Friday, September 28, 2012

Nikon D600, Epson R3000 and Canon PIXMA PRO-1 First Look Report

I’m happy to report that I have some great new products on hand that I’m reviewing with full reviews coming to this blog in the near future. In this article I briefly mention each of the products and what my first thoughts are after unboxing and playing with them a bit.


Canon PIXMA PRO-1 Photo Printer
Canon PIXMA PRO-1 Photo Printer (Adorama, Amazon, and B&H)

Oddly enough, this is the only printer that Canon’s Certified Professional Service (CPS) recognizes as a pro printer! While I’m skeptical of the inks compared to the wonderful Lucia EX inks found on my Canon imagePROGRAF 6300, early signs show that this is a nice high quality personal photo printer.

If you stick with the included disk, the setup is a snap. In addition the port setup feature worked seamlessly so that when I went to my Mac (running 10.8.2), I was easily able to add this printer without having any USB cables connected to it.

I’m already finding the lack of a LCD to be very frustrating and unnerving. This unit is also crazy big (about the size of Epson’s legendary 3880). These gripes aside, it creates nice warm images out of the box that look stunning on Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Pearl Photo Paper.

It’s going to be interesting to see if this printer can hold up well against its large format big brothers and the mighty Epson R3000.

Epson Stylus Photo R3000 – No wires required

Epson Stylus Photo R3000
Epson Stylus Photo R3000 Inkjet Printer (Adorama, Amazon and B&H)

When you set up this printer you quickly find out why it won the PC Editors Choice award – it’s just so darn easy to set up. From the time I got all the wrapping paper and tape off of it until the time I was making my first print was about 10 minutes on Windows 7. When I tried to install it on my Macbook Pro some of that work done on Windows could be leveraged so I end getting it working in less than 5 minutes.

Out of the box, both Mac and PC printed perfect color matched prints from Photoshop CS6 that were identical despite being printed from different computers and operating systems. The Ultra Premium Luster is a great photo paper and great profiles are included with the printer to get you productive in a hurry.

This printer features the same ink set as the legendary Epson Stylus® Pro 3880, but it is a higher resolution printer featuring the same AccuPhoto HD2 imaging technology as the 4900. This coupled with its roll support, smaller droplet size, and overall user-friendliness – I’m seeing why this printer has been so well reviewed – it’s pretty awesome!

I like this printer so much that it’s already taken on the roll as my everyday printer.

Nikon D600 – Plenty to be excited about!

Nikon D600 Digital Camera with 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens
Nikon D600 Digital Camera with 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens 
Adorama, Amazon, and B&H)

One thing I love about Nikon is that when they announce something, it’s typically on its way to resellers (unlike the other company that announces 6 – 9 months+ before availability). It was just a couple weeks ago that I posted my press release article on the D600, and now I have one in my hands.

ISO 6400 is usable
D600,f/5.6 @ 56 mm, 1/125, ISO 6400, No Flash, AWB, Handheld

My first impressions of this camera are very positive because it’s very well built (feels like a smaller D800 and as solid as a 5D Mark III). The kit lens in the unit I tested isn’t shabby either!

Very nice dynamic range
D600,f/11 @ 85 mm, 2.5s, ISO 100, AWB, Supported, No Flash

This bad boy generates images that are 6016x4016, which is definitely more pixels than most real people need. However, unlike the D800 it’s not a ridiculous amount so this camera is definitely more forgiving handheld than the D800. The lossless compressed RAW files were up to 33MB and JPEG’s went up to about 13.6MB, so that’s quite a bit bigger than even my 5D Mark III files. 

D600 Sample Image - Scone
Excellent detail and sharpness even with the kit lens
D600,f/11 @ 85 mm, 5s, ISO 100, Mirror Lockup, Supported, AWB, No Flash

D600 Sample Image - Scone 100% View
100% view of the scone above shows that there’s plenty of megapixels for cropping

This camera is impressing me early on because it offers a reasonable price with great image quality in a feature packed body that is as fun to use as the D7000. It’s certainly feeling like the camera that most D800 owners would probably enjoy more as their every day camera.


Fun times ahead as I’ve got some great products that make my life easier from capture to print. I hope you’ll join me for my reviews when the become available!


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Canon and Epson have provided me with printers and paper for the purpose of reviewing the products mentioned in this article. B&H loaned me the D600 kit.

