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Camera Makers are mean, not green, for not providing a proper camera manual

This review is brought to you by OldTimerCameras.com, where you will find the best collection of Camera Instruction Manuals on the internet.

The review originally featured in January 2010’s ‘Amateur Photographer Magazine’ and was sent in by one of their readers.

Back Chat – Terry Hamilton says camera makers are mean, not green, for not providing a proper camera manual.

There is nothing like curling up in bed with a good book. And if that ‘good book’ is a manual for a new camera, so much the better. I love browsing through AP’s adverts, the web and, especially, through the manufacturer’s instruction book for a camera I have lusted after, weighed up and finally bought after weeks of consideration and dithering.

I’ve bought three DSLRs over the years – a Canon EOS 300D, EOS 20D and EOS 40D – but if I am a camera (and Canon) enthusiast, I am also a cycling nut. I love to ride in the countryside and take pictures of landscapes, animals, roads, trees…anything, really.

However a DSLR with a Canon L series zoom lens attached is a hefty and bulky beast to carry on a lightweight touring bike, so I have been leaving it at home lately and cursing myself for doing so, missing umpteen photo opportunities. Then I started to think the unthinkable: should I buy a digital compact for my cycling trips? The Canon Powershot G11 then arrived on the scene and I bought one – and I love it!

Except for the manual, that is. When I opened the box, instead of the thick, comprehensive manual I expected there was what I can only describe as a brochure, entitled ‘Getting started, which told me the basics, like how to insert the battery and memory card, but not much more. I bought a G11 because of its excellent specification, and I wanted to read and re-read my way through the manual to familiarise myself with its features.

I discovered that the entire G11 manual, apart from the ‘Getting started’ chapter, is on the disc, so I had to download it to my PC and read it there. But it’s just not the same as studying a hard copy of a book. At 190-odd pages it is far too big to print out and I can’t carry my PC on my bike. Canon’s website says, ‘To avoid activities that threaten the health and safety of mankind and the environment, Canon has produced many of its user manuals in electronic (CD) format only.’ Although it then adds that I can buy one from ‘a third-party provider’. How generous.

Now, I am environmentally conscious, but this seems like penny pinching. If I buy a car, I don’t expect to have to buy the drivers handbook from a third party. If a camera manual is not readily to hand, for reference and study, how many people, especially beginners, are just going to switch the camera to auto mode and venture no further? Is this not another over-simplification of our hobby? Many of us are just fascinated by the technique of operating a camera as we are in producing the final image.

Come on, Canon, don’t pretend to be green when you are just being mean!

Until the camera manufacturers change their ways, use this link to find your camera manuals.