I wanted to post this review of one of the most amazing DVD video tutorials I have ever seen for a piece of photographic equipment, specifically the Canon 40D DVD Crash Course by Michael Andrew.
Advances in technology, as well as the economies of scale have allowed manufacturers such as Canon to produce professional grade equipment at affordable prices allowing for consumers with little or no photographic experience to buy an amazing piece of hardware. Unfortunately, new Canon users find themselves overwhelmed with their new gear and cannot use it to it's fullest capabilities without some kind of tutorial training. Granted it comes with a huge instruction manual, but who wants to thumb through a tedious 200 page guide written by some techno geek which wouldnt make much sense anyway?
Let me list some of the obvious advantages of the video:
1. The camera costs about $1400. The Canon 40D DVD Crash Course costs about $40. So considering proportionate cost, it is a very small investment.
2. There is over three hours of training on the video, including how to use nearly every function on the camera.
3. Michael also includes his Digital Photography School on this DVD, which means, if you have little or no experience with photography, this will get you up to speed in no time. One of the problems with other training guides is that they do a great job of telling you how to operate the camera, but make little or no mention of fundamental photography skills needed, nor artistic guidelines. There is so much more to taking pretty pictures than knowing how to operate a camera.
4. There are several parts of the video that explain very complex ideas in a simple manner. Take for example the Metering Modes portion. It took me forever to figure this concept out! Knowing this has changed how my images appear on so many levels. If you are using an P, Tv, or Av and dont understand Metering, you are limiting yourself.
5. The lens Crash Course is also particularly helpful to those who only have one or two lenses. It will teach you about focal length, angle of view, zoom vs prime lenses, as well as which lenses to get in your arsenal. Very helpful stuff for anyone looking to invest in new equipment.
6. The Light Crash Course on the DVD gives you a quick overview of the different light sources, their effects, as well as when to use. One of the most common mistakes by beginners is to ignore lighting conditions and try to force a picture in a particular location, when by looking around, and changing your position ever so slightly, you can have amazing lighting conditions. This portion of the DVD explains it quickly and simply.
7. Probably the pinnacle of the DVD is the Portrait Crash Course. This is where everything is put together, all the technical as well as artistic skills. Explanations are given as you look through the viewfinder and Michael explains what he is doing with the camera as well as what he is thinking to compose a great image. Very, very useful for anyone looking to improve their portrait images.
8. The menu system on the DVD for the menu system on the camera is set up to allow you to jump into ANY Canon menu topic immediately, without having to fast forward through a bunch of material you may not be interested in. This is a huge time saver and great reference.
9. Michael shares his shooting secrets, such as why he uses JPG instead of RAW, why you should never use or worry about the direct to print button, how to set up your custom shooting modes, etc.
10. Even if you own a Canon 10D, 20D or 30D, and have little or no training with your camera, this DVD will be of great benefit because the operational mechanics of the equipment are principally the same. There may be a a few additional topics on the 40D that arent available in the other cameras, but otherwise, the main functions of the camera, such as how to use the main dial, the quick selection dial, exposure compensation, etc are the same.
I could go on and on...but I think you get the point. Of all the training videos available for the Canon EOS 40D, this DVD is simply the best you can get, and I am not biased in anyway at all what-so-ever. I give it 5 stars.
The Canon 40D DVD can be purchased directly from this link:
Canon 40D DVD Training