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 Post subject: Photography books
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:42 am 
As regular users of this site may know, I'm new to DSLRs. In an attempt to get up to speed with my new gear I've got through a few books. Here's a run down on what they cover and how useful I've found them.

Understanding Exposure, Bryan Peterson
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This was the first book I got, before I purchased my new camera and it inspired me to want to take up 'proper' photograhy. At the heart of this book is the philosophy of the 'creatively correct' exposure. What this is and how to achieve it is clearly explained with plenty of neat tricks and tips on the way. This book recognises and deals with the 'art' in photograhpy and then backs it up with technical know-how. It shows clearly how several exposures of the same scene may be technically correct, but only one exposure really works, ie is creatively correct.

This book is not camera specific and covers both digital and film. Nearly all the photos in it come with shooting info.

The authour's photographs are quite stunning (you can get a taste of his work here. I particularly like the way he often comes up with 'quirky' views of common photographic scenes which is something that particularly interests me.

Although it starts from the basics (which was good for me) I believe even an experienced photograher could probably learn new insights from this book. To give an idea of how useful I've found it, I read it from cover to cover before buying my camera and have since re-read it. Recommended.

ePHOTOzine Guide to Great Photograhy

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This is a compilation of photographs from the users of the ePHOTOzine website. It is broken down into topics; landscapes, architecture, digital manipulation, close-ups, etc, etc. These are interspersed with info boxes containing general tips and digital techniques.

Frustratingly a lot of the images don't have shooting info. There seems to be quite a heavy bias towards digital manipulation which occassionally seems a little over done (in my opinion - what do I know?!).

What I like about this book is the diversity of the images from so many different styles of photography Another nice touch is the portfolio feature where some contributers have a whole page devoted to their pics complete with a small biog. It's interesting to see how long they've been shooting, what gear they've got, what inspires them, etc.

I didn't find this book particularly helpful as a guide (maybe I will if and when I get into post processing) but I'm glad I have it for the wealth of images it contains which do serve to inspire.

The Digital SLR Handbook Michael Freeman


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This is an quite a dry book. It delves into the technical minutiae of every aspect of your DSLR and then goes on to do the same for post processing, printing, computers, scanners, etc.

I've used it occasionally as a reference guide, and it's pretty good for this. It is as much about processing as shooting so doesn't really interest me (yet). I would imagine that a book dedicated to the particular software you use may prove more useful in this respect?

I would suggest that this might be a good book to loan from a library rather than own.

Mastering your DSLR Chris Weston


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This book reads like a treatise of the advantagese of digital photography over film from a pro that has made the switch. I guess if you come from a film background then this is more relvant than it is to me, although it does make interseting reading.

Many pics in this book come without shooting info (you've gotta ask yourself, why not!). It covers some topics better than others, I found the section on digital noise informative.

The worst thing about this book is it's production. There are many typos (a bit like these reviews no doubt!), parts of it are repeated and some of the text requires a magnifying glass!

Some of the images of wildlife are superb - but as I've said, no shooting info.

Magic Lantern Guide Simon Stafford
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This is like a beefed up version of the user manual that comes with the camera.

It is printed in B+W with few images so don't expect a coffee-table moment!

The guide takes you through every aspect of the camera's features in detail and then offers notes and hints in greyed-out boxes. It serves as a great reference and is worth popping in your camera bag...if it'll fit!


**********

Thom Hogan's complete Guide to the Nikon D80

This is an 'ebook'. It's on a CD. To be honest I haven't got round to printing it out yet (it's a long'un!) so I have barely looked at it. Maybe herein lies the lesson....

*********



That's about it. Of course many a magazine and website may have been glimpsed along the way!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:42 pm 
Great review Tony, nice one! I'd love to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson, his book and his name seem to come up time and time again. I wonder if I could order it from Amazon and have them deliver to China....don't see why not.

The Magic Lantern series are supposed to be really good too. I haven't read any of the books but I did see the DVD that was made specifically for the D80. It was just a few days after I got mine too, so it was such a huge help in understanding how all the functions on the camera come together. When I first got the cam I was so confused with the different auto-focus settings and then the auto-focus area settings within them, but the DVD really made it clear.

I'm want to get Thom Hogan's ebook too....everyone seems to rave about that one! Let us know how you find that one when you get round to printing it out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:41 pm 
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Bonjour planetpeckham,

Thank you for this review of books.

After one month playing with my K10D ( :arrow: http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=543), I feel I need to refresh my basics so I was looking for a good book. So your post comes in perfect time! :)

Best regards from France,

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reivilophotography.weebly.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:26 am 
glad you found them useful guys.

The Peterson book really is excellent.

Hmm, the DVD sounds like a nice lazy way to go through the camera Mark...it appeals to me very much!

Tony


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:54 am 
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I can totally recommend Thom Hogan's D80 e-book. It goes into incredible depth but is always easy to follow. What's more, you get the impression the man really knows what he's talking about. I also haven't got around to printing it out as I can't afford that much paper, lol.

I haven't tried any of the other books mentioned here but "Understanding Exposure" sure does get a lot of mentions in photography forums so I assume it's a good one. I might try ordering it from the local library.

Zorro.

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 Post subject: Two books
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:32 pm 
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I would describe myself as an amateur. After many years with compacts, I bought a Pentax dSLR a couple if years ago. So, I re-discovered true photography and felt the need to revise some basics and improve composition.

So I went to a bookshop specialized in photography and, after a quick look at various books, picked two.

Actually, I'm not saying that those books are better than others but I rather try and describe what I've (and haven't) found inside!

---

The New Manual of Photography, by John Hedgecoe

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I consider this book as rather exhaustive so the reader gets a large picture of photography, including material, technical background, conditions of shooting, and basic post-processing included.

