500 DSLR hints, tips & techniques

date Sep 3, 2008
authors Chris Weston
reading time 3 mins
  • Book Title: 500 Digital SLR Hints, Tips and Techniques - The easy, all-in-one guide to getting the Best out of your digital SLR
  • Author: Chris Weston
  • Year written/published: 2006

Contents page:

  1. Camera Set-up
  2. Image Quality
  3. Getting Ready
  4. Using your DSLR
  5. Flash Photography
  6. Useful Resources
  7. Different Subjects
  8. Camera Care
  9. External Devices

Some extracts:


I have found most useful playback screen to be the highlights screen, which identifies areas of the image where the highlights (whites) have burned out beyond the dynamic range of the sensor.


Eventually, all RAW files have to be converted into a more standard file type such as TIFF or JPEG. All RAW files have a proprietary extension (Nikon=NEF, Canon=CRW) which determines the code used when constructing a RAW file. Because this code is unique to a particular manufacturer, generally the file must be opened in that manufacturer’s proprietary software.


If image quality is less important than speed of delivery, then shoot JPEG. If the image quality is everything, then shoot RAW. If in doubt… shoot in RAW+JPEG mode.


Every time you resave a JPEG, it is further compressed. Eventually, if resaved over and over, there will be little left of the original data. If you plan on regularly processing the same image, then it is better to save the image as a TIFF image.


The focal length of the lens is the distance between its optical center and the focal point, which is indicated in mm and is related to the magnifying power of the elns.


Wide angle lenses have a focal length less than 36mm. … their effect is to expand the space between objects, making them appear further apart.


Telephoto lenses have a focal length greeter than 60mm…their effect is to compress the space between objects making them appear closer together.


FLMF: When people talk about focal length in terms of digital photography, they often refer to the focal length magnification factor (FLMF), or the focal length multiplier. In nutshell, any DSLR that isn’t “full frame” (i.e. has a sensor the same size as a 35mm film frame) will alter the picture angle of the lens, which gives the appearance of magnifying focal length. E.g. Nikon DSLT has a FLMF of 1.5x because its sensor is smaller than 35mm film frame. Therefore, a 28mm lens has an apparent focal length of 42mm.


Depth of field increases when small lens apertures are set (e.g. f/11, f/16); the subject is distant from the camera; wide angle lenses are used.


: Depth of field reduces when any of the following apply: large lens aperture are set (eg. f/2, f/2.8, f/4); the subject is very close to the camera (e.g. macro); long telephoto lenses are used


Warning! Never try manually focusing the lens when the camera/lens are set to AF, as it may damage the AF motors


Aperture range. The aperture refers to the size of the hole in the diaphragm of the lens and is indicated by an f/stop number. Large f/stop numbers indicate a small aperture, and small f/stop numbers indicate a large aperture.


Use center-weighted metering mode for: formal portraits of people and animals, backlit subjects


The sunny f/16 rule: When taking pictures in bright sunlight the high level of contrast can sometimes confuse a camera’s internal meter. TO avoid inaccurate exposures in these conditions, set the lens aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed equivalent to the ISO-E rating.


Next time you visit a hotel… take the complimentary shower cap from the bathroom with you. They make excellent, lightweight rain covers for digital cameras