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.

Just a quick question after reading your great review of the Nikon 80-400 VR lens....

Do you think Nikon will come out with or upgrade this lens to an "S" version making it fully compatible with their auto focus tele-convertors? This really looks like a great lens for bird photography, etc. and I would hate like heck to buy one (not cheap rightfully so!) only to have Nikon come out an "S" version - which by the way is something they should have done up front. But the marketing minds at Nikon are constantly playing the money game with products and product rebates - rebates on products they plan on upgrading. In this case, see how many photogs they can hook on a first release only to come out with a better/improved model - such as an "S" version. BTW - Nikon is offering a $200 rebate on this lens.... When Nikon starts offering rebates warning bells start to go off. Oh well, maybe Nikons bitten me too many times....

Thanks for a great article and web site, 
John Fleming

Rumor has it that Nikon will release VR compatible teleconverters along with an 80-200 f2.8 AFS II VR lens in the fall. Nikon has been asked numerous times why they didn't make the 80-400 VR an AFS lens and why they didn't make it a constant f2.8 aperture. Their stated reasons were cost and weight. To make that lens f2.8 AFS II would require that it be twice the size and at least triple the price. Intelligent marketing would dictate that the first version of the VR technology be affordable enough so that you can sell a bunch, and they have. As for rebates being a harbinger of a lens being discontinued I would disagree. If Nikon discontinued every lens they've offered rebates on this year they wouldn't have any lenses left!

One other thing to keep in mind is that if Nikon comes out with an improved version of a lens or body you've recently purchased it's not because they're trying to stick it to you (though it can feel that way), it's because they have to keep improving their products to survive. In the long run this is a good thing and we all benefit from the improvements.

Perhaps this is not a question to ask here, but I recently was told by someone that they tried to copy and paste a PHOTO from a website and something appeared like, "that's a no-no". I would like to know if anyone put there photos on a website and did this and how it was done. I don't know too much about html, etc. I teach art and these things are copyrighted and I would like to do the same on my website.

Sharoda Snyder

Well, most readers would be bored to tears by an advanced clinic on HTML so let me tell you how to find out this kind of info. In your Web browser click on the VIEW menu. When it drops down click on the SOURCE menu. A window will pop open with all the HTML code for the page. All the secrets are there. But if you really don't know HTML I'd start with a book like HTML for Dummies as an intro.

I process my own black and white film and on a few rolls I've had problems with tiny, little flecks of stuff sticking to the negative after they have dried. My guess is that it is undissolved developer or fixer that was floating around in the fluids. Is there any way to get it off with out scratching the negative (sometimes it is on the emulsion side, sometimes it isn't)? It shows up on the prints like dust (white) and of course basically renders that area of the negative useless.

Would rubbing alcohol work, or is that too strong for use on the emulsion side? 

Any suggestions?
Sarah S.

The flecks that you are referring to could also be residue from old or improperly mixed Photo-flo.

The best way to clean these types of flecks is to soak the film in a fresh mix of Photo-flo being sure that it is mixed well. After soaking the film, carefully squeegee off excess chemicals and hang to dry. If this still leaves the flecks, get some film and emulsion cleaner and use a soft negative cloth to clean the negs. B&H Photo ( has several kinds of film cleaners.

In one of your tips of the day you recommended Genuine Fractals. Can you tell me what program this is and where to I get it?

Thanks Kath Gillies

Genuine Fractals is a software plug-in. It is used in conjunction with programs such as Adobe Photoshop. You can get more information on it as well as purchase it directly from the folks from LizardTech Software at

  Subscribe to Vivid Light 
Photography by email 

Tell Us What You Think

Vivid Light Photography, monthly photography magazine online

Site search Web search

Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online