Top critical review
14 people found this helpful
Good layout, shame about the content
on 20 April 2008
This is really 2 books bound together: a technical manual and some advice about taking photos. It is nicely laid out, generally clear (except the layout pics, which attempt to display a black camera on a black background. However, it is difficult to work out just who this is meant for. The sections on lenses, filters etc are perfectly good, but are not linked to the D200 in particular, so they could appear in any SLR manual (and are not really up to the standard of mags like 'Digital Camera').
The technical section is where I have the biggest gripe, however. The principal problem is that the numbers on the layouts are never referred to in the text, (unlike the D200 manual, which labels the controls with page numbers). Worse, the text and the layout diagram uses slightly different terms for the same control, for example: The "AE/AF-lock button" on page 13 becomes the "Focus lock" on page 51. No problem for an expert, but not what you want when you are trying to use a new camera with lots of controls with confusing names. A further clue that new users are not the intended readers is that the section on the Setup menu is on page 104. My guess is that the technical section was drafted by a technical expert at Nikon then polished up by public relations people: there are lots of references to the D200 "boasting" features, as in "The Nikon D200 boasts the user friendly...". Replacing "has" with "boasts" is PR lesson 101. Even more annoying, they could not resist throwing in advertsing copy such as "Nikon have long been renowned for the accuracy of their metering system" (page 38). Maybe true, but do they really think anyone is going to buy the book who has not already decided to buy the camera?.
These quibbles aside, the layout is clear and it is an easier read than the D200 manual, which is appropriately heavy going and badly bound. Having just bought a D200, I have referred to a number of resources, including "Hoddinott's" book a lot recently, because it takes an effort to get the best out of the camera, but the single best resource is free: Google 'Ken Rockwell + D200' . Rockwell really has used the D200, points out it's weaknesses as well as it's strengths and identifies the defaults that are worth changing.
If you have invested in a D200, the cost of this book is marginal and it provides an alternative to the Nikon manual, so it may help, but don't hold your breath!