Digital Photography: A Basic Manual I feel teaches more than the basics when it comes to the DSLR, DSLRs, or the hybrid cameras on the market. There were a few times I found myself having to go over chapters again to clarify things, not because the book is not well written, but because there are some aspects of digital photography that can be quite confusing. For example, when it comes to lenses and their focal, length, and angle of view of different lenses it can be quite time consuming if you would like to learn more than the basics. For me, these were some pages in the book I just could not quickly skim through without some confusion.
The introduction of this book has a Quick Start Guide which is helpful for those who have never used a digital camera before. From there you move on to Chapter 1: Digital Capture, which lists the different types of cameras available on the market. This part of the chapter then goes into more details on different types of cameras while covering some specifics of each type of camera. Then the main focus turns to the digital camera itself. Specifics then covered on the digital camera are the image sensor, pixels and image processor. You are also given basic information on setting up a digital camera and you are taught about file formats, image sizes, white balance and miscellaneous camera settings your camera may or may not have. It continues into memory cards, types and speed, and transfer rates. This section on memory cards I found interesting and helpful, especially the information about how memory cards come in different classes and how they are rated according to their speed, also called data transfer rate. All of which affects how fast a memory card can capture a picture or how fast the card can transfer photos to a computer. This chapter ends with miscellaneous camera capture equipment and trouble shooting.
Chapter 2: Camera Lenses, begins with information on the camera lens itself and its focus and auto-focus capabilities, including its reaction to low-light, reflective surfaces, snow, sand and sky, close-ups and the also the manual focus mode. This was another chapter that helped me by teaching me why my camera behaves the way it does when in auto-focus mode during certain times. This instilled in me more confidence now to switch to manual focus and use it more often when my needs are not met with auto-focus. In the next topic, Exposure, I learned about aperture, exposure, and f-stop. Here I learned the most commonly available f-stops which include whole f-stops, and full f-stops. It also goes into more complicated lens aperture changes, partial f-stop, half f-stop and third f-stop. One important aspect I learned here was that a lens is described (mm on a lens) according to its widest f-stop. This is the widest it can open, which explains why fast lenses are the most expensive lenses on the market due to their large aperture. Another thing to keep in mind is also the higher the number of your lens the smaller the lens opens. The chapter continues with disadvantages and advantages of different size lenses and with minimal instructions on setting f-stops due to the wide variations in cameras. The information after this point gets a little more complicated with the focal lengths and millimeter sizes of zoom lenses and prime lenses describing normal, wide angle and telephoto lenses and how an optical measurement of a focal length is determined.
These were only the first couple of chapters in this book, which should give you an idea that this book has a lot of information in it. The title can be misleading to one who thinks they know everything there is to know about photography, may have missed learning some basics along the way, or might need a refresher in some aspects of digital photography. Because of this I would recommend Digital Photography: A Basic Manual to anyone, whether you just received your first digital camera or you have had one for years and would like to improve your digital photo taking abilities. Overall, I enjoyed reviewing Digital Photography and learned many important aspects of that I benefited from and will help me be a better photographer.