Give Me One Good Reason You Haven’t Read Your Camera’s Manual

That’s right; just one…other than that all technical manuals seem to be poorly written, boring, and difficult to read. Talking specifically about what comes in the box with a camera, let me tell you about two camera manual stories, both true.

A few years ago, I was at an ideal location for landscape photography with a friend. He had with him his new, almost top-of-the-line DSLR, mounted on a $1,000 tripod/ball head combo. He was becoming visually agitated trying to find a setting somewhere deep in the menu. Despite how hard he tried, he could not find what he was looking for. In innocence I asked why he did not check his camera manual. He responded with a lecture about how he found camera manuals useless and that he never bothered with them. “I’ll find it in a minute.” (He never did.)

And just a few weeks ago, I was ambling around Cool Springs Galleria looking for subjects. I saw a small store that had some colorful children’s clothing, professionally displayed, suggesting some cool shots. There was only one clerk there at the time, no customers, and I was invited to photograph all I wished. After I took a few shots and was about to leave, I went over to thank the lady and she said to me, “My daughter gave me a new camera, but I’m having trouble with it now and just don’t try to use it anymore. All of my pictures look blue.” Well, I talked to her a little about white balance, about what the setting on her camera might look like, and of course suggested she start all over again by reading her manual. “Oh,” she said, “I don’t even know what I did with it.”

So…have you ever read the manual that came with YOUR camera? Why not?

Many pro photographers always have a camera manual with them by downloading a PDF version to their phones. And here’s a link to an excellent recent article about how you might make good use of a camera manual; check it out. 

5 thoughts on “Give Me One Good Reason You Haven’t Read Your Camera’s Manual”

  1. One word, “Index”
    I use it like a phone book now, looking up what I need (or anticipate I will need for a specific shoot) using the Index.

  2. Believe it or not I DID try to read one camera manual from start to finish. It simply did not work. 🙁 Typically I get along better with videos! LOL Downloading a PDF is an excellent idea. I need to do that!

    Thanks, Ed.

  3. Thankfully there are folks who produce well written, third party guide books for those of us who are manual phobic 🤣.

    Thanks for donating your time and talents to the group with these great reads!

  4. I was one of those. I have been embarrassed more than once in such situations. I have a pdf download now. I do prefer the videos.

    Enlightening as always, Ed!

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