Tue 11-May-10 05:00 PM | edited Tue 11-May-10 08:58 PM by Jim Mohundro
I note many Nikonians' recommendations for 'Mastering the Nikon D700'. I've used Thom Hogan's D80 and D200 E-book guides, and his D80 summary softbound guide (there apparently never was a hardcover D200 guide) and these guides have been extremely comprehensive and useful. I have purchased Thom's D700 E-book and softcover "Nikon D700 to Go" and I'm slowly working my way through the E-Book (759 pages) with the factory manual in one hand and the D700 in the other (sometimes in both hands--it's pretty sturdy).
After investment in Thom's substantial D700 materials, would I really further enhance and illuminate my D700 learning experience with the additional purchase of 'Mastering the Nikon D700'?
I've had the Mastering D300 book and TH's D700 book so I can kinda make a comparison. TH's book is thick and very detailed but I don't know how relevant some of the detail really is. I mean, it's fascinating to learn how the sensor works and all the ways it can screw things up but it doesn't translate to better pictures for me.
On the other hand, the Mastering book (I'm sure the D700 isn't too far from the D300 one) is a bit too simplistic. It's geared more towards an audience that hasn't used Nikon cameras for a long time. A lot of basics are covered and a lot of features in isolation but not a lot of practical insight.
Honestly, and I didn't think I would say this until I read them, I would say the most *useful* guides aren't the ones that teach you the camera. It'd be something like Scott Kelby's Digital Photography books where he gives you practical applications and applied methods of photography which is what I think we're really looking for in these guides.
After working through all the above books with my D300 I actually like David Busch's Nikon D700 Guide to Digital SLR Photography (although just in chapter 4 right now) - well written and also giving some 'real world' advise & application hints and the 'why' you might want to use this or that...
I agree though, going and trying this wonderful piece of equipment out for yourself IS the best teacher!
>Honestly, and I didn't think I would say this until I read them, I would say the most *useful* guides aren't the ones >that teach you the camera. It'd be something like Scott Kelby's Digital Photography books where he gives you practical >applications and applied methods of photography which is what I think we're really looking for in these guides.
I find Scott Kelby's books quite useful for information on taking photographs.
The entire point of Thom Hogan's guides are to teach you about the camera, not how to take great photographs. If you read through Hogan's book on your camera, you will have a decent understanding of every feature you camera has. You will even have an idea on when it is appropriate to use those features.
So, Kelby's books are useless to me when it comes to helping me understand my camera.
In other words, which books are more *useful* depends on what information I need.
The important thing is never to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine
When I upgraded from my D80 to the D700 in December, 2009, I read everything I could get my hands on (including both the "mastering" and "Thom's" guides + Ken Rockwell's on-line guide), and also ordered D700 dvd's, basic & advanced user material, from Elite Video. While all of that was great and highly informative, nothing compared to the fantastic 2-day Nikonian's D700 user's workshop (basic and advanced) I attended in February hosted by Mr. Winston Hall. That seminar really pulled it all together for me. Winston even supplied on-the-spot uploadable material to set up the custom controls and menus for a variety of shooting situations - landscape, portrait, etc., and loads of take-home reference material. He also helped me after-the-fact via email with a clarification or two that finally allowed me to turn the last page on the camera and other manuals and move on. Now that the technical side of the camera is pretty much second nature, I feel like I can just go ahead and shoot; concentrating on light, composition, etc., rather than getting bogged down about settings, pictures controls, etc. I can't recommend one of these seminars highly enough. They're not cheap, but they're worth every penny!
Taking both the D700 class by Winston Hall was the best investment I've aver done towards learning the camera. Since it was a combined class with the D3, it will be cut short my learning process when my D3 arrives in a few weeks.
Thanks, Donaldo and Hondona re the Winston Hall D700 class. You talked me into it as soon as I was able to verify the Seattle area location; however, now I find that I have an irrevocable event on the class day, June 24, so I'll have to pass. Do you know if these classes are offered in each local area more than once a year?