Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon 1: a short review

This is less a review than a perhaps-useful comment.

Ignoring a For Dummies guide, the currently-available (or soon to be available) Nikon 1 books are by David Busch (three books, all for sale through the usual channels) and this Thom Hogan book, which is available from the author’s website. This is the usual case for any new Nikon camera with serious intentions; Hogan typically gets his manual out quickly as a self-published ebook, then Busch’s book hits a few weeks later. Both authors produce books with much value, but their approaches–and their opinions–differ significantly.

Busch’s books are for photographers who want instructions and advice about specific situations and are essentially tactical. David Busch typically tells you little about how the camera actually works, but gives detailed recommendations about specific settings and about the meanings of all those menu items. He does the same for any external controls which can be used by the photographer for creative control. There are many people for whom that is the correct approach, and his books address that need well.

Hogan, on the other hand, is strong about technique and strategies–the technical aspects of the hardware, and the strategic mindset required to be a professional photographer. His books, therefore, spend their first hundred or more pages exploring the camera’s technical design and the impact specific design decisions might have upon photographs and photographers. And his explorations of the menues and other controls emphasize less what the “right” setting might be than the way the photographer should think about her options.

Both authors’ approaches have value, and I’ve certainly learned from each of them. But if you only want to invest your fortune and time in one tome, they are different enough that you might well prefer one over the other.

This short review was originally published on LibraryThing.

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