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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 - Monday, March 17, 2003
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* SPOTLIGHT: Showcase Your Images with Your Own Deluxe BetterPholio™
* BETTERPHOTO: April Courses Filling Up Fast
* PHOTO TRIVIA QUESTION: Paul Simon / Timeline
* THIS WEEK'S TIP: Digital and Organized
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 1: Did Everyone See the April Issue of Pop Photo?
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 2: Light Meters
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 3: Cameras and Airports
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 4: Filters for Snow
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 5: Emotionally Effective Photographs
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 6: Quantaray Lens for N65
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 7: Mamiya 645e Lens
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 8: Digital Photo Printers
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 9: 400 Speed Film ASA Set at 100
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 10: How to Shoot in a Low Light Situation
* NEW PHOTO Q&A 11: Shooting Paintings
* CONTINUING PHOTO Q&A 1: Zoom Lens


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT - ADVERTISEMENT
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Showcase Your Images with Your Own Deluxe BetterPholio™
In addition to a plethora of other great benefits, you now get your own email address alias when you sign up for a Deluxe BetterPholio™. Imagine the branding and name recognition you can get when you print sales@yourdomainname.com on your business cards. This is in addition to being able to showcase up to 1000 of your best images! Our Deluxe BetterPholios™ give you a ONE STOP SHOP for getting your portfolio on the Web. Sign up for your own Web site at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/deluxeWebsites.asp

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
WHAT'S NEW AT BETTERPHOTO.COM
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Welcome to the 109th issue of SnapShot!

Hi

This week, we are celebrating with Bryan Peterson as he official begins contributing to Popular Photography on a regular basis. Congratulations, Bryan! Your instruction and articles are as inspiring and encouraging as your excellent photos. We look forward to seeing your articles in the magazine.

We are also gearing up for an exciting session of 8-week photography courses, commencing April 9th. With five new additions to our course line-up, this Spring session features a class for every photographer, regardless of your skill level or particular interest in photography.

I hope you have a fantastic week... Remember to take your camera with you everywhere you go so you can capture as many excellent images as you can.
Jim Miotke
http://www.betterphoto.com/sites4photogs/dynoMG.asp?memberID=124


*****
April Courses Filling Up Fast
Our next series of online photo courses are set to begin on April 9th - only three weeks away. Especially in our most popular courses, space is filling up quickly. If you have not done so already, sign up soon to guarantee your position in the class.

You will get the benefit of direct interaction with expert instructors - from Bryan Peterson to Jim Zuckerman. You will get weekly insights from these professionals about your photos. There is no better way to learn. Read what previous and current students are saying at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/testimonials.asp

Ready to take the next step in your photographic endeavors? Check out these recent additions to our course line-up:

Photographing Children with Vik Orenstein:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/VIK01.asp

Field Techniques with Kerry Drager:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/KRD02.asp

Fine Art Flower Photography with Tony Sweet:
http://www.betterphoto.com/photocourses/TNS02.asp

View all of our exciting courses at:
http://www.betterphoto.com/workshops.asp


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PHOTO TRIVIA QUIZ OF THE WEEK
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Last week, we asked:
What type of film did Paul Simon once sing of in a hit song?

The first, best answer - entered by BettterPhoto member Mark E. is:
Kodachrome

See Mark's Premium BetterPholio™:
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To see all answers to this question, visit:
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And Now... This Week's Photo Trivia Question - Timeline - entered by BettterPhoto member Jim M.

What film formats were introduced the year JFK was shot?

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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Digital and Organized
When shooting digitally, copy all images from your memory card to your computer immediately after shooting. As soon as you are 100% sure that all images are safely copied to your computer, delete the images on your memory card. This will prove much easier in the long run than trying to remember which photos you've transferred and which you have not. Having photos only in one place will facilitate your efforts to be organized - a very important skill when it comes to digital photography. Be especially careful, though... you don't want to erase the files from your card before you are confident that they are completely transferred to your computer.

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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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - NEW THIS WEEK
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NEW QUESTION 1: Did Everyone See the April Issue of Pop Photo?
Hi Everyone, Did you all see the fantastic feature article written about 'vibrant color' in the April 2003 issue of Popular Photography.? It was written by a famous photographer that we all know and love. ~BRIAN F.PETERSON~

Its a GREAT ISSUE. Please pick it up if you don't subscribe. You'll feel right at home! Brian did a great job!

CONGRATULATIONS MR.PETERSON, I am very happy for you!!!!.

