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A comprehensive overview for anyone ready to take the next step to digital SLR cameras.

Book Review: Mastering Digital SLR Photography by David Bush

There are a lot of books that focus on digital photography via Photoshop; Mastering Digital SLR Photography is not one of them. Instead the goal of this book is to focus on the camera; the digital SLR camera (dSLR). The author attempts to address concerns about equipment; cameras, lenses, and the other things that one may have when making the move to more advanced photography. He addresses topics like the advanced capabilities of the dSLR, how to keep dust off the sensor, and photographic composition to make your images more professional.

Mastering Digital SLR Photography is 386 pages divided into 10 chapters and a massive 25-page glossary of terms and is fully indexed. This book does not contain any information on image editing except that the author makes reference to it. The author has a separate book called "Adobe Photoshop CS3 Photographers Guide" in which he focuses on Photoshop image editing.

Chapter 1, "Digital SLR Photography Now and in the Future," looks at where we are, and what has brought us to this point, and where we are likely to go; in the near and distant future. He also addresses the similarities and differences between traditional SLRs and dSLRs. Chapter 2, "Digital SLR Technology Made Easy," gives a look at how this technology works and how it will likely change in the future. Addressed are also upcoming advances, such as the Foveon Sensor, the Four-Thirds design, and other innovations on the horizon.

Chapter 3, "Mastering Your dSLR's Controls," shows that although each camera is unique in the way that it lays out it's controls, they each have a certain basic set. Here you will learn what they are, and which ones you must master if you want your images to look professional. Chapter 4, "dSLR Quirks and Strengths," explain how to take advantage of the strengths of a dSLR and how to deal with the problems. You will also learn how to use the various screen modes, and how to protect your sensor from dust.

Chapter 5, "Working with RAW and Other File Formats," explores the different file formats available to your camera, and how to determine which one is right for a particular shooting session. Chapter 6, "Working with Lenses," deals with the problem of "Lens Lust;" the need to add just one more lens to your arsenal to get that right shot. Here the author explains the types of lenses for different categories of photography.

Chapter 7, "Close-Up Photography," shows you how to use your dSLR's macro capabilities to capture objects up close, turning mundane objects into art. Chapter 8, "Capturing Action" explains how to capture time in a photo. Whether it is in the sports arena or catching the splash of water in mid-motion, there are techniques that make it easier and your image much clearer.

Chapter 9, "Composition and dSLRs," define the adage that there is a difference between "taking a picture and making a picture." Here the author explains basic information on composition rules, and how they apply to portraits, publicity, architecture, and landscape photography. Chapter 10, "Mastering dSLR Special Features," examine other features available to dSLRs such as image stabilization, infrared photography, and time lapse photography.

Mastering Digital SLR Photography provides a good overview of working with digital SLR cameras. It is geared for those who have been working in film, and are making the move to dSLRs, as well as those who have never shot with anything but a point-and-shoot camera, and want to make the move to something more professional.

There are a lot of books that want to wow you with how to process your images on the computer, more than showing you how to work with your camera. Mastering Digital SLR Photography stays on track with developing your abilities to work with your camera, having a nice balance of technical information, and technique.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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