INDEX BY: Edition / Title
Digital Photography for Dummies
Published in 1998 by IDG Books Wordwide
376pp ISBN 0-7645-0431-2 23-99 including CDROM

Digital Photography for Dummies

Before you buy a digital camera read this book! However, if you have bought a camera, apart from discovering you might have made a bad choice, this book will help you get the best from it. There is obviously a fine line in marketing where describing your target audience as "dummies" is intended to appeal to the lack of confidence most of us have in embarking on new technology. So don't let the title put you off! Apart from a few irritating icons and jokey chapter and section titles the book leads you through the whole process in a clear logical progression. The information is presented in an accessible format. It is about as good an introduction to and explanation of the technology as you will find. Written in clear American/English it is both sufficiently simple to understand and sufficiently comprehensive to satisfy most needs.

There is a section on choosing a camera and other "extra goodies" which at the time of writing (July 1999) is current. However with new cameras coming onto the market almost at the rate of one a week this information will quickly be out of date. Prices are quoted in US dollars which usually equates to pounds. A major consideration in buying a camera has been price and cameras which were 1000 less than three years ago are now about 300 for the same specification or better. Gradually the shortcomings of cameras are being overcome (battery life, image storage capacity, downloading time etc.) and the quality and speed and cost of colour printers improving so that now is a good time to buy a digital camera.

A high proportion of the content is spent on general photographic theory, focal lengths, exposure and all that "old technology" stuff. Experienced "conventional" photographers will have no problem with this content and a large proportion of the book is concerned with getting better pictures, which applies as equally to conventional photography as to digital photography. The rest of the book is about how to use your computer to enhance and improve your pictures. There is sensible advice about types of graphics files, image manipulation programs, choosing a printer and selecting the right print materials. Included with the book is a CD with some sample files and trial versions of software. There are useful reference sections in the book and on the CD and web sites. The CD also includes software for creating panoramas (by "stitching" together a number of still pictures) which contributes to the value for money factor.

Ken Travis
Liverpool John Moores University