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Thursday, 10 October 2019

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One problem Canon has - I can't speak for anyone else - is that they have *two* manuals a "Basic Instruction Manual" and an "Instruction Manual". The Basic manual was printed and included with the camera and the instruction manual was PDF only.

And of course, your basic google search leads you to the Basic manual anyway. The other is buried in the support downloads site.

The manual may be “an inch thick and has tiny print” as you say but all are available as pdf downloads so you can search for the term you want and increase the size of the text. Doesn’t help with the obscure writing though :-( .

Go figure! One of the reasons I got myself rid of my Sony A7RII is that I could swear it changed its settings every night for me to get confused the next morning or -the horror- when I showed the camera to my friends.

I’d make a pitch for Olympus as the affordable successor to Leica’s ergonomics.

After all, Maitani was inspired by Leica to produce the OM line of film cameras, and today’s OM-D line pays homage to that legacy.

I find that when I picked up my first OM-D, everything was right where I expected it — that, after a dissapointing run with the previous 4/3rds line, in which it seemed like they purposely moved things around from model to model, just to stymie the loyal Olympus fan.

This is the next simplest thing in digital to a Leica. See photo 4 in the slideshow.

https://www.fujirumors.com/new-fujifilm-x-pro3-hands-on-images/

As a matter related to RTFM, what do camera manufacturers' have against inclusion of an index?? I can't think of one camera manual I've owned that included a subject index in the back. Every time I need to figure out one of the camera's quirks, I'm forced to re-read practically the entire manual in order to locate the tiny scrap of information I need. Geez!!

Remember when I finally broke down and went digital in 2016- thought I had properly steeled myself for the move, but it took the guidance and encouragement of two of your readers to see me through dealing with the buttons and dials and... menus, before my heart returned to its routine rhythmic pattern.

It's not just cameras. We got a new car yesterday and I took the manual in with the intent of going through it, but it's so overwhelmingly thick, I just put it back and sat in the car for half an hour hoping I figured everything out.

Nikon: Yes! I had the D80 (now gone), and have the D7200 and the Coolpix A. The menu structure has been pretty consistent among them, barring some menu tabs specific to an interchangeable lens camera versus a fixed lens compact camera.

Mike, Leica is a German company and the engineers that work on their projects have a western mentality, like most of us.
All the rest of camera makers are mainly from Japan; cameras are designed by Japanese engineers, primarly for Japanese market with a Japanese mentality.
What sounds very simple for us it is extremely complicated for them to achieve and, after all, simple, logical order for us, in Japan would not be considered good enough.
It is not by chance that westerners write using one alphabet of 26 letters while the Japanese have two alphabet and use about 1800 ideograms to write.
I am telling this because, during my 38 years carrier with Japan Airlines, I had to deal every day with this different cultural approach toward matters.

Mea culpa, big time. I've been using Olympus since 4/3s days. I just found out yesterday that the "Starlight" shooting setting takes 8 pics and merges them to smooth out noise in high ISO nightime pics, even handheld ones. I swear I read the manual.

"I also recommended two to five minutes of practice time with one's camera every evening."..."getting to the point where camera handling becomes second nature and no longer requires conscious thought."

I started doing that many many years ago, when you first recommended it. I still do, possibly 30 years later.

It's physically painful watching people who can't operate their cameras without looking at them.

Henri Cartier-Bresson said “Zen in the Art of Archery” was the book which had the deepest influence in his photography for exactly the same reason.

In the early days of digital, which for me was 2006, I loved to read the Nikon manual for the then-current D200, then the D2X(2007), and even maintained some enthusiasm for the D3 manual (2008). The miracle of the high-quality digital SLR was still fresh then, the future seemed bright, and the possibilities seemed endless.
Since then, due mainly to the 'consistency of handling' adhered to by Nikon, there was less need to pour over the manual for the next cam, the D800(2012).
Additionally, reading the manual has become less fun, because the manuals seem to have become less well-written as the cameras increase in complexity. They are cramming more descriptions of features and functions into the same 440 pages.
I keep the D800 manual nearby, and bring it always on trips where photography is involved.

