Guide to DSLR photography for Newbies + Product/Price/Outlet List


Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
1. About equipments

1.1 Overview & foreword

Equipments are important, as much as I emphasize the triangle of the user, the tool and the subject. It is good to know about it as long as you do not hold off your purchase and stop shooting because you worry too much about less important parts of the equipments.

Waileong illustrated the idea very well, as quoted from here.

"Contrary to most beliefs, a camera is not just a light tight box, its design and functionality directly affects ease of use, reliability, performance, compatibility, etc. which affects how you use your equipment, what it is great at and what it is not good at.

Ditto, a lens is not just something to focus light with, its very design depends on the optical approach chosen by its designer, what choices have been made wrt the optical aberrations, and thus determines what it is good at and what it is weak at. Thus you can match a lens to a shot if you know what you want to shoot and what you value in a picture."

2. DSLR body

2.1 Categories of digital cameras
The categorisation of digital camera can be largely grouped by
1. type of sensor medium - film or digital
2. size of sensor medium - Sub-inch (compact camera), 4/3" (olympus and panasonic DSLRs), APS-C (most DSLRs), full frame (high end DSLR), medium and large formats.
3. focusing and viewfinding mechanism
4. lens option - fixed lens or mount with interchangeable lens (read Ken Rockwell)

By mechanism of previewing the shot, they are either
1. through the lens (TTL)
2. through the rangefinder
Further comparison of the two mechanism can be read here at Camera Technologies.

2.2 What is a DSLR and what makes it a DSLR?

DSLR refers to a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera.

The pre-requisite of a DSLR is
1. it must make use of a single lens reflex with a prism, hence the size can be small but never as compact as a compact point and shoot do.
2. it have interchangeable lens option.

Nowdays, the shape is no longer an unique feature, becos a bridge camera may attempt to look like a DSLR with a grip and a large fixed lens, whereas the newer 4/3 sensors DSLRs are getting smaller and less can be flattened out to mimic the shape of a compact.

2.3 What is the mechanism behind DSLR?

DSLR is Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras, which utilises a movable mirror to switch between projecting the image from the lens onto the viewfinder (where you put your eyes near the camera body) when the mirror is down, or onto the digital sensor (which replaces the film) when the mirror is up. This mechanism allows an almost identical image composition between what you see and what is captured on the sensor, regardless of the distances. It is a larger camera than compact cameras because the projection of the image from the lens onto the viewfinder, utilises a mirror and a prism which takes up space.

For a better idea and visualisation of the mechanism, look here (wikipedia)

2.4 Main features

1. saves on battery power, sharper visualisation
The mechanism saves on battery power by enabling a mirror mechanism for you to see the image accurately through a viewfinder which is a sharper and more accurate representation of the image rather than on the LCD, it gives no parallax error compared to other forms of camera.

2. larger size but better grip
The mechanism requires a large size to include the mirror box and pentaprism which both cannot be reduced in size unless the sensor and image size also decreases, but this large size gives you a larger surface area to grip and work with, as explained below. On the other hand, a DLSR body, especially if attached with lens, makes it really big and near impossible to keep comfortably in even the largest pocket (I tried hiding it in a large pocket in a journalist jacket and it simply protrudes out). As such either you hang it blatantly around your body or have to take it in and out of a big bag on the go. This limits handling for situations where cameras are to be kept warm from cold weather or kept less conspicuous from criminal intents or paranoia of the modern society.

3. larger surface area and better handling of controls
DSLR usually gives more control as more features through more buttons with sufficient area to handle, are more easily placed onto the larger camera with a larger surface area. However, advanced compacts and DSLR-like bridge cameras or prosumers have attempted to give that control by making the camera slightly larger than a compact, and adopting a similar shape, without incorporation of the SLR mechanism and an interchangeable lens mount.

4. interchangeable lens to expand on more possibilities
The reason why most people move on to using a DSLR from compact is to adopt the versatility of having interchangeable lens to maximise what each lens is optimal at, and also to have the ease of control over different aspects which in the process aids in understanding photography.

