Photo/Image News Network tries to answer technical questions of interest to Photo Specialty Dealers and Minilabs. We don't know everything, but will try to find out. Our answers are matters of opinion, not statements of fact, and should be relied upon as such! All questions must be submitted by the form below. Sometimes I just e-mail back the answer, and post things that might be of general interest. 

Many frequently-asked questions are answered in our Technical Index

Lately many of the questions submitted seem to be coming from end users, but that's ok, too. One of the top questions: "Where can I get an instruction book?" Check this list.

Questions and our Responses:

Thuy writes: I have a Pentax ME se, I have a screw mount ring adaptor on it then I screw an Ultron Carl Zeiss lens on it, the lens fits it  but the diaphragm does not work, it always opens to the largest f-stop even I move the aperture ring to different settings. would you tell me why and how to overcome it. I like the camera and the lens. many many thanks,

Thuy -

On screw-mount lenses for the Pentax, the aperture is closed when a lever on the camera body pushes in a pin on the back of the lens. This doesn't happen when you use the lens on a bayonet body with an adapter.

Most lens have a switch on the barrel marked "M-A" (Manual - Automatic). When the switch is moved to the "M" setting the lens will close down to whatever aperture you set on the f-stop ring. If your lens doesn't have a switch like this, it's almost impossible to stop it down.


First let me thank you for a very useful site. I want to set up a lab at my family business, at a resort town. I worked at a Lab for three years in the early 90's. What I need is some recommendations as to which noritsu, agfa or fuji models would fit this criteria.

  • Very compact (maybe an all in one unit)

  • Fully automatic mode

  • 3.5X5 and 4X6

  • 20 roll/hr is fine ( film processing that is) (1801 at 10 rolls too slow)

  • panorama capable if possible (aps and digital are too much money)

  • I woud be buying a professionally reconditioned unit, and staying in the 8,000 to 12,000 dollar range. 


  • It's hard to get an idea of which models fill the bill. Thanks for any help. Al

    Al -

    I don't think you can do it! At least, not with a "professionally reconditioned" unit for no more than $12,000. The people who recondition are BEF ( and the manufacturers. Usually they won't recondition the really old models because the labor and parts situation makes it unprofitable. It's easier to send them out of the country "as is."

  • Some relatively late models with decent reliability and parts seem to be the Konica 808 and the Noritsu 1501. They typically sell for $12-20,000 with a film processor.

    Best way to buy used is to find a mini-lab or super market or drug store phasing out a machine and inspect it while it's still running. Gretag has sold some nice small units that are all-in-one models. All-in-one units can be limiting, however. If you decide you want to upgrade your printer/processor you now need to find a new C-41 machine.

    With all the new digital labs coming out, there are some bargains in older models. However, the shops that can afford to upgrade to a $200,000 lab probably had a pretty good "old lab" to get rid of.

    Wolf Camera should be closing some underforming locations soon. Keep an eye open.

    Good luck.

    Chris Lydle, editor writes:

    How can I find out what all the pins are used for in the remote control terminal of the Maxxum 800si, I want to build my own remote control.

    Tommy - 

    Good question. One pair triggers the shutter release and another makes the camera focus, if memory serves me. By using a jump wire you should be able to determine which is which. While I don't think doing this would damage your camera, I don't know for sure that it won't.

    Minolta makes or made an adapter cord for their infrared remote control system. It's a short cord with a camera plug at one end and a 2.5mm minijack at the other.

    You could call Minolta at 201 825-4000 and ask Phil Braden. writes: I have a Sawyers projector model 707 AQ. I have a 4 to 6 zoom lens. I need a lens that I can use with a transfer box. My lens does not have the correct focal length. I need a lens with give a sharp focus at about 4"x 6" picture. Can you help me?

    Walt -

    Lenses to fit your Sawyers have been discontinued a long time. A close-up lens for 35mm cameras would allow you to focus at a much closer distance, allowing you to make the smaller image you need. These lenses are intended to screw into the filter ring on the front of camera prime lenses. A +3 lens would allow you to focus on a screen only 13" away from the front of the projector lens, for example.
    How would you hold it in place? Duct tape is always elegant . . . If you have a magnifying glass around the house, try the same procedure. Another possible solution - use a transfer screen that's bigger. Sima makes one that's about 8"x10"

    Hope these suggestions help.
    Q - Older Maxxum cameras and newer Sigma lenses: Having a strange problem. I own a 7000 & a 9000. Bought this new Sigma 28-80 lens and cannot get it to work correctly. Photos are under exposed. Sigma sent me a new lens, but same problem. I have a Minolta 35-105 lens which works fine, but the new Sigma one(s) fail. If I open the back of the 7000 and use the A mode, I can see that the Sigma lens is closed down too far compared to the Minolta 35-105 lens. I cannot make the same comparsion on the 9000. When u open the back on the 9000 it defaults to a given value which cannot be changed until the back is closed.......any ideas or have u heard of this problem>>>>>thanks......
    joe leopold

    A- I had seen this problem working the other way. When Minolta introduced the second generation of Maxxums, the "i" series, they changed the control circuitry. Some lens manufacturers such as Sigma had chips in the lenses that would not work with the newer model cameras. Don't have an answer for this one, however. Readers?


