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.

Bronica Follow-up
Re: “Bronica Dealers Anywhere?” (September 2009 issue, page 177). The reader can go to the following website and find manuals for the two Bronica finders in question: They will explain the differences. And, there are a lot of differences. The host asks for a $3 donation but it is not required.
via e-mail

Thanks for sending the link for the Bronica finders and manual information.

Vivitar 285HV Correction
Just wanted to mention that Mr. Mayer’s article in the October 2009 issue (page 114) identifies the Vivitar 285HV as being high voltage and dangerous to an SLR’s circuitry. However, according to product notes that B&H has on this flash as well as an article at reviewing the flash, the “HV” designation only means the flash may accept high voltage external power packs. The flash is rated at 6v and should be safe for all SLRs. Here are the links: 1) B&H product notes— and 2) review—
Robert Scrivener
Owner: Scrivener Camera Works
Memphis, TN

Thanks for providing clarifying information on my comments about the Vivitar 285HV flash in my recent article on using older electronic flash units with digital cameras. I checked your link to the Strobist website which provided pertinent data on the trigger voltage on this older popular flash unit. I should have said the Vivitar 285HV designation only means this particular flash unit is capable of being used with a separate high voltage power pack—but this does not mean it has a high voltage trigger circuit. Upon further checking I found that the Vivitar 285HV flash actually has a trigger voltage of 6v so it should be safe with digital cameras. However, there are also some Vivitar 285 flash units that do have a higher and possibly unsafe trigger voltage. But the Vivitar 285HV unit should be safe to use with digital cameras.

Condensation Concerns
Q. I just moved to Abu Dhabi from the warm Mexican Pacific coast. Recently I took my new digital camera out with me to capture the sights. It’s incredibly hot out in August here—about 108?, so I basically stay indoors and in the cool car. That said, when I stepped outside to take a few pictures, the camera lens fogged up from the heat/humidity and the photo was one blurry mess. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this?
Lisa Casarrubias
via e-mail

A. I imagine the camera was cool after having been in your air conditioned house and car before taking it outside into the extreme heat. This is opposite to what people in the northern areas of the U.S.A. experience when taking their camera from the cold outside to any warm interior—condensation and fogging on the lens. If you can obtain an insulated foam box larger than the camera, put it inside the box even while in the air conditioned area, then take it outside still in the box. If you cannot find a foam box I would think a grocery would have some kind of insulated bag intended for carrying frozen items. Kept inside one of these containers prior to shooting your camera would not be as prone to the conditions you describe.

Opaque Information
Q. I am searching for an operating manual for the following: Vu-Lyte IV opaque projector (Model 12406). Can you help?
via e-mail

A. I have two primary listings for old product instruction books. I just skimmed through both of these websites, but found no mention of the Vu-Lyte IV product you have. I know of several makes of opaque projectors, but never heard of this brand before. If there is a manufacturer’s name (other than Vu-Lyte) on the opaque projector, you could check websites under the manufacturer’s name. Try: John S. Craig (PO Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790; (877) 572-3686 (US only), (860) 496-9791; or Finger Lakes Photo Books (PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060; (315) 491-1188; If you don’t find anything on these websites, then you might want to contact these firms to ask if they know of this product or a source for the instructions.