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Mastering the Nikon D i

Mastering the Nikon D3000


ii Mastering the Nikon D

Darrell Young - Author

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) is an in-


formation technology engineer by trade
and has been an avid photographer for
over  years. He has a rather large fam-
ily, with his wife and five children, so he
has a constantly interesting flow of pho-
tographic opportunities. In fact, his en-
tire family uses Nikon cameras to pursue
what has become a cohesive family hobby.

Darrell delights in using Nikon’s newest


digital cameras but if pressed, he will ad-
mit to being a “closet” film user too. Liv-
ing next to the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park has given him a real con-
cern for, and interest in, nature photogra-
phy. Darrell loves to write, as you can see
in the Resources area of the Nikonians.
org community. He joined the community
in the year , and his literary contri-
butions led to his invitation to become a
Founding Member of the Nikonians Writ-
ers Guild.
Mastering the Nikon D iii

Mastering the Nikon D3000

Darrell Young
iv Mastering the Nikon D

Darrell Young (aka Digital Darrell)

Editor (Rocky Nook): Gerhard Rossbach


Editor (Nikonians): Tom Bone´
Production editor: Joan Dixon
Copyeditor: Judy Flynn
Layout and type: Jan Martí, Command Z
Cover design: Helmut Kraus, www.exclam.de
Printer: Friesens Corporation
Printed in Canada

Front cover photo: Nikon USA


Back cover photo: Darrell Young

st Edition
© Nikonians North America 
Rocky Nook Inc.
 West Mission Street Ste 
Santa Barbara, CA -

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Young, Darrell, -


Mastering the Nikon D / Darrell Young. -- st ed.
p. cm.
ISBN ---- (alk. paper)
. Nikon digital cameras--Handbooks, manuals, etc. . Single-lens reflex cameras--Handbooks,
manuals, etc. . Photography--Digital techniques--Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Title.
TR.NY 
.’--dc


Distributed by O‘Reilly Media


 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 

All product names and services identified throughout this book are trademarks or registered trade-
marks of their respective companies. They are used throughout this book in editorial fashion only
and for the benefit of such companies. No such uses, or the use of any trade name, are intended to
convey endorsement or other affiliation with the book. No part of the material protected by this
copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written per-
mission of the copyright owner. While reasonable care has been exercised in the preparation of this
book, the publisher and authors assume no responsibility or errors or omissions, or for damages
resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.


This book is dedicated to v

This book is dedicated to:

My mother, Barbara, who birthed me …

My father, Joe, who guided my early life …

My wife, Brenda, who puts up with my grouchiness,


and feeds me while I’m at the keyboard …

My kids, Autumn, David, Emily, Hannah, and Ethan


who see the back of Daddy’s head often …

My Nikonians editor, Tom Boné,


without whose assistance I could not possibly write books …

My friends, J. Ramon Palacios and Bo Stahlbrandt,


who make it possible to belong to Nikonians.org,
the world’s best Nikon User’s Community …

And, finally, to Nikon, who makes the world’s best cameras and lenses.
vi Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1
vi Table of Contents 2 Examining the Nikon D3000
 Digital Sensor Basics, or Why Does
a DSLR Make Better Images?
xiii Foreword
 Section  –
Initial Camera Configuration
 External Camera Controls
xiv Preface
 First Use of the Nikon D
 Initial Camera Setup
 Formatting the Memory Card
 I Want to Take Some Pictures Now!
 Section  –
Adjusting the Nikon D’s
Settings
 The Difference Between
the Information Screen and
Information Edit Menu
 My Conclusions
Table of Contents vii

2 3
28 Nikon Guide Menus – 42 Guide Menu – Advanced Use
Basic Use
 Shoot Menu Screen Review
 Shoot Guide Menu – Basic Use  Shoot Menu’s More Settings
 Shoot Menu – Easy Operation Selection
 Shoot Menu – Advanced Operation  Shoot Menu’s Timers &
 My Conclusions Remote Control
 Guide Menu’s View/Delete
Selections
 Guide Menu’s Set up Selections
 My Conclusions
viii Table of Contents

4 5
90 Playback Menu 128 Shooting and Information
Edit Menus
 Delete Function
 Playback Folder  Using the Shooting Menu
 Display Mode  Using the Information Edit Menu
 Image Review  Reset Shooting Options
 Rotate Tall  Set Picture Control
 Slide Show  Image quality
 Printing Pictures without a  Image size
Computer  White balance
 Section  –  ISO sensitivity settings
PictBridge Printing  Active D-Lighting
 Section  –  Color Spaces
Print Set (DPOF)  Noise reduction
 Stop-Motion Movie  Release mode
 My Conclusions  Focus modes
 AF-Area Modes
 AF-Assist
 Metering
 Built-in flash
 Flash Compensation
 Exposure Compensation
 Flash Modes
 My Conclusions
Table of Contents ix

6 7
178 Setup Menu 224 Retouch and Recent Settings
Menus
 Reset Setup Options
 Format Memory Card  Section  –
 LCD Brightness Retouch Menu
 Info Display Format  D-Lighting
 Auto Info Display  Red-Eye Correction
 Clean Image Sensor  Trim
 Mirror Lock-Up  Monochrome
 Video Mode  Filter Effects
 Time Zone and Date  Color Balance
 Language  Small Picture
 Image Comment  Image Overlay
 Auto Image Rotation  NEF (RAW) Processing
 Dust Off Ref Photo  Quick Retouch
 Auto Off Timers  Color Outline
 Self-Timer Delay  Miniature Effect
 Remote on Duration  Stop-Motion Movie
 Beep  Before and After
 Viewfinder Options  Section  –
 File Number Sequence Recent Settings
 Buttons  My Conclusions
 No Memory Card?
 Date Imprint
 Active Folder
 Firmware Version
 My Conclusions
x Table of Contents

8 9
258 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and 280 Exposure Metering System,
Focal Length Exposure Modes, and
Histogram
 Understanding the Camera’s
Aperture  Section  –
 How Does the Aperture Work? – Exposure Metering Systems
An Experiment  D Color Matrix II Metering
 What Is an Aperture Number?  Center-Weighted Metering
 Using Older Lenses with an  Spot Metering
Aperture Ring  Section  –
 Using the Camera’s Aperture Exposure Modes
 Understanding Depth of Field  P – Programmed Auto Mode
 Effect of Focal Length on  S – Shutter-Priority Auto Mode
Depth of Field  A – Aperture-Priority Auto Mode
 Understanding the Camera’s  M – Manual Mode
Shutter Speed  My Recommendations on
 Using the Aperture and Shutter Exposure Mode Selection
Speed Together for Great Pictures  Full AUTO and Scene Modes
 A Little More Exposure Detail  Why Have Scene Modes?
 General Shutter Speed/Aperture  Section  –
Exposure Rule Histogram
 Aperture and Shutter Speed Chart  Understanding the Histogram
 Focal Length (An Overview)
 Vibration Reduction (VR) Lenses  My Conclusions
 Focus Motor in the Lens
 A Simple Warning
 My Conclusions
Table of Contents xi

10 11
310 White Balance 326 Multi-CAM 1000 Autofocus
 How Does White Balance (WB)  What is the Multi-CAM 
Work? Autofocus Module?
 Color Temperature  AF System Override with Lens
 Method  – Setting White Balance Setting
with the Information Edit Screens  Understanding the Focus,
 Method  – Setting White Balance AF-Area, and Release Modes
with the Shooting Menu  Focus Modes in Detail
 Mired WB Fine-Tuning Values  Auto-servo AF mode (AF-A)
 Measuring Ambient Light and  Single-servo AF mode (AF-S)
Using PRE  Continuous-servo AF mode (AF-C)
 Selecting the WB from a Previously  Manual focus (MF)
Taken Image  AF-Area Modes in Detail
 Auto White Balance  Single-Point AF-Area Mode
 Should I Worry about White  Dynamic-Area Autofocus
Balance if I Shoot in RAW Mode?  Auto-Area Autofocus
 My Conclusions  D-Tracking ( Points) Autofocus
 Release Modes in Detail
 Single Frame Mode
 Continuous Mode
 Three Additional Release Modes
 My Conclusions
xii Table of Contents

12
346 Speedlight Flash Photography
 What is a Guide Number?
 Using the D’s Flash Settings
 Shutter Curtain Information
 Understanding the Flash Modes
 What is the Nikon Creative
Lighting System (CLS)?
 How Does the D Fit into the
CLS Scheme?
 Selecting a Nikon Speedlight
Flash Unit
 My Conclusions about Flash
 Conclusion
Table of Contents xiii

Foreword

Nikonian Darrell Young, known to us as for many years as Digital Darrell, has consis-
tently been a source of instructional wisdom delivered with a touch of friendly humor.

His extensive collection of informative articles has been a valuable resource in the ar-
ticles knowledge base, Resources at Nikonians.

This new work represents yet another progression in the rapid growth of our interna-
tional community of photographers from all walks of life, recently exceeding ,
members from nearly  countries, and is a way to further confirm our Nikonians vo-
cation in education, reopening an additional communication channel—books—to our
existing more than  interactive forums, The Nikonian eZine, Nikonians Academy
Workshops, Nikonians News Blog, Nikonians podcasts, etc.

Nikonians has earned a reputation as a friendly, reliable, informative, and passion-


ate Nikon user’s community thanks in great measure to members like our own Digital
Darrell, who have taken the time to share the results of their experiences with Nikon
imaging equipment, despite the pressures of their day jobs.

The Nikonians community has long been known as a welcoming, worldwide home for
Nikon users, and Darrell’s specialty in his writing is the ability to share his knowledge
in the spirit of a friendly uncle who may be visiting with you in the comfort of your
own living room. He understands that many owners of the Nikon D may be just
entering into the world of DSLR cameras and he takes time to guide them through
some of the basics of photography. Darrell’s easy and friendly approach is appreci-
ated by the increasing number of our community members who have been fortunate
enough to acquire the D.

We would like to congratulate Darrell for his work on this project, and special thanks
goes to Tom Boné, Nikonians Chief Editor who has helped in streamlining the publica-
tion process in this, the sixth of the NikoniansPress books, in association with
Rocky Nook.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) and J. Ramón Palacios (jrp)


Nikonians Founders
www.nikonians.org
xiv Preface

Preface

I grew up looking at pictures.


Ever since I was a baby my mother took hundreds of photographs of our family
life, capturing small pieces of time frozen in little negative squares. Today, I can
still look back at those images and they awaken memories that would otherwise be
forgotten.
In , my dear Mom gave me my first Brownie Hawkeye camera, and that
little camera ignited a fire in me for taking pictures. I remember my mother’s
words of instruction, “Load the film in a dark place, never open the film door until
after you rewind, and keep the sun behind you when you shoot”.
From that day forward I often carried a camera with me. I took the fuzzy
pictures of a -year-old as I hiked up the Roosevelt Mountain in Rockwood,
Tennessee, USA, with my brother Steven and my friend named Scott. Every major
event of my life has a few frames attached.
As an adult, I began photographing my own family, and to this day I’ve been
documenting the growth of my five children. From my earliest memories, photog-
raphy has been a part of my life, and I’ll keep on shooting as long as I am able.
The year  was a milestone for me; that’s when I got my first Nikon camera.
It was a nearly new Nikon FM, and I reveled in its incredible build, and the unbe-
lievable images it produced. Before then, I had been shooting with Kodak  and
 cameras, and although those images have priceless personal value, they would
win no contests. I graduated from negatives to transparencies in , as I realized
that even sharper and less grainy images could be created in those delightful little
two-inch squares. I loved film, and shot a lot of it. I wanted to shoot even more, but
the cost of raising kids took precedence over the cost of film and processing.
The year  changed everything for me photographically. I had been play-
ing around with a Kodak point-and-shoot digital camera, and I finally got a Nikon
Coolpix . While the pictures were fun and easy to make, they did not equal the
quality of my mm images, so I viewed digital cameras as only toys. Then Nikon
released the  MP D, and Digital Darrell was born. Never before had I shot so
many images. With the “free” use of the camera, I took thousands of photographs
Table of Contents xv

that I would never have considered taking with expensive film, and thus I moved
to a new level of photography in the process. Digital cameras can offer an educa-
tional course in photography within themselves.
My love of digital photography grew, as did my relationship with the world’s
premier Nikon User Community, www.Nikonians.org. I came on board as a char-
ter member in late , and after my D arrived I really become involved as a
member. I wrote a camera review that J. Ramón Palacios liked, (JRP is one of the
co-owners of the Nikonians.org website, along with Bo Stahlbrandt) and he asked
me if I’d like to write a few articles for Nikonians.org. At that time, I didn’t even
know I was a writer! Thank you, JRP!
I practically lived on Nikonians.org, spending hours there each day, first as a
moderator, and then as a founding member of the Nikonian Writer’s Guild. JRP
asked me to write as often as I could, and he posted my articles for others to read.
Wow, did my ego swell! Now, I am privileged to write instructional books for
Nikon users. This book is the fifth book I’ve authored in the Mastering the Nikon
DSLR series, which is a joint effort between Nikonians Press, Rocky Nook, and
myself.
Since , I’ve used nearly all of Nikon’s DSLR cameras. All of them were
excellent and gave me great images. Now, in , I have the new Nikon D.
Since I carry a camera with me everywhere, I love the small size, the large LCD
screen, and the new automatic shooting modes. With the video mode I can easily
switch from shooting stills to video, and then later I can make wonderful comput-
er presentations, combining music, stills, and video. And of course, the image
quality from the camera is simply outstanding.
The D is an impressive little camera with many user-friendly features. In
addition to the new automatic modes, it can be used in rather complex manual
modes; therefore this book should help you to understand it thoroughly.
Additional help is available to you at the world’s premier Nikon User’s
Community, Nikonians.org. This truly is an International Community of over
, Nikon users. Talk about a Nikon resource! As a Nikon user, you are
xvi Preface

probably already a member, but if you’re not, please log on to www.Nikonians.org


and become at least a Silver member. Nikonians.org is a goldmine of photograph-
ic knowledge for Nikon users and is unmatched by any other resource available.
Mastering the Nikon D has a coupon in the back offering  off a Gold
Membership at Nikonians.org. The Gold level gives you a lot of benefits, such as
a personal blog, a large gallery, access to private forums, personal business cards,
photographer’s ID, membership certificate, and your own Nikonians.org email
address. If you use the coupon, it will basically pay for the price of this book!
I feel greatly privileged to be a Nikonian, to have such knowledgeable and
friendly associates, and to help provide yet another, much requested resource in
the form of a printed book. I hope you enjoy this book and that you greatly bene-
fit from it, and most of all that you find joy in using your chosen photographic
tool … the Nikon D.

Keep on capturing time …

Digital Darrell
(Darrell Young)
Colors and Wording Legend xvii

Colors and Wording Legend

Throughout this book you will be presented with words displayed in two colors along
with the use of italics. The two colors are blue and green, and are used as follows.

t The camera’s physical features are in blue.


t Function and settings viewed on an LCD screen are in green.
t Textual prompts given by the camera on a screen are in Italics
t On select occasions, Italics or Bold Italics are used for special emphasis.

