Beyond Point-and-Shoot
Learning to Use a Digital SLR or Interchangeable-Lens Camera
Publisher: Rocky Nook
Released: April 2012
Pages: 140

There are two types of new photographers: those satisfied with their low-cost point-and-shoot cameras, and those more enthusiastic photographers who recognize the limitations of low-cost equipment and want to improve their pictures. No longer satisfied with simple snapshots, the enthusiast moves up to a more complex digital camera-one with interchangeable lenses and manual controls-to satisfy their artistic urge.

Assuming little to no knowledge of photographic terms, techniques, or technology, Beyond Point-And-Shoot is intended to help smooth the transition from photographic newbie to "real" photographer who is experienced, in-control, and passionate about their craft. Author Darrell Young explores various types of interchangeable-lens cameras, focusing on those with larger imaging sensors, such as digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras.

Learn how to get the most out of your camera's automatic and semi-automatic exposure modes, as well as how to move beyond those modes and take full, manual control of your camera. Watch your photography improve as you discover how to apply important photographic principles, such as depth of field, white balance, and metering. With this newfound knowledge you'll move beyond point-and-shoot and begin taking truly great photographs.

Other topics include:

  • Camera types
  • Lenses
  • Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
  • Metering and shooting controls
  • Lens focal lengths and angles of view
  • The histogram
  • Color spaces
  • Sensors
  • Filters
  • Image file formats
  • Managing digital noise
  • And much more!
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oreillyBeyond Point-and-Shoot
 
4.3

(based on 4 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (3)
    • Student (3)

    Reviewed by 4 customers

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    4.0

    Solid foundation for beginners

    By Dante the Analog Advocate

    from Detroit, MI

    About Me Educator, Professional Photographer, Reviewer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Focus On Target Audience

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Beyond Point-and-Shoot:

      Beyond Point and Shoot: Learning to Use a Digital SLR or Interchangeable-Lens camera by Darrell Young and published by Rocky Nook does an above average job of informing its target audience. As the title states, the target audience for this book is someone transitioning from a point and shoot camera to a DSLR or a mirrorless ILC. As a professional photographer, instructor and a reviewer for O'Reilly's book review program I scrutinized Young's writing to assure that the target audience was not misguided.

      Young does very well at bringing terms into clarity for the layman. When he's not going to dive deep on a term or topic at that moment he clearly states as such. He also does well at describing the relationship between ISO, Shutter Speed and f-Stop. Overall I think this is a valuable introductory book for the intended audience. As advanced amateurs are not the intended audience there is very little they will gain from this book.

      Pros:
      * Good at defining terms and concepts to a layman level. Choice to assume reader knows nothing is perfect for the target audience and even most entry-to-slightly-mid-level photographers.

      * Good at mentioning he'll be talking about an advanced topic later when he's not going to define a term. Doesn't leave the reader hanging.

      * Really nice job talking about how the number of Megapixels can be a detriment based on sensor size and making it clear that larger pixels on larger sensors tend to lead to more accurate color, sharper and lower noise images … all hallmarks of what are considered 'high quality' images.

      * Emphasis on better glass and how generally you don't know what you need until you need it is solid advice. That said, it still may lead to people buying higher-end to top-of-the-line cameras first due to fear that they might need better. I was enthusiastic and didn't need more than a Minolta X-370 until my skill level grew to the point where I could make money with my photography if I upgraded equipment (especially lenses). I explain my point further in this sub-point. You can skip it if you want.

      * * Like anything you don't know what you don't know. I didn't know I'd do this professionally when I first started. All I knew was I enjoyed making photographs and wanted an inexpensive 35mm camera to learn on. Once I learned how to control the camera I was hooked. I agree with Young that having to switch systems is expensive. Like cars and computers it's not "one camera/system fits all." Just because a system can achieve something doesn't mean it's the best tool for the job. I can use my Mamiya RZ67 to shoot sports or my Minolta Maxxum 7D to shoot portraits and landscapes. The Mamiya blows away the Minolta in landscapes and especially portraiture. The Minolta handles much more nimbly shooting sports than the Mamiya. Point is, you may eventually switch systems because your needs change. So, just because the author loves Nikon doesn't mean Nikon is the best choice for your needs. I don't recommend any particular equipment to my students until they know that they want to commit to this very expensive hobby/living.

      * Pleasantly surprised Young didn't overlook sharing how stopping down the aperture past f/11 typically results in higher diffraction which causes softness. This is something often ignored in entry-level books I've looked over.

      Cons or erros in the book:
      * Misguided information on Zone and Hyperfocal focusing and the use of the Depth-of-Field scale. If you took away the parking brake in my Jeep I wouldn't use the parking brake. The reason why the Depth-of-Field scale is used less and less is because the manufacturers have taken them off (most likely to save a few bucks). Zone focusing is very much used by street photographers. Young is on the fence when it comes to Hyperfocal focusing yet seems to be willing to let it fade away as an "old technique." This technique is used all the time in landscape photography and a lot in travel photography. I think this is a failure on the part of the author to dismiss Depth-of-Field scales in this way.

      * Incorrect terms used when talking about the inverse relationship of equivalent exposure. Young states: "In other words, if you reduce the size of the aperture one stop (f/5.6 becomes f/8), you must increase the shutter speed by one stop to compensate for it (1/125s becomes 1/60s)." The user is NOT INCREASING the SHUTTER SPEED, they are DECREASING the shutter speed. They are INCREASING the TIME in which light is allowed to reach the film by using a slower shutter speed. Editors really should've caught that!

