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SNAPSHOT - PHOTO NEWS FROM BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to SnapShot, the weekly newsletter on
the art of photography from
BetterPhoto.com


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IN THIS ISSUE - Thursday, December 05, 2002
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* SPOTLIGHT: Give the Gift of a Photography Course or Gallery
* BETTERPHOTO: Free Gift with Purchase - During the Next 100 hours!
* BETTERPHOTO: Add Your Own Tip
* BETTERPHOTO: Join the Team!
* PHOTO LINK: Just Released: Tony Sweet's "Visual Rhythm" DVD
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Famous Fakes / Back in My Day
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Spice It Up With Wide Angle
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Homemade Home Studio?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Great Work on BetterPhoto
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Camera Equipment for Wedding Photography
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: How to Develop Black and White Slide Film?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Photo Problem - Half Light Pictures
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Fuji Finepix S602 - Opinions Please
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Buying My First SLR Camera
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Inexpensive Scanner
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: What is a Teleconverter?


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Give the Gift of a Photography Course or Gallery
Many of you have been requesting a gift option this year - and why not? BetterPhoto courses, Member Galleries, and Deluxe BetterPholios™ are all FANTASTIC gift ideas! We have now made an easy way for you to give a gift certificate to that special photographer in your life. A beautiful certificate will be mailed to you in a very special presentation. And we can even keep it a secret! To learn more, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/gifts.asp

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WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 100th issue of SnapShot!

Hi Tester

This is our 100th issue of SnapShot and to celebrate, we are offering a special "Free Gift with Purchase". Read the details below - but don't hesitate... this one will be gone quickly.

I am also very happy to announce two new developments. First, this holiday season, you can buy that someone special a BetterPhoto gift certificate.

Second, you can now add your own photo tip to the BetterPhoto database. This is a great way to share those tricks that have helped you the most - whether in the field, in the darkroom, in the studio, or in Photoshop.

Also, we are looking for help - how does the possibility of working from home, helping build BetterPhoto, and earning money sound?

Happy hunting this week!
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoContact.asp?memberID=124


*****
Free Gift with Purchase - During the Next 100 hours!
For the next 100 hours, every student who enrolls in a photo course will get a free Premium BetterPholio™ for one year. We will start the 100-hour countdown at 6:00am Thursday morning.

That's right! Sign up for one of the following courses by 10:00am Pacific time, Monday, December 5th, 2002 and you will get a FREE one year Premium BetterPholio™.

Beginning Photography with Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM02.asp

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP02.asp

Beyond Snapshots with Kerry Drager
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD01.asp

Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography by Jim Zuckerman
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JZK01.asp

Learning to See Creatively with Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP01.asp

Image Design with Tony Sweet
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS01.asp

Advanced Photo Marketing with Bryan Peterson
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/BFP03.asp

http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/JCM01.asp

Beginning Photoshop for Photographers by Jim Miotke

See the Testimonials page to learn what others are saying about these exciting photo courses:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/testimonials.asp

Sign up online or call our toll-free order line at 1-888-927-9992. Act now to get your free Premium BetterPholio™!
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


*****
Add Your Own Tip
You can now share your own favorite tips and tricks with the BetterPhoto community. Simply click the link below to submit your best tip for our review:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

Or visit the following link if your tip is of a digital nature - i.e. about using software, digital cameras, printers, scanners, or computers:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tipDigital&inputType=tip


*****
Join the Team!
Do you love BetterPhoto.com and the art of photography?

We are looking for good people to help out. Ideally, the next BetterPhoto team member will exhibit an entrepreneurial attitude, enjoy making photos, and love interacting with others via BetterPhoto.com. Whether you are a serious photographer or just one who has fun exploring a photographic hobby, we might have a good fit. Learn about our current openings and how to apply at: Link No Longer Active


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PHOTO LINKS
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Just Released: Tony Sweet's "Visual Rhythm" DVD
The instructor of BetterPhoto's "Image Design" photo course, Tony Sweet takes you on a step-by-step adventure into nature photography with his new DVD - "Visual Rhythm: The Art & Business of Nature Photography". Learn how Tony documents nature through the lens. Featuring interviews, tips, and one-on-one instruction, "Visual Rhythm" provides an insider's look into Tony's world of nature photography. Visit the following link for ordering info and example video clips:
http://www.tonalvision.com/products/sweet.html

Or enroll in Tony's exciting course at BetterPhoto:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS01.asp

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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
What photo of a famous sea monster was revealed to be a fake on the creator's deathbed? How did the photographer create the convincing photo?

