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Digital SLR Cameras & Photography For Dummies®, 3rd Edition

Book Description

The ideal guide for beginning DSLR camera users, with full-color examples of what you can achieve

Make the most of your Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, or Olympus digital SLR camera! This guide explains the different lenses, the many settings and how to use them, the results you can get from using different controls, how to use lighting and exposure, and much more.

If you haven't purchased your camera yet, you'll also find tips on choosing a camera and accessories. And you'll find out how to make your pictures even better with Photoshop.

  • Updated for all the newest camera models

  • Introduces you to all the features common to DSLR cameras

  • Illustrated with more than 300 full-color photos and screen shots

  • Shares tips on composition, lighting and exposure controls, and file formats

  • Explains Adobe Photoshop and how to create fine prints from your photos

  • Offers advice on improving your photos and where to find help

If you're new to digital SLR photography, here's just what you need to have fun and success with your camera!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Author's Acknowledgments
  4. Publisher's Acknowledgments
  5. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Foolish Assumptions
    3. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I: Digital SLRs and You
      2. Part II: Oh, Shoot!
      3. Part III: Beyond the Basics
      4. Part IV: Fine-Tuning Your Output
      5. Part V: The Part of Tens
    4. Icons Used in This Book
  6. I. Digital SLRs and You
    1. 1. The Digital SLR Difference
      1. 1.1. dSLR: dNext Great Digital Camera
      2. 1.2. Improving Your Photography with a dSLR
        1. 1.2.1. Composing shots with a more accurate viewfinder
        2. 1.2.2. Flexing the powerful sensor
        3. 1.2.3. Reducing noise in your photos
        4. 1.2.4. Reclaiming depth-of-field control
        5. 1.2.5. Taking photos faster
          1. 1.2.5.1. Wake-up time
          2. 1.2.5.2. Shot-to-shot time
          3. 1.2.5.3. Shutter lag
        6. 1.2.6. A dSLR works like a camera
        7. 1.2.7. Getting more lens flexibility
        8. 1.2.8. Freeing yourself from image editors
      3. 1.3. The Downsides That Have Been Overcome
        1. 1.3.1. The lack or expense of super-wide lenses
        2. 1.3.2. New technologies for fending off dirt and dust
        3. 1.3.3. Live View's LCD preview
          1. 1.3.3.1. Live histograms in real time
          2. 1.3.3.2. Déjà view with extended eye-points
          3. 1.3.3.3. Infrared imagery not up to your imagination
        4. 1.3.4. Carrying that weight
        5. 1.3.5. Budding Spielbergs no longer out of luck
        6. 1.3.6. In-camera editing!
    2. 2. Safari Inside a dSLR
      1. 2.1. Megapixels and Why dSLRs Have More of Them
        1. 2.1.1. Pixelementary, my dear Watson
        2. 2.1.2. Deciding how many pixels your camera needs
        3. 2.1.3. Matching pixels to print sizes and printers
        4. 2.1.4. Nothing's super about superfluous pixels
      2. 2.2. Touring through a Digital SLR
        1. 2.2.1. Sensorship
          1. 2.2.1.1. Two (count 'em), two types of sensors
          2. 2.2.1.2. Piling on the components
          3. 2.2.1.3. Understanding noise and sensitivity
        2. 2.2.2. The bits that control exposure
          1. 2.2.2.1. Your exposure time machine
          2. 2.2.2.2. An aperture is a lens opening is an f-stop
