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Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?


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agitater

Toronto, CA
4526 posts

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"RE: Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ?"

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Tue 05-Feb-13 02:31 PM

>I am going to suggest something that will not be popular but
>would be very useful. Read the D7000 manual from cover to
>cover and the nature of the subsystems and their relation to
>each other will be covered at least on the function level.
>Some people like the aftermarket books but all you really need
>is in the Nikon manual.

Stan - I can't resist commenting here.

I agree. All photographers should make themselves thoroughly familiar with their camera manuals. On some photography discussion forums, the first reaction to an OP who may not have read the camera manual is almost always RTFM (Read The Free Manual). The thing is, the statement/expletive RTFM is not so much an insult as it is a wise first step toward the understanding of any advanced tool.

The subject OP excepted, how many Nikonians readily try to help in situations in which a thorough reading of the manual would have eliminated the need for the OP to ask the question in the first place? How many Nikonians joining a thread and who realize the OP will benefit from a thorough read of the camera manual, avoid responding with RTFM (or something similar but less abusive) simply to ensure that Nikonians remains the civil, helpful and positive place it needs to be? How often to do moderators contact new members who obviously are trying to find the shortest distance from A-B without reading the camera manual, to tell them that reading the camera manual thoroughly will likely help them become the best possible Nikonians members and likely help them attract the most positive and effective sorts of support from Nikonians members? How many Nikonians of all kinds (new members, short term members, long term members, etc.) use Nikonians forums to ask questions specifically in an effort to avoid the tedium of thoroughly reading the camera manual (and if necessary re-reading the hard parts)?

I don't know the answers to those questions, and I won't insult Nikonians managers, moderators and members by suggesting even momentarily that we should attempt to force any OP into a certain mode before answering a question.

Then again, a quick review of suspect posts seems to indicate a question pattern which is quite revealing. The first question in such threads is usually basic - perhaps absent common knowledge that could have been found during a thorough reading of the manual. The first question also almost always fails to include some crucial pieces of information, e.g., lens type (AF, MF) exposure settings (including inappropriately low shutter speeds, extremely high ISO setting), and other details which are often very important when trying to figure out how to help the OP. The second question by the OP in such threads often provides additional bits of information, and often also reveal the OP to be perfectly competent in many ways but sorely lacking in sufficient technical knowledge about the chosen camera. In some such threads, the third post by the OP expresses some measure of photography skill level (brand new, novice, beginner, etc.). RTFM, first before all else. Stuck on something in the camera manual though? By all means ask for clarification! Nikon manuals (and many other camera manuals) have rarely been known for their absolute clarity.

Some of this works toward the underlying idea that the latest tech is often assumed by many new users, on some psychological level, to be intuitively usable. The knowledge and usability gap (and, not insignificantly, the question gap) occurs because such OP participants have yet to achieve a knowledge baseline about photography sufficient to get them to that point at which the well designed Nikon camera becomes, for them, intuitively usable. Ergo, at the very least, RTFM.

>If you have the fundamentals of light, color and time down,
>all you need to do is brush up on the functions specific to
>the D7000 and the manual is pretty good.

Knowledge acquisition is on partial hold in the contemporary world Stan, at least where creative technical skills are the subject at hand. A much higher percentage of us than even before look for shortcuts that circumvent the need to fully immerse ourselves in product manuals. Nikonians membership, I think, has largely avoided that I-don't-need-to-read-the-manual tag because (I think) the average age of Nikonians members is relatively high. That seems to usually mean that there's a greater interest in and willingness to read product manuals, but it's by no means absolute.

Camera manuals and product manuals of all kinds are read rarely enough that product makers long ago began economizing on the production of expensive-to-write-and-print manuals. A couple of decades of elaborate telephone support systems helped product makers realize that too many of their product users would rather talk to someone on the phone than sit down to read a detailed, printed, product manual. Product makers, en masse, then began making the worst mistake of all in the early 90's - too many of them stopped producing the best sorts of product manuals. Nikon and Canon no longer produce detailed printed manuals for their entry level cameras because too few end users read the things. Nikon, Canon and many other companies also responded to lots of end user demand for digitized product manuals, the result being that people now don't read them on their laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones either. But digital/PDF versions are a lot cheaper to produce and distribute. None of the foregoing alters the need to RTFM.

>Specs are interesting to consider on cold windy winter nights
>but the only thing that really matters is results and how
>predictably your intentions are realized with photos.
>Regardless of knowing the technical details or specs, AF tests
>notwithstanding, you got an image that looks very good, is
>interesting and worth viewing so that transcends specs every
>time.

I agree completely. The only thing I'd add is that if photographers thoroughly read their camera manuals, they'll help themselves get where they want to go that much faster. And they'll turn themselves into even better photographers, Nikonians members and contributors. RTFM.

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Howard Carson

This is a hot topic  It has been locked by a team member Soft Focus - How About A Standardized Test ? [View all] , SweetMK , Sun 03-Feb-13 11:53 AM
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