Here is an example of the colors and italics in use:

Press the Menu button to reach the Setup Menu and then scroll to Format memory card
option by pressing the down arrow on the Multi selector. You will see a message
reminding you, All images on Memory card will be deleted. OK? Select Yes and then
push the OK button.
1  Examining the Nikon D

Examining the Nikon D3000


1  Examining the Nikon D

Examining the Nikon D3000



1
The Nikon D may turn out to be one the point-and-shoot world and moving
of the most popular cameras ever made into the DSLR universe.
by Nikon. Why do I say that? Well, its pre- Who uses a Nikon D camera? I
decessor—the Nikon D—was one of gave this some thought and arrived at the
Nikon’s best-selling cameras. The D following user types. See if you recognize
adds more features, including a more yourself in our D Photographer
powerful autofocus system and the new Type list:
Nikon Guide Mode for new users. I think . A new user of the DSLR camera type
in the long run it will outsell the D. . A student photographer learning to
Many people are seeing the need for use the full power of photography
higher image quality for various reasons. . A photographer on a budget who wants
Some just want to make big enlarge- superior images
ments. Others may want to sell digital . An experienced photographer who
images on stock photography websites. A needs a backup camera
digital single lens reflex (DSLR) is signifi- . A traveling photographer who wants a
cantly better than a point-and-shoot lightweight DSLR camera
camera for making sharp, noise-free . A photographer who wants a camera
images. Thus, a lot of people are leaving on their person at all times
1  Examining the Nikon D

I’m sure you can come up with even more camera types. The Nikon D is no
types of photographers and reasons for exception. It does its best to allow an
using this small, inexpensive yet power- experienced photographer to take excel-
ful camera. It certainly is a capable little lent images, and it’s ready to help an inex-
thing, with robust manual and fully auto- perienced photographer “learn the ropes”.
matic features. The D is a transitional camera for
In fact, I’m surprised at how many many. It’s a stop on the way to even more
ways you can access the features and powerful Nikons. It is a place for learn-
functions built into this Nikon. It has the ing to shoot with an interchangeable lens
old-style text-based menu system famil- camera for quite a few. Some have come
iar to long-time users of Nikon DSLRs. over from the Nikon Coolpix point-and-
It also has a new, fully graphical, user- shoot world, having developed the desire
assisting Nikon Guide Mode that covers for even higher-quality pictures and
the same features as the text-based the ability to use all sorts of lenses for
menu system plus offers some useful creative control. DSLRs are for those with
basic training on things like aperture and a “passion” for photography.
shutter speed. And finally, it has a short- Let’s briefly explore some interesting
cut system called the Information screens information on DSLR camera types, and
that can be used as either a graphical or then we’ll examine the controls on the
text-based way to edit the camera’s most camera body so that we’ll have a reference
important functions. We’ll look at all point for the rest of this book. Next, we’ll
these in detail as we go through this book. look at the initial setup of the camera
I consider myself a number  from my for those just opening the box on a new
Photographer Type list. I want a camera D. Finally, we’ll look into the various
with me everywhere I go. People have menu systems and Information screens, so
grown accustomed to seeing me with a that you can decide which best fits your
Nikon bag or camera over my shoulder. needs and then make adjustments to your
I think I’d look strange to many without new camera. We’ll cover each of these
the omnipresent camera. Are you like briefly here in this first chapter and in
that? Do you look at the world around you great detail in subsequent chapters.
in wonderment and want to capture those
Basic Camera Setup
little slices of time called photographs,
at any moment or place? The D is Please note that the first time you turn on
so small and light that you can slip it in the D, it will present you with a series
a briefcase or purse and have it with you of five setup screens that you must config-
for those once-in-a-lifetime shots that ure. So it is a good idea to continue reading
a little of this chapter before proceeding.
make others say, “I wish I had a camera
In the very least, read the following section
with me!” under the heading Initial Camera Configu-
I’ve used all of Nikon’s DSLR cameras ration to learn about the choices you must
over the last several years, and have make when you first turn the camera on.
noticed a “personality” in each of the
Digital Sensor Basics, or Why Does a DSLR Make Better Images 
1
Digital Sensor Basics, or Why Does a point-and-shoot camera to make a good
DSLR Make Better Images? picture, especially in lower light levels,
Your D’s large-sized sensor can pro- the power gain must be turned up on the
vide an image quality that is unobtainable pixels, which boosts the signal but also
by even the best point-and-shoot camer- increases noise, thereby degrading the
as. Many people don’t realize why a DSLR image.
can make such high-quality images, so let On the other hand, the Nikon D
me explain. has an imaging sensor about the size of
All digital cameras have an imaging a postage stamp; . x . mm in size.
sensor that has very tiny, light-gathering That’s a big difference! Its pixels are much
points called pixels—an abbreviation of larger than a point-and-shoot camera’s
“picture elements” (pix-els). Your D and thus can gather light much more
has about . million usable pixels on efficiently. The image quality from your
its sensor in an array , pixels wide new DSLR is sharper and has better color,
and , pixels tall (, x , = contrast, and dynamic range, and its
,, pixels, or just over  mega- photos can be enlarged more effectively
pixels). To follow Nikon’s literature, and with higher quality. You’ll be amazed
I’ll refer to the megapixel rating of the at the difference, and so will your friends
D as . “effective” megapixels. and family.
A point-and-shoot camera has a So that you can get the best use out of
digital imaging sensor about the size your much more complex DSLR camera,
of your little fingernail. Imagine cram- let’s examine the external camera
ming millions of pixels into such a tiny controls and the most important settings
area. Those pixels are so small that for first use of the camera.
they’re not very light sensitive. For a
User and Reference Manuals

The Nikon D comes with two manuals:


a -page User’s Manual and a -page
Reference Manual. The User’s Manual is
a printed booklet that is included in the
box. The larger Reference Manual is avail-
able as a PDF file on an included CD titled
Nikon Reference Manual. You’ll need the
free Adobe Reader to view the PDF Ref-
erence Manual from the CD. Go to www.
adobe.com and look for a download link to
the free Adobe Reader, download it, and
install it on your computer.
D CCD . Megapixel Image Sensor Unit
1  Examining the Nikon D

the body of the camera. We’ll use these


Section 1 –
external controls often while working
Initial Camera Configuration
through this book, and you’ll need to be-
come very familiar with what each button
This chapter is divided into two sections. does.
In section , we’ll look over the camera’s I’ve counted  buttons,  switches,
external controls and prepare the cam- and  dials on the D. We’ll look at
era for first-time use. In section , we’ll
briefly examine the menu systems used
to adjust the camera’s internal functions.
Each menu system will be covered later in
this book in full detail.
Let’s work our way from the outside of
the camera to its internal settings.

External Camera Controls


Before we move into the configuration of
the camera, let’s look in detail at the vari-
ous dials, switches, and buttons found on FIG A – Front of camera

FIG B – Back of camera


External Camera Controls 
1
them all in detail. I strongly suggest that
you bookmark this place in your book so
that you can refer back to these control
locations as we study what they each do.
In future chapters, I’ll refer to the names
and sometimes the numbers of these
controls. Each of the control references
is numbered in FIG A to FIG C. I have
labeled each control with a number that
corresponds to the reference numbers in
the figures.
Here is a list of controls on the camera
body’s front (see FIG A):
FIG C – Top of camera
. Flash Mode and Flash Compensation but-
ton (two functions) Here is a list of controls on the
. Self-timer and Fn button (two functions) camera’s top (see FIG C):
. Lens Release button .Mode dial
.Information (info) button
Here is a list of controls on the .Exposure-compensation and Aperture
camera’s back (see FIG B): button (two functions)
. Playback button .Camera On/Off switch
. Menu button .Shutter-release button
. Thumbnail/playback zoom out and Help
button The most important controls for
. Playback zoom in and Information edit adjusting the camera are the
button Multi Selector (), OK button (),
. Diopter adjustment control slider (hidden Command dial (), and the Menu button
behind rubber eyecup) (). These will get a lot of use and refer-
. AE-L/AF-L button (Auto Exposure lock ences throughout this book, so be sure
and Autofocus lock) you remember where they’re located.
.Command dial
.Multi Selector (very important, learn
this)
.OK button
.Delete button
1  Examining the Nikon D

First Use of the Nikon D3000 Dust is a Sensor’s Enemy


You’ve just opened the box and buried un-
Before removing the caps, or when switch-
der the plastic wrap, wires, manuals, CDs,
ing lenses, blow away any dust you see on
and warranty registration card you find
the front of the camera or on the rear of
your new digital camera. What next? the lens so it won’t get inside the camera
body and end up on the sensor. If dust gets
Attaching the Lens on your sensor, it can cause spots on your
One of the powerful things a DSLR like pictures. Always change lenses in a dust-
the D can do is use a variety of lenses free area when possible.
to achieve various “looks” or perspectives
in your images. Most likely you have pur-
chased your D as part of a “kit” that changing of lenses, but there’s always
includes an AF-S Nikkor –mm f/.- a first time. Sometimes, in the heat of
.G VR lens. If you bought the camera shooting and quickly changing lenses I
with no lens, then you can skip this sec- forget and just change it with the camera
tion on attaching the lens. If you’ve never on, so it’s probably not too dangerous.
put a lens on a DSLR, please read this However, I may just have been fortunate.
carefully so you won’t damage the lens or I recommend that you don’t take chances
camera body. with an expensive camera or lens.
Nikon ships the camera without the Now, let’s remove the caps and prepare
lens attached. Instead there is a body cap to attach the lens to the camera.
and lens cap that must be removed before To remove the camera’s body cap, you’ll
you mount the lens to the camera body. In press and hold the Lens release button (see
FIG D, you see the camera and lens with FIG E), turn the body cap clockwise until
both caps still attached (see red arrows). it stops, and then pull the cap straight
Leave the camera turned off while out. It uses a “bayonet” mount with three
attaching or removing lenses. I’ve never ears, just like a lens. The lens cap is just
damaged a Nikon camera’s electron- a little plastic see-thru cap that you pull
ics by leaving the camera on during the directly off the lens. It’s just pressed on,

FIG D – Preparing to attach the lens


First Use of the Nikon D 
1

FIG E – Removing the body and lens caps

not mounted, so you can just pull and camera body. The lens must be inserted
twist it until it slides off. into the front of the camera until the two
It isn’t hard to attach the lens to the dots are close together as in FIG F,
camera, and when you’ve done it once, image . Once the lens is fully inserted
you’ll have no problems in the future. So, into the bayonet mount and the dots are
let’s mount the lens. lined up, slowly turn the lens counter-
The lens attaches to the camera using a clockwise (rotate left) until the white dot
Nikon F bayonet-style mount that’s been on the lens is under the K of the Nikon
in production for over  years. Nearly logo on the front top of the camera. The
any lens ever made for a Nikon film SLR dot on the lens will then be straight up
or DSLR will mount on your D. Isn’t and just below the Nikon logo. Do not
that incredible! In this book, we’ll refer to force the lens to turn. If it does not turn
the AF-S Nikkor –mm f/.-.G VR easily to the left, please make sure that
kit lens most of the time. it has been fully inserted into the body
Notice in FIG F, image , how the lens before you start turning it toward the
has a white dot that must line up exactly locking position.
with a corresponding white dot on the

FIG F – Mounting the lens on the camera


1  Examining the Nikon D

When you get the lens’s white dot in If this list of steps doesn’t work for
the up position, you’ll hear a “snap” as the you, just lay the camera down on its back,
lens locks to the body. To remove the lens press and hold the Lens release button,
in the future, you’ll have to hold in the rotate the lens to the right, and pull it out
Lens Release button (see FIG A, image ), of the body.
turn the lens clockwise until it stops, and
then pull it straight out. Lens Controls
While examining the lens for later use,
Removing the Lens you will notice four controls that you’ll
Here are the steps I use to remove and need to use (see FIG G). Most Nikkor
change a lens quickly, without dropping lenses, and even aftermarket lenses, have
the camera or lens. Try this method and the same types of controls.
see if it works for you. If not, simply in- FIG G shows the following four
vent your own way of holding the camera numbered controls that I’ll discuss next:
while changing lenses. . Focus ring – The focus ring is not of-
. Hold the camera body in your left hand ten used on a camera with autofocus.
with your finger reaching around the However, for things like closeup (mac-
front ready to depress the Lens release ro) shots, it’s sometimes easier to turn
button. off the autofocus and focus manually
. Press the grip side of the D into so that you can control exactly where
your body to stabilize the camera. The you want to place the sharpest point
camera’s back will be facing the left of focus. You can use the A/M switch
side of your body. () to turn autofocus on (A) and off
. With your fingers that are holding the (M). Use the Focus ring only when the
camera, press and hold the Lens release A/M switch is set to M or you could dam-
button. age your Nikkor -mm kit lens. Some
. Using your right hand, turn the lens lenses allow “fine-tuning” of the auto-
clockwise until it stops, then pull it focus, even when the A/M switch is set
straight out of the camera body. to A. However, the –mm kit lens

If you’re a left-handed person, this


method will still work. Our cameras are
designed for right-handed people, so a
“lefty” may find this awkward the first
few times. I suggest you keep trying to
learn it because this method allows you
to hold the camera and lens very securely
while making lens changes. It would be a
shame to drop and break either the lens
or camera body. FIG G – Lens A/M and VR switches, focus and
zoom rings
First Use of the Nikon D 
1
is not one of them. If the Focus ring . A/M switch – Many Nikkor lenses have
feels stiff when set to A, do not turn it an A/M switch and a VR On/Off switch
by hand. on the side. The A/M switch stands for
. Zoom ring – This ring is the most autofocus (A) or manual focus (M). If
used control on the lens. You’ll use you would rather manually focus the
it constantly to zoom in and out; lens by turning the Focus ring (), you
from mm to mm and any point can do so after you move this switch to
in between. The mm setting is a M. Don’t force the lens to manually focus
wide-angle setting that allows you to when in A mode or you will damage it. If
take group portraits or get sweeping you really want to manually focus the
landscape shots. The mm setting is lens, simply set the switch to M. This
a short telephoto position that mag- disengages the autofocus motor and
nifies the subject slightly, but is very the Focus ring will turn freely.
close to what your eye sees as “nor- . VR On/Off switch – VR stands for “vi-
mal” size for objects in your image. bration reduction”. If you are using
Use the mm setting to pull a subject the newest Nikkor -mm kit lens,
closer and fill the image frame. We’ll you’ll notice a big gold VR near the A/M
discuss “focal length” in a later chap- switch. This lens, and others with the
ter. You can use the zoom ring to select VR moniker, is able to compensate for
the exact focal length—between  small shaky movements while pictures
and mm—you’ll need to make the are being taken, resulting in much
best image composition. As you turn sharper images. This doesn’t mean
the zoom ring, you’ll see the numbers you can wave your camera around like
turn with it. The numbers shown on a fire hose and still get sharp images;
the lens are , , , , and . it means that the lens will try to com-
Each number represents a focal length pensate for natural hand shakiness. It
in millimeters (mm). In FIG F, im- allows you to use slower shutter speeds
age , you can see the number  next and still get sharp images. According
to a white dot. This means the lens is to how shaky you are while handhold-
set to mm. Place any number from ing, you may take pictures with shutter
 to  next to the dot for a particu- speeds up to three stops slower with
lar focal length position. In between the -mm kit lens. We’ll discuss
the stamped numbers are other focal what a stop is in the chapter titled
lengths. Let’s say you turned the lens Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal
half way between  and mm. That Length, later in this book.
is about  or mm, as expected. It’s
constantly variable as you Once the lens is mounted you’re almost
turn the Zoom ring. ready to use the camera. Does your
battery have a good charge?
1  Examining the Nikon D