    PP 1040B V1.5 -OJ RAC[22E]
    ROM 271A5898355 
    ROM 271A5897641

    I would contact Fuji's minilab parts department for this:

    PhotoFinishing Products Nationwide Technical Hotline (Minilab Service):

    Press 21 for Service Hotline 
    Press 22 for Parts Department 

    If they don't have it, then you might contact BEF in Allentown, PA. Their phone number is 800 441-0997

    Chris Lydle, editor


    I am in the process of initiating a one-hour photo processing center in my small town. I would greatly appreciate any input I could receive from experienced owners. I am looking for advice as to which processors to consider...and those that should not be considered. I also would appreciate knowing company contacts for obtaining bulk film and other items. I thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

    Ms. Johnson 7/12/00

    Melissa - I'll be posting your request for info on the Photo Image News Network 

    Most lab operators experience about the same degree of satisfaction and frustration with the big 5 - Agfa, Fuji, Gretag, Konica and Noritsu. When they work they're great and when they don't you tear your hair out. 

    Attending a regional conference of the Photo Marketing Association gives you a chance to talk to lab operators. Most are very happy to share their experiences with anyone who isn't opening up within a few blocks!


    Although this column is intended for dealers, we get a lot of questions from consumers such as this one:

    My son has an old SLR Sears KSX with a lock up problem. Film cannot be advanced; the shutter blind is up, thus preventing seeing through the  view window. Can you help? Thanks. :-)

    The KSX was a Ricoh-manufactured SLR, one of many Sears has sold. It sounds as though it locked up in the middle of a cycle. It's a mechanically-timed shutter, so that changing the barrery (always our first step) won't do anything. Try it anyway.

    Second step involves removing the baseplate and gently pushing aside the pawl which keeps the winding shaft from turning. This would allow you to recock the shutter and start the next cycle. Sometimes this works.  Failing that it's time for a trip to the repair shop, which will probably cost at least $75.

    My son tried it as you suggested and it worked like a charm. Many thanks for your kind instructions. Sincerely, Joe Sr.

    Do you have a recommendation of where/how I can get a file conversion program to read my .PCD files? I have Windows '98 but purchased my computer in 1996. My computer at work includes Microsoft Photo Editor so I can view my pictures there.

    Mee Oh

    We get a lot of questions about using the files from Kodak Photo CDs (.pcd format). In general, the best software for this is Adobe PhotoShop with the appropriate plug-in. Kodak has posted a series of answers to FAQ's about converting .pcd files Read the entire page and you'll find where you can download free versions. chris@photoimagenews


    Dear Sirs,

    i thank you very much in advance for your time answering these question. I am planning to buy (and distribute?) APS cameras but i have heard negative rumours regarding their luminosity performance and, especially, that a new generation of cameras are about to be launched this year.

    Is that all true? has APS today a promising future? I am thinking of CANON IXUS series, are they best value for money? what is your recommendation for APS pocket-size cameras? and finally, is it true you can only get one size for enlarged reprints? sorry for the load of questions,

    faithfully, (Juan Curto)

    Dear Juan -

    APS cameras are here to stay. Each year they make up a higher percentage of camera sales.
    In the United States markets, many sizes of enlargements are available. That varies depending on the laboratory services where you may be.

    Yes, there were many new APS cameras announced at PMA this year. That's also true of other film sizes, new models come out. The Canon IXUS series (called ELPH) in the United States are well made cameras with perhaps the widest acceptance of any APS camera at any price. The original ELPH (2-1 zoom, stainless steel body) is the most popular model, and the results are excellent. From a marketing standpoint, it would be hard to choose a better lineup - although much depends on the strength of your local distributor. (the e-mail address suggests you are from Spain.)
    Sorry, I don't understand your concern about "luminosity." Properly exposed and processed APS photos look as good as most 35mm pictures, until extremely large prints are made. …Chris

    I am looking for a projector bulb supply for the following: 1) KEYSTONE Projector, Model K108. The current bulb LOOKS like it has a "DGH" on it. It says 750 Watts. It's a bit faded though. 2) REVERE Projector, Model P-90. The bulb is about 4 1/2 inches high. It says, "500 watt, Westinghouse Base-down Projection". These projectors are ones that I am considering buying, but the bulbs are kaput.
    ALSO, would you please give me your opinion as to which one is the better projector, all things being equal?
    Thanks very much,
    Charles Stansfield

    Charles - The K108 Keystone "official" replacement bulbs are the DDB (750 watts) or the CZX/DAB (500 watts). The Revere P90 also used DDB or CZX bulbs. Both machines are very old - probably 40 years plus. Before buying either one, let them run for a while to see how well they run and smell.  Personally I'd look for something a ltitle more recent.

