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More of an improved manual than a field guide but good at what it does
on 11 February 2011
All books on photography receive mixed reviews because camera owners are on different points of the photographic learning curve and have different expectations. This book is aimed primarily at two categories. Firstly, those who have taken the plunge and bought a D7000 as their first DSLR. Secondly, those upgrading from an entry level DSLR who, in spite of good intentions, have never found the time to convert fully to regular manual control from point-and-shoot. Some intermediate users will buy it to remind themselves about the menus and controls of their new camera. The book will certainly not transform an intermediate into an advanced photographer. The purpose of the book is made clear in the introduction: "an adjunct to the manual, explaining the camera and its functions in more detail, in a way that's easier to understand." In other words more of an improved manual than a field guide.
After describing all the external controls and the information display in the first chapter the author moves on to examine some of the most commonly changed settings in the camera such as exposure modes, metering, autofocus, white balance and ISO. As throughout the rest of the book the author throws in numerous tips for those relatively new to DSLRs. The discussion of the Picture Control System here is one of a number of topics which is much superior to the manual.
Following a chapter on setting up the camera, including an examination of menus, the author moves on to discuss lenses. The experienced will groan at this (particularly when they see vibration reduction yet again) but the author does at least write in a concise and informative manner, and he does mention lenses other than Nikon - something not always done in such books. He proceeds to a chapter on exposure, including useful advice on histograms, exposure compensation and bracketing before covering flash, Live View and video mode.
Most of the remainder of the book discusses portraits, weddings, concerts, sports photography, night photography and macro photography. Many (like me) will already have read books on these subjects but the author is very readable (I particularly enjoyed the chapter on portraits) and all the photos have details of the settings (EXIF information) plus the lens used. The 300 page book concludes with a chapter on in-camera editing.
This book is not without faults. For example, on multiple exposures it is at first sight even briefer and less helpful than the manual. At least the manual (somewhat cryptically) states that multiple exposures make use of RAW data to "produce colors noticeably superior to those in software-generated photographic overlays." It is true that the book mentions high dynamic range (HDR) in two later references to multiple exposures but with relatively little detail, and HDR does not seem to feature in the index. However, this is being "picky". This book is a useful size, attractively presented, is concise and readable, is well priced at under a tenner, and I believe that it will be useful to the many DSLR beginners and near-beginners who will buy the D7000.