Using VR Lenses on a Tripod Charging and Inserting the Battery


If you’re like me, you’ll open the box, put
There are two types of VR lenses currently
the lens on your camera, insert the bat-
on the market: VR and VR II. Your -
tery, and take your first picture. Wouldn’t
mm kit lens uses standard VR. The more
advanced form of VR—called VR II—has it be a better idea to wait an hour to
algorithms that notice when the camera charge the battery and only then take the
is very still and disable VR. Why have vi- first picture? Sure it would, but I’ve never
bration reduction when the camera isn’t done that, and I bet you haven’t either.
vibrating? According to Nikon, you should Nikon knows this and doesn’t send out
be okay when shooting on a tripod with
new cameras with dead batteries.
VR II turned on. However, I always flip the
Most of the time the battery is not
switch to off anyway, unless I’m using a
shaky tripod. Nikon says that the Nikkor fully charged, but it has enough charge to
-mm kit lens has standard VR, which allow you to do the initial camera setup
should be switched off for tripod use. Check and then take and review a few pictures.
the specs of any new lens you buy to de- Think about it. How would you test a
termine if it has standard VR or VR II. VR brand-new battery? You’d charge it and
II adds an additional stop of vibration re-
see if it will hold a charge. Nikon doesn’t
duction, so you could handhold up to four
send batteries that are untested, so
stops slower. VR II is found on the more
pricey lenses in the Nikkor lineup. An easy
most of the time, you can play with your
way to tell if you have VR or VR II is by camera for at least a few minutes before
how many extra-slow stops you get. If the charging the battery. I’ve purchased
lens’s sales literature says three stops, it is nearly every DSLR model Nikon has made
VR. If four stops, it is VR II. since , and not one of them has come
in with a dead battery.
When you insert the battery in the
included MH- battery charger, you’ll
notice that the small LED light—next to
the words CHARGE and END—blinks
orange while the battery is charging and

FIG H – Charging the battery


First Use of the Nikon D 
1
then changes to continuous orange when Avoid Completely Discharging the Battery
the battery is fully charged. FIG H shows The D uses a lithium-ion (Li-ion)
the correct way to insert the light gray battery pack. While this type of battery
EN-ELa battery into the charger. doesn’t develop the memory effects of
When my D arrived, the battery the old nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries
was about  percent charged. I played from years past, there can be a problem
with the camera for an hour before I if you let them get too low. A Li-ion bat-
charged the battery. However, let me tery should not be used to complete
mention one important thing. If you exhaustion. The battery has an inter-
install the battery and it is very low, for nal protection circuit that keeps it from
example below  percent, it’s a good idea working again if a cell gets below a certain
to go ahead and charge it before shooting key voltage. If you completely discharge
and reviewing too many pictures. Maybe a lithium-ion battery or let it go too long
you can get the initial camera configura- without a refresh charge, the battery may
tion done and test the camera a time or never work again. When your camera’s
two, but go no further with a seriously battery gets down to the  percent level,
low battery. please recharge it. I don’t let mine go be-
To insert the battery, make sure the low  percent for any extended use.
camera is turned off, and then open the That said, the optimum situation would
small door on the bottom of the grip with be to restrain yourself from turning on
a fingernail. Insert the battery as shown the camera until after the battery is fully
in FIG I with the Nikon name exactly charged. That’ll give you some time to
as shown. The battery has a small lip to read this section of the book and even
prevent it from being inserted in the check out the Nikon D User’s and
wrong direction. A white arrow tip paint- Reference Manuals.
ed on the battery should point toward the
camera as you insert it.

FIG I – Inserting the battery


1  Examining the Nikon D

Initial Camera Setup Language


The first time you turn the camera on, The D is multilingual, or multina-
you’ll be presented with five sequential tional. It can display its menus in 
screens as follows: languages. Various distributors around
. Language the world will have the camera preconfig-
. Time Zone ured to some degree, so it will most likely
. Date Format already be configured in the language
. Daylight Saving Time spoken in your area. Here is a list of the
. Date and Time languages available in the D, firm-
ware version .:
Following are descriptions of the t Danish
screens you’ll see and what you’ll need to t German
initially configure. (See the section titled t English
External Camera Controls earlier in t Spanish
this chapter for locations of the controls t Finnish
mentioned.) t French
t Italian
t Dutch
t Norwegian
t Polish
t Portuguese
t Russian
t Swedish
t Traditional Chinese
t Simplified Chinese
t Japanese
t Korean
FIG  – The Language screen
Here are the steps to select the
language you want to use:
. Refer to FIG  for the Language menu
the camera presents on startup.
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or
down until your language is highlight-
ed.
. Press the OK button to select your lan-
guage.

The camera will now switch to the next


screen in the camera setup series: the
Time zone screen.
Initial Camera Setup 
1
Time Zone Date Format
This is an easy screen to use as long as The English-speaking world uses various
you can recognize the area of the world in date formats. The Nikon D gives us
which you live on the small map. the ability to choose from the most im-
Here are the steps to select the correct portant ones.
time zone for your location: There are three date formats you can
. Refer to FIG  for the Time zone screen. select (see FIG ):
You’ll see yellow arrow tips pointing to t Y/M/D = Year/Month/Day (//)
the left and right on either side of the t M/D/Y = Month/Day/Year (//)
small black and gray world map. t D/M/Y = Day/Month/Year (//)
. With the Multi Selector, scroll to the
left or right until your location is high- Residents in the U.S. usually prefer the
lighted in yellow. It’ll show as either middle format: Month/Day/Year. However,
a vertical yellow strip or a tiny yellow you may prefer a different format if you’re
outline with a red dot. At the top of from a different English-speaking part of
the screen below the words Time zone, the world.
you’ll see the currently selected time Here are the steps to select the date
zone. Mine is New York, Toronto, Lima, as format of your preference:
shown in FIG . . Refer to FIG  for the Date format
. Press the OK button once you’ve po- screen.
sitioned the yellow selection strip or . Using the Multi Selector, scroll up or
outline and your time zone will be down to the position of the date for-
locked in place. mat you prefer.
. Press the OK button to select the format.
The camera will now present you with
the next screen in the series: the Date Once you have the date format select-
format screen. ed, the camera will switch to the Daylight
saving time screen.

FIG  – The Time zone screen FIG  – The Date format screen
1  Examining the Nikon D

Daylight Saving Time Daylight saving time set to On. Why not
Many areas of the United States observe let the camera automatically change this
daylight saving time. In the springtime, value twice per year?
many American residents set their clocks Now that you’ve made the daylight
forward by one hour on a specified day saving time decision, the camera will
each year. Then in the fall they set it back, move on to the last screen in the series of
leading to the clever saying, “Spring for- five; the Date and time screen.
ward, fall back”.
To enable automatic daylight saving Date and Time
time, follow these steps: This screen allows you to put in the
. Refer to FIG  for the Daylight saving current date and time zone. It is in
time screen. year-month-day (Y,M,D) and hour-minute-
. There are only two selections, On and second (H,M,S) format.
Off. Choose the one you prefer by Here are the steps to set the date and
scrolling with the Multi Selector and time:
highlighting it. . Refer to FIG  for the screen you’ll use.
. Press the OK button to select your . Using the Multi Selector, scroll to the
choice. left or right to select the various date
and time sections. Scroll up or down
If you turned daylight saving time to actually set the values for each one.
on, your D will now automatically The time values are using a -hour
“spring forward and fall back”, adjust- clock, or military time. Use the -
ing your time forward by one hour in the to -hour time conversion chart to
spring and back one hour in the fall. convert to the -hour time you are
probably using (for example, : p.m.
Recommendation: If you live in an area equals :).
that observes daylight saving time, it’s a . Press the OK button when you’ve fin-
good idea to set your camera to make this ished inputting the date and time.
adjustment automatically. I always leave

FIG  – The Daylight saving time screen FIG  – The Date and time screen
Formatting the Memory Card 
1
- to -Hour Time Conversion Chart Formatting the Memory Card
You’ll need to learn the location of this
Here is a - to -hour time conversion
particular function on the Setup menu—
chart for your convenience.
either in the Nikon Guide Mode or the
A.M. Settings: old-style text menu mode—since you’ll
: a.m. = : (midnight) be using it frequently. It’s a good idea to
: a.m. = : use your camera, not your computer, to
: a.m. = : format the memory card that holds your
: a.m. = : pictures. That way, the card’s format is
: a.m. = :
customized to the camera. It’s a relatively
: a.m. = :
simple process to format the card.
: a.m. = :
: a.m. = : First, let’s look at how the memory
: a.m. = : card is inserted in the D.
: a.m. = : To the right of the Multi Selector there’s
: a.m. = : a small door for the memory card. You’ll
: a.m. = : find the word “Card” on the door along
with three raised lines to help you get
P.M. Settings:
some traction on it. With a finger, pull the
: p.m. = : (noon)
: p.m. = :
little door toward you. When you pull it
: p.m. = : toward the back of the camera, it will pop
: p.m. = : open as FIG  shows.
: p.m. = : Insert the card into the card slot in the
: p.m. = : camera with the label facing toward you.
: p.m. = : The cut-off corner of the SD/SDHC card
: p.m. = :
will be up when you insert the card. Press
: p.m. = :
: p.m. = :
it in all the way until you feel it latch. To
: p.m. = :
: p.m. = :

Note: There is no : time (midnight).


After : comes :.

Now that you have completed the five


basic setup screens, your camera is ready
to use. Hopefully you have a nice fresh
SD or SDHC memory card ready to go. If
so, let’s look at how you can format it for
first-time use in the camera. FIG  – Inserting a memory card
1  Examining the Nikon D

remove it, just press in on the end of the . Press the OK button and the Format
card and it will pop out a short distance memory card screen will ask you All im-
so that you can grasp it and pull it the rest ages on memory card will be deleted. OK?
of the way out. (see the screen on the right in FIG A).
Now that you’ve inserted the card, let’s . With the Multi Selector scroll up to the
get it formatted and ready for use. Shown Yes selection.
in FIG A and FIG B are the screens . Press the OK button to start the for-
involved in formatting a memory card. matting process. During formatting, a
First we’ll look at the Nikon Guide black screen will show displaying the
Mode menu screens to format a memory words Formatting memory card. When
card. Follow these steps to format a it is done formatting, the screen will
memory card from the Guide menu (see briefly show Formatting complete, and
FIG A): then the camera will switch back to the
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera Set up menu.
to GUIDE. That will enable the Nikon
Guide Mode and its graphical menu At this point the camera’s memory card
screens. is formatted and ready to accept images.
. Press the Menu button and you’ll see Now let’s see how to format the card
the Guide menu screen as shown in the using the standard text menu system.
leftmost screen in FIG A. These text menus are what most previous
. Scroll to the right with the Multi Selec- Nikon DSLR owners have grown accus-
tor until you’ve selected Set up. tomed to. The D is the first camera to
. On the next screen—in the middle in use the new Nikon Guide Mode screens.
FIG A, image —scroll down several
times with the Multi Selector until you
see that Format memory card is high-
lighted.

FIG A – Formatting a memory card – Guide mode


Formatting the Memory Card 
1

FIG B – Formatting a memory card – Text Menu Mode

In FIG B are the screens to format . Scroll up to the Yes selection with the
the memory cards. Make sure that you’ve Multi Selector.
moved the Mode dial (on the camera’s . Press the OK button to start the format-
top) away from the GUIDE selection. ting process. During formatting the
Try setting it to one of the P, S, A, or M screen will show Formatting memory
settings for this formatting operation. card. When the memory card is format-
Here are the steps: ted, the screen will briefly show For-
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the matting complete, and the camera will
Setup menu screen as shown in FIG switch back to the Setup menu.
B. The icon looks like a little orange
wrench. These are the two ways to format a
. Scroll to the right once with the Multi memory card. Use whichever you are
Selector to enter the Setup menu, then most comfortable with. The results are
scroll down and highlight Format mem- exactly the same, a freshly prepared
ory card. memory card formatted for the Nikon
. Press the OK button and the Format D.
memory card screen will ask you, All im-
ages on memory card will be deleted. OK?
1  Examining the Nikon D

I Want to Take Some Pictures Now! D can handle the automatic side of
life better than many cameras.
Auto Mode The image quality—due to the size
You’ve charged the battery, examined of the sensor and processing power of
all the controls, configured the camera the computerized camera—will simply
for use, and formatted a memory card. I amaze you and your friends. When in
bet you’d like to take some pictures now, AUTO mode, the camera will adjust itself
wouldn’t you? for the optimum image each time. It will
Here’s a chance to take an intermission even know when to use flash. While you
and enjoy your camera for a little while. are reading this book, and learning to be
If you have little or no experience with a a creative advanced photographer, why
DSLR, you can still get great images by not use the AUTO mode for fun times?
setting it to AUTO mode. FIG C shows a You won’t have to think about anything
powerful setting on your camera’s Mode except composing a great picture and the
dial. It has one simple word, AUTO, and a camera will do the rest.
tiny green camera icon. Once you’ve created some satisfy-
Why don’t you put the camera in AUTO ing pictures, come on back and read
mode and go shoot some images? You’ll some more. Take it in stages so as to not
need to have images on your memory become overwhelmed. There’s a lot to
card to fully work with the settings in learn, but this book will make it easy.
this book. In AUTO mode your camera is Go have some fun and come back when
a powerhouse of intelligence. This mode you’re ready.
represents years of experience in design-
ing camera functionality and thousands
of stored sample image parameters to
help you make great images while using
the camera as a point-and-shoot. Like an
oversized Nikon Coolpix on steroids, your

Intermission

Ah, you’re back! Okay, let’s continue on


into the inner workings of your D.
Are you ready?
FIG C – Auto mode
I Want to Take Some Pictures Now 
1

FIG  – The camera help system

The Built-In Help Button Diopter Adjustment Control


Nikon knows that a camera as complex I mentioned this control as one of the three
as the D might require a little help switches available on the D. Unfor-
sometimes. Often, you’ll be out shoot- tunately, it is hard to see this switch when
ing and won’t have this book or a manual looking at the camera directly from the
with you, so the D gives you an easy back, as is shown in our external camera
solution with the Help button. control reference figures (FIG A, B, and
Notice in FIG , image , that the C). It’s hidden behind the rubber eyecup.
Thumbnail/playback zoom out button (red In FIG  you can see a much better
arrow) has a small question mark just view of the Diopter adjustment control. It’s
above it. This marks the button as having a switch that slides up and down. The
a dual function. It is context sensitive. If purpose of this switch is to adjust the
you are viewing a picture and press the camera’s viewfinder sharpness to your
button, the camera will “zoom out”, show- eyesight. You can set it so that the image
ing multiple images on the LCD. However, in the viewfinder doesn’t cause you any
when you are using any of the menu eyestrain during extended camera use.
systems in the camera, the same button Here are the steps to set the Diopter
provides a useful help comment for the adjustment control to your eyesight:
selected function or setting. Try it! You’ll . Look through the viewfinder and cause
need to hold down the Help button to make the camera to autofocus on something
the help comment stay on the screen. close by.
In FIG , image , you can see that I
have selected Clean image sensor from
the Setup menu. Next, I press and hold
the Help button (image ). Finally, in the
third image, you see the help screen that
shows for the Clean image sensor selection.
Any time you have a menu screen on the
LCD monitor, you can hold down the Help
button and see a helpful commentary on
whatever function is highlighted on the
FIG  – Diopter adjustment control
menu screen. That’s all there is to it!
1  Examining the Nikon D