          3. 2.2.2.3. Two of one, half a dozen of the other
        3. 2.2.3. Taking time out for viewing
        4. 2.2.4. Through the looking glass
        5. 2.2.5. Storage
      3. 2.3. Overcoming Quirks of the dSLR
        1. 2.3.1. Out, out damned spot: Cleaning the sensor
        2. 2.3.2. Multiplication fables: Working around the crop factor
    3. 3. Tracking the Ideal dSLR
      1. 3.1. Features for Now and the Future
      2. 3.2. Breadcrumbs on the Upgrade Path
      3. 3.3. Cameras of Today and Tomorrow
        1. 3.3.1. Basic dSLR cameras
        2. 3.3.2. Enthusiast dSLRs
        3. 3.3.3. Advanced amateur/semi-pro dSLRs
        4. 3.3.4. Professional dSLR models
        5. 3.3.5. dSLR-like cameras — hanging on?
      4. 3.4. Checking Out Key Features
        1. 3.4.1. Lenses
        2. 3.4.2. Sensors and image processors
        3. 3.4.3. Exposure systems
        4. 3.4.4. Focusing systems
        5. 3.4.5. Special features
    4. 4. Accessorizing Your dSLR
      1. 4.1. Memory Cards in a Flash
        1. 4.1.1. The right write speed
        2. 4.1.2. Finding the key to the (capa)city
      2. 4.2. Storing Your Images
        1. 4.2.1. Exploring options for backup media
        2. 4.2.2. Creating image archives that last
      3. 4.3. Filtering Factors
      4. 4.4. The Tripod: Your Visible Means of Support
        1. 4.4.1. Putting a tripod to good use
        2. 4.4.2. Choosing a tripod
      5. 4.5. Electronic Flash in the Pan
        1. 4.5.1. Perusing different types of flash units
        2. 4.5.2. Tools for triggering the flash
      6. 4.6. Other Must-Have (Or Maybe-Have) Gear
        1. 4.6.1. A second camera
        2. 4.6.2. Sensor cleaning kit
        3. 4.6.3. Close-up equipment
  7. II. Oh, Shoot!
    1. 5. Taking Control of Your dSLR
      1. 5.1. Discovering the Secrets of Exposure
        1. 5.1.1. Understanding why exposure is tricky
        2. 5.1.2. Getting exposure right with the histogram
      2. 5.2. Fine-Tuning Exposure with the Metering System
        1. 5.2.1. Metering works how?
        2. 5.2.2. Choosing a metering scheme
        3. 5.2.3. More versatility with metering options
      3. 5.3. The Many Ways to Choose Exposure
        1. 5.3.1. Adjusting exposure the easy way
        2. 5.3.2. Giving up control (in Program mode)
        3. 5.3.3. Taking control
          1. 5.3.3.1. Getting your aperture and shutter priorities straight
          2. 5.3.3.2. Doing exposure yourself
      4. 5.4. Focus Pocus
        1. 5.4.1. Focusing manually
        2. 5.4.2. Oughta autofocus
    2. 6. Mastering the Multi-Lens Reflex
      1. 6.1. Optical Delusions
        1. 6.1.1. Shooting in low light
        2. 6.1.2. Improving your shutter speed
        3. 6.1.3. Producing sharper images
        4. 6.1.4. Taking a step back
        5. 6.1.5. Getting closer
        6. 6.1.6. Focusing closer
      2. 6.2. Choosing Your Prime Lens — or Zoom
        1. 6.2.1. Prime time
        2. 6.2.2. Zoom, zoom, zoom
        3. 6.2.3. Special (lens) delivery
      3. 6.3. Lens Concepts
        1. 6.3.1. Different strokes
        2. 6.3.2. Going for bokeh
      4. 6.4. Using Lenses Creatively
        1. 6.4.1. Creative use of wide angles
        2. 6.4.2. Creative use of telephotos
    3. 7. Special Features of dSLRs
      1. 7.1. Feel the Noize at Night
        1. 7.1.1. A fast lens ...or not?
        2. 7.1.2. Taking night shots at short shutter speeds
      2. 7.2. Noise Reduction Made Easy
      3. 7.3. Shake, Shake, Shake
        1. 7.3.1. Leaving camera-shake myths behind
        2. 7.3.2. Testing for tremors
        3. 7.3.3. Everyday solutions for shakiness
