I'm not usually too impressed with the maiden voyages of new magazines. But I received one recently that deserves some mention, as it's likely to be around and serving the needs of the amateur photobug for some while. It's called Darkroom Techniques, published by Preston Publications, Inc., 6366 Gross Point Road, Niles, Illinois 60648, and, by its own description, it's "a technical magazine geared to the amateur (or advanced amateur) photographer who does or would like to do his own darkroom work." If that description sounds a bit dry, rest assured the magazine makes up for it.

The letters column, for example (and haven't you always wondered where the letters in Vol. I No. 1 come from?), cover such topics as minimizing grain in black-and-white prints, eliminating fingerprints and blue edges on Cibachrome color paper, and understanding the increased contrast from black-and-white negatives using a condenser rather than a diffuser enlarger. Other regular departments include The Library (suggested photo books to buy and avoid buying), Something New (and here they've stretched things a bit, including some products that have been around for two years and longer), Reference Corner (of photographic literature), and User Evaluation (defined as "techniques reviews").

First-issue articles were informative and fairly exhaustive on such subjects as Temperature Control on a Budget; Color Posterization; Color Prints from Color Slides; Helpful Hints for Color Correction; Basic Black and White; and much more. In addition, there are plenty of good, clear black-and-white illustrations, as well as several in full color.

Along somewhat different lines, Kodak recently announced its 1980 edition of "Your Programs from Kodak," which describes movies and slide shows available on a free-loan basis to groups needing informative and interesting programs about photography, travel, sports, and other subjects. These free programs can be used by anyone involved in planning presentations for groups ranging from photo classes and camera clubs to travel enthusiasts and sport fans.

Kodak estimates that 10 million or more people saw the programs in 1979. A copy of "Your Programs from Kodak" may be obtained without charge by writing the Eastman Kodak Company, Dept. 841, Rochester, New York 14650.

For Pentax and other K-mount 35-mm SLR users, new Pentax SMC lenses include the 24-to-35 mm f/3.5 Wide Angle Zoom billed as being ideal for architectural, landscape, and general wide-angle applications. It's a computer-designed 9-element in 9-group optical construction with Pentax' exclusive SMC (Super-Multi-Coating). A second new offering is the SMC Pentax 75-to-150 mm f/4 Zoom lens featuring one-touch zoom and focus controls in a compact, lightweight design to complement today's smaller, lighter SLRs. The lens measures just 4.4 inches in length when focused at infinity and weighs just 16.4 ounces. It's a good length for versatile coverage of everything from sports action and nature photography to candids and portraits.

If you've grown weary of loading a roll of 20- or 36-exposure film in your camera, then having to wait weeks or even months before the film is finished so you can see the results, two manufacturers have good news for you. Kodak's Kodacolor II and Kodacolor 400 films are available coast-to-coast in 12-exposure 135-size magazines. Other sizes include 20, 24, and 36 exposures.

Fuji, too, recently introduced a 12-exposure roll -- the popular Fuji-color F-II 100 ASA color print film, due to be on photo shelves in early February. In 35-mm sizes.