>I don't intend on sounding disrepectful with my next comment, >but what makes you or Thom Hogan or Ken Rockwell such experts >with the operation of the cameras/lenses you review or write >handbooks to guide the rest of us? I'm just a little >puzzled, too, how this information doesn't find itself in the >owners manuals, when the manufacturers, would, I expect, want >us to know everything about their camera to enable us to make >full use of their advanced features.
Though your question was directed directly to Darrell, mj, I'd like to respectfully chime in with a thought.
Generally speaking, the manuals that come with our cameras (or other complex electronic equipment) lean toward explaining functions in a pretty nuts-and-bolts manner. "To do this, press this button."
What I really appreciate about Darrell's book is that he gives good examples of where choosing one setting over another might be advantageous. In other words, for me at least, he connects the dots between *function* and *application*.
His writing style is very friendly and easy to understand as well, which makes digesting what might be difficult technical concepts (especially to a newer user) easier.
I work in a technical industry as a writer, and trust me, the last people you want writing a manual for a new product are the ones who designed it. Yes, they know the product better than anyone, but they've been "living" inside that product for so long that they tend to assume everyone one knows as much as they do. The best manuals, in my opinion, are written by someone who understands the product, has real world experience with it (or similar products), and didn't have a hand in designing it.
Does Nikon want us to know all the ins and outs of their products? I would say they do, yes. But I haven't seen too many manuals (from Nikon or anyone else) that are written by people who have a true gift for explaining and teaching, and that's what folks like Darrell and others (I like Thom Hogan's books, too) bring to the table.
A well-written supplement to the manufacturer's manual costs no more than a good SD card and less than a decent filter. Photography is not an inexpensive hobby (ask our collective spouses/significant others!) so in the big picture, $30 or $40 on a book that will let you extract every last goody out of your camera is a great investment in my view.