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Photography QnA: Accessories for Film Photographers

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : Accessories for Film Photographers

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Photography Question 
Lisa Viscuso

member since: 8/17/2004
  1 .  Getting My Start in Photography
I am just about to start in photography, I been reading about it, and I got a course. But I was wondering, when I go to buy the camera, what other things are good to get? I want to just have enough so that I can start ... I donít want to buy everything at once. So if someone can tell me what stuff is good to buy on the first time that would be great. Also I plan on getting one or two lenses to start with ... which ones would be good ones to get?

10/6/2004 1:57:42 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  What accessories you acquire will depend upon the camera system you have chosen and what you intend to shoot most often.
Since you mentioned getting several lenses, I'm assuming that you are looking into a 35 mm SLR camera system (film, or digital equivalent).
As far as lenses go, again, that would depend on the intended subject matter.
I would think that a good zoom lens in the 80-200 mm range, and a standard 50mm prime lens would be a good place to start. If you plan to shoot a lot of scenics and landscapes, maybe a medium-wide angle lens would be more appropriate than the prime 50.

Your accessory list should include a tripod as PRIORITY ONE ... followed by several filters: a polarizer to minimize reflected glare, and something for lens protection, such as a UV/haze or skylight filter.

As for the rest (flash units, macro equipment, additional filters, etc.), you can build up progressively as your needs and abilities progress.
Good luck.

10/6/2004 3:49:27 PM

Dev Mukherjee

member since: 12/21/2002
  Lisa:

It would help a lot if we knew what sort of photography intersts you -- landscape, street/documentary, portraits, wildlife, etc.

Assuming your interests are varied -- which are for most beginners, I would recommend you buy a mid-range zoom with your camera as a first lens, and a fast prime. Depending on whether you are buying a film or a digital camera, you should look into a 28-90 something zoom for film, or 18-60 something zoom for digital. A fast prime -- either a 50/1.8 (film) or 35/2 (digital) should accompany your zoom for low-light photography.

As you gain experience with photography, you will realize which other lens will be helpful for you.

Once you sort out your interests, you could invest in fast primes for each area and buy appropriate filters (for example, a polarizer for landscape, a softer (diffuser) for portraits, etc.).

The tripod will be a big help in low-light and smaller aperture (landscape) photography. A sturdy tripod is a good investment from the beginning.

Spend your money wisely and don't skimp on films. Make good pictures and enjoy photography.

Good luck.

-- dev.

10/12/2004 11:49:02 AM

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Photography Question 
Laura J. Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/1/2003
  2 .  Lens Hood vs Lens Filters
Bet you can't tell I'm a novice by this question!! Does a lens hood negate the need for a lens filter? All I know is that a hood cuts out some glare, yes? Is it useful to use it outside all the time? Use it everywhere all the time? Also, assuming that one would use filters all the time with the hood as well, would I use a polarizing filter all the time outdoors instead of the standard filter that prevents dust and protects the lens. I'm confused and I can't find it in the digital photo books I just got from the library. Thank you!

2/27/2004 10:52:37 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Lens hoods and the filters have different purposes - the only overlap is a secondary purpose of protection. A lens hood shields the front element from stray light and bright sources outside the field of view that can cause flare and ghosting. Filters are used for changing the nature of the light entering the lens (adjust color, block certain wavelengths, polarize the rays, etc.) Filters can often contribute to lens flare because they add more reflective surfaces, so it is common to use a lens hood and filter together. A lens hood can/should be used at all times, even indoors. However, depending on its size and the size/location of your flash, it can interfere with the light from a flash, causing shadows. A polarizer should not be used outdoors all the time, only when the situation calls for it - such as when desiring to eliminate reflections on water or in glass windows, or at certain times of the day it can deepen the blue of the sky and saturate colors. It has little or no effect when the light is diffuse on heavy overcast days.

