As regular readers will be aware, I am a dedicated follower of Leo Laporte’s TWiT (This Week in Tech). I have been a fan of TWiT since it was just a podcast in MP3 format. Back then Leo only had the one “show” which was “This Week in Tech” itself.
These days the TWiT network—as they call it now—does over 20 regular weekly shows and these days (as far as I know) they are all videocasts; although most of them are also available as just the audio podcast.
The two TWiT shows I try and watch or listen to every week are the original This Week in Tech show (here) and the Widows Weekly show featuring Paul Thurrott (here). From time to time I might download one of the others but This Week in Tech and Windows Weekly are my “don’t miss” favourites.
However, just this week, Leo Laporte added yet another ‘show’ to the TWiT network. This one is called “Mostly Photo” and it features Lisa Bettany from the Mostly Lisa photography Web site (here)—which is obviously why it is called Mostly Photo.
That’s a picture of Lisa at right.
It seems that the Mostly Photo show is going to become a weekly regular at the TWiT network. Going on the tone of this first show the audience is people who are starting out in photography but have a basic understanding of the key factors and their effect on the final picture. Things like aperture, shutter speed, and ASA/ISO. However it is quite possible that once they get past these key basic understandings then they will move onto more challenging subject matter.
The first show covered taking pictures in low light and tried to cover the relatively complex issues—for newcomers to photography—of image sensitivity (i.e., the ISO setting), aperture, shutter speed, and the introduction of digital noise as the ISO is increased. They also touched on the point of taking your camera off fully-automatic because in that mode you have no control over the ISO setting, aperture, or shutter speed. The use of on-camera flash was also discussed.
I have to admit that this is hard material to cover in a one hour video show without doing some white-boarding and/or demonstrations of examples (showing depth-of-field or what exactly digital noise actually looks like).
Twice Lisa said that digital noise looked like artefacts but this is not true. Digital artefacts are quite different to digital noise.
Digital noise looks like really bad grain (for those familiar with the concept of grain when using film). For those that have not seen film grain then the best way I know to describe digital noise is that it looks like grit or dirt all over the picture.
One good description I have heard is that digital noise makes you picture look like someone sprinkled pepper on it. I have put in an example of a picture with digital noise in it. This was taken at 1600 ISO and even though it was taken using a Pentax K-7—which has excellent digital noise removal—you can see that “sprinkled with pepper” look in the picture. With a non-DSLR camera the digital noise at 1600 ISO would generally be so bad that you could not even consider ‘using’ the picture.
However the purpose of this post was to let people know about the Mostly Photo videocasts that have started on TWiT. I will be downloading them for the first few and I will let you know what I think of them.