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New Camera - PDF Only Manual - WTF!
Old 10-29-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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New Camera - PDF Only Manual - WTF!

The good news is that I bought a new camera, which I like so far. The bad news is that it comes with a PDF only instruction manual. This thing has bells and whistles on its bells and whistles. I don't want to have to haul around a laptop, so I'm looking for a creative way to have the manual available. Of course I could print all 140 pages and haul that around. I did try photographing a page on my computer screen and it is actually quite readable on the camera display, but I don't feel like doing that 139 more times.

Has anyone else dealt with this issue?
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #2
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Kindle or Nook or iPad or something like that? (I really don't know. I'm just theorizing).
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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Had the same experience when I bought my new car. It came with a booklet called the quick user guide and a DVD of the owner's manual. After trying without much success to figure out the options on my own, I called the mtg. customer service 800 number...a soft cover 287 pg. manual arrived via UPS within the week. Ahhh, much better!
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:07 PM   #4
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Yes, same thing with the Canon I recently bought. We were traveling with notebook and netbook PCs, so that was how I read the pdf file.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
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Do you have an iphone? You can open a PDF in iBook.

Personally, I throw out all paper manuals and get PDF manuals instead....
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
Do you have an iphone? You can open a PDF in iBook.

Personally, I throw out all paper manuals and get PDF manuals instead....
No iphone. I use the camera in out of the way places, so depending on a lap top or netbook (or iphone) isn't practical. One thought I had was to convert the pdf to jpg and load that on the SD card as protected format. This is starting to sound complicated!
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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I just wrote such a manual. I know that no one will ever read it. I'm glad it is distributed as a PDF and not as a hardcopy.

Why not print it out 4 pages per sheet of paper and double-sided? That's 8 pages per sheet. And only print the parts you really need.

Or just do like everybody else: Figure out the bells and whistles without the manual.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:22 PM   #8
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Is there an after market book available for this camera that you could purchase? If not maybe print it out as earlier poster suggested and put in a plastic folder to carry it around with you. Hopefully the pages you actually want to print are a fraction of the 139.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:30 PM   #9
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I would guess it's written in more than 1 language, usually 3. You may only need < 1/3 less the warranty/table of contents/title pages.
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:24 PM   #10
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Use a program such as fineprint, I think the free version works but prints something at the bottom, to print the manual. You can print it front to back so you get four pages to a page that forms a booklet. I have printed several manuals this way.

Otherwise it is Iphone, Android phone, or ereader. All three can store and read a pdf file.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:11 AM   #11
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We bought our first digital camera in 2000. It's a Nikon Coolpix 950, the one with the body that swivels in half. Still works, we love it.

The manual was on a disc in .pdf form. Since we were so new at this I printed it out and put it in a binder. I'm glad I did that because this camera also has a lot of menus, plenty of options and despite being experienced photographers there was still a learning curve.

We quickly learned how easy it was to use this in the default modes but I'm glad I had a hard copy of the manual. I'm pretty sure there was a quick guide in there, too.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
One thought I had was to convert the pdf to jpg and load that on the SD card as protected format. This is starting to sound complicated!
When you mentioned you can read the jpg on your camera, that is the first thing I thought of - convert the pdf to jpg. That should be easy. Google pdf to jpg for your OS.

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Old 10-30-2010, 12:30 AM   #13
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Did you pay in .pdf money?
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:33 AM   #14
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Did you pay in .pdf money?
Yes, I faxed $100 bills......
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:04 AM   #15
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Yup - shifting of the costs to the consumer - notice when you fly they want you to check in online and print out your own boarding card? I've written a user's manual for a fairly technical IT appliance with a slant towards healthcare uses and I was very careful to walk the user through the set-up and use process step-by-step and then have a troubleshooting guide which had html pointers back within the manual along with page numbers - I'm sure the company will only distribute it electronically.

I guess I'm old enough to still appreciate paper :-) and books.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:55 AM   #16
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I expect a pdf file instead of a paper copy of manuals these days, and I don't see much wrong with it. Most users never read most of what's in the long version so why kill all those trees?

Most devices also come with some sort of 'quick guide' that is much shorter and all most users will ever need - and that's what I carry around if anything. If I need the long version, I'll look online at home or print it out and take it with me (double sided of course). So you still have a complete manual if you want it.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:09 PM   #17
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I expect a pdf file instead of a paper copy of manuals these days, and I don't see much wrong with it. Most users never read most of what's in the long version so why kill all those trees?
Ditto. And I can always upload it to my google docs folder if I really wanted to read it later. Much better (and more accessible) than storing a manual that I will likely never be able to locate when I need it.

I assume 95-99% of users won't read the manual and won't carry the manual with them, so the 1-5% of users that do read and carry the manual will need to solve this problem.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #18
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Read the manual and create a cheat sheet that you can take along with you. I find that there are only a few things that I need to be reminded about on my dSLR. The rest of the stuff stuck in my head after reading the manual once. The symbols seem to be increasingly user friendly these days.

The SONY NEX comes with the manual in the camera itself. Now, that's the way to go!
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:18 PM   #19
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Update

OK, I've been messing around with this this AM. I used Zamzar to convert the pdf files to jpg file, but they were returned with the word COPY diagonally across each page. OK, sucks, but would still work. So, I increased the compression to shrink the file size, then put the file on an SD card. Unfortunately the camera will not read the files on the card.

I decided that since photographing my computer screen actually works, I'd try that. I turned the pdf files sideways to fill out my screen, put the camera on a tripod and just photographed each page. It is quite fast, as it is all set up and I only needed to advance a page, push the shutter, repeat. I used max compression setting on the camera so each photo file is tiny. When I was done, I protected these photos so they won't get deleted accidentally. I can read the pages on the LCD display with my reading glasses and the camera allows an easy zoom if needed. I'm happy.
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:25 PM   #20
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Congratulations on a clever solution. Happy photographing!
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