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on 17 October 2012
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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on 10 August 2014
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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on 6 July 2013
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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on 31 March 2013
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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on 13 November 2012
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. OK so maybe if he did one vid he'd be expected to do a vid of the lot but it is a glaring omission IMO. I understand his reasons for not including them , he has already done Lightroom videos on much of the subject (with Michael Reichmann) which are sold on Luminous Landscape. However the photoshop section would benefit hugely from supporting files ( He talks about making actions of it too, it would have added kudos though if he had provided one or two)

OK, so I'll just have to find any answers I need (which are fairly trivial but also essential) on a discussion forum or similar but I do think it's not unreasonable to expect links to SOME workfiles from a book like this, it would have made it complete which as it stands, it is not, as it leaves me needing just a little bit more info.

(If the links are there but I just haven't been able to find them then I retract the above but would add - make the links more visible!)

UPDATE: Jeff Schewe responded on the Amazon American site so I'll add this below:
(thanks Jeff:) )
Link is here: [...] OH no links allowed I see - OK well - its on the back of the book anyway
I'm leaving my comments above as I imagine there are others in the same boat as me, who don't find the link obvious

I also want to add to this review that having gone over it again, I think the techniques explained on pages 206 to about 216 are really very worthwhile indeed.
This is one of those books that I will refer to again and again until I 'grok' those techniques as they seem to be ones essential to master
I would still like to have videos of the pages mentioned though as I learn so much better that way than from text

Having gone through it yet again I would like to further add that some parts would be a lot easier to understand were the editing, punctuation and grammar better
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on 12 October 2014
Straight in at the deep end for technical content so not for beginners but it teaches you a lot about how to get a good exposure and then takes you through the full power of Lightroom. It really needs to be read from front to back, it's not a book for dipping into as it follows a linear path, building up your knowledge in a logical way as you go. I've hardly used Photoshop since reading this book as it shows you so much can be done in Lightroom. The only reservation is that you have to flip backwards sometimes to remind yourself of previously explained techniques as there are not even hints when a technique is repeated on a different image because the purpose is to explain a new technique.

Quite simply this book has completely changed my approach to processing my images.
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on 29 April 2014
There are some good tips in this book, but they're buried in among the author's name-dropping anecdotes. If these were excluded I think the book would be about a third of the size.
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on 4 August 2013
I am well pleased with this book on raw prosessing, it is so well explained, I do most of my raw in lightroom, and, even though I no my way around it I still have learnt a lot from it, Lightroom has a different way of working than photoshops raw although they are basically the same, and jim explains every thing so well, he even tells you how too keep photoshop , and lightroom working up too speed.
the fundamentlals of lightroom and camera raw are very well explained also, advanced raw processing using lightroom or camera raw, but the book has so much more, well recommended, excellent.
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on 6 February 2014
For anyone serious about digital photography and how the camera/software interface works, this really is a very good read. Mr Schewe gives detailed technical information in layman's language, thus making the inner workings just that bit more accessible and comprehensible.
Any Lightroom or Camera Raw user really should use this as an aid to getting the best our of every worthwhile image.
I am reading and looking into Lightroom (my editing software favourite) with enriched knowledge.
Thanks for a very good book.
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on 29 January 2013
Excellent book. Easy to follow. Goes beyond just instructions on what slider to use but ensures a complete understanding - which makes it all far easier
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