How often does a student publication dazzle you with unusual electronically manipulated images such as the one below; photo essays captured with state-of-the-art digital cameras; and informative articles on desktop publishing? Answer: At least twice a year, if you’re lucky enough to receive a copy of E.S.P.R.I.T. (Electronic Still Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology).
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor spray, nor dark Of night should keep you from capturing your best shot!
“Your Best Shot” Entry Rules: You may send up to 20 of your best shots (transparencies or prints no larger than 8×12) along with a daytime phone number, Social Security number, and any pertinent technical data (such as camera, lens, exposure, film) to “Your Best Shot,” POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
Gambling with gray market and counterfeit brand films: A bargain or a bust?
Kodacolor Gold 100 color balance comparison
BOOK REVIEW IN BRIEF
Have you ever bought a roll of film and been annoyed because the writing on the box or the directions weren’t in English? Was the writing in two languages? Maybe it was mostly in Spanish, French, Arabic, or Korean. What kind of game is Kodak or Fuji playing on you?
Has Yashica reinvented a top-rated autofocus SLR in the 230-AF Super?
MOST EXCITING NEW YASHICA 230-AF SUPER FEATURES
Pentax reenters the top amateur-pro SLR field with the intriguing PZ-1
MOST EXCITING NEW PENTAX PZ-1 FEATURES
Simplest-to-use controls yet
Pentax Functions: You can change them separately, as many as you wish.
When Yashica’s parent company in Japan, Kyocera Corp., decided a few years ago to discontinue the 23O-AF, no one had any idea that Consumer Reports, the most influential productbuying force in the U.S., would top-rate the camera. Yashica U.S.A. executives wrung their hands in anguish as prospective buyers scoured stores for remaining 230-AFs and came up empty-handed.
Think a capable nature rig is something you'll never be able to afford? Think again, Jack!
Watch out for blue dirt!
B. "Moose" Peterson
To readers who accuse me of ignoring budget-constrained nature photographers (see "SLR Notebook," December 1991, page 26), I say, “Phooey!” Believe me, I know what it’s like to look nature in the eye with only a 35-70mm zoom and a dream in your camera bag.
Why bring home pleasant picture postcards when, with a little effort, you can create memorable mementos?
The usual made unusual
Stand at the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower, or any well-known place or city in the world, and it seems as if everyone is taking pictures. They’ll get pretty good ones, too, just by standing at so-called picture-taking spots and putting their cameras on automatic.
Archival Rain might seem like a strange name for a product, but it does make sense, given how this new, acrylic print washer works. It's said to be the world's first print washer using a top-to-bottom flow from the hinged lid—in other words, it rains on the prints, which are held in 16 separate compartments. The company says that this is the most efficient method to force chemical residues to the bottom of the tank. (Many contaminants, including fixer, are heavier than water.) What about lighter-than-water residues? Simple—there's a separate top drain as well. Water flow is diverted the moment the lid is opened for splash-free operation in a wet or dry area. The washers are reversible for leftor right-hand use and have textured nonstick print-compartment dividers. They will also accommodate rolland sheet-film racks. Any of the four models can be equipped with an optional water-flow meter calibrated from 0.2 to 2 gallons per minute to minimize water consumption. The Archival Rain washers carry a lifetime guarantee from the U.S. manufacturer. The 8×10 model costs $259 plus $15 shipping; the 11×14 costs $349 plus $20; the 16×20 is $459 plus $30; and the 20×24 model is $589 and is shipped freight C.O.D. Flow meters are $40. For more information, contact Akko, Inc., 300 Canal St., Lawrence, MA 01840 or call (800) 255-6462.
Studio Universal Tripod (model LEO5)
Aficionados of Tiltall tripods will be happy to know there's a new, medium-duty model with a removable head. The Studio Universal Tripod (model LEO5) has the standard Tiltall features: a scratch-resistant, black epoxy, resin finish; heattreated, aluminum alloy construction; a nongeared, 360-degree, rotating center post; all-metal leg locks; and both rubber and metal-spiked leg tips. The Studio Universal is sold with the Tiltall Multi Position Head, which tilts 90 degrees left, 45 degrees right, 90 degrees forward, and 45 degrees backward, and can be mounted on any tripod with a rotating center post and ¼×20 threads. The head has a three-inch-diameter camera platform with a spring-loaded, ¼×20 camera screw and all-metal pan handles. A ⅜-inch adapter is supplied. The tripod weighs seven pounds, two ounces, measures 31 inches folded, will extend to 60¼ inches and to 73¼ inches with the center post fully extended. A second ¼20 threaded stud is provided on the bottom of the center post. Made in the U.S., the tripod carries a five-year warranty. List price is $241.45, including head. For more information, contact Uniphot Corp., 61-10 34th Ave., Woodside, NY 11377.
