Q: You tell glasses-wearers to use diopter attachments so they can see the entire picture. Did you ever try it? You can see through the lens, but you can't see any of the settings on the camera or, if your eyesight is poor, anything else you're looking at except through the camera. Since many camera-users wear eyeglasses or sunglasses, why can't manufacturers set up their eyepieces to compensate? Also why do they have rough edges on the eyepieces that scratch glasses? A: I, too, wear glasses, so you have my complete sympathy. The only solution is to grind my glasses into the eyepiece: hard on the glasses and the pocketbook. Your idea of an eyepiece that enlarges the image for glasses-wearers is a good one. The only such device I know is the sports eyepiece and prism for the Nikon.
This, of course, can be used only with models that have interchangeable prism systems. I suspect that your idea could be something like that -- but maybe less expensive. A rubber gasket like the one on the M-Nikons would certainly be another cheaper and useful addition for glasses-wearers. Q: Is there any truth to the rumor that plastic slide-holders will evenutally ruin your slides? I have 4,000 slides in plastic slide pages, so I've got a lot at stake. A: Yes, there is a danger of image deterioration, especially of color films, from some types of plastic made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or related compounds that give off hydrogen chloride. Polyethylene or polypropylene, on the other hand, is safe. Best ask the manufacturer which kind you have.
If you are concerned about the storage of your slides, there are other factors to watch for. Keep the storage temperatures below 75 degrees F. and the humidity below 40 percent. The humidity can be controlled by putting inpackets of silica gel, which can be renewed periodically.
Another cause of deterioration is excessive light. (This is why professional photographers specify that original transparencies shouldn't be projected.) A light table is fine for inspection and a loup (magnifying glass) can be used to examine detail.
Careless storage, such as piling the books of transparencies on each other, can also cause damage. To prevent this, the books should be kept upright on a shelf. Q: Having been a prize-winning photographer for over 40 years, I have a piece of adivce I'd like to add to your comments on soft-focus work. It's something I feel strongly about. Strangely enough I have never seen it in any book on photography.
If you take your photos "straight," just as sharp and clear and well-exposed as you can, there are dozens of effects you can create in the darkroom. But if you attempt special effects in the field and they don't work out, you may find that you have no acceptable negatives. Also: check the background. A: Good advice that I'm happy to pass on -- with comments. It's certainly a good idea to take that "safe" shot for insurance; but after that, let yourself go. Some of my most successful pictures were accidents made by stretching the medium -- not planned shots. If one doesn't have recourse to a darkroom or the enlarger expertise, there are many in-the-camera special effects that can be used in the field.