Unfortunately, it seems that no major camera manufacturer today ships the equipment with a readable, guide to use and features. For authors, this is probably a good thing, as it has created a niche for them to write guide books. I have owned at least one third party guide for every SLR and DSLR camera I have owned for the past 20 years. I have found the Magic Lantern Guide Series to be well-written and informative (even though they really are simple the manual the camera company probably should have included). I have recommended them on my own LightCentric Bookstore page. Sometimes, I buy them before purchasing the camera, to assist in the decision-making process.
When I bought my D7000 for a backup camera, I once again sought out the Magic Lantern Book. While browsing in the bookstore (yes, a physical bookstore!), I picked up David Busch’s Guide to the D7000. I didn’t read the title/subtitle as closely as I perhaps should have: “David Busch’s Nikon D7000 Guide to Digital SLR Photography.” Hmnn. What does that mean? Is it a guide to the Nikon D7000 or a Guide to Digital SLR Photography? I suppose Mr. Busch would argue it is both.
I am o.k. with that if that is what it purports to be. But to me, this book appears to be marketed as a D7000 guide. In his introductory chapter, the author notes that “the other guides winnow the information down to about a third as many pages” as there are in this book. If the book was intended to be a D7000 guide, I would argue that is exactly what he should do with this book.
I don’t mean to be complaining or “blaming” the author, the book or anyone else for that matter (I know, that’s what it sounds like, but if you could hear me, it’s not my whiny voice). As I confessed above, I didn’t do my due diligence. As Jimmy Buffett would say: “It’s my own damn fault.” J. So, I am not trying to make this a “negative” review or be in any way flippant about the book or Mr. Busch. I have no doubt that he is a knowledgeable user, reviewer and writer about the equipment. Rather, the purpose of my review here is to try to point other readers in the most useful (for them) direction. The cover, and the Amazon description markets this book as a D7000-specific guide and I was looking for it to be like the more concise guides out there; something that would tell me about the functions and features of the D7000 and any little insights about its use and settings. I was not looking for another general photography “how-to” book. In my view, this book incorporates too much of the latter.
Don’t get me wrong. There is plenty of useful information in the book. Indeed, it arguably contains all the information any of the competing books contain about the camera. But there is also a lot of information that is either unnecessary, or readers at my level just don’t need. I don’t need to be told what color the box the camera ships in is, how to mount a lens, or how to put the camera strap that comes on the box on. Likewise, I did not buy the book to read about how to get proper exposure, depth of field, crop factors, what focal length lens I should buy, lighting, post-processing software, etc. While these are all useful topics, I see them more as a general photography book topic and not a Camera-specific Guide (in the author’s defense, I did learn (read it in this book in fact) that he has a more concise, field-guide). Skipping some of the “too basic” introductory materials (and commentary throughout) and probably the chapters after chapter 10, would significantly reduce the length of the book and make it the D7000 specific guide I was looking for.
This book is physically huge. What originally interested me was that it looked to be well laid out and had a chapter on how the newer Nikon Auto Focus works. My research indicated that there has been some on-line “chatter” about the AF on the D7000 and some negative comparisons to the D300/300s bodies, along with the further suggestion that the naysayers didn’t understand how to set up the AF features on the D7000. I thought the explanation on how the AF works and why in this particular camera would be useful. And I will say that this was a definite positive part of the book. But again, it appears to have been marketed as a D7000-specific guide and as such, I would prefer, overall, the smaller footprint and more concise Magic Lantern Guide. I haven’t seen the Busch Concise Guide, but believe its physical footprint to be still larger than the Magic Lantern series which can be tossed into a camera bag or other travel bag if you want a guidebook with you.
It seems to me there are 2 different possible audiences for a book like this. The first is seasoned, experienced DSLR users. And let’s face it: the D7000 is not a first-generation DSLR. We have been shooting digitally now for more than 10 years. The D7000 is a fairly advanced camera, even as so-called “consumer” bodies go. It doesn’t seem like an entry-level body to me (though I acknowledge that many brand new users who can afford it probably will purchase it and may be persuaded by the sales persons at big box stores to do just that).
The other audience would be the above-described, brand new to the DSLR, shooter.
If your first DSLR purchase was a D7000 and you are new to DSLR digital imagery, this book is probably ideal for you. If you are an experienced DSLR user who has purchased the D7000 as an upgrade or a new backup and are looking for a readable guidebook, I would look for the Magic Lantern Guide, or the Concise Guide by David Busch.