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission which helps to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photo of the Week–Seattle Pano

08.05.2012 - Seattle

Congrats to Larry Girk who added a shot to my blog readers photos gallery on Flickr that was worthy of being a Photo of the Week. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I thought this one was cool enough that it warranted resurrecting this old reader favorite again.

This appears to be a pano taken with a Canon 5D Mark II for those who are interested. Perhaps Larry will also comment with more details about this shot.

Be sure to click this photo above and leave some feedback on Flickr so this reader can get your feedback both good and bad (be gentle) and feel the love from our readers here!

Learn more about how you can participate in the Photo of the Week contest by clicking here.


I may get a commission if you make purchases using links from this article.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Guest Blog: Living with Sony instead of Canon or Nikon by Shawn Rabourn

After reading Ron’s 2012 updated edition of What Camera Should I Buy?, specifically the “Canon, Nikon, or Sony?” section, I volunteered to offer a few points to either reinforce or contradict Ron’s opinions about the matter. Ultimately, if you were to ask me to agree or disagree with Ron, I would probably say I agree with most of the information he presents in the 2012 update and the original What DSLR Should I Buy? and follow up DSLR Photography on a Budget. As a proud Sony A-mount shooter as well as someone who is relatively new to what I call “serious” photography, I have a perspective which is a bit different than usual. You know, the Sony Fanboy Ron joked about? You can decide for yourself if you think I am that person. For this post, I am specifically focusing on the Single Lens Translucent or SLT cameras, Sony’s answer to the DSLR which I will explain the difference below. I mention but don’t focus on the Nex mirrorless or Cybershot point and shoot cameras.

Let me begin by giving you a little context. I am not a professional photographer. In fact, I have only taken photography seriously, or what I would consider seriously since January 2011. Rewind to December 2010. I decided to bite the bullet and spend a little extra money getting my wife something nicer than usual for the holidays. She had asked for a nice camera almost every year since we got married in 2001. In 2005 or 2006 I got her a nice Canon Powershot for $200 and it was OK, but it never did exactly what my wife wanted. So I did a little research, found the least expensive new DSLR on the market at the time, the Canon EOS Rebel XS, and bought it for her. The guy at the store told me something along the lines of “DSLR’s are like adult Legos, you need to watch out.” I was stunned by the results the Rebel XS provided. And I was jealous. I had what I would consider a nice digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix. I was never really satisfied with it, but I adjusted to its shortfalls and made it work. But as a 9 year husband I knew better than to buy my wife a gift for the holidays and then buy myself the same thing. So I waited. Exactly 15 days.

I found out my brother was going to Afghanistan for a year in January 2011 and I decided to take some of the frequent flier miles I had earned travelling for my company to surprise him during his going away party. I did a little research and I found the cheapest new Sony DSLR on the market, the A390. Why Sony? Well, I had many digital cameras since 2000 and the best one I had was a 1.2 Megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-S30. My first digital camera, in fact. I probably shot 200,000 640x480 pictures with that thing until I dropped it and broke it. Afterward, I had 4-5 point and shoot cameras I didn’t like from various manufacturers that were not Sony. So my defining criteria for buying was 1. Sony, 2. Least Expensive DSLR, 3. New.

One thing Ron does well in his What Camera Should I Buy? series is outline the real cost of quality and being in the Sony camp doesn’t exclude you. Let me drive Ron’s point home a little more. My original intent was to fly under the wife radar at around $500 and not have to worry about anything ever again. Boy, I screwed that one up. I wish I would have found Ron’s blog sooner, my expectations would have been realigned and an argument or five with the wife may have been avoided. First of all, I became addicted to the results. Second of all, I am never fully satisfied with the results. And third, but not to be understated, I have found the adventure very fulfilling. I had travelled for my company for many years but I never really enjoyed the destinations as much as I did after purchasing my Sony A390. As a result, the A390 became an A390 with a couple of lenses and a flash. And then I added a Sony NEX-5 and two lenses and an adapter. And I sold the A390, some of the lenses, and the whole NEX-5 setup to recuperate some of the money spent on the Sony A77 in November 2011, only 10 months later.

