3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good with misleading title
, 18 Mar. 2012
This review is from: National Geographic Complete Photography (Hardcover)
This book has many excellent features but it is not 'complete' as the title suggests. nor can any single book reasonably be a complete guide to photography. The misleading title loses it one star.
As you would expect from National Geographic, the quality of the material on composition, use of light and analysis of photographs is very, very good.
The timeline of photography section is interesting and remarkably fair to non-American contributors to the development of photography for a US publication.
It is less fair in some other places, notably forgetting Swan's joint invention of incandescent lighting (with Edison).
The second star goes because some of the technical material has either been poorly written or badly edited; it is difficult to tell which.
The book perpetuates the myth that a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera mimics the field of view of the human eye; it assuredly does not. The eye is not a camera and the eye-brain system has a field of view of about 190 degrees by 135 degrees which is much closer to a seriously expensive wide angle lens. Perhaps not a killer mistake, but National Geographic should know better.
There is also some really weird stuff. About zoom lenses: "photographic purists will tell you that their angle of refraction is not equal to their angle of reflection"!. What? This is either drivel or needs a lot more explanation. (Reflections in non-mirror lenses is undesirable whereas without refraction they wouldn't work at all.)
The software section makes no serious mention of the Aperture/Lightroom class of programs, a serious omission when they, rightly, emphasize the use of raw image recording.
The bit about Photoshop layers is rather confused, too. Adjustment Layers are a particular type of layer in Photoshop, not a name for all types of layer.
Talking about printing, the assertion is made that printers are "optimized for 300dpi". Well, some may be, Epsons almost certainly are not since their basic movement unit corresponds to 360dpi. The information is probably useless anyway.
To sum up: excellent on the artistic end, much less good at the craft side of photography and certainly not complete. Since the opening chapters make the point that photography is both an art and a craft, National Geographic need to do better with the next edition.
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