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The Nikon D90 Companion Paperback – April 4, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596159870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596159870
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Nikon D90 camera has exploded on the digital photography market, with a myriad of new features, including the industry-first HD video capability. The Nikon D90 Companion is intended to serve as a full-on photography class, one that covers everything including technical matters and exposure theory, composition theory, and how to find images and expand your visual sense. However, unlike a regular photography class, this book is built specifically around the D90, which means every concept is written about in terms of the D90's controls and features. By the time you're done with this book, you'll not only know how all the D90's controls function, but you'll also know how to recognize a good photo and how to use the D90's controls to represent that subject as a compelling image. In other words, you'll be a better photographer, whether you're shooting simple snapshots or aiming for something more.

Shooting Panoramas
By Ben Long

No matter how wide your lens might go, there will still be times when you face a vista that just can’t be captured in one frame. Now you can take a series of frames with your Nikon D90 images, and, rather than layering them together as a collage, you can digitally merge them into a single seamless image.


Shooting this type of panoramic image requires a combination of shooting technique and special software. You must shoot your images in a particular way to ensure that they contain the information you need to construct a good panorama and then use special stitching software to create the seamless merge. (Your Nikon Software Suite Disk includes a panoramic stitching program called PhotoStitch, and Photohsop and Photoshop Elements have good stitching tools.)

Choosing a Focal Length for Panoramas
Making a successful panoramic shot begins by shooting usable images. First, you must choose a focal length. If you choose a shorter (wider-angle) focal length, then you won’t need as many shots to cover the width of your panorama. However, a shorter focal length will have a deep depth, which will render many objects in your scene very small. Also, a super-wide angle might confuse some stitching programs. This panorama was shot with a shorter, wider-angle focal length. Although a wider angle lets you cover a wider area with fewer shots, it means the distant objects will be smaller.



If you choose a longer focal length, distant objects will appear larger, but you’ll have to shoot more frames, which will increase your chances of making an error and ending up with unusable source material. This panorama was shot with a longer, more telephoto focal length. It took more images to cover the scene, but objects in the foreground and background are larger and more prominent. Consequently, your best option is to aim somewhere in the middle and choose a moderate focal length that reveals the details you want to see but is still wide enough that you don’t have to shoot a lot of frames to cover your scene. Once you’ve selected a focal length, it’s time to think about exposure.

Setting Panoramic Exposure
From a panoramic photography standpoint, one of the things that's really annoying about the world is that it’s not lit perfectly evenly. This problem is much more pronounced when shooting a panorama than when shooting a single frame. If you look at most any panoramic scene in the real world, you’ll probably find that one end is brighter than the other. The reason this is a drag for panoramic shooting is that the area that’s brighter will expose differently than the area that’s darker, and when you try to stitch your images together, you could very well end up with weird color bands in the sky. This panorama was not evenly exposed.


The vertical bands in the middle of the image are the result of the stitching program trying to reconcile the different exposures. To compensate for this, you’ll want to use the same exposure for all your shots. On the D90, this is easy to achieve, thanks to the auto exposure lock located on the back of the camera.

Try this: Point your camera in a predominantly bright direction, and half-press the shutter to take a meter reading. Note the shutter speed and aperture that are chosen. While holding the shutter button down, point the camera in a darker direction. You should see the exposure settings change. The camera has chosen different exposure settings, which makes sense since you’re looking into an area that’s darker. Now return to your initial bright scene—the camera will re-meter. Press the AE-L button. An AE-L icon should appear in the viewfinder status display to indicate that your exposure is now locked.


Now, no matter where you point the camera, that locked exposure will be used. (Obviously, the locked settings may not be ideal for your re-framed shot, but the camera is doing what you asked—holding the exposure settings where you locked them, no matter what you’re pointed at.) Thanks to exposure lock, it’s possible to shoot a whole panorama of images, all with the same exposure. If you let go of the AE-L button, the camera will re-meter for your current framing.

About the Author

Ben Long is a freelance writer, photographer, and videographer based in San Francisco. A long-time computer journalist, he has written hundreds of features, reviews, and how-to's for magazines such as Macworld, MacWeek, Macworld UK, MacUser, Computer Graphics World, Maximum PC, and eMediaWeekly. He is currently a Senior Editor for CreativePro.com, where he writes a regular digital photography column. His most recent books include Apple's Pro Training guide for Aperture, Real World Aperture, Getting Started with Camera Raw, and Complete Digital Photography, 3rd Edition.

