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From Barnes & Noble"DSLR" used to mean expensive, heavy, and complicated. With cameras like the Nikon D40 and D40X, that's changed. They're surprisingly lightweight, cost less than earlier DSLRs, and they're easier to use, too. But you'll still get a lot more out of yours with some expert help. That's where David Busch's Nikon D40/D40X Digital Field Guide comes in.
Small enough to toss in your car, backpack, or camera bag, it's packed with step-by-step help (supported by hundreds of full-color photos). You'll find excellent primers on everything from composition and lighting to exposures. Busch even demystifies lenses (great for folks moving up from "point-and-shoot," as well as those who want to understand Nikon's new lens systems.)
Don't just open the box and start shooting: Spend a few minutes with Busch's "Quick Tour," and a few more with his deeper walkthrough in Chapter 1. You'll know what all those buttons, dials, wheels, switches, and levers actually do -- and how they can help you shoot faster and better images. Think of this as the "anti-manual": friendly and usable, whereas Nikon's official manual makes you struggle with tiny black-and-white drawings and nearly invisible numbered cross-references.
Next, Busch introduces "core" features such as metering and autofocus, then walks you through the camera's menu settings, highlighting valuable features like custom image optimization that you might otherwise miss. The heart of this book: nearly 90 pages of specific techniques for pretty much anything you might want to shoot: patterns, action or sports shots, animals, architecture, B&Ws, events, flowers, infrared shots, landscapes, portraits, sunrises/sunsets, even nighttime fireworks. Before you go on your next hike, or to your kid's soccer game, or to that wedding, read Busch's discussion of the subject: You'll be rewarded with far better images. Bill Camarda, from the November 2007 Read Only