Q -I need to buy a camera and lenses for use on my job with a small-town newspaper. Can the cost of the equipment be reimbursed by taxes?

A - Reimbursed, no. But if you can prove to the IRS that you need it in your work, or if you make a profit from the use of the equipment, there is a way to get a tax advantage.

You can depreciate the camera and accesories on a five-year, 20 percent per year depreciation under Schedule C of your income tax. You can also deduct nonreimbursed film and lab costs. You don't have to have a five-year plan, it oculd be six, eight or ten. But you do have to stick to the depreciation shedule you set up.

You also must convince the IRS that the camera is essential to your job and you have to report all profit you make from selling pictures.

Q - What is the best way to mail 8x10 photographs?

A - Use a good grade of photo-mailer envelope in the standard sizes. These could be 8 1/2 in. x 12 in. or the 10 in. x 13 in. or any size in between. Any size will do as long as it's larger than an 8x10.

Use corrugated cardboard pieces to protect the print. Again be sure that the cardboard protectors are larger than the print so that the photos won't arrive with crumpled edges.

There's a trick in using the corrugated cardboard protectors. They have a grain along which they will bend despite the corrugation, so cout one piece with the grain vertical and the other horizontal. When they are placed together one will reinforce the other.

An additional precaution is to stick a piece of masking tape over the cardboard so that the print won't slide out and get bent.

NOTE: A three-week voyage of exploration for two in ancient Egypt is the grand prize in the Natural History Magazine's '78 Photo Contest. Besides this are many money prizes.

If you have an unusual set of pictures dealing with: (1) the natural world; (2) a sequence of an event in nature; (3) microphotography; (4) the human family, give this contest a try.

Writ for complete rules and entry forms to: 1978 Photographic Competition, Natural History, 11 W. 77th St., New York, N.Y. 10024.

The competition will be pretty stiff in this contest, but if you have anything that would fit the above categories send it. Remember that your pictures may be unique and therefore stand a good chance.

Deadline for entries is April 15, 1978.