Reviews on this page are quoted directly from their sources and include the DSLR eBooks and prior Nikon and Sony compact camera eBooks.

Book Bag, Imaging-Resource, July 6, 2007
(DSLR: Nikon D40/D40x eBooks announced)

It's hard to keep up with Peter iNova's eBooks. For one thing, there's more in them than a shelf-full of digital photography books. For another, there's more in them than any camera manual no matter how many languages it's printed in.

We've recommended them before just as a terrific tutorial on this stuff, but we've also used them to evaluate potential dSLR purchases. It beats buying two cameras and returning one. The detail and discoveries go so deep that even the manufacturers buy them to find out about their products.

Not long ago, Peter sent us his D200 and D80 tomes, published in a new format designed to fit the screen rather than the page. We copied the manuals to our hard disk and refer to them when we forget how to set the flash for remote operation or set the non-CPU lens data. But even more, the new format recognizes the primacy of the screen experience. His rollover illustrations and numerous links just can't be duplicated by a printout.

But the layout also works very well for those indispensable cheat-sheets. Readers "can always print out any range of pages in our eBooks for reference. They will lose the interactive examples, movies, hyperlinks and animations, but sometimes paper goes places laptops shouldn't," Peter said.

The new format, however, is no reason to take lightly his latest eBook on the D40/D40x (http://www.digitalsecrets.net/D40). Forget counting sheep, you can flip pages -- all 1,013 of them -- to dream about one of these cameras. That laser-printed proof was 4.2 inches thick. Nearly an ottoman.

Peter explained how this title grew so large. "Considering that the reader is most likely starting into digital photography and the camera is less feature-rich than the D70/D80/D200 -- but still exceptionally capable, extra care has been taken to explain a wider range of techniques, work-arounds, how-to-get-there-from-heres and pitfall avoidance therapy."

With pages devoted to one feature, menu item or control at a time, it's simple to see at a glance what the hardware can do. But there's always more to an iNova title: iNova Actions.

Those include 660 Photoshop actions that Peter has refined over the years. He explains, "Size-critical ones that work for 10MP images but not with 6MP images have been cleaned up to work with either size. A number of new ones have joined the group, taking advantage of Photoshop CS3's new features, such as Auto-Align Frames.

"Other new Actions are iFaces for portraits; it takes 10 years off. Several variations of the iIRbw are new. That one makes a plausible infrared image from a color shot. I was dismayed with other Faux IR Actions, so I made some of my own.

"The entire iNovaFX Photoshop Actions Chapter 10 was thrown up in the air, restructured into clusters of Actions with a common thread and re-formatted in a more logical manner. What was 38 pages is now 58 pages and greatly easier to absorb."

While you need Photoshop CS3 to read the D40x Raw files anyway, the new Actions take full advantage of CS3 improvements like Photomerge capability and the Lens Distortion and Noise Reduction filters.

The disc also includes what Peter described as "the richest resource a NEFarious Nikonian could want." That's the 210-page Raw Materials volume written by Uwe Steinmueller of the Digital Outback Photo.

That's what we'd call a good deal. But to make it even better order from our Deals section and get free shipping. Fortunately, everything fits on one disc.

[Peter iNova's eBooks for your Canon or Nikon dSLR are available for $49.95 through a special arrangement with Graphics Management Press. That saves subscribers $6.50 on all shipping costs while sharing profits to help support this site. To get the discount, visit http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?dgn to order.]

"(DSLR: Nikon D70) is done incredibly well. Better than anything we've seen. I'm asked to review a good deal of these (third party Nikon topic publications) and yours smokes them."

--Nikon Executive (quoted from email)

From the Press:


Quick Book Review:
DSLR Nikon D200

Until recently, it was popular for a book to include a CD with examples of images and software covered in the book. Publishers and retailers were not fond of this as it complicated the publishing process. Now, many technical computer and photo books include web addresses so readers can download the samples from the author’s or publisher’s websites.

An alternative method of distribution is the eBook. On the whole, these have not been well accepted. They are not as easy to read as books made from dead trees. However, those who have taken the medium and developed it so it delivers a truly interactive experience that can only be accomplished on a website or on a CD have been successful with publishing eBooks. Peter iNova is one of these authors. He has published several incredibly detailed, in-depth eBooks on cameras. His latest is a 624-page eBook with over 2000 images covering usage of the Nikon D200.

What’s more, the eBook ($49.95, available by mail-order from www.gmbooks.com) also includes over 600 Photoshop actions that iNova has created, many of them unique to the D200.

The beauty of the book is that as one scrolls through the pages using Adobe Acrobat Reader, the photographs come alive and everything is interactive. For example, when he lists the different mode settings, one only has to move the computer mouse over the image for the effects to be immediately shown. It’s something that could not be demonstrated as effectively in a printed book. Each entry in the index is clickable, so one can go to the page in question immediately, and naturally, the links to relevant websites are also clickable.

Although the book is aimed at the enthusiast rather than the pro photographer, there is still plenty of information to garner from the book as iNova, with co-author Uwe Steinmueller, delves into the camera’s capabilities and foibles in minute detail.

Aside from not being able to read this book in areas where it’s not possible to use a computer, this eBook offers much greater value than an equivalent printed book.

--John Rettle

From the Photographers:

"Three weeks ago I bought myself a D200 -- and one week ago I ordered your D200 eBook. I have now poured over it for a whole weekend, and just wanted to quickly compliment you for this truly excellent product!

"I have learned a LOT from you in this work and I will certainly return to it now and then for refresher courses.

"I'm a graphic designer and commercial artist by profession (I "live" in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator) so I can really appreciate how you have used the PDF eBook format's many neat possibilities."

--Klaus Nordby

"I enjoy Peter's upbeat style of writing, hard to stop reading once you start. The book is loaded with wisdom, examples, experiments, and software.

"No, it doesn't cover everything you could think of, it covers more than you could think of. It should keep you busy for many many months. Excellent value for the money.

"The RAW workflow addendum by Uwe is also great. If you only are able to use 1/3 rd of this eBook it's still worth the price."

--Warren Flarity

"As a photo hobbyist of more decades than I'd care to recount, I'm absolutely COMPELLED to offer my thanks for the documents you and Uwe prepared for this eBook. Your material explains, instructs and illuminates the 'what is going on inside the box' question in a fashion readily understood and appreciated."

--Steve Channel

"Mr. iNova has really done a wonderful job in creating this MUST HAVE piece of art on the D70. It is easy to read, both on the monitor and on the printed page and is more than worth the price of admission to the inner workings of both the D70 and what not only it can do but what you can do to get the most out of every last image.

"The iNova e-book is fabulous! Obviously written with passion, poise and a great deal of expertise, plus a nice sense of humor. I have spent all day glued to my monitor enjoying Peter's 'works.'

"Santa is coming soon! Put Peter's Nikon D70 e-book on your wish list!"

--Brandi Dempring

"I received it a week or so ago - best money I have spent on digital photography (apart from the D70 itself). Nikon should buy the rights and bundle this eBook with the camera, IMHO.

"Hop off the fence and get the book. You will not regret it for an instant.

"One of the things that makes the eBook so great is the use of interactive content. For example, in many places in the book there are images that show the effects of, say, JPEG compression by presenting an image in one state and then when you roll over or click the image you see the alternative views. It makes understanding the concepts much easier, because you can readily observe the effects being discussed."

--Matt Larson

"When I saw a post about Peter's book I thought that if I pick up 10 to 15 percent of good material, it's a bargain at $50. I received it this afternoon and after a brief look I knew that I would have paid much more for the knowledge I would gain from it."

--Bill Travis (Photographer with an extensive film background)

"Thanks Peter, I ended up printing (the eBook) full size... Anyone reading this thread, I want them to know that I have always enjoyed your eBooks and you are among the finest writers of manuals etc. You seem to know what people are thinking when they read instructions. You have a very fine way of explaining everything. No question it is the best D70 book available. Thanks again,"

--Allen Mankin (D70 Photographer)

"I found the extra material in Peter's book useful and entertaining. His description of the SB-800's interaction with the camera is nothing short of terrific, and (unfortunately) made me want to run out and buy one -- or maybe several -- right away. He shares some great insights into Nikon Capture's image dust-off capabilities and limitations, and provides an alternative approach and a Photoshop action to support it. The book is full of useful tips, as well as suggestions on accessories. I'm finding that it is contributing a great deal to my enjoyment of the D70."

--Dan Frank

"iNova's eBook goes a long ways of explaining the history and science of digital photography as well as a no-nonsense explanation of the manual. In addition it expands into Photoshop and has great info on the basics of post processing. There are also a lot of interactive pictures to explain what he is talking about, very nice touch.

"Oh yeah another nice touch that Peter does is his CD cover. Turn over the nice cover and you have a wonderful shading and color test chart. And there is a load of PS actions that you get permission to use.

"I learned a lot on how to use PS from the actions. I would get iNova's especially if you want to get in to post processing, which totally rounds out the digital picture process and the idea of taking digital photos."

--R Parenteau

Imaging Resource's Review

Book Bag: DSLR: Nikon D70
In our April 6, 2001 issue we called Peter iNova's Nikon Coolpix eBook a Mai Tai on Proverbial Island (the one where you get to take just one book). And, reading that early appreciation, we wouldn't mind quoting more from it in describing his latest edition: "DSLR: Nikon D70" by Peter iNova with Uwe Steinmueller.

But in the intervening years, our appreciation has deepened.

We've noticed no camera manufacturer has ever bundled Peter's seminal works with their camera despite the universal high praise. Why? It's simple. Manufacturers never admit to any problems with either digital photography in general or their cameras in particular. With a chapter like Peter's "The Top 40 Photographic Problems," the book would never get through the first committee approval meeting.

And yet, anyone who's ever pressed a shutter button is relieved to hear there are 40 known solutions. It's encouraging.

That generic help is fleshed out with insider tips for particular camera models. But if you don't happen to own the specific model highlighted, you might take a pass. That would be a mistake. We said in 2001 and we'll repeat, "the eBook is worth having whether you own a Nikon or not. The Photoshop actions don't know what camera took the image they are working on. And the text of the book leaves no basic question unanswered. Sure, there's extra stuff about Nikons, but you can blink if that bothers you."

Incidentally, Nikon made this less of an issue by just announcing a $100 rebate through Dec. 31 on the D70 (with or without a lens).


We've been wearing out the floor trying to decide just which digicam we should invest in next. So we looked forward to some insight on the D70.

Frankly, after years of shooting digital, we're a lot less enamored of the SLR model than we thought we'd be. We've grown to appreciate using the LCD as a viewfinder, having a live histogram, shooting short video clips, swiveling the lens independently of the LCD, pocketing our camera. With a dSLR, you give all that up.

So we looked to Peter and Uwe for some insight. What could we do with a D70 that we couldn't do with, say, a Sony DSC-F828? When you're about to spend $1,000 on a camera you'll live with for a few years, a $50 book by a couple of guys who have been using one for a while is a good investment.

Let's see what you get for your money.


"This eBook," Peter writes in the Preface, "is the product of two authors who each own and use the D70 to capture images of many sorts. Peter iNova shoots as creative director of Metavision. Uwe Steinmueller shoots fine art naturalist photography and is an expert in Raw image format gathering, processing and printing."

Together they've produced a package that covers everything from what a pixel is to how to process Raw images, going well beyond a single PDF. The package includes:

- The D70 PDF eBook itself, now a 378-page 48.9-MB high resolution publication and a 97.2-MB ultra-high resolution publication (whose profuse illustrations, many of which are animated, can be enlarged 400 percent)

- Uwe Steinmeuller's "Raw Materials, Working with Raw Converters", a 3.9-MB, 60-page PDF

- 466 iNovaFX Photoshop actions with Peter iNova's "Shooting for Effect", an eight-page printed piece explaining what to expect from his Photoshop actions

- A color test chart with an in-camera white balance chart and color filters chart printed on the inside of the cover

- Software [MW] including Panorama Tools 2.1, 20/20 MD trial version, a PhotoRescue demo, Acrobat Reader 6 and Photoshop 6.0 Tryout

- Example and practice images with model releases

- ReadMe files in HTML, text and Word formats, clearly the friendliest approach ever invented

- The Web site (http://www.digitalsecrets.net) with "updated information, links, special offers, new techniques and the latest information about these cameras"

That's quite a package for under $50 (and you can save $6.50 on shipping if you take advantage of our special deal at http://www.imaging-resource.com/cgi-bin/nl/pl.cgi?dgn).


Now that you know the table of contents is only a part of the package, let's see exactly what it includes.

The D70 eBook covers:

- Preface and Introduction, which includes a basic glossary of digital photography terms

- Basics and Not So Basics, a history of the development of digital photography that starts from sunrise in prehistory and continues into the science of color reproduction and image editing

- Digital Photo Myth Reduction discusses a baker's dozen commonly held assumptions about photography, some true and most not

- The Photoshop Connection reveals seven essential techniques for image manipulation of tone and color

- Using Photoshop Layers, written by Uwe, explains the concept of layers and how to effectively use adjustment layers

- D70 Operation provides 102 pages on the Nikon dSLR, including over 400 InfoBites (one-paragraph guides, notes, factoids or warnings)

- SB-800 Operation covers Nikon's new Creative Lighting System, as well as using older Nikon flash technology with the D70

- How Do I? The Top 40 Photographic Problems guides you through common issues like turning the camera on, balancing color, zooming the lens, making double exposures, shooting panoramas, handling fast action, using external flash and more

- Learning Digitography -- Self Help Course is a series of photographic exercises designed to improve your compositional and technical skills

- Printing Digital Photographs offers sound, practical advice from someone who has been through several generations of Canon, Epson and HP printers

- Special Effects introduces a number of image edits you'll actually come to rely on, from using blurs to creating multiple exposures

- Vexing FAQs answers general questions about memory cards, using flash, minimizing print fading, preferred lighting setups and D70 accessories

- InovaFX Action Operation describes the accompanying Photoshop actions, which include barrel distortion correction, chromatic aberration repair, push processing, noise reduction, glare enhancement, JPEG artifact reduction, dynamic range extension, color to black/white conversion, artistic effects and a lot more

- Appendix, Index, Gallery

Uwe's eBook is divided into two parts:

- *Raw Files Defined* includes What are Raw files, the Raw file advantage, Color aliasing/moires, What about using JPEG and not Raw, Capturing photos in the field, Using your camera's histogram, Color channel cupping, Optimal white balance, Object/subjective white balance and Selecting the right ISO.

- *Working with Raw Files* adds The Raw workflow, Principle workflow steps, Adobe Camera Raw ACR, Phase One's Capture One DSLR and Nikon Capture.

And Uwe has chimed in here and there throughout the larger eBook. We were particularly charmed by his note on why he only shoots in manual mode in Chapter 4.


In fact, Chapter 4 is the part of the book that puts D70 in the title. But it's an enjoyable read, entertaining in a way manuals are not (you know, written by a "person").

It begins with a tour of the camera, its control layout, exposure modes, card recommendation, power options -- all spiced with tidbits like using the camera's Auto/Manual focus switch rather than the one on the lens, using CR2 lithiums to power the camera in a pinch, why the camera never shuts down.

Performance is highlighted along the way, as we learn how the camera powers up instantly and is always at the ready, unlike many digicams. Special attention is paid to explaining the design so you can take advantage of its efficiencies.

Peter considers the full range of typical setup decisions (focus mode, image size, compression setting), liberally sprinkling the discussion with practical advice. When you're ready to shoot, he gives you just enough of the D70 menu system to get to work before explaining each Scene mode.

"Instant response is the hallmark of the D70. It's the first dSLR to act and react this quickly," he writes in discussing the image review system. Snap the shot and it appears instantly on the LCD. Peter then explains how to evaluate the screen display, including the histogram.

His discussion of Flexible Program Adjust, in which Program mode's default shutter and aperture settings can be adjusted using a command dial, is nicely illustrated with a shot of the D70 showing how to access that dial as well as the EV adjust dial with one hand. You appreciate the design that went into such details when you see exactly how to use them.

Both the 18-70mm AF-S Nikkor D70 kit lens and alternative Nikkor lenses are extensively covered, the discussion delving into slide copying and T-mounts for telescopes. The advantages of particular Nikkors are discussed in detail.

The discussion on focusing leads to white balance which leads to metering, wending its way naturally through all the menu options.

There's also a hefty section on dealing with the D70's "character traits," little peculiarities like the easily fogged monitor cover (and how to avoid it) or the safety switch on the focus-assist light that shuts it down for 10 minutes. Practical problems like standing the camera up, offloading images from the card and cleaning dust off the sensor are also covered. There's even a discussion on how to use the lid from a tin of smoked oysters to make a bounce flash reflector.

Then Peter tackles the new SB-800 flash and the advantages of Nikon's Creative Lighting System technology. After exhausting that topic, the chapter continues with a discussion of using older Nikon flashes (which ones work, which don't and what their limitations are). Peter lays out all your options.

Nikon Capture software is then compared to Photoshop. Nikon includes only a trial version of Capture, so the comparison helps you decide whether to spring $100 for a license. Perspective control and dust management are highlighted.

Finally, a number of accessories are discussed, including remote controls. And we say "finally" very lightly. We've skimmed over a lot of what this chapter covers.


Uwe's accompanying 60-page tome on Raw file workflow is also a very readable presentation, clearly explaining the difference between JPEG and Raw formats.

"In-camera JPEG is like shooting a Polaroid (where you just shoot and get your image processed immediately) and the RAW is like the film that can be developed and enhanced in the dark room," he writes. His PDF explains how to handle what your sensor captures, helping it evolve from a data file into an image file.

You'll learn why sharpening a Raw image is critical, how to evaluate a histogram, when to set white balance and how. But, like Peter, he gives you all your options, discussing how to optimize your camera settings if you decide you just want to shoot JPEGs.

After describing the Raw workflow, Uwe shows you how to use Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in, Phase One's Capture One DSLR (C1) and Nikon's Capture to achieve the optimal image from the sensor data.


After reading through these PDFs, we came to appreciate what the D70 can do. From small aides like viewfinder grid lines (which can be disabled) to major issues like power up and shutter lag and well beyond to how it behaves shooting Raw images, we learned in a few hours what it would have a taken a month and a thousand bucks to find out.

Even more, this one publication can literally take you off the street and make you conversant with what's going on today in digital imaging. It's like hanging out with a couple of pros who are so excited about what they're doing they can't stop talking about it. And showing you with illustrations exactly what they mean.

It remains the single best addition to any camera kit, providing an encyclopedic discussion of digital imaging with a specific discussion of your camera and a wealth of Photoshop actions to get you going with image editing magic.

TITLE: dSLR: Nikon D70 by Peter iNova with Uwe Steinmueller, Two volumes, 378+60 pages, on CD at $50 directly from the publisher at http://www.digitalsecrets.net/.

--Dave Etchells, Publisher, and Mike Pasini, Editor, Imaging Resource

 Note: These eBooks are neither endorsed nor produced by Nikon Inc nor Canon Inc. nor any other equipment manufacturer. They are a private effort and present each subject camera, optics and accessories in an informative manner without editorial influence from the maker of these products.