Do you read your User's Manual?

MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,365Moderator
edited March 2013 in General Discussions
Sometimes an obvious question goes unnoticed. And I do not actually know anyone who has read their manual from cover to cover...and I do not really want to know this person if they exist.... :))

If one looks at the way the manuals for many of the Nikon DSLR's are laid out....it is almost overwhelming...450 pages is a lot. And to search for the information we need, well, sometimes the Index does not do what we want.

I have found a real help is to download the manual and have it on our computers. And, there is an App so one can have it on our iPhones or possibly other smartphones. The advantage is one can search the manual, and then go through only the pertinent information, hopefully finding the answer to our question.

In the USA, downloads are available from Nikon at http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Service-And-Support/Download-Center.page
Msmoto, mod
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,901Moderator
    As soon as I know I am getting a new body, I download and read the manual before the new body is in my hands so that I can get on with using it as soon as possible. For my transition to an up-to-date Nikon D5000, I also bought the Snapshots to Great Shots for that model from Peachpress. Body changes since then have been so much easier that a brief struggle with the Nikon user manual is all it takes.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    In Switzerland, you could not download a manual without buying a camera before 2 years ago. Luckily, they changed that. As I work as writer of manuals, this question is interesting to me. I do it like spraynpray, download a new manual as soon as possible, then store it on Mac, iPad and iPod as well. Somehow I get the impression, the writers of manuals don't want to spoil the sales of camera guides. They often use complicate expressions to describe simple things. I know, in Japan manuals usually are written from external authors, I don't know if Nikon's an exception of that rule.

    Manuals often are more helpful than marketing babble. But at the beginning I was not able to figure out that the benches of settings in a D800 are working completely different from the user settings in D7000. I always wanted to store this settings to come back to a safe starting point.

    Anyway, manuals are not meant to be read from start 'til the end, they have to give fast help. And it's not easy to predict which help which user in which form needs.

    Is there an app with Nikon manuals? So far my experiences with Nikon software are "I'm pretty safe to be blown away from their genius".
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Despite reaching the manual several time I still have to look things up
    The Nikon manual iPad/ iPhone app is brillant
    all my cameras and accessories are on on it

    everything quickly to hand, with a rapid easy to use index

    https://itunes.apple.com/app/manual-viewer/id468999172?mt=8
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member

    Is there an app with Nikon manuals? So far my experiences with Nikon software are "I'm pretty safe to be blown away from their genius".


    https://itunes.apple.com/app/manual-viewer/id468999172?mt=8
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    I’ve been taking photos for the better part of my life now and each and every time I buy a new camera I read the entire manual.
    After all, some features might be self-explanatory but some might not be. And if you invest a lot of money in a new camera you should try to get the maximum out of your investment. This starts by knowing how to use it.
    I acknowledge that this might not be required for professional photographers who upgrade whenever there’s a new (slightly better) model. But I tend to do my upgrading when there is really an added value.
    So, when the D800 came along I read the entire manual from cover to cover.
    (I must admit that I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the video features as I’m only interested in still photography)

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,365Moderator
    @ sevencrossing


    Thank you!

    @ John...oh, I did not want to hear this...LOL :))
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited March 2013
    There's one phrase technical writers love to use (and are forced to do so by legal requirements): "this documentation must be read AND understood before you start working with the machine"

    @sevencrossing thanks, I'll give it a try. Probably I did before and it was a less pleasureful experience, so I deleted it out of memory... :-??
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    I've read a good portion of the D4 manual, never even opened my D7000 manual (nor downloaded it.) The D4 menu still confuses the bajeebus out of me. Like @John, I didn't really read the video portion but I am now finding that I need to in order to figure out how to use TimeLapse and Multiple Exposures (not bracket.)

    Thanks for the heads up @sevencrossing, I will definitely check that one out as well (going to need the manual in South Africa, me thinks)
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Oh dear, what a poor app... looking like android would be acceptable, because Nikon and Google and Microsoft are already cooperating. So I already don't expect clever things to come from them.

    Downloading a 22 MB files takes ages
    Navigation is pre-yesterday
    No own comments
    No view of previous page (can't jump from ToC to a topic and back again).

    Cheap app, feels cheap, even iBooks is better. Can't compete with a real PDF reader.
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    I use GoodReader on my iPad, I will have to download the D4 pdf to see how well it does in GoodReader.

    @JJ_SO - where are you/what service do you have that downloading a 22MB file takes ages? Or is that "within the app" that is downloading and importing so slowly? If so, I would guess that they are using their own OCR to ingest the file, and that is pretty lame.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited March 2013
    It's within the app and there are two download processes running one after another - per each manual. We have a proper VDSL connection in the office, 20-30 MB usually take seconds, not 3-4 minutes.

    It appears to be an ordinary pdf. When typing a search word: in iBooks you got the results (in PDF) immediately after the first 3 or 4 characters, in the Nikon app you need to tap "search" first. If you want to search again, you need to empty the search line first - and this can't be done by pressing the ­×-button. If you don't find the word in the manual, you can instantly search the web or wikipedia out of iBooks - nothing like this possible in Nikon's app. No thumbnails at all, neither in ToC nor in normal view. Their manual is better than their app. I just find it strange that android is copying so many things from apple and making them worse...

    Nikon is not the only factory who hasn't understood that all these mobile devices with touchscreens can make things easier to use. They are conventionally and appear to be pretty old-fashioned. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes they show too much fear of new things.
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    I just find it strange that android is copying so many things from apple and making them worse...
    I think you'll find it is Android that comes up with it and Apple releases a refined, more usable, app in the end. Google likes to push innovation and leave it in beta, Apple swoops along (as they always have) and refines it. But, I digress, that's a bit off-topic.

    I'm not a huge fan of iBooks, GoodReader is still my preferred PDF reader (I read a LOT of white papers.) Kindle is still my preferred book reader (for the few books I have read on my iPad.)
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    yeah i would read it, at least some of it
  • scoobysmakscoobysmak Posts: 214Member
    "whats a users manual???????"


    Honestly I usually skim through it, then if I get stuck knowing the camera can do something but can't remember well, time to read up. In this skimming though, I have missed quite a few nice features that I didn't know about that could have been handy once or twice.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,836Member
    I read the manual for my first DSLR, the D80 and my first serisous DSLR (D300), but haven't found the need since then? Why? Nothing has really changed control and operation wise from those cameras, to the ones I have now. I find it much easier to run through all the menus and hit the "?" Button if I'm not sure what something does.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 536Member
    Since I write (and photograph illustrations for) users manuals, I have a professional interest in manuals and tend to read them first, before I ignore them. I don't find the Nikon DSLR manuals to be as helpful as they could be: they talk about what to do (how to actuate a setting, for example), but only a little about why you would do it.

    Like PB_PM, I am more likely to hit "?" than go to a manual. HOWEVER, if anything doesn't work the way I expect it to, I'll go to the manual. There are important things that need to be read to avoid damage to your camera. (I do enough damage dropping may cameras, I don't need to damage them more by forcing something in the wrong way!)
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    We don't need no stinkin manual.
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi,

    Yes. I read the manual. I even read the manual of cameras I don't own to see if I want to own them.

    Of course, I have more time on my hands than money to buy cameras.

    But then, I know where the 'Preferred Owner' button is, too. :))

    My best,

    Mike
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2013
    Oh dear, what a poor app... .
    ?????
    I had absolutely no problems at all, downloading a D800 manual took ~ 30 seconds
    search is instant
    may be it could be improved, but it much much better than the hard copy

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,965Member
    Yes, I do read the manual but only in pdf form on my Android tablet.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Oh dear, what a poor app... .
    ?????
    I had absolutely no problems at all, downloading a D800 manual took ~ 30 seconds
    search is instant
    may be it could be improved, but it much much better than the hard copy

    Actually, I doubt that (of course ;) )

    A hard copy is quite easy to be marked with pencil or marker, instantly, without fiddly small buttons (iPhone/iPod) and weird spell-checking. If you have such a 400 and somewhat pages document, the functionality of GoodReader is okay, although sometimes a bit fiddly, but the Nikon app itself is not at all better than a standard reader on iOS, it is worse. That was the reason I checked iBooks first to compare: I only use additional apps if they bring some improvements, and Nikon's manual reader doesn't anything better, so why waste memory space for it?

    A paper manual doesn't need to boot, recharge the battery and the pile of paper under your thumb gives a pretty easy navigation hint. We start getting more used to PDF for good reasons, but Nikon could have done far better: No audio, no video, why not using the screen shots for the menu to navigate directly to the menu topic?

    The search is NOT instantly, if you need to push another button before the search starts - on other devices it might be different but I double-checked that. It's typically Apple to save some extra clicks or tips.

    Search results are often leading into the index or the ToC, totally useless. While the Nikon app saves the search words, after a while this becomes tricky as well: you can't sort them, wrong words (typo or automatic spell-checker corrections) can't be deleted.

    Obajoba, let's not go in discussion about Google and Apple, it's too OT - it's very obvious Google got tons of "inspirations" from Apple. And Apple improving Google stuff? Hmm, you mean, as they "tried" with their own maps?
    =))
  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    I haven't had any issues with 300-400 page white papers in GoodReader from HDS, NetApp, Brocade, etc. but I also haven't tried the Nikon manual (yet.) I do agree, though, that installing an app which adds no benefit is wasteful. I look at my wife's iPhone and cringe; she has soooo many unused apps. So, I had zero intention of installing the Nikon app, just downloading the PDF to my ipad.

    Paper manual for the D4 in my backpack, I love flipping pages vs. reading digital copies.

    Yeah, maps, now that IS a funny one. The list on the iOS 6 release that were functions already existing on Android was phenomenally long. But, as you say, way OT.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • rschnaiblerschnaible Posts: 308Member
    I think of the manual sort of like I do with regards to a meeting, CEU's or a class etc. If I walk away with a couple of new idea's, it was well worth it... I like reading the manual to learn something new.....
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,836Member
    edited March 2013
    ...the Nikon app itself is not at all better than a standard reader on iOS, it is worse.
    I've never had any trouble with the native app. It's fast and easy to use, but I guess it depends on the age of your device.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • ZSChowZSChow Posts: 72Member
    I read it on the toilet...cause I ran out of reading material. Good thing I did though.
    Don't try, don't know, so I keep trying.
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