Q: I have a Kodak X-15 camera and would like to know how to take pictures of someone on television. I recently tried to take a picture of my son on TV but the picture didn't come out.
A: Television images are formed in two scanning cycles of 1/60th of a second each, so you need a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second or less to record the complete cycle. You also need a fast lens and high-speed film.
With the X-15 you have two strikes against you. The Kodak Instamatic X-15F has a non-adjustable f/11 lens and two optional shutter speeds of 1/90th for daylight and 1/45th when the FlipFlash is inserted. Therefore, you cannot get a bright enough image because f/11 is too small a lens opening and you can't get the complete TV screen cycle because the shutter speed is to fast.
Your best bet is to borrow a camera with an adjustble lens opening and shutter setting.
Here are some tips in picturing the TV screen:
With average outdoor color film of ASA 64 to 100, set the lens opening on f2.8 and the shutter on 1/8 of a second. For high-speed films, like Ektachrome 400, stop the lens down to f/5.6 or f8 at 1/8 of a second. (Use f/5.6 if the image is dark and f/8 if it's light, such as a face close-up or sunlit scenic.)
Use a tripod or steady your camera on a table or chair top and move in as close as you can to get a large image. If you want good color use a Cc40r (red) filter over the lens. With a through-the-lens metering system you can make an f/stop adjustment for this filter automatically; otherwise, open up one stop, such as from f/5.6 to f/4, to compensate. Also adjust your set for maximum brilliance with good detail in both the light and dark areas of the images; the best TV image for viewing is also the best for photography.
Q: After months of saving I finally have enough money to invest in better photo equipment. So far I have only owned a 110 point-and-shoot camera, but now I'm waivering between an 8-mm movie outfit with projector or a 35-mm SLR system. Which should I get?
A: I'm afraid the answer to your question is entirely subjective: It all depends on what kind of pictures you want to take and how you want to show them. If you like movement and sound, you should go with movies; but if you like to capture the image and have a strong sense of composition, then your bag is stills.
The other main consideration is what you want to do with the images. Are you a gregarious person who will want to show the movies to friends and family, or someone who wants to file away still memories in an album or display them on the wall?
As to what brand, still or motion, to buy, there are literally hundreds of competing models; choose the one that fits your pocketbook and taste.
I will say if you go for the movie outfit you should definitely consider sound, which adds a dimension; and if you chose the still route, get extra lenses with the SLR for the same reason -- you can just do more with them. As starters, besides the one that comes with the camera, I recommend a wide-angle of from 24-mm to 28-mm and a telephoto from 90-mm to 135-mm.
The best way to go about choosing your equipment is to first survey the market in magazines like Popular Photography and others. See what the ads and articles say. Another good source is Consumer Guide Photo '80, published by Consumer Guide Books, 3841. West Oakton Street, Skokie, Illinois 60076 for $2.50. It has descriptions of all the new cameras and features.
After you've surveyed the market and checked your pocketbook, go to the photo stores to actually see and feel the products before buying.
This may sound complicated, but it's a better way to go about buying expensive equipment than on a hunch or a quick sale.