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on June 13, 2004
This books drags on, explains little and for someone like myself that is just starting in Photography and wants an understanding in common Photographic terms is useless. The following terms are not explained in Mr. Ang's Glossary at all, and too much space is given to Computer for Dummies dialog.
Following terms are not at least touched upon or even explained:
Effective Resolution
F Stop
Depth of field
Digital Optics
Exposure Control
What Mr. Ang Spends most of his time doing is reprinting what has been written a thousand times over in Photoshop Books and Computer for Dummies circa 1987.
The Cameras that he compares, six models, three of the best and three of the absolute worst, are in so horrible detail, three paragraphs, that I would expect this kind of effort from a Junior High Student. Of course one will get great looking photos operating a Nikon D100 but the why is not even explained in detail, what we get instead is: How to have your eyes set from optimal monitor viewing!
I would swear that most of this material was Plagiarized for "how to set up your Computer manual" and "Photoshop for Dummies". The only saving grace to the whole book is the "Quick Fix" sections but this material I have also seen many times over in PC Week and MacWorld.
If you know nothing about computers and Don't need certain Photographic terms explained and studied, and would also like to just get another tip book get the Photoshop Bible, that would be better than this outdated, ill informed over bloated drivel.
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on April 29, 2004
Choosing an introductory level technical guide is something like ordering ice cream in a foreign language: all the flavors might be good, but you probably won't feel satisfied if you wanted orange sherbet and wind up with rocky road.
I bought this volume in spite of two negative reviews. Fortunately I brought a wireless Internet connection to my neighborhood bookstore so I was able to do some real browsing.
The layout and printing are first rate. I like heavy paper, full color on every page, and a design that serves the content. This was the best by far in those areas among the smaller digital photography volumes I saw. Tom Ang has a wonderful photographer's eye.
This is a guide for people who used to burn through 35mm film as a hobby. It won't teach you how to shoot your niece's birthday party or explain every optimization trick in Photoshop. You already know the basics - if this is your book - and you'd rather leave the imaging software tome back at home on the desk. What you really want is enough information to adjust some settings and composition, glance at the preview screen, and get a sense for what you'll do afterward.
I may not be the typical reader. Although I've never taken a photography course in my life and couldn't feel my way out of a darkroom, I've also been published in about half a dozen magazines. This volume is beautiful enough to make me want to run for my camera and sturdy enough to carry along for some thumbing. What attracted me most is tricky to pinpoint. Tom Ang understands how digital cameras "see" and how imaging programs "think," yet those technologies never overwhelm his priorities. It's all about getting the shot.
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on November 7, 2003
If you like the way your pictures come out, this book is built to show you how to apply those skills to the digital format. But if you're an average family member trying to improve your pictures of your average life, go with "How to Photograph Your Life" by Nick Kelsh.
"Digital Photography: An Introduction" by Tom Ang
The opening chapter (on how to select the equipment to meet your needs) is useful only for those who don't have a camera, computer, or scanner yet or those who are looking to replace their current tools. But by the time I'm buying a photography book, I'm looking to make better use of the camera I already have. And I don't claim to know more than the professionals, but the author's advice on many technical points seems to contradict all that I've heard elsewhere. Such as his suggestion on page 16 that "with a 3-megapixel camera you have really crossed over into the realm of professional-quality image-making." This is a brand-new publication (October 2003) and I wouldn't hire any professional who told me he would be shooting my event with a 3-megapixel camera these days. Plus, like the rest of the book, it gets too technical too quickly. By the fourth page of the chapter, the author is describing buyers' choices for available focusing methods and viewfinder systems, before getting into the broader, more basic subject of whether to choose a 1, 2, or 3-megapixel camera. At least the chapter is short - only 24 pages.
The 2nd chapter is wonderful - the good stuff on how to take better pictures. Fundamentals of composition, lighting, proportion... but the author spends too little time on each subject. For example, there are only two pages on proportion, and the whole chapter is only 34 pages long. And it gets too technical too quickly, often recommending techniques that require costly accessories. The author seems to assume you already have a photographic eye and he says nothing about how to train your eyes to turn a scene from an average life into a good picture.
The rest of the book makes up the bulk of it (pages 94 to 216). These last two chapters cover image manipulation and output options (web, printing, emailing). I can't really review these because I haven't gotten there yet. First I need to start taking pictures that I like before I'm willing to invest time and money into editing and printing them.
Maybe it's just me, but this does not seem like a good book for beginners.
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on February 3, 2004
I was very disappointed in this book. Perhaps this was my fault as I expected it to be more advanced than it was. The material on camera and computers was a complete waste of my time - I already have camera and computer...
Also so much of the information is self-explanatory when you do your first digital editing. I already know a great deal of this and the explanations for what I do NOT know (the reason I got the book) aren't detailed enough.
Also, he has a section on Quick Mask, which isn't even available in Elements 2, although he says it is... - for a new book, this needs updating NOW.
I would not recommend it to anyone except a person just looking into getting a digital camera.
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