Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou
, July 2008
Author: Christopher Grey
Published by: Focal Press
Requires: An interest in Canon cameras
MSRP: US$39.95, UK £22.99
Christopher Grey has produced a reference book which covers most Canon digital SLR (DSLR) cameras and is squarely aimed at improving your use of your DSLR. The title of the book includes the phrase "The Ultimate Photographer's Guide" which is quite a boast. So as usual when we encounter this sort of thing, our initial goal during the review is to establish whether or not the substance of the book lives up to the 'hype' of the title.
The book begins by looking at the basics of photography and then briefly at the concepts of workflow. It continues by covering many of the existing workflow models and then looks into the common technology and features used in all Canon's Cameras. In the Common Ground section, Christopher Grey introduces the first of his many Photographer Spotlights found throughout the book in which he interviews and looks at the working practices of a large number of professional photographers
Grey then looks at the Zones — Basic and Creative — which allow users either easy choices for shooting under different conditions or, as in the Creative zone, a more technical approach requiring some knowledge of the features and capabilities of your Canon camera. The Basic Zone uses icons to allow the user to easily select a preferred shooting mode. With shooting mode selections in Canon DSLRs for Full Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports and Night Portrait, it's easy enough for most people (especially casual photographers, more serious but still novice photographers, and even many intermediate photographers). A Basic Zone selector is missing from the dial on all prosumer and pro Canon DSLR models.
Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide then looks at the focus, exposure and style, examining the use of external light meters, color temperature, focus methodologies and preferences. It is here where some excellent lessons are imparted regarding the judicious use of the excellent focusing technologies found in Canon cameras.
Grey then takes a look at Canon lenses. The coverage here is good, firmly establishing the practical uses of a wide variety of Canon lenses and examining the where and why of lens use too. In the next chapter, the use of Canon flashes is covered including built-in pop-up flash, accessory flash, off-camera flash, studio flash and location lighting.
The book's penultimate chapter looks at one of the most important parts of your toolkit: The use of the Canon Digital Photo Professional software. In this chapter the handling of your images — more specifically the Digital Negative or RAW file — is covered in some depth. Although Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) is mentioned, neither it nor Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, ACDSee Pro 2 or any of the other RAW acquisition solutions are covered. The book finishes with a look at the works of a number of photographers from around the world.
Cons: No coverage of other RAW software.
Pros: Excellent layout and information throughout the book. Easy to follow. Although the book is aimed at the beginner and intermediate user there are many pros out there who use it instead of the manuals supplied with their Canon DSLR. Canon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer's Guide is a book which should easily be updated as newer DSLR models are released. If you own a Canon Digital SLR camera then this excellent book from Focal Press is a worthy addition to your library. A must have for almost any serious photographer's reference library (because you never know when you might need to use a Canon). Highly recommended.