The 123di interactive learning suite was first developed in 2001 by Vincent Bockaert to bring up to date photography information to both amateur and professional photographers in an interactive format. Here we are almost a decade later and the 123 of digital imaging is as up to date as ever, something not easily accomplished in the fast paced digital photography world. This is the beauty of the product, and shows the true dedication that Vincent and his crew have in keeping this amazing product up to date. No wonder the imaging suite is popular with schools and government bodies such as police departments and the Armed Forces. As well, many of the industry’s top manufacturers such as Intel, Nikon, Epson and others use 123di for internal training. High praise indeed!
I purchased my first copy of 123di (version 2) about 6 years ago, moved up to version 4 a few years back and just recently updated to their most recent release, version 6.2. Digital imaging has changed incredibly in this short period of time and while I found these earlier versions to be very well done I felt it was time to see what Vincent and his crew were up to with the latest version of 123di. I purchased the latest version a few weeks ago, here’s a quick review.
The unique aspect about the 123 of Digital Imaging is that it’s an ebook with so much more than what most of them give us. Beautiful illustrations combined with animated sequences and an interactive interface make the product a true joy to browse through whether you are a beginner photographer or a professional. Over 5,500 pages cover topics ranging from understanding digital imagery (light, sensors and more) to lens and camera selection, exposure, composition and image editing. An extensive section on RAW editing is available for advanced users and I would recommend even for the novice to explore. One unique concept is 3 levels of learning; starter, essential and advanced. This makes it possible to select a topic and work your way through the information based on your knowledge at the time, proceeding to more advanced techniques as you feel more comfortable.
While the 123 of Digital Imaging primarily covers the use of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements the workflow procedures and editing information is valid for almost any photo editor out there so even if you don’t use an Adobe product this section still offers plenty of useful and relevant information. Adobe Lightroom and ImageReady are also well documented.
Of interest beyond the scope of the actual photography is an extensive section on managing, viewing, sharing and printing your photographs. The section on managing your images should be a “must read” for anyone that values the work they do. Backing up images and organizing your photos so you can find them is covered in detail. How many of you are up to date on this?
For Nikon users there is a special Nikon edition containing a few hundred additional extra pages of coverage of Capture NX 2.2, Capture NX 1.4, Nikon Capture 4.4, and Nikon Scan. Being a Nikon user this is the edition I purchased and I found the Nikon NX2 information (my RAW editor of choice) very well laid out and extremely informative. I find that I reference the section often as I’m working on images and it’s infinitely better than the official NX2 user manual. Once again, the use of numerous illustrations really made understanding many of the concepts far easier than just reading a typical book or e book. I don’t use the other Nikon programs but expect the information contained in 123di would be just as good.
123di is available in a standard edition and extended edition. The extended version is well worth the additional purchase price regardless of whether you are buying the regular version or the special Nikon version. For an additional $10 you gain the ability to bookmark pages, add notes to pages, search for multiple keywords and a host of other benefits. With over 5,500 pages of information available I found this to be a must have feature to keep track of what I was learning and exploring.
What’s my verdict on this product? As a professional photographer with over 30 years experience I like to think that I have a good grasp on photography technique. I have also been doing digital photography since the dark ages about 10 years ago and have taught many photography courses over the years. With this in mind I am amazed at what I have learned from this digital photography guide and can see using The 123 of Digital Imaging as a teaching aid in future courses. For the beginning photographer there is years worth of learning potential here and the great user interface makes the information available in seconds. For the seasoned pro there is lots of valuable digital photography information available as well.
RATING: 5 stars
Additional information may be obtained at The 123 of Digital Imaging web site. A FREE demo is available.