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The purpose of the HELP! column is to provide solutions to photographic problems, to find sources of supply and to identify cameras. HELP! is not a pricing or appraisal service, and cannot provide values for old equipment. There are several good guide books available from our advertisers which give prices. Thanks for your cooperation!

I sent copies of photographs of the type of device you wrote Shutterbug's HELP! column about (a question published in July 1999 issue inquiring about a solenoid device for activating a cable release). This device was made by Heiland Research and was part of a complete synchroflash unit. The other tripper they supplied was the one you most likely will find. It screwed to the lensboard of a press type camera and operated the opposite of this one, it pulled the tripper on the shutter to fire the shutter. Now, for the bad news. This device is at least a half-century old and I have had mine more years than I can recall or want to admit. Where can you get one? Copy a couple of the pictures and start walking. Try all the camera stores in your area. Ask them if they have a "junk box" (that's where I got mine). Unfortunately, it seems that in many stores "junk boxes" have a new name "collectibles"--complete with price increases far afield from the true worth of the item. If you are unsuccessful locally, don't despair, try some of the advertisers in Shutterbug, e.g.: Brooklyn Camera Exchange; Del's Camera; Wall Street Camera; Midwest Photo Exchange; etc. If you find the item, try to get the battery case that was used with it. If you are successful in your quest, your problems will have just begun. The connecting cord takes a special terminal fitting. Try Radio Shack's power cord department. You will have to splice it anyway so it doesn't really matter what's on the other end, but if it is a standard male terminal plug, so much the better because as I recall that is what fit the battery case. If the plug is polarized you will have to file the polarized prong to fit. If you have the battery case you will know how many 1.5v batteries it takes and the amount of voltage the solenoid can handle. I have used a 6v lantern battery on mine because I used a very thin wire and the thinner the wire, the higher the resistance therefore the greater the voltage drop exacerbated by the length of the wire. I hope this has been of some help to you.
Jim O'Reilly
San Francisco, CA

Although I immediately mailed the above letter to Gary Garvens, New Braunfels, Texas who sent the first inquiry, I'm also going to print it since the suggestions are valid and we have had several other readers recently asking about remote control devices to fire their camera electrically from a distance. I also wanted to let other readers know exactly how helpful some of our readers can be in supplying an answer to a question that might have stumped one of us so-called "experts" who attempt to answer reader questions. Besides, I have always contended that photographers are some of the most sharing individuals I know since they typically go far out of their way to assist fellow photographers when they have a problem or question. Not only did O'Reilly take the time to write his quite good suggestions on how to find this solenoid, he also included photos of the unit. I would like to thank him for the extra effort he went to on this question. He was nice enough to put a P.S. on his letter saying "Love the column. Please keep up the good work." It's people like him that provide additional resource assistance and ideas that make our job compiling this column so rewarding to us.
Robert E. Mayer

Q. I buy computer and musical equipment through two different catalogs (Damark and Musicians Friend). These companies bill my credit card in six or 10 month installments and charge no interest for this service. My first payment is billed when I place the order, and each subsequent payment comes due 30 days apart until the full amount is paid. I would like to find a photographic equipment retailer who does the same, but no one I've contacted has knowledge of this type of financing. I've been able to make major purchases this way with computers and musical products and would like to expand my photographic equipment inventory this way. Do you, or your readers, retailers, or equipment manufacturers know of anyone who finances this way? Thank you.
John Pritchett
WHAM! Photography
1604 Southeast 241/2 Ave.
Mineral Wells, TX 76067

A. This sounds like an ideal way to purchase something and defer the total cost while the item is making some income for you. I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know of any photographic retailer that offers this type of credit, but since I don't get involved with this type of credit purchasing, I don't have any need to know. So, we will print your full mailing address so if any reader or retailer who knows of this type of deferred finance charge is available on photographic products can contact you directly. I'm sure if any photo retailers do offer this type of credit service that they will get in touch with you to solicit your business.

