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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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This was a book I believed that I had bought many years ago, probably not during its first printing although I had read that and the following revised version several times at intervals. It has been reprinted and revised several times since, although not deviating too dramatically from Adams' original text. I had purchased five others of Adams' instructional guides (four of them in the same series as this and the fifth a much modified assemblage and revision of the series with some further additions). This book was originally written around Adams' personal choice of camera which was similar to those used a century previously. His lenses may have been of higher quality as was the film he used, but his camera was little changed. The principles of using such cameras is the basis of every other that followed and, although today's technologies are very different, it would benefit many of today's photographers to return to the basics, at least in print.

Adams' camera of choice was the view camera, specifically one using large sheets of cut film that had to be contained within individual film carriers. You may have a double-sided type that would hold two sheets, one per side, which would slightly reduce overall bulk and weight, but it was practically impossible to carry sufficient film holders for a great many shots. Each exposure had to count!

Because the cameras were large and heavy, impossible to hand-hold and needed a tripod, transport was often needed just to get the equipment in the vicinity of his subject area. Unless you had some sort of portable darkroom or other local facility that allowed exposed film to be removed and safely stored before processing, and replaced with fresh unexposed sheets, the number of possible exposures for a single session would be very few.

Although not directly relevant to today's very different and mostly automated cameras, there is much within its pages that can still be learned. The text may have been slightly updated since first written but has not been dramatically revised. It is nevertheless still of great value.

Still considered a masterpiece and a classic, it has a message for today's photographers and I can still therefore recommend its purchase and have now ordered a copy to complete the series in my collection. This is a paperback edition and its pages are physically about one third larger than the older, hardback volumes I have of the series. That need not be an issue as this edition is of a similar scale to many of the photo-oriented photographic titles that exist today. Despite what may appear as its negative attributes, I would still recommend that this book form a part of the collection of any serious photographer, as I would the remainder of the series.
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on 21 August 2014
excellent!!! a must for any darkroom printer
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on 13 July 2012
I purchased the trilogy of these books, The Camera, The Negative and The Print as I wished to reintroduce myself to the magic of film based photography. Ansel Adams was a formative photographer, he was also methodical, systematic and philosophical. If you enjoy detailed, clear and concise information combined with art then I think you will enjoy his approach. Yes, these books were written before the mass introduction of digital media, but knowing the roots of any subject is bound to produce insights and connections. Photography is about images, emotions and interpretation. You may consider little value in understanding something of different film types, papers and developers, but digital manipulation seeks to replicate these same effects with filters and settings and understanding the origins of the processes involved may enhance your understanding of where we are now. You never know you may even try using film again, you just need to slow down a bit, but that may not be a bad thing for any us, after all photography is about looking, really looking and seeing things others can't see.
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on 6 April 2014
Prior to purchase, I read several positive reviews about this book and watched a YouTube review. These convinced me to buy the book, and I am very pleased with it. It's a wonderful historic document. Ansel Adams really understood camera technology and design. The book gives very detailed explanations of topics like theory and design of apertures and shutters, lens design, depth of field and perspective. It also contains some of Ansel Adams' black and white pictures, which he used to illustrate points regarding camera operation.

The descriptions are very clear, from first principles to complex detail, with very good diagrams. The book is a very good introduction to photography, and a very useful reference document.

It is a high quality reprint of the final edition from 1980. Although written several decades ago it covers camera theory and technology that is still fully relevant today. However, as it was written before the advent of digital cameras, the book does not, of course, contain any information on technology specific to digital cameras, such as digital sensors.

I have several other books about cameras and photography by other authors, but I learnt a lot from reading Ansel Adams' book. I would recommend it to anybody who wants to understand the fundamental of camera operation.
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on 2 January 2011
I bought this book as a present for myself (from my wife for Christmas...). It has not disappointed.
As well as discussing camera types, shutters, lenses, resolution and sharpness the book has an excellent section on Image Management. So, where does all of this fit and what relevance is it in the Digital Age?
For those of us who love photography and are less attracted to the tenchno gadgetry of the 21st century and who concentrate on light, form and composition and not just capture, this book has much to offer. It is certainly one I will be recommending to my students.
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on 27 November 2009
Though dated, this is still the definitive book on how a camera operates and how to use one to best effect. Aspects of view (AKA technical) cameras will not be useful to most people on a day-to-day basis, but are still essential in understanding the geometry of taking a shot. This book covers what all the newer books on digital photography leave out. It provides all the basics without dumbing down the material to the point of uselessness. It is written in a clear and lucid style with excellent examples from Adams' own work. Truly an essential work for anyone interested in the timeless art of photography. (I don't give it five stars for some omissions which are, in fact, covered in the other two books of this series.)
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on 23 May 2014
All you need to know about cameras. None of that digital mumbo jumbo either. The real cameras. Together with the other books in the series it covers all the technique you will ever need to take great photographs. Most of what you learn here can be applied to digital photography and image processing. Now go out and shoot! ;)
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on 5 February 2002
Like its two companion volumes, "The Negative" and "The Print", "The Camera" is a thorough master-class in all aspects of the subject. The techniques used (and partly developed) by Ansel Adams are well worth learning for anyone who is serious about photography
These books may all be said to be slightly dated, as most photographers today e.g. don't mix their own developer from raw chemicals, but the basic techniques are still solid.
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on 20 August 2009
Interesting book and very interesting to see how little has changed
Some great ideas in there and it makes you feel like this "photography thing" is at least as much art as science and probably significantly more of the former.
This particular Edition is badly produced with slanted type setting, and a weak spine. While the paper and shots look great it has the feel of a reasonably well produced university lab manual.

In terms of what I paid for it, my experience with the seller, the delivery and packaging, and the description of the text I have no complaints - however if you want a nice book for your collection - I'd look for a different edition.
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on 18 November 2014
Still relevant today despite the change to digital. Chapters on composition are excellent
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