I wonder why the new cameras have rewind mechanisms, when the old Brownie Box Camera would just wind as it advanced the film. When you were finished taking pictures, your film was ready to take out, well wrapped in red paper. It seemed like a more efficient process.

I now have a Minolta 35mm camera and the rewinding is a nuisance. Do you know why they changed most cameras to have this rewind?


Those wonderful, old Brownies used a paper-backed roll film. It was generally about 6 centimeters wide, (2 1/4 inches), the same size as our modern 120 film which still works the same way.

As you exposed and wound the film, the paper backing would move with it, and when you had taken your last picture, the paper made several wraps around the film. The new roll of film started on one side of the camera with an empty spool on the other side. When you were finished, the film and paper were wound onto the once-empty spool. The spool that had contained the new roll of film became the take-up spool for your next roll.

With the advent of practical 35mm photography in the early- to mid-1930s by the E. Leitz company, film had to be handled differently. First off, it was longer and thicker than the Brownie film. Secondly, because of its narrower width, it had to be held very flat. To insure this, a pressure plate was designed to hold the film flat. This made paper or removable spools impractical.

A fixed takeup spool was designed and the unexposed film wound into the small cannister.

Now, when we shoot, the film advances, and when we've finished the roll, we wind it back into its small can. It's a system that makes for easy and safe handling.


I need advice about my Canon Sure Shot. I like to take closeups of flowers, animals, birds and insects, but if I get too close to the object the photos are blurred. I've tried to get other lenses for this camera but the photo stores don't seem to stock them. They also tell me that I can't put a zoom lens on this camera.

Should I get another camera? I would like to be more proficient and plan to take some courses. Would the Canon company take my camera (it's about three years old) in exchange for another model?


Canon is not in the used camera business. There are camera stores that deal in used equipment, but I don't think you'd be satisfied with what you'd be offered for that Sure Shot.

Keep it, use it for travel and for that quick picture that comes up.

But the time has come to consider buying a new, single lens reflex camera.

Many major manufacturers offer entry-level SLRs, such as the Pentax P-3, which would fit your needs.

I would suggest that you start with a 35-to-70mm macro zoom lens. This will enable you to cover a broad spectrum of subjects from landscapes to portraits. The macro settings will allow you to make those nature closeups.


I am a native of Vermont and plan to return there in the spring. I would like to work for Vermont Life magazine. I am an amateur photographer but a quick study. How would I begin to break into the business?


Vermont Life is one of the finest of the state-sponsored magazines. The magazine's content and production quality are extremely high. Like so many of these publications, their standards are demanding and competition for space is great.

Generally, these magazines are willing to look at any material relevant to their readership -- whether from amateurs or professionals. Study several editions of the magazine and learn how they appeal to their audience. Once you understand their editorial aims, take some pictures you think they'll like and submit them.

Don't be surprised if your first efforts are rejected. You'll generally find that they will tell you why they can't accept your material. Many professional free-lance photographers have dozens of rejection slips on their darkroom walls. The important thing is to keep shooting and submitting.


I have trouble getting snapshots off the TV screen. I used an automatic Canon Sure Shot and a Kodak Signet 40 with the aperture set at f/8 and the shutter speed at 1/50, which is what my meter read. Both cameras were positioned 3 1/2 feet from the set while I tried to take pictures of the New Year's Day parade. Every picture seemed distorted and blurred. I used Kodacolor 200 in both cameras. Can you help?


To properly shoot pictures off of a television screen, you need a shutter speed of 1/25th or 1/30th of a second. The camera should be mounted on a tripod for stability. Remember that if you can't stop the high-speed action at a 30th of a second elsewhere, you won't be able to stop it on the TV. If the action on the screen is too fast to stop at a 30th of a second, you will get blurs. You have to watch for the moment when the action "peaks" (stops or slows down).

The shutter on the Canon Sure Shot cannot be set. The Signet 40 is a pretty old machine and the shutter speeds may not be accurate. If you are not ready to buy a new camera, perhaps you can borrow or rent a camera and lens that will focus closer than 3 1/2 feet and has an accurate shutter speed. Try to fill up your viewfinder with the TV screen and leave as little of the TV's frame as possible. Your results should improve dramatically.

Write to Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, DC 20071.