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Beginner 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 am actually searching for a part for my Quantaray 28-200 it is the circular piece that goes around the inside of my lens...the part that clips/snaps the lens to the camera is a Minolta 3xi Maxxum.

Melissa Thornton

It sounds to me you are referring to the lens mount. Quantaray is an in-house brand for Ritz Camera. You can try contacting their Customer Service department at (301) 419-0000. They may refer or transfer you to their repair department. You can also try camera repair shops in your area. Many of these mounts are interchangeable so they may have one that will work. Don't be surprised if they won't sell you the mount. Many companies consider lens mounts "not user installable" because alignment is so critical. They would require a qualified technician install the parts. If this is the case, they should be able to tell you up front how much the repair will cost.

I have a 4.7 digital camera, my picture come out at a t35x25 or something like that, I cut them down to 11x14s but I cant get them small enough to send in the email what am I doing wrong? There's no way a dial up person could receive them, they're at a 1.7mb


It sounds like there are two things going on here. The first is the resolution of the image, the second is the size of the file. When you're referring to 11x14 for an image of that size the resolution is set at 72ppi. That's fine for displaying on the Web but not for printing. For printing you'll want to use 300ppi. The process varies for each image editor, but you generally change this setting by resizing the image. Resolution (in ppi) will be one of the options.

It sounds like resizing will also help you with the size of the file you're sending by email. Set the image size to be around 400 pixels on the longest side (wide or tall) at 72ppi for a small file to email. This will download quickly for someone who is using a 56k modem.

I use a Canon Rebel 2000 and like to take landscape pictures. I live in the Northeast and the winter weather lately has provided good material. In my reading it has been said that when taking pictures of snow you should adjust the exposure as the meter can be fooled by the snow. So I have been using the exposure compensation feature on my camera. However, in a recent EMAZING photography tip that I received in my e-mail, it said that this is unnecessary with the newer camera's. I have not processed the last roll I took to find out how they turned out but would like to hear what your thoughts are on this.


It used to be that a lot of cameras would be fooled by the high reflectance of the snow and would overcompensate for the brightness and cause your images to be underexposed. Today, the newer cameras have much more sophisticated metering systems than cameras in the past. Manufactures have been able to capitalize on years of experience in photography and the small size of data storage devices to store many sets of exposure characteristics for different scenes in the camera that will allow the meters to compare a scene it is looking at to one in its database. This allows camera meters to be more accurate where compensation would have been required in the past.

I wouldn't say all meters are 100% accurate because there can be other factors that can cause exposure to be off. Experience is the best educator. If in doubt, try shooting snow scenes both ways and compare the results.

One word of warning though, if you are shooting print film, make sure you tell the lab not to correct the exposure; otherwise they will automatically correct your exposure and you may not see any difference.

I'm interested in professional photography, but more as a hobby. Initially, I planned to invest in some type of SLR, but now I'm thinking about getting a digital camera instead. I know the more professional ones can get pretty expensive, so I've looked at the Olympus Camedia C-4000 and at the Sony Cybershot P85.

Basically, I really want to learn the art of photography. Could you suggest a good beginner's camera, SLR and/or digital? I already have a pretty good point and shoot, so I want something a little more advanced. Sales people haven't been a lot of help.

Latresa McLawhorn

If you want the creative capability and the control needed to truly learnphotography, an SLR would be a great place to start and film SLR cameras are still much more affordable than digitals.

The less expensive digitals can produce great image quality and many will give you the manual capabilities but they don't offer interchangeable lenses. Some will allow you to use wide angle or tele adapters (purchased separately). A few will allow you to use flash attachments, but many of those only offer manual flash, not dedicated through the lens (TTL) flash as you would get on an SLR.

I still prefer traditional film for starting out. Learn the basics and then make an informed decision on a digital SLR.

Also, if you haven't read our updated article "Buying Your First Camera" check it out at It will give you a ton of great information to help you make the decision that's right for you.

I have an Epson Perfection 1660 PHOTO flatbed scanner. I recently attempted to scan some of my parent's old slides using the included film scanner. The film on these slides is not the same size as the current 35mm slides out there. The scanning itself was good quality but the slides were cropped severely. Why does this happen? Is there some way to correct for it? I have hundreds of slides to scan and I'm stuck...please help!


The Epson 1660 has a built in 35mm film strip adapter that allows you to scan 35mm negatives and slides. 

The slides you're trying to scan are probably medium format slides. To scan these you'll need the transparency adapter for your printer. The Epson part number is B813172. 

This adapter replaces the lid on your Perfection 1660 and allows you to scan slides up to 4x5. You can order it directly from Epson for $99 through their Web site by clicking here.

My question is regarding batteries for my camera. I have recently bought a Nikon 8008s. Since it is now winter here in Montana I was considering putting in lithium AA's. I found a new package of them in the back of the bill drawer? My concern is when I rewind film. This camera doesn't have a manual rewind so I need to rely on the motor drive. Will lithiums rewind the cold (brittle) film to aggressively and possibly causing damage in any way? Are lithiums ok for the camera body itself?

Thanks for your help... 
Barry Jones

I haven't heard of any electronic rewind cameras causing damage to film while rewinding in cold weather. As far as the batteries go, I know several people who have been using lithium AA's in that camera for years without any problems. You should be good to go.

I have recently been bitten by the photography bug and bought a Nikon 8008s, 24mm & 70-210mm lens, and a few filters. My question concerns metering w/ filters. I purchased a Hoya HMC 81A, and a Cokin Circular Polarizer to fit the Cokin P holder. I understand that the 81A doesn't necessitate much of a concern regarding a shift in exposure values. In the instance that I'm using a polarizer, should I meter the scene before I put it on and then compensate by a stop or so? Or can you put the filter on, meter the scene, and then go with a preferred exposure w/ out compensation for the filter. 

Thanks for any information... 
Barry Jones

The nice thing about through the lens metering or TTL metering, which your 8008 has, is the camera measures the light coming through lens. If you have a filter over the lens that reduces the incoming light the camera automatically measures it and compensates accordingly.

From reader Herbert Lewis - 

In looking over some of the questions in past issues, I see several about finding the copyright symbol on the keyboard. With a Mac, look to Keycaps in the Apple Menu, then hold down the option key for one set of symbols or the control key for another. The copyright symbol is OPTION>G: ) 2003? 

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