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Short Course On Fill Flash
Q. What is meant by the term "fill flash"?
Christopher Ryan
via Internet

A. The usual connotation of fill flash is using flash in situations when you normally would not use or need additional lighting. A typical subject is one or more people outdoors with the sun coming from behind them, causing their faces to be shaded. The eye compensates for this condition, but film or digital cameras might expose correctly for the dominant background lighting, leaving the face in shadow. Fill flash will provide illumination on their faces, making them more visible and not shadowed. With today's fully automatic cameras, simply setting the control dial to the jagged "flash on" symbol will turn on the flash and automatically balance the amount of fill flash to the existing background illumination, resulting in a natural appearing picture. Cameras having a built-in flash that automatically charges and fires when flash is needed are not preprogrammed to turn on and work in this type of situation; that's why you have to know to turn on the fill flash feature. This technique can be done using cameras with built-in or auxiliary flash units mounted in the camera's hot shoe or on a bracket connected by a cord.

Lamp For Elwood
Q. Does anyone have a clue as to the current, or nearest, correct replacement lamp for a 5x7 Elwood enlarger? As I recall the correct lamp was a 300w, currently the largest is the PH 213 at 250w. Am I mistaken, or was there a larger lamp available at one time?
Sam Holmes
via Internet

A. I sent your inquiry to Darryl C. Nicholas, one of our Shutterbug darkroom experts. Here's what he said: "It depends on which model Elwood you have. According to my Elwood catalog the 5x7 Special, which has the 18" diameter reflector will take 200-400w bulbs while the 5x7 Studio with the 10" diameter reflector takes 100-200w bulbs. The 8x10 model (18" diameter reflector) will take a 200-400w bulb. Larger wattage means brighter light and shorter exposure times. But, it also means more heat being generated. Unless you really need the brighter wattage, I'd opt for the low-end of the range to help keep the heat down." I trust that this will assist you getting your big enlarger operational.

100 Year + Voigtländer
Q. Enclosed is a picture of the Voigtländer camera my father purchased at a secondhand store in London, England, in 1904. It takes 31/2x51/2" glass plates and a date inside the lens puts its manufacture date as 1896. It was last used in the late 1940s or early '50s when the glass plates were available from Kodak in England. An inspection of the camera in '76 found it to be perfectly sound in all respects. Could you please tell me if this camera has any value either commercially or as an antique?
John A. White
The Villages, FL

A. Although you did not provide the name of the model Voigtländer camera you own, the detailed photo helped when I looked through the dozen or so older Voigtländer models illustrated in my 11th Edition of McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. Unfortunately, most of those illustrated were from the 1910s through the '30s and tended to have newer rim set shutter speeds instead of dial set speeds as on your camera, so I could not positively identify your camera. A few pages further in this reference book they said, "Over the years Voigtländer made many models of folding plate cameras. It would take many pages of photos to illustrate all of them. If you are unable to identify the specific model, its value is likely to fall within the normal range of $45-$60." I assume your turn of the century camera falls into this later category with a minimal value today. It sure looks nice, though, and might have some value as an antique. A Voigtländer collectors group in England can be contacted at:

110 SLR
Q. I recently purchased, out of curiosity, a Minolta 110 SLR zoom camera at a thrift store for a few dollars. The camera seems to have an aperture priority exposure control and the zoom range is given as 25-50mm. What puzzles me greatly is how the camera is focused. There are markings on the lens barrel but nothing can be moved which relates to these markings. Is something missing? I have enclosed a couple of pictures of the camera in hope that you may be able to throw some light on the matter.
Reg Milborrow
Gulfport, MS

A. Your Minolta 110 Zoom SLR was introduced in 1976 and was the first SLR for 110 film. It has fully automatic aperture priority exposure and the value is $80-$120 today. A few years later a Mark II model was introduced that looks more like a conventional 35mm SLR than your rather flat, horizontal SLR. Since this predates autofocusing, the focusing of the lens should be accomplished by turning the white, front end of the lens to align the engraved foot/meter scale with the white line on the back of the lens that also indicates the focal length position of the zoom lens. I assume something jammed or froze up in the helical focusing mechanism, thus it won't turn. Thanks for providing pictures of the camera, they greatly helped me make an evaluation of your camera.

What's It Worth?
Q. I have a Polaroid 360 electronic flash in a case with all attachments and a film type 108. What would this be worth?
via Internet

A. Your Polaroid Automatic 360 folding instant camera was produced from 1969-71. It was the first camera with an electronic flash that was exposure control coupled to the camera's rangefinder--a decided improvement for that era when you normally had to use a Guide Number for determining what lens aperture to use for different subject distances. The Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery for the flash was rechargeable with a supplied charger. The value today, according to my primary reference book, is only $15-$20. The case and accessories might boost the value slightly.

AF Works, But No Shutter
Q. I replaced the lithium battery in my Minolta 7000. The autofocus seems to work but it will not take a photo. Do I need to reprogram it? If so, how do I do this?
via Internet

A. Whenever I had to replace a weak lithium battery in my Minoltas the camera would become operational again with no need for any programming or adjustments. Since the autofocusing works, but nothing else, there may be something else wrong. Have you tried contacting Konica Minolta to ask their experts? You can obtain Minolta information at their Photofax hotline (800-528-4767) or talk to somebody at their film camera customer service at (866) 515-0330. Data might be available online at their website: I hope you can get your camera operational by speaking with people at one, or more, of these places.