Q. Do you know who sells or makes diazochrome polyester color films? My 1980's source was James River Graphics, South Hadley, Massachusetts, under the product name Technifax Diazochrome Polyester Color Film. It was available in 26 colors but is apparently no longer available. Do you know of anyone who may sell diazochrome film today? I need to know the sizes, colors, and prices of currently available diazochrome material. Thanks for your help.
Robert Green
PO Box 3147
Weehawken, NJ 07087

A. Sorry, but I have not heard of diazochrome film material for over 20 years and really don't have any clue where to guide you in your search. We will print your full mailing address so any firm or individual who knows of a current source for this material can contact you directly. We hope this assists in your quest.

Q. I recently purchased a Minolta Autometer IIIF at a yard sale for $20, and it works. The problem is, there was no instruction manual included. I contacted Minolta, but instructions for this model are no longer available. Can anyone help me with a manual or a copy of one?
Kevin Parker
Chatsworth, GA

A. Manufacturers cannot keep instructions in stock for all of their older equipment. When this is the situation, some of the best sources for this type of instruction information are these two firms. One is John S. Craig, Box 1637, Torrington, CT 06790; (860) 496-9791. Another firm specializing in older instructions and repair manuals is Finger Lakes Photo Books, PO Box 1002, Elbridge, NY 13060; (315) 251-3661. You can contact them at or flpbks.htm We hope one or the other will help you get your Minolta Autometer IIIF operating.

Q. I want to start taking pictures of the moon, but I can't seem to get enough light into the lens. Is there some aperture/f/stop combination that I don't know about? Please help me out. Thanks in advance.
Tim Adams
via Internet

A. Sorry for the delay, but I had to check with a local friend who is knowledgeable on the subject to obtain a valid answer for you. He has his own observatory in his backyard for his personal use in documenting the heavens. He printed out the following data to assist you. He said you would need an 800-1000mm lens to see detail in moon images or a "T" adapter to use your camera with a telescope. "Because the moon changes phase, lunar exposures vary over a wide range but all are shorter than you might think--after all, the moon is just a large sunlit rock. For shots of the full moon a good starting point is 1/60 with ISO 50 film. This assumes a f/ratio of f/11 (close to the f/10 focal ratio of many Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes). If you have a f/16 telescope you would use 1/30 sec. Phases less than full require more exposure. There is a simple rule to follow. Each phase less than full requires a doubling of exposure. If 1/60 works for a full moon, then 1/30 should be fine for a gibbous moon. A first or last quarter moon will require 1/15 sec, while a wide crescent such as a five or six-day-old moon will need 1/8 sec. A thin crescent needs the longest exposure, about 1/4 through 1/2 sec wouldn't hurt. For more information about lunar photography, see Staging a Moon Shot, August 1992 Astronomy." I trust that this data will assist you in your lunar photography.

Q. I have a roll of 126 Kodacolor C-22 process film that I would like developed. I understand the difficulty in view of its antiquity, however I believe the HELP! column will find a processor, somewhere, if one indeed exists. Thank you for your attention.
Robert Cusenz
Hilton, NY

A. There are still a few labs that can gear up to run old discontinued C-22 color negative film formats. Those on my address listing include: Kolor Print, Inc., 2121 Thayer St., Little Rock, AR 72202, (501) 375-5581; Rocky Mountain Film Lab, 145 Madison St., Denver, CO 80206, (303) 399-6444; and Sundance Photo, Industrial Drive, Jackson, WI 53037, (800) 558-7818, (414) 342-5678. I would suggest you first contact the lab to determine if they still do process C-22 film and ask their cost and turn around time. The last time I checked it was $10 to $20 per roll for development and processing which might be more than you care to spend. If none of these labs can assist you call the Kodak hotline at (800) 242-2424 and ask if they have any additional lab suggestions. By the way, I understand that B&H Photo in New York City does offer current Kodak Gold 200 film in 126 format if you need film for an old 126 camera.