But the manual is an inch thick and has tiny print

Wow!! You got a PRINTED manual with your camera??!! I gave up trying to find anything in the PDF version that came with mine.

I never use 'Continuous Mode' but I had an experiment I wanted to try that required I use this mode. So I went to change my shooting mode and for the life of me couldn't figure it out.

After several starts and stops of trying to change the camera's shooting mode I finally figured it out by ACCIDENT. Yes I accidently pressed a certain button and there it was. It turns out it is the ONLY way to change your shooting mode. It is not in the MENUs.

In the manual it is called 'Drive Mode.' And the two still photo drive modes are "Still Image" and "Continuous." They also call Continuous BURST Mode."

OK I should tell you what I did but I am not going to. I'll only tell you I was using a X-Pro2.

You're certainly right about unreadable manuals. So when I got my Nikon Z6, I was going to order Thom Hogan's after-market manual. Then I found out that it's more than 1,000 pages long. More than two *reams* of paper. I mean, my God!

I didn't order it, but I still might, if Thom would come on here and explain why it's so long. (I've had his earlier manuals in the Nikon system, back in the D2/D3 days, and they were longish, but not absurd.) What I would like is for Thom to come on and say that he covered *every single thing* and that we can throw away a few hundred pages involving stuff we're not interested in, so we can get the manual down to like, one ream.

By the way, as far as I know, most camera manuals now included with the cameras are small-print versions of a printable on-line version that's a heck of a lot easier to read (and notate, if you wish.) The Nikon online manual I think is page-by-page identical to the version that came in the box, but the pages are 8.5" x 11" instead of the hand-sized manual (5.75" x 4") that comes with the camera.

Mike,

Somehow I though you would know this, but may I make the pedantic point that "kudos" is a singular noun (from Greek for "praise"): it is not some kind of currency or reward system (one "kudo" being roughly equivalent to 1.4 brownie points, at current rates of exchange)...

Mike

Yup. My always late to the party self just purchased a used Oly EM10. (Stone age in digital years.) After several very frustrating hours I finally looked up the online manual and spent several afternoons exploring it's menu system. This is exactly why I've been dragging my feet with digital. The seemingly insurmountable, and inscrutable controls. Three weeks later and I'm just beginning to feel like I now have a sparse understanding of basic functions. Now to obtain a couple of spare batteries and a remote shutter release and I'll be set to actually take a few non 'test' photos.

"I stopped giving that bit of advice. "Empirical research" (i.e., asking people later) indicated that virtually no one took the advice. So why offer it?"

Did people at least take your car advice and get the Lamborghini Gallardo?

Patrick

[No, I didn't say that. We hate Lambos. They catch on fire...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1TlUSXRMCc

My car advice was to always buy a Ferrari 559...

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/04/ezra-dyer.html

--Mike]

“ well, who randomly presses on control wheels to see if anything happens?”
Well on quite a few film cameras I’ve owned, a lot of the controls have a secondary function if you pull them out. Setting the shutter speed, setting the light meter iso/asa, unlocking the shutter, setting the flash synch to M, FP, or X, or opening the back often required pulling on something that did something entirely different when it wasn’t pulled. I have two cameras where if you pull on a knob it cuts the film in the middle of the roll!

Whenever I pick up an unfamiliar film camera I usually pull the knobs while figuring it out holding the camera over a table just in case I accidentally make something fall off the camera.

Hear, hear!
I think the people who used to design UIs for programming VHS video recorders are now in the camera business.
( I once saw a discussion by scientists in The New Scientist about the difficulties in managing VHSs.)

One is fortunate to even receive a hard copy manual these days. Many companies now just post online; sometimes 400+ pages, and not so clearly written.

