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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online
AOL Problems - Yet Again 
Since the latest AOL "upgrades" we've gotten a steady stream of email from readers having problems receiving either their monthly copy of the magazine, their daily photo tips or both, yet they still receive unwanted SPAM. The problem appears to be AOL's buggy email filtering software.

We're going to try a new delivery service just for AOL subscribers this month that, hopefully, will fix the problem for some readers and we will continue to do all we can to support our readers who are on AOL. Daily photo tips are sent through and they are still looking at the problem on their end.

AOL problems have figured prominently in these pages since our first issue. There are other options out there folks.  - Jim McGee

Back Issues 

I just found your magazine through a link on our camera club page. After reading the current issue I clicked on the link of back issues and was just overwhelmed by how much is there! Where does one start?

Richard Allen

Why not start at the beginning? :-) Seriously the index is in chronological order by year and month and a number of topics have evolved over the last three years. You can jump to the table of contents for any issue by clicking on the cover. You'll find that some articles will make more sense when read in chronological order.

Just found you guys through a link from our camera club. I was really impressed until I found the index of back issues. All I can say is WOW! Now how do you expect me to get any work done with so much to read?

Mad Mike

In going through the back issues I only found only one retrospective on older cameras. There are some wonderful old cameras out there that are still in great working order. I think you are missing out on something by not having a regular feature on these cameras. There was a sense of design and precision about them that is missing from today's plastic everything camera designs.

Mark Ginsberg

I've been going through back issues and I haven't really found much on older cameras. I have several Canon AE-1 bodies and a full compliment of lenses. I've found that it's MUCH less expensive to stick with an older model. The lenses are available if you're willing to look around and there are even new lenses available for this body if you're willing to use a universal mount. Through the Web I've discovered that this camera really has something of a cult following. The same is true for some old Nikon and Pentax models and it is certainly true for older Leica cameras though they are expensive. Are there plans to cover these cameras in the future?

There are designs from the past that earned reputations for quality and durability. Some have achieved almost legendary status. But there are a couple of practical problems in putting together a regular column. First is finding a columnist expert in these old designs. Even to just focus on "cult" cameras would require a very wide breadth of experience. Next is finding a source for examples in good working order. Many of those cameras have become expensive collectors items. Finally while many of these cameras were stellar performers in their time, many would be put to shame by today's SLRs and rangefinders. Inexpensive computer hardware and software have transformed lens design and manufacturing. While current designs no longer have the feel of fine scientific instruments, they are in almost all respects better at creating images. We are truly living in a golden age of photography.

Brilliant discovery!! It is going to take me WEEKS to read through everything you have done so far. What I have read this evening is so good and seems light years more sensible than most of what I have bought over the counter. Thank you. I logged on as a result of a mailshot that you sent out to all Camera club representatives and it ended up on our notice board, good move!!

Diana Porter

Digital Photography is Still Photography

The judges of the photo club should be given a copy of Moose 's article, "Digital Photography Is Still Photography".

Some people (art critics included) can be very narrow-minded when it comes to digital photography. Is there really a difference between dodging and burning with Photoshop than in the darkroom? I think not.

Charlie Young

I have been making photographs since 1958. I have owned a number of Nikon cameras during that time. I read this article when it was first published and thought it interesting. But felt that I would never move to owning a digital camera. I did have a Nikon SL 2000 film scanner but I continued to use two Nikon N90s cameras. Well I bought the Nikon 5000 less than two weeks ago. I took it out on a practice shoot yesterday. I was shooting a retirement party for my wife and had a 512 card in the camera shooting in the RAW mode. When I came home I had 38 files and was able to load then into my computer in 12 minutes. It takes me 10 to 12 minutes to scan one 35 mm frame at a high resolution. Best yet, I tried two different light modifiers on my Nikon flash and was able to see at once what the affect was. By the time I would have gotten my pictures back I most likely wouldn't have remembered which modifier was which.

End thoughts. I can see me moving up the Nikon chain. I shoot a few weddings a year and the 5000 doesn't have the response time I need. To long between taking a raw file and reading it to memory. But that is only true for about 5 shots I have to take. I can see using even this for candids.

Great magazine I read it every month. Thanks for being here. 
Chuck Pike

More on the Nikon 24-120mm

In reference to your article on the Nikon 24-120 lens I have one and it was an early buy when the lens first came out. I have called Nikon on numerous occasions and I found that the early lenses have IMO a flaw that makes the zoom and barrel loose and not sharp. You in your article cinched this when you said that it is hard to zoom. My lens zooms by itself if you go to take a shot toward the ground.

I think the people who are saying about its not being sharp are the people that have one of the early release lenses.

P.S. I put a belt from a vacuum cleaner on the lens to try to keep the lens from zooming in the inverted position.

Joe Bellantoni

I too have the Nikkor 24-120mm lens and love it and I've also been baffled by some of the claims against this lens that I've seen on the Internet. What seems to make the most sense to me is something I saw a while ago on a Nikon site that claimed there were problems with some early production units. It even listed what serial numbers were affected but I can't seem to find the site anymore.


Hyperfocal Distance & Charts

This is the first time I have come to your page for info. Everything I read was first rate. I especially liked (and learned a lot) the article on Hyper Focal Distance. This is one great site for anyone interested in learning from great photogs. Thanks a bunch for this site I can go to learn from the best.

Tod Thompson

Once again you've come to the rescue. I've been trying to find out the hyperfocal distances for a digital camera for quite some time. Not being too sharp or maybe I'm too lazy to work real hard at it I've been in the dark. Thanks for bringing me to light.

