Originally Posted by Mike Hardy
Constantly checking FOCUS is a must, I find. Keep the exposure meter balanced about right, give a stop or two, and you can't go too far wrong. Alternatively, lock the shutter at 1/50th and let the camera do its own thing for a nice 'filmic' look, especially in 25p (Pal land, 24 fps elsewhere), mode. Books and videos have ther use, but the cost of some of these courses, to my mind, is money better spent on tapes for practise.
It's focus in manual mode I can't get to grips with, try as I might I twirl the ring and there doesn't seem as though much is happening even if I use the magnify button. Thankfully, auto focus has worked ok for me so far!
Just to go back on what you were saying about the controls, I agree that the manual covers practically all you need to know but it fails to explain what certain controls actually do or the implications of changing a setting. OK so you can shoot some footage and see for yourself, but not necessarily, the settings may not be visible on the subject your testing on, or the result may be perfect for what your testing on, then when you're off somewhere it produces total crap. All this test shooting is a painstaking tasks of trial and error whereas a mention in the manual, a book or DVD stating that doing this will result in that but beware of the other, at least saves times and reduces unnecessary wasted effort.