DSLRs are OK, but MILCs are like children always needing attention. For me, the most annoying thing is electronic viewfinders. Leaving them constantly on will drain the battery, but in power save mode they go dark, needing a tap on the shutter button to turn on after a second or two. In street photography that has proven to be a hassle as I keep forgetting to tap before I raise the camera. But APS-C & 4/3 MILCs are small, light and quiet, so I use them.

I guess making a MILC with the immediacy of a DSLR is not easy.

Today's cars are just as bad. My daughter convinced me that my driving isn't going to improve in coming years. So I recently bought a 2019 CRV [boring!] primarily for the driver safety warning features which are wonderful.

Then faced with an entirely new software program to get things to how I thought they should work I went to the manual. Forgedaboudit. Back to the dealership I had the salesman set things up for me and haven't touched a setting or the manual since.

I still prefer driving my 1971 280SL which is manual and analog everything.

I've found that pdfs of manuals can be saved in the Books app native to iOS. I read and search my FnManuals all the time now. I have to reread some items like flash controls multiple times to sort out. But at least its more convenient (ie always with me) when i need to look up an item.

I think it must have been the salesperson at the shop who showed me what the clickable button on the old Panasonic GX1 did. It seemed so ingenious to me, and as a result the usability of that camera was just in a different universe compared to the fiddly compacts from Olympus and Sony I was cross-shopping it with, cameras that required menu diving just to adjust the ISO or Exposure Compensation.

Even though the GX1 was an older camera with a worse sensor, I ended up buying it the next day, making it my first digital interchangeable lens camera. And thus the addiction began.

Spend a solid hour or two reading the manual. Good advice. I always do that. I just got a new camera. It is called iPhone 11. I downloaded the ‘manual’ into the books application and adjusted the font size so that I can easily read it. It is 1642 pages! Will take a bit more than an hour or two. But I will get there, jumping over some parts that are not useful for me.

I like Olympus. I have an E-M10 and the super control panel is great. The settings I change most often are easy to get to. My Sony cameras are a different matter. Frustrating menu.

I use PDF manuals. That way I have all my manuals with me on the phone. Easy to use the search function to find stuff in the manual.

I carry the manual(s) for every camera I and my wife own in pdf form on my phone and iPad. Searchable, and one or the other is always available. That has saved me from doing a 'factory reset' a couple of times when I couldn't figure out how I'd gotten to a certain configuration.

I currently shoot Sonys, Leicas and for the majority of my shots, because they're easier to always have with you, Panasonic m43 and Olympus. I used to shoot Canon and have a passing acquaintance with most other brands.

Leicas are obviously the least complicated and least annoying as far as menus are concerned. They also have the fewest options, eg., the latest one got rid of that 'video' thing, because most users didn't really want it. Mine has the video button, but I can and did disable it.

Video on Panasonics is hard to avoid, and the menu devotes a lot of space to it, but at least it's organized somewhat. On my Sony, an A7rII, it isn't really that organized. Maybe the III and IV versions addressed that as well as many other menu oddities. Olympus cameras are inscrutable to a large degree. There are words, some symbols, but the culture that produced them definitely was foreign and misunderstandings abound. I'm glad power tools and Swiss Army knives aren't as complicated and operated by such menus, because I doubt I would have survived the interactions.

In use, the Panasonics feel and respond well, the Olympuses very slightly less so and the Sony, while producing gorgeous files, is conceptually closer to photographing with a kitchen appliance controlled by a command line interface. I take the fewest pictures with the Sony.

The Leica disappears into my hands and all I do is take pictures. Few options, and those that are there are pertinent and easily dealt with, direct controls and a clear view.

I really don't think we need that many options, either to take good pictures or to drive a car. As a great photojournalist friend of mine always says: KISS! (keep it simple, stupid)

I knew this camera had a panorama mode but despite exploring all the menus couldn't find it. In frustration I downloaded the pdf manual to my phone to discover it didn't do panoramas in raw mode so the option didn't appear, even greyed out.
At that stage, 30 minutes later, the light had changed and the photo opportunity had gone

I must admit, my greatest regret with using my Olympus is the interface experience. What use are programmable buttons when the labels are all wrong?

