Top positive review
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Often reprinted and still valuable and informative
on 29 June 2012
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.