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Over-rated For What It Is
on July 26, 2011
I learned of this book through Google research and as usual Amazon had it cheaper than most places. The book comes highly recommended by some readers. Personally I find it to be a bloated large print version of the tiny but fat instruction manual that comes with the camera. More than once, I wanted to know about something and I'd go into later chapters of the Busch book where it should be explained and the result was something similar to "As I mentioned in chapter 1, this feature does this." That wasn't an expansion of chapter 1's statement, it was just a reiteration of nothing. A loop that goes nowhere.
I always read the instruction manual that comes with anything electronic that I buy before I start using the item. I had done this with my Sony Alpha 55, although I just about went blind trying to read their tiny dark gray print when I wasn't in a brightly lit room. So I had a pretty good idea of the features of my camera. As I read the Busch book, I found it to be an informally-written, wordy version of the camera's instruction manual with some personal experiences and opinion thrown in to fill space. I also suspect that a lot of the generic content was cut and pasted from other similar books he has written then the words "Sony Alpha" were inserted randomly throughout the text to make it seem relevant to that specific camera.
Was it informative? I suppose if you hadn't read the camera's manual and were looking for somebody personable to lead you by the hand through what the camera manual would have told you anyway, while the camera manual remains in the shipping box, it would be quite informative. Did I learn anything from this book? As a former journalist myself, I certainly learned that books should have a word repetition counter used on the manuscript before layout and printing. If I never again see the phrases or words, "spin the dial" or "whilst" again in my life it will be too soon. And the words "Sony Alpha" were used several hundred more times than I needed to see it. I believe I can remember what camera I'm reading about when it's the one I have sitting next to me.
I suppose this is a good reference book to have it sitting around for quick questions when I don't feel like straining my eyes to read the camera's manual. The cover looks nice and professional for a coffee table book to make you look like a highly sophisticated photographer when friends stop by. But as for being an "eye opening" informative source of new and interesting knowledge about my camera, I can't concur with that concept at all.