Bob Roach


Nice article on luminosity. Had been thinking about this. Jim McCullaugh

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your article on luminosity and how to fix it in Photoshop. I've been using a Canoscan 4000 for the last 6 months and have been suffering through some tough sessions where my scans didn't NEARLY match the punch of my chromes or negs. I was beginning to figure my expectations were just a little too high.

I'd played around with a bunch of things in Photoshop, and I had actually found your earlier tips to be very helpful as well. Still, I had only played with histogram levels on the scanner side of things and knew I had some reading to do on curves. I tried your current tip immediately after reading the article on a couple of my more heartbreaking scans and VIOLA!

Man do I feel stupid…Seems like SUCH a simple correction I should have at least stumbled across it at some point in my poking and prodding.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate these articles on Photoshop. I KNOW you aren't 'looking' for another assignment in that area, but…You're doing a good thing ;-)

I don't really like manipulating my images if I can help it (My heart doesn't beat faster for an image blended from the layers of 7 different originals), but this tip DEFINITELY raised my spirits again. Again, thanks for a very helpful article and keep up the good work. I really like the VLP web site and always look forward to the next issue.

Best wishes! 
David Rabian 
Wilmington, DE

Gary Responds: Thanks for the positive feedback. You hit the nail on the head when you realize that it isn't always a complicated solution. I quite often over-corrected or over-sharpened etc and ended up going too far with an adjustment. Just keep it simple is all I can say.


I thought Jim's article, "Useless?" was right on. A 50mm lens was a "beginner" lens because it came with the camera. Once we discovered a wide angle or telephoto, we never looked back. There's alot of great shots that have been taken with a 50mm, and that's kind of a New Year's resolution for me - to use mine more. I was thinking about putting it on my FE and leaving the bag at home sometimes, like you did. I also use the 28-105 on my F100 as a "normal lens" and carry a 20mm prime. I keep trying to put the idea of the 17-35 out of my head but I think it's going to wind up in my bag someday. Thought I was doing OK until you brought it up!

Keep up the good work. Steve Muntz

I don't understand McGee's fascination with manual cameras. OK maybe there's some misplaced sentimental attachment to his old Nikon, but he even fell for the Leica! Give me a D1X any day of the week.

Corey S.

I just read your article regarding the 50mm lens. While some of Mr. Woodmansee's opinions are legitimate, I have some alternative views.

While I have more money tied up in equipment than I should, I have found the variety of lenses to be useful and enjoyable. One aspect I feel you proved in your article that applies to hobbyists like myself is that a single focal length and/or a manual camera force you to slow down and consider the technical aspects of composition and exposure. I consider this to be one of the cornerstones of photography as a relaxing hobby and the main reason I recently purchased a Nikon FM2. It took me back to the roots of my photography. I am also lucky enough to combine two favorite pastimes, skiing and photography. I am hired annually by my ski club to photograph alpine races and I use my AF 80-200 2.8 which performs flawlessly for the speed which even in these amateur ranks can approach 50 - 60 MPH.

However, last year they asked me to take individual and team portraits instead of racing photos. Which lens did I settle on for portraits of more than 130 racers? My 50mm with fill flash. For team pictures of 12 to 15 people I simply backed up 20 feet with the same lens. The results, absolutely stellar, tack sharp and consistent exposure. The compliments came pouring in. Of the thousands of dollars I have invested in cameras and lenses, I still find the least expensive lens I own to be extremely useful. The moral? Convenience doesn't totally replace usefulness.

I love your online magazine and look forward to it each month. Keep up the great work!

Gerry Angus 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

I found the article regarding your re-acquaintance with the 50mm lens quite enjoyable. Having purchased my first Nikon, an F-TN in Japan in 1968, the only lens I had was the 50/1.4 that came with the camera. I have thousands of wonderful slides from that lens. I was new to photography and really had no lens options due to my $28 dollar a month Navy paycheck. All of my compositions had to be made within that focal length and without knowing much about wide angle or telephoto I was perfectly happy. I still have that camera and lens and take it out on occasion and run a roll or two through it to remember all the fun and rewarding photo's I took with that 50mm lens and still do.

Bill Kleimenhagen

I'm a photojournalist who is currently on total disability because of problems in my neck, shoulders, and arms, so for my shooting I needed to tone it down a bit if I wanted to stay in a profession I love. All said this is in reference to the article about the "normal"50mm lens. I have been hanging out with a 50 and one camera and if you "see" with your eyes and "zoom" with your feet and are good enough you can make this lens work. In my two decades in photojournalism I always had a 50 somewhere in my bag and now I have more or less been "forced" to use it, photography has become fun and challenging again. Walk around with a 50 for a week and make it work it might just open up a new world for you.

Dave Kline

There are more and better lenses available now than at any time in the history of photography. You'd have to be NUTS to limit yourself to just one lens!

That's what I thought when I read your article. I borrowed a 50mm lens from one of the guys in our camera club and tried it out (I admit just to prove your wrong). After shooting with it for the last two weeks I just ordered my first ever 50mm lens from B&H.

Marty Cubberly

I just love my 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor and the pictures it (and I) produce. To each and his own, I guess, and this is art.

Paniwat Subrungruang

We Stand Corrected

You mentioned in your response to Emma that Nikon is the only manufacturer that you can use the autofocus lenses on their manual cameras. 

This is not true PENTAX is another manufacturer whose autofocus lenses will work on their manual cameras and vice versa, also all of their lenses will fit all their models of cameras that have interchangeable lenses. I have 5 Pentax cameras from the K1000 to the PZIP and 10 lenses both autofocus and manual focus and interchange the lens on all the different models. Why is Pentax never given their just due, I am tired of Nikon and Cannon getting all the credits.

Ronald McCue

Ronald is absolutely correct.

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