. Slide the Diopter adjustment control slider Let’s start by briefly examining each of
all the way to the top. these interfaces. Later, we’ll cover them
. Now while you are looking through in detail as we progress though the book.
the viewfinder at your focused sub-
ject, slide the Diopter adjustment control The Difference Between
down, one notch at a time, until the the Information Screen and
view appears sharpest for your vision. Information Edit Menu
Through the course of this book you will be
Recommendation: This control is im- seeing references to the Information screen
portant to adjust for you personally. Each and the Information edit menu (or Display).
person’s eye focuses differently, especially The terms may sound similar but the func-
as we age. I wear trifocals but use the dis- tions of these two D features are not.
tance-viewing part of my glasses to look You may have noticed that unlike
through the viewfinder. I find that setting other Nikon DSLRs, the D doesn’t
the switch about midway works best for have a small rectangular LCD screen posi-
me. My -year-old son seems to prefer a tioned on top of the camera between the
setting closer to the bottom of the slider’s Shutter release button and Command dial.
travel. Play with this until you have it set This missing feature is called the camera’s
just right for you. Control panel. This extra LCD panel has
been left off the D in order to make
the camera much smaller. Cameras with a
Control panel allow you to glance down at
Section 2 –
the top of the camera for a quick look at
Adjusting the Nikon D3000’s
basic and advanced camera settings.
Settings
Since the D has no Control panel
LCD display on top of the camera, it
This second section of chapter  is de- instead provides similar data on the
signed to give you an overview of the Information screen that appears on the
three user interfaces for adjusting the back of the camera on the -inch LCD
settings in the Nikon D. We’ll con- monitor. The main thing to remember is
sider three distinct menu systems that that the Information screen is a “read-only”
allow you to adjust the same basic inter- look at the current camera settings, while
nal camera features and functions. Nikon the Information edit menu allows you to
made a camera interface for all user types. “edit” or change those same settings.
The three menu systems are as follows: Both provide similar information,
t Information Screen and Information but the Information edit menu will be your
Edit Menu main portal to changing the most used
t Nikon Guide Mode camera settings. On some occasions you
t Standard Text-based Menu System may notice these two items described as
either screens or displays. Don’t worry
The Difference Between the Information Screen and Information Edit Menu 
1
about that. In this case, the terms are inter- t Release mode
changeable. The big difference is whether t Focus mode
you are looking at the Information screen, or t AF-area mode
the Information edit menu (or display). t Metering mode
These two screens are the first ones I want t Active D-Lighting (ADL)
to show you, because you may find yourself t Exposure compensation
using them more than any others. They are t Flash compensation
shortcut screens and are very convenient. t Flash mode
FIG  shows pictures of both screens. t Active AF sensor point
In FIG , image , is the standard
Information screen that you see when you That’s a lot of information to digest at
turn the camera on, or press the Shutter once. At first it might seem a little over-
release button halfway down with nothing whelming, but you’ll become familiar
showing on the monitor. You can also get to with each of these settings as you read
this screen by pressing the Info button to the this book and use your new camera.
left and behind the Shutter release button. In FIG , image , we see the same
This is a “read-only” reference screen that information presented by the Information
gives you a lot of information about how edit menu, but this time you can adjust
the camera is currently configured. On the any of these items. This second, less-
Information screen you’ll see these settings: graphical screen, gives you the Information
t Exposure mode edit menu, and is accessible by pressing
t Which picture control is in use the Playback zoom in/Information edit button
t Beep on/off twice. Unfortunately, you cannot get to
t Battery charge level this screen by pressing the Info button on
t Aperture and shutter speed the camera’s top. You’ll have to use the
t Image quality and size button on the lower left of the monitor
t White balance LCD to activate the Information edit menu.
t ISO sensitivity Notice how this dual-purpose button has

Information Screen Information Edit Menu

FIG  – Information screen and Information edit screen


1  Examining the Nikon D

a small <i> icon (Information edit button) Information Screen vs.


just above the button with the “magnify- Information Edit Menu
ing glass with a plus in it” (Playback zoom
Since this can be confusing, I think it
in button). See FIG B number , earlier
is worth repeating:
in this chapter, to make sure you know tThe Information screen is a read-only
which button I’m referring to. look at the current camera settings.
You’ll use this button often as you tThe Information edit menu allows you to
adjust your camera. Anytime the regu- edit or change those same settings.
lar Information screen is showing, you can
press the Information edit button once to
get to the Information edit menu. If any Use. For now, I just want you to know
other or no screen is active, you’ll have where the screens are located and what
to press the Information edit button twice. they are used for.
If this is confusing to you, just press the You’ll need to learn about each of the
Information edit button multiple times, Information edit menu settings if you use
until the Information edit menu is visible. the D as more than an automatic
We’ll consider these screens and all point-and-shoot camera. Now, let’s
their settings in complete detail in the review the Nikon Guide Mode screens.
chapter titled Guide Menu – Advanced

FIG  ¬– Nikon Guide Mode


The Difference Between the Information Screen and Information Edit Menu 
1
Nikon Guide Mode . Now scroll to the right, and look at the
The Nikon Guide Mode, or Guide menu, final screen (FIG , image ) so that
screens are Nikon’s newest user inter- you can select Start shooting or More set-
face, first seen on the D. They allow tings.
brand-new DSLR users to graphically step . If you select Start shooting, the camera
through a series of screens, gradually set- is ready to go. The More settings selec-
ting up the camera for the type of photog- tion let’s you continue to set up your
raphy they are about to do. image style on a more detailed basis
FIG , image , shows the first screen that requires a little more knowledge
you’ll see when you first access the Nikon of camera settings. Whenever you see
Guide Mode. You get to this screen by a Start shooting selection, the camera
setting the Mode dial on top of the camera has finished setting up a basic shoot-
to GUIDE, and then pressing the Menu ing style. You can go ahead and take
button on the camera’s back. If the screen pictures or customize the selected style
doesn’t show GUIDE MENU when you press with More settings. I suggest that you
the Menu button, you don’t have the Mode don’t use the More settings selection un-
dial on top set to GUIDE. til you’ve read the chapter titled Guide
Here are the steps to use the Guide Menu – Advanced Use. You’ll need to
Mode menus: understand various internal camera
. When you have the opening Guide settings before you try to adjust them
Mode screen on your camera as you using the More settings menu selection.
see in FIG , image , select Shoot and
press the OK button. Browse these menus for a few minutes
. Now you’ll see the Shoot menu, as and start familiarizing yourself with how
shown in FIG , image . You can se- the camera wants to help guide you. If you
lect Easy operation, Advanced operation, examine the Advanced operation menus,
or Timers & remote control. you’ll even find some tutorial screens to
. Select Easy operation, (FIG , image ) teach you about things like how to soften
and then use the Multi Selector to scroll backgrounds or freeze motion. For now,
to the right. Scroll up and down in this I am just introducing you to these menus
Easy operation menu, and you’ll find all so that you can play around with them
sorts of different shooting styles you and know where to look for them. The
can select from. You’ll see things like chapters titled Guide Menu – Basic Use
Auto, Distant subjects, Close-ups, and and Guide Menu – Advanced Use are
several more styles. Each will configure devoted to covering each of these Guide
the camera for a style of shooting with- menus in full detail. This first chapter just
out you doing anything else except se- introduces them. But wait, there’s more!
lecting the style. I chose Auto from the Let’s go retro. If you’ve ever used an
menu in FIG , image . older Nikon DSLR, you’ll be familiar with
the old-style text-based menus.
1  Examining the Nikon D

FIG  – Standard text-based menus

Standard Menu System DSLRs have been folded into the other
The standard text-based menu system has menu systems in this camera. The D
been around as long as there have been is truly simpler to configure and operate—
Nikon DSLR cameras. For many it is very once you’ve decided which of the three
simple to use and preferable. user interfaces you’ll use: the Information
These menus are divided into four differ- screen and Information edit menu, the
ent primary parts, as shown in FIG :
t Playback menu
t Shooting menu
t Setup menu
t Retouch menu

In previous Nikon DSLRs there was


another set of menus called the Custom
Settings, but to simplify the D’s oper-
ation these have been done away with as
a separate menu. What were previously
called Custom Settings in other Nikon FIG  – The Recent settings menu
My Conclusions 
1
Nikon Guide Mode, or the standard text- creative control, the built-in and external
based Menu System. Speedlight flash units, and the autofocus
There is also a menu in the D called system with its related functions to help
the Recent Settings menu. This is an ordered you capture subjects in motion. With this
list of the most recently adjusted camera book and your new Nikon D, you’ll
functions. If you regularly use a certain be able to grow as a photographer.
setting that might be deeply hidden in This book is designed to go way beyond
other menus, it will appear on the Recent the User’s and Reference Manuals includ-
Settings menu for immediate access. There ed with your camera, covering many of
is room on this self-created menu for up to the same functions that are listed in the
 items. So, you’ll have immediate access manuals, but in more detail to help you
to the last  items you changed without understand when and why you should use
having to search through the other menus each function and control. You will find
to find the setting. my personal recommendations to help
We’ll consider each of the five text- you use the camera well as you learn to
based menus in full detail in later chap- control it completely.
ters of this book. If you’ll take the time to read through
this book—with your camera in hand—
My Conclusions you’ll come away with an advanced
You’ve reached the end of the first chap- knowledge of each of its controls,
ter in your new book. I hope I’ve covered settings, and functions. You will, indeed,
the basics of the camera in enough detail be a “master” of the Nikon D.
to help you find your way around a little
better. Here’s a sample image of a Victo-
rian-era building taken with the D
and the Nikkor –mm kit lens. Just
look at this camera’s excellent imaging
capability!
As you progress through the rest of
this book, we’ll cover all the parts of your
D in full detail. In addition, there are
chapters on the basics of photography.
This book is not intended to teach
you how to take great images—there are
plenty of books out there on that subject.
This book will help you to understand
the basics of how the camera works—
how to use things like the histogram
and exposure modes for excellent expo-
sures, the aperture and shutter speed for
Glenmore Mansion, Jefferson City, Tennessee, USA.
 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

2


The Nikon Guide Mode is designed to help functionality in the camera. The Guide
a new DSLR camera user make better pic- menu, five text-based menus (Playback,
tures while they learn how a DSLR works.
The D is the first Nikon camera with
this brand-new feature.
Shooting, Setup, Retouch, and Recent
settings), and the Information edit menu.
The Guide menu’s basic Shoot menu has
2
For instance, by setting the Mode dial two parts: The first is designed for letting
on top to GUIDE and selecting Easy opera- a new DSLR user select specific styles of
tion from the Shoot menu, you can choose shooting and educate them on aperture
nine different styles of photography. and shutter speed. The second part allows
You may select a style, like Landscapes the user to configure the camera in a
or Portraits, and then simply choose Start deeper way.
shooting and go make pictures, or you can This presents a problem for an author
customize the style with the More settings because the second part—called More
selection (described in the next chapter). settings—takes the user into configura-
The Shoot menu also gives you an tion of some of the same settings that
Advanced operation selection. This mode the text-based menus and graphical
lets you receive instruction from the Information edit menu also control. If I
camera on things like aperture and shut- wrote a chapter on all three of these menu
ter speed, with graphics to guide you. It systems separately, I would be repeating
allows you to configure the camera, with the same thing three times because they
instructions, along the way. all adjust the same camera settings.
The Guide menu is designed for new What I chose to do in this chapter is
photographers. If you have experience to cover the first part of the Guide menu,
with a Nikon DSLR of any other type, you which helps a new user get a feel for the
may be more familiar with the normal camera, and then to pull all the vari-
text-based menus and not need the guid- ous advanced configuration menus into
ance the Guide menu offers. Even if you another chapter. That way, all the settings
have experience with Nikon DSLRs, themselves will be fully explained, along
you may want to read over this chapter with each user interface to locate those
anyway, just to see how this guide system settings. The next chapter will cover the
works. If you have no experience with a Guide menu’s More settings along with the
DSLR, then please do spend some time View/edit and Set up menus.
with this chapter. These menus may help In this chapter, we’ll cover the first
ease your transition into the DSLR world. part of the Nikon Guide Mode menus.
When I first got my Nikon D, I was We’ll examine the More settings camera
amazed that Nikon had given users three configuration as part of the next chapter,
separate ways to access the exact same Guide Menu – Advanced Use.
 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

FIG  – GUIDE Mode and the Guide menu opening screen

Now, let’s examine the basic use of feels are the most important functions
the Guide menu. FIG  shows the Mode for a newer DSLR user. You can set
dial set to GUIDE, and the first Guide menu things like the image size and quality,
that will appear when you press the Menu the time zone, your language, or im-
button on the camera’s back, left side. print dates on your pictures. You can
Let’s start by looking at the new Guide create “print sets” on your camera’s
menu’s three submenus: memory card that you can later plug
t Shoot – This menu allows you to oper- into a PictBridge-enabled printer and
ate the camera in a very basic or more print directly. Each of these settings,
advanced way. Plus, it let’s you set how and many more, are available in the
fast your D takes pictures and the normal text-based or Information edit
self timers for remote control of the menus too.
camera. It has three submenus: Easy op-
eration, Advanced operation, and Timers & Shoot Guide Menu – Basic Use
remote control. This chapter is devoted Before we get deeply into the Guide menu
to the Easy and Advanced operation system, I want to reiterate one important
menu. The Timers & remote control sec- detail. There are two sets of More settings
tion is considered in the next chapter. menus to which the basic Shoot menu con-
t View/delete – This menu lets you work nects. These are the configuration menus
with the images you’ve already taken. that will be considered in the next chap-
You can view single photos, groups of ter. The Shoot menu uses a progressive
photos, or even photos from a specific series of screens that stop at one of the
date. You can do a slide show or even screen types shown in FIG A, with a se-
delete images. It’s divided into five sec- lection called Start shooting at the bottom.
tions. We’ll consider this section of the The screen will vary in how it looks
Guide menu in the next chapter. according to whether you are using
t Set up – This menu has  sections al- the Easy operation or Advanced operation
lowing you to configure what Nikon menu. In this chapter, the main points
Shoot Guide Menu – Basic Use 

of interest on these screens are the Start you can then take pictures based on your
shooting menu choices. FIG A shows the menu selections up to that point.
three “ready to shoot” ending screens
types you’ll see. The first one is from the
Easy operation menu, the second is from
However, if you would like to make
more adjustments, or fine-tune your
camera configuration, you can choose
2
Advanced operation > Soften backgrounds, the More settings selection and you’ll be
and the third is from Advanced operations presented with some lower-level configu-
> Freeze motion (people). There is another ration options for specific camera func-
one for Freeze motion (vehicles) but it looks tions. The reason I’m mentioning this
the same as Freeze motion (people), other before I go into a detailed examination of
than the title difference. the various Shoot menus is because they all
In FIG A, on any of the three menu end up on one of the screen types shown
varieties, you’ll notice that underneath in FIG A. Moving past that point—
the Start shooting selection is the advanced choosing the More settings selection—
More settings choice that I’ll cover in the requires a little more knowledge about
next chapter. using DSLR cameras than some new
I want you to realize that when you users have. We’ll look at both sets of More
notice a menu with Start shooting, as seen settings menus—Easy and Advanced—in
in FIG A, you’ve reached a decision the next chapter. This chapter will focus
point: on the settings and screens up until
. I can take pictures now by selecting you get to a screen containing the More
Start shooting. settings selection.
. I can use the More settings selection to I consider everything before the More
configure the camera on a deeper level. settings selection to be Guide menu “basic
use” and everything after More settings to
In other words, whenever you see one be Guide menu “advanced use”. That’s why
of these screens, the camera is basically we have two chapters for the Guide menu.
saying to you, “Okay, we’ve reached a point In other words, I’ve deliberately divided
where an inexperienced user can stop play- our consideration of the Guide menu into
ing with the menus and take some pictures”. two separate chapters, based on the More
If you choose the Start shooting selection, settings selection as a stopping point.