The first, best answer - entered by BettterPhoto member James K. is:
The Loch Ness monster, Mr. Christian Spurling confessed on his deathbed November 1993.

A toy tin submarine And wood putty. It had a lead keel to keep it stable in the water. On a quiet day down at Loch Ness they floated the model out into the shallows. Snapped a picture.

Additional info: Mr. Marmaduke Wetherell set up the scam. He had been hired to track down this headline-making monster by the Daily Mail newspaper. So he asked his stepson, Mr. Christian Spurling, "Can you make me a monster?"

Just to keep the whole scam in the family, Mr. Wetherell's other son, Ian, took the photo.

To give the hoax some clout, London surgeon, Robert Kenneth Wilson came forward as the front man. But once the photo got into the newspapers, their little joke got completely out of hand and so the myth of Nessie was rekindled.

To see all answers to this question, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp?stat=PRV

And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Back in My Day - entered by BettterPhoto member Jim M.

How much did the first issue of Life - dated November 23, 1936, and featuring the work of Margaret Bourke-White and others - sell for?

Submit your own answer to this question by visiting:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/trivia.asp

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THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TIP
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Spice It Up With Wide Angle
Use a wide angle lens for a fun change. Both landscape and close-up photos can achieve interesting perspectives with a super wide angle lens. You will be able to capture worlds that you can't even see with the usual focal lengths. If you haven't tried a 17mm, for example, borrow or rent one for the weekend. Your local pro camera shop might offer just such a service. You will thoroughly enjoy the creativity you can explore with such a fun super wide angle lens.

Top Ten Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/tips.asp

All Tips:
http://www.betterphoto.com/exploring/allTips.asp

Add Your Own Tip:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/login.asp?category=tip&inputType=tip

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ADVERTISEMENT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Great Photos
My new book guides you away from the point-and-pray method of taking pictures to shooting with confidence. In this simple and clear how-to book, you will learn:

  • How to compose your picture with a more artful eye
  • The top qualities that winning photos exhibit
  • Tips and secrets for consistently getting better results... and much more.
You can order this book online, call our toll-free order processing number 1-888-927-9992, or simply send a check or money order for USD $16.90 (or USD$18.90 if shipping to Canada or USD$24.90 to other international addresses) to:

BetterPhoto.com
P.O. Box 2781
Redmond, WA 98073-2781 USA

To order online, visit:
http://www.betterphoto.com/product/ourProductDetail.asp?productID=1096


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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Homemade Home Studio?
I love to experiment with pix of my kids. I've had wonderful success with outside pix now that I am finally getting the "light" idea. Never even crossed my mind how different inside lighting would be. I bought a couple of king size white sheets, hung them over a bar, through in some adorable props, "strategically" set around regular household lamps, read some about high key photography and obviously needed more than a few hours to learn the technique. The only thing that came out of the entire "great idea" was a withdrawl from my checking. Everything went gray or goldish and the lighting stunk. Had some obvious metering failure on the part of the photographer!

Is it at all possible to set up a homemade home studio using what I have around the house? I'm not expecting a pro look, but at this point I have so much to learn that spending the money on pro lighting is silly. I have a great camera, an awesome flash with an off-camera shoe cord (of which I know very little about using for either the flash or cord) and a five-in-one reflector. Can anyone suggest something to make the variables that I can control flow better, i.e. film type and speed, a filter? Placing of my regular lamps? Anything? I know I need to work on the metering - that's a given - any comments on this would be appreciated too!

- Dede C.

ANSWER 1:
Well, first learn to use the flash that you have. Add an inexpensive soft box to it. You probably need to give up on the household lights they are tungsten based and are causing the yellow. If you need extra light try buying the new light bulbs, I think the are called enhance, they are sort of a pink color and are whiter than reqular household bulbs. You should be able to do a lot with just your flash. High key shots may not be the best choice of shots. The gray background is caused by lack of light. White backgrounds in high key are overexposed. This means they have more light than the subject. You can accomplish this with some extra slave flash units, they aren't that expensive.

I would say buy a few more sheets, maybe brown, or light blue. These just shoot better with the light from your flash. Make sure your subject is as far away from the background as possible to avoid shadows. I think that's about all the advice I have. I hope I covered some of your question.