--------------------------------------

One of our members was also published in this same issue. I was really suprised when I recognized his work immediatly. Congratulations Bob Garas. Your trademark mouse looked great!

- Donna R.

See Donna's Premium BetterPholio™:
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See Donna's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
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ANSWER 1:
Thanks for the heads up Donna - I'll have to pick up a copy!

- Damian G.

See Damian's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.gadal-imagery.com

ANSWER 2:
The issue is a KEEPER Damian! I highly recommed that you get it. You'll enjoy it!

- Donna R.

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ANSWER 3:
Thanks again for the tip Donna - I picked it up today...

Bob Garas' picture looks great and I can't wait to read the article by Mr. Peterson!

- Damian G.

See Damian's Deluxe BetterPholio™:
http://www.gadal-imagery.com

ANSWER 4:
Thanks for letting us know that this issue has been published, Donnarae! We are so thrilled that Bryan will be sharing his wonderful photographic ideas as a regular contributer to the magazine.

You can also check out more information about the awesome online classes that Bryan teaches here at BetterPhoto.

Understanding Exposure
Learning to See Creatively
Photo Marketing

Also, congratulations to Bob Garas! As many of you know, Bob is a mulitple BetterPhoto Contest winner. His work continues to impress and delight us all.

To see his work or enter the contest, click here.

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

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Take a photo course with Jim:
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http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5375

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*****
NEW QUESTION 2: Light Meters
I'm new at photograhy. Please explain light meters to me... in non-technical terms! Any suggestions as to brand/type I should look for? Thanking you in advance, Morrie

- Morris T.

ANSWER 1:
Morris,
I'll try to keep this as non-technical as possible.

Important Metering Terms:
"Luminance" is the light reflected by something (reflected light).
"Illumination" is the light shining on something (incident light).

There are two types of photographic light meters. The basic one is a "reflected" light meter which is aimed at the subject from the camera position. It measures "luminance" level of light being reflected by the subject. The metering inside a camera measures reflected light.

The other is a reflected light meter capable of being switched over to metering "incident" light by covering the sensor with a special diffuser. In "incident" mode, it is aimed at either the light source or the camera from the subject position and measures the "illumination" level of light falling on the subject.

Regardless of the type of measurement you make (incident or reflected), the basic principle of operation is the same. The two variables are the film speed you are using and the lighting level (incident or reflected) for a particular photograph. The meter has a setting for the film speed which you do in advance. After measuring the lighting, the meter gives you combinations of lens apertures and shutter speeds that will properly expose the film. Within the lens aperture and shutter speed limits of your camera, you can trade how much light the lens allows to pass through it with how long the shutter remains open, and vice versa. This gives you some flexibility in stopping motion and/or controlling depth of field.

There are some pitfalls in making reflected readings if the meter is taking in a fairly wide angle of view, especially if it's wider than what will be in the photograph. Incident readings can be more accurate if they're performed correctly, but they can also be more difficult to do properly under some conditions. With either method, you cannot throw your brain away when using one to set an exposure. Experience in using a meter for a short time helps greatly and it's not that difficult to master.

You will also see features such as "spot" metering, which is a more advanced reflected light metering method. Spot readings measure a very tiny portion of the subject that will appear in the photograph. It's typically used for finding the luminance level of the brightest highlights and deepest shadows. Exposure is then set somewhere between the two using a method to average them.

Probably the biggest name in light meters is Gossen, a German company. Other big names in photographic light meters are Sekonic and Minolta.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 2:
Thank you, John, for such a clear and concise explanation of light meters. You guys REALLY are good!

- Morris T.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5372

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*****
NEW QUESTION 3: Cameras and Airports
How is the best way to take your Digital (flash cards) and film cameras through todays airports safely?

- Danny G.

ANSWER 1:
As far as I know, the carry-on and checked baggage X-ray machines have no effect on electronic storage media. Digital cameras, flash cards, computers, CD-R/RW, etc. are ok.

For film cameras you should carry-on only. The checked baggage x-rays will fog all speeds of film, and I think there is higher likelyhood of camera and lenses being lost/stolen/damaged in checked baggage. You can request that carry-on film be hand inspected, but your as likely to be refused as accomodated. Either way, the carry-on scanners are safe for several passes of up to 800 speed film.

- Jon C.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5364

Answer this question:
http://www.betterphoto.com/QnAredirect.asp?threadID=5364

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*****
NEW QUESTION 4: Filters for Snow
Hello everyone, any ideas or suggestions would be great! I shoot a lot on snow. I've been using a polarizer which works great on sunny days. For overcast days what would be the best route, or should I leave a filter off all together?

- Aaron J.

See Aaron's Premium BetterPholio™:
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ANSWER 1:
For cloudy days I would suggest an 81 A, B, or C filter to take out some of the blueness the clouds give off. These filters add a touch of warmth to the image and the A is the lightest with the C being the darkest. I would also try no filter to get that cold look and feeling. Good luck to you!

- Stephanie A.

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*****
NEW QUESTION 5: Emotionally Effective Photographs
I have found myself with the responsibility of writing an 8-10 page essay (not report) about photography in order to graduate. I would love to write about the art of taking EMOTIONALLY EFFECTIVE photographs. Do you have any tips for taking emotion-provoking photographs, especially of people? How does the background and other such things effect the effectiveness (excuse the wordiness) of photographs?
Thank you,
Lacey (18) in Idaho

- Lacey A.

ANSWER 1:
Lacey,
A full answer could take 8-10 pages! :-)

Some "mind tools" as you explore this:
1. Think of a photograph as a means of communication between the photographer and those who view the photograph later.
2. The photograph is a visual medium only, and it's 2-dimensional. When making it, the photographer sees in 3-dimensions and will experience all the other senses as well: sound, smell, taste and touch. The photograph, however, is only a recording of light. It cannot directly stimulate these other senses in a person viewing it in another place at a later time. It must stimulate them indirectly using visual cues, just as it needs to use lighting, perspective and vanishing points to cue a sense of depth and dimension.
3. How the viewer of a photograph reacts to its visual cues relies totally on the viewer's life experiences. Because of this, the photograph must communicate its intended "message" in the "visual language" of its intended viewers. This may not be the same as the photographer's, but it requires the photographer at least understand it. This extends to size (or scale) of things in the photograph, and to perceived horizontal and vertical direction. These can only be referenced to recognizable objects contained in the photograph, that are nearly always the same size, or are nearly always horizontal or vertical (e.g. horizon lines, telephone poles, fence posts, walls, etc.). Find and study "sybolism" that conveys meaning . . . both prominent and subtle . . . this is intertwined with some of what follows.
4. Find and study the psychology of "body language." Facial expression formed in particular by the eyes and mouth plus body posture. Mixed in with this is the psychology of the "formal elements" in both body language, other prominent objects, and in background: lines, shapes, space, scale, repetition, etc. Then consider bold and straight with sharp angles and high contrast versus less prominent, curved, rounded angles and low contrast. Consider also relative position and scale and how it can be used evoke domination or submission. Color also has meaning: Red, yellow, blue, green, highly saturated versus pastel, etc. With background . . . high key versus low key.
5. With people, lighting can be used to accentuate or diminish various formal elements as used in posing them. Find and study the basic types of portraiture lighting (loop, Rembrandt [triangle], Paramount [butterfly], split, and profile), and the effect it has, including photographing from the short side or broad side, and photographing people from slightly above or slightly below affects the message being conveyed. Consider also the quality of the lighting: diffused versus direct, and contrast level between main and fill.

I recommend you go to a library and look at books of "people" photographs . . . formal portraiture, informal portraiture, environmental portraiture and candids. First, determine what they convey to you and how you feel viewing them. Then break them down using the things I've mentioned about formal elements, position and scale, body language, color, lighting, etc. Compare what the photographs have conveyed to you with your breakdowns of them. Then draw the conclusions and connection with how these things are used to comminucate emotion and senses beyond the visual to those viewing a photograph.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 2:
Thank you so much, John. This will all help in my paper. If you wouldn't mind I would love to use your response as a source for my paper, I know it is a weird question, but, if you are willing, could you send me your last name and hometown?
Thanks again.

- Lacey A.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****
NEW QUESTION 6: Quantaray Lens for N65
I am a beginner. I bought a Nikon N65 to learn on (I want to graduate from AF to manual), and Ritz sold it with a Quantaray lens instead of Nikkor. It's a 28-90mm F3.5-5.6 MACRO. My question is, is it a problem to use a Quantaray lens (which Ritz says is made by Sigma) on the N65? Is it worse than the equivalent Nikkor lens (which only costs $20 more but Ritz says is worse b/c it has a plastic ring, whereas the Quantaray has a metal ring)? If given the go-ahead, I am inclined to keep the Quantaray since I'm now overseas and returning it would be a pain.

