Q. I have enjoyed my Ricoh Mirai 135 very much but there are two things the camera does (or does not do) which I consider flaws, though the camera store says they are normal.
First, the flash symbol does not blink if I am too far from the subject, as the manual says it should.
Second, the manual says the flash mode sets the f-stop according to distance. It does. However, if I add or subtract stops in the compensation mode, the f-stop remains the same. That is, for a given distance, it is not changing for a supposed change in the ASA setting. Isn't the ASA setting changed when the compensation feature is used?
A. The flash indicator's not blinking is less of a problem than you think. The flash is affected by distance and works with the autofocus system of your camera.
For example: If you are going to autofocus on a subject that is eight feet away, and your lens is set at wide-angle, your depth of field is substantial. Therefore, the tolerance of focus is much less critical at wide-angle. When moving toward the subject distance, the lens may stop before it gets to the precise subject distance. This gives a sharp image because of that coverage of that depth of field. The lens could set itself at as little as five or six feet.
From the other direction, if your lens is moving from infinity toward the subject that is eight feet away, it may see a sharp image before it reaches the exact subject distance and then stop. This may be as far away as 12 feet. Depth of field again is the reason. This tends to fool the Ricoh Flashmatic system -- you get a sharp, well-exposed image even though you are theoretically outside the flash range.
Two other things are factored in: The Japanese Camera Industrial Institute standards allow the flash system to function at one full stop of underexposure and at least one stop of overexposure.
Also, most modern print films have enormous latitude -- from one or two stops underexposure to two or three stops overexposure.
When all of these things are blended together there is some ambiguity in that flash symbol.
Be sure, however, that when the flash is fooled, it's fooled in your favor. Try a couple of shots with this in mind and you'll get a feel for the accuracy of the Flashmatic system, whether the light is blinking or not.
As to flash and compensation, my question to you is, Why? Why try to mess with the film speed when you have enough light in your flash to handle your subject properly? If you feel you want to shoot at a longer distance, use a faster film.
Q. I have a Ricoh KR-5 Super camera. Recently I shot two rolls of Kodak Ektar 1000. I shot inside using house lights and no flash. I used an 80A filter to eliminate the yellow-orange tint that house lights give to film.
The first roll contained several pictures which had normal color. A few prints had a slight blue tint from the filter, but this was hardly noticeable. Every photo from the second roll retained the yellow/orange tint, as if I had not used a filter at all.
Any ideas or suggestions?
A. It's the inconsistency of your problems that bothers me the most. I can only guess that the two rolls were processed at different times by your photo finisher -- and that could cause trouble.
For careful processing of anything out of the ordinary, I stick with one lab. I have come to know the people who operate the machinery and they are anxious to help with special problems.
If I had taken in your film, I would have marked it "Indoors, with tungsten lighting, please correct to flesh tones." Most of the automatic processing machines can be adjusted to handle such instructions.
Your idea of correction was fine, but you have to follow through with the processing folks as well.
Q. What do you know about the "store name" films? Who packages the film for such places as Giant, Rite Aid or Safeway? Are all these films the same and are they good?
A. I am told that most of these store brands are made by the 3M Company. They make not only the film for supermarkets and drugstores, but also for K mart and other specialty stores.
I have used a lot of this kind of film and found it very satisfactory.
REGARDING THE problem with "sticky page" photo albums. I found some "corner covers" in a store for stamp collectors. They are transparent triangles made of plastic, and come in sizes from 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch. They are either the self-stick or moisten types. Also, I buy "cover weight" paper from a shop that sells stationery to printing concerns. It comes in various colors and only costs about $10 for 200 sheets. I found a fast-service printer who punched three holes in them and didn't charge me anything.
The heavy paper with holes fits well into any three-ring loose-leaf binder and makes a great, inexpensive, expandable photo album.
Write Carl Kramer c/o Weekend, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071.