Dancing bottles
Sony Alpha A390 (DSLR-A390), 50mm f/1.8 SAM (SAL50F18)
1/20s, ISO 400, f/2,  Kosta, Sweden
The A390 was a good starter DSLR

My meat and potatoes setup is the Sony A77, a Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, a B+W XS-Pro UV filter, and a SanDisk ExtremePro 32GB SDHC coming in a hair over $3000. The price doesn’t include equipment I have purchased and resold; or other things like flashes, tripods, bags, cleaning supplies, additional memory cards, extra batteries, additional filters, editing software, and so on. I also have 1-2 lenses I don’t use as much ranging from $100 on eBay to $1300 brand new. And the overall price will go up when I replace my $1400 A77 body with the $2800 A99 body I preordered last week. Needless to say, the original $500 budget blew up in my face. In my estimation, I have spent nearly five-figures since January 2011. I have also recovered around half of the cost in resale. Is it worth it? Absolutely, without a doubt. The image quality only scratches the surface of the value. I have made many new friends, in person and virtually. I have seen and will remember places I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I have watched a lot less bad TV. I have provided a photographic record of all of my children’s activities for relatives living thousands of miles away to see. I’ve also had a decent travel run since January 2011, visiting 20 of the United States, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Thailand, Malaysia and The Bahamas and it didn’t hurt to have quality equipment on hand.

A77 Sample
Sony Alpha A77 (SLT-A77V), 85mm f/1.4 ZA (SAL85F14Z)
1/125s, ISO 100, f/3.2, Batu Caves, Malaysia

Now to the reason I actually volunteered to write for Ron for. As a Sony owner, I get similar questions from fellow photographers. “Why not a Canon/Nikon?” or “Why Sony?”

The first thing Canon/Nikon fans are quick to point out is the shortfall of lenses in the Sony lineup. Sony’s lens lineup is supplemented well by the likes of Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, but there are some gaps in the set compared to Canon/Nikon. I will concede the argument except if you are one to look at online auctions, garage sales, estate sales and so on. One nice little side-effect of being a Sony owner is their acquisition of the A-Mount from Minolta in 2006. Minolta lenses are built for the long haul, have legendary quality, and are abundant in the resale market. I put a Minolta Beercan (70-210 f/4) made in 1998 on my A390 made in 2010 and it worked like it was brand new. Same for my A77, made in 2011. I acquired the Beercan for a net total of about $10 and gained $130 at the end of the day. I did a search on eBay for “Minolta (AF,Dynax,Maxxum) lens –Sony” (without quotes) in the 35mm film camera subsection and found someone trying to get rid of a Minolta Maxxum 7000 which happened to have the Beercan attached. I excluded Sony from the search as you’ll find some people who haven’t clued-in on the fact the Minolta lenses work well on Sony bodies. The seller I bought from also didn’t clue in to the fact the lens was probably worth 4-6 times the Buy-it-Now price of $25 for the body and lens. I turned around and sold the Maxxum film body for $15. After a few thousand shots with the Beercan I decided to sell it on eBay and I got $140 after shipping. I loved the lens, but I travel a lot and its size became a liability.

Beercan Sample

Sony Alpha A77 (SLT-A77V), Minolta Beercan 70-210 f/4@210mm
1/80s, ISO 100, f/9, Gastonia, North Carolina USA
Taken using a 27 year old Minolta Beercan lens

Sony does have a few things Canon and Nikon doesn’t in its lens profile. The Sony Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 and the Sony and previously Minolta 135mm f/2.8[T4.5]STF come to mind here. And the in-body stabilization, or “SteadyShot Inside”, helps bring the cost down comparatively. Quality-wise, I’d put my Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 up against anything at that length Canon or Nikon has, even their wider f/1.2 offerings.

The A77 and upcoming A99 are translucent mirror cameras or SLT’s, along with the other 2-digit offerings from Sony (A33, A35, A37, A55, A57, A65, A77, A99). The A77 is the successor to the A700 DSLR and the A99 is the successor to the A900 DSLR. So instead of the mirror reflecting to the viewfinder and assisting with focusing before swinging upward as the shot is taken, the mirror reflects some of the light to aide an electronic viewfinder and assist with focusing, and the rest is passed to the sensor. One perceived shortfall of Sony is high ISO performance, specifically in the SLT cameras as in various tests it has been shown the translucent mirror causes a 1/3 to 1/2 stop light loss. Another disadvantage is any dust on the mirror will show up as the aperture decreases or f-number increases. Usually it is nothing a good blower can’t remove, but I am all about full disclosure. To me, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Since the mirror doesn’t swing, the A77 is able to perform full 24MP RAW+JPEG bursts at 12FPS for a full second and 6-8 FPS without being in a dedicated mode for 12 FPS. You’re looking at $6000+ from Canon or Nikon for that kind of performance. You don’t have to worry about mirror slap as well. For those of you who use your camera for video, the translucent mirror allows the lens to focus automatically while you’re filming, which is a feature Canon and Nikon are 2 years late to the game for.