The D5600 that I bought my wife reminds me of childish delights. It just works and makes sense.

cheers

The Lumix G3 had this wheel; you press it and you change exposure, presse again, it changed aperture. Handy!

Mike, I’d have thought that, being a Fuji man now, you’d be getting some respite from the menu sickness. I’ve got an X-E3 and an X-T2 and like your X-H1, all the salient stuff is on the outside of the camera, just like my old Nikon FM3. The only time I have to menu it is to change to square format or to black & white and, even then, it’s in the ‘quick menu’ as opposed to the ‘main’ menu. I really love the Fujis for that.

[It's a big reason why I use Fujis. I like that I can see how it's set even when the power is off. --Mike]

Over the last 5 years or so, everything I know has been learned on Youtube, whether it's wedding photography or building a deck. Unsurprisingly, every time I get a new camera, Youtube is where I look for advice on setting it up. The sultry tones of Mark Galer walk Sony users through every menu item, offering tips and tricks that are priceless. I'm sure there are Canikon Youtubers that do the same thing. No need to read the manual, someone else much smarter than me has already done it and has made the movie!

Mike, I think your method of getting familiar with a camera is solid advice and what probably, I suspect, some of us do anyway. A well designed tool should be mostly familiar to the user if they’ve had any previous experience, so we unconsciously or not, go with that. We also want to be surprised in discoveries as well as gain satisfaction in solving them with our previous user knowledge. Even finding the solution eventually in the manual can be a small victory. Then, again, blundering mistakes can be good sometimes...

I used Canons for nearly 20 years before switching to Fuji and then returning to Nikon. I was always able to pick up a new Canon, set it up and use it without consulting anything. Once you knew how to use any Canon model you could use all Canon models.

In general, my solution to the owner manual issue is to never open it. The PDF manuals were never much help to me either. I go to Amazon, find an e-book written by someone (anyone) about the camera and buy it. I download it to my Kindle and the apps in my iPhone and iPad and go from there. I never was able to make heads or tails of the layouts of camera's owner manuals but all the independent books I've used have been intuitive and logical in design, to my mind anyway.

And to John who wrote about the manual for his new car, I understand. I bought a "certified lightly previously owned" car almost three years ago now and I still don't know what many of the controls do. I sometimes turn on the interior lights and can't figure out how to get them off. Sometimes the rear hatch control doesn't function because I inadvertently touched some button. My wife still prefers to drive her 20-year old Tahoe because she can't remember how to do basic operations. And the car came with a separate book for the entertainment and navigation system that I have never cracked. I did figure out how to set the presets on the radio and how to pair my phone using Bluetooth so I can play my music but I still use a road atlas when I go somewhere or use the GPS app on my phone. The previous owner's phone and travel history is still in the system because I don't know how to clear it.

I am one of those weirdos who does sit and fiddle with a new camera to learn how to use it. I keep it next to my chair in our living room so that it is always nearby.

The other thing I do is download a copy of the manual to my PC. Then when I am playing with the camera and can't figure out something I do a search in the PDF manual to find that subject. This is much faster than trying to find something in a printed manual.

Mike wrote, "When can you come to my house? I've still never sync'd the phone to the car, among other things."

When we took delivery of our latest car it included one hour of training on the basics, probably so we wouldn't hit anything on our way out of the parking lot. While we were still filling out paperwork the instructor sync'd both our phones to the car. This had clearly been a pain point for new owners.

There's a reason why I do all my photography on Leica cameras these days (rangefinder M, and mirrorless CL): They don't require a 1000 page manual. Contrary to what Leica bashers like to think, I'm not rich (I'm 70 and on a fixed income), and I don't use them for status (nobody in the general public knows what a Leica is). However I enjoy my photography and have less and less tolerance for cameras that are not a pleasure to use, and get out of the way when I want to work.