- Judith C.

ANSWER 2:
Thanks, Judith, for you advice. I need all I can get. Your response poses a few more questions now, if you have the time. The first is going to sound almost stupid. Is there a best way to learn about my flash? The manual that it comes with is assuming that I already now what a strobe flash is for, for an example, and when to use it. This is one example of many "this is how to make it work" but never any indication of what it does, why I would want to use it, and when I should use it. I have a book on flash photography, but it's much of the same thing. I wrote BP and asked if they give classes on flash photography but have yet to hear anything. The same goes for knowing what is intended for slave flashes and master flashes. My flash is a Canon 550 EX. It was around $450.00. The manual mentions using two or up to three of them as slave units to get great pix. Is this what you had in mind when you mentioned getting a few slave units and at this price? You mentioned a soft box. How do I learn how to use it if I were to buy one? All that I have looked at are big tall items. You said learn to use my flash and add a softbox to it. Is there something that goes over the flash? I have an opaque retangular spape piece that pulls out and can cover the light piece. Is this it? I've used it for bounce flash in a different way. Sooooo many questions. I appreciate anyone's help. I work a full time job and live in a small town. There is little to no opportunity to take a class so I am on my own. I am a teacher so I know the value in "doing to learn". I just feel like I am learning about chemistry using only an outline! There has to be an easier way!

- Dede C.

ANSWER 3:
I'm not familiar with that flash, but I would check with a camera shop. Sometimes they know of where you can take a class, sometimes they will offer them, I don't know off the bat a good web site thay offers flash photography. The piece that pulls over your flash sounds similar to a soft box. I bought mine for less then 30 bucks - it's made by Lumiquest and attaches to the flash with velcro strips. When you go to the camera shop, also ask if you can use a bracket to raise the flash off the camera. As for slave flashes I have to be honest I have two that I haven't really taken the time to figure out yet, they ran about $24. They are supposed to fire when your flash fires but they didn't come with directions, and I can't seem to get them to work, but I have studio lights. Maybe someone on this site can give you some clues to the rest of your questions. I'm just learning myself, but I hope I gave you some suggestions to use. As far as all the features of the flash, if you don't find the answers you need then its just a matter of trying them to see what kind of effects you get. Its probably a waste of film and processing, but you'll see what you like and what really doesn't work.

- Judith C.

ANSWER 4:
Thanks again. You have more than helpful. Please remember me as you learn, too. Any pull I can get helps!

- Dede C.

ANSWER 5:
You have one of the most powerful and sophisticated flash (I would say 'the most'). This flash has a built in transmitter that can communicate with other 550EX or 420EX. However, the 420EX can only use as a slave unit (it only receives signal) and cost about $200 each. Be careful if you are buying other slave flashes or slave unit (actually a light sensor that you attach a flash onto it). Your 550EX uses a 'preflash' to measure the subject distance and the exposure needed before the actual flash goes off and the shutter opens. This preflash may trigger the non Canon dedicated flashes prematually. The little piece of plastic you pull out from the flash head is the diffuser. Your flash can cover an anlge of a 28mm lens. But if you have a wider lens, say 24mm, you need to pull out that plastic to diffuse the light to cover a wider angle. I have never used a soft box on this flash because I can bounce the light (by tilting or turning the head). Even I am satisfied with the frontal, direct light from the flash (you pay that much money and it better be good). Of course, it's only my opinion. As far as when to use the flash and which feature to use in different situation, I think the manual explains it pretty well, in my opinion. It has pictures to demonstrate each feature too. If you need to understand a specific feature of your flash, we can help.

- Andy

ANSWER 6:
Andy, thanks for your reply. If you don't mind me saying, the manual explains it pretty well to the person who is ready to use a sophiticated flash. Here is my problem. I am starting from square one with terminology, understanding and technique. My husband knows I love to take pictures. Everything I ever took was pretty much in program mode. I am good at composition and seeing a picture so my pictures always turned out fairly well to the average viewer. I never messed with shutter speed or aperature let alone knew how to. All of the sudden my husband shows up with an entire Canon EOS3 system, two pro lenses, and this awesome flash. Not quite ready for anything like that, but now what? Tell him to take it back? I'm up for the challenge, but as I said - I am starting from square one. I'm trying to learn little by little. The outside shots are going great. I live in Iowa and want to shoot mostly kids. At 9 degrees no one is too excited to go out, so... I am trying to learn lighting and technique inside. If I leave things in program, things aren't too bad. Color is off due to inexperienc of metering. But once I try dinking around with AV and TV mode then my flash requires some other adjusting that I am not confident with and things go screwy. Do I sound frustrated? I am. Do you perhaps live in Iowa? HA! I am wanting one on one hands-on training. Kind of difficult to get when I work full time and nearby colleges or schools do not offer classes at night. I learn so much easier by watching and doing rather than reading and doing, especially when the material already is above my current level. I have signed up for a couple of classes through this sight. Maybe its the best I can do. Please comment back, Andy. I have read many of your responces on several questions and I value what you have to say. Just remember, I am a beginner to REAL photography.

