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Where to find a hard copy of an instruction manual for your new camera

Whether you decided to go second-hand and buy an older camera to take some classic, arty pictures, or you have gone for the very latest, streamlined model with digital zoom, lots of buttons and even more impressive features, there is one thing that most cameras have in common nowadays and that is the lack of a printed camera instruction manual.

Either the manual has been lost, in the instance of the second-hand one, or simply that the manual with the new camera is on a disc which you must download onto your computer and read off the monitor not very practical when you are at the zoo with the kids and you want to choose a focus that makes sure the children are distinguished from the animals.

So what is the solution? Well, thankfully it is a simple one. There are of course many sites on the internet, including the manufacturers themselves, which offer camera instruction manuals for free download. A sigh of relief might have been appropriate at this time if only we were not back to one of the same problems outlined above - you still have to view it on your computer screen.

You could of course print the camera manual out on your home printer, but do you really want to pay a fortune in expensive toner for a booklet that could be up to 200 pages long? A friend of mine has calculated that it would cost between 10 and 15 in toner to print 200 pages which include lots of pictures, not to mention the wear and tear on the printer itself.

The answer is thankfully even more obvious than that and, though offered at a modest rate rather than the free sites, will not only give you a booklet that is as close to the original as you can get (in some cases it is an original) but will save you time and money in the long run, as it allows you to take the instructions with you in your camera bag whenever you are out and about.

A company called OTC Ltd (previously known as Oldtimercameras) offer this exact service and I was fortunate to stumble across them recently when I was searching on the internet for the manual to a second-hand (but fairly new) digital camera I had bought as a birthday gift for my father. Knowing how reluctant he would be to read a virtual instruction manual, I knew the only solution to keep him happy would be to find an original, so I searched for the term Nikon camera instruction manuals and hey presto there it was, as easy as that.

When I went onto the site it had a really good search facility that allowed me to find the make and model number really quickly and before I knew it I was dialling the contact number and made my order instantly as somebody answered the phone very quickly.

They did not have an original in stock, but the assistant on the other end assured me that they do have copies for virtually every camera ever made so they promised to print one out and send it through to me. The next day the newly printed Nikon camera manual was sitting proudly in the camera bag awaiting presentation to my dad on his birthday the following week. I would never have been able to produce such a booklet myself.

So this review is my way of saying a big thanks to all the staff at OTC and letting the world know that if you need a hard copy of your camera instruction manuals, there is nowhere else you need to look.