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.
George Schaub

Remote Shutter Tripper Reply
Re: March 2005 issue, page 190, remote shutter trippers. Minolta makes an infrared remote set that works within at least 150 ft called the "Minolta IR-1." It is suitable for any camera that uses a threaded cable release. The connection is not electronic, but mechanical with the plunger being inside the receiver and pushing a steel cable through a plastic sleeve inside the black vinyl outer cable. I use it on my Minolta autofocus cameras for which there is a separate cable, as well as my RB67, Zone VI, and K1000. Also included with the unit is a separate rail that slides along the bottom of the camera and the tripod to mount the receiver off-camera. Otherwise it attaches to the flash shoe with its own plastic foot. I am not sure why Minolta doesn't use a different marketing strategy, or even make cables available to other camera makers whose cameras no longer use threaded cable releases.
Dieter Dittrich
Mackenzie, BC

Thanks for letting me know about the Minolta IR-1 remote shutter release you own. I had never heard of it before. Sounds like your unit is quite versatile with the 150-foot range with the only requirement being that the camera has a threaded cable release socket.

Argus Repairs
In the April 2005 issue (page 188) a reader asked where he could get Argus cameras repaired. Former Argus Service Manager Dick Kinsey specializes in the repair of Argus cameras and equipment. His firm is the Ikon Company, located in Columbia, South Carolina. His phone number is (803) 787-1626.
Henry Gambino
via Internet

Thanks for providing this source of repairs for older Argus cameras. I'm sure a former Argus company service manager would be an excellent person to fix this brand of equipment. I'll add his name to my master reference list. When Henry and I chatted via e-mail he also told me of a website for individuals interested in Argus cameras which is In addition, he is publishing a book on the history of Argus cameras later this year, which I'm looking forward to seeing. It's pleasing to know about the continued interest today in this venerable firm, whom I worked for well over 40 years ago.

Braun Batteries
Q. I have a Braun F900 flash unit that I bought years ago. It has not been used for quite a while and the batteries will not hold a charge any longer. Is Braun no longer in business or are they under some other name? Can you refer me to somebody that replace the batteries?
via Internet

A. I don't believe Braun equipment is offered in the U.S.A. any longer by any firm. Looking through a recent issue's Shutterbug Service Directory I found several firms that indicate they work on older flash unit batteries, so you might want to contact them and explain your battery problem. Here are two such companies: Chambless Cine Equipment (13368 Chatsworth Hwy., Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 636-5210, e-mail: is a battery rebuilding service; and Holly Enterprises (15848 Rayen St., North Hills, CA 91343, (800) 988-7111) does repair work on a variety of batteries and strobes. Hopefully one or both can get your Braun flash operational again.

Canister Coding
Q. Yes, digital capture is now the rage, but I'm trying to go back into film's history. I'm attempting to track the film canister/color coding used by Kodak in the 1950s (?). My goal is to match the film/film canister colors with the film can colors once used by Kodak. I've tried Kodak and the Eastman House, but came up with very little. If memory serves me correctly, Kodachrome cans were red/yellow, Kodacolor was black/yellow, and Panatomic was brown/yellow. But that's only three of many. Unfortunately, most of those early-colored aluminum cans that held film have long departed. Any insight or reference you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Shutterbug is a great magazine!
Dick Francis
Albuquerque, NM

A. I, too, remember the color-coded film canisters offered by Kodak in the 1940s and `50s I believe. Most were metal with a colored screw-on top. I'm sure I have one or more buried somewhere in the older photographic stuff I just cannot throw away. But, as to finding a listing or code indicating which can colors were used for which film--I don't know if such a thing exists, or where you might locate this information if it does. You said you contacted Kodak about this. Have you called their hotline at (800) 242-2424? They have an extensive database available there and have helped me answer many questions in the past. The long-extinct Photo Lab Index might have contained this data. So, we will print your letter and ask any readers that either know of a reference source or can remember the color-coding system to contact me and I will sure send the data forward to you. We are pleased you continue to like what you see in Shutterbug.

Baby Deardorff
Q. I have a 4x5 "Baby" Deardorff originally owned by my grandfather. I have used it for a variety of photographic assignments, but it's now in need of a makeover. It needs a new bellows, a new handle, and some other things. Can you direct me to someone competent to do this type of work on a beloved classic camera?
Bill Venard
via Internet

A. You probably should first check with Deardorff Photographic Products International (58 W Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN 46383, (219) 464-9748) and ask for Jack Deardorff. He is the nephew of the designer of the Deardorff and offers guaranteed updating and repair of Deardorff and Signature large format view cameras from 4x5 to 11x14 models. They use original, modified, and redesigned components for their work. Others may offer repair services for this venerable line of view cameras, but you should start your quest with the folks who know the equipment best.

Movie Projector Repair
Q. I have an Elmo ST-1200HD Super 8 sound projector that needs belts. Would like to know if anyone can repair or does any reader know where I can obtain these parts? I have thousands of feet of film, too expensive to transfer to video. Would appreciate any help.
Charles DeMauro
via Internet

A. My master file shows several firms that still repair movie projectors of various makes. Possibly one or more of them will have the drive belts you seek. One firm that frequently advertises in the Shutterbug Service Directory is Kx Camera, 17321/2 Grand Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93103, (805) 963-5625, Another firm is Pro8mm (formerly Super8 Sound), 2805 W Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505, (818) 848-5522,

Films And Airport Security
Q. Could you tell me whether Portra 800 can be x-rayed (airport security) without damage? I am told Kodak T-Max P3200 cannot be x-rayed without damage and that everybody at the airports knows this and does not subject the film to x-rays. Is this correct?
Alain Bernard
via Internet

A. It is my understanding that all ISO 800 and faster speed films can be harmed by airport screening x-rays. Even slower speed films can be damaged by repeated screenings as the effect is cumulative and builds up with multiple passes through security at different check-in places. Thus if you take some rolls of film on several trips when it is screened each time, you might have problems. I normally carry the 10 or so rolls of film I typically carry on each trip inside a see-through Zip Loc storage bag. Sometimes the screener has opened a sealed box of film to be sure it's actually film inside the box, but I seldom have had requests for non-screened, hand checking of any of my film rejected even when it's slower speed film.