January 24th 2012

Book review: Canon 7D: From Snapshots to Great Shots

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It’s been a while since I’ve started considering buying a real photo camera. And I’ve decided on a Canon 7D. As usual, the user guide covers the camera, but I thought it would be better to have a more complete guide to the 7D.

Content and opinions

You don’t have to read the book to know how to take a picture, but each chapter adds a new angle o the way one can use the 7D. The first chapter is a ten configuration tips list, and I think each one of them is relevant. They have already helped me enhance my pictures. The second chapter is a list of things to check and understand before shooting. I have to say I didn’t apply them all (updating the firmware for instance), and there is also an overview of the basic technical elements in a camera (shutter, iso…).

Then the serious work begins. The third chapter browses through the different capture modes. Each mode is explained with the associated available changes (exposure, ISO…). Then two chapters tackle what I would say are the most common styles: portrait and landscape. I learnt about a lot of things offered by the 7D in those chapters, like exposure metering or the electronic level. There are a lot of tips that are available in those two chapters. The sixth chapter is about moving targets, a subject that is hard, but it seems that the camera has some useful functions for that.

Then, two chapters tackle subjects that are common to all modes: light and composition. There are more advanced books on these topics, but the author manages to cover the most useful ground, from hints to warnings. The last chapter but one is on video, it is interesting, but I didn’t get my 7D for video. Still, there is a warning that I did find very interesting on this subject. I won’t tell it here, go and grab the book instead.

The ending chapter is about some “advanced” techniques, but it’s more about explaining some things you can do with the 7D, but there is 90% chance that you won’t ever use any of them.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that each chapter starts with one or two pictures and some associated comments. This is a great help when you don’t have much experience. After each chapter, a small list sums up all new information.

Conclusion

This book is a perfect complement to the user guide. The latter explains one button or setting after the other, whereas the former links everything together. When you don’t know about the different modes of the camera (aperture or shutter for instance), it is a must have to take great pictures.

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