Useful links

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Useful links

Postby Tonster on Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:54 pm

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Photography Tutorials/Guides
Start by reading the instruction manual that came with the camera! Twice. My Canon came with a VERY comprehensive set of instructions that I've found invaluable. Then try these...

Photography Forums

UK Photographers rights

Printers

Wedding Albums

Software
  • http://www.phaseone.com/4/ - Capture One software RAW workflow program, for serious amatuers or pros.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, for serious amatuers or pros. Can almost completely replace Photoshop (for photograph edits) for editing photos unless you want some serious retouching. Can be bought for about £80 on a student license (can't be upgraded), or about £200 for the full monty. This is like Picasa and Photoshop had a baby genius. 30 day trial available, for god's sake download the tutorial!
  • http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index.html Adobe Photoshop (currently at CS4 release). The daddy of all graphics editing and creation programs which along with it's graphics kick will also deliver a serious kick in the wallet to the tune of about £550. Avoid the Extended version.
  • http://hdrsoft.com/ - Photomatix, used for HDR shenanigans and tonal mapping. The trial stamps watermarks all over your images though.
  • https://www.photoshop.com/express/ - Photoshop Express. 2GB of image hosting and, free photo editor and various other bits besides (contributed by larchy)
  • Recuva - Recover deleted photos (contributed by Fluffybunnyfeet)
  • PhotoRec - Recover deleted photos (contributed by larchy)
  • Aviary - Free online image editing tool that doesn't require registration unless you save projects in progress. Uses the same icons and menu system as Photoshop

Places to buy
  • Warehouse Express - The biggest and the best UK supplier (AFAIK :P )
  • Wilkinson - Has some stuff cheaper than the above
  • Pixmania - Good range, can be expensive
  • The Flash Centre - The name is a giveaway, good for all your lighting needs and only too willing to offer advice to n00bs and pros alike.
  • Photomart
  • Amazon UK
  • RGB Tech
  • Gadget Infinity - US Based but ship to the UK.
  • B&H Photo Video - US Based, Walmart for cameras.
  • hvStar - For all your filtering needs. Looks dodgy but isn't, just don't buy here if you need the goods in a hurry.
  • http://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk - apparently good for comparing camera prices
  • Kerso (Ebayer). Talkphotgraphy member. Pay direct into his bank account and bypass Paypal fees, and generally get an absolute bargain compared to other online /highstreet shops. PM him via the TP forums asking for a price on whatever you're considering and he'll get back to you. For example... Warehouse Express do the Canon 24-105 F4 L Lens at almost £950, he can do it for £769 (contributed by GroovyF)