- Ariela M.

ANSWER 1:
I brought two cheap Quantaray lens, a 35-135mm F4.0 - 5.6 lens and a Quanraray 70-300mm F4.0 to F6.3 lens. I know the later is actually a duplicate of Sigma's cheapest 70-300 lens. I like Sigma lens but believe Nikkor lens are superior to anything made by Sigma. I use Canon EOS lenses so maybe a Nikon user can give you advice based on using both copanies' products.

- Bill M.

ANSWER 2:
Ariela, as a beginner photographer you will be completely satisfied with the Quantaray lens. I bought 5 Canon Rebel 2000's (from a local chain owned by Ritz) for my daughter's high school yearbook staff which had the same Quantaray lens as yours, and they have smooth focusing/zooming and yield sharp pictures. I did, however, opt not to get the Quantaray 70-300 because the zoom ring was a tad sticky. There, I ordered the Tamron 75-300 (no Macro) for each Canon set.
Bottom line, I think you'll enjoy the lens!

- Tony P.

ANSWER 3:
Thanks for the advice, both of you. This site is really amazing. Sounds like Sigma/Quantaray is fine to learn on (the lens was 90 bucks) and when/if I learn enough to know the difference, I can get a really good lens or two.

- Ariela M.

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****
NEW QUESTION 7: Mamiya 645e Lens
I just bought a Mamiya 645e lens that came with an 80mm. Are all Mamiya medium-format 645 lenses compatible? I am thinking about purchasing a 150mm. Thanks!

- Debbie

ANSWER 1:
Debbie,
At one time, the answer was YES. Seems there are two types now with Mamiya's introduction of an auto-focus body (645AFD) and AF lenses for it.

Any of the NON-auto-focus lenses can be used on every manual focus body from the three original M645 bodies, to the 645 Super, 645 Pro and 645 Pro-TL. The lens mount has remained the same throughout . . . a larger, medium format version of Nikon's manual focus "AI" lens mount.

What I don't know about are the AF lenses being made for the 645AFD, and whether these will fit all the other manual focus bodies. Mamiya's FAQ doesn't address using the AF lenses on a manual focus body. It does address the reverse: using a manual focus lens on the AFD body. From their description of having to manually stop them down, I don't believe an AF lens will work on anything but the 645AFD. Either way, the AF stuff inside them would be wasted dead-weight on a manual focus body. These lenses have a specific AF designation.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 2:
P.S.

While Mamiya has maintained the same manual focus lens mount on all its manual focus 645 bodies, other accessories such as prisms, winders, hand grips, etc. are not interchangeable among all of them. Compatability depends some on which accessory, the biggest gap being compatability of items for the original M645j, M645 and M645-1000S with later bodies such as the Super and Pro. The exceptions are the 120 and 220 film inserts. Like the lens mount, they've also been the same from the beginning.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 3:
Thanks, John! Your answers really helped!

- Debbie

Read this Q&A at BetterPhoto.com:
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*****
NEW QUESTION 8: Digital Photo Printers
I am in the market for a printer for my digital camera. I would like to get the best quality, but am confused as to what denotes a "good quality" printer. Specifically, what do the resolution numbering mean? (i.e. 1400x1400, 1400x720...) Which would be the best?

- Michael J.

ANSWER 1:
The higher the number the clearer the print. I recommend Epson, not because I'm a name brand snob. I like their color match, and the instant dry inks. My old Lexmark could take days for the black ink to dry if it ever did. I print pretty much every picture at 1400dpi. I don't think you want to go under that if your going bigger then 5x7. What sizes do you want to print, and what is your budget. The Epson 1280 goes for somewhere around $400 now and prints up to 13x44. I love mine.

- Judith C.

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http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaDetail.asp?threadID=5332

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*****
NEW QUESTION 9: 400 Speed Film ASA Set at 100
I was using Kodak professional TMax 400 and forgot to set the ASA to 400. The ASA was at 100. How to I develop this roll of film? Do I overdevelop or underdevelop. Does anyone know the exact time on it?
Thanks for any info.

- Cheryl M.

ANSWER 1:
See:

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f4016/f4016.jhtml?id=0.3.8.20.4.4&lc=en

or

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f4016/f4016.pdf

for Kodak's recommendations on developing T-Max b&w films.

