In her latest Digital SLR Pocket Guide, author Margaret Brown has written the definitive text for anyone from absolute beginner through to the knowledgeable enthusiast on what counts when buying and using a new DSLR.
– And straight away we are informed that what counts most is not megapixel count – one of the myths Ms Brown busts as she tackles a number of common misconceptions about modern cameras: ‘A camera’s megapixel count is no longer the main gauge of its ability to produce high-quality images; the size and light-capturing ability of the pixels themselves is more important.’
– Simply expressed and hard to refute – but not often stated by the Nikons and Canons in their promotional material, engaged as they are in the ongoing ‘megapixel wars’.
The focus of this guide is not shifting units, but assisting keen photographers to make the correct purchase decisions, and then use their new equipment to the best of its, and their, abilities.
Unlike a lot of introductions to cameras and picture-taking – there’s a lot of the cutesy, patronising crap out there – Ms Brown doesn’t assume a low IQ in her readership. This is not Photography for Idiots! Rather, she assumes she is writing to intelligent people who can absorb facts and concepts they have simply not yet had the opportunity to be exposed to. How zany is that!
She even goes so far as to suggest that a DSLR is not necessarily for everyone, explains why, and offers more appropriate alternatives.
She explains why a pro DSLR can cost three or four times as much as an entry-level model, and provides a useful table which splits the market into Entry-level, Enthusiast and Professional, describing the key performance parameters of each. (What, no Playfessional category, how can that be?)
Lenses are given their due significance, whereas some digital photography guides seem to overlook the fact that the quality of the glass is just as important as the quality of the sensor and electronics. The technology which goes into making a good lens is jam-packed with jargon, and this is translated into terms understandable to those without a degree in optics.
After the overview of contemporary DSLR features and benefits, and tips to point readers in the direction of the type of camera and lenses best-suited to them, the Digital SLR Pocket Guide explains how to use the equipment to best effect with chapters such as: Basic Camera Settings; Key Controls – exposure metering, histogram, bracketing, dynamic range; Sensitivity and Colour Controls; Focusing and Depth of Field; Shooting in Live View Mode.
She makes a convincing argument in favour of shooting in Raw rather than JPEG file format, and then takes the reader through the steps needed to convert images to JPEG on the desktop for maximum quality, detail and gamut. This is a critical step for keen photographers to make but one a lot of writers to a broad consumer audience ignore – at their readers’ expense.
The guide is fully illustrated with sample images and practical shooting tips that show you how to use the most important DSLR controls effectively, and is sprinkled with well-researched URL addresses (which are, of course, live links in the eBook version) for further reference.
The hundreds of images in the guide are used in the main to support the text, rather than with an agenda of presenting a personal portfolio. In some how-to books, the photography is so impossibly perfect or exotic it can actually be off-putting to those just starting out on their picture-taking journey.
This must be at least the umpteenth guide to various aspects of picture-taking Margaret Brown has written over the last 10 years for specialist photographic publisher, Media Publishing. She is also technical editor with the publisher’s quarterly enthusiast magazine, Photo Review Australia.
Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, and this third edition of the Digital SLR pocket Guide comes pretty damned close, in its 100 or so pages.
Recommended as an accessory line with a respectable 50 percent margin, or as part of a distinctive camera kit bundle. Buy 100 copies and you can have your own ‘private label’ version, with the store’s logo added to the cover! And we’ve negotiated a special ‘Buy 3, Get 1 Free’ offer for Photo Counter readers.
Digital SLR Pocket Guide (3rd Edition)
By Margaret Brown
RRP: $9.99 (inc GST)
Format: epub, mobi
Read on your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle, tablet, smartphone, laptop, PC or Mac
Order and instant download at Photo Review’s online bookstore
RRP: $24.95 (inc GST)
Size: A5, 100pp, perfect bound
Available on TaluBooks.com
For photo retailers the print edition wholesale rate is $12.50 inc gst per copy (RRP 24.95), minimum order 3 copies.
SPECIAL OFFER – Photo Counter readers:
– If a retailer buys 100 copies their store’s logo will be printed on the cover.
– Mention Photo Counter when you order and receive an extra copy for every 3 copies you buy.