If you need a manual for a recent model, the best place to start is the manufacturer's web site, because many camera manufacturers will supply replacement manuals for current models at a small fee. A few major manufacturers maintain files of freely downloadable manuals for discontinued models, such as Mamiya, Minolta, Olympus and Pentax (see instructions below).
For other discontinued cameras, check the free camera manual sites below to see if a scanned or downloadable version is available. If you can't find a free manual or you just want to get a manual without downloading and printing one, your best bet might be an original or reprinted manual from one of the online retailers listed at the bottom of this page.
Free Camera Manual SitesFavorite Classics / Instruction Manuals - Many scanned manuals for classics from Argus C-3 through Ziess Ikon Nettar, as well as some repair manuals. This site also has a handy list of links to manuals available on other web sites.
Fujica 35mm SLR Cameras - Scans of a half-dozen Fujica SLR manuals.
Henry's Cameras - Manual Links - Links to manuals available elsewhere online. Includes links to quite a few digital camera manuals.
Mamiya America - Downloadable PDF files for most current and some discontinued models.
Mamiya TLR Manuals - HTML and PDF versions of C330 manual, plus scanned version of C220 manual.
Konica Minolta Manuals - Konica Minolta has downloadable PDF versions of manuals for most Maxxums. many manual focus Minolta SLRs and accessories.
Olympus America - Downloadable PDF manuals for Olympus point-and-shoot cameras, the OM-series SLRs, the IS-series and others. From the main Olympus America home page, click on "Film Cameras." On the next page, click "Support" in the menu and select "Brochures and Manuals" from the drop-down menu.
"Orphan" Camera Manuals - Lots of scanned manuals on non-Pentax K-mount SLRs, plus screw mount models from Cosina, Yashica, Zenith, Praktica and others.
Pentax USA -This is how it should be done - a great manufacturer's site, with freely downloadable PDF files for almost all of their products, from their most recent digital cameras to the original Spotmatic SLRs and earlier. They even have manuals for esoteric accessories, such as the old Stereo Adapter sets.
Photography in Maylaysia - Manuals - HTML or scanned versions of manuals for many modern classic SLRs from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and others. In some cases, supplementary information posted about the cameras and their accessories is even more detailed than the original manuals.
Polaroid User Guides - Downloadable PDF user guides for most recent and some older Polaroid models. There's also a very nice downloadable handbook on pinhole photography as well as a guide to the Holga novelty camera.
Rollei User Manual Recreations - Downloadable PDF manuals for Rolleicord III, V, Rolleiflex Automat, MX-EVS.
Vivitar Flash Manuals - These aren't camera manuals, but it's nice to know Vivitar makes downloadable PDF manuals available for some of their popular flashes, including the 283, 285HV, 550FD, 2800 and 5000 Macro.
Richard Urmonas' - Photo Manuals - Scanned manuals of classics, including Agfa, Braun, Plaubel, Sekonic meters, Voigtlander Vito, Zeiss Ikon Contaflex IV.
Vintage Camera Manuals - Downloadable scans of classic camera manuals.
Camera Manual RetailersCameraDocs.com - Specializes in hard-to-find manuals for older cameras. PDF file downloads.
Craig Camera - Over 11,000 original and reprinted manuals, plus repair manuals and collectible photographic literature.
Finger Lakes Photo Books - Manuals reprinted from scans of originals.
Manuals 2 Go - Thousands of reprinted manuals, plus PDF files for download or on CD.
ManualsRus.com - PDF downloads, printed manuals, plus PDF files on CD..