Nikon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer’s Guide

Authors: Jim White and Tony Sweet

Publisher: Focal Press (Elsevier)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

Every new Nikon digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) comes with a detailed manual explaining the camera’s controls and capabilities. These manuals have little information on the practical application of the controls and capabilities to the capturing of images and are often quite technical. Many purchasers of these cameras, especially first time DSLR users, need more help in learning to use these cameras.

Nikon DSLR: The Ultimate Photographer’s Guide
presents a general overview of the current line of Nikon DSLRs. Chapters include basic information on exposure, digital feature selection, descriptions of the usual controls on a Nikon DSLR, descriptions of a few of the current models of camera bodies and lenses, discussion of flash photography, and an overview of Nikon’s proprietary image processing software, Nikon Capture NX 2. Profiles of some successful Nikon camera users are also included.

It sounds like a good idea to have a book for beginning Nikon users that shows how to use the camera to actually take pictures. Such a book needn’t show all the bells and whistles available on DSLRs but it should provide enough information to enable the reader to take pictures that will make them happy with their investment. Books usually are published that explain the use of each individual model but this is one of the few books to assay an overview of the manufacturer’s entire line. Unfortunately, it is not very effective in accomplishing this task.

The explanations of exposure, color space, white balance and focusing are a good introduction to those tools. However the descriptions of the cameras, lenses, speedlights and Nikon Capture NX2 just seem to be a rehash of the manufacturer’s literature, without any practical information. There is no chapter on composition, which is one of the most important areas with which a new user needs help. This is particularly strange given that author Tony Sweet is one of the great photographers of our age.

The book is profusely illustrated and some of the images are quite handsome, if small. Unfortunately few of the images have captions, and only a few are specifically referred to in the text. As a result, it is often unclear what teaching point they are meant to make.

The profiles of photographers vary in usefulness. Nancy Rotenberg explains her view of the role of photography in a way that many individuals will find useful. Other profiles merely provide a resume of the photographer’s career.

New Nikon DSLR users need information on using their cameras beyond that contained in the manufacturer’s manual. This book does not provide it.
This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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