5. better optical and digital quality by sheer size
DSLR have bigger sensor, bigger body, bigger image circle and bigger glass in the lens, hence better light collecting ability. Larger sensor means that if you pack the same resolution of sensor elements per unit area of sensor, you can pack more sensor elements in a larger sensor, hence the difference of a 3MP and 6MP sensor for example. If the smaller compact sensor gives the same total number of sensor elements, it is only done so with smaller sensor elements making it more vulnerable to various digital defects. If the technology of the smaller sensor elements advanced to reduce that defect, the same technology also makes the bigger sensor elements performed better too, so the gap is always there.

6. Lack of video mode and live preview on LCD
By virtual of having an optical viewfinder, it makes use of preview through it and not on the LCD, which means that your habit of looking at the camera at arm lengths is to be brought up directly to the eye, which can be uncomfortable for some. And by the mirror flip up at the point of shutter release, you would not be able to see the image unlike that on the LCD on the compact, you would be able to do so, but for that it is usually not an issue if the mirror flip up is instantaneous. And because of that, the video recording mode is also disabled. Overall, there is a saving of battery power. A dual option of having other an optical viewfinder and a LCD live display is not impossible though. Olympus offered such concept of liveview versus preview on DSLR LCD.

7. Lack of angling of viewfinder
Because the eye must stay close to the viewfinder, the positioning for bizarre angles can be difficult because the head may not be able to be in that holding position whereas the hand can. In terms of viewing of the image when the camera body is already in that bizarre angle, both compact and DSLR would require a LCD display that can be swivel into the correct angle for the eyes to see - in this aspect, not all compact can do that, but many do. For a DSLR, only olympus do so, the others would require a zigview viewfinder.

8. Potentially heavier weight
With the overlapping market between DSLR and compacts, there is by now (late 2007) many models that parallels the weight of heavier prosumers. Of cos, compacts are also now going also towards the ultraslim form and going into handphones. Some of the latest DSLR entry level bodies weigh as little as 435g in Olympus E410, 510g in Canon 400D and 475g in Nikon D40. Couple with a small and light prime lens, they are very light. Nonetheless, this is only based on the very basic setup. With higher end models, the weight gradually goes up with inclusion of built in vertical grip, such as 1210g in Canon 1Ds mark III and 1240g in Nikon D3. Needless to say, some lenses are heavier and can add from a few hundred grams to more than 10kg.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
2. DSLR body

2.5 Components and terminology of parts of DSLR

A camera to a laymen person usually refers to a whole photograph capturing device excluding additional conversion lens, additional flash, batteries and memory cards, but it actually refers to a single component of the whole device, in particularly to a dark chamber (called a camera obscura in latin) where light is captured and processed. It can be seen to have 5 additional essential components to this chamber.
1. Control of light entry & focus: Lens with the aperture diaphragm.
2. Control of exposure duration: Shutter
3. Viewing of image and settings: Either a ground glass panel, a finder or an electronic display.
4. Image collection: Backs holding film or electronic sensors.
5. Inputs: manual inputs (via rings, buttons, dials and switches) on the body or lens, or sensing inputs of exposure (metering) or contrast (autofocusing)

As such, understanding of how cameras work is best seen through modular camera systems, where there is the camera chamber module that can fit interchangeable lens, shutters, viewfinders and backs. All, if not almost all, camera designs differs in these components which can be either integrated or interchangeable. Most people who is just into photography only knows of a camera as a single integrated unit, but once one steps into higher tier camera systems, the modules becomes more and more specific, and can be purchased, combined and changed as separate components.

In the case for 35mm and sub-35mm DSLRs, it is largely separated into 2 component.
1. The body, comprising of the chamber, the finder, the shutter, the back and most of the inputs.
2. The lens with the aperture and some of the inputs.

