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Home Systems: Great Deals from
Advanced Questions
by Chuck McKern

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. 

Great magazine! I have a question tho'. Equipment I have: Nikon F5, 24-120mm lens, SB28 flash. A friend has asked that I shoot his wedding. It's a combo in and outdoors. Should I should on aperture priority indoors and programmed with auto-fill flash outside. What do you recommend?

Last time I shot a wedding was over 15 yrs. ago and with medium format. Helpful hints using the F5 would be appreciated.

Jim McGinn

With the equipment that you have, I would shoot aperture priority inside and out so you can control the depth of field in your photographs. The flash should definitely be used in TTL mode indoors and in TTL fill flash mode outdoors.

If you can, use a flash bracket to get the flash higher up from the camera, use a Nikon SC-17 cord to allow you to have flash mounted on the bracket and still maintain all your automated and TTL flash settings as if the camera were still mounted on the camera.

You should get great results with this set-up.

Having just read the article Camera Care 101, I was quite shocked when the author Chuck McKern makes the comment "You can also clean the under side of the focusing screen while you are doing the mirror." With no explanation of the dangers involved or the damage you are about to cause.

Does this guy have a clue what happens when you clean the focusing screen in a manually focused camera like a Canon AE-1, A-1, T-70, T-90, F-1N, Spotmatic, Minolta 101, 102,or older Nikon F F2 F3 and on and on. You can't just make a statement like that based on what the newer autofocus clear glass type of screens can handle if in fact they can even handle careless cleaning without damage. On an older camera you will ruin the screen if you go mucking around with lens tissue and a little cleaning fluid. I'm very involved with Canon FD discussion groups being the moderator of a couple of them and we hear all the time from some poor guy or gal who wonders if the screen in an AE-1 that they have loved since they bought it new can be cleaned

Mark W. 

I agree completely about not using tissue and lens cleaner - which is what the article advises. I advised you exercise caution and to use a blower brush - NOT tissue and liquid cleaner.

Below are two sections cut from the article:

"Be very careful when cleaning the mirror. This is a delicate area in your camera. After removing the lens, use a blower brush to gently brush off the mirror. You can also clean the under side of the focusing screen while you are doing the mirror. Don't use a liquid cleaner in this area and don't put any pressure on the mirror whatsoever."

"On cameras with removable focusing screens, you can remove the screen and dust it off with the blower brush. After you have the screen out, be sure to use the blower brush to dust off any of the glass at the bottom of the prism that you can get to."

I agree with you on another point as well. It is heartbreaking how many old cameras, still in solid working condition, are lost to simple maintenance mistakes.

I'm using Photoshop 7.0. I know the new version has some digital camera functions built in but I'm still using film and a scanner. For someone like me is CS a must have or can I just upgrade later on?


CS has some nice features but I wouldn't classify it as a must have - for me. 

The best thing to do is go to the Adobe Web site and look closely at the features of the new version. Since only you know what features are really important for the way you work, only you can decide if CS is a "must have" upgrade.

I'm using an F100 and an 80-400VR with an SB-28 flash mounted on a tripod for shooting birds at a feeder setup in my back yard. I want better control of the flash since it's only really effective at shorter focal lengths. 

I know I saw an article somewhere about some kind of a flash snoot that focuses the flash on a target and increases the reach of the flash. Have you ever heard of it?

B. Patra

I think you're asking about the Kirk Photo flash Extender which sells for $40. You can find out more information on their Web site by clicking here

I just came back from a photo workshop shooting skiers with my new 70-200mm VR lens. The lens is great but the damn tripod collar screw is almost impossible to work with gloves on. Somebody on the tour said they heard there was a replacement knob available but my camera shop and the local Nikon rep don't know anything about a replacement part from Nikon. Can you guys help me out? I figure if I can come up with a part number I can order it through Nikon. Do you know if it even exists?

Thank you, 

We had no idea what you were talking about and our contact at Nikon didn't know either. Then we were looking up info for the previous question and stumbled on it at the Kirk Website. They just came out with a modified knob for the 70-200VR for $15. You can find out more about it by clicking here


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