Mstation Book Reviews
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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Digital Photography Pocket Guide

Derrick Story, Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 
Third Edition, O'Reilly

This is a compact (4"x6", 155 pages), well-indexed guide to what you can do with your digital camera. While the information is available in other places, e.g. at, there's added value in having it in a pocket format that you can take with you and look at while you're in the field.

The book starts with an explanation of the different kinds of cameras on the market and why you might want to pay for which features. One paragraph that would have saved me a frustrating and expensive trip to the local computer store is in the discussion of memory cards, and how much of one you might need: Some cameras don't even provide a memory card in the box. Make sure you have a compatible one on hand, or you'll be sorely disappointed. The experienced amateur photographer probably knows most of what's in this book, but will probably still enjoy browsing through the tips. For instance, the explanation of the "Red-eye" flash mode in the manual for my Kodak CX4300 is fine for telling you how to use it if you know about the phenomenon: flash fires three times, once to set the exposure, once to reduce red-eye, and once to take the picture. But the book also tells you how to reduce red-eye without using the mode if the extra flashes are annoying the photographer or the subjects (have the subject look at a bright light to constrict the pupils just before the picture is taken). And it suggests using the red-eye mode for subjects who blink at the flash, on the grounds that their eyes will be open again by the time of the final flash.

The compact size of the book is made possible by limiting the subject matter to the use of the camera itself, and not discussing the use of the computer to process or publish the results.

So if you want some advice about how to go about choosing a digital camera, or to spend some time thinking about how to use the camera you have to take better pictures, this book would be a good choice for a companion. (Laura Conrad)

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