The Acmel MD
Just when you thought there was nothing new in the subminiature field, along comes a new, full-featured camera using Minox-compatible cartridges. The Acmel MD might be called a digital camera, as it's not much bigger than one of your digits at 3 5/16 inches long, 13/16 inch wide, and 1½ inch deep. Weighing in at under two ounces, the camera has a 15mm lens with a fixed aperture of f/4.8 and takes 8×11mm frames on 9.5-mm Minox-size film. It focuses to 12 inches via a scale slide. A multibladed electronic shutter and CdS meter provide autoexposure speeds of 2 to 1/500 sec for films ISO 25 to 400. The metering warns of low light, so you can either steady the camera on a support or attach the supplied MDX flash unit. The MDX is rated for up to 1,000 flashes on a 123A lithium battery and has a guide number (in feet) of 26 with ISO 100 film. The flash adds another two inches to the length of the camera. The camera itself is powered by two CR1/3N lithium cells, which are powered up only after the film is advanced. What about film, you ask? GMI Photographic Inc., the distributor of the Acmel, is making available Kodak films such as T-Max, Technical Pan, Ektar, and Kodacolor Gold; and from Fuji, Super HG 100 and 400 color negative, as well as processing mailers for jumbo prints. The MD kit, including camera, flash, soft case, carrying and measuring strap, and all batteries, lists for $375. For more information, contact GMI Photographic Inc., 1776 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735, or call Customer Service at (516) 752-0066.
Why didn't anybody think of this before: a round softbox for studio electronic flash. What's significant about a round softbox? you may ask. Catchlights—those bright reflections in your portrait subject's eyes. With square or rectangular softboxes, you get unnatural square or rectangular catchlights. And with reflector umbrellas, you get—you guessed it— annoying umbrella-shaped reflections. The Lighthouse Photo Products Moonlight instead provides a natural round catchlight. It's available in 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-inch diameters with adapter plates to fit most popular studio-flash units. Suggested prices are $129.95, $169.95, $ 199.95, and $249.95, respectively. For more information, contact Sailwind Photo Systems, 1809 Common-wealth Ave., P.O. Box 9426, Charlotte, NC 28299-9426.
I enjoyed the December ’91 “Hard Knocks” feature; however, I would like to register one correction and offer other comments. You said “the conductor’s shirt is now red.” This shows that, whatever your critiquing photographers are, they are not steam locomotive train buffs.
This is not an article about which equipment to use, how to set your camera, or how to achieve technically perfect pictures. It’s all about seeing, empathizing with, and photographing that most universal, most poignant, and most demanding of all photographic subjects—our fellow human beings.
Is having your own private, replayable photography teacher an idea that appeals to you? Try one of these instructional tapes.
Elinor H. Stecker
In February 1989, we reviewed many videotapes that taught the art and craft of photography ("Photo Videotapes: Can They Really Teach You Something?” page 50). Since that time, we’ve looked at some 150 more such programs. That’s quite a selection to choose from if you want to have an outstanding photographer acting as your own one-to-one teacher on just about any aspect of photography.
Incredibly advanced autofocus SLR: Is it too much?
QUICK GUIDE TO WHAT'S NEW
FEATURES AT A GLANCE
Can the system fail?
An excellent picture taker!
When the Minolta Maxxum 7xi was introduced last year, there seemed little doubt that it was far and away the most technologically advanced SLR. It still is. We called many of its features dreams turned into reality and wondered if they all would work as Minolta claimed, if they were truly useful features, and whether even a dedicated SLR enthusiast could master its almost endless possibilities, let alone all the controls and knowledge needed to make the camera fully effective.
Many photographers want to know how many miles per hour a subject can be traveling and still allow the AF system to track and refocus well enough to insure a tack-sharp picture. Unfortunately, autofocusing isn’t that simple. There are many factors that go into an autofocus system, and object speed is actually one of the least important!
Hands on: Amazingly compact and light-weight for focal-length range due to varifocal design. Unlike true zoom, varifocal changes focus during zoom, but this is negligible with an autofocus camera unless manual focus is used considerably.
Can you explain why my picture of the camellia picked up the texture of the background? I laid the flower on a linen cloth and made a double exposure. First I shot the flower on the left side of the frame; then I moved it to the right side for the second exposure, using the same f-stop and exposure time.