Digital Cameras and Learning Photography

I'm preparing for teaching a basic photography class next week in New Orleans. While preparing for the class I was thinking about how much better things are now for learning photograpy.

One of the things I teach is exposure by setting up a small set where I can interchange different backgrounds and subjects of different tones and colors. In the days of film, this meant setting it up, shooting with slide film, waiting for the film to be processed and then examining the results. While we took notes on which image was photographed with which setting, it often got confused and of course even it it didn't by the time we were evaluating the images the often the whole point was forgotten.

With early digital cameras, things got a lot better. Results could be seen immediately with a thumbnail in the camera display and then a quick download with reveal the results in full detail as well as allowing the photographer to examiine the shooting data in the EXIF fields.

With the current crop of digital cameras things have gotten much better yet again. With a liveview display, results can be seen without even clicking the shutter. I now project the image on my digital projector and as I make changes you can not only see the results but a histogram as well.

I can now also demonstrate concepts such as depth of field and the efffect of focal length with everyone in the class able to see what's going on within the camera.

We've come a long way from the days of film, while one can still argue the quality of film versus digital images, there is not doubt about the aibility to learn photography is much easier with the current crop of digital cameras.