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ATPM 11.11
November 2005


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Book Review

by Tom Bridge,

Digital Photography Pocket Guide, Third Edition


Author: Derrick Story

Publisher: O’Reilly

Price: $15

Trial: Table of Contents, Index, and Excerpt

I love taking photos. I’ve loved taking photos since I got my first real camera in high school (a Pentax P30t, for those keeping score at home), and I’ve taken a few photography classes along the way. Derrick Story’s new Digital Photography Pocket Guide is something that everyone with a digital camera should get. I recently made the switch from a PowerShot S410 to my father’s hand-me-down D10 Digital SLR, and this is the book that’s helped me go from taking okay pictures to taking pictures that are up to my expectations.

The book is divided into three sections, categorized by the sorts of questions you might have about your camera: first is “What is it?,” featuring a button-by-button dissection of four camera types: compact, advanced amateur, professional, and hybrid. It covers some of the technical basics of how the imaging sensors work, what the labels on the buttons mean, and some of the other very basic things about these different kinds of cameras.

The second section of the book, “What Does It Do?,” is full of human-readable definitions of the various features that your camera may have. If you’ve always wanted to know what the little tree button does on your camera, this is the section for you (incidentally, that feature is called Infinity Lock and will lock your camera’s focus for targets further than ten feet away). The final section handles questions like “How do I take a portrait?” or “What’s a good way to work with Macro?”

The best part of the manual is the writing style, which is approachable, easy to comprehend, and concise. Derrick’s not going to waste your time; he just wants to help you take better photos. Some of that means explaining photographical concepts, and if you’re new to the world of cameras, that may seem daunting and/or confusing, but the material he presents is cogent, well-described, and fodder for any photographer to enjoy. If you’ve always wondered what the exposure controls were for, or were thinking about the macro features, this is the book for you. Carry it with your camera, and refer to it when you’re curious.

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