Random photography tips
  • Use a flash to take portraits on a sunny day, the helps reduce the chance that shadows are totally black owing to dynamic range limitations. Don't use a diffuser, it's just makes the flash work harder so burn more battery, bear in mind that outdoors there 's probably nothing for the diffused light to bounce off back onto your subject so is wasted.
  • Don’t even do a wedding as a favour to a friend without these - You need Public Liability and Product Liability insurance.
  • Capturing in RAW format allows for a much greater margin of error and more messing around afterwards, though they do require processing at home using specialist software.
  • You don’t need to worry about white balance in B&W photos.
  • Entry level DSLRs like the Canon 400D or Nikon D300 have smaller sensors (APS-C) than the expensive 'full frame' cameras like the EOS-5D or Nikon D3. This has the effect of increasing the perceived field of view (zooming in). This essentially turns a 50mm lens on a Canon 400D into an 80mm lens owing to it's 1.6 crop factor. To see what your crop factor is look here. A Full Frame (FF) camera like the 5D or Nikon D3 have full size 35mm sensors and therefore no crop factor. However it should be noted that crop factor does not change the focal length. If a photo is taken of an object with a FF and a crop body using the same lenses, the crop body will appear to have zoomed in by a factor of 1.6 However the resolution of the FF will be higher. However if the FF image is then cropped to match the photo taken by the crop body the resolution of the crop body image will be higher. Generally speaking Full frame cameras are used for portraits, low light photography (weddings etc) and landscapes, and crop factor bodies are used for sports and wildlife owing, though opinions differ.
  • About 80mm is roughly 'as you see with your eyes' in terms of zoom. Because of this, 85-135mm lenses are generally used for portrait photography, less than this and noses can end up looking too big as you're essentially too close to your subject. Don't forget to take into account any crop factor magnification, so 85-135mm becomes a 50-85mm lens (roughly) on a camera with a 1.6 crop factor.
  • For these entry level DSLRs the rule of thumb calculation to avoid camera shake is 'focal length in mm multiplied by crop factor'. For my camera this is 1.6. So if I'm zoomed in to 200mm (look on the lens itself) I need a minimum shutter speed of 200*1.6 (320th of a second) to avoid camera shake. You can increase ISO or aperture size to give you a faster shutter speed, though these will narrow your depth of field and increase noise in the final image respectively. However, note that you can still get good results below this, try things like leaning against a wall, tucking your elbows into your side, standing with feet well apart and stop breathing while you take the shot. All these will help reduce camera shake.
  • If shooting from a tripod always try to use ISO 100 or even 50 if you have it. As camera shake owing to longer exposures is not an issue you may as well have the higher image quality it provides. The one thing to watch for is at slow shutter speeds that people may move slightly and so blur, so it depends a bit on what you're shooting.
  • Fixed focal length lenses (known as 'prime' lenses) offer slightly better image quality than zoom lenses, but of course are not as versatile. Typically prime lenses have higher maximum aperture settings which is a big benefit in low light situations as they require less shutter speed in order to take the same photo as a slower (smaller max aperture) lens.
  • The SanDisk Ultra II cards are nearly as fast as the fastest available cards and nearly as cheap as the cheapest available cards - note: this information may be out of date!
  • Each full F stop decreases the amount of light let in by half, so F1.4 let's in twice as much light as F2.8. Modern digital cameras allow for one third of a stop settings. Each step in shutter speed doubles the amount of light let in, so 1/60th let's in twice as much light as 1/120th. This means you can take a photo at F1.4 @ 1/120th of a second, and take exactly the same photo at f2.8 @ 1/60th of a second. This allows for a lot of balancing between depth of field (aperture) and/or fast shutter speed (for moving objects). Each step in ISO also follows the same rules, so ISO 100 is half as sensitive to light as ISO 200. The higher the ISO number, the noisier the image but the less light required.
  • Camera shake ruins more photos than just about anything else and is one of the few things that can never be corrected afterwards, so be ready to compromise on ISO and aperture in order to maintain a decent shutter speed.
  • Those numbers on lenses, what do they mean? E.G. "Canon EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM lens"... well, the 17-85 is the minimum and maximum focal length in millimeters, don't forget to multiply this number by the camera's crop factor for a small sensor camera! F/4-5.6 are the maximum apertures at the minimum and maximum focal lengths. So in this case this camera is capable of F/4.5 at 17mm, and F/5.6 at 85mm, but no bigger (they can all always go smaller, that's a given hence it's not a key detail). As a general rule of thumb you want the biggest aperture size you can get (smallest F number) as that camera will work better in low light conditions. The letters on the lens vary by maker, but the numbering system is consistent.

Photoshop
Source Material

Amazing & Inspirational photos

Miscellaneous

Free Photos
  • Freerange - You just need to register, than all images are free to use for anything.
  • Stockvault - Free images for non-commercial use.
  • FreeDigitalPhotos - Free fow low res but you have to pay for high res.
  • Stock.xchng - Images are free but you must abide by the license agreement, you will probably need to give credit to the copyright owner.
  • Flickr - Each image will have it's own usage rights.
  • Smugmug - Much like Flickr

Creative Commons
This is something you should be aware of when putting any kind of information on the web (or taking it) that you don't want copied without your permission. From their site;

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization
We work to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in “the commons” — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.

