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The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D Companion: Learning How to Take Pictures You Love With the Camera You Have Paperback – September 22, 2008
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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. You can learn more about him and his work at www.completedigitalphotography.com.
Top customer reviews
For the most part, the book covers what the manual that comes with the XSi covers (and more of course). But that's not a bad thing, the manual is quite good and I would have hated it if Ben Long would have continuously said to refer to the manual instead of explaining it again. I like that he made this book all inclusive, meaning all of the new material he adds along with the old material you should have seen already in the manual. It makes it so you can replace your manual completely with this book instead of adding to it, and having to look back and forth if you're unfamiliar with dSLR photography.
He offers a lot of tips and tricks on what to do, what settings he recommends, and other things in every chapter, including those covering the basic functions. Knowing the basic functions is great, knowing how to best use them is better. He also provides a lot of tips and tricks on how to get good shots and end up with good photos. There are some fundamentals that he provides in this book that you can use on with any camera. Like how to properly hold the camera, how to compose your shot, and all of that stuff.
Every important aspect is illustrated with photos, not because you're too dumb to read, but because nothing beats actually seeing the end results of his tips or actually seeing which button he's talking about using to do what function. It makes for fewer mistakes down the road and gives you a better idea of how something is supposed to look like.
I really like it as a beginner in digital SLR photography. Before I only had a digital point and shoot camera (also Canon). I've always had an interest in photography but never had the money to get into the SLR's. This book is a must-have if you own a Canon XSi/450D. I also like that Mr. Long does not tease the reader for not knowing the basics like Scott Kelby does in his book Digital Photography. I would recommend this, and my friend who is a semi-pro photographer also recommends Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I'll be reviewing that as soon as I finish reading it, just received it today.
After the introduction the author, Ben Long, focuses on composition. After that he details white balance. White balance can be handled automatically by the Canon XSi/450D, but great improvements can often be made by manually setting this function. Both white balance and composition are of paramount importance, even if only for eye catching snapshots.
Ben Long proceeds to detail every feature of the camera in the order of their importance. Clear photographs illustrate every important feature. In this way the reader can be excited by a gradual improvement of picture results as they appear, one step at a time. The readers confidence in the book, and in themselves as photographers, will grow as each camera function learned is put into use.
Written for the novice, this book is such easy reading that it also makes a good review for the photographer with intermediate amateur skills - like myself. Most importantly, the book makes it easy to learn all the functions and limitations of this particular camera.
I bought my Rebel XSi not entirely knowing why I wanted a DSLR as opposed to a top-end point-and-shoot. I knew little about photography. This book was absolutely perfect for me to address both of my issues: how to take photos and how to use my new camera. It is very clearly written and easy to follow.
The first four chapters are an in-depth look at the camera. The author assumes you have read the manual that comes with the camera and refers to it often. He also offers some general advice for techniques when using the camera in Automatic Mode.
The author then digresses for a chapter to talk about how the camera works, i.e., what the effects of over- and underexposure are, how to achieve or mitigate both (shutter speed, f-stop, ISO) and what the consequences of that mitigation is. He provides a good general overview of photography including how how the camera "sees" things and how JPEG images are constructed.
He spends the rest of the book on how to apply your new camera to the general stuff he talked about in the "Photography 101" chapter.
If you have bought a new XSi/450D and want to get a lot better very quickly, I strongly recommend you buy this book. For less than 4% of the purchase price of the 1-lens camera kit plus accessories, you will increase the quality of your pictures by many times. The book saves you the time of separately leaning photography and how to use your camera.