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Magic Lantern Guides Paperback – Sep 4 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pixiq (Sept. 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1454707828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1454707820
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 503 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have had a Magic Lantern guide for most of my cameras over the last 25 years. They are always complete, consise, and well organized. Their D700 guide is no different. Their research with a wide range of Nikon employees helps to take you to a new level of understanding that can never be approached using just the manual or other "guides".

I love the hints and notes as they add much needed insight as to why things work the way they do. I often wonder why some features are in the product. I struggle to understand how I would use them. Magic Lantern will either give me that little push of understanding that will let me make use of the feature or let me know that I should ignore it all together as it applies for a different style or type of photography.

If you own a D700, you should own this book. If you are a novice photographer, it is a great reference, but you will want some additional materials to help you with general photography techniques.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy June 6 2006
By SMXSteve - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the other reviewers don't understand the rating system - 1 star bad, 5 stars good.

Although there is some useful information in this book, overall it is full of errors, poorly organized, and doesn't provide much more than the manual considering the number of pages and the price ($20 list).

Here are a few problems:

- Black and white photos - that alone should tell you how much faith the publishers have in the book. They didn't want to invest a lot in it knowing how bad it was.

- Following the White Balance topic is White Balance Bracketing. The latter includes the steps for setting White Balancing but NOT Bracketing.

- In the chapter Quick Start-up guide he gives a couple of paragraphs on each of the Vari-Program modes. But the next chapter on Detail he goes right into White Balancing without mentioning which mode you can use. This is common through out the book.

- He constantly refers to the menu options by name. Why didn't they include the icons for designating the menu options as they do refering to non-menu items?

- Speaking of icons and errors, the icon is wrong on page 119 for selecting the histogram.

- He tried to fill pages with information that was already in the manual such as several pages on how to install the battery and the memory card.

- There are plenty of typos like you instead of your, repeated words, missing spaces, much, much more.

- page 90 shows a list of how many pictures can be in the buffer. On the left under quality it shows JPEG Large which should be Fine.

With the number of errors in the book I question the accuracy of the information and suggestions by the author. The topics are not organized well enough to be used as a reference. It's almost as if he sat and rambled into a recorder and gave it off to someone to type up. Not much thought was put into how the information was presented.

What I was really hoping for and what is drastically missing is how the different features could be used to affect the photos. Examples (which would have to be in color) of the same scene with different settings. What settings to use in different situations, etc. There are a lot of features in this camera but putting them to use can be overwhelming.

I gave it 2 stars as I did get a little out of it but I had to wade through a lot to find it.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile resource May 11 2006
By Classical Hound - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Magic Lantern Guides are a whole series of books about specific cameras. I have just finished with the Nikon D50 book, but they have a large selection of books on cameras of various makes and models.

Going by the D50 book, the books are not guides to photography but to the specific camera involved. It holds pretty closely to the manual information and manufacturer's specifications - for good reason, of course. But it goes into much more detail than the manual does. For example, it explains in depth how each of the pre-set program modes actually works, such as Protrait, Closeup, etc. It also explains the various option settings and makes recommendations for which to use and which not to use. While not a photography guide, it does give good tips on best settings for different situations. It also has a surprisingly good section explaining depth of field and how it is affected by zoom, distance and aperture. The book also has detailed technical appendices with lists of settings, options, accessories, error codes, etc. The book lastly comes with a folding laminated card with key shortcut tips useful to have on hand in the field.

So, all in all, was it worth reading? I would have to say yes. It ain't like reading a novel, that's for sure. For a new owner of a camera, it would be perfect. Having a bit of experience with the D50 now, this was more of a review but still a worthwhile one for me. For an experienced user, it would more of a reference book to look up why certain settings or modes work certain ways. I did find several things going through it where I had to say, "wow, I didn't realize (or remember) that." For example, once in the options menus, you can rapidly move through the settings with the scroll wheel rather than just the navigation button going one line at a time. Another example, you don't have to go into the menu to adjust the flash level, you can press the flash button + exposure button + use scroll wheel. Now these aren't earth-shattering and they are probably in the manual somewhere, but these two tips alone will really be useful.

Drawbacks: this particular book is heavily in need of a good editing job. There were many noticeable errors in the book which is inexcusable for a technical publication. For example, there were two places I noticed where icons of buttons were missing and the text would say, "then press the (insert exposure control icon) button." Missing and repeated words were also noticeable. Also too much space was taken up by solely black and white photos that neither show the camera's full potential nor did the pictures well demonstrate specific features and uses mentioned in the text.

By the way, this particular book was written by Simon Stafford, a British chap who appears to have written several books in the Magic Lantern Guide series.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very illuminating March 8 2009
By Joe C - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sorry to be the skunk at the garden party, but this book did nothing for me. The writing is stilted and abtuse and there's little in here that goes beyond the owner's manual, which is actually clearer and easier to understand. The author spends several pages on AF (autofocus) modes and settings and only confused me further. He uses terms like "moire" and "aliasing" without explaining. You have to go to the glossary in the back for elaboration.

Waste of money; just read the owner's manual or visit [...] and get ken's easy-to-follow D40 guide.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Extra Manual Feb. 23 2008
By Andrew Blackbird - Published on
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book along with the d40x Field Guide, and have to say the Field Guide is much better. This book offers little that the original manual doesn't already have.

Get this instead.

Nikon D40/D40x Digital Field Guide
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acceptable book, but B&W photos and typos hurt it April 23 2006
By S. Tang - Published on
Format: Paperback
(This is an updated review to one I posted earlier in April. I write this having more experience with the D50 camera).

This book serves as an OK supplement to the Nikon D50 instruction manual. The Nikon manual provides information about you the available functions as a reference. Simon Staafford's book gives you additional explanations about those functions in a conversational tone, as well as possible consequences when using the functions. It covers a lot of material, and it comes with small wallet-sized cards that have summary information about the camera's functionality in case you cannot take the manual with you.

One major nitpick I have is that the example photos are all black-and-white. I believe that for new Nikon D50 owners, they will likely be attracted to "colorful eye candy," so black-and-white photos don't truly help advocate the D50 camera. For example, I noticed David Busch's Nikon D50 Digital Field Guide, an all-color book, before noticing this book. If I didn't research this book, the publisher would have likely lost a sales opportunity. Don't underestimate the power of color in published materials, especially when the subject is about general photography.

Unfortunately, while the content about photography techniques are acceptable, there are a number of typos about camera operation, most notably the descriptions of the icons in the displays, as mentioned by another reviewer. I am now a little more experienced with the camera than I was before, so I didn't notice these typos initially. I agree that having typos about the camera's function is very bad for a book that tries to teach you how to use the camera.