The holidays are probably a dim memory, with most of us having been sucked back into the rock pile. That makes it an ideal time to look back on a customer experience I had with one of my electronic gadget gifts, an Olympus E-510 digital SLR camera.
My primary digital camera for the last two years has been a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200, and pretty happy with it. It gave me good quality photos and the compact size was great when traveling. But when your primary photo subject is a 3-year-old, perpetual motion machine, the shutter delay is murder. You miss so many moments.
Needless to say I was quite pleased to receive the Olympus. Felt great holding a substantial camera body again. Like the old days, when we all used to shoot on film. Now getting electronics as gifts has been known to strike fear into the hearts of normally courageous men. We’ve all been there. You tear open the box and want to dive right in. But the manufacturer just didn’t put much thought into how to help the average consumer get up to speed quickly. What a lost opportunity. It has gotten better over the years, but it is still an uneven experience. You never know what you’re going to get when you break the seal.
So there I am. Box open, excited, ready to take pictures NOW! The Olympus out-of-the-box experience was really first rate. The Quick Start Guide was just that, a quick start guide. Divided into 14 equal and distinct sections, the guide takes the user from unpacking the box, through taking a picture, and connecting to your computer so you can see that first photo. Exceptionally well done, including how to use the control buttons, adjusting for image quality, using flash, etc. You really don’t have to crack the manual to get a lot of use out of the camera.
The instruction manual gets even better. First they include a different copy of the manual for each language, instead of cramming English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese into one super thick book. What a joy! Thank you Olympus. Could immediately put the other manuals into the recycle bin and know that I will actually be able to read every word of every page that was left behind. This is particularly important, as this feature-rich camera will require frequent reference during the first few weeks of use. No more fumbling through the pages to find the King’s English.
The authors of this manual clearly have pride in workmanship. They took the time to organize it logically, separating camera basics from mastering the E-510, so know when you’re graduating to the next level. Another plus is the manual is written for the E-510 and only the E-510, vs. trying to cover several cameras in one document and leaving it to the user to sort it out. It’s rounded out with a well appointed index; always a sign that no one got lazy or rushed in the end.
I am happily snapping away, capturing even more great images to be enjoyed for years. Consumer electronics companies. If you’re reading this, take a lesson.