2/27/2004 12:11:31 PM

  Jon is right about everything except the use of the polarizer on overcast days. When foliage is damp, the polarizer can eliminate reflections and increase color saturation. Just remember: Whenever you're using a polarizer, turn it slowly until you see the effect you want through the lens. It will also enhance the colors of a rainbow.

3/3/2004 6:33:11 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  D'oh! I forgot about using polarizer with rainbows. I stand corrected. Thanks, Shirley.

3/3/2004 6:40:05 PM

David Freed

member since: 1/19/2004
  I'd only add that many people use a lens adapter with a UV or haze filter, mainly for protecting the lens from dust, dirt, and damage. In this case, it's probably acting more like a hood than a lense.

3/3/2004 7:05:26 PM

Richard P. Crowe

member since: 4/16/2004
  I use a polarizer for many of my shots and use some type of filter (such as a UV) all the time to protect the glass in my lens. It's cheaper to replace a scratched filter than an entire lens. I also use a lens shade ALL the time to prevent any glare (and it also helps protect the lens). Two tips: First, buy a filter of quality commensurate with the quality of your lens. It is silly to put a two dollar piece of glass in front of an excellent lens and equally silly to pay $50 for a filter to put on a cheapo lens. Secondly, if you desire to use a polarizer and a lens shade, make sure that they are compatible. As an example, the factory Canon lens shade for the 28-135mm IS lens cannot be effectively used with a polarizing filter (this is right out of the lens manual and has to do with being unable to physically rotate the filter with the lens hood attached).

4/16/2004 11:33:09 AM

Laura J. Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/1/2003
  Thank you all, this is great info - way more clear than what I've gathered in pieces from reading.

4/16/2004 10:35:26 PM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  I started using a circular polorizer this spring and have to remove my hood to turn it. Its a good idea if you can leave the hood on if you can to keep the end of the lens from being banged around. According to the instructions with my lens (Tamron) it can get in the way of some on camera flashes. It don't bother on my camereas but myabe a popup flash it would cause problems.

4/20/2004 4:41:34 AM

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Photography Question 
Ryan Chai

member since: 9/23/2003
  3 .  18% Gray Cards
Tony Sweet has mentioned "18% gray card" a couple of times and I was wondering where I can get one to meter off of when doing macro flower shots etc. Would anyone know where they can be purchased or any good alternatives?

Thanks a bunch!

12/1/2003 8:35:35 AM

Steve A. Stephens

member since: 11/26/2003
  You can contact portersphoto.com or any pro shop will have some... but here's a trick... on a film can by Kodak (that cute little snap lid for the top - know what I'm talking about?) Well, that lid is 18% grey!! Just focus on that and get a reading. Set your camera to that setting and viola!! 18% grey setting.

12/1/2003 7:38:41 PM

Ryan Chai

member since: 9/23/2003
  Wonderful! That's a great idea, never knew all those old canisters would come in handy other than to lure wild animals out by putting peanut butter in them. Thanks for your answer I am going to try that out tonight.

12/2/2003 8:32:23 AM

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Photography Question 
paulina michaud

member since: 5/9/2003
  4 .  Extension Tubes
I have a Nikon N80. A 28-105 lens with macro, and a 70-300 lens. All Nikkor. I am planning to get a set of extension tubes.
Could you give me some tips about

* brand and quality you would reccomend
* tips I should consider before I purchase this.

This is not cheap and I don't want to waste my money.
Thanks a lot.

10/16/2003 2:07:09 PM

Chris L. Hurtt

member since: 3/10/2003
 
 
 
Paulina,

You will love having extension tubes! They are a lot of fun, and open up a whole new world. After you get them I highly recommend goung to a park with flowers and a playground and not taking them off the lens.... Make yourself see through them.

I have a Nikon system as well, and you will do well with the Kenko extension tube set for Nikon AF. You will find, however, that you will not use the autofocus much... if at all. Since there is no glass in the tubes there is no reason to pay all the extra money for Nikon. The set of 12, 24 and 36mm are about $140 at B&H.

