Book Review: Understanding Digital Cameras by Jon Tarrent

Understanding Digital Cameras

I think that the more you know about how your kit works the better able you are to use it to its full potential. For this very reason I like to really immerse myself in the technology side of my photographic kit. This month Iâ??ve been reading Understanding Digital Cameras by Jon Tarrant.

The book is aimed at all levels of photographer and as such covers everything from basic camera settings right through to an in-depth analysis of analogue technology versus digital. Itâ??s been put together to show you how to get â??the best image from capture to outputâ?.

If youâ??re a veteran there are certainly a few chapters youâ??ll be itching to skip, however if youâ??re new to digital photography youâ??ll find that even the really advanced content is written in a clear, straightforward way that makes it very easy to understand. As well as all the technology stuff, the book offers invaluable tips to help you with photographing all the usual subject matters (and a few unusual ones too) and gives you clear tuition in a wide range of photographic techniques.

The bookâ??s content is backed up with clear, easy to understand diagrams and what must be hundreds of photographs. Most usefully the author has included photographs that show what happens when you get things wrong, when you get things right and when you really nail the shot.

The only negative thing I can say about the book is that sometimes it goes into a little too much detail and can feel a bit too much like a text book. That being said, it is generally very well written and the information in the book is worth far more than the £18.99 price tag.

If youâ??re a complete beginner you will find this book invaluable. If youâ??re a seasoned professional Iâ??m certain that youâ??ll find the technology side of the book fascinating. Either way, if this is the only photography book on your Christmas list this year, I donâ??t think youâ??ll be disappointed.

For further details, including the book’s contents list and a selection of pages that you can browse online see Understanding Digital Cameras on Amazon.

Product Review – Giottos Rocket-air Blower


I’ve been having to change lenses on my Canon 350D quite a lot recently and no matter how careful I am it seems impossible to stop the dust getting in. There are hundreds of products on the market for cleaning your cameraâ??s sensor but the ones that seem to be the best all require making contact with it. To be honest Iâ??m not thrilled about the prospect of doing that. I just donâ??t want to risk a slip-up and ruin my beloved camera. So, for the last few months Iâ??ve been trying to give it a clean with my blower. Iâ??m sure you have one of these too – a little rubber bulb with a brush on the end – useless by anyoneâ??s standards. I have decided that enough is enough and today I purchased a Giottos Rocket-air Blower.

If you donâ??t have one of these then run out and buy one right now! I mean it looks like a rocket for crying out loud! Actually, joking aside, when you use the blower it becomes clear that its looks are a by-product of its engineering. The bulb is erganomic and as large as most people could comfortably hold. The fins at the bottom are there to stand the blower up, preventing the inlet valve from becoming blocked and the nozzle, well OK I think the nozzle is just to make it look more like a rocket but still, it really does seem to be the product of good engineering rather than aesthetics.

With each squeeze you really get the sense that this is a very well put together piece of kit. Itâ??s made of thick, natural, environmentally friendly rubber and feels almost indestructible.

The pressure of the expelled air is substantial. Certainly strong enough to blow away dust that had become statically stuck to my cameraâ??s sensor. Iâ??ve also used it to clean my lenses with equally superb results.

The one I bought was the medium Rocket-air. With that in mind the power of the large one should be very impressive am Iâ??m certain the small version will combine ample oomph with pocket sized portability. They cost around £5 – £10 depending on the model and are available at any good photography store. If youâ??re like me though and canâ??t be doing with the trip into town you can have one delivered straight to you door by good old Amazon:

Giottos Rocket-air Blower – small

Giottos Rocket-air Blower – medium

Giottos Rocket-air Blower – large