Q. Over the years I've accumulated hundreds of color slides. I would like to have a videotape made so that I can present each of my three daughters a documentary of their childhood, growing up, wedding, children, etc.
Is there some way I can build something to make this transfer, or are there professional people to do it for me?
Q. I have heard that you can copy old film to videotape. I understand that professionally they do not project the image on a translucent screen and tape from that. I would like to build a device to do this. I've tried writing to various equipment manufacturers but to no avail.
A. Stills and movie film can indeed be videotaped.
Doing it yourself, however, is difficult.
I've tried shooting color slides with a camcorder and was not very happy with the results. I experimented with various light sources in both homemade and commercial light boxes. From an experimental viewpoint it was fun, but the results were, at best, fair.
I strongly recommend having the videotape made by a professional. With their equipment, the prints/film image can be enhanced electronically, and background music added.
Slides can be presented in five-, 10- or 15-second intervals. The cost varies, but a good standard is about $100 for a 90-minute tape. At five, or even 10-second intervals, that's a lot of prints.
For film, the cost is about the same, and worth every cent. After all, once you have your master tape, you can make dupes for everyone.
Thanks to everyone who wrote and sent charts comparing emulsion speeds for ASA, Weston and General Electric meters. The chart at right shows the conversion numbers. For example, if you use film that is rated ASA/ISO 100, set your Weston meter at 80 and your GE at 125. For ASA 400, use Weston 320 and GE 500.
Also, some special thanks are in order:
To LTC (Ret.) Roderick E. Kennedy Jr. of Landover Hills for his detailed information about Argus and Airequipt projectors and to M. H. Peterson of Fort Washington for the definitive discussion on the Haynes photo- meter. Copies of both have been sent to the readers who questioned.
Q. I am wondering about an old slide projector I own. It was made by Bausch and Lomb and is focused by the use of a bellows built on a metal rack. The slides are about 2 by 3 inches and are contained in glass. The projector has a wooden slide rack that shifts from side to side.
I am wondering if this projector is worth anything as an antique? I used to watch slides on it 60 years ago, but it is somewhat older than that.
A. Depending on its condition, this projector may be of value to a collector. It's too bad you missed the "swap meet" last weekend. Watch for another one this summer.
There is an antique camera club in the area, and I'll bet someone has a phone number for them.
In the meantime, check "Shutterbug" magazine. They frequently list collectors, some of whom may be able to help.
Q. I have an Optima III (Agfa) camera made in Germany which has for many years performed beautifully, first for my parents and now for me. I have had trouble with the winding mechanism recently. I took it to several camera stores and was told that it needed a part no longer made. Is this the end for this family prize?
A.Perhaps not the end, but probably a dignified retirement. There are still craftsmen out there who might be able to fabricate a part, but generally they work with camera stores or repair centers.
We have great repair organizations in the area, so keep on telephoning.
Write to Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, DC 20071.