The Digital SLR Handbook

This book has a broad sweep. In it Michael Freeman attempts to cover the whole digital workflow from capture to delivery. In about 250 pages, this is no easy task.

He starts with a discussion on the changeover from film to digital, then heads into a technical description of the digital camera. This gets a thorough treatment as he discusses the points of lens design for digital, sensor technology, camera profiling, exposure measurement, noise, file formats and compression and their effect on image quality. There are pages devoted to more practical matters like batteries and chargers and using them overseas. Parts of the whole ‘picture taking’ system that are not unique to digital like tripods and flash also get a mention.

He then goes on to describe the image workflow after capture, and this section includes computers, monitors and storage. He describes colour management and monitor calibration and then goes on to describe the techniques involved in image optimisation, using processed and raw images. This section closes with some pages about printing. Between them, these first two section occupy about two-thirds of the book

The next section is on image editing. Editing can mean different things depending on context, but the author here is referring to more radical software manipulation; whereas the previous section can be thought of as bringing out the best of the image, editing here refers to making sunstantial content changes. He discusses Colour in more detail, making dust and noise repairs, extending the depth of focus and dynamic range amongst other topics.

The book closes with two fairly short sections on scanning and delivery.

In terms of breadth, it’s hard to imagine any topic that does not get a mention. In this respect the book is notable for its thorough approach. The presentation is also worthy of praise. Each topic gets its own page, some extend over a number of pages but they are then broken down into page length discrete chunks. This, together with the well-planned contents pages, make it a useful and accessible reference source.

However, the necessary brevity of description of each topic to cram so much into the book, renders it little more than an appetiser, a scratch of the surface of a very big subject. There was an attempt at detail. Many workflow processes are described but because of the need to save space this detail was not very well described. The descriptions of some of the processes relied on a knowledge of not only Photoshop, but a specific version of it. It would have been nice if there had been at least some acknowledgement that there are alternatives. Against this objection, there was much useful discussion of other software and plug-ins, not so well known as the Adobe powerhouse, but useful for specific purposes.

In summary, I thought the value of this book lay in it being a thorough introduction and a helpful reference but it is not really detailed enough to provide useful practical guidance.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with you, I tend to use it just to compare different ways to approach a subject. Yet, Freeman has this ability to make things clear and simple…

    Reply
  2. I realy like the way you focused the attention on the position of the neck for captain kris picture. As if absorption is totally transforming the way we occupy our mind but also our body, our balance.

    Reply

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