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Photography Question 
Alicia F. Campbell

to piper

how do you open the camra? my grandfather is a photogapher. and I am afriad to ask him how to. I dont have enogh money to buy that book. I asked my grandmother and she said no. sop will yuo tell me how to put film in a asahi pentax? my grandfather gave this camra to me. and was saying" do you know what asa is? the f thingy[not really what he said in the f thingy I forgot]and speed can you tell me please? I want to buy that book but I cant. so please please please tell me.

-Alicia C.

P.S. I am young only 12. and rember that my camra is ASAHI PENTAX.

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6/14/2002 2:37:42 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001

Asahi Pentax is the camera manufacturer, and it is the original, full name for "Pentax." They made several different models of cameras before changing the name. I suspect it may be one of the "Spotmatic" models as they were among the most popular. Go to this web site which has a list of all the Spotmatic models Pentax made. There are links there with pictures of most of them. See if yours matches one of them:

There is a "pdf" file of the Asahi Pentax "Spotmatic F" which you can download on this site. Each chapter has its own file. The entire manual is about 20 files total. A "pdf" file can be viewed using the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The Acrobat Reader is free, so if it's not installed on your computer already, there are instructions there for downloading and installing the reader.

Even if it's some other version of the Spotmatic and not the "F" all the Spotmatic models are similar in basic operation, and how to load film in any of them is nearly identical.

To answer a couple of your questions . . .

ASA (film speed):
ASA = American Standards Association
With film, it is a number that represents the film speed. This is how quickly the film reacts to light (records a photograph). Some films are faster than others. The ASA speed rating is the old name for film speed. It is now called the ISO speed rating.
ISO = International Standards Organization
Although the exact testing method to determine how "fast" a film is changed very slightly when the ISO rating replaced the ASA rating, it results in the same number. In practical use, they're exactly the same thing with a different name. The higher the number, the faster the film.

To make a photograph, the film must be exposed to light. The amount of "exposure" you give the film depends on how fast the film is, and how much light there is for what you want to photograph. How much light reaches the film is controlled by two things: lens aperture (opening, called the f-number) and the shutter speed. The lens aperture controls how much light passes through the lens. This is much the same way you can control water flow with how much you open up a water faucet. The shutter speed controls how long the light that passes through the lens is allowed to reach the film. It is much like how long you open a water faucet before shutting it off again.

See if your grandmother (or grandfather) can take you to a local library. Look for a book there about basic photography. You will find a range of books from beginner to advanced. Find a beginner's book. It will explain more about film, film speed, and lens aperture and shutter speed for setting film exposure.

-- John

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6/15/2002 12:05:45 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  One More Important Thought:

Almost forgot about this because I do it automatically before opening any of my cameras. Be certain there's no film in the camera **before** opening the back! 35mm film comes in small cartridges. As you expose the film and wind it to the next frame, the film is pulled out of the cartridge and wound around a take-up spool inside the camera. After a roll of film is completely exposed, it must be rewound back into the cartridge before opening the camera!

How to do this:
A very simple method for checking to see if there's film already loaded is trying to turn the "rewind" knob a few times without pressing the rewind button that allows the take-up spool to spin freely. If there's film in the camera, the rewind knob may turn a little, but it will bind up and you will feel resistance to turning it any further (don't force it or you'll tear the film). If there's no film in the camera, it will spin very freely without binding up.

Also, when you do open the camera back, be careful about where you put your fingers inside the camera. The shutter "curtains" will be in the middle just behind the lens and look like a small rectangular patch of black cloth (which is what they're made of in most cameras). Don't ever touch these with your fingers. They are delicate and can be damaged easily.

-- John

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6/15/2002 1:12:46 AM

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