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When two books are not better than one
on April 2, 2012
True, David Busch is deservedly among the best authors of how-to books for cameras. His reputation is sterling and he deserves his success.
The book in this matter takes on two cameras at the same time, the Nikon D3s and Nikon D3x. I hope that is seen as too much work in the writing and far too much in confusing reading.
The two subject cameras have much in common but the problem is there are enormous differences that get in the way of an easy understanding of advice needed, in my case, solely for the D3x.
My camera, an $8,000 expense that is viewed by many as over-priced. In my case, price is secondary because it precisely fills the specifications that I need for a highly specific assignment, shooting some 25 formal Japanese gardens throughout the United States. My Master Gardener wife will be the director of a venture that will put us on three Amtrac rail lines. We will de-train at 15 stops where we will visit from one to five gardens and then re-board after however many days were required. The garden subject deserves the finest grain resolution possible. These gardens are subtle and the viewer of our efforts deserves very clear representations to display the differences. That requires Nikon's D3x with its 24.5 megapixel sensor and the many valuable functions such as automated in-camera HDR processing of three or more bracketed images. There is more. Unlike the D3s, there is no D3x video -- a problem solved with a new Fujifilm HS20 EXR with 1080P video and an automatic HDR in-camera capability.
If you can sense in these sketchy examples that the Busch book is dealing with a very sophisticated D3x and, after all is said and done, a less demanding D3s in the same book. Imagine while you're at it that all the various "tips" in the David Busch book are not the same for these two cameras. The D3x is, to put it plainly, much more like the D3 than the D3s and it would have been helpful had Mr. Busch used D3 and D3x as examples where needed. It seems most settings and most results between the D3s and D3x are needlessly confusing. Well I am an old man, after all, and flipping between two sophisticated cameras is never going to be easy to remember.
There are four full suites of more than 100 pre-settings readily available for four readily called specific types of assignment for the D3 family of cameras. These extensive settings for assignment types such as landscape, portrait, studio, sports or whatever, are listed in detail by Mr. Busch for the D3s but are omitted for the D3x with the rather gratuitous note that the reader can figure out where those settings are. I'm still trying.
It's okay and a worthy experiment to put two differing cameras in the same how-to book. But I'll never buy another one regardless of the overall success of the author.