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.

MF Film And Fluorescents
Re: Reginald S. Milborrow and his request for information about medium format film under fluorescent lights in the November, 2011, issue. Back in the 1970s I worked for a studio known for its architectural photography in medium and large format. We did a lot of work under fluorescent lighting. The most common fluorescent was the cool-white type. We used transparency (slide) film for most work, usually Ektachrome 64T because of its tolerance for long exposures. Under cool-whites, we used Kodak Wratten color correction filters totaling 70 Red. Now, looking at websites for Calumet, B&H, Adorama, Helix, and Samy’s Camera, I can only find Fuji T64 Tungsten film available in 120 listed at Calumet. I would suggest he shoot tests, taking good notes and bracketing his exposures.
Bruce S. Edwards
via e-mail

Thanks for your suggestions on how our reader can get good color film results under fluorescent lighting. With the wide variety of different tube types coupled with fewer choices in color slide film, especially in 120 format, this type of artificial lighting can be a real challenge.

Filter Opinions
Q. I have read in Shutterbug that you really don’t endorse the use of filters mainly because they can make a picture soft. I thought that any good glass would do the job. I mean if you pay $100 for a piece of glass it seems like it would give a good image. After all, filters are for enhancing your image. Did I misread or is there really truth to your statement?
R. Smith
San Antonio, TX

A. I don’t ever remember suggesting filters were detrimental to image quality. Possibly some other Shutterbug writer did, but not me. As you say, some filters are very expensive—$100 or more—so they should be top-quality optical glass and should not potentially degrade image quality. I do believe if you attempt to use too many filters for one shot, say three or more, this might adversely affect the quality, but a single filter of any type, even more moderate-priced ones, should not cause any problems. With some advanced digital cameras and/or after-image software I believe you can input some filter effects after capturing an image, but I’m still primarily a film person and don’t use this type of image alteration.

Left-Side Controls
Q. I am looking for a camera for a person who is handicapped and can only use their left hand. Does anyone make a left-handed camera? Are there other options? The interest is toward point-and-shoot models.
David Lampkin
via e-mail

A. Since there are so many new models of digital point-and-shoot compact cameras introduced every year, I contacted the major firms that offer this type of camera to determine if anything suitable for this application was now available. Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, Nikon, Pentax, and Samsung representatives all told me they don’t have any camera designed specifically for left-handed operation. A friend at Canon said they do get requests for this type of product now and then. He suggested that the individual try taking a conventional point-and-shoot camera and inverting it so the shutter release is on the bottom, then it can be operated handheld by the person’s left thumb. Since most functions of these cameras are totally automated (e.g., focusing and exposure) they would not have to do this manually. Power or manual zooming the lens would be a bit tedious to accomplish when holding it with just the left hand, but possibly the camera could first be mounted on a tripod and inverted. Hopefully, trying this will help your friend be able to take some pictures with most any model or brand of compact camera in spite of their handicap.