I love Nikon cameras, and I love the high-quality Nikon how-to books that Darrell Young–“Digital Darrell”–writes for Rocky Nook Press and Nikonians Press.
One of the reasons I like Digital Darrell’s works is that he used to be a 35mm film photographer and understands the shock and awe of making the awkward transition from film and wet chemicals to digital imagery.
Years ago, when I worked as a photographer for newspapers, I charged into action carrying up to four black-body Nikons, each with a different Nikkor lens and some with bulky motor drives. Every camera was freshly loaded with 35mm film, typically Kodak Tri-X. And I tried to have at least 20 spare rolls of film in my jacket pockets or taped, in little film cans, to some of the carrying straps that crisscrossed my body (and frequently got tangled up as I quickly let go of, say, a Nikon with a 24mm lens and grabbed a Nikon with a 300mm lens and motor drive).
When covering fast-moving news events, there was no time to swap lenses. There also was no excuse for running out of film. And you had to know your cameras well enough that you could roughly set the focus, count f-stops and shutter speed clicks, cock the shutter and verify your flash synchronization setting by feel, all while jogging to the next vantage point to photograph the President of the United States or an angry protest march or fire crews fighting a big pipeline blaze.
After I left the news business and sold off most of my film cameras, I eventually and reluctantly made the move to digital cameras–black-bodied Nikons, of course. And my initial reaction to what I saw through the viewfinders and on the camera bodies and lenses themselves was a mixture of confusion, depression and anger. The most polite translation of my thoughts was: “What the &%$#@ is all of this &^%#>!!!???” I was ready to throw the cameras against the nearest wall and go back to a future where film was still king.
With a Digital Darrell book, you typically don’t have to think “&^%#>!!!???,” etc. You just look in the table of contents or index, turn to a specific section, and get a clear explanation of a feature and its menu options, plus setting recommendations drawn from Darrell Young’s extensive hands-on experience.
Mastering the Nikon D7100 is a well-written and nicely illustrated guide to this “new flagship DX camera” and its many features and wide ranges of settings.
“The D7100,” Young writes, “has everything an enthusiast photographer needs to bring home incredibly good images, without jumping through hoops. The massive resolution of the 24-megapixel (MP) sensor, with a wide dynamic range and no anti-aliasing (AA or blur) filter, make the D7100 one of the world’s best DX cameras for advanced enthusiast photographers.”
Young continues: “The image is what counts, and the Nikon D7100 can deliver some of the highest-quality images out there. It’s a robust camera body designed to last.”
His new how-to guide (a hefty 539 pages in print format) is structured with 13 well-focused chapters:
- Basic Camera Setup
- Playback Menu
- Shooting Menu
- Custom Setting Menu
- Setup Menu
- Retouch Menu
- My Menu and Recent Settings
- Metering, Exposure Modes, and Histogram
- White Balance
- Autofocus, AF-Area, and Release Modes
- Live View Photography
- Movie Live View
- Speedlight Flash
Photography beginners take note: For the most part, this is not a guide that shows how to compose better pictures of people, clouds, seascapes or wild animals. There are a few fine photographs positioned at the opening of each chapter. And notes about the images and who took them are presented at the back of the book. But the major emphasis in Mastering the Nikon D7100 is on exactly what the title says — understanding the new camera’s amazing array of features and choosing good menu settings when using them.
— Si Dunn