Q.

Can you tell me how to copyright a picture? I am not a professional, but do supply our local newpaper with pictures occasionally and also give pictures to our camera club for use in the publication Click.

I don't care about payment, but there are times when I'd like to feel that my work is protected.

A.

Under the 1978 copyright law, this is not a difficult proposition. Your work is considered copyrighted as soon as it's created. The offical wording is "as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium."

All you need to do is put the copyright "bug" (a circled C), your name, and the year. It would read

Carl A. Kramer, 1987.

Be sure that you don't confuse copyright with registration. It is registration with the Library of Congress that sets things in concrete and can help you in the event of court action for infringement of your coyright. For any such court action, you need an official certificate of registration.

I urge you to register any picture you feel may be used without your consent. But remember that failure to register does not mean the loss of copyright. That's always yours.

If you are interested in registering pictures, write to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20559. Ask for Package 107 which is information and forms for registering photos.

You'll need to send completed Form VA (contained in that package), a $10 registration fee, two copies of your picture if it's to be published, or one copy if not.

For more information call 287-9100.

For the past six months I have been testing Agfacolor XRS Professional film, both ISO 100 and 200. I really like it.

Several of my colleagues helped, and between us we shot about 40 rolls. We did not set out to compare the film with any of the other brands. We wanted to see how it would stand on its own.

Here's what we shot: Several cook-out picnics; a good many flower garden shots; a really neat layout on corn growing in a home garden; a production meeting at The Washington Post, and some sensational baby pictures with flash.

There were party pictures galore and three graduations. I think that about every situation the average family might want to shoot was tried.

The cameras: Pentax P-3 and IQZoom; a Nikormat; a Canon AE1 Program; an Olympus Infinity Junior and a Fuji HDM underwater job.

The processing: my favorite one-hour processing store in Manassas; the new one-hour processing plant at my favorite camera store; several rolls at a drugstore; a few rolls at the grocery store and three rolls were handled by a friend who does his own processing.

The people at Agfa brag about this film -- rightfully.

Color rendition. All color films start with three color emulsion layers; Agfa has added filters and special sensitizers to make the film's color purer with less exaggeration.

Sharpness. Substantial improvement in sharpness has been achieved by reducing light scatter (light bouncing around between the layers) with thinner emulsions and "twin-crystal" structure for improved sharpness of edges.

Grain. Improved grain is made possible by using that same twin crystal structure and careful control of crystal size placement throughout the film.

Speed. Genuine ISO ratings have been achieved, which makes for a consistency of exposure and reliability of color appearance under all conditions.

These two films, properly processed and printed, proved to be very forgiving. I overexposed by three stops and was satisfied with the results. Try it, you'll like it.

Q.

What equipment does one use to transfer film to videotape? Where do you buy it and how do you use it?

A.

There are several such devices on the market. I have tried only one and was somewhat disappointed with the results.

Once I had transferred some 8mm stuff, and viewed it on my TV set, I decided it didn't meet my own quality standards.

I ended up taking my 8mm and Super 8 to a professional lab. It cost a few bucks more, but it was worth it.

Here's a money-saving hint: Several of us share our reading material. I subscribe to one photo magazine, a friend subscribes to another, and still another friend subscribes to a third. After we're finished reading, we take the magazines to club meetings and pass them around. We sure get a lot of mileage out of them.

Carl Kramer deals with questions of general interest but cannot respond individually. Address him c/o Weekend, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington DC 20071.