- Dede C.

ANSWER 7:
Wow. I would like to start my photography with the equipment you have ;) Since you mentioned the 550EX, a professional grade flash, I assumed ... Wrong assumption. Anyway, I started 'taking snap shots' twenty something years ago with an all manual (no metering) camera, Lordomat, from my father. All exposures were just guesting based on the sunny 16 rule, or distance to subject when using flash. Later my father let me use his Canon AT-1, still manual but with a build in meter. All I did was turning the aperture ring or the shutter speed dial to match the circle with the needle of the build in meter for exposure. I knew nothing about the depth of field in relation to the aperture. Never heard of the terms hyperfocal distance, slow sync or second curtain sync, etc. I didn't even know why there were so many numbers on the lens. Until two years ago, financially permitted, I decided to learn photography and I enrolled myself in NYIP (New York Institute of Photography). Since then, it opened a whole new world to me. The more I learn, the more I like those manual cameras. Last year, I finally purchased my first camera, a Canon 1v, with 550EX of course. I am still learning to 'create' an image.

It's really hard to do one on one training in photography because you need to wait for the result to come back. Besides the many fine courses offered from this site, you may also want to take a look at the NYIP site and see what they can offer you. The class I took was a study at home class (I have a full time job too) and covers ALL areas, from the most basic and fundamental. Their URL is:

http://www.nyip.com/

About your flash. Even though you use Av or Tv mode and changing the values, you should not need to change anything on the flash. That's the beauty of ETTL unless you want special effects. Maybe you can post your settings and the problem here so we can try to analyze the problem for you. Hope this helps.

- Andy

ANSWER 8:
Might I also suggest one of the BetterPhoto courses? You might really enjoy Jim Zuckerman's new course because the final four weeks will delve into flash photography. Or I would look into my Beginning Photography course listed below.

Also, starting in Spring, we plan to have an excellent course on portrait studio lighting with a special focus on creatively photographing children.

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Member Gallery:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4611

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4611

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*****
NEW QUESTION 2: Great Work on BetterPhoto
I would like to comment on the quality of work I have noticed from the photographers on the BetterPhoto webpage. I know not all are professionals or amatures but I think the quality is wonderful. I am just begining to experiment with the field and I am amazed at the work most of the members submit. I only hope I can eventually reach the standards of those photographers. Keep up the good work!

- Donnie D.

ANSWER 1:
I could not agree more! Thanks for your positive comments, Donnie.

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

See Jim's Premium BetterPholio™:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124

Take a photo course with Jim:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4608

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4608

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*****
NEW QUESTION 3: Camera Equipment for Wedding Photography
I'm planning on getting into wedding photography and I don't have a lot of photography experience. I was wondering if anyone can give me suggetions on what type of cameras /lenses I should buy as a beginner. Is the Nikon N80 a good one to start with?

- Dennis

ANSWER 1:
This question comes up a lot, so go down through the threads here. Your N80 is a fine start. If you're going to be taking money from people to document this most important life event, you need to be using decent optics. Forget zooms, unless it's Nikon's BEST (and very expensive) 28-50 or so. Get a Nikon 50. If money is an issue, try a manual AIS 50-mm. The 50 f2 is inexpensive and excellent. Use a lens hood on that lens, always. You'll get differing opinions on this, but I'd carry a wide-angle, maybe a 35-mm for group shots where you have no room to back up. Nikon's least expensive 35 is still excellent.

- Doug N.

See Doug's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.DougNelsonPhoto.com

ANSWER 2:
Doug:

Thank you for responing to my question. I've been researching on the internet about beginning photography. It seems like most people have suggested investment on the lens is more important than the body. I will look more into getting a better lens. The 50 F2 seems pretty good for my budget. If anyone knows more about lenses for wedding photography, please let me know.

- Dennis

ANSWER 3:
For weddings and portraiture in general one of the most important things to look for in a lens is speed (IOW a wide maximum aperture). I don't buy a lens unless it's max aperture is at least f2.8. The lens I use the most is an 85mm f1.8. The extra speed you get from faster lenses helps with the low light you will run into during weddings and allows you to blur backgrounds better than with a slower lens. If I was had to have a minum number of lenses I would carry my 85f1.8, 17-35f2.8, & 70-200f2.8 IS. In addition to these I also carry my 28-70f2.8. It has macro focussing which allows me to record details at the wedding (flowers, cake, etc.).

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 4:
Jeff K.

Thanks for the input/advice. I believed I have some direction to continued researching for lenses. Do you think it's better to spend a little less on the body such as the Nikon N65 rather than the N80 and save the $$$ to purchase a better lens (28-70 f2.8) to start? At this stage, I don't plan to make any money yet. I just want to learn as much as I can by taking wedding pics. of friends/relatives on the side whenever I can.

- Dennis

ANSWER 5:
Oh I would definitely put the money into the glass if I had to choose between the two. More expensive bodies just have more bells and whistles. They don't make the images better. As long as the body gives you the ability to shoot in manual that's all you really need.

- Jeff K.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4602

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4602

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*****
NEW QUESTION 4: How to Develop Black and White Slide Film?
Is it the same process to develop slide film as it is negative film? I currently develop b/w film and would like to go to slides. Also can I print the slide film without special equipment?

- Joan G.

ANSWER 1:
There are only a few types of b&w slide films out there. The most popular is Agfa Scala and you have to send it off to be developed. Polaroid makes some instant slide films that you can develop yourself with one of their kits. There is a process called Dr5 that takes standard b&w negative film and makes slides out of it but you have to send it off as well. Printing slide film would of course give you a negative image on your paper. It could probably be printed on Ilfachrome paper but I'm not sure what's involved with that. In short b&w slide film is not developed the same way as b&w negative film.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
Thank you Jeff for your response. Can you mention any labs that do quality black and white work? With slides or print film?

- Joan G.

ANSWER 3:
There's only a handful of places that do b&w slides. It's very specialized. If you do a search for Dr5 online you should come up with some info. Scala is developed by a limited number of places as well. If you are looking for a good b&w lab for negatives I used to use The Photo Factory in California. They did good work for me.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 4:
Thank you once again. I have emailed them and was quite impressed by their web site. BetterPhoto certainly is a helpful photo chat site - the best I've found.

- Joan G.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4600

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4600

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*****
NEW QUESTION 5: Photo Problem - Half Light Pictures
I was shooting pictures with a Nikon F401s using a flash that is not Nikon. I used shutter speeds of 125 and 250 and almost all the the pictures came out with one half of them completely black. What could have cause this? What could I do to avoid this problem? When I use the inbuilt flash, such a problem does not occur.

- Thomas

ANSWER 1:
When using a flash (accessory or built-in) you must use shutter speeds no faster than the flash sync of the camera body. The flash sync speed of the F401 is 1/125. The frames that are 1/2 black were taken with 1/250 or faster.

- Jon C.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4599

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4599

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*****
NEW QUESTION 6: Fuji Finepix S602 - Opinions Please
It's time. I want to replace my 23-year-old, absolutely manual, terribly long-in-the-tooth SLR. Decided that I may as well join the early 21st Century and go digital - for many of the same reasons already posted on this site.

I don't want a point-n-shoot. I don't want to spend the equivalent of my monthly mortgage payment.

I've read good things about the Fuji Finepix S602 on other websites - Amazon being one. Nothing here but a short comment posted by Raphael on 23 OCT 02.

I'll probably wait until mid-January or February to buy anything, hoping that prices will drop like rocks after the Holidays.

Thanks in advance for any and all opinions. You folks really are a great source of info; I've enjoyed and learned from all of the posts.

- Kathy

ANSWER 1:
If you want to stay under $750, I'd say Nikon Coolpix 4500, Canon PowerShot G2 or G3, and of course the Fuji FinePix S602. If possible check the local camera shops near you and go try them out to see which you like. Make sure their design is comfortable and intuitive for you. Also don't forget the added cost for a larger memory card, carrying case, and possibly extra batteries or a charger.

- Darin

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4596

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4596

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*****
NEW QUESTION 7: Buying My First SLR Camera
I am trying to decide between the Canon Rebel 2000 and the Canon Rebel 2000 Ti. The are basically the same with the exception that the 2000 Ti offers a Depth of Field preview button. Is this a necessary feature for a beginner?

- Noel S.

ANSWER 1:
It's a nice feature to have. You can see if the things you want is focus are in focus. It's not necessary, just nice to have.

- Judith C.

ANSWER 2:
My Canon Rebel 2000 does have a Depth of Field preview button. I am using this camera from a couple of months and found it great.

The difference between both cameras, as far as I found, is first that the lens mount on the Rebel 2000 is made of plastic where as of Rebel Ti is made of some metal. To some people a plastic mount is a negative point since there could be a tendency to break if you switch lenses more often for a long period of time. Well, the plastic mount looked pertty durable to me. I am using a 28-200mm Canon lens. I switched a couple of times with some other lens and I never once got scared.

The other difference I found is that Rebel 2000 can shoot 1.5 frames per second while Rebel Ti can shoot more - I think 2.5. So if you are interested in sport photography, this feature really can help you.

As far as I remember the flash height of Ti when opened up is more than the Rebel 2000. This will help you if you use the long lenses.

Ok, now I'm remembering another differnce. The exposure display screen on Ti is on the back of the camera instead of with shutter button.

Go to a camera store and take in hands both cameras and see how you feel about each of them. Rebel is a good starter camera, which ever you choose.

- Sobia C.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=4595

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=4595

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*****
NEW QUESTION 8: Inexpensive Scanner
I am looking at Pacific Image primefilm 1800u scanner for scanning negatives and slides to upload my images here. The specifications are:
1800 x1800dpi
36bit color
12 bit gray image depth
I'm getting it in $100. I found just one review which was good. But I want some guidance in this regard. If anybody has experinced with this one, please tell me.

My budget is $100-150 which I know is very low to get a decent film scanner. Does flatbed with film adapters works well if I don't print the images? Which one would you recommend in my budget?

- Sobia C.

ANSWER 1:
I have read a good review or two on this scanner, but I have not used it. Given your budget, you're doing about as well as you can. I would, however, buy it new with a warranty. Check out the company's web page and see what they offer for product support. Use a good imaging program with this, maybe Adobe Elements.
Some flatbeds do 35-mm, but it's a makeshift solution, because 35-mm is so small. Yet, people on this site have been satisfied with the Epson 2450's 35-mm scans. This scanner is $300-400.
Anyone use a Pacific Image 1800?

- Doug N.

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ANSWER 2:
Thanks Doug Nelson for your guidence. I'm getting it new with I think one year warranty. Well, I'll wait for a few days to get any more reviews before I make the final decision. By the way, I've checked out your website and tips long before on various matters including scanners. In fact, after reading your article on scanners, I had better understanding about them. Thanks again.

- Sobia C.

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: What is a Teleconverter?
What does a teleconverter do?

- Sobia

ANSWER 1:
A teleconverter increases the focal length of your lens. It mounts between you lens and the camera body. A 2x teleconverter doubles the length of your lens. Thus a 200mm lens becomes a 400mm lens. Teleconverters will tend to soften images and they all cut the amount of light by whatever their factor is. Therefore, a 2x teleconverter takes 2 stops of light.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 2:
Thanks alot Jeff K. for your quick response.

- Sobia

ANSWER 3:
Jeff, then what do extension tubes do?

- Stephanie A.

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ANSWER 4:
Stephanie,
While a teleconverter effectively doubles the focal length of the lens using optics, an extension tube merely changes the focus range. It is a hollow tube that attaches to the camera, without any optics. It extends the lens further from the film than can be done with the focusing threads alone, enabling it to focus closer. It is usually matched with a specific macro lens. For example, a 50mm lens may have 25mm of extension using its focusing threads, enabling it to focus close enough for a 1/2 life size image (the image is 1/2 as large on film as in real life). With a 25mm extension tube, it now has up to 50mm of extension (equal to the focal length), so it can now focus close enough to produce a full life-size image (the true definition of macro).

- Tracy K.