Major components
Camera body: The DSLR without an attached lens
Camera lens (Interchangeable): A barrel like structure containing lenses inside (look here)
Grip: A thicker portion of the DSLR body mainly on the right where the 3rd to the 5th fingers can wrapped around to provide a sturdy hold onto the body
Built in flash: A flash unit that is integrated with the DSLR body which pop up to provide directional flash

Optional add-ons
Vertical Grip: An added component on the base of the DSLR body which enable sturdy hold of the body when the camera is held in an vertical position
External/portable flash: An external flash unit that can be purchased separately and attached to the DSLR via a hotshoe unit on the top of the DSLR, to provide stronger and better flash

Important connections
Lens mount/fittings: A ring surrounding a circular opening on the camera body which can be attached to the camera lens. The counterpart on the lens is called the fitting. Different mounts exists for different brands of body and compatilibility is needed for attachment and for certain electronic communications (e.g. metering, auto-focusing) to work (look here)
Hotshoe unit: the mount on the top of the DSLR that allows an external flash to be attached to the body (look here)

Important image & information viewers
Optical viewfinder: A little glass panel usually on the top middle of the back of the DSLR body where you can visualise the image framing before the mirror flips up when shooting. (look here) & (look here)
Electronic viewfinder: the same little glass panel with the eye piece as an optical viewfinder would be, except that you do not see an optical image via mirror reflex but an electronic video via data from the sensor. Also described in wikipedia. and with a picture in dcview. Recommendation of cameras with EVF is over here (2006 Dec).
LCD panel: a screen on the back of the camera body that gives you a menu and a image preview. (look here) (usually there is another panel on the top without color viewing)

Important controls
Shutter release button: The button that you would press when you want to capture the picture. When pressed, it will move the shutter away from the front of the sensor, thereby allowing image capture during that duration of moving away. (look here)
Dial: quoted and edited from dictionary reference, a rotatable knob used for switching between different options, such as a dial for tuning a traditional radio unit.
Navigational buttons: 4 way buttons either discrete or linked together like a cross, that can be pressed to provide movement of menu items or autofocus point in the up-down, left-right directions.

Important internal components
Reflex mirror: A component within the camera body that is revealed through the mount opening, which aids in visualisation of image framing through the optical viewfinder.
Sensor: Electronic replacement of film



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
3. DSLR body parts

3.1.1 Viewfinder and its purpose

Viewfinder refers to a window for the field of view. The viewfinder covers about from 85% to approximately 100% of the field of view in modern DSLRs. This is described in further details in relation to the optic axis, the frame and the image circle.

A viewfinder serves a few purposes,
1. live preview either optical or video, for framing
2. focusing
3. view of important settings in an optical viewfinder, or view of more settings/menu in an electronic viewfinder.

What do we see in the viewfinder?
1. The contents of your shot.
2. Navigation markings on the frame
3. Settings

This optical viewfinder reflects an optical image via the mirror reflex into our eyes, which essentially means that other than the fact that light went through slight alteration of quality and intensity upon mirror reflection and the viewfinder prism, we see this optical image the same way we see with our naked eyes directly on the subject. There is instantaneous record of this optical image, with the “shutter duration” a fixed instant duration and the resultant “exposure” as determined by the refresh rate of our vision.

On a static image, there is constant frame intensity and exposure adds up on a linear fashion depending on the shutter duration. On a non-static image, there is motion recorded, and the exposure cumulate variably depending on the change of the frame intensity which varies on movement of the frame (panning), movement of the subject and change in the light source (e.g. the sun moving into the clouds or additional flash). We usually do not see motion except for the occasional fast moving trains and the blades of the fan. In photography where shutter duration is variable and can be prolonged to record motion of various subjects, this effect is recorded on film or an electronic sensor, and this is not seen through the viewfinder. As such eventual exposure and motion effects are not seen on the viewfinder – something that you have to determine through the eventual output.

Upon the few determinants of exposure, only relatively constant frame intensity can be easily judged by our eyes directly on the frame or via the viewfinder. As mentioned earlier, effects of shutter duration (especially when different from our vision) and the appearance of the frame with the eventual exposure, are all not seen on the viewfinder. Not just that, the effect of the ISO and exposure compensation on the exposure, and the noise with high ISO are all not seen on the viewfinder. We now come to the 4 factor in the exposure equation – the aperture size. That would affect the depth of field which would be discussed in the chapters behind. It may or may not be seen on the viewfinder depending on the mechanism of the camera (whether there is a depth of field preview button).

Viewfinders can be broadly divided first by the optic axis and secondly by the display, as described below.

