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
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
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
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
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
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!