ISO 3200 Sample

Sony Alpha A77 (SLT-A77V), 85mm f/1.4 ZA (SAL85F14Z)
1/6s, ISO 3200, f/1.4, Indianapolis, Indiana USA
This ISO 3200 sample is usable for web purposes or small prints.
This was shot hand-held at 1/6s.

Full Res ISO 3200

Close-up you can see the noise at ISO 3200, which can be improved post-processing.

For anyone who uses their camera to also shoot video, Sony’s SLT’s are a compelling option. All of the current Sony SLT’s are capable of 1080 60i, with the A57, A65, A77, and upcoming A99 capable of 1080 60p. Only the upcoming Canon 1D C at $13,000+ will better, and the current Canon and Nikon offerings can only provide 1080 30p or 720 60p.

The Electronic Viewfinder, which is also found in cameras made by Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus, among others is the subject of what I like to call a “religious debate”. I can’t speak for the other manufacturers or models, but on my A77 the EVF is like a miniature HDTV in the place of the old Optical Viewfinder. The biggest disadvantage, to me, is the fact you can’t look through the viewfinder with the camera off. The other disadvantage is the battery life is shorter. To me, again, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. What I see when I look through the viewfinder is what I am going to get 95% of the time, with exception being shots I take with a flash. I adjust white balance, I see what I am going to get without taking a shot to verify. I change ISO or EV, I see the change in brightness or darkness. Another advantage of the EVF, Sony has created a function called Focus Peaking. When I am in manual mode, I can turn on focus peaking and on the viewfinder or LCD in Live View, if I adjust the focus it will outline the areas of the candidate shot which are in focus in red, yellow, or white depending on my preference. This is extremely helpful for the shallow depth of field my 85mm f/1.4 lens offers wide open. It is also very helpful for long-exposures when it is dark outside. With an optical viewfinder I would see nothing. The EVF compensates and focus peaking outlines the subject. Focus peaking also works while filming videos.

Sample Portrait

Sony Alpha A77 (SLT-A77V), 85mm f/1.4 ZA (SAL85F14Z),
1/500s, ISO 200, f/1.4, Valdosta, Georgia USA
Focus peaking helped with the shallow depth of field on this shot

Overall, Sony offers an abundance of features Canon and Nikon have, with a scattering of features they don’t have. I recently found one of the features for the first time 10 months after purchasing my A77 when I purchased a Sony 3D-capable Bravia TV and displayed pictures I took using the 3D sweep-panorama feature. Another feature I discovered in my A77 I didn’t know it had until I read about the same feature in the A99 specification is Hand-held Twilight, which allows you to take lower-noise stills at night as six shots are combined into one.


Hand-held twilight sample

Sony Alpha A77 (SLT-A77V), 24mm F2 ZA SSM,
1/4s in Hand-held Twilight Mode, ISO 6400, f/2, Gastonia, NC USA
Sample shot using hand-held twilight mode in a dark closet

Hand-held twilight sample

Close-up crop of shot above


If you’re looking for the answer to the question, “What camera should I buy?” Please take all of your options into consideration, but don’t limit yourself to the status quo. Canon and Nikon are like the Republicans and Democrats, not necessarily in that order, and Sony is the third party. Don’t feel like you are wasting your vote if you like a third-party candidate. I don’t. And I am sure many of the folks heavily invested and compassionate about the Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, or Pentax lineups feel the same way. Ultimately, you’ll answer the question, “Am I happy with the image quality?” At the end of the day, I am thrilled with the results I get with my A77 and I am eagerly awaiting my A99. If you were to ask me to make a recommendation on a Sony, I would start with the Sony A77, but suggest the A37 or A57 if you were wanting to spend a little less. If you do decide on a Sony or if you decide otherwise, please help support Ron by using one of his hyperlinks.

Final Thoughts by Ron

While I still stick with my original advice to go with Nikon or Canon from my What Camera Should I Buy? article, I appreciate the time Shawn has taken to offer his rebuttal to this advice.