3.1.3 Through the lens optical viewfinder

A view that is the same as the eventual image without parallax error or distortion, must be of the same optic axis through the same lens (TTL: Through The Lens), especially in macrophotography where the subject of interest is often very near to the camera body, thereby making it vulnerable to parallax error. Conceptually, this can be achieved in manual modular cameras where one can do focusing through a ground glass screen in a slot and then replacing the focusing screen with the film. A reflex mechanism is the solution to this cumblesome issue, making use of a mirror to direct the optic axis towards the pentaprism and the optical viewfinder. This is the view that will be seen in film and digital SLR bodies, as R means reflex, as in the reflex viewfinder, which is in the main bulk determinant that sets the difference between the different kinds of 35mm and sub-35mm format cameras, in terms of bulk and everything that follows with its larger surface area.

3.1.4 Off-axis optical viewfinder

A view that is of a different optic axis is one that make use of another optic pathway that is not though the lens, but through another window in front of the camera body. This can be used to approximate the field of view for focus that is fixed at infinity or very faraway, but parallax error will increase for subjects that becomes increasingly near. This is found in all non-reflex cameras in the 35mm and sub-35mm format, such as all SLR-like digital cameras, prosumers and compacts, as well as the rangefinder.

Both of the above refers to an optical display, which means they are shown as an image that is directed through glasses, with various physical mechanisms such as mirrors and prisms. Additional markings such as the AF frame markings or electronic data such as the metering bar and the exposure settings can also be input onto the same window via additional planes that is added in front of the pentaprism in the same optical viewfinder window.

3.1.5 Features of optical viewfinder and its usage

This optical display provides a real-time display, which mean it does not show an accumulation of exposure over the shutter duration on the image. It is a real time "video" that runs at the rate our eye sees the world. Also, in order to assist viewing at maximal brightness and clarity for focusing and composition, the aperture opening is at its maximum that is not stopped down to the f/stop setting during viewing. Once the shutter release is activated, the aperture stopped down to the f/stop setting, the mirror flips up and blocks the optical display, and the optic axis is redirected towards the film or the sensor.

In the case of optical display in non-reflex cameras, i.e. not through the lens, it is also a real-time display, but there is no change in the optic pathway like that in a reflex camera with a mirror. It still can be seen even through the duration of shutter release. However, as it is not through the lens but adjacent to it, there is a likelihood that additional gear that is put in front of the lens, such as a conversion lens, may block the window for the optical viewfinder.

In either case, optical display requires one to put his eye immediately next to the window on the camera body, which means the technique of handling is at eye level. For difficult angles, this optical display becomes a limitation but can be overcome with a modified electronic display on the camera body, or by directing the projection in the pentaprism into what we called an angle-finder (which directs the optic pathway out of the window by 90 degrees, thereby allowing viewing from the top of the camera body) or via conversion into a electronic display on an attachable electronic viewfinder, which at the moment of writing, refers to the Korean product, Zigview.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
3.1.6 Through The Lens (TTL) Electronic postview display on the back LCD panel

In the case for DSLRs, although the focusing and composition is mainly done via the optical viewfinder, there is also a LCD at the back of the camera body that serves a few function, for the menu, histogram and also a postview of the image.

A post view means that the image seen on the LCD is not the view that is seen in the real time optical window that is seen prior to the image capture, but is an image that is seen as a result of the image capture. This image shows the cumulative effect of shutter duration on motion and exposure, as well as the effect of aperture size on depth of field, as well as the various other in camera processing on the jpeg output, such as contrast sharpening that is preset and applied. What we see eventually as our captured picture is that electronic image seen on the LCD of a digital camera, be it a compact or a DSLR.

The shots we take are mostly daytime shots where the shutter duration is often instantaneous, and that is why we may not notice that there is difference between the optical viewfinder and the electronic image produced. Once the shutter duration prolongs, we will start to see the effect of cumulative exposure.

The current limit of LCD technology and the relatively small size of the LCD itself set the limitation of assessing the image on the LCD as compared to assessing it on a monitor at home. There is also the issue of bright sunlight causing a glare that reduces vision of the LCD image (as a feedback judgement mechanism for 2nd shot of the frame) as compared to the viewing through the optical viewfinder (less affected by glare) for primary non-feedback form of judgement of the frame.