FIG A –Start shooting or More settings selections


 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

Now, let’s look into the Shoot menu. Shoot Menu – Easy Operation
Please don’t confuse the Nikon Guide The four screens shown in FIG  allow you

2 Mode’s Shoot menu with the older-style


text-based Shooting menu discussed in a
later chapter, titled Shooting Menu.
to select nine different shooting styles
(image ). Notice how image  shows the
ending menu screen, with Start shooting
The Nikon Guide Mode’s Shoot menu and More settings, as we discussed previ-
has three sections: ously? Get used to this type of screen
t Easy operation being a stopping point for basic Shoot
t Advanced operation menu adjustments, unless you want to
t Timers & remote control use the advanced More settings choice to
drill deeper. You aren’t required to, and
We’ll consider Easy and Advanced opera- really shouldn’t unless you fully under-
tion in this chapter and Timers & remote stand what each of the More settings menu
control in the next chapter. Let’s look at choices do!
the Easy operation menu first.

FIG  –Shoot menu – Easy operation screens


Shoot Menu – Easy Operation 

Here are the steps used to select a The nine basic shooting styles are as
shooting style from the Easy operation follows:
menu (see FIG ).
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
to GUIDE.
. Auto – This automatic mode allows the
camera to make basic exposure and
focus decisions for you. This should be
2
. Press the Menu button on the camera’s considered a general-purpose mode for
back. when you are shooting a variety of sub-
. Select Shoot from the Guide menu and jects. This mode is very similar to the
press the OK button (see FIG , image ). AUTO exposure mode selection found
. Select Easy operation from the Shoot on the Mode dial on top of the camera.
menu (see FIG , image ) then scroll Basic default camera settings: The
to the right with the Multi Selector (or camera defaults to the Standard (SD)
press the OK button). Picture Control, and Auto-area autofocus.
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or The built-in flash will automatically
down in the Easy operation menu choices pop up when needed, and the AF-assist
and select the style of shooting you illuminator will shine when autofocus
want to use for this shooting session needs a little more light.
(see FIG , image ). See the upcoming . No flash – This is a very simple mode. If
list of the nine basic shooting styles for you select it, the flash is turned off. Be
information on what the styles do. careful in darker areas since you might
. Highlight one of the styles, and scroll have camera shake and blur your pic-
to the right with the Multi Selector (or tures if there is not enough light for a
press the OK button). fast shutter speed. Use this mode when
. Highlight the Start shooting selection you want to use natural light or where
and press the OK button (see FIG , im- flash isn’t allowed. The camera works
age ). as if you had it set to Auto mode (),
. Go take pictures with the style you’ve except that the flash is disabled.
just chosen. . Distant subjects – This mode is especial-
ly good for sports—or any distant sub-
If you desire, you can continue to modi- ject that moves—since it tends to set
fy the settings using the More settings fast shutter speeds for images with low
selection below Start shooting (see FIG , blur. If you are shooting a basketball,
image ). However, it is entirely optional football, or soccer game for your child’s
at this time. team, this mode is the one you want.
You get results from this mode that are
 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

similar to the results you would get if wiggly awake or sleeping children, use
the camera was set to the Sports scene this mode. Basic default camera set-

2 mode on the Mode dial. Basic default


camera settings: The camera uses the
Standard (SD) Picture Control and seem-
tings: The camera uses the Standard
(SD) Picture Control and the Auto-area AF-
area mode. Unlike with the Child scene
ingly the Single point AF-area mode. This mode, the flash and AF-assist light are
lets you move the autofocus (AF) point disabled in Sleeping faces, so it won’t
around your camera’s viewfinder until wake up those sleepy kids with a burst
you choose one of the  points that of light.
best covers the area with the most . Moving subjects – This is also a good
important focus. This setting is very mode for sports or any moving sub-
similar to the Moving subjects selection ject. When I noticed that this particu-
(). The flash and AF-assist illuminator lar selection closely resembled the
are disabled in this mode. Distant subjects setting (), I was a
. Close-ups – If you like to take pictures little confused. Nikon USA’s techni-
of things up close, use this mode. It is cal support department helped with
the equivalent of the Close-up selection an explanation. It appears that the
on the Mode dial. This is good for “mac- folks at Nikon wanted to “cover the
ro” photography, with those special bases” in the styles of shooting, so
lenses for extreme close-ups, or you they put the same functionality under
can just use your -mm kit lens to two headings. To test this, I shot care-
get as close as possible. Basic default fully controlled images using both Dis-
camera settings: The camera uses the tant subjects and Moving subjects. Both
Standard (SD) Picture Control and the took the picture with exactly the same
Single point AF-area mode. The flash and settings—shutter speed, aperture,
AF-assist illuminator are automatically histogram, picture control, and ISO
used when needed in this mode. sensitivity. Basic default camera set-
. Sleeping faces – This is an unusually tings: The same as Distant subjects ().
named style that is similar to the Child . Landscapes – If you are out shooting
scene mode on the Mode dial. I guess nature and want those beautiful sce-
they named it Sleeping faces since nics, or you’re visiting New York City
young children tend to sleep more. or Tokyo and want a sweeping vista
How many parents can resist taking shot of all the skyscrapers—from a
pictures of sleeping babies, for in- distance—choose the Landscapes mode.
stance? If you want to take pictures of This mode is for when you want to take
Shoot Menu – Easy Operation 

wide shots of non-moving distant sub- flash will light the face well, but since
jects with lots of detail. Basic default a slow shutter speed is being used, the
camera settings: The camera uses the
Landscape (LS) Picture Control and Single
point AF-area mode. The flash and AF-
surroundings may be blurred. Use a
tripod, or at the very least brace your-
self against something when taking a
2
assist light are disabled in this mode. night portrait. Basic default camera
. Portraits – This mode looks for people’s settings: The camera uses the Portrait
faces in the frame using facial-recog- (PT) Picture Control and the Auto-area AF-
nition technology. It also adjusts the area mode. The flash and AF-assist light
camera for smooth-looking and accu- are automatically used when needed
rate skin tones. Take pictures of indi- in this mode. The flash uses Slow sync.
viduals and groups of people using this This mode is discussed in more detail
mode. The camera will seek out their under the chapter titled Speedlight
faces and automatically focus on them. Flash Photography.
Basic default camera settings: The
camera uses the Portrait (PT) Picture Con- Use the screens shown in FIG  to
trol and the Auto-area AF-area mode. The select one of the nine modes as your
flash and AF-assist light are automati- needs change. These modes will cover
cally used when needed in this mode. the usual subjects that you might want
. Night Portrait – This mode is similar to photograph. They are, in a sense,
to Portraits mode () except that it “presets,” which means the camera
uses the flash differently. Where the decides how to best configure itself.
Portraits mode uses normal Fill flash You can use the More settings menu to
(front-curtain), the Night portrait mode change some of the camera’s basic default
uses Slow sync flash. If the light is truly settings as your experience with using
low, you really should be using a tri- a DSLR grows. If you decide to do that,
pod when shooting night portraits. just select the More settings menu choice
You should also ask your subjects to instead of the Start shooting selection (see
stand very still. The camera will use a FIG , image ). Refer to the next chapter
very slow shutter speed to balance the for details on how to use the More settings
low ambient light with the necessary menu.
flash. If you’re trying to handhold the Now, let’s move on into the Advanced
camera using this mode, you’ll have operation menu and discover even more
a nicely exposed person because the powerful ways you can use your camera.
 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

Shoot Menu – Advanced Operation Use these steps to select the Soften
Where the Easy operation menu takes only backgrounds choice (see FIG ):

2 four screens to arrive at a basic shooting


style, the Advanced operation menu takes
six. The reason it uses more screens is
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
to GUIDE.
. Press the Menu button on the camera’s
that the camera tries to teach its users back.
some basic photography principles as . Select Shoot from the Guide menu
they walk through the advanced menu. and press the OK button (see FIG ,
FIG  shows the six screens you’ll use to image ).
configure the camera. . Select Advanced operation from the
Shoot menu and then scroll to the right
Soften Backgrounds with the Multi Selector, or press the
First we’ll consider the Soften backgrounds OK button (see FIG , image ).
selection on the Advanced operation menu. . Select Soften backgrounds from the Ad-
There are two other menu selections that vanced operation menu, and then scroll
we’ll look at too—the two types of Freeze to the right with the Multi Selector,
motion settings. But, first, here’s Soften or press the OK button (see FIG ,
backgrounds information. image ).

FIG  – Advanced operation – Soften backgrounds


Shoot Menu – Advanced Operation 

. Read the instructional screen found in The Soften backgrounds screens can also
FIG , image , and then press the be used to sharpen the background! Large
OK button.
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or
down and select an aperture number,
aperture numbers sharpen the back-
ground, while small aperture numbers
soften the background. This menu is
2
such as F. Once you have the aperture trying to teach you about a photographic
number you want to use, press the principle called “depth of field”. What
OK button (see FIG , image ). depth of field means is how much of the
. The final screen that allows you to begin picture is in sharp focus. Is just your
taking pictures with your selected aper- subject in sharp focus and the back-
ture now appears. Select the Start shoot- ground not in focus, or are the subject
ing choice from the menu and press the and background both in sharp focus? It is
OK button (see FIG , image ). the size of the camera’s aperture opening
that determines the depth of field. If only
Remember that you can use the More your subject is in focus, then the image
settings selection shown in FIG , image  is said to have shallow depth of field. If
to adjust even more settings. It is option- the subject and background are in sharp
al. Refer to the next chapter for details on focus, then the picture has deep depth of
how to use the More settings menu. field.
Notice the graphical representation In FIG A you can see the effect of the
of the aperture blades found in the lens aperture with a small number (f/.) and
of your camera in the last two screens of a large number (f/). See how the small
FIG ? These aperture blades control the aperture number causes the background
amount of light your lens passes into the to be soft looking but the large aperture
camera. The larger the opening, the more number causes the background to be
light gets in; the smaller the opening, the sharp?
less light gets into the camera. Let’s also I focused on the girl in red in both
discuss how this aperture setting affects pictures. The small aperture number soft-
how soft or sharp the background will be ened the background. The large aperture
in your images. number sharpened the background. In

FIG A – Aperture numbers affect the background sharpness


 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

both pictures my primary subject, the girl smaller aperture f/numbers (f/.), your
in red, is sharp. However, the sharpness distant background will become softer or

2 of the background varies according to the


aperture number value. The first picture
in FIG A has shallow depth of field, and
blurrier. This book has a chapter devoted
to understanding how to use the camera’s
aperture to control depth of field. For
the second picture has deep depth of field. much more detailed information on this
In FIG , image  you can see how to subject, please refer to the chapter titled
select different aperture numbers. For Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal
instance, I have selected an aperture Length.
called “F”, which is commonly written Later, when you have gained a deeper
as f/. This is a medium-sized aperture. knowledge of the camera, you can get
FIG , image  asks you to select small the same effect from the Aperture-priority
values to soften the background. What exposure mode, or A on the Mode dial.
that means is simply that you will select These Soften backgrounds guide screens
smaller aperture f/numbers. Here is a list simply provide a way to help you under-
of apertures, running from small values stand how to later use a more advanced
to large. As the f/number gets bigger, mode in the camera.
the background loses blurriness. Your
camera’s -mm kit lens has a maxi- Freeze Motion (People) and (Vehicles)
mum aperture size (small number) of While the section on Soften backgrounds
f/., which is between f/. and f/: was about setting the camera’s aperture
to control how sharp or soft the back-
<— Small F/number to large F/number —> ground may be, this section on freezing
f/., f/, f/., f/, f/., f/, f/, motion for people and vehicles is about
f/, f/ the camera’s shutter speed. There are two
menu selections in the Advanced opera-
In this example, the f/ number is tions menu concerned with stopping mo-
smaller than the f/ number. If you used tion—Freeze motion (people) and Freeze
f/, the background would be much more motion (vehicles).
blurry, than if you used f/. I chose f/, There is no point in having two sepa-
which is a medium aperture. The subject rate sections for these two menu items.
will be in sharp focus and even some of They work identically and are concerned
the background at a medium aperture like only with the type of action you are trying
f/. to freeze. All the screens are the same,
When you select bigger and bigger except for slightly different text. The
aperture f/numbers (f/), farther and textual difference is about how fast the
farther into the distance the background shutter speed should be for the two types
will get sharper. As you select smaller and of moving subjects. Clearly, a person
Shoot Menu – Advanced Operation 

walking along will not require as fast a that’s required to freeze the motion.
shutter speed to freeze the motion as a Otherwise you’ll have blurred motion in
car traveling  mph (. kph).
In this section you’ll see the screens
(FIG )—and steps to use them—for
your picture—which may be a good thing
for some motion!
Here are the steps used to set the
2
freezing (or blurring) motion of the two camera’s shutter speed to the correct
types of subjects, people and vehicles. value for your subject matter:
I chose to use the screens for vehicles . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
instead of people. You can use either set to GUIDE.
of screens for either type of subjects. It . Press the Menu button on the camera’s
makes absolutely no difference. The only back.
difference in these two menu variet- . Select Shoot from the Guide menu
ies is the text where it specifies people and press the OK button (see FIG ,
or vehicles (FIG , images  to ) and image ).
the text on maximum shutter speeds to . Select Advanced operation from the
freeze motion (FIG , image ). The two Shoot menu, and then scroll to the right
Freeze motion menus have exactly the with the Multi Selector, or press the
same effect on the shutter speed, and it OK button (see FIG , image ).
does not matter which you use for people, . Select Freeze motion (people) or Freeze
vehicles, or anything else moving quickly. motion (vehicles) from the Advanced op-
The primary thing you need to remem- eration menu, then scroll to the right
ber is that, the faster the subject is with the Multi Selector, or press the
moving, the faster the shutter speed OK button (see FIG , image ).

