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A camera this good deserves a guidebook this good!
on August 4, 2010
"David Busch's Canon EOS 7D Guide to Digital SLR Photography" has at least twice as much useful information as any of the compact guidebooks, as befits this advanced camera -- Canon's most affordable "pro/semi-pro" model. The two full chapters on lighting, which includes one chapter dedicated just to this camera's new built-in wireless flash capabilities, are worth the cost of the book alone.
Quite simply, this book, like his other guides, doesn't fit in the cookie-cutter mold of the other books on the shelves. Those typically re-hash the material you find in the booklet stuffed in the box with the camera, providing slightly longer and easier-to-understand explanations of the basic controls and menu settings, plus add some generic photography advice. That's a viable approach, but not particularly satisfying for someone who really wants to master a new camera like the Canon 7D.
Busch recognizes that each camera is unique, and although the explanations of basic concepts like exposure, shutter speeds, and apertures are similar across all models in all his books, the Canon 7D deserves detailed coverage. In this book, he manages to do that while still tailoring his explanations to suit beginners who have purchased a Canon 7D as their first D-SLR, intermediate photographers looking to improve their skills, and advanced shooters who want a fast way to learn the camera and gain some tips. You can't do that with a cookie-cutter book.
Including the introductory material, I counted more than 500 pages, all well-organized so that any photographer of any level can quickly locate what they need to know. For example, there's a "Getting Started" chapter, which, the author acknowledges, will likely be read only after the reader has already taken a few hundred photos. It provides the kind of pre-flight checklist you wish you had when you bought your first digital SLR. Next comes a Quick Start chapter that leads you through the essential features of the camera, with just the basics and none of the mind-numbing detail, allowing you to immediately go out and shoot your best pictures, ever. The third chapter is a "roadmap" guide that carefully explains each of the controls on the camera, with many photos and the right amount of information. The thick, but small-format book that comes with the 7D has many cross-references that send you darting around. Busch gives you the nitty gritty here.
Then, in a welcome departure from the organization of other guidebooks, Busch leaves the discussion of detailed menus and setup options for later in the book. Instead, he gives you three "Beyond the Basics" chapters devoted to Understanding Exposure, Mastering the Mysteries of Autofocus, and Advanced Shooting,Live View, and Movie-Making. Each of these are detailed tutorials on using the 7D's sophisticated features. Even Canon veterans may be mystified by the 7D's new autofocus options, which allow you to set up, for example, different autofocus zones for vertical and horizontal shooting orientations. Busch explains all these options, as well as the underlying technology behind autofocus, clearly and completely. The lengthy, tip-filled movie-making section was excellent, too, and appropriate given the 7D's full HD capabilities.
The author does devote several long chapters to explaining every menu option and, more importantly, why you should use each setting. Most other guides just list the menu item choices, and don't give you detailed examples of when to use a particular setting. The other books simply don't have room for this kind of depth. Highly recommended.