Here is a sample image I took with extension tubes.

Have Fun!

10/16/2003 11:51:41 PM

Chris L. Hurtt

member since: 3/10/2003
  Paulina,

My upload didn't work. Go to my gallery if you wish and look towards the bottom... you can see examples there where I used the tubes.

Also, I just went to your site... Great pictures! You have a great eye for color!

10/17/2003 12:30:09 AM

paulina michaud

member since: 5/9/2003
  Chris,
Thanks a lot for taking the time in answering my question and provide so useful details. I'll get my toy today :)

I will now go and visit your gallery.

10/17/2003 6:37:48 AM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  Hi There,I have the F80 myself and what I use as an extension tube is an old vivitar teleconverter that I took the glass out of and painted flat black inside to prevent reflections, it works just fine,the drawback being I have lost metering because of the lack of CPU contacts.That being said it works fine!!I do recommend the AF extension tubes though even though they might be fairly expensive and you might not use the autofocus much you will still maintain your ability to meter the subject and cut through the guess work like I have to do!!!

10/21/2003 8:40:44 AM

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Photography Question 
Terry McClain

member since: 7/7/2003
  5 .  I Need an Adapter and Don't Know What Kind
Hi, I am very new to using a SLR and am trying to learn with help from other people, and reading as much info as I can get my hands on. I recently purchased a lens from a seller of an online auction and it doesn't fit my camera. The guy that I purchased it from said all I need is an adapter and it will solve the problem.

The problem at hand is... there are about twenty different adapters for sale on auction and I have no clue as to what I really need. The camera I have is a Minolta 700X. The lens is a Tamron SP 60-300mm 1:3.8-5.4 (These are the numbers on the lens. As you can tell I have no idea what they mean.) I bought this lens because the guy told me it would do awesome sports shots and that is the real reason I got into the SLR. I wanted to enjoy a baseball game and get some photos that didn't look like I flew over the stadium in a helicopter snapping away.

If anyone has information on this I would really appreciate your help. I have this terriffic looking lens and have no clue as to whether it will do what I want because it doesn't fit. Thanks a bunch.

8/13/2003 8:36:14 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  You need more information on the lens you bought. Tamron makes their lenses in many mounts to fit different makes of cameras. If this lens is made with the Nikon, or Pentax, or Canon mount you need to insist that the seller take it back.

However, Tamron also makes manual focus lenses with a "universal" mount they called "Adaptall", and the adaptor for each camera mount is sold separately. I suspect that is what you have. If so, you need the Adaptall mount for Minolta MD. B&H has them for about $35.
See http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=search&Q=&ci=300 (the Tamron Adaptall mounts are listed on page 4 of that link).

You'll note that on page 1 of the above link that there is a less expensive (~$15) "general brand" T-mount to Minolta MD adaptor. I don't know if the Tamron Adaptall is the same as the T-mount.

8/14/2003 5:36:47 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Oops, sorry, the Tamron Adaptall for Minolta is on page 4 of the B&H link, not page 3.

8/14/2003 6:27:41 AM

Maynard  McKillen

member since: 3/5/2003
  Dear Terry:
The Tamron 60-300SP was an adaptall series lens. Look for the M/MD adapter using John's link to B&H.
The T-mount John mentioned is a different animal from the Tamron adaptall series adapters, and while it serves a similar function, it would not help mate your lens to the Minolta body. A T-mount is used, typically, to mate a thread mount lens to a camera body that takes bayonet mount lenses. I suspect your 60-300 lens does not have threads at the back end, but a rather complicated looking bayonet- design mount, which mates to the Tamron Adaptall mount.
You may want to buy a T-mount for your camera, however, if you ever plan to mount it to a telescope, which is one other purpose for a T-mount...

8/14/2003 9:28:26 PM

Terry McClain

member since: 7/7/2003
  Thank you both so very much. I appreciate your help. I purchased the adapter and it works great. Once again, thank you.