Given the slowing rate of improvement today there is no reason not to get many years use from a suitable camera, so the Leica is really not nearly so expensive as most people claim. Or, as you have pointed out, get a used one and re-sell if it's not your thing, losing nothing in the process.

It's not just cameras of course: The GPS, radio, etc of our Japanese car takes up much of the monster 1000+ page manual. But the automatic
"climate control" (used to be called heater/AC) can't get the temperature right on those days when it's not freezing or super hot outside. A Sony receiver we have comes with an unintelligible user interface (no I don't want a Cathedral Reverberation mode!): It gets recycled soon.

As all these things have computer connections, so I don't know why the customer can't be provided with an app that allows us to set up the interface in ways that work for us, and deletes all the **** that we don't want.

Then there are the folks who get the new digital SLR and set it on "P" for "Professional". We even have a few in our small town who are "portrait photographers" who do that.

You buy a camera, you are a Photographer. You buy a piano, you own a piano.

The most popular and widely-used cameras in human history have no manuals at all.

After reading this I wondered if there were any books on the X-H1. I found The Complete Guide to the Fuji X-H1, by Tony Phillips. It’s an eBook on Google Play, best read on an iPad or Android device with the Google Play Book Reader. Very good so far.

Mike, IMHO the complexity is due to having too many engineers who compete to show management how smart they are and how wonderful the ad program will be with all the new possibilities presented by their wonderful ideas.
If I could affor a Leica, I would probably get one.

We bought our first Canon EOS about 35 years ago for my wife to take pictures of our kids growing up. I used it from time to time since I was amazed at how well the fill flash worked compared to my Leica M6. It had a single center focus point. Reviewing pictures, I was in disbelief as to how many pictures my wife took focused on the background between the kids faces. I thought the camera should have had a "Now don't change a [explicative deleted] thing" button for use after setting up the shot and before snapping the shutter.

If manuals were shorter than Gone with the Wind I'd read them .. actually, I'd dip. When I got my last ever camera (Pentax K5II, three years ago), I set it to AP on day one and that was it - exactly as I had to use my first ever SLR (Pentax ME Super, 1983). I want to worry about the shots I've missed, not the settings I might have used.

We have met the enemy, and he is US.
Digital changed lots of things, many for the better, many are two edged swords. The fact that camera Features now exist mainly in firmware makes the cost of including them very low. Cameras are now evaluated largely buy feature comparisons down to a level of detail that is almost hard to fathom. Cameras are discussed and debated in terms of feature comparisons, or haves & have nots.
Manufacturers generally respond to the point of minuscule one-upmanship.
Complexity has grown to the point where most of us only use a fraction of the number of features our cameras possess.
Which is perfectly fine as long as each of us ends up with a responsive camera for the way we like to shoot.
Good clear technical writing is hard . Doing it in 5 or ten or 20 languages while having descriptions match is harder. New Camera features are often not finalized until very late so the time available to write the manuals is compressed, perhaps beyond reason.
Add to that the level of complexity of ,say, the AF/Tracking/Drive system of professional cameras as an example. They can be customized for hundreds of possible scenarios by tweaking the combination of features enabled/disabled.
Is it any wonder that a complete and well written description of all these features and when and how to use them can run to 1000 pages?
Yet we still have wish lists for more features.
Some companies do it better than others. The ones that get mentioned like Leica ,Hasselblad, & Phase One are western companies (as someone pointed out above) but they are all also cameras with somewhat specialized use cases. They don't bother with lots of features considered necessary by mainstream cameras, nor is their primary use Action/sports. But that doesn't mean we can't learn from their pared down approach.

I do read manuals, but not cover to cover anymore, and carry them in the camera bag. I pare down my own feature set to what works for me in most situations. I am old enough, and old school enough that I consider it a point of pride to know my equipment well enough to use it without having to stop and think, and also to Look like I know what I'm doing while I do it.
I've concluded that I'll get better pictures by limiting the functions I keep in my top rotation.
If a have a particular job that requires more, I practice, shoot a dry run to get comfortable.
As features continue to proliferate, this seems like the prudent approach.
I don't think we are going to stop 'feature creep', and probably shouldn't want to. The next one may be just what we were looking for.

A couple mentions above of cars. Cars like cameras are tools that are best used while looking at and paying attention to something else. The road and traffic in one case and whatever is being photographed in the other.

Older British cars’ dashboard switches are an excellent example of a user interface that is confusing to look at but easy to use once you know where all the switches are and that you want the second from the left to turn on the wipers without looking.
For instance the Jag XKE Series 1 switch panel had toggle switches left to right for windshield washer, fast/slow wiper, map light, starter button, cigar lighter, ignition key , fast/slow fan, bright/dim panel and interior light .
I’ve been driving a Prius for five years and still haven’t mastered the wipers.

I particularly hate cameras where the mode knob can be turned continuously in either direction. There is no way to set a particular mode without looking at the camera. If you see the Abominable Snowman getting out of a flying saucer YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE ¡$?&@!¿ CAMERA TO SET GREEN/IDIOT/ MODE AND NOT “CREATIVE ¿&@§€\! BLUR MODE”

A judicious reading of Thom Hogan's manuals and using the user settings has made life bearable for me with modern complicated Nikon cameras. To answer John Camp's question about why Thom's manuals are so long, he includes a lot of information that some might find basic, but that I found very helpful when I was just getting started. When reading on a PC or iPad, it's easy to skim over the stuff you don't need.

I dunno,

Been shooting film for the past 4 years (again) and buying old film cameras. A Pentax MZ-S (I defy you Mike to remember that one) has a manual only 137 pages long.

On the flip side, it's surprisingly similar to the first and continuing Pentax DSLR's in many ways, so I guess it figures.

[Oh, I remember it quite well. Pentax gave me one to use at Grandfather Mountain. It had that funky back-sloping top-plate. Neat camera. --Mike]

David Lee: "I remember reading somewhere that when Ralph Gibson was shooting film Leicas, he used to put back the shutter speed and aperture to certain setting. That way, when he started shooting again he could adjust both without having to look at them and keep his eye on the viewfinder. TRY THAT WITH A DIGITAL"

Works just the same with any digital M and M lens.

Even better if focus tab is swung all the way to infinity so there's only one possible direction to turn to achieve closer focus.

Yes, but TFM has to be better than the original FM to make Reading it worth the time. I wish Thom Hogan would write a version of his manuals for other brands than Nikon (and more than one on Sony). His D700 and D750 books were a big help for me.

Note to John Camp: unlike novels, we are not expected to read manuals cover to cover :) It may be that a new owner only needs help with AF settings. That alone may be worth "lugging" a long pdf for. After my experience with the two Nikons mentioned above, I wouldn't buy another without Thom's manual.

Re your response-

OK, I'm impressed, I'm a Pentax fan and it slipped by me the first time around. First heard of it when I was looking for a film body for all my lovely Limited and maybe DA lenses when I went back to film. They're still fairly pricey on EB. Magnesium body, AF not really slower than the K-3, sturdy, and fits in the hand well. I did the funky mirrorless KO-1 review for you, say the word and you'll have a retro review of the Mz-S in action today :)

I was always a RTFM kind of guy whether it was cameras, audio, lawnmowers, whatever. However, as has been mentioned, manuals have gotten very user unfriendly and cameras have become very complicated. When I buy a digital camera now, I do what Mike does--I sit down with the camera and work my way through the menus so I can at least start to use the camera. I can make any camera usable by choosing the file type, the autofocus mode, and choosing a center focus area and start to shoot. This emulates how cameras have worked for decades.

However, this is no longer enough. I recently bought a Sony a7riii to use at a workshop in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead which will involve a lot of candid low light photography. This camera has a bazillion ways to acquire focus, some of which will probably be very useful to me down there. It's capable of locking on the eyes while people are in motion even in low light. So I need to figure all of that stuff out because I think I will get more "keepers" focus-wise. So I bought the excellent ebook about the A7riii by Gary Friedman, which is really a much better written manual than Sony's and drills down on these features in detail as well as making recommendations regarding settings to start with. I've also sought video tutorials on YouTube that explain the cameras features in detail. I have basically created my own course on this camera which is taking me several weeks to absorb. No wonder I have found myself gravitating back to shooting film with my rangefinders and TLR! However, film just cannot compete with the Sony for low light shooting.

If I could afford a Leica digital (I can’t, not without matrimonial extinction) I would get one for this precise reason. Instead I have an X100-F whose interface and controls are NOT as simple and straightforward, though they are better than many if not most. But still I need to RTFM to truly control how I shoot. Which I haven’t done yet - sigh.

If there were a Rolleiflex digital at a decent price with EXACTLY the same controls as my Automat, I’d sell everything except my Chamonix and an OM kit.

I shoot manual, so after the initial set-up life is pretty easy. But the initial set-up can be brutal. And then of course I forget how I set it up if I ever need to do it again. I spent a fair amount of time on YouTube before getting the x-h1 the way I wanted. Now it’s just iso, aperture and shutter speed.

Apropos both this thread and Andrew K.'s comment above - I sold my MZ-S about fourteen years ago when I was seduced by digital, yet weirdly, just two days ago, I came across the little aide memoire card for the camera's settings' functions - folded, like new, at the bottom of a rarely opened drawer. 18 functions - seemed madly complicated at the time.

I am sorry to report that even the Leica M10-D has a 77 page manual. The first 14 pages, of course, consist of legal material and safety warnings. The M-D, which lacks the unessential complications of live-view and WiFi access to selected menus, has a 56 page manual.

Maybe this is a "duh" moment for me, but I never realized how consistent Canon has been from camera to camera. I have gone from one EOS digital to another without a steep learning curve -- even my M3's menus are similar to those in the 5D4.

But I also learned that memory can be fleeting. So every time i trade up Canon cameras, I go through every menu and write down the settings, and then transfer them to the new camera. I also set up several custom menus with the settings that I might use more than others - format card, file folder, GPS, date and time -- so I can get into them without searching.

Of course I have no such issues with my Leica M7 -- a basic traditional film camera.

And I agree about the size of some manuals. I bought my first new car in 13 years, going from a VW Jetta to a Subaru Impreza. Granted the Impreza has many more features than the VW, but the manuals all together take up much of the room in the glove box (at least 3 inches thick in the cover provided). Luckily, Subaru also makes them available for download so I can sit at my desktop and make the text as big as I want. But there is a lot of repetition and some of the language is quite vague, particularly about the accident avoidance systems.

I am getting a factory revised engine put into my nine year old 100.000 km Skoda Superb. More affordable than a buying a new car, but just as important is that my wife is happy because she will not have to "learn" a new car.

I remember reading a book I borrowed at the library when I started at photography about 30 years ago. The author suggested a kind of a training course with various obstacles. It could be difficult lighting situations, holding your camera over you head, shoot without looking throught the viewfinder, long shutter times and so on. All this should be done with one roll of film, and without a light meter. It was a bit too involving for me, so I ended up doing more or less what you suggest, and have done it ever since. I usually pick up my camera 2-3 nights a week for no other reason than to practice. And I enjoy it.

Before I retired, part of my job was writing manuals for the computer systems that I had helped design and build.

I always wrote two manuals. A simple one for managers, which didn't contain a lot of detail, just enough for them to know the basics of what the system could do, and a much more detailed manual for the people who would have to use the system on a daily basis.

Maybe that's why there are usually two manuals for a camera - a simple one for the more casual users who will basically be taking snapshots and a much more detailed one for the 'serious' users who need to know how to use all the camera's facilities.

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