ANSWER 5:
Thanks Tracey, I have the extension tubes and have played with them, but don't know exactly what the focal length becomes or anything else. I did one shot of a petal with my macro and 3 extension tubes, LOL, don't know that I really needed 3, but I was playing around trying to see what worked and what didn't. Thanks for your help and hopefully I will get it all soon!

- Stephanie A.

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ANSWER 6:
Stephanie,
Extension tubes don't appreciably change the focal length. They allow whatever focal length lens you use them with to focus closer.

Best results with extension tubes are almost always when used on a prime lens (fixed focal length) instead of a zoom. Reason? Nearly all primes are simpler lens designs and focusing is done by moving the entire lens cell using a helical. The extension tube adds to the distance the lens focus helical can move the lens away from the film plane. Zooms are much more complex and nearly all of them are "internal" focusing performed by moving elements inside the lens. An extension tube can be used with a zoom, but getting a specific magnification and focusing is trickier, often with more adjustment of camera position, focal length (zoom) and focusing.

I now use extension tubes exclusively for macro photographs. The reason for several tube lengths and having them is ability to cover a wide range of magnification. Indeed, I have two different sets with three tubes each. The one with shorter tubes works best with a 50mm and 85mm lens. The one with the longer tubes works best with a 135mm and 200mm lens. I choose focal length based on the "standoff" distance desired from lens front to subject. The amount of extension for a given magnification depends on focal length. To achieve life-size (on film) requires total extension equal to focal length. Thus, a 100mm lens allows twice as much standoff distance for the same magnification, but it also requires twice as much extension too. I don't recommend using more than three tubes stacked together. For this reason I may not choose a longer lens such as the 200mm for very high magnification, but a shorter one such as the 85mm or perhaps the 135mm and sort out how to work with less standoff distance. Sometimes equipment limitations require tradeoffs between focal length and total length of extension used. My two favorites for standard macros in the field (outdoors) are the 85mm and 135mm lenses. If I also had a 100mm I would likely be using it too. Work with your tubes for a while with different lenses and you will get a "feel" for which lens and which tubes to pull out of the bag for a particular task (subject size, standoff desired and magnification desired).

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 7:
Thanks John. I may need to read this a few more times to fully comprehend it all, but I will get it and I thank you. I have a serious of roses I have been working on, all done with my 90mm macro and my 3 extension tubes. I find I like this combination best for that particular type of shoot, but have not played with my other lenses yet that much. All of my other lenses are zoom lense however. Take a look at my macros if you would like. Thanks so much!
http://www.photosbystephanie.net/-/photosbystephanie/gallery.asp?cat=684

- Stephanie A.

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ANSWER 8:
Stephanie,
At home during lunch and catching up on the mail. Browsed your roses and you have a very interesting body of work already; high magnification that uses light to create an abstract celebration of their shape and texture.

Tonight I'll provide a little more on optics with its associated math (it's not that difficult) and a couple examples showing how I plan a macro shot based on desired magnification. Understanding the rudiments of focal length, lens extension and magnification helped me do macro work much more efficiently. I could quit guessing at focal lengths, tube lengths and having to move the tripod numerous times to get what I wanted.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 9:
Stephanie,
First thing I try to estimate is the desired magnification. Magnification is size of object depicted on *film* compared to actual size of the object, and not its size in a print or when projected as a slide.

Approximate dimensions of a 35mm film frame is 1 x 1.5 inches. I measure the subject size and typically add a little to that, then compare that to how I want to fit it into the film frame. If I want to fit something that's 2 x 3 inches into a 35mm film frame, then the highest magnification I can use is 1:2, or 0.5X.

Next step is to approximate the standoff I will have with a particular focal length. The equation for this is:
S = f + (f / M), or S = f * [(M + 1) / M]
S = distance from subject to front lens node
f = lens focal length
M = magnification

The front lens node is *not* the physical front of the lens. Be cautious when working at very high magnifications. The location of a front lens node can actually be inside the lens. This is only an approximation and the actual distance from subject to the lens filter ring is often somewhat less. If I want 1:2 magnification, the standoff will be slightly less than 3X the lens focal length. At 1:1.5, or 2/3 magnification (subject size of 1.5 x 2.25 inches), it will be slightly less than 2.5X lens focal length.