8/18/2003 7:08:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Brandon Rude

member since: 5/12/2003
  6 .  Filters for Portraits
I'm going to be doing some outdoor black and white portraits and I want to use a filter that will soften the skin tones and hide the imperfections slightly. Should I use a light yellow filter or a red filter?

6/25/2003 12:42:11 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Brandon,
I recommend getting a roll of B&W, a yellow, green and red filter, and using a friend as a "victim" to try all three in the types of settings where you intend to do this work. Ensure you also shoot without any filters at all to provide a "baseline" for comparison. Record which filters were used for which frame numbers and compare things afterward.

Red will reduce prominence of most skin blemishes greater than any of the others. However, it may also produce some unnatural gray tones in other things . . . most notably anything red or blue, including people's lips.

Green will produce color separation between skin tone and sky, and skin tone and foliage. Whether or not it provides enough of what you're looking for in reducing prominence of skin blemishes is something you'll have to evaluate.

If all you need is some modest to moderate effect, the yellow would likely be the safest in terms of shifting grayscale of other colors around. It can affect gray rendition blonde hair though.

6/26/2003 6:50:23 PM

Maynard  McKillen

member since: 3/5/2003
  Dear Brandon:
Have you considered using a soft focus filter? It will reduce contrast slightly, which is an aid to minimizing blemishes and wrinkles, and you can find filters with varying degrees of "softness" from major filter manufacturers like B+W, Heliopan, Tiffen, Hoya, Zeiss and Cokin.

6/26/2003 8:24:22 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Some additional information about soft focus filters:

Most will vary in effect with lens aperture. Some designs will also create soft halos around highlights (not necessarily a Bad Thing, simply an effect). The differences are a result of how the soft focus effect is created . . . the shape and pattern of the very minute ripples on the filter.

My advice in selecting one is to go to a camera store and try several different brands and types on your lens. Aim at various objects in the store, and if you can, vary your lens aperture (using the stop-down or depth of field preview) to get an idea of how that changes the effect.

6/26/2003 9:13:55 PM

Brandon Rude

member since: 5/12/2003
  Thank you guys very much. I should probably just try out all the different filters and see which one produces the effect I'm looking for. Thanks again.

6/27/2003 8:12:15 AM

Gregg Vieregge

member since: 11/10/2000
  Go to the best source for filters. (www.lslindahl.com)

They sell a Harrison filter #1 that works great. ($99) This is a professional vendor so don't expect anything but the very the industry has to offer.

7/1/2003 5:09:43 AM

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Photography Question 
Cassandra L. Griffith

member since: 6/25/2003
  7 .  What Filters Should I Purchase for My New Camera?
I just purchased a Canon EOS Rebel 2000. I want to purchase some filters, but am not sure which ones to buy. I know that different filters have different results. I just want to know if anyone might know of a website that can explain this to me. Like, what a red filter does, and what a blue filter does, a polarized filter, ect. Thank You!

6/25/2003 8:30:33 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Yellow, orange, green, red and blue filters are intended for use with B&W film. Some shades of different colors produce the same grayscale in B&W. They are used to provide "color separation" for greater contrast by shifting some of them to darker or lighter shades of gray. Which color depends on subject, background and desired effect. If used with color film, the effect is quite radical. A common filter with B&W film is the polarizer.

For color film, the three most commonly used filters are a UV, skylight and polarizer. The UV knocks off the UV at and above the visible spectrum. Whether or not this makes a difference in your photographs depends on UV content of the light itself, your lens(es) and the film you are using (its sensitivity to UV). The skylight provides a slight amount of warming by filtering out a small amount of the blue. It's primary, intended use is in "open shade" with a lot of blue sky above. It makes a difference with slide films, but near zero with color negative as the printing process is capable of performing much more color balancing than this filter does in shifting color response.

