Site search Web search

Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online
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.

I will travel in Indochina in May when temperatures reach a high of 37 degrees C. I usually use Fuji Velvia or Provia 100 and 400 however I am concerned that because I won't be able to process exposed film for up to 2 weeks, this and the temperature may have an adverse effect on the photographs. Of course I will take every precaution to keep the film as cool as possible but sometimes I will be out all day with film in my bag. Would it be safer to take consumer transparency film like Sensia or can professional slide film handle the situation?

Tina Mortimer

At those temperatures, amateur films will not be too happy either. The amateur films may be a little more forgiving with the heat, but I don't think it will make a huge difference if you are going to be carrying it all with you everyday.

The best thing that I can tell you is, if at all possible, leave any exposed film in a refrigerator with your extra film that you know you won't need that day while you are out shooting. If a refrigerator isn't possible, try using an ice chest with a plastic container to keep the film out of the water when the ice melts. You will probably have to refill the chest each day but it would keep the film cool for you. While out shooting, obviously try to keep the film out of the sun as much as possible.

Do you know where I can find a litho developer?


Porters Camera has at least 4 different litho developers. Find them at

How does adding a neutral density filter differ from stopping down, or increasing shutter speed? This question is prompted by your Emazing tip shown below:

"Our eyes can see and record differences in light levels far better than film can. So when you're looking at the spectacular play of light and shadow across a valley near sunset, how do you capture it on film?"


A graduated neutral density (ND) filter is the answer.

The Emazing tip refers to using a graduated neutral density filter rather than a standard neutral density filter. The difference between the two is that the graduated filter gradates from a dark neutral tone to clear glass. What happens with this filter is that the neutral density (ND) part is reducing the light intensity without altering the colors being transmitted. This is helpful in scenic photos where you want to get the light intensity of the sky closer to the lower light intensity of the foreground.

If you were to stop down or change the shutter speed, you do not change the intensity of the light. The sky would still be much more intense than the foreground.

For more information on using this filter see Moose Peterson's article "Filter That Light".

I have a Canon IX along with a Elan 7E and other and I love the APS format in an slr. However I am hearing that the aps may be discontinued at some point. What is the real story on this great format?


It is true that several manufactures have left APS behind. However, Canon, Kodak and Fuji are still going to manufacture cameras in this system. That means you will still be able to get film and get it developed. I doubt we will see any new SLRs in this system as the demand for APS SLRs wasn't quite strong enough to justify development costs. It also seems that ISO 100 film has disappeared from the APS film line-ups, but they have introduced ISO 800 films.

Several manufacturers were disappointed that the system did not hit the target of 80% market share of cameras sold after five years. This figure was probably set way too high. APS hit about 30% market share. When you think about it, for a new system to achieve 30% after 5 years is not too bad.

No one has said that the Advanced Photo System will be discontinued anytime soon, but with less companies selling and promoting the system, who knows what will happen in the future. After all, some people are calling for the demise of 35mm to digital!

I like many others, Have several hundreds of dollars invested in film Photo equipment. Have you heard of any company that is researching a digital back that can be adapted to film cameras to convert them to digital so digital photos can be downloaded into a computer. I have spent years obtaining just the right lenses, and other Photo devices, that can not be adapted to the new Digital Cameras.

Thanks BOB T

There is a company that has been working on a drop in digital adapter for SLR cameras called Silicon Film.

This e-film (as they refer to it) is available for use in selected Nikon and Canon cameras and all the current lenses for those cameras. The current e-film is limited to 1.3 megapixels and uses a small CCD. They do include a viewfinder mask to correct the aspect ratio between 35mm and digital formats. The usable area of the chip is about the size of the center spot in the viewfinder of a manual camera.

The e-film cartridges are not interchangeable between camera models. This product is still developing and has a long way to go to compete with the current assortment of 2 and 3+ megapixel cameras.

If you would like more information on this technology, you can check them out at

Now that I have moved over to a Canon D30, my only film based work is for slide shows. On my last trip to west Africa, I shot slides and digital. Now I want to go all digital and that means some sort of multimedia projector. I could not find any reviews on your web site or on your CDs. Any thoughts or plans to do a review. It has been hard to get any independent info on this subject.

Sage Sweetwood

As you know, the problem with the transition from slide projector to digital projection has been that these projector, up until recently were design for the corporate world. Business men and women use digital and a laptop for easy Power Point presentations. My problem has always been, how to get these images to look as good as my slides do when projected.

To me, they haven't, so I continue to do it the old-fashioned way. However, Jim McGee and I just got back from the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) show in Orlando, I spent some time talking to Canon about my issues with digital projection. They showed me the new LV-X1 projector that they had on display there. This unit has a newly designed optical box for superior quality image projection. I have not tested this projector, other than to see it demonstrated at the show. Until I see my own images on a screen, I will have to reserve passing judgment. It does look promising however, and the price is fare considering what some of these units can cost.

At this point I would watch for tests in a PC magazine, and go on-line to Canon for more details.

  Subscribe to Vivid Light 
Photography by email 

Tell Us What You Think


Banner 10000006



Vivid Light Photography, monthly photography magazine online

Site search Web search

Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online