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One of the first books that I bought on the topic of Digital Photography was Ben Long’s Complete Digital Photography. It’s currently in it’s fourth edition (I bought the third originally but have since seen the latest edition and will base this review upon it).
I bought it on the recommendation of a friend who told me that it was one of the most comprehensive books that he’d written on Digital Photography and that while there are many ‘light’ and ‘fluffy’ books on the topic out there (light and fluffy were his words) that Ben’s book was a much more comprehensive introduction and exploration of the topic.
I’ll be honest here, my first impressions of Complete Digital Photography were not great, when the book first arrived from Amazon I pulled it out of the package and my first thought was ‘text book’. This is not the sexiest looking digital photography book going around (note, the new version has some improvements in this).
However I resisted judging the book on it’s cover and began to read. I’ve not stopped reading it since.
As my friend said in his recommendation – Ben Long has put together a very comprehensive guide to digital photography.
The information contained in this 576 page epic is solid and very helpful. It covers everything from talking readers through how a camera works to how to buy one, to shooting tips (composition, sharp images etc) through to post production and photo editing.
Ben has the ability to explain some of the more complicated aspects of photography simply and more importantly in a way that readers will be able to apply as they explore their hobby.
I would especially recommend Complete Digital Photography for anyone transitioning from film to digital – Ben explains a lot of ‘digital speak’ into a language that film photographers will understand. I guess it’s first edition was written primary for this audience.
Comprehensive – This is one of the most comprehensive guides to digital photography that you’ll find.
Clear – Ben writes so well that I think anyone from a beginner level just getting into digital photography to a more serious photographer would both understand and find it helpful.
Included CD – The book comes with a CD with tutorials, software demos (post production) and most of the images in the book. This is a nice extra touch (it works for Windows and Mac users).
Updates – The Fourth edition has new sections that were really needed – even though it’s only been 2 years since the last one. Tehse include detail on working in RAW (right from shooting images through to editing images), a section on flash photography, an expanded ‘shooting’ section (with great tips on composition and other shooting techniques), HD Range Shooting, Sensor Cleaning for DSLR owners etc. Speaking of DSLRs, there’s now a section for those looking to upgrade to a DSLR with buying tips.
My main problem with the Third Edition was that it was slightly dated and didn’t have enough on DSLRs and RAW – but Ben’s worked at bringing this latest edition right up to date. I’m still working through the updates but I’m finding it difficult to find much that I’d want changed. This is a truly great digital photography book – congratulations Ben.
Perhaps the only thing is that the size of the book can be a little overwhelming. But once you get into it you find that it’s a great reference.
I’m a fan of Complete Digital Photography and think it would recommend it to beginners through to intermediate digital photographers – particularly point and shoot users or those new to DSLRs wanting to get a little more manual control. It’s sections on post production editing are also very useful for a hack like myself.
I’ve rated the book at 4.5 stars (out of 5). The half a star off is simply as a little incentive to Ben and others to keep developing great resources – I guess there’s always a little room for improvement!
Buy Complete Digital Photography at Amazon.
Three other books that readers might enjoy from Ben Long are: