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Nikon’s Curious Policy on User Manuals Has Some Customers Grumbling

Apparently Nikon has decide to save some trees (and shipping weight) by no longer including user manuals in some of its digital cameras. Since most people likely never touch the manuals anyway, it’s not really a problem, but the company’s draconian stance towards downloadable instruction manuals has some customers grumbling.

Search for a particular camera’s user manual on Nikon’s site, and you’ll be greeted with the message,

To protect against Copyright Infringement, Nikon offers two versions of our current product manuals. A fully printable manual for existing owners (which requires a valid, North American, Nikon camera serial number and registration to download) and a non-printable version for others (no serial number required). [#]

So basically, the company will let you download a manual onto your computer without any hassle, but if you want to print it out, you’ll need to go through a registration process to access a printable version of the file.

Kyle Wagner over at Gizmodo writes,

Nikon does offer a fully printable version of its manuals if you just happen to have your camera’s serial number and registration information on hand, but seriously! How is that necessary? It’s not even the inconvenience of the thing (which does kind of stink). It’s the sheer absurdity of it. What does Nikon possibly stand to lose from users printing out a copy of their manual?

Is Canon’s policy any different? Upon first glance it might appear so, but it actually isn’t. You can download a user manual without any hassle or copyright warnings, but try to print it out and you’ll find that each page has a big fat [COPY] watermark. There also doesn’t appear to be any warning about the watermark, or a link to a non-watermarked version that requires registration. Thus, this isn’t really a Nikon issue, but an issue with the way camera companies deal with downloadable user manuals.

My guess is that the policy is meant to make it more difficult for counterfeit cameras to have legitimate-looking user manuals, but this just means a counterfeit maker can simply pay for a single camera (or borrow a serial number) in exchange for a downloadable manual. At the same time, legitimate camera customers are smacked with a great deal of inconvenience, especially if more and more manufactures decide to start saving trees.

(via @Beschizza via Gizmodo via Nikon Rumors)


 
 
  • Anonymous

    That’s just stupid.  Completely unnecessary in my opinion, and it can be bypassed, but no legitimate customer should have to go through the inconvenience of validating themselves to print a few pages of the manual.  I’ve never seen any other product where the PDF is locked down to prevent anything.

  • Mpatton99 55

    Smacked with a great deal of inconvenience, really?  How hard is it to have your camera/box/receipt handy?  Overblown to the nth degree.

  • tje1964

    I like to download manuals for cameras I’m THINKING about buying, so I can see if I like the user interface.  If Nikon makes cameras with logical and user friendly controls, they should WANT me to look at the manual BEFORE I buy.

  • Jerry Davis

    What a dreadful first world problem. How horrible.

  • Jerry Davis

    You can look at the manual. They just don’t want you to print the thing for some reason.

  • Stuken

    This entire post is completely moot. All Nikon Cameras come with a complete instruction manual on a CD that is downloadable and printable as a PDF. This is included in the box at the time of sale. People need to learn to read everything that comes in the box, and freak out less on the internet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/happytinfoilcat HappyTinfoil Cat

    Clearly they don’t want people selling manuals, and I’d bet that they actually sell the printed versions separately.  Nikon gets your info and ties it to the embedded serial number of the document whereas Canon puts a watermark on it. It’s an inconvenience for me to rummage through my storage to find the box / receipt just so I can print out a few pages I want to keep handy.  I don’t want every electronic device I buy to start with this nonsense even if they supply the printed version originally. After having a very bad experience I find anything resembling creeping DRM annoying to the max.

    As an engineer, I find a few companies that do this kind of thing with their datasheets. Guess who I don’t design in.

  • Bradford

    Canon does not allow you to print at all. Seems to me that making life more difficult for customers is just stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Has nothing to do with trees.
    Has everything to do with corporate fear of the unknown ways someone might want to use the manual.

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Has nothing to do with trees.
    Has everything to do with corporate fear of the unknown ways someone might want to use the manual.

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Has nothing to do with trees.
    Has everything to do with corporate fear of the unknown ways someone might want to use the manual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1444195588 Aaron David Cole

    Unless you buy the camera used/2nd hand.

  • Anonymous

    Citation, please?  Just to test, I downloaded the full 7D manual and printed a page without any trouble.

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

    +1

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

    +1

  • http://twitter.com/Soiden Sebastián Soto

    Sell them?

  • shamb

    I suppose the only camera where you would need to read a manual to work out how to take a photo would be the Canons….

    *runs*

  • izzi

    I purchased the camera used and am going through this right now. What a pain in the a**! Absurdly inconvenient and ridiculous policy, if I am paying to print it. I’d even buy one from them, but they sell my model, which isn’t that old.