FIG  – Advanced operation – Freeze motion


 Nikon Guide Menus – Basic Use

. Read the instructional screen found in shutter speed number since it will vary
FIG , image , and then press the OK according to the speed of the subject.

2 button.
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or
down, and then select a shutter speed
You can use a really fast shutter speed,
like /, only when there is a lot of
available light.
number, such as /. Once you . The final screen that allows you to be-
have the shutter speed you desire, gin taking pictures with your selected
press the OK button (see FIG , image shutter speed now appears. Select the
). Use / and above for people Start shooting choice from the menu
or animals and / and above for and press the OK button (see FIG ,
fast-moving objects like race cars and image ).
airplanes. If the subject looks blurred,
you’ll have to increase this value to At this point you could use the More
freeze the subject. You can select up to settings selection to make other adjust-
/ to help stop the action. Most ments (see FIG , image ). I will cover
fast action will be frozen by a number this more advanced use of the Guide menu
between / and /. You may in the next chapter.
have to experiment to find the best

FIG A – Deliberately blurred water motion


My Conclusions 

You can use these Freeze motion screens My Conclusions


to freeze or even deliberately blur By using the first part of the Guide menu,
motion. When you’re taking a picture of a
beautiful mountain river cascading over
the rocks, you may not want to abruptly
you can control specific styles of shooting
with the Easy operation menu, or you can
learn about aperture and shutter speed
2
stop the water. Most of the time you want with the Advanced operation menu.
beautiful flowing water, like in FIG A. If This chapter taught you to use the
you used a fast shutter speed, the water camera in a basic way, but with even more
would not look like the picture shown. control than the Scene and AUTO expo-
Instead it would be frozen and odd look- sure modes provide. The upcoming chap-
ing. The shutter speed for the small ters will take you deeply into advanced
waterfall picture was around / second configuration of the D. You’ll be able
long. I took this picture from my tripod. to move out of a basic stance and learn to
You can’t handhold a camera with a shut- control your camera.
ter speed this slow if you want sharp Instead of it making decisions for
pictures. you, you’ll make decisions for it. Or, you
You can select shutter speeds from can share the responsibility. The Nikon
 seconds to / of a second with D is a very flexible camera, designed
your D camera (see FIG , image ). to allow a new user to get familiar with
Make sure you are using a tripod for any working a DSLR. It also allows an inter-
pictures you shoot with a shutter speed ested user to get right into the deep
shorter than / of a second (/ on parts of the camera and configure it for
the menu), otherwise your whole picture advanced photography.
may be blurry from camera movement. As I’ve mentioned before, the D
I’ll discuss shutter speed in great is designed to let you grow as a photog-
detail in the chapter of this book titled rapher. So, now, let’s move into deeper
Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal “Advanced” settings and start growing.
Length. In the meantime, experiment
with how changing the shutter speed
makes your moving subjects look.
Later, when you have advanced in
using a DSLR camera, you can get the
same effect from the Shutter-priority expo-
sure mode, or S on the Mode dial. These
Freeze motion guide screens are simply a
way to help you understand how to later
use a more advanced mode in the camera.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Guide Menu – Advanced Use

3


The Nikon D is a little unusual in the The View/delete menu has five settings
world of cameras. There are all sorts of concerned with using already taken
settings that can be configured, like Im- images.
age size and quality, ISO sensitivity, which The Set up menu has  settings that are
Picture Control to use, Flash modes, Focus selectively chosen from the most impor-
modes, Release modes, AF-area modes, Noise tant settings found on other camera
reduction, White balance, Active D-lighting— menus.
and the list goes on.
That’s not what’s unusual though.
The first two choices in the Shoot
menu—Easy operation and Advanced opera-
3
What’s a little different is how many tion—are divided into two natural parts;
ways Nikon has given you to access those first, an easy part that lets you select a
settings. There are three distinct user style of shooting (covered in the previ-
interfaces that allow you to adjust the ous chapter) and second, a more detailed
same camera features. Not all the settings part that lets you select advanced camera
are available from all three user interfac- functions, which we’ll cover in this
es. The most comprehensive are the older- chapter.
style text-based menus like the Shooting What Nikon has done with the Guide
menu—not to be confused with the Guide Mode menu system is selectively choose
Mode’s Shoot menu. The easiest to use is all sorts of settings found all over the
the Information edit menu (Quick settings), camera’s more advanced menu systems,
but it only covers a subset of the entire and bring them to one place. This makes
range of settings, albeit the most impor- it easy for a new DSLR user to learn to
tant ones. Then there are the advanced operate the camera and gradually exposes
sections of the Guide menu, which this them to the more advanced way of using
chapter will consider. a DSLR, setting things in the older-style
The Nikon Guide Mode menu system Playback, Shooting, Setup, Retouch, and
is composed of three main menus, as we Recent settings menus. Later in this book
discussed in the previous chapter. They we will cover each of those more advanced
are as follows: menu systems in detail. This is important,
t Shoot menu since the Guide menu does not cover all
t View/delete menu the available settings.
t Set up menu Nikon has made it easy for a new
user to learn how to take pictures with a
The Shoot menu is composed of a series DSLR—by giving them a “hand-holding”
of three menus: Guide Mode. The way the Guide menu
. Easy operation combines various settings from the other
. Advanced operation older-style menus makes it difficult to
. Timers & remote control describe in a book without constant repe-
tition of the same bits of information.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

For instance, the Set up menu of the By providing three distinct user inter-
Guide Mode has an Image quality setting. faces to adjust the same settings, Nikon
Well, so does the Information edit menu and has given you tremendous flexibility.
the older-style Shooting menu. The funny However, you can imagine how difficult
thing is, all three of these menus (user it is to condense this information into a
interfaces) simply set the same underly- book, while still making it readable and
ing Image size for the camera. Can you not boring from repetition. I appreciate

3 imagine how boring this book would be


if I wrote the exact same information in
your patience with this process.

each chapter, as we consider each user Shoot Menu Screen Review


interface (menu)? Since it is the same Here is a look at the Guide Mode menus
setting being approached from three user contained within the Shoot menu. The
interfaces, I’d have to repeat things over first, in FIG A, is for the Easy operation
and over in different chapters. menu. The second, in FIG B, is for the
What I have chosen to do, instead, is Advanced operation menu.
to give a basic description of each setting There are a sizable number of screens
in one place, with a reference to the more to get into the Guide Mode’s More settings
detailed information in the primary loca- section, which contains three or six
tion for that setting. While I hate to have configurable settings, according to which
users referring to other chapters to get “operation” mode you are using, Easy or
detailed information, I think that is pref- Advanced. From this display of screens,
erable to having the book be three times you’ll see why I don’t often use the Guide
larger than necessary and repeating the Mode’s Shoot menu for setting options
same information over and over in differ- that are more readily accessible under
ent chapters. other menus.
Since the Guide Mode menu system is As we work with the Shoot menu’s More
a basic system for new users, I will give settings choices in this chapter, we’ll start
only brief references to what the more with FIGA, image  or FIG B, image .
advanced settings do in this chapter. In Otherwise you’d have to repeatedly look
later chapters, with more advanced user at these same screens for each advanced
interfaces, I’ll give much more detailed setting we cover. If you get confused
information on the settings and include about the order of screens, please refer
a reference to them in this chapter. If you back to this section to understand how to
see a setting that you really want to learn get to the More settings selection.
more about and the information is not Easy operation –FIG A shows the
detailed enough for you in this chapter, six screens necessary to go all the way
the cross reference will allow you to dig through the Easy operation Guide menu.
deeper. Normally you’ll stop on the fourth screen
Shoot Menu Screen Review 

at the Start shooting selection and go make . Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or
pictures. That is what we covered in the down in the Easy operation menu choices
last chapter. In this chapter, we’ll cover and highlight the style of shooting you
all the screens that come after—the More want to use for this shooting session,
settings screens. FIG A, image  shows and then scroll to the right with the
the actual More settings screen for the Auto Multi Selector (see FIG A, image ). I
shooting style when you’re using the Easy chose Auto as an example.
operation menu. It is composed of only
three settings, while the Advanced opera-
. On the informational screen, highlight
the More settings selection and scroll
3
tion menu has six (considered next). to the right with the Multi Selector (see
Here are the steps used to get into the FIG A, image ).
More settings menu for Easy operation:
. Set the Mode dial on top the camera to FIG A, image  shows the actual
GUIDE. More settings screen for the Easy operation
. Press the Menu button on the camera’s menu, with its three available settings—
back. Flash mode, Release mode, and AF-area
. Select Shoot from the Guide Menu mode. Image  shows how you can finish
and press the OK button (see FIG A, after you have modified one of the three
image ). settings. You simply scroll to the bottom
. Select Easy operation from the Shoot and select Start shooting.
menu (see FIG A, image ), then scroll Our primary concern, in this chapter,
to the right with the Multi Selector (or is for the three settings found in FIG A,
press the OK button). image . These are normal camera settings

FIG A – Shoot menu’s Easy operation menus


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

that are also available from the other two Here are the steps to get to the More
camera user interfaces, the Shooting menu settings option for the Advanced operation
and Information edit menu. We’ll examine menu:
each setting and show how to use all the . Set the Mode dial on top the camera to
available interfaces to adjust them. GUIDE.
Now, let’s look into the Guide Mode’s . Press the Menu button on the camera’s
Advanced operation screen flow to the More back.

3 settings section (see FIG B).


Advanced operation – FIG B has
. Select Shoot from the GUIDE MENU and
press the OK button (see FIG B, image ).
nine screens for Advanced operation . Select Advanced operation from the Shoot
instead of the six screens in Easy opera- screen’s menu and then scroll to the
tion. That’s because Advanced operation right with the Multi Selector, or press the
gives you six More settings options instead OK button (see FIG B, image ).
of just three like the Easy operation menus. . Select one of the three choices on the
The three settings shown in FIG B, image Advanced operation menu. As an ex-
 are exactly the same on both menus, ample, I chose Soften backgrounds. Now
while the other three, shown in FIG B, scroll to the right with the Multi Selec-
image , are exclusive to the Advanced tor, or press the OK button (see FIG B,
operation menu. image ).

FIG B – Shoot menu’s Advanced operation menu


Shoot Menu Screen Review 

. Press the OK button when you see an in- We discussed the screens in FIG B,
structional screen like the one found in images  through  in the previous
FIG B, image . chapter, but now we’ll go further. As
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or mentioned, images  and  in FIG B
down and select an aperture number, contain six settings:
or shutter speed if you chose one of . Set Picture Control
the Freeze motion selections instead of . Exposure comp.
Soften backgrounds. Once you have the
option set, press the OK button (see FIG
. Flash compensation
. Flash mode
3
B, image ). . Release mode
. The final screen that allows you to be- . AF-area mode
gin taking pictures with your selected
setting now appears. Select the More We’ll consider these six choices from
settings choice from the menu and press the More settings menus in the next
the OK button (see FIG B, image ). section.
. FIG B, images  and  show the In review, the more detailed or
screens that contain the six More set- advanced part of the Guide menu starts
tings options that you’ll learn to config- with a selection called More settings, as
ure later in this chapter. seen in FIG A, image  and FIG B,
.FIG B, image  shows how you can image . In this chapter I call everything
start taking pictures once you have past that selection the More settings menu,
configured one or all of the six settings. although they’re really just a continu-
Simply choose Start shooting from the ation of either the Easy or Advanced
menu as shown in FIG B, image . operation menus. I think you’ll see why I
do it this way as you read the next few
sections. Keep a bookmark in this section
as you read this chapter since I’ll refer
back to FIGs A and B. These will be
reference points to finding the choices
after reaching the More settings selection.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Shoot Menu’s More Settings people love the look. Try it for fun.
Selection It is not overpowering, but signifi-
Now let’s switch attention to the ac- cantly more “punchy” than the bal-
tual six items found in the More settings anced look of the SD control.
menus. Here is a description of each set- t MC – Monochrome: If you love to
ting, along with the menu screens used to shoot black and white images, this is
find and adjust them (see FIG A): the control for you. It provides nice

3 . Set Picture Control – (Only available on


the Advanced operation menu) Picture
dark blacks, clean whites, and good
intermediate grays so that you can
Controls are designed to give a certain experiment with those moody black
look to your image. In the example and white images you crave.
screens in FIG A, you see the last
screens in the long series of screens Here are the steps to configure your
presented previously in FIG B. We camera for one of the three available
are starting on the same screen found Picture Controls:
in FIG B, image . In FIG A, image a) Refer to FIG B, and the steps listed
, you’ll see the three available Picture below it, to get your camera to the More
Controls listed here: settings menu in image . This will be
t SD – Standard: Gives your images the same screen as shown in FIG A,
a balanced color and contrast that image .
provides nice saturation for land- b) Referring to FIG A, image , select
scapes and natural skin color for More settings and then scroll to the
portraits. Use this control, at first, right.
so that you can learn your camera’s c) Choose Set Picture Control from the top
capabilities, and use it as a guide of of the menu shown in FIG A, image ,
other “looks.” and then scroll to the right.
t VI – Vivid: Very saturated colors and d) Choose one of the actual Picture Con-
higher contrast. This control is for trols (SD, VI, or MC) and then press the
people who like their pictures to OK button to select it. (If you’d rather
have a lot of color. Reds and greens keep the current control, select the lit-
will really be saturated, although not tle U-shaped arrow in the lower-right
entirely realistic. However, many corner of FIG A, image . When you

FIG A – Set Picture Control from the Advanced operation menu


Shoot Menu’s More Settings Selection 

press the OK button it will let you “Exit often forget to set it back and six or
without changing settings.”) seven pictures later I notice that my
e) The camera will return to the previous image is too dark or light.
screen. Scroll down to the Start shooting
selection, as shown at the bottom of Here are the steps to configure your
FIG A, image , and press the OK but- camera for extra or less exposure using
ton. Go take pictures! the Exposure comp. setting:

. Exposure comp. – (Only available on the


a) Refer to FIG B, and the steps listed
below it, to get your camera to the More
3
Advanced operation menu) As shown settings menu in image . This will be
in FIG B, you can use Exposure comp. the same screen as shown in FIG B,
(compensation) when you want to over- image .
ride the camera’s light meter. If you b) Referring to FIG B, image , select
feel that a picture is too light or too More settings and then scroll to the
dark, you can force the camera to add right.
or subtract up to five EV steps (stops) c) Choose Exposure comp. from the top of
of light—in / steps. What that the menu shown in FIG A, image ,
means is that you will select a compen- and then scroll to the right.
sation value, as shown in FIG B, im- d) Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or
age , in a sequence of steps like ., down where you see the little up/down
+/-., +/-., +/- ., +/- ., and so arrows with a . between them (FIG
on. When you’re using this function, B, image ). Once you have selected a
you’ll see a tiny picture of vegetables compensation value, press the OK but-
that will get brighter or darker as ton. Remember, . equals no compen-
you add or subtract EV values. When sation. Scrolling to + (plus) brightens
you’ve taken your picture after us- exposure, while scrolling to – (minus)
ing this setting, please remember to darkens exposure.
set the Exposure comp. back to . (no e) The camera will return to the previous
compensation), or all the pictures you screen. Scroll down to the Start shoot-
take will keep the previous compensa- ing selection, as shown at the bottom
tion setting and over- or underexpose of FIG B, image , press the OK button,
accordingly. I mention this because I and go take pictures!

