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The Digital Photography Handbook review

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The Digital Photography Handbook
  • The Digital Photography Handbook
  • The Digital Photography Handbook
  • The Digital Photography Handbook
  • The Digital Photography Handbook
  • The Digital Photography Handbook

Summary

Our Score:

9

An updated new edition of Doug Harman's best-selling guide

Although most modern compact cameras are designed to be totally automatic and very easy to use, if you get beyond the automation and start experimenting with photography you'll quickly realise that it is a complex and challenging subject that can take a lifetime to master. A good place to start is a beginner's guide book, and those don't come much better than The Digital Photography Handbook, a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated guide written by my friend and former colleague Doug Harman, with photography by David Jones, and published by Quercus Books at the very reasonable price of £6.99. The first edition was a big hit last year, selling over 100,000 copies and making it onto both Amazon's and WH Smith's best seller lists. Doug has now updated the handbook, with the revised second edition including the latest developments in digital camera technology.

With such a big subject a 221-page book can only hope to offer a broad overview, but the list of topics that the book seeks to cover is exhaustive. The content is divided into four main sections. The first, “Going Digital”, covers choosing and buying a digital camera, as well as what lenses, accessories and computer software you'll need. The second section, titled “Using Your Digital Camera” starts with the basic principals such as composition, focusing, exposure and depth of field, and moves on to specific techniques for portraits, sports, landscapes, weddings and more. The third and largest section deals with “The Digital Darkroom”, and looks at basic image editing techniques such as cropping, straightening and re-sizing, moving on to more advanced procedures such as colour management, levels and clone brush use, and ending with projects such as restoring old prints and making panorama landscapes. The smaller fourth section, “Output”, covers storage, printing, scanning, emailing and uploading, with a section on photo copyright.

Because the book tries to cover so much ground in a limited amount of space most of the subjects are dealt with in only a couple of pages, many of which also contain large colour photographs. The complicated subject of exposure for example is covered by about 600 words and two photos. If you already have some knowledge of photography or image editing you'll probably find many of the sections lacking in depth, but for the complete novice (who is really the book's target audience) it provides a gentle learning curve, starting out with the basics and leaving out many of the more complicated bits. Although it is definitely aimed primarily at beginners, more experienced photographers should be able to find something useful here, especially in the Digital Darkroom section, and even for experts it makes a handy all-in-one quick reference.

MrGodfrey

October 26, 2010, 11:31 pm

Excellent review made even better by plugging Pentax in each photo ;) Anyway the book seems an excellent introduction, will make a cheap present for some of the more digiphobic relatives.

japester

October 27, 2010, 12:35 am

Great article again Cliff,


However are there any recommendations you could make for some books that cover things for the more enthusiastic photographer that covers the subjects in more detail?

scotw

October 27, 2010, 1:34 am

Just what I was looking for...copy ordered, thanks TR :-)

Jonas

October 27, 2010, 1:56 am

Seems like a very good book, gorgeous pictures and well priced.





I for one welcome these kinds of reviews, books and other products that are not electronics but deal with them in some way.





On a side note, it is slightly compromising reviewing you friends book isnt it;)

HSC

October 27, 2010, 1:17 pm

can't find it on iBooks or Kindle...

PeterB666

October 27, 2010, 4:29 pm

I have the 2008 edition of this book and it would be a great gift for someone starting out in digital photo or an introduction to the options and where to go for the youger person starting on their first serious journey into photography. Highly recommended and a nice compact format.

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