Next is how much extension tube is required. Many textbooks will show distance from rear lens node to film plane "v" with the equation:
v = f * (M + 1)
This works OK with finding total bellows length for view cameras where the lens board approximates the rear lens node, and it can often be collapsed very nearly to the film plane. However, it requires modification for practical use of extension tubes with 35mm format and most medium format cameras. The rear lens node is already one focal length from the film plane when it's focused at infinity. For these cameras, the additional extension required (by extension tubes), then subtracts one focal length from total extension by using:
x = f * M
x = additional extension required from infinity focus.

In practical use, the lens focusing helical is used to fine tune exact focus and it's desirable to add something less than the additional extension required from infinity focus. How much less? Most prime lenses focus rings (non-macro type) will extend them approximately 1/7th of their focal length. Thus, a 90mm lens focus ring will extend it about 13mm at closest focus without any tubes. A 135mm lens focus ring will extend it about 19mm. This provides a workable range for the additional tube length required. To facilitate focusing, tube lenght added should be somewhere near the middle of this range so that critical focus can be acheived with the lens focus ring near its mid-point of the extension it can provide.

At 1:2, or 1/2 magnification, additional extension required from infinity focus for a 90mm lens is 45mm. Subtract off what the lens focusing helical can provide and tube length added should be in the range of 32mm to 45mm with greatest lens focusing flexibility at about 39mm of extension tube. A 135mm lens would require about 67mm of tube setting the lens at infinity focus, would have a tube length range of 48mm to 67mm, and greatest focusing flexibility using the lens focus helical with about 57mm of extension tube.

At 1:1.5, or 2/3, magnification additional extension from infinity focus for a 90mm lens is 60mm. Workable tube length range would be 47mm to 60mm and optimal for focusing using the lens focus helical would be 54mm. For a 135mm lens, additional extension from infinity focus is 90mm with a workable tube length range of 71mm to 90mm and an optimal tube length of about 80mm focusing using the lens focus helical.

Choose the combination of tube lengths to use that puts you closest to the middle of workable tube length range.

Hope this helps you out in planning your macros. Do the math in detail for a while. With some experience doing that, you'll gain a very good feel for how much standoff you'll have and how much tube length you'll need for a particular lens by simply estimating the magnification you want.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 10:
LOL! John, you've got WAAAAY too much time on your hands.

- Jeff K.

ANSWER 11:
wow John!! Thanks!! I will print this out and read and re-read this. I appreciate you taking the time to do this for me (and everyone else interested). Thanks a lot and have a great week!

Stephanie

- Stephanie A.

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ANSWER 12:
Jeff: I'm LOL too!
Used to stab around in the dark with macros, guessing at standoff distance and total tube length to use. Finally got off my duff and worked out the math, and performed it rigorously for a while. I don't do it that rigorously as much any more for field macros. The experience from rigorous number crunching allows some shortcuts and accurate estimates. The efficiency gained is what gives met the WAAAAY too much time.
;-)

BTW, I do most of my indoor macros with a pair of monolights and a flash meter now. As you well know, generic monolights cannot be TTL controlled by a camera body. That has forced doing the rigorous math again to determine more accurate magnification and resulting light loss figures so I can compensate for it. Worth the pain as I now have much more exacting control over the lighting quality and direction.

Stephanie:
If you use flash for a macro made using extension tubes, or a hand-held meter instead of the TTL metering in your camera body, there is a light reduction related to the amount of magnification that must be compensated for. The farther the lens is extended (for greater magnification), the more the light loss. It's one of the reasons the focus helical on non-macro prime lenses only extends the lens to about 1/7th of the focal length. The light loss to that point is negligible. If the flash is TTL controlled by the camera body, no problem, the loss will be compensated for automatically by the amount of light passing through the lens. If it's not (as with monolights and metering with a hand-held flash meter), then exposure compensation is required. The equations for this using magnification are:

To compensate by adjusting lens aperture:
Compensation Factor = 2*log(1 + M)/log(2)
This gives the number of stops (or EV) by which exposure must be increased. I use this one most often and adjust lens aperture. When using flash that overwhelms ambient light levels, the effective shutter speed is more flash duration than it is the X-sync speed. Lens aperture can also be set between the f-stop markings, and partial f-stop settings can be estimated on most lenses to about 1/3 of an f-stop.

To compensate by adjusting shutter speed:
Exposure Factor = (1 + M)^2
M = magnification
Use this one by multiplying your shutter speed by the Exposure Factor. Possibly useful when metering ambient light using something other than TTL metering in the camera itself (which automatically compensates for the light loss), such as a hand-held light meter.

-- John

- John L.

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