FIG B – Exposure compensation from the Advanced operation menu


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

. Flash compensation – (Only available on no compensation. Scrolling to + (plus)


the Advanced operation menu) As shown brightens exposure, while scrolling to –
in FIG C, Flash compensation is very (minus) darkens exposure.
similar to Exposure comp., discussed pre- e) The camera will return to the previous
viously. You can adjust the output of the screen. Scroll down to the Start shoot-
camera’s pop up flash, or an external ing selection, as shown at the bottom
Speedlight inserted in the camera’s hot of FIG C, image , press the OK button,

3 shoe on top. If the flash is too bright or


too dark, simply add or subtract com-
and you’re ready to go take pictures!

pensation until it looks the way you like. . Flash mode – (Available from both the
You are limited to adding  extra EV step Easy and Advanced operation menus).
of brightness, but you can subtract up to The best thing for me to tell you right
 EV steps of light, in / EV steps. now about the Flash modes is that they
are rather complex and that the vari-
Here are the steps to configure your ous modes are not available at all cam-
camera for extra or less exposure using era settings. In some settings, such as
the Flash compensation setting: Easy operation’s Distant subjects mode,
a) Refer to FIG B, and the steps listed the flash modes are not available at all
below it, to get your camera to the More and the screen is grayed out. Here is a
settings menu in image . This will be list of all the modes that are available
the same screen as shown in FIG C, in the camera. Not all will be available
image . from the Guide menus.
b) Referring to FIG C, image , select More t Fill flash (front-curtain sync)
settings and then scroll to the right. t Rear-curtain sync
c) Choose Flash compensation from the t Slow sync
menu as shown in FIG C, image , and t Red-eye reduction
then scroll to the right. t Slow sync + red-eye reduction
d) Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or t Rear curtain + slow sync
down where you see the little up/down t Auto
arrowheads with a . between them t Auto + red-eye reduction
(FIG C, image ). Once you have se- t Auto + slow sync
lected a compensation value, press t Auto + slow sync + red-eye reduction
the OK button. Remember, . equals t Off

FIG C – Flash compensation from the Advanced operation menu


Shoot Menu’s More Settings Selection 

I will cover these modes in great detail the D’s Flash Settings” in chapter ,
in a later chapter of this book, where you’ll Speedlight Flash Photography.
discover what modes are available and how
each works. Since this is a chapter for new Here are the steps to configure your
users about the Guide Mode, for now let camera for extra or less exposure using
me recommend that you use the Advanced the Flash compensation setting:
operation menu’s Fill flash or Red-eye reduc- a) If you’re using Easy operation menus,
tion modes (see FIG D, image , first two
selections). Or, if you are using the Easy
please refer to FIG A, or B if using
the Advanced operation menus. Use the
3
operation menu, select Auto or Auto + Red-eye steps listed below them to get your
reduction mode (see FIG E, image , first camera to the More settings menu. This
two selections). You’ll find the names of will be the same screen as shown in
each mode in text above the picture in the FIGs D or E, image .
last screen of each menu. It’s easy to pick b) Referring to image  of FIG D (Ad-
the “red-eye reduction” modes by looking vanced operation) or E (Easy operation),
for the little eyeball symbol in the icon. select More settings, and then scroll to the
If you need more information on these right. If you are using the Advanced opera-
modes, and how to determine when each is tion menus, you’ll need to pass right by
available, please refer to the section “Using the screen shown in Figure D, image .

FIG D – Flash mode from the Advanced operation menu


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

c) Choose Flash mode from the top of the wireless, infrared release from as far
menu shown in FIG D, image  or FIG away as  feet ( m) and cause the
E, image , and then scroll to the right. camera to autofocus and take the
d) Select one of the flash modes (see picture. Be positioned first, because
chapter , Speedlight Flash Photog- you have only  seconds before the
raphy, for detail on the modes). camera fires. The camera’s light will
e) The camera will return to the previous blink for the  seconds just before it

3 screen. Scroll down to the Start shoot-


ing selection, press the OK button, and
takes the picture.
t Quick-response remote – Similar to
you’re ready to go take flash pictures! Delayed remote, except that there is
no delay. As soon as you press the
. Release mode – (Available from both button on the little ML-L Infrared
the Easy and Advanced operation menus). Remote, autofocus will happen and
This set of five choices affects how the the shutter will fire.
camera releases its shutter.
t Single frame – One shutter press Here are the steps to configure your
takes one picture. camera for using the Release mode settings:
t Continuous – One shutter press, held a) If you’re using the Easy operation menu,
down, fires the camera continuously, please refer to FIG A, or B if you’re
for up to three pictures per second. using the Advanced operation menus.
t Self-timer – When you press the shut- Use the steps listed below them to get
ter, the camera autofocuses, then your camera to the More settings menu.
beeps and flashes the AF-assist illumi- This will be the same screen shown in
nator for  seconds, and then finally FIGs F and G, image .
takes the picture. During the last b) Referring to image  of FIG F (Ad-
couple of seconds the camera beeps vanced operation) or FIG G (Easy op-
and flashes twice as fast. eration), select More settings and then
t Delayed remote – You don’t press the scroll to the right. If you are using the
Shutter release manually in this mode. Advanced operation menus, you’ll need to
Instead you use the Nikon ML-L In- pass right by the screen shown in Figure
frared Remote Release shown in FIG F, image  by selecting Next and scroll-
H. You can use this little, low-cost, ing right.

FIG E – Flash mode from the Easy operation menu


Shoot Menu’s More Settings Selection 

FIG F – Release mode from the Advanced operation menu

FIG G – Release mode from the Easy operation menu

c) Choose Release mode from the menu


shown in FIG F, image  or FIG G,
image  and then scroll to the right.
d) Select one of the Release modes (see
chapter , Shooting Menu, for detail
on the modes).
e) The camera will return to the previous FIG H - Nikon ML-L Infrared Remote Release
screen. Scroll down to the Start shoot-
ing selection, press the OK button, and
you’re ready to go take pictures!
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

The Release modes will be covered in t Single point – This mode allows you
much more detail in chapter  of this book to move a single AF Point around the
titled Shooting Menu. In addition, the viewfinder with the Multi Selector
first two Release modes—Single frame and control. You can use the AF Point to
Continuous—are featured heavily in chap- select a certain area of your subject
ter  called Multi-CAM  Autofocus. to place the best focus on that place.
. AF-area mode – (Available from both You can see the selected AF Point

3 the Easy and Advanced operation menus).


This mode affects how your camera’s
move around the  AF Points in the
viewfinder when you press the Multi
autofocus system knows how and Selector control in any direction. The
where to focus. There are four modes: selected AF Point is the only active

FIG I – AF-area mode from the Advanced operation menu

FIG J – AF-area mode from the Easy operation menu


Shoot Menu’s More Settings Selection 

point for autofocus. This is best used this mode for tracking wildlife and at
for static or slowly moving subjects. air shows, races, or any event where
t Dynamic area – The mode works in a your subject is moving quickly and
similar way to the Single point mode, you need to have the camera track it
and it even seems identical when and stay focused while it moves.
you use it while looking through
the viewfinder. The only difference Here are the steps to configure your
is that the AF Point you are moving
around with the Multi Selector is not
camera for using the Release mode
settings:
3
the only active point for autofocus. a) If you’re using the Easy operation menu,
The four AF Points surrounding the please refer to FIG A; if you’re using
one you see are also active, even the Advanced operation menu refer to
though they don’t light up like the FIG B. Use the steps listed below them
selected point. This mode is good for to get your camera to the More settings
shooting sports or where the subject menu. This will be the same screen as
will be moving erratically. shown in FIGs I or J, image .
t Auto-area – This mode turns your b) Referring to image  of FIG I (Ad-
D into a heavy point-and- vanced operation) or J (Easy operation),
shoot camera. The autofocus is com- select More settings and then scroll to
pletely handled by the camera. It the right. If you are using the Advanced
will flash up various AF Points in the operation menus, you’ll need to pass
viewfinder as it decides what the right by the screen shown in Figure I,
most important subject is. It uses image  by selecting Next and scrolling
facial-recognition technology to find right.
people’s faces in the frame and focus c) Choose AF-area mode from the menu
on them with higher priority. Use shown in FIG I, image  or FIG J, im-
this mode at parties, or anytime you age , and then scroll to the right.
don’t want to think about autofocus. d) Select one of the AF-area modes (see the
t D-tracking ( points) – This mode is chapter entitled Shooting Menu for
similar to Dynamic area, except that details on the modes).
all  of the AF Points are active for e) The camera will return to the previous
tracking a subject. You will still only screen. Scroll down to the Start shoot-
see one AF Point in the viewfinder ing selection, press the OK button, and
and can move it around to select a you’re ready to go take pictures!
starting point of focus on your sub-
ject. However, if the subject moves, The AF-area modes will be covered in
the camera will track it across all the much greater detail in chapter , titled
 AF Points, using the color and con- Shooting Menu.
trast of the subject to keep the cam- Now, let’s move on to the Shoot menu’s >
era focused in the right place. Use Timers & remote control menu.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Shoot Menu’s Timers & Here are the steps used to select and
Remote Control use Timers & remote control, a.k.a. Release
To make it easier to get to the often-used modes (see FIG ):
Release modes, which we discussed in the . Set the Mode dial on top the camera to
preceding section, Nikon isolated a por- GUIDE.
tion of the More settings menu in a stand- . Press the Menu button on the camera’s
alone menu called Timers & remote control. back.

3 Timers & remote control is an exact


duplicate of the Release mode’s final menu
. Select Shoot from the GUIDE MENU and
press the OK button (see FIG , image
screen and lets you select the exact same ).
settings as the latter. Compare FIG  with . Select Timers & remote control from the
the final screens in FIG F or G. They Shoot menu (see FIG , image ) and
are duplicates! Here is a brief recap of the then scroll to the right with the Multi
Timer & remote control modes, which are Selector (or press the OK button).
really the Release modes: . As FIG , image  shows, select one
t Single frame – One shutter press gives of the Timer & remote control (Release)
you one picture. modes (see chapter , Shooting Menu,
t Continuous – Hold down the shutter for details on the modes).
button for up to three pictures per sec- . Press the OK button to select a mode,
ond. and you’re ready to go take pictures!
t Self-timer – Press the shutter once for a (See FIG , image .)
-second delay and the camera takes
a picture. The camera beeps and blinks We covered these same settings in this
its AF-assist light until the camera chapter’s section “Shoot Menu’s ‘More
fires. Settings’ Selection”, under the section
t Delayed remote – Use the ML-L infra- called “. Release mode”. These are the
red remote, with a -second delay. Release modes. We will also cover these
t Quick-response remote - Use the ML-L settings in much more detail in chapter ,
infrared remote, with no delay. Shooting Menu.

FIG  – Timers & remote control


Guide Menu’s View/Delete Selections 

Guide Menu’s View/Delete Here are the steps to view a photo or a


Selections series of photos already on your camera’s
The View/delete menu is designed for memory card (see FIG ):
someone who knows very little about . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
operating the external controls on the to GUIDE.
camera. If you set the Mode dial to GUIDE . Press the Menu button on the left side
mode and press the Menu button, you have of the camera’s back.
access to various functions that let you
view or delete the pictures you’ve already
. Select View/delete from the GUIDE
MENU, and then press the OK button.
3
taken. . Select View single photos, and press the
There are five sections to this menu. OK button.
Most of them are concerned with view- . The LCD monitor will then display a pic-
ing pictures in various ways. One helps ture.
you delete images, again, in various ways. . View other photos by pressing right or
Many of these functions can also be done left on the Multi Selector.
by merely pressing the Playback button,
the Zoom in or Zoom out button, or the There is an alternate way to do the
Delete button. The slide show function is same thing. Use external camera controls:
also available under the old-style Playback . Press the Playback button—found on
menu. Let’s see how they work. the top left of the camera’s back. It
looks like an arrow pointing right with
View Single Photos a rectangle around it. (See chapter ,
The View single photos selection of the FIG B, number .)
View/delete menu allows you to duplicate . Look at the pictures on the LCD moni-
the pressing of the Playback button. If you tor by scrolling back and forth with the
would rather use multiple menus instead Multi Selector.
of a single button press, you can use these
screens (see FIG ). Now, let’s see how to display a group of
thumbnails on your camera’s LCD monitor
so that you can choose one to view.

FIG  – View single photos


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

View Multiple Photos chapter , FIG B, numbers  and . They


In the preceding section, you SAW how are the last two buttons on the bottom
to view one picture at a time. This one is left of the camera’s back and look like
for viewing images as thumbnails so that magnifying glasses. The top one zooms
you can see four images at the same time out to multiple images, and the bottom
on the small LCD screen. You can scroll up one zooms in to one image. They will
or down with the Multi Selector to view all change the number of images shown from

3 your images. When you find one you


want to see, you can select and view it
as few as  to as many as  tiny thumb-
nails displayed on the LCD screen.
(see FIG ). If you zoom in past the  images
Here are the steps to use the View multi- displayed point, the screen switches to
ple photos menu (see FIG ): a date display to let you choose a certain
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera date to view images. Here is a rundown on
to GUIDE. what the Playback zoom in button gives you:
. Press the Menu button on the left side . Starts with  images on the screen
of the camera’s back. when you select View multiple photos
. Select View/delete from the GUIDE (see FIG , image ).
MENU, and then press the OK button. . One press of the Thumbnail/playback
. Select View multiple photos, and press zoom out button shows nine images.
the OK button. . Another press of the Thumbnail/play-
. The LCD screen will then display four back zoom out button shows  images.
pictures. . A final press of the Thumbnail/playback
. View other photo groups by pressing zoom out button switches to a calendar
up or down on the Multi Selector. display to choose a specific date from
. Select a photo with the Multi Selector which to view images.
and press the OK button to open it to
full size. Using the Playback zoom in button
reverses the process and finally ends up
The camera displays four thumbnails as with just one image on screen. Play with
a default, but you can change the number this a moment and it will become easy.
by using the Thumbnail/playback zoom out
or Playback zoom in buttons, as found in

FIG  – View multiple photos


Guide Menu’s View/Delete Selections 

You can duplicate this functionality tell that you have pictures available on a
without using the menus by following certain day because it shows a tiny image
these steps with external camera buttons: thumbnail instead of a gray square (see
. Press the Playback button—found on FIG , image ).
the top left of the camera’s back. It Here are the steps to open and use the
looks like an arrow pointing right with Choose a date menu (see FIG ):
a rectangle around it. (See chapter , . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
FIG B, number .)
. Look at the pictures on the LCD screen
to GUIDE.
. Press the Menu button on the left side
3
by scrolling back and forth with the of the camera’s back.
Multi Selector, or… . Select View/delete from the GUIDE
. Press the Thumbnail/playback zoom out MENU, and then press the OK button.
or Playback zoom in buttons to show . Select Choose a date, and press the OK
more than one image or return to one button.
picture— exactly the same way as . The LCD screen will then display a calen-
described for the View multiple photos dar, as shown in FIG , image .
menu. You can zoom in and out any- . Scroll around the calendar with the
time you see a picture on the screen. Multi Selector, stop on a date that has a
picture thumbnail, and then press the
Learn the external button locations and OK button to view the image (or series
you’ll view your images much more quickly of images).
than stepping through menus. However, . Or, you can use the small scrolling pre-
those menus are there if you don’t know view display on the right side of the
how to use the buttons or forget. calendar to select an image to view. Se-
lect a date with images, and then press
Choose a Date the Thumbnail/Playback zoom out button
When you select Choose a date, instead of to jump to the small display (see chap-
displaying pictures, the camera shows you ter , FIG B, number  for button
a calendar that you can use to view im- location). You can scroll up or down in
ages taken on a specific date. It displays the display, choose a single image, then
the current month and year and lets you press the OK button to view it.
choose a day from the calendar. You can

FIG  – Choose a date


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

You can duplicate this functionality . Press the Menu button on the left side
without using the menus by following of the camera’s back.
these steps with external camera buttons: . Select View/delete from the GUIDE
. Press the Playback button—found on MENU, and then press the OK button.
the top left of the camera’s back. It . Select View a slide show, and scroll to
looks like an arrow pointing right with the right with the Multi Selector (or
a rectangle around it. (See chapter , press the OK button).