CC provides free, easy-to-use legal tools
Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”


The jargon
When you stumble upon something fabulous you want to use, it’s important to understand what it means for something to be licensed under a ‘Creative Commons Attribution- No Derivative Works 2.5 License’, for example.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Creative Commons has four sets of license terms.
  • Attribution – the original author/creator must be credited.
  • Non-Commercial - the work must not be used for commercial purposes.
  • No Derivatives – the work must not be modified.
  • Share-alike – any derivative works must be licensed under the same Creative Commons license.

These are combined to produce the variety of CC licenses available.

Some popular combinations are by- nd (Attribution + No Derivatives) and by-sa (Attribution + Share-Alike). ‘No Derivatives’ and ‘Share-Alike’ are obviously mutually exclusive. You’ll never see these together.

Sometimes people will only use abbreviations and symbols to specify how their work is licensed, so it helps to know them.
  • Attribution = (by)
  • No Derivatives= (nd)
  • Non-Commercial =(nc)
  • Share-Alike = (sa)

http://creativecommons.org/

There are loads more useful sites out there (free hi res photos, guides etc), feel free to contribute your own!

Re: Digital photography for enthusiasts tutorial

Postby Monie on Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:37 pm

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Perfect - Cheers m8! :)

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Tonster on Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:25 pm

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Lots of updates above, feel free to contribute your own :)

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby larchy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:03 pm

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Fantastic m8, I've stickied it :)

For digital printing I strongly recommend people check out http://www.dscolourlabs.co.uk/

Got some prints off them a week or so ago and they're top-notch, and they're also very cheap. A3 prints for about 90p and only about £3 shipping! Service was superb too!

They're used by professionals and advertise in the major photography mags, and seem to have something to do with Fuji so they're a great place to deal with.

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Tonster on Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:57 pm

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Nice one fella. I've added that printer to the list. I've also tidied up some poor grammar, added a quick and dirty software section and another important tip, definitely need some cheaper software options on there though. This DSLR business can get very expensive very quickly!

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby larchy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:00 pm

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How about Photoshop Express, the free online version of Photoshop? Also includes some cool photo sharing features.

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby shardy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:13 pm

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Top post

For the record I have done a few weddings for friends without either of those things you recomend. I do however tell em they have them done by me at their own risk and if they are not upto standard then tuff tit pay the money and use a pro!

http://www.morguefile.com/archive/classroom.php online photo lessons
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm more tutorials
http://www.avforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=80 friendly camera forum running a monthly themed comp too!

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Tonster on Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:06 pm

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Cheers Shardy, I'll add your bits to the post. With regards to the insurance it's not so much about whether the photos you take are any good, more to do with someone tripping over your tripod and injuring themselves, that kind of stuff.

I'd never seen Photoshop Express before, that's quite cool :)

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Cacker on Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:53 pm

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should you remove any references to film cameras ?

I don't own a DSLR, but, i can't imagine ISO exists in the digital world anymore ;)

PS. anyone want to but a nikon 301 ? :/ perhaps i might keep it for posterity .... i'm going to get a DSLR eventually, starting to get fed up with point and shoot cameras. If you've used an SLR before and you know what 'you can do'... you often get into situations with a point and shoot camera and just go ... oh ffs.

Most invaluable tool was the depth of field preview. how useful was that ? do DSLRS have such a thing ? Total control of depth field with the markers on the lens .. still have that ? .. hmm i'm diagresseranting.

Best tip i ever had was putting some grease proof paper over my flash. No more portrait whiteouts. No need for those fancy little light boxes that soften the light .. but look .. well nerdy. grease proof paper looks like a bodged repair on the flash.
/Chairs

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Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Tonster on Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:23 pm

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All that info IS about DSLRs (though is probably entirely interchangeable). Better buy yourself a DSLR mate, you'll see that ISO is still a key feature :) It works the same way as with film, only you can change it for each image you take, rather than being stuck with the ISO rating of the current film in the camera. The ISO rating on DSLRs adjust the sensitivity of the image sensor, and at higher levels can introduce a lot of noise to an image.