John Hedgecoe emphasize the link between technical parameters (eg. focal length on speed), and thus invites the reader to consider the consequences of one specific setting on the others. This comprehensive vision of photography is the clear and winning result of this book.

However, there's something strange about the title of this book. Despite "new" included in the title, many pages are devoted to film photography: how film works, how to select the right film, how to process the film, ... This could help film photographers to better understand digital photography and ease the shift from digital to film.

One drawback for would-be photographers is the fact only best pictures are provided. That's nice but not the best way from a learning point of view. I think a lot could be learn from failed shots, while they are explained.

NOTE: I read the French edition by Pearson Education France, that may differ from the English book. The French translation is fine andnice to read.
---

Basics Photography: Composition, by David Prakel

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I really like the presentation of the book: an idea, some technical explanations, and examples.

After providing the basic rules and describing the formal components of composition, standard photographic applications are reviewed: landscape, still nature, portrait, sport, ...

The examples provided are not always the best pictures, so the reader could discover by himself/herself what's fine and what's not, and why.

The final chapter is a clear invitation for breaking the rules and finding one's own style!

NOTE: I read the French edition by "La Compagnie du Livre" that may differ from the English book. The French translation is fine and accurate, and nice to read.

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--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


Last edited by rei_vilo on Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: One more book
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:33 pm 
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Basics Photography: Lighting, by David Prakel

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This book uses the same presentation as Composition: an idea, some technical explanations, and examples. However, it is more technical than the first one and deals with truly professional gear as studio lamps.

The amateur (like myself!) may be disappointed. For example, if two pages are dedicated to shooting the sky at night, there's no reference to the maximum exposure time allowed to prevent blurred stars, due to the rotation of the Earth.

After having defined what's light, categories of light are detailed, with nice pictures for each case: natural light by day, by night, fill-in; artificial light, candle, streets, concert.

Flash and studio lights are well documented (two chapters), with shots for each kind of light and for each position, with adequate diagrams.

The final chapter gives ideas on how to play with light.

NOTE: I read the French edition by "La Compagnie du Livre" that may differ from the English book. Unfortunately, the French translation is not always accurate (typos, wrong words, misleading capitalized words). However, it remains nice to read.

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Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


Last edited by rei_vilo on Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:36 pm 
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Pentax K10D - Magic Lantern Guide, by Peter K. Burian

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This book is the missing user's manual for K10D users. The manual provided with the K10D is rather a reference manual, while Peter K. Burian's book is the true user's manual.

It provides two kinds of information:

1. Since the K10D is loaded with so many options, what are the photographic consequences of each option?

2. To-the-point advice from a professional photographer: which option is more suitable for a given circumstance?

All the options provided by the C menu are detailed as well as the way the K10D works in each mode (P, Av, Tv, TAv, Sv, M). The Pentax-speak is translated into photographic language, easier to understand. A whole chapter (#6) is devoted to the use of flash, bridging the gap between the manual of the K10D of the manual of the flash.

The book is easy to read since K10D's symbols are used. The final result is a lot of time saved. After reading this book, the user knows his/her camera much better and could trust it and use it to deliver truly amazing pictures.

A must have for K10D owners.

NOTE: I read the French edition, "Pentax K10D par Peter Burian, préface et adaptation de René Bouillot", éditions VM, groupe Eyrolles, that may differ from the English book. The French translation is accurate and nice to read. No wallet card is included.

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--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 10:18 pm 
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Hi folks,

If you are into landscape photography you could do a lot worse than go down to your local library and borrow "Light in the Landscape, A Photographer's Year" by Peter Watson.

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Beautifully illustrated throughout and each image has it's own commentary, not only on the technicalities of the shot and tips on composition but also often on how the shot was "found".

Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:52 pm 
I am reading Digital SLR Cameras & Photography for Dummies at the moment and the stuff I've learnt in the 80 or so pages I've read so far is immense.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:24 am 
Well here are some books I have bought to help me learn:

1) 100 Ways To Take Better Landscape Photographs (less than £10)

2) Digital Photographers Guide to Filters (Digital Photographer's Guide To...) (£14.99) (There are some amazing filter pictures that make this a must for anyone interested in the power of filters etc.)

3) Understanding RAW Photography (Less that £10)

4) Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies (Paperback).

From the library

1) The Adobe PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM BOOK: The Complete Guide for Photographers (The problem with this book and others like it, such as this one, is that it is based on the non-public released beta and any others are only up to about LR V1.1. So I am just going to use this from the library only).

2) Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting (Paperback). (What to see what it is like first as it is over £20)

I'II let you know what they are like when I've read them :)


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 8:49 am 
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Basics Photography: Colour, by Philip A. Malpas
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This book is the 3rd instalment of the excellent collection "Basics Photography" and features the same winning presentation as Composition and Lighting: one idea, some technical explanations, and fully commented examples.

After briefly exposing the colour theory and the human vision, the book explains the interaction between light and colours, and how film and digital cameras "see" the colours.

Two more technical chapters are devoted to filters, to RAW files processing and printing.

Then the book presents two galleries: the first one shows how to play with colours; the second takes carefully chosen pictures from various photographers. Each picture is analysed, commented and explained.

Here is the great strength of this book! The reader has everything to understand adn learn: theory, technique and examples.

When closing the book, the reader has only one idea: to play with colours by himself :)

NOTE: I read the French edition by "La Compagnie du Livre" that may differ from the English book. Unfortunately, the French translation is not always accurate (typos, wrong words, misleading capitalized words, English words not translated). However, it remains nice to read.

_________________
--- rei_vilo
Pentax K-5 + BG4 + DA* 16-50 + DA* 50-135 + DA* 60-250 + AF-540FGZ
reivilophotography.weebly.com


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