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on January 15, 2006
I've read several of Busch's plethora of books about digital imaging; however I think this one is his best hitherto. Great all around discourse, excellent tips, excellent explanations, great examples, very resourceful (and funny) "secrets."

What I like the most is the level of detail he gives and further, as a reader I feel the author really wants me to comprehend and understand the concepts at hand. I know there are more tips/"secrets" that can be covered in ANY book; however, the ones "exposed" (pun intended) in this primer are the most commonly used and necessesary to take better advantage of whatever DSLR and glass you might own. Also, I really enjoyed and learned quite a bit from the equipment testing section which I think is necessary in order to have a better understanding about the limitations (or lack thereof) of your DSLR.

If the above sounds like it's over your head, I then refer you to Busch's other book "Mastering Digital DSLR Photography," for a proper introduction to the subject.
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on February 23, 2006
It is very good to see a book that doesn't talk down to experienced photographers. This one provides the exact sort of information you need to take better pictures with your D-SLR. It has good technical information about topics you don't frequently see in digital camera books such as infrared photography, macros, and other types. All is described in a way that is easy to understand and will be of value to those who have a great deal of experience in photography and also for those who are intermediate photographers. Most of the other books just say the same old things as before. This one is different. The photos are superb and the text is, too. All around a good addition to your book shelf.
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on May 23, 2006
I have to admit that I had to laugh at the comments from the "spotlit" reviewer who opined that this book held no secrets for him -- despite the numerous technical errors in his own review! You have to smile at the misguided notions of someone who feels that the greater depth-of-field of wide angle lenses is a "myth." (The scientific fact is that for practical purposes the DOF of a wide angle lens is the same as a telephoto lens only if you enlarge a portion of the wide angle view enormously so that a subject is the same size as the telephoto picture. Who would do something crazy like that?)

I do happen to know a bit about photography (I've even heard of the well-known Harris Shutter), and was pleased to see the inside information on this and other techniques in this book. There is lots of good, solid information here for intermediate and advanced photographers, and plenty for beginners to chew on as they progress in their skills.

I think the author's most important contribution is the well-thought-out organization of the ideas he presents. For example, the chapter on Raising The Bar on Quality covers ALL the factors that affect image quality, one after another, with tips on making improvements, and tests that you can run to make sure you are getting the kind of quality you expect from your digital SLR camera. I know of no other book that covers all the bases of this topic so clearly and comprehensively.

Each of the other chapters explore their topics (such as use of lenses, and build-it-yourself gadgets that can improve your photography) with a depth of detail I really haven't found in any other DSLR book.

I find it quite easy to recommend this book to anyone seeking advanced techniques -- whether you already think you know it all, or not.
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on February 22, 2006
I read a lot of digital photography books, and most of them I race through in a few hours, looking for nuggets of information I can use. This book is all nuggets! Each page has a morsel of helpful knowledge and useful techniques. It is going to take me weeks to absorb all this book has to offer.

I was particularly enthralled by the do-it-yourself projects scattered throughout the book and concentrated in the final chapter. Photographers are by nature gadget freaks, always looking for a new way to improve their pictures with a little widget here or there. There are clear instructions for making tools that every serious photographer has long known about, such as the Bob Harris Shutter, or strap "monopod", but there were lots of new ideas, too. I'd never thought of making my own IR filter before, and had held off exploring this type of photography because of the expense. Thanks to the author, I am now happily shooting infrared photos that amaze all my friends.

I thought this book was a pleasing combination of technical detail and practical techniques. It should be on every digital SLR photographer's book shelf.
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on February 23, 2006
Excellent book. Easy to understand with useful information that can be applied immediately. This is my second book from the same author, the first being Mastering Digial SLR Photography. Both books are very good, but if I had it to do again, I would skip the first book and go straight to this one. Highly recommended.
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on September 12, 2006
This book should have something of interest to most digital SLR users. It's full of useful tips and explanations that should appeal to a wide range of skill and experience levels. That being said, some caution is in order for those at either extreme the learning curve. Experienced SLR users will find that much of the material here is a review of basic concepts (how aperture effects depth of field, shutter speed and motion), wide angel vs. telephoto perspective, etc. Sometimes a refresher on the basics is good, however, and there were lots of little facts and tricks thrown in that most would find interesting. Those new to photography or SLR's should read with caution, however, due to some simple editing mistakes. For example, page 51: Fig 1.32 shows a histogram with with all tones bunched and clipped to the left, properly captioned as underexposed. Fig 1.33 shows shows tones all in the middle range, improperly captioned as overexposed. Fig 1.34 shows tones bunched and clipped to the right improperly captioned as properly exposed. To someone experienced this is an obvious layout/editing error. To someone new this would be confusing or misleading. (I noted similar errors in Busch's D200 Field Guide)