There don't appear to be any instructions for "pull" processing to EI 100, just pushing to 800 and 1600. However, there is a note stating:

"Under most conditions, you’ll obtain highest quality with normal exposure at the rated exposure index and normal development. For high-contrast scenes, you’ll obtain highest quality if you increase exposure by one or two stops and process the film normally."

Increasing exposure 2 stops is the same as rating 400 film at 100, so I'd recommend just normal processing.

- Jon C.

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*****
NEW QUESTION 10: How to Shoot in a Low Light Situation
I took some inside pictures from a party that has limited lighting. I set my Nikon N80 on "P" hoping the camera would do all the settings. I've noticed that the aperture was 4.8 and the shutter was at 5. I knew that if I didn't brace it, it would come out blurry... which some or a lot of them did. I couldn't quite use my tripod at that time... would have been nice though.

My question is, if I went ahead and set it on "M" (Manual Priority) and set my aperture on 4.8 and my shutter at 60 or 90, would my pictures come out all right? I'm going to another party this weekend and I also plan to use a Lumiquest Ultrasoft with my flash. I'm new in the field and would really appreciate any inputs. Thanks!

- Oscar

ANSWER 1:
Oscar,

Using available light (no flash) you would have grossly underexposed the photographs doing this . . . and this is a Bad Thing with negative films. If you want to do this without flash, you need to increase film speed. I have done quite a bit of shooting in low light indoors using high speed film, but with the benefit of faster lenses that can be opened up as wide as f/2 (about 2-1/2 stops faster). The downside is working with a very narrow depth of field, sometimes a little as six inches depending on lens and subject distance.

What film speed were you using? In color negative, Fuji makes Press 1600 and Superia 1600. Essentially the same film with different packaging. It will be noticeably grainier compared to ISO 100 and 200 films but it's still pretty good for a film that speed and IMO better than a couple of consumer ISO 800 films. It's a "true" ISO 1600 film and can be developed by a consumer lab.

If that's not fast enough, you can try a couple of B&W films: Kodak TMax P3200 or Ilford Delta 3200. Both of these have a nominal speed rating of about ISO 800, but they were designed to be pushed by two stops. This is why Kodak has a "P" in the film name. This is also their "downside" for non-professional use. If used at any speed faster than ISO 800 they must be push processed which requires developing by a pro lab and there will be a nominal fee added for doing this. Consumer labs cannot do push (and pull) processing. At EI 1600, they require push-1; EI 3200 = push-2; EI 6400 = push-3. The DX coding on the film cartridge for the Kodak film is for EI 3200. Use it at a different speed and you must override this. Don't know about the Ilford (my cameras don't read the DX codes). I don't recommend running either at 6400 although some people do and they are not nearly as "hostile" to it as some other films are. At 6400 their latitude narrows, contrast noticeably increases and grain becomes quite prominent.

If none of these will get you fast enough, you may be forced to use the flash. However, using on-camera flash gives up the direction and qualities of the ambient lighting. The Lumiquest will soften things a little, especially at closer distances (12 feet or less) but light direction will still be quite different.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 2:
I was using Fuji Press 400 and a Kodak Supra 400. I sure will try all your suggestions. Thanks so much John for all your inputs. This is truly a big help.

- Oscar

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*****
NEW QUESTION 11: Shooting Paintings
I am working on my portfolio and would like to know what type of light to use to shoot slides of my paintings and if I should use black as a background to the painting?

- Jennelle B.

ANSWER 1:
Jennelle,
I would use a black background several feet behind the painting if possible, not immediately behind it. Placing it some distance behind the artwork is a minor detail. Don't worry about it too much if it's not possible.

The traditional method for copying flat artwork (paintings, drawings, etc.) is the same as a "copy stand" on a larger scale, and turned so the camera is aimed horizontally. Most copy stands mount the work horizontally with the camera above it looking downward.

This method requires the use of a tripod and two lights mounted on light stands. Mount the work vertically (if you can) in front of the backdrop. You can use an easel, but it will make aiming the camera accurately more difficult (not impossible though). The camera should be set up on a tripod so that it is aimed dead center on the artwork and the lens axis is perpendicular to the artwork. You want the film plane parallel to the artwork. This keeps it "square" and removes all perspective. If you are off in centering, the edges of a rectangular painting will look like a trapezoid in the photograph, not a rectangle. Position it so that you fill the viewfinder with your artwork with a slight amount of backdrop showing around all the edges. You can use a length of string to see if the distance from the center of the lens front is the same to each of the four corners of your painting. This does require some work as you move the camera, adjust tripod height and aim it, probably several times! Be patient with camera position and do it carefully.