3.1.7 Through The Lens (TTL) Electronic real-time preview display on the back LCD panel

In the case for compacts and prosumers, such optical viewfinder may exist, but is often not used because of an alternative. This alternative is to view on that LCD panel at the back of the camera body. As mentioned earlier, DSLR LCD only show the postview, and not the preview. In the case of most, if not all, digital compacts and prosumers, the LCD works primarily as a live preview as well as a menu, switching to and fro as the functions demands, and in some cases, with all the electronic data that is seen at the peripheries of the optical viewfinder on DSLR now scattered at the sides of the projected image. This preview works as a real time video mode, the same as the optical viewfinder, but in a way, it is through the lens and in the same optic pathway, unlike the previously mentioned optical viewfinder on the compact and prosumer often not used. The problems with such preview, is that the quality of video is poorer than the quality of still image, making focusing and visualisation of details difficult, as compared to the optical viewfinder in a DSLR. As it is real time, there is no accumulation of exposure over the shutter duration, but in this case, the rate of refreshing is set by the camera body, and thus flickering may occurs. Depth of field is an non issue as first of all, there is usually a lack of shallow depth of field in view of the small sensor and secondly the details are often not well seen on the LCD panel. There is also a time lag of the video which makes fast movement difficult to track and capture, accompanied by poorer AF performance in the smaller bodies of the compact and prosumers. As mentioned earlier, the glare will affect the visualisation of the LCD if the image is to be assessed, in both the preview and postview phase. The plus point is of cause that a video mode is available. This is potentially possible in DSLRs as well, but often not instituted as it is power consuming, and often less desired by the consumer population of DSLR who is more interested in still photography.

In contrast to the optical display, the electronic display is viewed at arms length, or rather, at some distance from the eyes. This is typically fixed on the back of the camera body as the form factor dictates. Just like mobile phones, newer innovations may allow some swivelling movement to allow the panel to be seen in alternative angles. This is incorporated into some of the compacts and most of the SLR-like prosumers with a larger bulk and surface area to allow such innovations. At the time of writing, some olympus DSLR also offer this idea of LCD panels with swivel, on top of their liveview function, both assist in vantages that is not possible to put the eyes next to the optical viewfinder.



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
About digital input and output: Please refer to this link.

Last edited:


Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
8. About accessories

8.4 tripods and supports

Relevant discussion on indication and usage of tripods is mentioned in the section of support equipments in maintaining sharpness via reduction or elimination of handshake, and choices of tripods available are listed in the product listing.

First of all, you may have to prioritise your budget, weight support required, its own weight and dimensions required. This depends on travelling habits and usage patterns.

A cheap unheard brand of tripod can go as low as S$20-50. Although it feels so freakingly unsteady, it would still gives you better pictures than to try to shoot a 5 seconds exposure on your hand. For those who just wanted to go for a feel of how tripod usage is or just wanted to have occasional long exposure, this can be a consideration. Thereafter for increasing expectation, the prices also soar up. For most basic branded tripods, S$100-300 would be a range. For better and lighter tripods, S$300-500. And for solid and really light and good tripods, more than that value.

Weight support



Number of segments/sections.

Tripods and Monopods usually come in 3 or 4 segments. Having lesser segments enable one to set up and keep the tool faster with less hassle, but having more segments will enable a shorter folded/collapsed length, making it more likely to be kept in a mid-sized backpack or an airport carry-in luggage.


Last edited:


Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
8. Camera bags

Forums or webpages on camera bags
Cam Bags
Leica FAQ: Where can i buy quality camera bags?
Consumer guide on camera bags

- Mainstream/Shoulder/Side Sling
- Daypack/Backpacks/Haversack
- Box casing, e.g. hard plastic case
- Rolling Cases with castors (e.g. air stewardess type)
- Belt & Holster
- Shoulder, chest, neck, hand straps
- Travel Vest
- Weather covers
- Tripod bag


