Digital cameras are both easy and complicated to use. For first time users, a digital camera can seem overwhelming. As much as many people dislike reading manuals, the manual is your friend.
No hard copy? Use the PDF version of the manual
Unfortunately, most digital cameras today do not come with a hard copy of the camera manual. Instead, they come in an electronic version in the .pdf format on the CD that came with the camera. The manual can also be downloaded from the support area at the manufactures website.
While you may miss holding a manual in your hands, the benefit of an electronic version is that it can be easily and quickly searched using keywords. For sections that you want to digest more fully, print out a hard copy of the pages.
Whatever the format, the manual really should be read if you want to get the very best out of your digital camera. Besides explaining camera features and settings, the manual offers a wealth of information, illustrations and techniques about taking properly exposed photos.
Digital camera manual format
A digital camera manual typically presents information from the basic features to more advanced features. It begins with safety and basic set-up information, and illustrations of each side of the camera with an explanation of buttons, mode dial, etc.
The manual guides you through camera set-up such as inserting batteries and memory cards, attaching the camera strap and setting the time and date. It provides information about basic camera use , including shooting, playback (viewing of images saved to the memory card), and video modes.
A section dealing with the Setup Menu explains how to adjust all settings. It then goes over the more advanced features of the camera.
Getting the most out of a digital camera manual
- Read the manual through once, though not necessarily in one sitting. Don’t try to absorb too much information at one time.
- Concentrate first on the sections about basic set-up and camera use. Have the camera nearby as your read so you can give things a try as you read about them. When you have a basic feel for the camera, take some photos.
- Read the manual a second time, this time skipping over portions you already understand. Go out again and take more photos.
By this time you should feel a lot more comfortable with your digital camera. In fact, you’re probably spending more time using it than reading the manual. Now refer to the manual only when you’re not sure about a particular feature, or when you’re ready to learn a new one.