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Advanced 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. 

Good afternoon from the sunny Caribbean.

I want to buy a Sigma SD9 but I have several Nikon lenses. Is there a way to use the Nikon lenses (adaptor or so) on the SD9 ?

Jean Jarreau

Good afternoon from the rainy and cold Northeast. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it!

I am sorry to say there is no adapter to let you use your Nikon lenses on the Sigma SD-9 that I can find. Sigma has designed their camera to use their own SA mount lenses. So you would either have to buy all new lenses to go with the SD-9 or go with a Nikon digital SLR, Fuji S-2 Pro, or the Kodak Pro 14n. All of which will use your Nikon AF lenses.

I'm thinking of purchasing a new zoom lens. I saw a new advertisement for a new Tokina Lens, ATX-242AF 24-200mm f3.5-5.6. This is the type of lens, which would suite my needs for street photography. I have several Sigma and Nikon lenses, but they are not a true telephoto lens. I know Tokina has been around for a while like Sigma and Tamron. Are you familiar with Tokina and has anyone reviewed this lens.

Any input is appreciated. 
Elaine C. Carbone

Like very manufacturer Tokina has some good lenses and some OK lenses. The ATX designation in the Tokina lineup indicates this is one of their pro level lenses. We gave this lens a "Thumbs Up" in our review in Volume #9. You can read about it at

I'm trying to find a distributor for an extremely light custom ballhead made in Russia. I saw it years ago at Sam'y in San Francisco. Have you ever heard of it?

Ray Miller

Sorry Ray we haven't run into this one. How about it readers? Have any of you run across this one? Drop us a line and let us know and we'll forward the information.

Now let me bring up a problem that I know more and more people are going to have. I own a Nikon LS 2000 film scanner. I just upgraded to a newer Dell computer that uses Windows XP. The scanner doesn't work on XP. I have talked with Nikon and was advised to get the SCSI card 2906 from Adaptec, as that is the only SCSI card that will work with the scanner using XP. The problem is this. The card came with a version 5+ driver imbedded with the card, and the scanner will only work with version 4.xx. XP will not allow you to go to the correct driver. I can see it I just can't get to it. Everyone agrees that this is the problem; it's just that Nikon doesn't indicate they plan to keep supporting this older scanner.

Chuck Pike

Jim McGee Says: 
I hate Microsoft more and more with every new release of Windows; and SCSI has ALWAYS been a fussy format. Now with the prevalence of USB and Firewire SCSI thankfully seems to be fading away as a standard so I'm not surprised that the choices are becoming limited. But I am a bit surprised at your not being able to get answers from Nikon. More than any other camera manufacturer they've committed to supporting "old" technology. This is especially true with their pro gear - and the LS 2000 which, sold for over $1,600 - certainly qualifies as pro gear.

The real problem here is the lack of tech support available from Microsoft for Windows XP. That is unless you're willing to pay them to tell you how to patch their buggy software - which you've already paid to purchase. The alternative is to try and navigate a swamp of online and email support at There may well be a simple "back door" way to get to the driver you need but there isn't an easy way to get that information out of Microsoft. I've also been hearing complaints lately about the quality of tech support from Dell. Evidently they've moved their support to India and these support techs are simply reading from a support database that you can access yourself via the Web. If that's true your chances of getting real help from Dell are slim.

Not being into self-abuse I did what most sane people do. I ignored Microsoft tech support completely. I started my search with Dell's Web site and found nothing of value (though I believe more is available if you're a Dell owner). 

Then I went to Nikon's online Digital Knowledge Database. This is a support site for all Nikon digital products past and present. It's available through their Digital Tech Support Center by clicking on the product you own. You can follow the links from there. Although it's well organized, this database like any other, requires you be a bit of a detective and search for answers under a number of possible categories. Use the category drop down to limit the number of answers returned by each query.

The most helpful bit of information was under a general section on SCSI installation 

When connecting a Nikon SCSI device to a Windows based computer a piece of software called "ASPI" needs to be installed. This is basically driver software that "teaches" the operating system how to interact with SCSI devices. The easiest way to obtain this ASPI software is to download it from the Adaptec web site.