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If you make a purchase using links found in this article, may make a commission.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, September 24, 2012

What’s Hot in Photography & Photo Editing Books – Part II

The surprise success of my article last week entitled “What’s Hot in Photography & Photo Editing Books”, has inspired me to do a part II to cover the remainder of the huge stack of books that has piled up in my studio.

I haven’t had a chance to read these cover to cover, so my feedback is based on partial reads and skimming these books. Put another way, if a friend asked me “should I get this book?”, then what I’d tell them is what I’ve said below for each book.

The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop by Jeff Schewe (a fellow NEC featured photographer is a book that when I first saw it I thought “oh crap, not another lame book on using RAW”. After all, using Lightroom’s develop module or Adobe Camera RAW isn’t rocket science, so it’s hardly worth an entire book of its own. However, Jeff does a great job of diving deeper than any resource I’ve seen. In fact, he dives so deep I’d go so far as to say that this book is NOT for photographers, but rather computer geeks (especially programmers & engineers) who want more detail behind the "what & why” behind a lot of Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom features.

In the end I really liked what I saw in this book, so I will be taking the time to read it from cover to cover. I give this a easy Highly Recommended for Geeks ONLY. Warning: Non-Geeks are likely to have their heads explode if they try reading this, so don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Advanced Underwater Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers by Larry Gates is a good book for those who not only want to know more about how to use their camera underwater, but also want to know more about underwater lighting so they can capture images that don’t suck. Recommended for those looking to improve their underwater lighting skills.

Nikon Speedlight Handbook by Stephanie Zettl is NOT the Nikon equivalent of Speedliter's Handbook by Syl Arena, nor is it as good as On-Camera Flash Techniques. However, those who find Joe McNally’s books like Sketching Light to be inspirational, but not necessarily very educational will probably like this book. It’s not bad and has lots of useful info for Nikon shooters, so if you want to learn more about your flash and some common modifiers then it’s probably worth picking this one up. Recommended for lovers of On-Camera Flash Techniques who want more depth on Nikon specific gear than Neil or Joe McNally offer.

Master Posing Guide for Portrait Photographers: A Complete Guide to Posing Singles, Couples, and Groups by J.D. Wacker is a bit more of a primer / handbook than a guide because it’s pretty short on details in most of its chapters. However, for those who are struggling with poses and looking to get some tips, it’s a decent book.

The author appears to be a pretty solid high school seniors portrait photographer from what I see in the sample images in the book, so if you are doing that type of work this book will be especially helpful. Recommended for portrait photographers who are just getting started.

50 Lighting Setups for Portrait Photographers: Easy-to-Follow Lighting Designs and Diagrams, Vol. 2 by Steven H. Begleiter didn’t impress me much. If you think “wow, that’s awesome light” from what you see on the cover, then perhaps this book might be for you. However, as I thumbed through the book I saw lots of lighting that made me think “hum, I don’t care for that much.”


Flash Techniques for Location Portraiture: Single and Multiple-Flash Lighting Techniques by Alyn Stafford reminded me of 50 Lighting Setups for Portrait Photographers: Easy-to-Follow Lighting Designs and Diagrams, Vol. 2 in the sense that it also had lots of lighting setups that reminded me of the local Sears Portrait photographer setups. This author did a good job of describing his work and what he uses to get the shot, but the actual shots made me often think – “uh, no thanks.”

Doug Box's Available Light Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers starts off with a gorgeous woman on the front with great lighting, and when you thumb through it you quickly see that this photographer knows how to control light to make great perfect exposures with rich color. Unfortunately this book is not as deep on education as it is on discussions of his successful shots (much like a McNally book), but it’s still seems to be an interesting read for those looking to improve their available light skills AND who have little experience with reflectors, diffusers and black flats.

Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques for Photographers by Eric Curry reminded me of the great videos by Dave Black on I first saw Eric’s work in Rangefinder magazine and was mesmerized, so I was jazzed when the publisher sent me a copy of this book.

What you find inside this book is a collection of great images with masterful lighting, and seemingly useful instructions on how to get similar shots yourself. Complete breakdowns and details are included. Personally, I can’t wait to read this book more carefully so I’m tossing it in the highly recommended category.

