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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 am having problems photographing my five-month-old niece. Almost all of the pictures come out blurry. However, I can take pictures of other people with the same roll and with the same light and they come out fine. What am I doing wrong on the baby picture? I'm using Fuji Reala 100.


Its hard to say what you are doing wrong without knowing more about your camera, lens, etc. I will tell you that the most common problem I've seen when photographing babies is getting too close. Cameras (especially point and shoot cameras) can't focus if you're too close to your subject. On an SLR this minimum distance is dictated by the lens. Also, the closer you get to your subject, the more important it is to make sure there is no camera movement while shooting.

Not using a flash when shooting indoors may be adding to the problem. Adults and older kids know to stop moving when they're being photographed. Babies don't understand this. If you are indoors or in shaded outdoor areas using ISO 100 film you'll need to use either flash or a faster film.

I am new to digital photography. I would like to know how to use a flash meter with a digital camera with studio flash considering that with digital there is no film speed to consider.

Thank you. 
Jim Markiewicz

The CCD chips in digital cameras all have a sensitivity rating. Check the owner's manual of your camera to determine the ISO rating of your camera (or what it can be set to as most are adjustable). Once you know the ISO setting the procedure is the same as when shooting with film. Set the ISO on meter, take your reading, set the camera and shoot.

I have an Epson 3100z, I am thinking of getting a second flashcard for it, I just want to know which other card capacities to go for. Could you please help.

Thanks and best regards
Hassan Noah 
Riyadh Saudi Arabia

The more images you want to store at high resolution before you have to download or change cards, the more memory you will need.

The Epson 3100z uses standard compact flash cards that are available at reasonable prices up to 256MB. The type I cards are now available in larger formats but their price jumps up quickly above 256MB.

On it's high-resolution setting, you camera will hold approximately the following: 

Card Size Images
32MB 24
64MB 48
128MB 96
256MB 192
512MB 384

I prefer shooting at high resolution because we don't always know what we are going to do with a file down the road. Enlargements look much better when you start with a high-res file. You can always reduce the file size in your computer later to save space.

A friend sent a photo to me (taken by a digital camera) and asked me to crop it and "fix it up" for her, but she named it with an .art extension. She then wants me to print it for her. Is there a way to change the extension so that I can move it into a photo program like Adobe?

Sharoda Snyder

There's no .ART file format that we've ever heard of so we're going to assume that it's something she made up. Chances are that the file is actually a JPEG or TIFF format and our bet would be that it's a JPEG. Make a copy of the file and rename the copy so that it has a .JPG extension. Then try and open it with your graphics program. If you get an "invalid format" error message, or something similar, try it again with a .TIF extension. I'd be very surprised if one of those didn't work.

Please, I would like to know what ISO`s mean?

Thank you so much 
Alan Langley

ISO stands for the International Standards Organization. An ISO is a number that represents films sensitivity to light. It is derived from a combination of the older arithmetic (ASA) and logarithmic (DIN) standards. At one time film with an ASA rating of 100 would have had a DIN rating of 21. Today, it would be marked ISO 100/21.

The speeds themselves represent how much or how little light would be needed to produce a proper exposure. A film with ISO 200 would be twice as sensitive to light as ISO 100. In other words, it would require half as much light to get a proper exposure. The higher the ISO number, the less light needed for proper exposure. The higher the number the "faster" the film. Higher speed films are better for stopping action. The compromise is that higher speed films tend to be a bit grainier - though this isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.

I have recently purchased Nikon F55.Please tell me whether it was a right choice or not? Because so now I feel it was a bad choice, correct me if I am wrong.


The Nikon F55/N55 is a good camera. The question is will it do what you want it to do? If it does what you want then it is probably a good choice for you. For more information see our Review of the N55 


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