The polarizer is a more specialized filter for reducing glare from non-conductive smooth surfaces such as glass and water (doesn't work for glare from bare metal). Also can make sky a darker blue . . . but typically only the northern and southern sky at about 90 degrees to the sun.

My advice is to use your camera for a while without any filters and get accustomed to using it. Knowing what things look like without any filters will help determine which ones might be of interest. I do use filters, but not that often with color film; more with B&W for color separation with certain subject material and backgrounds. Use of "special effects" filters is not that often either. Overuse of these in particular can easily make your photographs more "cliche" than artistic. Sparing use of them goes a long way toward greater impact when you do use one (special effects). I only use one when subject and composition truly fit with the special effect.

I do advise getting into the habit of using a lens hood! There should be one for your lens.

6/25/2003 10:44:04 AM

Jo 

member since: 8/7/2002
  http://www.geocities.com/cokinfiltersystem/theguide.htm

7/1/2003 7:34:01 AM

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Photography Question 
Karen Lewis
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/2/2003
  8 .  Hand Held Light Meters
Can someone enlighten me as to how a hand held light meter works? Is it use independantley of the camera? Do you point it at the subject that you want exposed correctly or is it more general?
I use a pentax K1000 camera. What price would I expect to pay for one of these? I'm on a tight budget. Thanks.

6/17/2003 8:48:55 PM

Maynard  McKillen

member since: 3/5/2003
  Dear Karen:
Big subject, broad guidelines follow: Light meters range from under $100.00 to over $800.00. Handheld meters are designed to measure either incident light, reflected light (More expensive models measure both.) or the color temperature of light. My guess is you're not yet concerned with measuring that last property.

Reflective meters are pointed at the subject, and measure the amount of light REFLECTED from same. The meter built into your K1000 is a reflective light meter. Often people eager to purchase a hand held meter are looking for one that measures incident light.

To use an incident meter, you stand where the subject is and point the meter back toward the camera. You are measuring the amount of light falling on the subject, rather than the amount of light reflected from the subject. One distinctive feature of the incident meter is the white translucent dome that attaches or slides over the meter's photocell.

Why use one or the other?
Reflective meters, especially if they have a spot metering function, which allows them to read the brightness of specific areas of an image, can be used to measure the range of brightness in a subject. (How much difference, often measured in f/stops, is there between the brightest and darkest areas of a subject?) Photographers who use the Zone System typically use reflective meters for just this reason. Your K1000 does not have the spot metering function, just a center-weighted averaging meter, which is, frequently, accurate enough.

If reflective meters have a drawback, or at least something to be wary of, it is that they can be fooled by subjects that are predominantly dark or light. (Reflective meters tend to recommend settings that overexpose dark subjects, and settings that underexpose light subjects.)

Incident meters, since they do not measure reflected light, will not be affected by such subjects. If incident meters have a drawback, it is that you do not always have the luxury of being able to stand where the subject is to take an incident meter reading. (Imagine photographing a gymnastics meet or a rodeo. Chances are slim that you'll be allowed to stand where the action is...)

If a tight budget is muscling in on your creative freedom, and your K1000 meter is working correctly, you might try using the camera meter along with an 18% gray card. The card is touted as having "average" reflectance, so you put it where the subject is, move in close to your subject, point your camera at the card and take a meter reading. If the card takes up the majority of the image as you look through the viewfinder, you will get an accurate meter reading and correct exposures of the subject after you remove the card, even if the subject is very dark or very light.

Sites to visit for more info:

www.clubfree.com/spectra/scr_exp1.htm

www.acecam.com/magazine/gray-card.html

www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer

6/18/2003 7:37:37 PM

Karen Lewis
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/2/2003
  Maynard, THANK YOU !!!
Your response was extremely detailed and very helpful. You have answered all of my questions! Thank you!

6/19/2003 2:05:05 AM

Karen Lewis
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/2/2003
  Maynard, THANK YOU !!!
Your response was extremely detailed and very helpful. You have answered all of my questions! Thankyou!
Karen.

