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Beginner Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 12 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions. 

I have a Nikon F60 camera; I wonder if the new SB-80DX flash could work with the F60.

Thank you very much! 

The SB-80DX will work on the F60 in the following modes: matrix balanced fill-flash, center-weighted and spot fill-flash, non-TTL auto flash, repeating flash, and manual flash.

There is a diopter setting for my viewfinder on my Olympus 4040Zoom. I almost always use the screen but my mentor wants me to use the viewfinder. I have gone through the entire focus range it allows but the images in the viewfinder are all blurry at every distance some more some less.

What effect does changing the diopter have on the image the camera records? Hardly any of my images are out of focus.


The diopter adjustment is a correction of the eyepiece to make it more comfortable for you to see through the viewfinder without needing glasses (assuming you need glasses). It has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the image being recorded.

If adjusting the diopter does not allow for you to see comfortably without glasses, it usually means that your correction is beyond the range of the built in diopter.

I have just bought the Nikon SB80DX to use with my F80. The problem is, when I am using the 3D multi-sensor balanced fill-flash or the non-TTL auto flash mode, the SB80DX fires straight away once I press the shutter release. There is no monitor pre-flashes as what it should be!

Even for shots taken with matrix metering with aperture-priority auto and/or manual for non-TTL auto flash mode. 

Thank you for your comment. 

Actually you will not be able to see the monitor pre-flash. The pre-flash fires very quickly just prior to the actual flash firing for the photograph. The camera will be able to differentiate the two but we will not.

I have a Nikon N60 and a Nikon F5 for which I am looking to buy flash brackets for. Do you recommend anything in particular? What all accessories do I need to buy? I have 3 weddings coming up for friends and relatives, so I need to find something quick but not too expensive.

My flashes are a Yinyan BY-25AF for Nikon, a Nikon SB-24 and a Nikon SB-26.

I have found a SUNPAK standard grip (2-piece grip w/quick release button), (bracket, hot shoe), cable release w/adapter for Nikon F, F2 and Nikkormat, 2 grip cords (1-long and coiled, 1-short and straight). It's selling for about $55-75. Will this work for either of or both of my cameras? And is this a good price?

If you want to maintain the ability to use any of the automated exposure modes of your cameras with a dedicated flash, the bracket you found won't do the trick. The best set-up I can recommend for you would be to use is the Nikon SC-17 cord and a Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 bracket. I have used these brackets for several years now with the SC-17 cord with great results.

The SC-17 cord is a dedicated cord from Nikon that allows you to remove the flash from the camera and still maintain all flash functions as if it were still mounted directly on the camera.

What I did with my set was to unscrew the shoe on the top of the bracket and screw the end of the SC-17 cord that the camera mounts in its place. I then wrapped the excess cord around the top part of the bracket and once my camera is mounted on the bracket, I slide the other end of the SC-17 on to the hot shoe of the camera. This still allows me to have all the functions of my camera and easily flip to vertical shooting with the bracket.

If you want to see more about Stroboframe brackets, visit 

Hi, I recently purchased the Minolta Maxxum 5 Quartz Date w/Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 AF Zoom lens w/Macro. I love macro! Many years have past (20+) since my first 35mm a Yashica TL Electro AX, (all auto then). Before the Minolta I used an all manual 35mm camera (Zeiss Ikon Icarex 35). I noticed while focusing the Minolta at 28mm, the rubber lens hood caused vignetting round the edges in the viewfinder. I collapsed the hood and took the photo.

My question is: Do they make lens hoods specifically for wide-angle lenses? I've been reading all your back issues since Feb. this year catching up with the times while waiting for the new camera to arrive. Thanks for an awesome online magazine. Like so many others I'd like to get into wildlife photography, I live on the NW coast of Oregon.

Thank you! 

I am glad to hear you're enjoying the magazine. For some reason wide-angle lens hoods haven't been the easiest things to find lately but they are out there. It may be a special order at a lot of places so talk to the people behind the counter. You can also try ordering from B&H Photo at

I have thought of buying a Tokina Af242 24-200mm lens for my F90x and meantime Nikon AF/D 28-105mm is also my I have a Nikon AF50mm 2.8. I dislike changing lens while taking every day photo!!

Please give me a suggestion which one is suitable for me? 

The way you should approach this is to look at what you want to be able to do with one lens. The 24-200 from Tokina will give you a great wide-angle up to a respectable telephoto. If you do not need this much wide-angle or this much telephoto on your everyday lens, then the 28-105 might be a better choice.

Other factors to consider, the Tokina lens is heavier and has a close focus distance of 2.9 feet and no Macro, the Nikon close focus is 1.7 feet and has a Macro of 8.5".

We reviewed both lenses and you'll get good quality with either one. It is mostly a matter of weighing your needs and wants against prices.

For more information on these lenses, see the reviews at and

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