Mastering Digital SLR Photography

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  • MasteringDigital SLRPhotographyDavid D. Busch

  • 2005 by Thomson Course Technology PTR. All rights reserved. No part of this book may bereproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including pho-tocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without written permissionfrom Thomson Course Technology PTR, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

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  • For Jonathan and Teryn

  • AcknowledgmentsOnce again thanks to Andy Shafran, who realizes that a book about digital photographydeserves nothing less than a full-color treatment, and knows how to publish such a book at aprice that everyone can afford. Its refreshing to work for a publisher who has actually writtenbest-selling books on imaging, too. Also, thanks to senior editor Kevin Harreld, for valuableadvice as the book progressed, as well as project editor, Jenny Davidson; interior layout, BillHartman; indexer, Sharon Shock; proofreader, Nancy Sixsmith; and book/cover designer, MikeTanamachi.

    Also thanks to my agent, Carole McClendon, who has the amazing ability to keep both pub-lishers and authors happy.

    About the AuthorAs a roving photojournalist for more than 20 years, David D. Busch illustrated his books,magazine articles, and newspaper reports with award-winning images. Hes operated his owncommercial studio, suffocated in formal dress while shooting weddings-for-hire, and shot sportsfor a daily newspaper and Upstate New York college. His photos have been published in mag-azines as diverse as Scientific American and Petersens PhotoGraphic, and his articles have appearedin Popular Photography & Imaging, The Rangefinder, The Professional Photographer, and hun-dreds of other publications. Hes currently reviewing digital cameras for CNet.

    When About.com recently named its top five books on Beginning Digital Photography, occu-pying the #1 and #2 slots were Buschs Digital Photography All-In-One Desk Reference forDummies and Mastering Digital Photography. His 78 other books published since 1983 includebestsellers such as The Official Hewlett-Packard Scanner Handbook and Adobe Photoshop CS:Photographers Guide. When his last digital photography book, Digital Photography: FromCamera to Printer, Print to Computer, Videotape to DVD, and More! debuted in October 2004,it appeared on the Amazon.com bestseller list sandwiched between a photography book byRingo Starr and a thriller from The Da Vinci Codes Dan Brown.

    Busch earned top-category honors in the Computer Press Awards the first two years they weregiven (for Sorry About the Explosion and Secrets of MacWrite, MacPaint and MacDraw), and laterserved as Master of Ceremonies for the awards.

  • Contributor BioTechnical Editor, Michael D. Sullivan added a great deal to this book, in addition to check-ing all the text for technical accuracy. A veteran photographer (in the military sense of theword!), he contributed some of the images in this book and volunteered his expertise in MacOS X for important behind-the-scenes testing of software and hardware.

    Mike began his photo career in high school where he first learned the craft and amazed hisclassmates by having Monday morning coverage of Saturdays big game pictured on the schoolbulletin board. Sullivan pursued his interest in photography into the U.S. Navy, graduating inthe top ten of his photo school class. Following Navy photo assignments in Bermuda andArizona, he earned a B.A. degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

    He became publicity coordinator for Eastman Kodak Companys largest division, where hedirected the press introduction of the companys major consumer products and guided theircontinuing promotion. Following a 25-year stint with Kodak, Sullivan pursued a second careerwith a PR agency as a writer-photographer covering technical imaging subjects and producingarticles that appeared in leading trade publications. In recent years, Sullivan has used his imag-ing expertise as a technical editor specializing in digital imaging and photographic subjects fortop-selling books.

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  • Contents at a Glance

    Preface ........................................................xvii

    Introduction ...................................................xix

    1 Digital SLR Photography Now and in the Future...1

    2 Digital SLR Technology Made Easy...................19

    3 Mastering Your dSLRs Controls .......................49

    4 dSLR Quirks and Strengths ..............................67

    5 Working RAW .................................................87

    6 Working with Lenses .....................................113

    7 Close-Up Photography...................................129

    8 Capturing Action ...........................................145

    9 Composition and dSLRs .................................179

    10 Mastering dSLR Special Features...................201

    A Illustrated Glossary .......................................221

    Index............................................................243

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  • Contents

    Preface ...............................................................xvii

    Introduction .........................................................xix

    1 Digital SLR Photography Now and in the Future .........1Digital SLRs for the Masses ......................................................................................1

    A Little History .........................................................................................................3

    A Little Future ..........................................................................................................5

    The Near Future ..................................................................................................5

    Farther Down the Road .......................................................................................6

    The Case for and Against Full Frame Sensors ..................................................6

    A Full-Frame Compromise .............................................................................8

    More Innovations ...........................................................................................9

    Why dSLR? ............................................................................................................10

    Four dSLR Advantages Unrelated to Single-Lens Reflexiveness ..........................10

    Four Major Advantages Unique to dSLRs ..........................................................12

    Five dSLR Downsides ........................................................................................13

    Using What You Already Know ..............................................................................14

    What Youll Use Your dSLR For ..............................................................................15

    Bye Bye Film? ....................................................................................................15

    Where Digital Dominates ..................................................................................16

    Next Up ..................................................................................................................17

    2 Digital SLR Technology Made Easy .........................19Sensors and Sensibility ............................................................................................21

    Sensor Overview ................................................................................................21

    CCDs in Depth .................................................................................................23

    CMOS in Depth ...............................................................................................24

    Noise and Sensitivity ..........................................................................................25

    Dynamic Range .................................................................................................26

    Controlling Exposure Time .....................................................................................28

  • How We Get Color .................................................................................................29

    Sonys Four-Color CCD ....................................................................................30

    The Non-Bayer Foveon Imager ..........................................................................31

    Fujis SuperCCD ................................................................................................32

    Infrared Sensitivity .............................................................................................32

    Using Interchangeable Lenses ..................................................................................33

    Lens Interchangeability ......................................................................................34

    Not Much Backward Compatibility ..............................................................36

    Lots of Backward Compatibility ...................................................................37

    Nikon Compatibility ....................................................................................37

    Viewfinders .............................................................................................................38

    Storage ....................................................................................................................40

    Choosing the dSLR Thats Right for You ................................................................43

    Questions to Ask Yourself ..................................................................................44

    How Much Resolution Do You Need? ..........................................................44

    How Often Do You Want to Upgrade? .........................................................45

    Is a Compact SLR Important to You? ...........................................................45

    Do You Want to Share Lenses and Accessories with a Conventional FilmCamera? ...................................................................................................46

    What Other Features Do You Need? .............................................................46

    Next Up ..................................................................................................................47

    3 Mastering Your dSLRs Controls ..............................49Exposure Controls ..................................................................................................49

    Tonal Range .......................................................................................................50

    Histogram Basics ...............................................................................................51

    Using the Histogram ..........................................................................................53

    Using Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Exposure ........................55

    Programmed Exposures ......................................................................................57

    Exposure Metering ..................................................................................................58

    Metering Mode ..................................................................................................58

    Evaluation Mode ...............................................................................................59

    Focusing .................................................................................................................61

    Manual Focus ....................................................................................................62

    Autofocus ..........................................................................................................63

    Autofocus Considerations .............................................................................63

    Autofocus Parameters ....................................................................................63

    Next Up ..................................................................................................................65

    MASTERING Digital SLR Photographyx

  • 4 dSLR Quirks and Strengths .....................................67Its Done with Mirrors ............................................................................................67

    Mirror Bounce ...................................................................................................68

    Mirror Size and Design ......................................................................................70

    Focus Screen ......................................................................................................70

    Pentaprism/Pentamirrors and so Forth .............................................