      * Shunning Manual exposure as if you've "decided to approach photography as if it were 1905" is unbecoming rhetoric. This ignorant way of looking at manual exposure will propagate to the inexperienced reader as though they should avoid it like the plague. It's rhetoric like this, along with inexpensive low-end cameras and lenses, that has everyone who can afford to buy a DSLR thinking they're a professional photographer when they don't know an f-stop from a bus stop. Try using aperture or shutter priority with studio strobes and see what happens. Just because the target audience of this book is currently not working on becoming a professional photographer (or even advanced amateur) it doesn't mean they won't go in that direction. Bad advice early on leads to long-term ignorance.

      * Center-weighted average meter description is more like a large spot meter. Center-weighted average meters typically read heavier in the center and bottom of the frame, de-emphasizing what would be the sky in a horizontal landscape photo. I've seen this in a number of camera manuals over the years represented the way I'm describing it. Basically, if your subject is standing in the middle of the frame and the horizon split the viewfinder horizontally down the middle then it should read the central subject and ground with more emphasis than the sky. There may be some now that work like a giant spot meter but in the past that was not so much the case with center-weighted average in my experience.

      * BibbleLabs sold out to Corel in January 2012. The core of Bibble Pro 5 became the basis of Corel's Aftershot Pro. As a big fan of Bibble I'd hate to see users having to spend money on Adobe Lightroom because a writer misled them by directing them to a product that didn't exist at the time of printing.

      * Fluorescent lights are not always corrected by adding blue. In the case of the book it references the greenish color which is corrected by magenta. Actually, I've never heard of having to add blue to fluorescent lights but only to tungsten lights. Doesn't mean there aren't fluorescents out there that need blue just that since all the way back to the film days magenta (FLD Filter) was the correction for fluorescent lights.

      * Learn through repetition approach can seem like author is just trying to fill space at times.

      Overall I say this book is worthwhile for the target audience of those transitioning from point and shoot to DLSR/MILC. I will recommend it to my students or anyone I meet who I feel can benefit from it. That said, I will also point out the caveats mentioned above and hopefully Young and Rocky Nook will correct some of the errors or clarify on what has created a difference in opinion between myself and the author.

       
      4.0

      Enhance your knowledge of photography

      By Harry

      from New Kensington, PA

      About Me Technical Writer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Beyond Point-and-Shoot:

        Beyond Point-and-Shoot by Darrell Young is a book that any camera owner who wants to improve their approach to photography should read. Mr. Young has drawn upon his experience as a professional photographer to explain the advantages of a Digital SLR or other interchangeable-lens camera over a simpler point-and-shoot model.
        A major advantage of the more advanced type camera is the control available to the user in capturing an image. The book progresses through a virtual menu of camera features. With each feature, the function is explained in terms that a novice can appreciate and understand. As an enhancement to learning, the author includes numerous example photographs that illustrate the current feature. The reader can use these techniques to enhance their own creativity. An excellent point that Mr. Young raises is the cost of shooting digital: it's essentially free so experimenting is the best way to learn.
        The print version of the book is printed on a heavy grade paper that enhances the illustrations and gives the impression of an actual photograph.

         
        5.0

        Great book for taking better pictures

        By Roy

        from Cary, NC

        Verified Reviewer

        Comments about oreilly Beyond Point-and-Shoot:

        Ever since getting my first point-and-shoot digital camera in 2004, I've wanted to take better pictures than those small-sensor devices can provide. However, before I made the investment in a micro four-thirds camera, I wanted to know how to use it properly. Once again, O'Reilly's Blogger Review Program saves the day by offering Beyond Point-and-Shoot: Learning to Use a Digital SLR or Interchangeable-Lens Camera by Darrell Young.

        Beyond Point-and-Shoot is short, simple, and to the point, providing a no-nonsense introduction to all the baseline terminology and techniques a point-and-shoot photographer needs to jump into the world of higher-end cameras. Want to know how a lens works, or what all the dials and numbers on the lens mean? It's in there. Want to know what depth of field or focal length is? It's in there. Young not only explains the terminology but also discusses how it affects the photos you take, such as when and when not to use a wide-angle lens. Also scattered throughout the book are various exercises so readers can see how their newfound knowledge relates to their particular camera.

        The chapters on exposure control were by far the most useful to me. Young provides clear explanations of what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity are, and how to make them work together for getting well-exposed photos in specific situations (e.g. landscape vs sports photography). Prior to reading the book, I only had a vague sense of how exposure controls worked or related to one another, but now my understanding feels more well-rounded.

        While Young can be a little too repetitive at times (the fact that higher ISOs can introduce noise must have been mentioned a dozen times), that really is a nitpick in what is a very useful book. Beyond Point-and-Shoot is a great quick read for someone who wants to make the leap to micro four-thirds or DSLR photography but doesn't yet understand the basic terminology and techniques needed to leverage the abilities of their new gear.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Good foundation to build on

        By Pat

        from New Kensington, PA

        About Me Educator

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Beyond Point-and-Shoot:

          Finally, a book for those of us who want to show more in our pictures but don't know more than pressing the "shoot" button. This means moving to DSLR and this books helps to make that transition easier.

          The author simplifies the special photography terminology in plain and simple text. He explains the basics of choice in camera bodies and choosing your lenses. He shows the logic behind the different picture settings in a way that makes it easy to remember them and apply those settings in your own picture taking.

          Unique in this book are the practical assignments that empathize the points made within the text. These practical examples demonstrate that doing is learning and remembering.

          This book removes the mystery of the photography "language" and opens the potential for breath-taking photos. The clarity of the text will make this an excellent reference work for my computer club photography group.

          We owe a debt of gratitude to the love of a brother helping a sister. This is how this book came about and we have all benefited.

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