DOF previews are still available as well.

You can get diffusers very cheap (less than a tenner) which do the same as a piece of paper these days, though I have used that trick (was normal paper) with my built in flash. Can be hit and miss though.

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Cacker on Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:16 pm

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hmmm ... strange .. because ISO was just a function of the film's sensitivity .. so obviously they are 'simulating' it. I wonder whether it achieves the same results. I used to push ilford 400 HP5 b&w film to 1600 alot, shooting inside without a flash. I remember doing the same at one of my brothers' gigs. What with the high contrast of a dark stage lit by spotlights and the grainyness of the pushed film, it really added to the atmosphere. They came out alot better than i expected.

I almost loathe to give up the 301. It was a great camera .. and i'm sure in all those years .. i never 'mastered' it, got the best out of it ... I certainly don't feel like "wow, i need to upgrade .. this isn't cutting the mustard". I have to changes because of 1s and 0s. :/

come to think of it, i bought a polarizing filter for it which cost about 4 million quid, a nikon 70-210 lense, 9 million quid (second hand) .. tons of colour filters ...crap. all useless :/

oh .. crap .. also a complete b&w developing kit (in the loft). tehe ...i'll never forget search for 'enlarger' on the net at work and coming back to my pc ... and closing the window down in record time.
/Chairs

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Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Tonster on Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:58 pm

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It's not really a simulation as such. In the end it's light hitting a light sensitive medium, in one case film and in the other a digital sensor, and as with all such things there is a sweet spot for the amount of light received, and it's around ISO 100-400. DSLRs needs adjustable sensitivity in the same way film camera's do and for the same reasons, only the medium is different.

Film photography isn't dead, but it's certainly on the decline, plenty of people still swear by it though. For me digital photography just has too many advantages to make film a viable option, being able to adjust the ISO on a per-shot basis is just one of them. Throw in things like instant review, self development without needing a chemical factory in your bedroom, no wait for external development, PC compatibility, easy storage and plent more things make digital an easy choice for me. Not saying it's right for everyone and I'm sure you can Google for some good debates on the subject :)

Digital has a habit if making people lazy though, getting a shot wrong with film costs you money every time, but with digital every shot is disposable so you can easily take a dozen shots and hope one turns out OK. The irony is you'll spend more time taking, selecting and editing those than the guy did who took his time to get it right in one shot. Digital is flexible, but no substitution for skill and experience. In many ways film is a better way to learn and arguably the final image is a better quality.

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby larchy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:57 pm

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A digital camera's ISO setting refers to something different than the 'speed' rating of film, although the two are similar. As Tonster says it controls the sensitivity of the sensor.


The purpose of this is not to try to emulate anything to do with film cameras, rather it allows you to increase the camera's sensitivity to light in low light conditions, or where a faster exposure is needed. The tradeoff is that you introduce more noise into images at higher ISO settings, and therefore you should use the lowest ISO possible for a given scene.

Most cameras go down to an ISO of 100, but newer models such as the Nikon D300 go lower. High spec models like that also offer high settings such as 1600 or 3200.


Rather than scoffing at the (real or imagined) disadvantages of digital over film, if you care to take the time to look at the possibilities shooting in digital allows you'll find that digital allows you to produce images that film could never match. Even basic photoshop skills can produce stunning results, and once you start stitching multiple pictures together, moving/resizing particular elements of an image for better effect, colour toning, even pasting in things like skies and foreground from other shots entirely... well you can start to see how limited film is before you even start discussing the convenience of digital. Then when you get on to things like HDR... well... it becomes harder to make any kind of convincing argument for film, especially if you aren't a professional shooting in some very particular conditions that favour film.