500 Poses for Photographing Children: A Visual Sourcebook for Digital Portrait Photographers by Michelle Perkins is a pure picture book with zero useful education in it. It’s really design for those who are looking for inspiration by example and it includes about 350 or so great photos, so my hats off to Michelle for some solid work. However, mixed in with the good is some serious suckage as well, so it’s tough for me to recommend this book. Instead, I have to say that if you are fresh out of ideas and want to see photos that are pretty decent, then perhaps this is book for you. However, with the ability to see great photos on the Internet and Pintrest so easily, I’m struggling to see why anyone would really need this book? Perhaps to show it to clients who aren’t computer savvy?

Christopher Grey's Posing, Composition, and Cropping: Master Techniques for Digital Portrait Photographers is actually one of the few books in this lineup that focuses more heavily on education than self promotion/bragging. It certainly isn’t the in-depth style of The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman, but it doesn’t bore me to tears like Freeman’s book either. Instead, I’d call this a decent primary for those who just want the author to get to the point and show me some examples. As a result, I actually give this a recommended for beginners.

The Best of Senior Portrait Photography: Techniques and Images for Digital Photographers by Bill Hurter contains a collection of excellent Senior Portrait shots that I think Seniors would love to have taken of themselves. As a result, this book could be a good selling tool for clients to say “thumb through here and tell me what you want”. Of course, where the book fails is that there is not much depth in explaining how to get the shots, but I still give this book a recommendation for adult portrait photographers (not just senior portraits).

Video Nation: A DIY guide to planning, shooting, and sharing great video from USA Today's Talking Tech host by Jefferson Graham just turns me off from the beginning because the book fails to grab me with the cover and early chapters. That said, there seems to be a wealth of information in here – especially for those on a budget who will be filming with consumer point and shoots and iPhones. It’s not for me, but it seemed to do okay on Amazon so it might not be that bad.

Bill Hurter's Small Flash Photography: Techniques for Professional Digital Photographers contains gorgeous images with brilliant lighting, so for some that may be enough to warrant the cost of the book (especially if you like Joe McNally books). It also goes into pretty decent depth on the tools of the trade, but it’s no substitute for the brilliant book On-Camera Flash Techniques. Overall though I’d give this a recommend as a good book for showing a lot of the light modifiers and great results possible with small flashes.

Flash and Ambient Lighting for Digital Wedding Photography: Creating Memorable Images in Challenging Environments by Mike Chen is a decent book in a very crowded book category, but this book has some nice illustrations and discussions that may help things click for some readers. It didn’t make my recommended list, but only because I was trying to be conservative in my choices. It actually seems to be a decent book worth checking out the next time you are at the library or bookstore.

LED Lighting: Professional Techniques for Digital Photographers by Kirk Tuck is actually a new and unique genre of lighting book that I found very exciting. LED lights are improving, but keeping up on all of the products out there is mind numbing! As a result, I enjoy how this author takes the time to show what’s the industry tricks of the trade and common products, as well as showing a vast array of alternatives. I will definitely read this cover to cover, so I can easily recommend it.

500 Poses for Photographing High School Seniors: A Visual Sourcebook for Digital Portrait Photographers is like deva vu for those who have seen 500 Poses for Photographing Children: A Visual Sourcebook for Digital Portrait Photographers by Michelle Perkins. Sure the age group has changed, but it’s really just a dump of a bunch of great images to help provide inspiration for those stuck in a rut (or who wish to share ideas with clients). There’s no education in the book, so you are on your own in getting the shot – but the inspiration could be worth the price alone for some people. Personally I think a Bing image search would be just as effective though.

Landscape Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Rob Sheppard is well written and follows the great formula of the “from snapshots to great shots” books. Unfortunately though I found the images included in the book to be very unimpressive and uninspiring which made me question the credibility of the author. In fact, this book was one that I was trying to read from cover to cover, but gave up after three chapters because I just couldn’t get into the images being presented to me in the book. Rob Sheppard has great credentials, but just as I thought when I saw him speaking at the Nik Summit in San Diego, he seems to be behind the times and lacking the image quality of modern day top photographers.  

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If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. These books were randomly sent to me to me by the respective publishers. As mentioned earlier, there aren’t enough hours in my days to read all of these so this is simply a high level overview of my impressions of these books after casual “bookstore style” thumbing through these books. Recommended books are the ones I’d probably buy if I were at the bookstore, and they are ones I hope to read cover to cover.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity