What's so great about the Magic Lantern Guides?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by j._d._mcgee, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. I just got my Elan 7 and have been using EOS cameras for about 2
    years. I see the Magic Latern Guides for all sorts of cameras at my
    local camera shop and they look interesting. However, since they are
    all shrink wrapped I can't look in them to see what they are all
    about. Do they really teach you about the nuances of the camera and
    are they worth paying 20 bucks to read through it and pick up some
    little known facts?
  2. I see no point in them. If you read the manual, you have all you need to know, everything actually. True, you do have to think as you read, but it is all there. Also, read it about once a year to keep up on what the thing does, or can do.
  3. Yeah that and a Photograghy class or good tutorial. Why even buy a guide for a used on when you can generally find one on the web in pdf. or fiddle wit hthe thing until you figure it out. it aint rocket science.
  4. I don't like the Magic Latern Guides. They're too wordy & seldom get to the point. They give plenty of advice about photography in general, but they really don't explain the specific camera all that well. They also make a lot of mistakes. The original camera manual is worse though.

    They are not too bad as long as you have the original manual to read with it. The combination of the two helps, since each one seems to work at explaining the other.

    Also, there are several things that neither the camera manual or the Magic Latern Guide explain very well. Especially the Canon flash system. For that, check out: http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/
  5. One thing that the Magic Lantern guides do is provide a handy carry along that explains those goofy features you don't always use, but every now and then need and just can't figure out. I carry one that was given to me, along with the Canon manual, for my EOS 3 if I have a bag with a "manual pouch" as some do. That's what I call those little spaces above the camera and slots in my Lowepro backpack. I put manuals and inspirational notes in them.
  6. I think for a beginning photographer they are quite useful. Manuals from Canon and Nikon appear to be written by engineers (not photographers). Yes, some of the same info is in all Magic Lantern guides and much of what they teach you is in the camera's manual. However, the info is more easily understood in the Magic Lantern guide. Check out Nikon's manual and Magic Lantern's guide for the N70 to get a feel for what I mean. Better yet, go to a larger library and check out the Magic Lantern Guide for your camera.
  7. I dont think there is a lot of consistency within the manual line. Some volumes seem much better than others. Probably due to different authors, and the lack of a good technical editor? If you find one used ($5-10), it can be money well spent as ready reference. I find my actual camera maker owner's manuals to be terrible, and these books on of the few options. There are some M.L. EOS manuals in which have left out entire camera features, and were apparently written as if the author didn't realize the camera used a flash! Per your question, if this is your local shop, they should be willing to let you remove the plastic wrap and browse the table of contents and what not prior to purchase; the store doesn't wrap these; they come that way from the distributor and the plastic is a general cover to keep off dusts and what not.
  8. Another reason the manuals exist and are often popular is that so many cameras sold used are without an owner's manual. I asked a friend who has had a shop for 21 years, and he claimed they are lucky if 20% of the cameras they sell used or consigned have a book of any kind with them. And, pdf downloads are informative, but not always compact and nice in the field, like a small bound book - and the book is almost always greater detail. Not perfect, but for $5-20 ot is not a waste of money.
  9. NOTHING! Just badly rehashed stuff. There is a need for something other than the manual but these things do not cut it!
  10. IMHO, from the two MLGs I've looked at (I own a copy of the Elan II one, and have thumbed through the EF lens one a couple of times), they're not worth it. The Elan II guide is a combination of information that's already in the manual (with a couple of gratuitous errors thrown in), information that belongs in a basic photography text, and an obsolete listing of Canon's lenses that has not a single negative thing to say about any of them. The EF lens guide consists of an obsolete listing, again with not a single negative thing to say about any of them.
    This question comes up fairly frequently in the newsgroups, and there are always a number of people on either side of the discussion.
  11. the magic latern guides are actually brought out by a company in munich, germany. i presume there's someone in the states who translates them into english. all the canon ones are writen by Artur Landt - i don't have a very high opinion of him as he makes an enormous amout of mistakes in both the guides and his other writing in german photomags.

    i have the guides for the eos 3, 30 and 300 and must say that they're all essentially the same. from ca. 200 pages he devotes about 50 to the camera itself and the rest is basic photo stuff and lens reviews which don't really change from book to book.

    i also agree strongly with the statement that you don't really learn a huge amount of new stuff (compared to the camera manual) and that the books do not really go into the nitty-gritty details of the particular camera. this first section of the books is almost an extension of canon fact-sheets and press-releases and is, IMHO, not a good reason to buy them.


  12. While the Magic Lantern Guides follow the manual, they are easier reading and more interesting than manuals tend to be. They offer better insight into the camera or lenses without spending a lot of time searching the web for a variety of opinions, which while free may not be free in terms of value of time.

    I bought Magic Lantern Guides before I purchased the cameras so that I'd know expectations in the operation of the camera to be purchased. For example, I was considering the Canon EOS 10D in 2004, but knew nothing and the camera was not available locally. I could not receive the manual without purchasing the camera and I wanted to know which to expect before the fact rather than after.

    Upon reading the guide and talking with the local pro, he suggested that I wait and purchase the 20D, when it came out. Canon he said had solved problems that the 10D had in its newer model. I did this again for the Canon 20D. And while the guides were very similar, they had some facts that were different. And yes, both Magic Lantern Guides followed the camera manuals, but the Guide offered opinions and wording that I could not find in the manual. In my opinion, this was money and time saved.

    BTW, I am not a beginner. Doing photography for 48 years, I?ve used many cameras. Since jumping into digital, purchasing Magic Lantern Guides through Amazon.com means that Guides don't cost $20. Used guides are also available for just a few dollars.

    Barnes and Noble also carry the Magic Lantern Guides. If there is a B&N store in your community, ask the clerk, who may open the shrink-wrapped guide of your choice. In my belief, this is money and time well spent, especially when doing easy research before a purchase.

    S. K. Snow
  13. One other thought about Magic Lantern Guides:
    On Better Photo.com, one of the subscribers had purchased a camera whose manual was in Korean, rather than her language (she lived in another Asian country). I suggested that since she could read English, she could purchase a Magic Lantern Guide for under US$20 (plus shipping).

    She was delighted!

    S.K. Snow

Share This Page