Q. My question concerns the color of camera bodies: Why is it that a black camera body costs more than one with normal or standard body color? Does it have anything to do with the camera's ability to absorb light? Whatever, is it worth the extra money?

A. Yes, it's worth the extra money. The black is an additional anodized coating that resists scratches, dings and abrasions. Further, it can be touched up with a special lacquer.

The black body also cuts down on reflection, and the f-stop and shutter speeds are easier to see against a black background. Press people have long used the black bodies with great success.

Light absorption is not a factor.


Q. I was given a not-too-expensive 35mm camera last year and am just getting interested in taking pictures with it. Everything seems fairly easy, but since I don't have a book, I haven't figured out what a preview button is. Can you tell me?

A. A preview button lets you see what your depth of field will be at a given f stop. Depth of field is how much of your picture, from front to back, will appear in focus. The higher the number of your f stop, the more depth of field. After you have set your camera's aperture, press the preview button. The aperture will close down to where you have set it, and you can view the appearance of your next picture.


Q. My boyfriend is making a big deal out of buying a fancy, wide strap for his camera. It's a Minolta. I have a disk camera. Do I need a special strap?

A. Straps are important, both wrist and neck straps. Most of the smaller instamatic and disk cameras usually come with a wrist strap. If your camera doesn't have one, a camera store can provide one for about $3.

For larger cameras, such as your friend's Minolta, a neck strap is a must. A strap can be bought for about $10 and it's the camera's seat belt. Should you lose your grip on your camera, the strap around your neck will protect your investment.

No camera should be used without a strap to anchor it.

Carl Kramer, former director of photography for The Washington Post, will try to answer your photography questions in his column, but cannot reply individually. Send your questions to: Carl Kramer, c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071.