As for lenses and filters... well a filter will fit any lens with the same diameter - surely the type of camera doesn't make any difference. Canon's EF lenses were introduced in 1987 and fit fine on their modern DSLRs' EF-S mount - although you can't use a modern EF-S on an old EF mount.

The nikon 70-210 lens you mention uses Nikon's F mount which goes back about 50 years and is still used on their current DSLRs, albeit with a few revisions. Everything I can find online about it indicates that it should work fine with any modern Nikon DSLR - so might be worth you rechecking what will and won't work with newer gear m8!

Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Cacker on Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:43 pm

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you mean a DSLR with a manual focus ?? i'll be the laughing stock ..

good news atch ;)

Might plump for a cheapy DSLR for now .. saw a nikon d40 for £269 ish ..

will have to start look at specs and stuff.
/Chairs

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Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby larchy on Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:42 pm

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Re: Useful links - updated April 9

Postby Gwil on Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:49 pm

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Updated 8 July!

Fail!

Re: Useful links - updated July 8

Postby larchy on Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:23 pm

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win \o/

Re: Useful links - updated July 8

Postby Tonster on Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:04 pm

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I've now added a 'where to buy' section, bullet pointed everything for clarity (l337), and amended the following tip, it originally said;
Entry level DSLRs like the Canon 400D or Nikon D300 have smaller sensors (APS-C) than the expensive 'full frame' cameras like the EOS-5D or Nikon D3. This has the effect of reducing image quality but increasing zoom on all lenses by their 'Focal Length Multiplier (FLM)' or 'crop factor'. To see what your crop factor is look here. So for a 400D like mine a 30mm lens actually equates to a 50mm lens (30 x 1.6). A 'full frame' camera has a 35mm sensor, the same size as the good old fashioned film frames.


The corrected version now reads
Entry level DSLRs like the Canon 400D or Nikon D300 have smaller sensors (APS-C) than the expensive 'full frame' cameras like the EOS-5D or Nikon D3. This has the effect of increasing the perceived field of view (zooming in). This essentially turns a 50mm lens on a Canon 400D into an 80mm lens owing to it's 1.6 crop factor. To see what your crop factor is look here. A Full Frame (FF) camera like the 5D or Nikon D3 have full size 35mm sensors and therefore no crop factor. However it should be noted that crop factor does not change the focal length. If a photo is taken of an object with a FF and a crop body using the same lenses, the crop body will appear to have zoomed in by a factor of 1.6 However the resolution of the FF will be higher. However if the FF image is then cropped to match the photo taken by the crop body the resolution of the crop body image will be higher. Generally speaking Full frame cameras are used for portraits, low light photography (weddings etc) and landscapes, and crop factor bodies are used for sports and wildlife owing, though opinions differ.

Hope that makes sense, I'm still trying to make sense of it myself and there are pages of arguments about this on photography forums so it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.

Re: Useful links - updated July 8

Postby larchy on Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:54 pm

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There is more to the sensor size than just crop factors, which tbh aren't exactly a big deal unless you're really anal.

The main benefits of a larger size digital sensor are:
  • Greater ability to gather light (due to the physically larger area), allowing the use of lower ISOs in low light conditions than smaller sensors
  • Physically larger pixels are less sensitive to noise (ie have a higher SNR) and therefore produce sharper images and show a wider dynamic range

http://www.anandtech.com/digitalcameras ... i=3290&p=2

Re: Useful links - updated July 8

Postby Tonster on Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:35 pm

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Yeah I wasn't going to go into that stuff here because much depends on the exact model of camera, but how the sensor size affects reach seemed to be worth a mention as it can radically change the lenses you want to buy and is common to all DSLRs. Just wasn't sure if my explanation was either clear or correct.

*EG I have a 50mm 1.8 prime for my 1.6 crop factor body, and the lens would be perfect for indoor portraits on a full frame body but it's a little too 'zoomed in' for the cropper in smaller rooms

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