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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 6 July 2012
This review is from: Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers Only (For Only) (Paperback)
I must admit from the outset that I bought this book for the subject and not because of its authors - I did not know either previously.

I had used SLRs (not DSLRs) for a great many years before the digital age and although some models had an inbuilt exposure meter of some description and sometimes a degree of automation, I always used a separate exposure meter. There are rather few now available at prices that most users would wish to pay, and most do not use them although many professional photographers would still use them some of the time.

There are very few modern cameras that do not employ automatic exposure as one of its modes and has a means to use a proportion of the image as being seen by its sensor to assess the actual exposure. These systems go further than would have previously been possible; in the past if, in a particular situation and with a certain film loaded, the suggested exposure was 1/8 second at f/4, most cameras would allow you to take the shot but you would probably find it had badly suffered from camera shake. Not only do modern cameras have image stabilisation that helps prevent shake, but they also have automatic ISO adjustment that increases what would have been the film speed, doubling each time, until a more reasonable exposure is possible. Several cameras provide ISO speeds of 12,800 or 25,600, unheard of in the past, and some professional models go way beyond those.

This book looks at two aspects of the more technical side of photography; Exposure and Lighting. The exposure is mostly a electro-mechanical function of the camera but learning when and why to accept the camera's suggested exposure and when not to, is another issue and an important one. If, in two successive scenes you were to photograph a white cat against a snow-covered background and then a black cat in the proverbial coal cellar, both cats and their respective backgrounds would appear a mid-grey in the final image. The camera is working on 'average' or 'typical' scenes and neither fits well. Those are extreme examples and unlikely to be experienced in reality, but similar situations may occur. There are basic rules about adjusting exposure to show the cats in their true tonality and that is what the relevant section is about, and in a rather more extended way.

Most scenes encountered are less extreme and the camera will handle almost all very well. For the remainder, you will need to have read and understood the contents of this book.

Digital cameras are capable of showing a certain range of tones, it varies slightly from camera to camera, but none can show the whitest white and the blackest black at the same time. You have to select which is most important and which is not and adjust the exposure accordingly. When the camera is unable to record the lightest and darkest portions of the image, the pixels are said to have 'blown'. Any detail in those pixels will then be lost. You cannot completely avoid that, but you can learn how to deal with it. That is where the book helps.

Lighting is not always completely within the photographer's control, but it can be much of the time. You may be dependent upon the sun for light but you may use flash sometimes, or some alternative form of artificial light whether it is LED lamps, fluorescent, tungsten, halogen or some other. How you use them, or when to use them, is the scope of the lighting portion of the book.

It is a complex subject and one that requires experimentation and experience to use well. The advantage of digital cameras is that you can take as many shots as you like, subject to the available battery capacity of the camera, without needing to worry about the cost of film or processing as would once have been the case. I did that!

You may need to use reflectors of some sort, or use objects around you as reflectors and that is where the book will help.

The book may not be the best book on exposure ever, or the best on lighting, but it is the best I know that relates to the digital camera.
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Review Details



AJS (London)

Location: London UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 114