I found the sections on digital IR photography, lens testing, and studio lighting interesting and missing from many other books of this type. Nikon users will also feel especially at home as while not specified the author clearly is refers to Nikon equipment in many of his examples (17-55 vs. 18-70 zoom)

Bottom line: all but the most experienced should find enough to make this book worth the price. It is an excellent book for someone with a new D-SLR, but if something doesn't make sense (e.g. histograms), verify information elsewhere.
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on December 28, 2005
The do-it-yourself projects in this book are just as sensational as the tutorials. Among the "Pro Secrets" are:

* A cheap alarm system to avoid camera theft.

* A $5 lens reversing ring for better closeups.

* A thorough explanation of how pinhole cameras work, and how to turn your DSLR into one.

* Ways to create multi-colored, flowing images without an external filter device.

* How to build softlights and tents.

* Instructions on making your own sensor cleaning swabs and brushes.

* A lens test chart.

* Making your own bona-fide IR filter out of a common film product.

Although I know quite a bit about photography, I learned lots from this book, such as why polarizing filters may not work as you expect with wide-angle lenses, and how "bokeh" is produced by a len's spherical aberration (and why lenses with less spherical aberration can produce worse bokeh!)

I don't want to make it sound as if this book is overly technical, because the author explains the fundamentals of complex subjects before going more into depth. That makes this a dream guidebook for anyone who really wants to understand how DSLR photography works so they can take better pictures. Rather than being a technical treatise, "Digital SLR Pro Secrets" is a rich exploration into the world of more advanced picture taking techniques.
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on December 27, 2005
I previously purchased this author's book "Mastering Digital SLR Photography" and found it to be an excellent intermediate guidebook on using D-SLR cameras, especially since it emphasized photography rather than image editing, which seems to be the case with so many digital photography books.

After finishing that book I was ready to learn more, and this new "Pro Secrets" answers my prayers. It really is an in-depth discussion of advanced techniques for the serious D-SLR photographer. For example, there is an entire CHAPTER on infrared photography, showing you how to determine if your D-SLR camera is ready for IR photography, and techniques for getting great IR pictures. There is even a section that shows how to build your own IR filter at a fraction of the cost of one purchased from a store.

But what I really liked was a huge 52 page chapter entitled "Raising The Bar On Quality" that examines every possible thing that can have an impact on your D-SLR's image quality, and shows you how to optimize each of them. There is even a lens test chart, a chart for testing backfocus, explanations of things like bokeh, and a guide for using histograms.

I wouldn't recommend this book for absolute beginners. Newbies are better off with one of Busch's other D-SLR books. Intermediate photographers can jump right to this one if they want, because the clear explanations will get them up to speed quickly. And if you're a more advanced D-SLR photographer, this is the book you need right off the bat.
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on February 21, 2006
I'm tired of picking up a promising digital photography book and discovering it has information that is too basic, or which relates more to Photoshop than to taking good pictures with a camera. This is one book that fulfills its promise. It contains secrets that will be welcomed by anyone who is looking to increase their skills and get better pictures with a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera.

It is packed with tips and tricks, and includes tests you can run yourself to see how well you hand hold a camera at slow shutter speeds or how sharp your lenses are or whether your camera suffers from backfocus problems. I even learned how to use a histogram properly, using EV settings to adjust the curve left or right until the image was properly exposed and there was detail in both the shadows and highlights. That alone was worth the price of the book.

I also liked the gadgets, including instructions for building the legendary Harris Shutter, and even a way to duplicate the effect without building the shutter itself. A great book!
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on January 10, 2006
I was amazed at the amount of depth in this book, which covers topics not touched on in other digital photography books. Some of the things I learned:

* The difference between acuity and resolution.

* Why diffraction occurs

* What bokeh is, and why it varies from f-stop to f-stop

* The difference between axial and longitudinal chromatic aberration

* How to make stuff cheap, like my own sensor cleaning tools and infrared filter

* Why polarizing filters produce weird results with wide angle lenses

This is not to say that this is a super-technical book. The author starts fairly simply, makes few assumptions about what you know and don't know, and then explains his topics in depth, beginning with the fundamentals and working up to an incredible level of useful understanding. I recommend this book to any intermediate digital photographer.
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