When printing a camera instruction
manual, itís not just the cost that will pick your pocket sized
Recently I bought a new
camera. For a camera enthusiast it was
rather a modest camera, but nevertheless a decent one and something I noticed,
which is a growing trend for most modern appliances, is that the camera did not
come with a physical copy of the instruction
Now this might be fine for a
toaster or a microwave as generally speaking we donít plan on taking these on
holiday with us and there really is only a few familiar buttons to get to grips
with, but for a modern digital camera this is not the case. We donít often take many pictures of the
inside of our home so it stands to reason that we will be taking the camera
with us on many field trips and this is where it gets tricky not having an
instruction manual to hand.
You see, many modern digital
cameras are getting more complicated year on year, with ever increasing
features, which also means the manuals are getting bigger too. The camera that I bought, a Panasonic
DMC-FZ38, has a virtual on screen manual that when wishing to print out is
nearly 220 pages long. Even if you take
away the non essential pages with the basic set up I worked out it would be at
least 180/190 pages.
This got me thinking about how much
it would actually cost to print the manual using my home printer, so I did just
that. This was not before I had done
some research on the internet first though to see if there was a cheaper or
more convenient alternative. Now it
turns out that getting a free version of my instruction manual is actually
really easy on the internet Ė there is a catch though. They may be free but they are just the same
as the one I have already, in other words downloadable files which you can only
view on the computer screen.
Iím sure you will agree this was
not much good to me as I had this already (though I know where to go if I ever
do forget how my toaster works!). What I
needed was somewhere that printed and bound a camera instruction manual, at a
size more appropriate than the A4 I would have to use. Thankfully there is such a site on the
internet that not only does printed versions of my Panasonic camera but as I
delved deeper found that they do instruction
manuals for virtually ever camera ever made, new and old.
So, the transaction was done. I ordered a pocket sized A6 manual for the
princely sum of £12.95 + 95p for the postage, then diverted my attention
towards my trusty printer. Now although
printing 219 pages for a modern printer is not a marathon effort by any stretch
of the imagination, it does use up a lot of toner ink, so to be sure to conduct
my experiment accurately I took a reading of how much black toner I had left
(because of course the manual would be in black and white). Luckily I had recently just put in a new
black ink cartridge so it was almost at 100% so, with a newly acquired ream of
freshly glistening paper I set off printing.
Now I know from doing further
research that a normal page of standard printed text has an ink coverage area
on the page of about 5-8%. With this
manual, because of the diagrams involved, and in particular the front cover, we
would be looking at coverage of anything up to 33% on some pages Ė This is
nearly one third of the entire page covered in toner.
The toner that I have in my printer
costs £50 for a pack of 6, which equates to just over £8 per cartridge. Okay I know there are cheaper versions of
toner out there, but I find a lot of the time they do not print properly and as
I often print out a lot of important documents for the various projects I work
on, I need to ensure I have the best possible supplies. Worst of all, after 178 pages the toner actually
ran out and I had to replace it with a new one to finish the job. To me that was outstanding, as I knew it
would use a lot of ink but I at least thought 1 cartridge would finish the job.
Below I have outlined the overall estimated
cost of printing out the instruction manual at home.
Cost of Paper - £2.50
Cost of Ink - £10
Ringbinder - £0.80p
Total cost of home printing = £13.30
Total cost of ordering the pocket
sized manual = £13.90
Admittedly you could halve the cost
of the paper if you were inclined enough to sit there for 219 pages of printing
and turn each page over (this would also mean pausing or printing each page
individually) but is the saving really worth it in the overall scheme of
things.There really is no difference in
the cost. Even with cheaper ink you are
not going to save too much more and if you throw in the time, effort and wear
on the printer then in my opinion that negates any saving anyway.
So, you can either go for a home
printed, A4 sized ring binder heavily filled with paper, or a light,
convenient, pocket sized A6 version that easily slips into the side of your
camera bag Ė ultimately the decision lies with you and how you plan to use your
camera, but I know which one Iíll be taking with me on my next holiday.
And just in case you are not quite
convinced yet, have a look at the photo of the 2 instruction manuals I took below;
using my nice new camera, of course.