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Complete Digital Photography Paperback – February 25, 2011

ISBN-13: 008-2039559209 ISBN-10: 1435459202 Edition: 6th
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Bonus Chapter Excerpt

Five Key Steps to Choosing a Digital Camera

  1. First, determine how much you're willing to spend. Your goal is to get the best camera you can for your budget. Best is defined as the balance of features that serves your particular needs.

  2. Next, decide whether you are looking for an SLR or a point-and-shoot camera. If you can't make this decision right away, that's fine. It will probably become apparent pretty soon after you start comparing cameras, or maybe even as you read further into the chapter.

  3. Next, determine what resolution you need for the type of output you're creating.

  4. Among the cameras with the right price and resolution, select the ones that have the shooting features and controls you want.

  5. Of those cameras, make your final choice based on which model delivers the best image quality.

    This last point will be your most crucial criteria. If you've narrowed your choice to two cameras, and one has great features but the other produces better pictures, you should go with the second camera. Of course, it's frustrating not to get everything you want in a camera, but you can work around most feature deficiencies. Trying to work around bad image quality is much more difficult.

Download the full bonus chapter of Ben Long's Complete Digital Photography. [PDF]

About the Author

Ben Long is a San Francisco-based photographer and writer. The author of over a dozen books on digital photography and digital video, he has been a longtime contributor or contributing editor to many magazines and is a Senior Contributing Editor for Macworld magazine. He is the author of two-dozen courses on photography and video production for His photography clients include 20th Century Fox, Blue Note Records, Global Business Network, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Pickle Family Circus, and Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Don Byron and Dafnis Prieto. He has taught and lectured on photography around the world. In his spare time he dabbles in computer programming and has written Photoshop utilities that have been used by The British Museum, The New York Stock Exchange and the White House.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 6 edition (February 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435459202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435459205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Head Cheeze on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 2011 alone, I've purchased the entire Kelby collection, an assortment of Peterson's books, Freeman's collection (which, to be fair, are geared more toward the "art and psychology" side of photography than meant as any sort of style guide or how-to), and a host of others, but Long's Complete Digital Photography is easily my favorite book of the lot of 'em. It's more than just a basic photography book - this thing is a DSLR Bible that covers virtually every aspect of the art and science of digital photography. Prior to receiving this book, I'd watched a series of videos featuring Long, and really enjoyed his plain-English teaching style as well as his infectious sense of humor as it makes going back over the "basics" (I actually studied photography in college, back in "ye ol' film days")a breeze, and learning more advanced techniques less daunting. While several of my books from some of the "bigger" names in photography have either been returned for store credit at Amazon or given away to fellow noobs to the world of DSLR photography, Long's book is one I'll be sure to keep around for regular reference, and it's the one I recommend to anyone who asks me what I think is the most comprehensive-yet-user-friendly resource on the subject. If you're new to the field or, like me, have been away so long that technology's passed you by, this is the book you need!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Avvinti on October 15, 2011
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If I had to suggest a single book providing a Complete introduction to digital photography, I would have no doubt to go with this book. As an introduction it perfectly fits the need as it succeeds in covering virtually all of the topics faced when going digital (and not only) without leaving the impression of being too superficial. Of course it can be deemed to be Complete in absolute terms and in depth coverage of each single topic, that'd be impossible in a single book. One of the greatest pleasure of (digital) photography is that it's the sum of several broad topics that well worth being explored individually: if you think of Composition, Exposure, Lightning, Post-Production, you'll soon find that the literature provides dozens of books specifically dedicated to each of them. That's why putting all this together is a complex endeavor and requires a careful thinking and organization.

Going into some more detail about the book's organization, I particularly appreciated the underlying idea. So much that I couldn't tell it better than the author himself: "[...] we've been studying the theory behind all the different parameters that affect the creation of an image, as well as the controls that you have for manipulating those parameters. I have been calling this the craft of photography. Photographic artistry is the process of using these craft skills to represent a scene--whether it's a portrait, still life, event, landscape, or abstract--in a way that evokes some of what the subject makes you feel." And indeed, as an amateur, I feel the compelling need to improve in both, something in which the book proved helpful. Moreover, I was completely new to post production and through this book I got the necessary fundamentals.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Taber on April 28, 2011
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I received this book shortly after ordering it from I recently purchased a new Canon Rebel T2i digital slr camera. I bought a couple books on this specific camera, which were both fine, but I also wanted a book that would teach me about the entire gamut of the digital photography world. After reading reviews on this book, I decided to buy one. It is without a doubt one of the best and most comprehensive books available on the market to cover this topic. If I could only have one book on digital photography, this one would be the one. It has 22 comprehensive chapters covering the theory and practice of photography, cameras, workflow, and several very detailed chapters on how to modify your pictures with Adobe Photoshop. Why spend money on an expensive correspondence course or online class when you can get all the information you need from this book? It is not the kind of book that you can read in one sitting, with your feet up and sipping a glass of wine. However, if you are a good reader and read this book in sections as your photography skills develop, you will become a better and more knowledgeable photographer. I would recommend it for the motivated individual, or as a textbook for someone teaching photography. It is an excellent selection and one of the best that I have seen. It also has an excellent website with lots of good information available. Buy it and put it to use, you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cootware on August 18, 2011
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This book is incredible! It deserves nothing less than 5 stars! Ben Long's Complete Digital Photography is about as complete as complete can be! I don't think the author left a single stone unturned. The book is laid out well making the text easier to understand and follow. The author begins by detailing the differences between the way the human eye sees a scene and the way the camera sees that very scene. He then describes the different functions/features on digital cameras and how to use these functions/features to take better pictures or make things easier. After that a few chapters about the creative aspect of photography to teach you how to make your photographs more appealing. The remainder of the book has instructions and tutorials to teach you how to use Adobe Photoshop to edit your photographs and Adobe Bridge to help you organize, sort, evaluate and rank your photographs.

Before I read this book, I knew nothing about the different functions of digital cameras or how to use them effectively. But I also didn't have a full understanding of exposure and the different parameters that can be adjusted to fine tune exposures for a variety of scenes and/or situations. The author repeats several times throughout the book how the 4 adjustable elements related to a good exposure can be manipulated in a variety of situations. I feel that now I do have a good understanding of exposure. Now I just need to apply it to the variety of situations and make it part of me while most of it is still fresh in my memory.

This book is a fantastic value. It's full of a lot of knowledge and experience being offered at a great low price!
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