Re: canon camera user doc style

Subject: Re: canon camera user doc style
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: Jessica Weissman <Jessica -dot- Weissman -at- hillcrestlabs -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 09:36:28 -0400

Jessica Weissman wrote:

I bought a new Canon camera over the weekend.

We have both Canon film and digital cameras. Best auto focusing available

The thing came with several manuals (some with English and Spanish
versions bound separately), including a "Basics" manual and a complete
user manual. There is also a separate software manual. What's
interesting to me is that the advanced manual is full of details, but
does not cover the basics of operation in any way. There's a list of
functions that operate in different modes, there's lots of detailed
coverage of all the obscure options, there are several diagrams of all
the controls with names, but there is nothing that says "Here's how you
turn on the camera, here's how you select among the major modes, here's
what this strange button does."

Both of our cameras came with the English/Spanish manuals; although, the
film model had the basic and advanced incorporated in one document.

Fortunately, the Basics manual has all that laid out in an easy to
understand format.

What's your opinion of this way of configuring the manuals? I'm glad
there's a short non-intimidating manual that gives the basic operational
information, but found the advanced manual odd. Why not add a few pages
on the basics to the advanced manual?

I think the philosophy behind the two manuals for the digital camera is most
buyers of digital cameras under 8 MegaPixels tend to use them more for
family snapshots, or family vacation pics. They don't use all the whiz bang
features built into the camera. Those of us who have been shooting forever
and take photography a bit more seriously (I started over 30 years ago with
a Minolta SRT101 fully manual SLR) can quickly figure out the basic features
and are more interested in the advanced features. The problem I've
discovered is that regardless of which book I use, there are so many
features available on today's cameras, that it is difficult to remember how
to access, or fine tune them for the particular shot you are taking at the
time. However, like any tool, the more you use it, the better you know how
to use it. I still carry the advanced manuals in the camera case, but I
haven't taken them out for at least a year. The video camera is another
With that said, having a few basic pages in the front of the advanced manual
doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.


Al Geist
Technical Writing, Online Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design, Award
Winning Videos, Professional Photography
Voice/Msg: 802-658-3140

Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: [1]al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
URL: [2] (online portfolio/resume)

See also:
URL: [3] (fine art prints for home or office and note
cards for all occasions)
"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to
answer "Present" or "Not guilty.""
Theodore Roosevelt


1. mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com

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canon camera user doc style: From: Jessica Weissman

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