- Series: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (February 21, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 013430442X
- ISBN-13: 978-0134304427
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,385,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Photographer's Guide to Focus and Autofocus: From Snapshots to Great Shots 1st Edition
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About the Author
Alan Hess is a San Diego--based photographer specializing in concert and live-event photography. He has photographed hundreds of concerts in clubs and arenas, including some of the biggest names in music, ranging from Justin Bieber to The Who. Alan is currently the house photographer for a large venue in Southern California where he photographs a wide variety of concerts and events. When he isn't out shooting concerts, he is writing. Alan has written numerous photography books, covering such topics as concert photography and the basics of exposure and composition. Find out more at alanhessphotography.com.
Top customer reviews
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Alan Hess’s book, A Photographer’s Guide to Focus and Autofocus, is all about learning all of those options and how best to use them. It starts simply by defining focus and autofocus and hitting ten things you should know about this subject. These ‘quick hitters’ are explored in more depth throughout the book. As anyone even slightly familiar with DLSRs will wonder when picking up this book, “Will this book tell me all I need to know about my camera’s focusing capabilities?”. Since there are so many different brands and models of DLSRs, that question entered my mind also. The author handles that aspect very nicely by using three models of cameras to illustrate the features and procedures best used to achieve good focus. He uses a Nikon, a Canon and a Sony model to illustrate features and processes. As a reviewer, I must advise you to have your camera model’s manual nearby as you go through the various chapters. In that way you can readily identify the camera features being explained as they relate to your particular model or brand.
The book itself is a soft covered edition measuring 9 inches high by 7.5 inches wide and comprising 178 pages. As of the writing of this review, it was selling on Amazon for $21.89 (list price $29.99). It will fit in most camera bags to serve as a ready reference in the field. It is rated as a Beginner/Intermediate level with which I would quickly agree. It is very well illustrated and easy to read. The chapters are not overly long nor are they filled with voluminous techno-babble to try and impress the reader. Each Chapter includes an assignment designed to bring home the salient points of the Chapter. Many readers will have a tendency to skip this part but I would advise that the assignments not be bypassed. They do help, in a very practical way, to drive home the points discussed particularly as they relate to your particular camera. Most of the photos used to illustrate the text are accompanied by camera information (make & model, ISO setting, shutter speed and lens info). Thus, as the reader is going through the text and perusing the accompanying photos, lessons can also be learned relating the camera settings to the finished photo. The last chapter in this book covers video focusing, a pertinent subject given that many, if not most, DLSRS now have a video capability. This is a subject not often covered in instructional books on photography.
The author is an accomplished photographer in the fields of concert photography, sporting events, and portraiture including human and pet photography. He is also a prolific author, covering a number of photographic subjects. As you can no doubt ascertain, I enjoyed this book. It is not so voluminous that it becomes a burden, yet it provides a wealth of information on a subject vital to good photography. In a nutshell, I learned a lot.
He starts by defining terms as used by these three systems so that we are all on the same page. There is an understandable description of how auto-focus works in general for through the lens shooting and for live view. Alan includes other important factors like controls on the lens and how exposure settings affect focus.
With this under our belts, he gives us a look at the sometimes perplexing decisions photographers have to make about how many focus points to use and what focus mode we should be in. In these chapters, he explains the differences between single point AF mode, dynamic mode, automatic mode, and group mode. He also discusses how multiple focus points work together when they are chosen rather than a single point option.
More practically, after explaining how everything works he gives us examples of when we might want to use the various modes. He also includes a chapter that addresses common autofocus problems and how to trouble shoot them. The book concludes with discussions of when to use manual focus, how to get sharp photos and how to focus for videos.
All in all, there is a lot of material here. It is probably best read with your camera manual in one hand and it in the other. It will define all the confusing terms that are in the manual. You can concentrate on the information on your brand of camera and on the features that your camera manual shows your camera has.