6/19/2003 2:05:08 AM

Sreedevi Swaminathan

member since: 3/14/2002
  Another little tip.
Usually, the best type of shots for wanting to take a reflective reading would be broad shots, like landscapes, scenics. It will give you an average reading since it's impossible to get all the shades and highlights of that situation. For dramatic shots, like a sunset where the foreground may be considerably darker than the skyline, I find it works best also, because it'll basically meter for the highlights, and they won't get washed out. You can always dodge the foreground in printing.

Incident meters I find work best when you have a very specific subject, or object, like for portraiture or still life- especially if you're using more dramatic lighting so you can try setting your highlight and shadow areas so there maybe a stop apart- which allows for better printing. But after setting up lighting, I'll generally take a reflected reading as well as incident readings all around the subject and just average those.

6/29/2003 3:00:13 PM

Larry T. Miller

member since: 9/29/2003
  Karen;
If you're on a tight budget, you may consider purchasing a Weston Master series meter. Myabe one of the later meters. (Master V, Euromasters). Their accurate regarding incident readings.

9/29/2003 9:39:10 AM

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Photography Question 
Jennifer R. Farlow

member since: 11/24/2002
  9 .  Camera Accesories
My brother has a new Pentax ZX-50. I am wanting to buy him a nice accesory for Christmas. I was thinking either a flash or a lens. I am just looking for some suggestions on what would be something good to buy. He uses his camera to mostly take pictures of his family indoors and out.

11/24/2002 8:09:35 PM

Michael F. Harrington

member since: 10/27/2002
  Kinda tough to answer when we don't know what he already has.

11/26/2002 3:26:25 PM

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Photography Question 
John Wright

member since: 11/22/2002
  10 .  Flare appearing in prints
 
  flare
flare
illustration of flare
© John Wright
 
I am using a Ricoh XR10 with 50mm lens. Some prints have now developed a flare in one particular area. What is odd is that not all the prints display this problem, Any suggestions ? (please see photo}
Thank you so much
John

11/22/2002 3:52:01 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  John,
Looking at the photograph, I'm thinking you may have an intermittent light leak. Reason? You mention it doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's always in the same location. It also has the appearance of light fogging.

If this is the problem, light can leak in through two locations like this: around the back and around the lens. The first is by far the most common, and the second is quite rare but not impossible (lens mounts are flanged and baffled). The leak (if this is the problem) would have to be near the lower left as it shows in the upper right of the print. Images in the camera are upside down and backwards. Look at the lower left of the camera back and examine the door seals in that area. I'm not familiar with the XR10, so I don't know whether or not there is a window on the camera back that allows you to see the film cartridge. If there is, this may be the culprit and check the light seals around the window on the inside of the camera back.

Since you stated the problem is intermittent, it could be how you are holding the camera, or if you have a never-ready case for it, whether you sometimes use the camera with the case bottom on it and sometimes remove it completely.

-- John

11/24/2002 8:27:38 PM

John Wright

member since: 11/22/2002
  Thank you so much for your excellent and detailed response. I'll have the seals replaced.
John

11/24/2002 9:24:56 PM

Maynard  McKillen

member since: 3/5/2003
  Dear John W.:
I'm pretty sure John L. hit the problem on the mark. I want to add a comment that may help in a more general way. My first camera was a Ricoh XR-2, with a 50mm f/2. I noticed that when I'd put a Pentax 50mm f/1.7 on the XR-2 body, I got slightly better color and had fewer problems with flare. I found out that Ricoh's 50mm f/2 lenses were "mono-coated" to reduce flare, while the Ricoh 50mm f/1.7, the Ricoh 50mm f/1.4, and the Pentax 50mm f/1.7 and f1.4 lenses were "multicoated", and thus offered better protection from flare. I compensated for this by routinely using a lens shade on my Ricoh 50mm f/2.

6/12/2003 8:24:06 AM

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