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Beginner Questions

With over 15 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 used a Nikon 6006 for years, and it has always taken very sharp pictures. However, in the last 6 months or so, my pictures have consistently been grainy and a bit dull. They resemble pictures where the film has been pushed, or pictures taken with a cheap disposable camera. My technique hasn't changed - any ideas what could be causing this? 


There are a couple of things you can check. First double check to make sure the ISO is set correctly. If you are not changing this, check to see if it is on DX to automatically set when you change film.

Secondly, if you were using only one lens, try using a second lens (if you have one) to see if you are having the same problem. If you are at this point, there may be a problem with the meter. If you do not have the problem after changing the lens, the problem may be in the lens. (the aperture may be stuck and not allowing enough light in)

If you are still having problems, or don't have a second lens, take you camera and some of the problem negatives to a reputable camera store and they can further assist you in diagnosing the problem.

My wife has a Sony dsc-s85 Cybershot, 4.1 megapixel,2272x1704, 52mm and she wants to get a tele lens for it. I'm not sure what to buy. Any advice?


I was unable to find a lot of information on the DSC-S85. What I did find is that it required a lens adapter to use a wide angle attachment. I did not find any information about using a tele converter. The thread that the lens adapter screws into is 45mm and I do not know of a 45mm thread lens. The thread required to screw into the lens adapter is 52mm. Sony does make a 2x tele converter with the 52mm thread. This combination may work, but you should check with Sony technical support to be sure.

The lens adapter is the VAD-S70 and the 52mm 2x tele converter is VCL-R2052.

I'm interested in buying an "entry-level" wide-angle lens for my son who owns a Nikon FM10 camera. I've been able to find many automatic lenses in my price range but have been told this is a manual camera, so he needs a manual focus lens. How do I know which lenses will fit on the camera? I found a Website that tried to explain AI, NAI or AIS, but I don't have access to his camera to get a good look at it. I've tried our local camera stores, but they don't have any lenses that would fit, so I'm looking to order one and want to make sure it will mount on his camera.


The Nikon FM10 will accept the auto focus lenses and work with no problem. Nikon uses the same lens mount on their manual focus cameras as their auto focus cameras. This allows you to use auto focus lenses on the FM10 (It will only focus manually). What you have to be aware of is that the "G" series lenses will not allow the photographer to adjust the apertures (there is no aperture ring) so you would want to avoid these lenses. Ideally you can use any AIS lens or newer with the exception of the "G" series lenses.

I was wondering if I could use 800 speed film inside? I know it is for fast moving items.. but would it come out?


Yes, ISO 800 film can be used for added stopping power in action photography. It can also be used successfully to increase the usable range of a flash in low light, or for increasing the shutter speeds in low light photography when no flash is being used.

You do have to be careful not to use too strong a flash with 800 speed film, when you at a relatively modest distance from your subject. At a short distance, using the 800 speed films may cause over exposure.

I am interested in getting into the business of photography. The idea of selling my pictures to photo database companies, etc, (or any other options). Do I need to have tens of thousands of pictures for that to happen? Or will the few thousand that I do have work? And do I need to transfer all my 4x6 prints into slides? Or is it possible to just copy the negatives, and send them out? And will I be required to constantly send them in new pictures? Or can I just use my pictures taken over the years (I'm 27). I have a Rebel X, and have been told I take a good picture (and not just from family). I've even been hired before, to do a couple sailing regattas. Oh, and I'd like for this to be a part time thing, not a career.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Unfortunately, the answers to your questions vary from one stock house to another. The best resource for information on this is The 2005 Photographers Market by Donna Poehner, Erika Kruse; ISBN: 158297277X; Publisher: Writers Digest Books (November 5, 2004).

This book lists many stock houses as well as publishing companies that buy photographs on a regular basis. It also has their requirements and contact information. The authors of the book also include many tips for contacting and submitting to the companies.

I have had my Nikon N65 for several years. It takes great pictures. Now, I look through the lens and it looks like it is "tinted" and it won't take pictures. I thought it was the batteries, but it's not.

This is a problem that comes up occasionally and is a problem that will require service. It will be one of two things. Either the aperture in the lens is stuck closed or the part of the camera the controls the aperture setting is causing the aperture to stay closed.

I suggest taking to an authorized Nikon repair center for diagnosing and service options. If you do not have a repair center near you, a good local authorized dealer can assist you in diagnosing it, and can usually send the repair out for you if decide to have it repaired.


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