Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carry you camera manuals the easy way

A couple years ago I posted an article about dusting off your camera's instruction manual in order to pick up a few tips and tricks about your camera's abilities. If it's been a while and you haven't opened up that manual to brush up on some camera functions, I suggest reading up on that post and following the advise.

But I'm not here to discuss what you should or shouldn't do with your camera knowledge. I know you're a smart person and don't need me to tell you to read your manual! I will, however, share a useful tip in how to keep that instruction manual handy for when you really need it. Like at one of my workshops when I ask you to set your camera in a specific way and you can't quite remember how to do it. Don't worry, it happens to many of us. Specially me, who has 'senior moments' more and more often. So what's this tip I mentioned? Read on...

We all know these small instruction manuals really aren't all that small. Specially if you want to carry more than one (additional camera, speed light, radio trigger, etc.) Before you know it they are cluttering your camera bag, getting dog eared and getting in the way. If only there was some way of carrying all those manuals in a compact, secure and convenient manner. The solution is closer at hand than you might think. As close as your smart phone or tablet.

In today's connected world smart phones and tables are common accessories for many of us, and that's a good thing. The computing power of these devices compete at a level with many small personal computers. Plus there is the benefit of having all those wonderful apps to help us navigate our world right at our fingertips. Along with those useful apps your smart phone or tablet can also become a depository for digital documents including, you guessed it, camera manuals.

My tablet, for example, is a tool for work and also a tool for recreation. Along with the various apps I have a copy of all my camera equipment manuals. I own several cameras and lenses, speed lights and Pocket Wizard transceivers. If I had to carry all those manuals I'd have to carry them in a separate bag just for them. Instead I keep them safe and secure on my tablet. I even have extra room for instructional videos and books by some of my favorite photo instructors. Plenty of reading and watching material for my down time. And if I need to find something out about any of my gear, it's only a couple of clicks away.

You can download most instruction manuals as .PDF files from most major manufacturer's web sites. Just visit their website and do a search for the instruction manual for your model, download it to your phone or tablet for later use. You may need to install additional apps in order to open and read a .PDF file.


  1. Duck -

    Nikon now has an App "Nikon Manual Viewer" which allows you to download all of the manuals for their equipment. Best feature is that there are built in links in the manuals which allow you to quickly locate the relevant information. My guess is Canon offers something similar

  2. Thanks for the info John & Duck... I just got the app!


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