Q: How do you take photographs through microscope and other small openings? I was fascinated by an article using this technique in a recent issue of GEO Magazine.
A: The article you refer to is the "Beauty Part of Vitamins" in the July '80 issue. These photographs were likely taken with a professional photomicroscope -- a very complicated and expensive piece of equipment with automatic photo cells that accommodate for filter factors and other variables. The micro-photographs were also taken with the aid of polarized light.
The simplest way to make a photomicrograph is to use a conventional camera over the microscope. This can be done with any camera by setting the lens focus at infinity (the farthest distance), with the largest lens opening to avoid vignetting. Position that camera lens just about where your eye would be over the microscope's eyepiece.
To determine the exact position of the lens, hold a piece of white paper right on top of the eyepiece and then slowly raise it. A white circle of light will appear on the paper and will grow larger and smaller as you raise and lower the paper. The correct distance for your lens is where the spot of light is the smallest -- anywhere from a few to 20 millimeters from the eyepiece.
Next, focus through the eyepiece and then set your camera on a stand or tripod so it's in the proper position to look through the eyepiece and take your picture. You'll have to experiment for the proper exposure. With a brightly lighted image, about 1/30th of a second will be right on average color film. But as the images and the light sources will vary, you should make a series of test exposures at 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 and 1/60th of a second. Choose the best one as the basis for future exposures.
There are, unfortunately, drawbacks to taking pictures through a microscope in this manner. For one, normal 50-mm lens will magnify only about 1/5th the size of the image seen in the microscope, and you'll have to be very careful in positioning and re-positioning the camera lens each time you shoot.
A better way to take photomicrographs is to use an SLR (single-lens reflex camera with an adapter. This device consists of one or more tubes fitted into the camera in place of the lens and onto the microscope eyepiece. With the adapter you can focus the microscope right on the camera's ground-glass without using the camera lens. You can thus see more clearly and will get the size of image that is shown. Most SLR cameras have this option; if not, a system of adapters can be adjusted for this use.
An adjustable bellows, available on many camera models, can also be adapted for photomicrography. The bellows, without the lens, can be used over a microscope and adjusted for the size of image desired.
No matter which system you use, you'll need a firm support for the camera to avoid vibration, and a cable release to trip the shutter so the camera doesn't move.
Q: You discussed the use of Kodak Type 5247 film as a means for beating inflation. Where can I get this film processed? Would Kodak process it if I used their mailers?
A: Definitely not! Kodak tells me they use three types of developers: C-41 for Kodacolor, E-6 for Ektachrome and K-14 for Kodachrome. Kodak Type 5247 is a motion-picture film that Kodak will not develop -- and they will return the film in your mailer if sent in. You'll have to send the Type 5247 to the labs that advertise development for this film. one such is LAB, P.O. Box 15100, St. Louis, Missouri 63110. For others see the ads in photography magazines such as Popular Photography. f
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 wavering 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 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 that if you go or the movie outfit you should definitely consider sound, which adds a dimension; and if you choose 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.