        4. 7.3.4. Image stabilization: The ready-steady-shoot technology
      4. 7.4. Time Waits for Someone: Creating Time-Lapse Sequences
      5. 7.5. Better Infrared than Dead
      6. 7.6. Dust Off
  8. III. Beyond the Basics
    1. 8. Working with RAW and Other Formats
      1. 8.1. So Many Formats, So Little Time
      2. 8.2. Worth the Fuss: Understanding the Main Formats
        1. 8.2.1. Don't get TIFFed
        2. 8.2.2. JPEG o' my heart
        3. 8.2.3. The RAW deal
      3. 8.3. Choosing a File Format
        1. 8.3.1. TIFF enuff
        2. 8.3.2. JPEG junkies unite!
        3. 8.3.3. JPEG+RAW
        4. 8.3.4. Working RAW
      4. 8.4. Using RAW Files as Digital Negatives
        1. 8.4.1. Salvaging images from RAW files
        2. 8.4.2. Archiving RAW files
        3. 8.4.3. Finding RAW image-editing applications
          1. 8.4.3.1. Nikon Capture NX 2
          2. 8.4.3.2. EOS Utility/Digital Photo Professional
          3. 8.4.3.3. Third-party applications
    2. 9. Action, Flash, and Other Challenges
      1. 9.1. Kind of a Lag
        1. 9.1.1. Comparing point-and-shoot cameras to dSLRs
        2. 9.1.2. Understanding the sources of lag
        3. 9.1.3. Minimizing shutter lag
        4. 9.1.4. Minimizing first-shot delays
        5. 9.1.5. Minimizing shot-to-shot delays
        6. 9.1.6. Minimizing flash delays
      2. 9.2. Shooting in Sequences
      3. 9.3. Stopping Action in Its Tracks
        1. 9.3.1. Going with the flow (or panning)
        2. 9.3.2. Catching peak action
        3. 9.3.3. Zapping action with flash
      4. 9.4. Flash in the Pan: Other Keys to Good Flash Photography
        1. 9.4.1. Understanding flash at different distances
        2. 9.4.2. That sync-ing feeling: Coordinating flash and shutter
        3. 9.4.3. Getting the right exposure
      5. 9.5. Yo, Trigger! Setting Off an External Flash
    3. 10. Composition and dSLRs
      1. 10.1. Composing a Photo: The Basics
        1. 10.1.1. Composing for message and intent
        2. 10.1.2. Applying the Rule of Thirds
          1. 10.1.2.1. The origins of the Rule of Thirds
          2. 10.1.2.2. Putting the Rule of Thirds to work
      2. 10.2. Posers and Poseurs
        1. 10.2.1. Shooting individual portraits
        2. 10.2.2. Shooting group photos
      3. 10.3. Tips for Publicity and PR Photography
      4. 10.4. Capturing Architecture
        1. 10.4.1. Reeg, your perspective is out of control!
        2. 10.4.2. Charge of the lighting brigade
        3. 10.4.3. You've been framed!
      5. 10.5. Designing Your Landscape Photos
      6. 10.6. Compositional Ideas That Travel Well
  9. IV. Fine-Tuning Your Output
    1. 11. Fixing Up Your Images
      1. 11.1. Editor-ial Comments: Choosing an Image Editor
        1. 11.1.1. Adobe Photoshop CS4
          1. 11.1.1.1. The good news
          2. 11.1.1.2. The bad news
        2. 11.1.2. Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0
          1. 11.1.2.1. The good news
          2. 11.1.2.2. The bad news
        3. 11.1.3. Alternative image editors
        4. 11.1.4. Free image editors/albums
      2. 11.2. Workflow Workarounds
      3. 11.3. Fixing Your Photos
        1. 11.3.1. Cropping
        2. 11.3.2. Fixing murky or contrasty photos
          1. 11.3.2.1. Working with the Shadow/Highlight controls
          2. 11.3.2.2. Working with levels
          3. 11.3.2.3. Working with curves
        3. 11.3.3. Correcting those colors
        4. 11.3.4. Spot removers
          1. 11.3.4.1. Reducing noise
          2. 11.3.4.2. Spotsylmania