Q. I have recently come across various German lenses from manufacturers that no longer seem to be in business. Is there any way to contacting Heintz Kilfitt of Munich, Steinheil of Munich, Schacht of Ulm, or Hugo Meyer of Gorlitz? Were these companies incorporated into any existing lens manufacturers of today or are they gone in the way of the classic Leica and Exacta cameras they fit? Any information about these companies would be appreciated.
Gary Hill
4062 Lancaster Dr.
Sarasota, FL 34241

A. I too remember all of these lens companies and still have some lenses made by them in my collection. I have not heard of any of them for many years. I checked the extensive exhibitor catalog from the last (1998) photokina trade show which is held in Cologne every two years, but did not find any of these firms listed as exhibitors or under the trademark listing. I'm at a loss of where else to look or determine if any of these firms have been incorporated into present-day firms under another name. Just in case a reader might be able to assist you in tracking them down, we will print your full mailing address so they can contact you directly. I'm sorry we cannot provide any positive leads or guidance for your quest. Good luck.

Q. I'd like to purchase a De Vere 540 enlarger. I know that Odyssey Sales in England traded it and that in the U.S.A. TruTrak works closely with Odyssey. I don't have any more information, address or telephone. Please help me find TruTrak or Odyssey. Thank you.
Leon T. Chudziak
Mission Viejo, CA

A. I found a listing in a master photo reference guide for TruTrak Imaging Equipment, Sitte America, Inc., 806 Crystal Ave., Denton, MD 21629; (410) 479-0003. I know I have seen photofinishing processing equipment at Sitte exhibits at trade shows, so I feel sure this firm might also handle enlargers. My 1998 photokina trade show catalog lists De Vere Sales, 32A Godstone Rd., Caterham, Surrey CR3-CRA Great Britain; (18 83) 33 08 00; fax: (18 83) 34 70 86. Hopefully one or the other of these firms will be able to point you in the right direction for locating the enlarger you seek.

Q. I am a free-lance photographer who would like to do my own duplicating work. I have bought a duplicating device that is attached to the camera. The duplicates are not as sharp as I would like them to be, and I am severely limited in making changes to the original image. I am looking for a slide duplicator that is capable of making sharp, high quality duplicates that can also be cropped. My slides are used in photo competition shows and are usually sent through the mail to various locations. One of the main reasons for wanting to make duplicates is to save my originals from damage or loss through the mail. I do not see many advertisements for duplicating devices that have the versatility to make the kind of changes that would satisfy my needs. The only sophisticated device I see advertised is one made by Beseler, which I cannot afford. What I wanted to do was buy a copy stand and light box (color corrected) and use my camera with a 50mm macro lens. I would like to use filters for color correction, preferably the type of filters that are used in dichroric enlarger heads. Can I purchase this kind of filter system without the enlarger head? I would appreciate advice or suggestions on what path to follow.
Al Sauber
Selden, NY

A. Yours is a rather common situation but is difficult to answer, especially within the limited text confines of HELP! replies. I did an article on duplicating five or so years ago in Shutterbug when I tried out some duplicating attachments made by Adorama. As you have discovered, it is difficult to make a top quality duplicate slide that is critically sharp and especially so when you want to do some cropping and/or color correction. If you try to use normal camera slide film you get undesirable added contrast. So, in addition to needing a proper device to do this you really need special low contrast slide duplicating film which is made by Kodak and Fuji for standard E-6 processing. It is offered in cassettes but sometimes is only available in 100' lengths that you have to bulk load into cassettes. In addition, the film is so specialized that there are two different versions from Kodak--one for Kodachrome and another for Ekta-chrome originals. A roll of Ektachrome Slide Duplicating Film Type K/8071 for Kodachrome originals that I pulled out of my freezer requires a No. 2B Wratten gelatin filter and a trial tungsten illumination exposure of 1 sec at f/11 to f/16. You can also use electronic flash light, but with a different filter pack. For further information on duplicating slides there is a Kodak Publication No. E-38. I realize this barely touches the surface of this complex subject, but it just is more than we can easily answer in this column.