the top housing. It came with the same three different 50mm lenses and carries a price of $25-$35 today.

Older Lights For Video Shooting
Q. I am going to take videos for my friend’s birthday party; I have four studio lights from a long time ago. They are all from Smith-Victor; two of them are model AR80 photographic lights and the other two are AR40 video lighting units. Do those four lighting units offer the same functions? Can they be used for my video shooting?
James Phan
via e-mail

A. I checked the Smith-Victor website but did not find a listing for the AR40 or AR80 video lights. I called them and the person I spoke with was not familiar with those models and she has been with the firm for over eight years. I assume these older lights are reflector units for use on stands and they take interchangeable screw-base bulbs. They should be usable with your current video camera equipment. Just be sure the bulbs all have similar output. Most auxiliary video/movie lights use a 3400? Kelvin frosted or clear bulb but some use a blue bulb for daylight-balanced situations. You would not want to have a clear (tungsten) bulb in one light unit and blue in another, as they would not be compatible in terms of light balance and quality. Just be sure the white balance on the video camera is set for the type of lamp in your lights. Set the balance to tungsten for clear bulbs or daylight for blue bulbs.

67II Finder
Q. Absolutely no one, not even Pentax, makes it clear if the 67II requires a special finder (e.g., not the ones that worked on the older 6x7 cameras). You carried a story in January 1999 on the 67II. The writer also did not say (but sort of implied by various means) that the camera requires its own special finder. Can you tell me if this is correct? Does the 67II demand a new model penta-prism finder?
Malcolm Ray

A. I just spoke with a camera specialist in the Pentax service department in Golden, Colorado (800-729-1419). He said the instruction book for your Pentax 67II should answer this. But the gist of what he said was nearly all of the finders designed for the original Pentax 67 (that is, the regular prism, the folding waist level and regular waist level) will also work fine on your newer Pentax 67II. The only finder that is not compatible is the metering penta-prism finder.

Replace Lens Coating?
Q. When cleaning a lens I didn’t shake out the little chamois and I swiped it across the lens and it left marks on the surface. I felt sick. I think I’ve just scratched through the coating (didn’t actually scratch the glass) but I don’t have the equipment to verify that. Is there a way to re-coat the lens without replacing the element? How useful is the lens without repair? Is there anything I can do with this? Can I smooth over the marks and keep using it?
Karen Rae Samson
via e-mail

A. I understand your concern about any blemish or scratch on your lens, but this does happen fairly often, usually when something other than the proper lens cleaning material is used to clean the lens surface. Minor scratches on the surface of any camera lens seldom affect the quality of the lens or seriously degrade the image quality. Re-coating a lens is a task best done by a qualified repair facility. I have never heard of anybody offering supplies that would enable you to do this at home.

Bulb Sought
Q. I’m trying to help a friend find a bulb for an amateur movie projector, a 1923 Pathex, made in France. It was for 9.5mm film. I’m thinking you once had some info on a distributor of old and out of production bulbs. Any help will be appreciated!
David Hiser
via e-mail

A. I have two listings for firms that offer a wide variety of replacement bulbs and/or lamps for various products. I checked the website on each and did not find any listing for the Pathex brand projector your friend owns. Truthfully I seriously doubt that you will be able to locate any suitable bulb for a product vintage 1923, especially one made in Europe. I believe the shape and size of the socket for the bulb is different on European products. But here’s where you can check: Bulb Direct, Inc. (1 Fishers Rd., Pittsford, NY 14534; (800) 772-5267; and Bulbman ((800) 648-1163; I hope they have the one you seek. You might want to describe the bulb shown in the copy of the brochure you attached to your e-mail when you try to find a replacement bulb.

Flash Power
Q. Recently I ran across an article in a photo magazine pertaining to use of a rechargeable battery, possibly made by Quantum, that could be used in place of rechargeable AA batteries in flash photography. It was capable of many, many discharges from a charge and could be charged over and over. Cost was around $500. Are you aware of anything like this to take the place of the rechargeable AA batteries?
Bob Felton
via e-mail

A. Several firms offer external rechargeable battery packs for rapid recycling. The websites for the major firms are: Dynalite, Inc. (; (800) 722-6638), Lumedyne, Inc.
(; (800) 586-3396), and Quantum Instruments, Inc. (; (631) 656-7400). Each site provides lots of information about their various products and some sites offer tutorials on how to use the products.