One of the benefits I’ve been enjoying since the iPad came out (and even with the iPhone before that) is having all of my electronics and camera gear manuals on my iDevices in PDF. Most companies now allow you to download manuals in PDF format. While I’ve got some great PDF viewing and storing Apps on my iDevices, Nikon has released one specifically for their manuals. Now before I go any further I must say that this seems a bit redundant if you already have a PDF viewing App (even the free iBooks App lets you do this) that you love. Also when the App 1st came out it was so buggy that it was basically “unusable”. However, they’ve updated it a couple of times to where I thought I’d give it a second look.
Quick access to manuals for current Nikon gear
Like I said above, I had the manuals for my Nikon cameras, speedlights and other equipment on my iPad before this App came out. I was curious though as to what this App would bring to the table? The first thing is that you don’t have to search around on their website to find the manuals for your gear. All of the available manuals (current gear ONLY) show up right in the App for download. You can download just the ones you want at any time for offline viewing. Once you have the manual(s) you want on your device then you can flip through the pages, do searches and make bookmarks. Nothing earth shattering here, but it does work. As you would expect there is NO Printing capability. Even on Nikon’s regular site you can only download “printable” manuals if you are “registered” for that specific piece of gear. Otherwise the manuals you download freely are for on screen viewing only. The App works as advertised now and is probably very useful for someone who doesn’t have a computer and only has iOS devices as it’s easy to download and view the manuals directly sans iTunes. It is the easiest fastest way to get their manuals on your device.
The Bottom Line
Not sure why Nikon invested in reinventing the wheel here as this was already pretty possible with their existing manuals and pretty much any PDF viewer on iOS? However, this Universal App is FREE and gives you fast access to find the manuals you want. It’s a pity that they don’t let you grab manuals for discontinued gear or even the newly announced gear like the D4 and D800. I’m sure those will be added, but they would have won another star from me had they been available sooner or at launch. This was also a missed opportunity to do MORE. Perhaps some interactive elements to show the features in action. Videos, etc.