Follow this link or search for "ASPI" on the downloads section at

On the Adaptec Web Site there is a patch for Windows XP that installs the Adaptec Windows ASPI drivers version v4.71.2 that you can download by clicking here. From your email it sounds like this is the driver you need.

During the installation process you'll get a warning message 

You are overwriting a more recent version of your Adaptec SCSI ASPI driver - Continue Yes / No

Choose Yes to install version v4.71.2. 

Complete installation instructions for Windows XP are available in a downloadable PDF from Adaptec. Make sure to read through the installation instructions before starting. If for some reason you do run into problems with the installation of the driver your best bet will be to contact Adaptec tech support (since it's their product). I haven't dealt directly with Adaptec Tech Support in quite a while so I don't know what to expect there. 

But once the new ASPI driver is installed the fun isn't over. You still have to install your Nikon Scan software. Make sure you download the latest version (v3.1.2) from the Nikon Web site and also download The Guide for Nikon Scan 3.1.2 installation on Windows XP 

Once the scanner and software are installed you'll get the the following error message from Windows XP when you reboot: 

ERROR: Device Nikon LS-2000 has not passed the Microsoft Windows XP Logo testing (the wording will vary depending on XP version).

Nikon says: 

When using the Microsoft XP Operating System the OS has a database of devices that Microsoft has tested and "approved" for use with XP. As Microsoft tests devices they update the list with more devices. If a device has not been tested or has not passed testing the warning message will display.

Using a device, which has not passed testing, may cause problems with the system or be incompatible with other devices, however, Nikon has tested our devices and all devices supported on Windows XP are fully compatible. The warning message can be ignored.

After reading all this you might be tempted to try one of the USB to SCSI or Firewire to SCSI converters that are available. Be forewarned - they're not cheap and they're very fussy. Remember SCSI is a fussy format to start with. I've heard enough horror stories about compatibility problems between converter devices and some SCSI devices that I'd only try one as a last resort. And I would only consider buying one if the store manager agrees to refund your money if it doesn't work with your LS-2000.

Let us know how you make out and make sure you backup before starting any Windows software installation.

Please send your hate mail to Microsoft - that is if you can find an email address on their Web site where you can.

I am primarily thinking about film camera flash sync here. Please don't explain slow sync and rear curtain sync, those are easy to understand. But, I have never read an explanation of why (for example) camera A has shutter speeds from B to 2000 and its max sync speed is 125 or less and camera X has the same available shutter speeds but its max sync speed is 250. Since both shutters have the same range of speeds, why can't they both sync with flash at the same speeds.


The flash sync in a camera has a lot to do with how the shutter curtain is designed. The number of blades and the direction of travel have to be taken into consideration when synchronizing it to the burst of the flash. Solid curtains that travel horizontally (the long way) across the film plane will take longer than a shutter traveling vertically (the short way) across the film plane. This difference in time, can make a huge difference in synching to the flash.

My main concern is shooting in very tight spaces. My home doubles as my studio (not a lot of space). I'm using a backdrop and studio lights (600w) with two 45" umbrellas. My main problem is shadows I can't get my subject far enough away from the backdrop to eliminate shadows and the wrinkles in the back drop itself. I also have hot lights. What could remedy the shadows? I guess I could pull the wrinkles out.

PS..need a quick solution

Hubert Williams

You can try using a background light to eliminate or reduce the shadow from your subject. You would place it between your subject and the background on a small light stand, and position the light to illuminate the area where the shadow falls. You may have to experiment a little to get the correct brightness as this may cause the background to go lighter than you want.

Another trick you may want to try is to raise the lights slightly and angle them downward. Be careful doing this as it may cause unwanted shadows on your subjects face if you angle them too much. The downward angle may help throw the shadow below the camera's line of sight.

A photographer I know has also had success bouncing the light off of the ceiling. This will diffuse the light enough that you won't have a shadow from your subject. Again watch for unwanted shadows on your subjects face. You may want to use a reflector to fill in the eyes and under the chin using this technique.


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