Here Is A Quick Tip List On Letters
For The HELP! Desk:
Please confine yourself to only one question per letter. Both postal letters and e-mails are fine, although we prefer e-mail as the most efficient form of communication. Send your e-mail queries to with Help in the subject header and your return e-mail address at the end of your message. Although we make every effort, we cannot promise to answer every HELP! letter.
When sending a response or suggestion that refers to a published letter please include the month and page of the original question.
All postal letters to HELP! must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope to be considered for reply. We will respond to e-mail queries with an e-mail.

XTsi Manual
In the April, 2011, HELP! column, Mike was wondering how to get a manual for his Minolta XTsi. He needs to go to There is no charge, just a suggested donation to maintain the site and manual collection. I’ve used this site with success.
Rosemary Elwell
via e-mail

Thanks very much for informing me of another source for Minolta camera instruction books. This site sounds interesting and I’ll add it to my reference files. Lots of readers acquire older cameras and have need of correct information, so this will assist them greatly.

E-6 Processing, Wherefore Art Thou?
In the April, 2011, issue, Alexander French asked about E-6 processing. A lab I have used is Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas (800-522-3940; They do E-6 in 120, 220, and push/pull. He can call them and they will send order forms. They also do all types of film and digital photo processing and their quality is high and prices are low.
Bob Lejuez
via e-mail

It’s always good to know about labs that are doing good-quality slide processing, which is becoming more difficult for some readers to find.

Polaroid Clearance?
Q. I found a Polaroid 12-megapixel digital camera at Odd Lots on sale for $49 and am considering buying it. Is it worth the money? I would like to say that portraits and lighting have always been an interest of mine. I’ve learned much from Shutterbug. Since my cameras are 35mm film cameras from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, I enjoy reading about even cameras that are 40, 50, and 60 years old, or older. Thanks for the information, articles, and reviews.
Mike Breedlove
McLeansville, NC

A. We are pleased to hear that you find our mix of how-to, technical articles, and comments on older cameras interesting. It’s difficult to say whether the 12-megapixel Polaroid you found on sale is a good value, as we have not tested it. It has been my experience that sale items at Odd Lots-type stores don’t stay around very long or have been sold at very low prices to the store to clear out old inventory. Therefore, I would suggest you look for a digital camera with some extra features such as Aperture- and Shutter-Priority modes, manual focus, a moderate zoom range, and the capability of working with external flash.

Grey Market Repair
Q. I purchased a Nikon lens (Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8) 8-10 years ago from one of your advertisers, from whom I’d purchased products before and since. Either unknowingly or knowingly, I can’t remember, the lens was apparently “grey market.” Autofocus on the lens died and I sent it back to Nikon USA for repair (not warranty) and they refused to repair it. I can understand not wanting to do warranty repair, but not repairing it at all does not make me very happy. Can you recommend an independent repair station to repair this lens?
Larry Robinson
Bird’s Eye View Aerial Photography

A. I checked the classified ads in our Service Directory section of a recent issue and found at least two facilities that work on Nikon equipment. I called both and they said they should be able to repair your Nikkor 80-200mm lens if it is not too old and parts are available. Try contacting Authorized Photo Service in Morton Grove, Illinois (800-406-2046; or Mel Pierce Camera & Digital in Los Angeles, California (800-450-7468; The latter firm said they offer a free estimate when you send the lens to them to determine the exact problem. Other advertisers indicate they can work on Nikon equipment, too, but these two had Nikon listed more prominently in their ads, so I called them first. You might want to call some of the other firms listed in this section before you send your lens off. I guess this just emphasizes the old “buyer beware” situation when you purchase unusually low-priced equipment that might be “grey market”—problems that sometimes occur later in the item’s life might be difficult to have fixed.

leonardo85's picture

Such help is a great relief for those who want to clarify their doubts, when it involves material goods there are bound to be some crucial issues.