Few days ago, we were checking out a selection of recent digital photography books in order to be able to recommend a few to our loyal readers for Christmas reading, when we stumbled across a website boldly claiming that their interactive book is:
The only Digital Photography resource you will ever need.
Curious and intrigued by such a bold statement, especially in the area as quickly evolving as digital photography, we have decided to verify if such a statement really holds.
123 of Digital Imaging – a Book, eBook, or a Software ?
First of all, to clarify a few things. 123 of Digital Imaging, is NOT a book, or an ebook. Not in a traditional sense anyway. It cannot be delivered in paper format or a PDF file on your ebook reader. It is rather an interactive learning suite focused towards learning all aspects of digital photography including shooting photos, digital darkroom, and sharing and printing your photos. So, you will need a PC (or a Mac) in order to run it. It comes as a 175 MB download, or can be ordered as a boxed set on a digital medium, and can be ordered from 123 of Digital Imaging website.
The 123di is contains a total of 5137 pages (yes you read that right), and is divided into 3 major steps:
1. STEP 1 – Photography. This step is all about understanding digital photography, the nature of the light and how is it interpreted in the camera, as well as providing countless beginning photography tips and photography techniques, and is organized into three chapters:
- Understanding Digital Imaging – explaining the basic principles relevant to digital photography such as colors, pixels, sensor types, and other important concepts that help gaining a deeper understanding of how the photos are taken.
- Selecting Your Digital Camera, Scanner and Accessories – contains a wealth of tips for choosing your digital camera, such as camera bodies, lens information as well as photo accessories tips. If you haven’t yet chosen your digital camera, you will want to consult this section.
- Shooting Amazing Pictures – an extensive guide to taking great photos, organized into 405 pages of beginning photography tips, detailed descriptions of photography techniques presented in an interactive and animated fashion, giving the reader a chance to learn photography by experimenting with various settings, and guiding the reader by explaining what will happen when a particular setting is used as you can see on the screenshot. There is more information in this section alone then in some books sold on Amazon
2. STEP 2 – Digital Darkroom. This step could be best described as a huge collection (1913 pages) of tips for enhancing your digital photos in photo editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Adobe Lightroom. This is probably the most concise library of image editing tutorials in one place. All of the tutorials are hyper-linked, and therefore easily accessible, as well as backed with solid examples to illustrate the point of the tutorial.
3. STEP 3 – Managing, Viewing, Sharing, and Printing your images. In this step you will learn how to best organize your photo portfolio, which storage media to use, which software and similar issues. It also contains a wealth of printing tips for your photos, and how to create cool gifts such as greeting cards and wallpapers for family and friends.
In addition, appendix sections are organized as manuals for specific tools, and can easily replace quite a number of books on the subject, and since they are all interactive, it is much more natural and easy to find your way around.
Who is this “book” for ?
If you look the sheer size of the content provided in this photography “book”, it can look rather intimidating, even for a seasoned photographer. Fortunately, the authors have come up with a brilliant labeling system making the content available to everyone, from an absolute beginner, to a seasoned pro. All articles are labeled by level (Starter, Essential, Advanced). Starter articles are written like executive summaries, and give only an overview of the subject, Essential ones are aimed for beginners, to get them up to speed quickly. However the Advanced level is very in-depth and technical, and we recommend to check first essential section on the subject, even if only for as a refresher course.
The 123di “book” comes in two flavors: Standard and Extended. Both contain the same amount of information, but the Extended version offers 9 additional features (as quoted on the website):
- Add Bookmark button to add custom bookmarks (favorite pages).
- View Bookmarks button to view custom bookmarks.
- Notes button to add notes to any page.
- Search for multiple keywords and see instant results.
- Reduce or enlarge font size.
- Reset notes, bookmarks, and font size.
- Transfer bookmarks and notes to another computer running the same version of 123di.
- Opens on the last page you viewed in your previous session.
- Remembers window size and position of your previous session.
These might not seem like features worth additional
$10, but if you consider that those tools will help you navigate through a total of 5137 pages, one quickly learns to appreciate all the benefits those tools provide.
We have seen and read quite a few photography books and courses, however we have to admit that we are truly impressed with the amount of thought and effort that went into making this product.
- There is a massive amount of great information here, and the organizing system makes all of the information logically organized and easily accessible to all photographers, regardless of their skill level.
- Interactive tutorials make a great exercise, helping readers understand the key points by experimenting.
- It provides both photography and photo editing and printing tutorials bundled in one well organized package
- This “book” is also upgradeable and the upgrades are free for the readers who bought the previous version three months before the new release.
The asking price is set from $49,95 onwards, depending on the version and delivery method, and if you try to compare the information you are getting vs how many books would it take to get the same volume of information (without them being so neatly organized), we think it’s a pretty sweet deal, and a must have for anyone interested in Digital Photography.
To answer the question from intro:
Is this the only Digital Photography resource you will ever need ?
The answer is (and we are hoping we are not shooting ourselves in the foot with this one):
Absolutely, YES. We certainly think so.
Try it out for yourself
In case you want to try 123di for yourself, head over to the www.123di.com and get a FREE demo.