          3. 11.3.4.3. Send in the Clone Stamp
          4. 11.3.4.4. Healer, heal thyself
        5. 11.3.5. Look sharp, be sharp
        6. 11.3.6. Blurring for effect
        7. 11.3.7. Fixing with filters
    2. 12. Combining and Reorganizing Your Images
      1. 12.1. Making Selective Modifications
        1. 12.1.1. What is a selection?
        2. 12.1.2. Performing everyday changes with selections
      2. 12.2. Making Basic Selections
        1. 12.2.1. Making rectangles, squares, ovals, and circles
        2. 12.2.2. Selecting odd shapes
        3. 12.2.3. Selecting pixels
        4. 12.2.4. Painting selections
        5. 12.2.5. Fiddling with your selections
      3. 12.3. Adding to and Subtracting from Your Pictures
        1. 12.3.1. Evicting your ex-brother-in-law
        2. 12.3.2. Bringing a family closer together
      4. 12.4. Adding New Backgrounds
      5. 12.5. Combining Several dSLR Photos into One
        1. 12.5.1. The pitfalls of compositing images
        2. 12.5.2. Getting creative with compositing
    3. 13. Hard Copies Aren't Hard
      1. 13.1. Prints? What Prints?
      2. 13.2. You Pays Your Money, You Takes Your Choice
        1. 13.2.1. Doing it yourself
        2. 13.2.2. Online output outsourcing options
        3. 13.2.3. Live and in person!
      3. 13.3. Choosing a Printer
  10. V. The Part of Tens
    1. 14. Ten Ways to Improve Your dSLR Photography
      1. 14.1. Does Lighting Ever Strike Twice?
      2. 14.2. Choosing a Righteous Resolution and Other Settings
        1. 14.2.1. Changing environments
        2. 14.2.2. Living with limited memory card space
        3. 14.2.3. Shooting for a low-resolution destination
        4. 14.2.4. Hurrying along
      3. 14.3. Stop! What's That Sound?
      4. 14.4. Working the Right F-Stop
      5. 14.5. Focus Is a Selective Service
      6. 14.6. Playing the Angles
      7. 14.7. Through a Glass Brightly
      8. 14.8. Feel the Noize
      9. 14.9. Editing, Retouching, and Compositing Images
      10. 14.10. Reading the Funny Manual (RTFM)
    2. 15. Ten Things You Never Thought of Doing with Your Digital SLR
      1. 15.1. Capturing the Unseen with Infrared Photography
      2. 15.2. Lighting for All in Tents and Purposes
      3. 15.3. Turning Your dSLR into a Pinhole Camera
      4. 15.4. Warping Time with Time-Lapse Photography
      5. 15.5. Expanding Your Creativity with Slow Shutter Speeds
      6. 15.6. Capturing an Instant in Time with Fast Shutter Speeds
      7. 15.7. Making Your Own Effects Filters
      8. 15.8. Shooting the Works!
      9. 15.9. Going for Baroque
      10. 15.10. Going Crazy with Your Image Editor
    3. 16. Ten Online Resources for Digital SLR Photography
      1. 16.1. Online Editing with Photoshop.com
      2. 16.2. All Your PBase Are Belong to Us
      3. 16.3. Digital Photography Viewed and Reviewed
      4. 16.4. For the Shutterbug in You
      5. 16.5. Pop Goes the Photo!
      6. 16.6. Landscapes Can Be Luminous
      7. 16.7. Photos That Don't Bite
      8. 16.8. Cult of Personality
        1. 16.8.1. Rob Galbraith
        2. 16.8.2. Charmin' Miranda
      9. 16.9. Don't Miss eBay
    4. 17. Ten (or More) Confusing Concepts Clarified
      1. 17.1. Ambient Lighting/Available Lighting
      2. 17.2. Anti-Aliasing
      3. 17.3. Bracketing
      4. 17.4. Chromatic Aberration
      5. 17.5. Dodging/Burning
      6. 17.6. Fill Flash
      7. 17.7. Hyperfocal Distance
      8. 17.8. Lossy/Lossless Compression
      9. 17.9. Moiré
      10. 17.10. Saturation
      11. 17.11. Threshold
      12. 17.12. Tolerance
      13. 17.13. Unsharp Masking