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The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop Paperback – 13 Sep 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (13 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321839579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321839572
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.4 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 322,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

“Jeff played host at his studio to some of the key meetings in Lightroom’s early development. With The Digital Negative, he pulls together his years of bridging traditional photography and digital photography and shares it with the broader photographic community.”
– Mark Hamburg
Fellow, Adobe Systems, Inc.

About the Author

Jeff Schewe is an award-winning professional advertising photographer and digital imaging pioneer. He teaches and leads workshops and is a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame at Photoshop World. Jeff co-authored Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom. Visit the book’s companion website at TheDigitalNegativeBook.com for sample images and more!


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently received this book from my wife for my birthday, which shows that she must have paid attention to my minor rants about a digital camera RAW file being the equivalent of the film negative and that it needs "developing" to produce the image. My rants were normally triggered by people making statements along the lines of "I took this in RAW and have done nothing to it, so the colours are exactly correct".

Mr Schewe's detailed examination of the make up of a RAW file makes clear that the data as it comes from the camera is not in any useful sense a usable image, as no colour space is assigned and it is just a matrix of encoded luminance values. He gives a good overview of the processes that a raw converter must go through to demosiac and apply a tone curve to arrive at a starting point for the processing of the image, and shows what can be achieved with images that on first glance appear to be hopeless cases. As a bonus, many of the example images in the book can be downloaded from the book's website ([...]) so that you can practice the adjustments yourself on the same images as the author used.

I've never met Mr Schewe, but from his writing style, which is direct and to the point (almost blunt), I suspect he doesn't suffer fools gladly, and this book makes no concessions to beginners. However, I find that to be the book's strength, since there's no waffle and handholding, just solid information delivered with no bull. So, if your (digital) photography has advanced to the point where you realise there's more to be extracted from your RAW images than just opening them in the camera manufacturer's software and then saving them as a jpeg, this book is highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
AT last a substantial book that treats the reader as an intelligent experienced photographer. Very difficult subject matter treated in a way that is easy for the reasonably intelligent non-techie to understand. No padded off-subject waffle. Should be compulsory reading for the serious photographer
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Format: Paperback
This book starts off on a journey through all the stations essential to the perfecting of your digital images. It begins with the basics, then accellerates through Lightroom intermediates, to increasingly advanced stuff, until by about 3/4 of the way through (about page 206) when it goes flat out, with some really advanced, useful and exquisite photoshop techniques. From there the foot is taken off the pedal and it gently slows, finally ending with a few handy preference tips etc.

For all the above I heartily recommend it, but I am disappointed by one area where it does fail. It fails by omitting something which most similar books include. There are no links (AFAICS) to download: actions, images and work (.psd) files to practice his techniques on, which for the really advanced techniques (around pages 206-211) it really needs; nor, and equally as important, does it have screenshots full size, which we also need because most of the Lightroom screenshots are (IMO) too small to read clearly without the assistance of another pair of glasses to double up or a magnifying glass. ( I can read the text OK btw). I accept that maybe we don't need to see every tiny detail of the panels etc and perhaps just need the general gist (but then why include them?) but it is irritating not to have access to larger versions, or the work files, via a link.

There are parts of the book (around page 206) where some of it will require anyone but advanced photoshop users to try it several times to understand it properly. Fine - I like trying new things but although I understand the concepts, as I go through the techniques in my mind I can see tiny points that might trip me up and so I would really have expected links to working files and ideally a small video showing the process.
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No doubt Jeff is one of the biggest experts on Raw image processing in Lightroom and Photoshop Camera Raw, having previously also enjoyed his Bruce Frasers and "Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop" books. And if you are an Adobe Lightroom user this might be the best expert book on the subject you can get, however in the eyes of a Camera Raw user like me, this is a very frustrating book to read.The problem is the way the book is organized. The book is repeatedly build up by long sections on each subject describing how it works in Lightroom, followed by a short one describing how it is different in Camera Raw. You cannot skip the Lightroom parts and go directly to the Camera Raw descriptions, but have to read and understand the Lightroom sections first. And this is hard and frustrating way to read, if you are a Camera Raw user not familiar with Lightroom.
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As an old school film photographer that cut my teeth on books by Adams, Coote and Langford, when I made the change to digital working I looked hard for similar knowledgable tomes on the new technology and was greatly disappointed.

Eventually, over the years, a few authors started to appear that really got to grips with the essential science behind the art that a photographer needs to understand. The late, great, Bruce Fraser was one of these that will be sadly missed but Jeff Schewe has produced in this volume an essential reference that should be on the shelf of any one that wants to actually be in control of their photography instead of just being a slave to the technology.
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