1. size and volume
- enough for your current setup? or should you adjust your bad habits of bringing everything? getting a bigger bag is by no means smarter, maybe more convinient when purchasing. applying no discipline in packing and unable to be decisive, you may get a big heavy bag and with everything it allows, a heavy trip with a bad mood for small sized people. however bags with space for laptop are all invariably large.

categories that fall into this large size category are often
- padded backpacks
- airport sized casing with castors
- large shoulder bags (often used for video equipments)

categories good for small size
- small shoulder bags (recommended billingham hadley series)
- side sling bag

2. assess to equipments
- Go flexible with a bare skeleton - that is holster type. I do it with a thinktank waist system and a optechusa chest strap for the camera. it gives me fast assess to change lens rapidly and is fairly comfortable. the chest strap helps to distribute the weight and i thus do not get strain and cut marks on the neck.

above shot by cs forumer hosea.

Here's an example. With a carabina, any plastic bags can be attached to the waist without affecting my shooting. So i did shopping and shooting together. I extended the optechusa chest strap with a mammut rope and hence with some adjustment, it rested just right to the waist and anytime i can bring it up comfortably to some eye level, both horizontal and vertical. the only thing it affects me is that i have to bend down if i am to shoot at ankle level. i prefer moving the pouches to the front and side, easy to move and take things, more comfortable also; then when i sit or lie, i shift them to the side

If there are many items you have that you can't carry around all at the same time, or that you need to be able to keep it and take it out at different situations, most will go for a shoulder bag that is the most conventional or use a sling bag. Both gives easy accessibility, fair capacity. Shoulder bags are more common and have more option. Sling bags gives slightly better comfort as weight is carried onto the back too. Optechusa have shoulder slings that can help to give some weight reduction. Backpack types are meant for those who wanted to carry more capacity but you have to put the bag down to take things out.

3. weight
- sometimes these is estimated to the size of the bag, but it may not be. padded bags and canvas bags are heavier despite of having more than enough cushion for normal travelling (yet you still do not feel safe enough for rugged knocks). if you do measure you bag, dun be surprised that they weigh more than a kg. even the lightest deuter school bag that is 35L weighs close to a kg, consider they are light material with no pads. in my opinion, anything more than 2kg on each shoulder will start to feel uncomfortable on prolonged movement, and anything more than 4kg on each shoulder will give strain in some duration. bigger size people may feel differently but the principle is the same - it is not how much you can carry, but how light you feel to be able to shoot with a good mood.

4. padding
- depending on your activities. not accounting for accidents and dropping, normal bags without pads can carry our equipments, and knocking loosely against the wall with the shoulder bag moving backwards, or bumping into one another, hardly causes damages. but to feel safe, people do some wrapping or use padded bags, esp when the equipments are meant as a ricebowl. those that do very rugged work and travelling, can go for hard casing from maybe pelican, who also offer hard casing backpacks. i have none to recommend as people dun usually compare padding between different brands and hardly anyone test it out to see if damages occur.

5. durability
- recommended brands are billingham and domke. the reputed brands that lives up to their names. especially with billingham, the handle holds so well to the bag and just opening the bag with the top handle will not cause the bag to change shape, showing how good the material is. I personally are against those imitates and believe they are not as good. if they can do something as good, they would have tried to make something differently looking, so trust me, they are only made to look like a foreign brand and selling pretentiously as a cheap good-quality alternative to a good foreign brand. billingham bags are very expensive, in the hundreds. the normal size one cost to S$200-400, as seen in the B&S section, but they are worth the money for its quality, originality and durability.


Last edited:


Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
Maintanence related issues

Dry cabinet
discussion and you can check out various brands from the product listing

The cabinet fills up rapidly for various equipments, and many find that 60-80L that they initially think is more than enough, may just be barely sufficient only or is going to be insufficient soon. 30L models are really for those using compacts system, or dead sure that they ain't expanding at all on their DSLR system, which seldom one can be that sure of.

