Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Internet is for...

Just finished reading a new photography-related free online magazine's 1st number, whose link I found through a self-promo private message on Twitter.
I have to admit, after reading the title, slogan, and "letter from the editor" I had really high expectations for what I though would take me some 30 mins to read.
Unfortunately, and even though I recognise the effort that goes into putting together something like this, what I found was a great deal of misleading, sometimes contradictory, and often plain wrong information being passed out to unsuspecting readers. Don't get me wrong, I have found some tidbits of decent information in it, but even those were mostly common sense.
Even though my attention levels were going downhill fast with every page I scrolled through, the articles whose titles had grabbed my attention were still to come, so I stuck with it only to find things were going downhill even faster than my attention span...

The title for the 1st article I wanted to read promised the reader how to "Master the Nikon D90", my current camera of choice, "like a Pro". I've owned this camera for 1,5 years now, and after reading Thom Hogan's Complete Guide to the Nikon D90 and using it as a daily reference for a great deal of that time, I consider myself to know it pretty well by now but I'm always open to read someone else's view on it. After all, there's always something new to learn from everyone.
Anyway, back to the article. To say the title is misleading is a very mild understatement... what I found made me go back to their website and post the below comment in the respective section:

Filipe M.July 13, 2010 at 8:25 am
I’ve just read this chapter in the magazine, and even though I feel there’s a good effort being done there, in my opinion there is some misleading and contradictory information being given:
- in the tip section: setting the rear command dial to change ISO. This will only work in Aperture Priority mode. In Shutter Priority, Manual and Program mode, the rear command dial will change shutter speed, and ISO will be changed by the front command dial (except in M, where it changes aperture). This can (and will) be a source for confusion.
- setting exposure compensation to -0.3 to increase contrast: I’m sorry but I don’t even know where to begin with this one! Underexposing, for a given situation, might give you more saturated colours, but it doesn’t change contrast. It just shifts the tones down in the tonal range (and it might help the matrix metering in the situations where it might be blowing highlight details).
As for the negative points about the camera:
- the very annoying auto-focus assist illuminator can be turned off;
- the built-in flash can be used to trigger off-camera flashes, so it’s not completely useless;
- in over 3 years of shooting with DLSRs I’ve never lost a single photograph to “unreliable SD cards” (maybe because I am quite careful with the cards I buy and use);
- the “12 bit sensor”… the sensor is not “12 bits”, it’s actually based on the used in the D300 and D300s. The files it produces, on the other hand, are 12 bit, but comparing the results to an old Xerox machine or 16 colour monitors is just plain wrong.
Lastly, I feel like using a section called “Mastering D90 like a pro” is really not the best place to advertise your book, but I understand a free magazine has to pay for itself somehow.
I’m really sorry for sounding so negative, as I really appreciate the effort you’ve clearly put into this free magazine. I do hope you take this as constructive criticism.

(As of 2010-07-13, 00h30, the comment is still awaiting moderation (the discrepancy in hour in the transcription comes from the 9 hour time zone difference). The other 9 comments on the page are all tweets with links to the same article.)

Oh well, I guess learning the shortcuts to formatting your memory cards and resetting the camera are part of the "like a Pro" thing...

And when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I reached the other article I wanted to read. Book recommendations. Let's just say that writing

"Scott Kelby and Joe McNally are selling their books using their fame and the control of online media they have. These books hardly contain and useful information (...)"

effectively slating two of the most acclaimed photography related book writers in the world in one go, promptly followed by a full review and praise of the editor's own book (already mentioned time and time again in the magazine, even though the words "normally we don't do a lot of self-promotion on this magazine" appear somewhere in the text...) is not the best way to earn respect in the photographic community. I guess it's just an opinion. A shameful one, in my own opinion. And I'm really sorry, but I'm not even going to advertise it for free by posting a link (10 secs on google will find it if you really want to, though!).

Update: 10 hours later, my comment has not been accepted. The other 9 self-promoting tweets are still there, though... Mmm...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010