    I have a Sears KSX Super SLR camera. I am curently using it for astrophotography, but the trouble with the camera is the focusing screen. I need to get a clear focusing screen to aid in the focusing of the camera, but cannot find one for the type of camera i have. I have seen them advertised for the Cannon EOS, Nikon FE/FE2/FA/FM2, Nikon F3, Nikon F/F2, Olympus OM1-4, and the Pentax LX. I was wondering if you could tell me if one of these focusing screens would work with my camera or where i could get one to work with my camera. The place that sells those i mentioned didn't seem to know. Please help.

    Sincerely, Brian Portman

    Brian -
    Your Sears camera was actually made by Ricoh. To best of my knowledge, no clear screen was ever made for it. If you're serious about astrophotography, I'd look for a good used Olympus OM-1. Mirror lock up + readily available screens make it a good choice.


    Hi! Could you help me to know where can I get generic software for download to use it to transfer my images on FUJIFILM MX-700 digital camera. Are there generic software/products which can understand its format ? on Window 95 or Windows NT ? Thanks in Adv Virendra Vishnu

    The MX-700 saves images in the standard JPEG format (*.jpg). Just about any software such as Adobe Photo Deluxe or Photoshop or MGI Photosuite can handle jpegs easily. You must have the drivers to let your computer recognize your MX-700 as a TWAIN source. Those are not generic and should have come with the camera. Another way to get images from your camera to your computer is using the Flashpath adapter, which allows you to insert SmartMedia cards in a 3 1/2 floppy drive.

    Subj:    $ 4,000 digital imaging station
    Date:    11/12/98 6:07:51 AM Eastern Standard Time
    Interesting article. Name/lab/address/phone no of auther needed. thanks

    Author is Chris Lydle. Chris' Camera Center, 215 Wanaque Avenue, Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442. (973) 835-2213

    Dear sirs!
    I'm very much interested in new Advanced photo System technology. The question is which maximum dpi... I can get when transferring information from APS films? Which picture size I will print on Epson Stylus photo printer from digital APS data? I am grateful if you could take a few minutes to answer my questions.
    My E-mail:

    The maximum resolution you can get when transferring images from APS negatives depends on the scanner you use. The Kodak Advantix Film Drive FD 300, for example, has three resolutions - up to 2400 DPI. That works out to a resolution of about 1,600 by 2,800 pixels - far more than most "megapixel" digital cameras. You can make any size image you want to when you print it, if you have photo manipulation software.

    The quality of the images when you print them is dependent upon these factors:
    1) proper exposure and focus of the original image
    2) quality and resolution of the scan
    3) The software between scanned image and printer
    4) the printer (Epson makes some great ones)
    5) the paper - there's a wide range, and the results show the difference.

    I know I can't run film from Seattle Film Works and places like that through my C-41 processor, but I don't know why?

    Eastman color films (such as Type 5247) are designed for use in professional motion picture cameras only. Years ago moviemakers like Steve Spielberg would buy hundreds of thousands of feet of film at one time, so there won't be any color changes. They may have had thirty thousand feet left at the end of the shooting, so they would sell it to mail order houses, who would cut it into small strips and sell it in cassettes. Today some vendors buy fresh movie negative film directly from Kodak and Fuji and spool it in short rolls for marketing purposes, so that they can offer a differentiated service (which locks the customer into using their services.)

    These films cannot be processed along with regular film -- if it goes thru the standard C-41 process, both that film and the other customers' film in the processor will be ruined.

    Kodak states that

    "these films do not have the scratch resistance needed for use in 35mm cameras. . . . these films should be stored at less than 55 degrees until used and processed immediately after exposure. Kodak will not be responsible for problems or difficulties resulting from other- than-recommended uses of this film product. The supplier, not Kodak, should be consulted if the film is obtained in other than the original Kodak package."

    Professional motion picture films have a "rem-jet" coating, a black anti-halation coating on the base that must be removed in a special bath that's part of a cinema roll processor - but is not in the C-41 process.

    Never put a roll of Eastmancolor film into a minilab processor under any circumstances!

    The rem-jet coating will come off and ruin your chemistry, foul your rollers, and possibly damage other film running at the same time.

    Having said all that, I should note that a lot of the film coming to our lab in Seattle Film Works canisters is not motion picture film, but C-41 film, apparently made by Agfa. How can you tell the difference? The motion picture film looks a lot different - the emulsion side is blackish - and the perforations are more rounded than "regular" 35mm film. We run it through the C-41 processor with no ill effects after a senior lab operator has looked at it very closely!