As a photographer and videographer, his clients have included Blue Note Records, 20th Century Fox, the Pickle Circus, Global Business Network, Head Start, the Oklahoma Arts Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

More 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 including MacWeek, MacUser, Macworld UK, and others. He currently writes for Photoshop Elements magazine, is a Senior Contributor at Macworld Magazine and, and a senior editor at CreativePro.com. His photography clients have included 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. A sometime dabbler in computer programming, he has written a Mac-based image editing utility that is used by the British Museum, the White House, and others. You can learn more about what he's up to at www.completedigitalphotography.com.

Customer Reviews

If you need a quick book on the D90, take a look at David Busch's D90 Field guide.
DutchLady
Since it taught me everything step by step I had the opportunity to see how my pictures were getting better and most importantly, understand why...
Daniel E.
Long adds technical information where it might be helpful, but the reader can of course choose what parts to read.
S. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Marcia on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've had a D90 for 6 months, and hoped this book would help me with the nuances of use. I'm quite disappointed, almost returned it. It is very superficial, and he spends too much time about photographic techniques and ideas, which I can get elsewhere. I want to learn better and in depth HOW to use the D90 camera specifically, and this book falls very short in this regard.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By perused bemusement on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i am not a person geared for writing. I am not a camera mechanic. So this will be short. You will learn to use your D-90. How you learn is up to you. This book,THE NIKON D-90 COMPANION by BEN LONG, will knock 2/3 off your learning curve. It assumes you are an adult, but not SLR-camera ready. Mr. Long takes you from meeting the camera, to knowing what an aperture is & why you would want to know. Through countless common and uncommon photo scenarios, he explains multi-camera solutions without compromising the "out of the box" fun we rookies have with the toys. With your "90" and this book --- you will create memories. Some will result in photos, some will result in works of art, all will become treasures. That is not bad for a "how to" book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pankaj Gupta on January 12, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Can't praise this book enough.

I bought a Nikon D90 a few weeks back. I went through a different book (also popular) but found it taught me little on how to actually use the camera to get better results in different kinds of situations.

This book is excellent. It teaches the user in plain, easy to understand language, both the basic principles of digital photography, and how they apply to the D90 and how the user can take advantage of the various capabilities of the camera.

The author explains various concerns that matter to most users like myself and why they present a problem and how to go about it using the D90. For example, low lighting conditions, bright backgrounds, landscapes, freeze-action vs depth of field, correct focus point selection and so on.

The author talks about the effect of shutter speed along with great ideas like effects of blur to capture speed (blurring the subject), or even better (but trickier) to freeze the subject while blurring the background.

The author talks about effects of aperture - depth of field, and the trade off between freeze-action power vs depth of field.

Most concepts are exemplified with images that show effects of various choices etc.

Over all this is a great book that also talks about ideas and photography tips, along with using the D90 for different situations. The book by David Busch is more like geared towards understanding all the different menu options and what they do, but some how I like this book much more.

The language is fluid and the book is fun to read.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By xseedman on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you own a Nikon D 90 this book is a must! And, if you are new to DSLR cameras it is a double must. Of all the camera, computer and tech device related books I have seen, this is without a doubt the most skillfully written.
The author doesn't take time to repeat instructions from the user's manual when they are clearly written. Instead he references pages in that manual, and concentrates on explaining how and when to use features of the camera. He only repeats manual instructions when it's necessary to explain something more precisely than the manual does, or when it's needed to illustrate a point. The obvious is not repeated.
This is much more than just a camera book. In addition to showing and explaining the camera's features, he includes chapters on photo related subjects and he uses the camera to demonstrate those subjects. He devotes chapters to digital image basics, fundamentals of taking pictures including using flash, composition, and shooting in special conditions. He also touches on using the raw format to gain more control and improve image quality.
When I buy a book of this type, I usually use it as a reference, reading only the parts that relate to what I'm seeking information about. This time, I read it from cover to cover. His clear way of explaining the subject, resulted in my gaining a lot of insight into effectively using my new camera.
If you are looking for instruction about the Nikon D 90, and good sound information about DSLR photography, this is the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel E. on September 25, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
D90 was my first DSLR camera and after I tried to read the manual and failed miserably to understand much from it, I decided to buy and read this `companion' and I'm happy with my decision. The book is well written, teaching you techniques and explaining you concepts, step by step, not rushing into, and in the same time, showing you how to play with most important settings in your camera like speed, aperture, ISO, dynamic lighting, exposure value, flashing exposure etc. It is not an in-depth explanation of the manual but I did not want it to be. After reading this book, I was able to get back to the manual and finally understand all the settings and adjustments presented there. The book also opened up my appetite for photography; I love everything about photography and taking pictures now. Since it taught me everything step by step I had the opportunity to see how my pictures were getting better and most importantly, understand why...
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