Q. I like shooting slides so I guess I'll need a projector. What do you recommend?
A. The Kodak Carousel is it these days. The projectors in that line are fairly expensive but the most consistent and reliable. And they're sturdier and more invincible than earlier models.
And today's Carousels come with an outstanding range of extras: for example, auto-focus, zoom lenses of various sizes and auto timing.
The cost for the basic, bare-bones machine is about $185, but as you add the extras, the price goes up -- to as high as $400. You can even buy a stack loader that holds up to 40 loose slides.
While you're shopping, look at some of the new table-top viewers. Both Simon and Diastar make good ones in the $150 price range. They use a rear-projection system and your slides can be viewed in daylight on a 9x9 screen.
Please be careful of off-brands that offer special or super values. You may have trouble locating trays for them or even such basics as bulbs and cords. Make sure your camera store can guarantee replacement parts, as well as repairs. SCREENING YOUR SHOTS
I've been showing slides on the white wall of my family room but I've been told I should buy a screen. Is it worth the trouble and expense?
A. Buy a screen! It will be worth the effort (not trouble) to set it up. You can even buy inexpensive wall screens that can be mounted permanently.
As to expense, a screen costs as little as $30. The prices go up, of course, as the screen size grows. Screens come in four basic sizes: 60i x 60i, 70i x 70i, 80i x 80i and a huge 90i x 90i.
A screen will bring realism to your viewing. Screens aren't textured, as most walls are, and screens are the proper neutral white.
Be sure you buy a Lenticular screen. (Lenticular refers to the composition of the screen's surface.) It will make your images seem sharper and it has superior reflecting power with little or no distortion on the sides. This means you don't have to turn out all the lights to use it, and people sitting almost anywhere will see a clear image. ? TALKING TRIPODS
Q. Do I really need a tripod? They seem prohibitively expensive.
A. Yes, you probably do need one. And no, tripods aren't necessarily expensive. For a disk or an Instamatic camera, you don't need a tripod, since these cameras are meant to be hand-held. But if you have a 35mm (or larger) camera, especially a programmable one, you should have a tripod.
Which tripod to choose? Most backpackers and hikers -- and lazy people -- opt for the lightest tripod they can buy. Then there are those who feel that no tripod is too heavy. The answer, as usual, lies somewhere in between, with a trade-off between extra weight and sturdiness.
Shop carefully. Your camera store has a wide selection, in two approximate price ranges: between $50 and $100; and $200 and up. Most of us need pay only $100, or less.
As you shop, open the tripod you're examining to its fullest height. See if it's high enough for you; see how far you have to bend over to reach camera eye-level. Then grasp the tripod at the spot where the legs come together. Wiggle it to see how stable it is.
One last thing. When you buy your tripod, invest in a 12-inch cable release. It will make shooting easier.