Lighting is placed at the same height as the camera with one light to the left and the other to the right far enough that a line from the light to the center of the artwork forms a 45 degree angle. Aim the lights at the center of the artwork. This keeps the light from reflecting off of the artwork's surface into your camera lens. You may need to have the lights a few feet farther back than the camera position.

The easiest type of lights to use are strobes with modeling lights. This allows you to use daylight film and the modeling lights help show what your lighting looks like. However, setting exposure using them requires a flash meter. The downside is most people don't have studio lighting.

An alternative is using halogen spotlights and tungsten film. This is usually close enough in color balance. If color matching is critical, you should use actual studio "hot lights" which are exactly the color temperature of tungsten film.

Doing this well requires patience and careful setup. Kodak has a tutorial about how to copy old photographs, including a diagram of the setup:
http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/am100/am100.shtml The method is applicable to all flat artwork.

-- John

- John L.

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ANSWER 2:
Also, you can check out our articles right here at BetterPhoto about shooting paintings:

How to Shoot Paintings with Slides
How to Shoot Paintings with a Digital Camera

- Jim at BetterPhoto.com

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PHOTOGRAPHY Q&A - CONTINUING FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER
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CONTINUING QUESTION 1: Zoom Lens
I asked a question yesterday and received a great answer, but now I have a more definitive lens in mind. I will be taking pictures of my child active in track and other sports so I need a zoom lens and I think I'm going for a macro lens. Which lens is rated best? I realize the Canon isn't a macro but a lot of people say that I should go with it beacuse you get what you pay for. But Tamron has to be pretty good or they wouldn't offer a 6 year warranty would they? My choices are--
Canon EF 75-300mm 4-5.6 III USM Zoom
or
Tamron telephoto AF 70-300 4-5.6 LD macro?
Canon is priced $164.95
Tamron is priced $149.95

And what does the AF, III and USM mean on the Canon?
I know I have several questions all piled in one but I am very new to this type of photography and I need help. I plan to take a class but I need help with this purchase now. Thanks

- Greg A.

ANSWER 1:
Hi Greg A.
AF in the Tamron model name is for AutoFocus.

III in the Canon model means that it is version 3 of that particular lens. Each successive generation of this lens is a little lighter, has some subtle cosmetic changes and less expensive than the prior, but the optical formula and performance is unchanged. The original was introduced 1992, II in 1995, III in 1999.

USM is for UltraSonic Motor. It is a very fast and quiet motor that drives the autofocus. In this particular lens it is "micro-USM," which drives reduction gears to move the focus elements, so you have to move the MF/AF to MF before attempting to manually focus. With ring-USM lenses, like the EF 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 USM, the USM motor surrounds the focus elements and moves them directly. It is even faster and quieter and because there are no reduction gears to force you can manually focus without switching to MF first.

The Tamron is a pretty good lens. I have no problem recommending it. Just note that it takes 62mm diameter filters, where the Canon and Sigma lenses are 58mm, which probably match your current 28-90. Not a big problem, just by 62mm filters and use them on the smaller lens using an inexpensive 58mm/62mm step-up ring.

- Jon C.

ANSWER 2:
Greg, I agree with Jon recommending the Tamron. I own the zoom you're speaking of for my Pentax and also shoot my kids sporting events. I am merely an experienced photohobbyist of 20 years and the shots are very sharp.
You can however, check out what people say about those lenses at www.photographyreview.com
Good luck

- Tony P.

ANSWER 3:
You might want to look here for a ranking of these type of lenses:

http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/easytxt.htm#F300

I've had very good luck with using the lenses rated well on this site.

- Jennifer K.

ANSWER 4:
Hi Greg - I own a Tamron AF 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD-macro lens and have been very happy with it. I love the macro feature as my 28-80 lens doesn't have that. I have used Tamron lenses for years and have had no problems with them and am happy with the results. I can't comment on the other lenses, however. Good luck with your search!

- Joni D.

ANSWER 5:
I'm sorry that my link takes you to the wrong section of that Lens Test Guide. You'll have to scroll up quite a bit to find the long tele zooms. The top one on that list (for zooming to 300) is Sigma AF 4.0 100-300mm EX (HSM), which is of course a pricier lens. Just wanted to share the right info, though. FWIW, I have the Canon EF 4.0 70-200mm USM L and it takes the most wonderful pictures of my son's sports. Still, 300 would be nice...

- Jennifer K.

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