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 have always used Duracells in my F100 and N90s. Do you have any thoughts on the NiMH rechargeable batteries (1.2v)? I am concerned with possible camera damage. I think Nikon says they can be used in the SB-28. Any advice on battery use?
There are a lot different ideas on which power sources are the best and which rechargeables are safe. NiMH batteries are great. No memory and relatively cheap. However, Nikon has no recommendation about using these batteries in their N-90s. The problem is not the slightly lower voltage (1.2v vs. 1.5v of alkaline), it is that NiMH batteries typically have more amperage in them. This can harm electronics that are not equipped to handle this power. The N-90s and N-90 both have a switch in the battery holder to set for either alkaline or the NiCD batteries, but it is not recommended to use NiMH.
The F100 is designed to use four AA alkaline or lithium batteries. It is recommended that if you want to use NiMH technology with this camera, you use the MN-15 NiMH battery with the MS-15 battery holder. The MS-15 battery holder can also be used to hold six alkaline or lithium batteries. My personal experience with rechargeable batteries in cameras is that the batteries do not hold charge as long as a good set of alkalines. I typically use alkaline AA's in my equipment and find that they are much more reliable and economical.
As for the SB-28, I have been told by Nikon that you can use the rechargeables in it. This will give you several advantages. One is that the recycle time will be a little shorter and since the flash chews up batteries faster than cameras do, you will not have to keep buying new batteries. Keep in mind, the rechargeables will deplete faster than alkalines so you may need to keep several sets of batteries on hand, charged and ready to go.
I generally use alkalines in camera bodies and alkalines or lithiums in flashes. I prefer to sacrifice some recycle time for the added longevity.
What happens if a color negative film is processed by a black and white developer instead of C-41 process? How does the resulting negative, if any, compare to that of b&w films?
The layers of color and black and white film are completely different. When color negative film is run through black and white developer, what you get is a completely blank roll of film. No usable images could result.
Is there a way to shoot into the sun without getting lens flare? Over the years I have never quite been able to manage it. This has always been a neg. retouch job... I thought maybe there was a miracle answer or a simple way... I just got back into photography a few years ago... and with all the new things out there maybe I was missing one...
We have not found a sure fire method of shooting directly into the sun. Their are, however, several things that can be done to help prevent problems in these conditions.
The coatings of your lenses can help. "ED" (Extra Low Dispersion) or "LD" (Low Dispersion) type coated lenses help reduce flare in lenses by maintaining better focusing control of the light rays passing through the lens. Also, the use of lens hoods or shades can help eliminate lens flare.
In some cases you may want to avoid "stacking" filters. The more pieces of glass you have on the lens in this situation can increase the odds of more reflections. If you're using filters, several manufacturers have multi-coated filters that can reduce the effects of lens flare. When all else fails, as you mentioned, the negatives can be touched up or the image can be touched up digitally.
I have read that Fujichrome Sensia (the consumer film) is essentially the same thing as their professional film, but without the special handling (i.e. - aging, refrigerated transport) which justifies the higher price. Is this true, and if so, which of Fuji's pro level films is the properly aged and handled Sensia?
This is a question that comes up a lot. Professional and amateur films are very similar in characteristics to a certain point. In typical photographs with minor enlargement, there will be very few differences. Most people will not be able to distinguish the difference. Professional films are designed to be enlarged to greater sizes and to be retouched.
Most professional films also need to be refrigerated before use and prior to development. This is to ensure precise, repeatable color reproduction. The refrigeration of the film will slow the aging process so you should be able to get the same result a month from now as you did today.
The difference in color between the two levels of film may be slight, but if you are dealing with a critical application, tight control is needed for consistency. Provia seems to be the closest professional film to Sensia.
I am concerned with possible camera damage with NiMH batteries...
I have read that Fujichrome Sensia is essentially the same thing as their professional film
text and photography copyright © 2001 Vivid Light Publishing