If you're truly a novice digital photographer, you're either
someone who has just picked up a camera for the first time
or someone who has owned various cameras over the years but
never really paid too much attention to any of them. The
right guidebook should teach the basics, then move you along
to a wide range of techniques and ideas, informing you about
the technology along the way. That's what author Dave Johnson
attempts to do, but he seems to lose focus in the second
half of the book.
Despite the foregoing
complaint, How To Do Everything With Your Digital Camera can in fact
provide novice digital camera owners with expansive and palatable
guidance and education. If you don't pay too much attention to some
of the technical inaccuracies in the book (most of which won't affect
your picture taking and photo processing efforts—but see "Cons" below).
The substance of
the book is a general guide which pulls you through digital photography
fundamentals. It forms a good starting point for novices and even
a few somewhat more experienced photographers who are simply out of
practice. Unfortunately, that's where the "How To
Do Everything With Your Digital Camera" part ends and the larger
photo editing part begins. Johnson bases all his photo editing references
and instructions on Corel Paint Shop Pro—a perfectly usable photo
editor, no doubt—but hardly the most popular. There are no instructions
or examples produced with the market leading Adobe Photoshop
Elements, or any of the half dozen or so commercial, shareware
and freeware editors on the market. Since the book was published, newer
products such as Adobe Lightroom have hit the market and are challenging
all the current market leaders.
The tutorials on Special Effect with Text are particularly good, especially
blending or masking images into text. But some of the good stuff in
the latter half of the book is burdened with below average example photos
and poorly printed, slightly misregistered color plates and a weird
font change in chapter 10.
There is some factually inaccurate information in the book
with respect to RAM pricing, memory card capacity pricing
and purchase choices. The book states repeatedly that several
256MB cards are less expensive than the equivalent single,
larger card. That's not accurate—the cost per
megabyte or gigabyte drops dramatically as you get into larger
storage capacities. It's true for every memory card format.
The book is reasonably well written, but the author Dave
Johnson tends to use "picture" "photo" and "image" interchangeably,
something which caused some confusion among several people
who looked at the book. Information on USB connectivity contains
some misleading facts and figures. First of all, USB 2.0
exists in two forms: USB 2.0 Full Speed (which operates at
the same pokey 12Mbps rate as USB 1.1), and USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
(which operates at the same, speedy 480Mbps rate as Firewire
400/IEEE1394). The author only refers to USB 2.0, without
distinction, operating at 450Mbps. As well, the author incorrectly
states that USB 2.0 is 100% compatible with USB 1.1, when
incompatibility issues are in fact quite common. Some technical
information about storage cards is misstated as well, particularly
the so-called speed ratings. The author quotes speed designations
of 2X, 4X and 8X which should actually be 20X, 40X and 80X,
with newer cards running at 133X and faster.
Logically organized. Novice digital photographers, irrespective
of which camera they own, will find a useful amount of
information that should help to make them better photographers.
Author Dave Johnson helps you get decent results from your
digital camera by providing enough information to help
sharpen your eye. The book begins feeding you information
starting with the inside front cover (an overview called "What
You'll Do In This Book"), continuing unabated all the
way through to the inside back cover (which contains some
brief additional picture taking tips and image editing tips.
Johnson helps people understand that it is how well they
expose and compose what they see in the viewfinder that makes
great photos, and that fancy (expensive) cameras and photo
gear don't automatically create great pictures.