Some propose that go for the biggest one can afford in terms of budget and home space. While some others propose to buy multiple units, less than 80L each, instead of a large single unit, such that the speed to dehumify is faster for multiple smaller volumes and also to lower the risk of unit failure. Price wise for 2 smaller volume v.s. 1 larger volume, of similar volume, may not differ too much in pricing or power consumption. Possibilities of saving on electricity is to switch off the power and avoid opening the door to keep the existing humidity inside, and to turn it on again when the door is to be opened.

temp and humidity indicator
"check the backlight of the LCD screen.the new version will only light up when the dehumidifier is in operation.the old version will light up 24/7." by sync77
"Analog doesn't need battery. Digital need battery. Both serve same purpose, to tell humidity inside the dry cab. Most of (IIRC since 4-5 years back) dry cab using peltier/thermocouple technology as de-humidifier unit to move humidity inside to outside. There are pro series and normal series. Pro series let you set the humidity level, and it will adjust humidity accordingly. Normal series usually have one knob inside to set the de-humidifier power. You need to fine tune the knob to get your desire humidity level.....DHC is pro series one. If you are not often open your dry cab, you may want to save by buying normal one. Both pro and normal series served its purpose to prevent or delay fungus growth." by artosoft

"Read the manual come with the dry cab. Also, reading digi-cabi website also helpful. It is 40-50%RH recommended for photography gear. Below RH recommendation (too dry), another problem with leather and mechanical on camera and lenses may occur. Above RH recommendation, no use. Check the door's seal. Open the door for about 1 minutes, close the door. While in power (If there are RED LED and GREEN LED, it should turn ON). Watch the humidity indicator (analog or digital). The humidity should decrease to low level. Depending on knob or dry cab series, it might need more than 10 minutes to see the effect. It could take hours or days for humidity to stabilize at low humidity (recommended by manufacturer is 40-50% for photography gears)." by artosoft
"45% is fine - the hygrometers aren't that accurate and have a +- tolerance of 5-10%. The humidifier is also not accurate as well (also with a tolerance of +- 5 - 10%). You are never going to get it to be accurate when both the measuring device and humidifying device are not accurate in the first place. Unless you have the DHC model which proportedly has the ability to accurately set the humdity level. If it is too dry (less than 40%), the lubricants can dry up and can potentially cause damage to the mechanical parts of the items. e.g. shutters." by tetrode
"Between 40%-55% is about the correct RH for camera equipment. Above 55% may still encourage fungus growth. However, do not allow below 40% (prolonged) as this may dry the lubricants in your moving parts of the camera/lenses." by kelvgoh

other purposes
"You can keep not only photography gears on dry cab. You can keep your precious CD/DVD, old 35mm film, etc... (sometime I keep money on it since it have a lock) " by artosoft

Dry box
- need to maintain the silica gel which may be carcinogenic
- insufficient volume

Gaffering Tape

Front/Rear elements and filters

Step by Step DIY guide
Discussion of various options: (1), (2), (3)

Sensor cleaning: By Azure

Discussion: (2007 Apr)

Purpose: blow off dust particles from the filters, lens front/rear element surface, sensor and to avoid direct contact
Way to use: put surface in a down facing direction, pump the blower to eject air against the suface, hoping for dislodgement and fall off
Things to look out for / Precautions
- cheap blowers may collect dust within the blower, and introduce dust with force onto surface
- metal tip of some blowers may drop off and hit the surface (e.g. AF Switzerland)
- cheap thin plastic blowers may have insufficient strength of blow, but likewise strong thick blowers may cause strain in your palm when pumping
- larger size blowers tend to be more powerful with more air volume per pump, but is not good for travelling

cheap thin plastic blowers: various brandless/unknown brands kits
strong thick blowers: AF Switzerland, blue with metal tip, commonly used
large blowers: Giottos Rocket, grey with red rocket/dart-like end

places to get: various shops, e.g. CP, MS color, TK photo, Orient (Simlim L6)



Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
sorry guys, the thread is disorganised and i haven't got enough time/energy to get it up.

the information you are looking for is available in the 1st post
Guide: About lenses


New Member
Feb 1, 2010
A very stunning and informative guide for newbies. Great basic knowledge for everyone too. Good job !!


New Member
Aug 26, 2010
Nice outlined for newbies...I've got plenty of things to learn.:D

Nov 12, 2011
Hi all: I'm looking to get a DSLR camera soon... But not sure as in what brand to get... Can anyone advise me on what to look for for in buying new a new camera? Thanks...