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Old Apr 26, 2006, 8:25 PM   #1
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I am just getting started into photography and while I am learning a lot about the general equipment I still know little about the technical ins and outs of using a digital camera. If someone could suggest some easy to understand books that will give me a good start in understanding photography that would be great. I have the Panasonic FZ20 and have used it a little so far but only in the auto mode. I would like the book so I can keep it with me as a refference until I get to where I understand what I am doing and why. I have already bought a good UV filter and linear polarizer and a lens adaptor for my camera along with the the lens caps. Also I have the DPS-9000 external battery pack, AA charger and 8 batteries, and two 1Gig memory cards. On my list to buy is a Velbon tripod and head and a Sunpak 383 Super flash and maybe the Olympus wide angle WCON-08B lens. I think this will give me a good start into this new hobby. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank, Allen
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Old Apr 26, 2006, 10:35 PM   #2
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The book you should know inside out is your camera's manual. Experiment with the settings: shoot that boring wall at the back of your garden in all kinds of lighting situations. Use an EXIF reader to know what the settings are for each shot so you can see what the settingsare doing.

Get to know what everything on your camera does so you can change settings without thinking about how to do it.

Then comes the difficult part: figuring out why and whenyou want to use different settings. Just go to the library and look at what they have. Many of the issues with digital are the same as film so don't restrict yourself to books on digital. In particular, look at books by the past masters since those have some of the best photos ever made as illustrations. Shutter speed, f/stop, focal length, ISO (ASA if you get an old enough book) have the same meaning in digital as film. Issues like saturation, contrast, and sharpening are analogous to film and development choices.
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Old Apr 26, 2006, 11:29 PM   #3
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Thanks Bill, I have been reading the manual and trying to understand what they are trying to tell me and so far i'm not doing to bad. I really need to buy my own book so I can take it with me and try out what is being taught in the book. I live in a small town and our library does not have much in the way of books. I haven't checked on the camera section but in the solar engery section the most current book was copy writed in 1973. The nearest camera store is in the Phoenix area about 85 miles from me. I don't understand the technical terms or what changing the different settings will do. Such as F/stop, aperture, white balance, shutter speed, or focal length, etc. I know enough to be dangerous. It is important to me to be more then just a button pusher. I have bought a note pad so I can take notes on what my settings are and the results. I have a difficult time learning this kind of stuff so the book along with the manual I believe for me are what I will need to keep with me for a while. If I can make notes in the book that will also help. I will need to most likely order the book site unseen from a camera store. As far as the EXIF reader I hadn't even heard of this before now. I just did a quick search to find out what it was. Now can someone recommend a EXIF reader that works well on a Mac computer running OS X that is ether free or cheap? Money is getting thin so I am trying to save a little where I can, but not on the equipment.
Again Thanks, Allen
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Old Apr 27, 2006, 3:32 AM   #4
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Hi,

For Mac OSX you can get either an EXIF Viewer here:

http://homepage.mac.com/aozer/EV/

or PhotoInfo here:

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/mo...amp;vid=119542

For books have a look on amazon.com or elsewhere at:

Shoot Like a Pro! Digital Photography Techniques by J.A. King

The Better Photo Guide To Digital Photography (Amphoto Guide Series) by Jim Miotke

Digital Photography Pocket Guide, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Digital Studio)

the list can be very long:roll:

HTH




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Old Apr 27, 2006, 7:35 AM   #5
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mebareit wrote:
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... I have bought a note pad so I can take notes on what my settings are and the results. ...
The EXIF data *should* contain all of that information, though it can depend on the specficreader. If you have a camera thatis not in the top ten popularity list, it can easily miss things like focusdistance, flash intensity, ... Best to ask about EXIFreaders in the forum(s) for your specific camera since the genericis likelymiss some of the information. Also look at the software that came with the camera, there is a good chance that there is an EXIF reader somewhere on the CD.

Think about the tripod for a while before getting one. A good tripod will outlast several cameras while a cheap one will become closet clutter. Take a look at http://www.bythom.com/support.htm. It is a really good idea to do some hands-on looking before buying a tripod.

I think you will do better sitting with a book next to your computer with a large image and all the EXIF data instead of having it with you in the field squinting at a little LCD. The most important setting for getting a good photo is where you set your feet when shooting. Paying attention to things like the telephone pole growing out of your Uncle Fred's head.
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Old Apr 28, 2006, 12:16 AM   #6
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Thanks guys, I am really busy now and will be for a few weeks or so. Getting my home ready to sell and doing the paper work to bring my girlfriend here from China. I will check out our library just to see if there is something I can use until I can find a book of my own. I will also double check to see if the software that came with my FZ20 has an EXIF Reader. I will also down load the two EXIF readers and and play with them to see which one will work best for me. I did check out the link Bill sent on the tripods. A lot of it I had already heard and read about. In my case the tripod must be very portable for carrying with me via plane or back packing. I have decided to spend about $125 for the tripod and the head. I know this will leave a lot to be desired as far as over all quality and stability. But this is only a hobby for me and I don't see myself getting too involved in it to where I would feel like spending $300 or more on a tripod. I am in the process of building my own adaptor plate for the bottom of my camera so I will be able to select several tripod mounting positions. This so the camera will be better balanced when mounted to the tripod with most of what I will place on it. I also have the remote cable so I can take photos without having to touch the camera or tripod. The tripod and head I am looking at does have some very good reviews that relate to how I will be using them. I remember reading Bills comments before on tripods. A tripod can be cheap, light weight, or stable, but you can only have two of them or something like that. Thanks guys for all the good input and advise.
Allen
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