Nikon D300 Magic Lantern Guide [REVIEW] - Digital Photography School

Nikon D300 Magic Lantern Guide [REVIEW]

Nikon-D300-Magic-Lantern-GuideI get to see an awful lot of digital cameras and I get to read a heap of instruction books and PDF files purporting to explain the workings of the cameras. And all are inadequate!

Third party manuals like this one from Simon Stafford fill an essential need in the whole business. This Nikon D300 handbook covers the camera in an exhaustive 400+ pages and doesn’t miss a trick.

The guide begins by outlining the manufacturing story … the D300 is assembled in Thailand from mostly Japanese-made parts.

The camera’s design is discussed, operating controls explained in detail, although the camera pictures are a bit on the murky side. An enormous amount of detail then follows: features and operating options; metering; viewfinder data; shooting modes; an explanation of how Live View works and on to batteries, the use of memory cards etc.

You are given instructions on how to hold the camera, deal with white balance and how to use Nikon’s useful D-Lighting feature. The latter has been around for some time but I bet few have bothered to dig deeply into its wonders — thanks to the minimal info in the supplied manual — as it can be of enormous benefit in handling the brightness range and contrast curve of images shot with the D300.

To give you some idea of the depth of info in the book, there is even detail on the MIRED system of defining colour shifts and how to fine tune white balance precisely.

Nothing is missed or glossed over: ISO noise gets a look in as do the benefits of manual over auto focus. Capture formats — JPEG, TIFF, NEF (RAW) — get intensive treatment in 17 pages of text.

Realising that it’s a bit of an ask to slip the book into the back pocket when going forth, D300 in hand, to capture the world on a CMOS sensor, the publishers have included a pop-out, pocket-friendly reference guide inside the back cover, spelling out the key operating features of the camera.

If you own and use a D300, you need this book — otherwise you’re just camping out! Some may feel that there should have been colour pages in the book but it’s not that sort of tome: the text is the message!

Get a Price on the Magic Lantern Guides: Nikon D300 at Amazon.

Also in this series for D300 users by Lantern are:

Lantern Guides also exist for most other models of DSLRs and even a few higher end point and shoots and accessories. Check out the full range at Amazon to find your camera.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • http://www.sherrrimeyer.com/Blog Sherri Meyer

    Darren – I can’t thank you enough for doing this review. I am a fairly new D300 user and those darn camera manuals that come with our cameras are just a tad bit better than nothing!

  • Jack Larson

    His one on the D700 also is excellent.

  • Jerry Whitaker

    I have purchased Magic Lantern books for every digital camera I bought, and never been disappointed.

  • Mike Bulpitt

    Just read this and it is exactly what I would have said about the ML Guide for my D90. I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer and the Guide is brilliant. A nightmare to get in this country-Amazon gave up after 3 months so I bought it in the US when over there last month.

  • http://www.timcollierphotography.com Tim Collier

    An absolute essential and I carry mine on all major jobs – there’s always the possibility of something occurring that throws you when in the field and to know you always have a back up is reassuring.

  • David Arrowsmith

    Sorry to disagree but the ML guide is so full of repetitions and publishing errors I was very disappointed with it. I have the guide to the D80 also and that is far superior. For the D300 I prefer David D Busch’s book, the title of which escapes me just now but it is a far larger and more comprehensive volume.

Some older comments

  • David Arrowsmith

    March 13, 2010 05:27 am

    Sorry to disagree but the ML guide is so full of repetitions and publishing errors I was very disappointed with it. I have the guide to the D80 also and that is far superior. For the D300 I prefer David D Busch's book, the title of which escapes me just now but it is a far larger and more comprehensive volume.

  • Tim Collier

    June 13, 2009 07:46 pm

    An absolute essential and I carry mine on all major jobs - there's always the possibility of something occurring that throws you when in the field and to know you always have a back up is reassuring.

  • Mike Bulpitt

    April 27, 2009 04:33 pm

    Just read this and it is exactly what I would have said about the ML Guide for my D90. I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer and the Guide is brilliant. A nightmare to get in this country-Amazon gave up after 3 months so I bought it in the US when over there last month.

  • Jerry Whitaker

    April 24, 2009 03:06 am

    I have purchased Magic Lantern books for every digital camera I bought, and never been disappointed.

  • Jack Larson

    April 23, 2009 10:09 am

    His one on the D700 also is excellent.

  • Sherri Meyer

    April 23, 2009 01:26 am

    Darren - I can't thank you enough for doing this review. I am a fairly new D300 user and those darn camera manuals that come with our cameras are just a tad bit better than nothing!

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