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Advanced 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. 

My question centers around equipment. This past summer I lost both my digital cameras a Point and Shoot and Nikon D100 to harsh weather conditions (rain and humidity). My film camera a Nikon Fm2n was also damaged (this was due to a hard knock on the camera which bent the chasis of the camera and made it unusable. I was later able to fix the FM2n by unconventional means but the digitals are done. So with that as a background, is the sturdiness of digital cameras not as reliable as that of film cameras? I was told that the Nikon D100 could be fixed but there are no longer parts available for it. I'm planning on getting replacements, but I'm not sure if I should get another digital or go back to film, particularly mechanical cameras.


P.S. I'm not throwing the cameras around but do lots of hiking and such.

Digital cameras do have more electronics in them than cameras like your FM2n has. This doesn't mean that they are necessarily delicate. SLR type cameras (and I don't care if it is film or digital) are made to withstand varying degrees of use/abuse. The D100, although a very dependable camera, is not built to withstand the conditions that cameras like the Nikon D2h or D2x are designed for. Just as the Nikon N75 is not designed to withstand the conditions that the Nikon F100 or F5 or F6 are designed for. The point here is; that if you need to use your cameras in extreme conditions, buy a camera that is designed for those conditions. They'll take more of the punishment that those conditions will put on them.

I have used a Nikon F4s and F5 in torrential downpours, heavy blowing snow, and windy conditions on beaches. Just like you, my cameras aren't being thrown around, but they have taken some knocks with no problems.

I was trying to take a clear picture of the moon last night with my digital rebel and canon 70-200 lens (on a tripod), but every picture had the moon looking like a yellow spot with no texture whatsoever. I tried long shutter speeds, high and low aperture settings, small and large ISO's, even the automatic settings and they all produced the same results. The moon looks very crisp and clear in the viewfinder (you could actually see the texture of the moon), but all that came out was a bright, shiny spot in the sky. Any ideas as to what caused this and how I could fix it? Do I need a UV filter? Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks a bunch for your help! 

It sounds to me that the images were over exposed. If you were using the normal evaluative metering, the camera will try to expose for the black sky around the moon. This will lead to longer exposures, and the moon, which is considerably brighter than the sky around it, would be overexposed and washed out.

Try using the partial metering mode (this will isolate the metering to a circle in the viewfinder covering only 9% of the viewfinder). This will allow the camera to meter much less of the sky, which should lead to a more accurate exposure of the moon. If the moon is still washed out, take note of the exposure the camera is using and manually set shorter exposures taking test shots until you find the exposure you want.

I have a Nikon Coolpix 995 - until recently I loved it. All of a sudden it started having some focusing problems. First just the macro gave me problems It would not focus on the actual subject, but on the background and now it is sometimes doing it with normal settings. I have updated the camera software, I have reset the camera to factory defaults, I have tried different media, and nothing seems to help. For It to easily focus on a macro (using my finger as a test), I have to have most of the lens covered, not just a center or spot etc.

Any idea's or shall I toss it and get a Canon or a D-70???


There are couple things to check (if you haven't yet) before doing anything else. The first thing and most obvious, make sure the lens is clean. A smudge on a lens can cause some strange focusing problems.

The next thing to check is to make sure that the lens type setting has not been changed to use one of the auxiliary lenses.

If your lens is clean and the camera is set for the normal, built in lens, there may be a more serious internal problem. I have heard of a few digital cameras developing a focus problem where the camera focuses behind the subject. I have not heard of that problem with the Coolpix 995, but it is possible.

If you haven't done so yet, call Nikon's digital customer support and run the problem by them. They can help confirm whether it is a service problem or not. If it turns out to be a service situation, ask them for a ballpark price (most service centers work on a flat rate system). This price should give you a good idea what the repair should cost. This would also be the information you would need to make an informed decision on where to go next.

I've been shooting for about fifteen years now. I have managed to take a lot of what I feel are great scenic and landscape photographs. I would like to try to sell some of these images to earn a little extra money. Do you know of any books or resources that may help me with this?

Thank you for your help.


One of the best books to find places that buy photos is Photographer's Market 2005. This book has listings of publishers of greeting cards, posters, calendars, books, and many other companies that buy photos on a regular basis. It also has a lot of other information and tips for contacting buyers, submitting work, as well as legal tips.

You can get this book at most large bookstores, or, it can be ordered from

The Photographers Market 2005, by Donna Poehner, Erika Kruse; Writers Digest Books; ISBN: 158297277x

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