3 FIG B, number .)


. Press the Thumbnail/playback zoom out
. Select Start from the menu, as shown
in FIG A, image . This will display all
button four times, and you’ll zoom out images found in the current folder, in
to the calendar display. Slow down! sequence, with a -second delay.
There may be a pause between the sec-
ond and third button press because the However, you may ask, “What if I want
camera may have to prepare to view  to use a slower or faster timing on my
small thumbnails as it zooms past that slide show?” Well, you can change that
screen to the calendar. time value with the Frame interval menu
selection seen in FIG A, image . Let’s
Now, let’s have some fun and view a see how (see FIG B):
slide show! Change the Frame Interval (display
time) – These steps will allow you to
View a Slide Show change the Frame interval to , , , or 
The D will allow you to view a slide seconds (see FIG B):
show directly on your camera’s monitor. . Refer to the steps for FIG A to get to the
It’s a lot of fun when you have a bunch of first screen shown in FIG B, image .
images. You can let your friends view your . Scroll down to Frame interval and then
pictures or just enjoy them yourself. scroll to the right with the Multi Selector.
Start the Slide Show – Here are . Select a Frame interval value between 
the steps to start a slide show using the and  seconds, and then press the
default viewing time (Frame interval) of  OK button.
seconds per image (see FIG A): . The camera will return to the previous
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera screen. Scroll back up to Start, and press
to GUIDE. the OK button to view your slide show
with the new Frame interval setting.

FIG A – View a slide show


Guide Menu’s View/Delete Selections 

Pause, Adjust, and Restart the Slide button. The primary reasons for pausing a
Show – You’ll notice in FIG B, image , slide show are to change the Frame interval
the message Pause—>OK below the Frame display time or Exit the show. Those items
interval selection. That’s not a selectable are available from the menu as follows:
item; it’s just a reminder that you can . Restart – This just continues the slide
pause the slide show at any time by press- show on the next image.
ing the OK button. . Frame interval – This works just like
Once you have a slide show running,
just press the OK button and you’ll see the
the Frame interval choices mentioned
earlier in this section. Fig C, images
3
first screen in FIG C being displayed.  through  show a sequence of steps
This first screen in FIG C is the screen that’s similar to the ones we
that shows when you press the Pause discussed in the previous section,

FIG B – Changing the frame interval (display time)

FIG C – Pause slide show


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

“Change the Frame Interval”. Notice date, or every image in the current
how I changed the interval from  to  memory card folder. The D obliges
seconds in those screens (see the red with the menus shown in FIG A.
arrow)? Here are the steps to make a selection
. Exit – This does exactly what it says and from Delete photos (see FIG A):
exits back to the View/delete menu with . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
View a slide show selected. to GUIDE.

3 Now that we’ve fully examined slide


. Press the Menu button on the left side
of the camera’s back.
shows, let’s see how you can get rid of . Select View/delete from the GUIDE
images you don’t like. MENU, and then press the OK button.
. Select Delete photos, and scroll to the
Delete Photos right with the Multi Selector (or press
With the exuberance we all display at vig- the OK button).
orously taking digital pictures with our . Select one of the three choices from the
cool Nikon cameras, we invariably end menu, as shown in FIG A, image .
up with a few that don’t meet the grade.
Delete time! You could just format the Let’s look at each of the three deletion
memory card, but that would delete ev- methods shown in FIG A, image . First
erything on it. So, you can use the Delete let’s see how to delete one or multiple
photos menu to selectively delete certain images from the Delete multiple photos
images. selection. FIG B takes up where FIG A
The D gives you several ways to leaves off.
delete a picture, the easiest of which is to To delete one or more images from
just view the unwanted image on the LCD your memory card’s current folder, follow
screen and then press the Delete button. these steps while referring to FIG B:
It’s located below the OK button on the . Refer to the steps for FIG A to find
camera’s back and looks like a garbage can the screen shown in FIG B, image .
with the lid raised (see chapter , FIG B, This will allow you to start the multiple
number ). image deletion process.
However, you may want to delete . Select Delete multiple photos, as shown
several images, all pictures from a certain in FIG B, image .

FIG A – Delete photos


Guide Menu’s View/Delete Selections 

. As shown in FIG B, image  (red ar- will appear briefly, and the camera will
rows), use the Multi Selector to select an return to the previous screen. The se-
image and then use the Thumbnail/Play- lected images are deleted.
back zoom out button to add a little trash
can icon to the upper-right corner of There are two other ways to delete
each image thumbnail that you want to images from your memory card. The next
delete (see chapter , FIG B, number method is to delete images by date. The
 for button location). The button acts
like a toggle and turns the trash can on
camera will segregate the images by date
and offer you image deletion by checking
3
or off with each press. off specific dates. Let’s see how (see FIG
. Once you’ve marked all the images you C).
want to delete, simply press the OK Use these steps to delete images by
button. The camera will switch to the specific dates (see FIG C):
final deletion screen, so be sure you’ve . Refer to the steps for FIG A to find
marked the right images. FIG B, im- the screen shown in FIG C, image .
age  shows the final step before image This will allow you to start the delete-
deletion actually occurs. It will show by-date process.
the number of images you’ve marked . Select Delete photos by date, as shown in
for deletion just under the Delete? FIG C, image , and then scroll to the
prompt. I previously marked three im- right with the Multi Selector.
ages with the trash can symbol. . If you have images taken on several
. Choose Yes from the Delete? menu and dates, you’ll see a screen like the one
press the OK button. After a moment, shown in FIG C, image . It allows
the screen will darken, the word Done you to select specific dates. All images

FIG B – Delete multiple photos

FIG C – Delete photos by date


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

under the dates you select will be de- camera, the friend’s camera may have
stroyed. Use the Multi Selector to scroll created its own folder on the memory
up or down to select individual dates. card. For instance, I plugged my camera’s
On each date you want to delete, sim- card into my wife’s Nikon D and took
ply scroll to the right with the Multi a couple of pictures. It didn’t write its
Selector, and the camera will place a pictures into the D folder.
small check mark in the box to the left Instead, the D created its own folder

3 of the date. You can also uncheck an


already checked date by scrolling to the
named NCD.
Your camera is smart enough to know
right again. You can validate the im- that you may not want to delete the imag-
ages under a specific date by pressing es taken by the other camera, so it won’t
the Thumbnail/playback zoom out button. automatically display or delete images
This will take you into the actual im- from another folder. You can force it to
ages for that date only. Once you have do that by using the Set up menu—which
validated that you want to delete those we’ll be discussing next—and select-
images, just press the Thumbnail/play- ing Playback folder. This will allow you
back zoom out button again. to select only your current D
. Once you have checked all the dates folder, which is displayed in-camera as
with images you want to delete, simply simply the D playback folder, or you
press the OK button to continue. The can select All, which will make the camera
camera will switch to the next screen display and/or delete every image in
with a prompt that asks, “Delete all im- every folder if you’d like. We’ll discuss
ages taken on selected date?” If you are this more in the next section. For now,
ready to delete, just scroll up to the Yes let’s look at how we can delete all images
selection and press the OK button. After from the current D folder—or all
a moment, the screen will darken, the folders if Playback folder > All is selected.
word Done will appear briefly, and the FIG D shows the screens you’ll use.
camera will return to the View/delete Here are the steps to delete all images
selection on the Guide menu. The select- from the current memory card folder (see
ed images are deleted. FIG D):
. Refer to the steps for FIG A to find
Finally, there is a way to delete all the screen shown in FIG D, image .
the images from the current folder of This will allow you to start the Delete all
the memory card. Your camera creates a photos process.
folder called D on its memory . Select Delete all photos, as shown in
card. The only time you’ll see this folder FIG D, image , and then scroll to the
is if you plug the memory card into your right with the Multi Selector.
computer and use a file browser to exam- . You’ll now see the Delete all photos
ine the card. If you have loaned your screen, with it’s Yes/No selection and
card to another person, using a different the dire warning, “All images will be
Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

FIG D – Delete all photos


3
deleted. OK?” If you are sure and ready configuration with the Guide Mode’s Set
to delete all images in the folder, sim- up menu.
ply choose Yes and press the OK button. One thing I want to mention again
. After a moment, the screen will dark- is that you should be careful not to get
en, the word Done will appear briefly, confused about which menu system we
and the camera will return to the View/ are using. The camera has an older-style
delete selection on the Guide menu. All menu called the Setup menu. The name is
images are deleted. suspiciously similar to the Set up menu
found on the Guide menu, isn’t it? In fact,
You’ve seen every way the Guide menu many of the same functions are found on
offers to delete images except one; the both menus.
Format memory card selection on the Set up Let’s start our foray into the Set up
menu. Let’s move into those menus next. menu with a look at Image quality.

Guide Menu’s Set up Selections Image Quality


The Set up menu is composed of  se- The “quality” of your image is directly re-
lected settings. You can set these same lated to what image format or type you
settings under one of the other two inter- use. The Nikon D has two specific
faces, the older-style text-based menus image types that can be used alone or to-
and the Information edit menu. Since the gether. It supports the following image
Guide menu is designed for brand-new us- types:
ers, not experienced ones, I am going to t NEF (RAW). The NEF stands for Nikon
limit this section of the book to instruc- Electronic Format.
tions on how to use the settings and a t JPEG Fine, Normal, and Basic.
brief description of what each does. t Combination of NEF and JPEG at the
As you move deeper into this book, same time. (Same image stored twice,
you’ll start learning about the other one as a NEF, the other as a JPEG.)
user interfaces. I’ll go into much deeper
detail about each setting when we discuss FIG  shows the screens used to select
those more advanced menus. For now, a particular Image quality.
let’s see how to do some fairly advanced
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

3 FIG  – Image quality

Here are the steps to choose your personal computers. A RAW image has
particular image format or quality (see to be converted to some other type
FIG ): of file, like JPEG fine, TIFF, EPS, PNG,
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera GIF, or some other recognized im-
to GUIDE. age format. People shooting RAW are
. Press the Menu button on the left side looking for the highest-quality images
of the camera’s back. their camera can create and don’t want
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and the camera imposing anything on the
then press the OK button. RAW image. That’s why it’s called RAW.
. Select Image quality from the Set up People who sell images for money often
menu, and press the OK button. use the NEF (RAW) format so that they
. You’ll now be presented with a list of can prepare the image for their client’s
five Image quality selections. If you are needs later.
unsure how to use the NEF (RAW) qual- t JPEG fine is a better format for a begin-
ity, it may be a good idea to simply ning photographer because the image
select JPEG fine at this point. The JPEG is immediately usable without doing
normal and basic are just lower-quality conversion or extensive work in the
versions of JPEG fine (higher image computer. The camera creates an im-
compression ratios). If you’re like me, age with everything in place and ready
you want the best-quality picture you to go. You can take it directly off of
can get, so JPEG fine is probably the best your memory card and print it, give to
choice for a new user. friends, post it on Facebook or Flickr,
or send it by email. JPEG is the world-
We’ll discuss the various image formats wide industry standard for digital pho-
and their pros and cons in great detail tographs.
in the chapter , Shooting Menu. For
now, here is the best way to look at Image Now that you’ve decided on a format
quality: (Image quality), let’s look into the Image
t NEF (RAW) is best used by those who size.
have experience, time, and interest in
doing extensive image editing on their
Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

Image Size . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera


There are three image sizes available in to GUIDE.
the D. Personally, I’ve never used the . Press the Menu button on the left side
smaller sizes, but there could be circum- of the camera’s back.
stances where they might come in handy. . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
If you just wanted to document some- then press the OK button.
thing but have no need for high quality, . Select Image size from the Set up menu,
the medium or small size could be used.
Most of us will just leave the camera set
and press the OK button.
. Choose Large, Medium, or Small (L, M,
3
to L-Large and go take great pictures. or S), and then press the OK button. The
The Image size affects the megapixel (MP) camera will switch back to the Set up
size of the image. In effect, you can reduce menu, and you’re ready to shoot.
the megapixel rating by one-half to three-
quarters, changing from a MP camera Now, let’s look at Active D-Lighting,
to . MP or . MP. Here are the three which helps control the contrast in your
settings under Image size (see FIG ): image automatically.
t L (Large) – x –
. megapixels Active D-Lighting
t M (Medium) – x – Active D-Lighting tries to extend the “dy-
. megapixels namic range” in your images so that you can
t S (Small) – x – record more detail in dark areas and keep
. megapixels from “blowing out” or “clipping off ” image
data in the highlights. We’ll look in depth
This selection applies only to images at controlling the situation where there’s
captured in JPEG modes. If you are shoot- more light than your camera can handle in
ing with your D in NEF (RAW) mode, the chapter , Exposure Metering System,
it doesn’t apply and the Image size selec- Exposure Modes, and Histogram.
tion will be grayed out. If you are shoot- Basically, the Active D-Lighting setting
ing in NEF (RAW) + JPEG basic mode, it only does two things:
applies to the JPEG image in the pair. . Opens up the shadow detail in an image
Here’s how to select the size of the image . Protects the highlight detail from
(see FIG ): turning pure white

FIG  – Image size


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

In effect this lowers the contrast in camera displays all images on the memo-
an image. On a cool overcast day, it may ry card or just the current folder.
not be necessary to use Active D-Lighting
because the contrast is already low. Playback Folder
However, on a bright sunny day there The Playback folder is normally a folder on
is so much light that the contrast can your camera’s memory card with a des-
be higher than the camera can capture. ignation of D in the camera’s Set up

3 That’s when Active D-Lighting comes in


handy. The only dangers from using Active
menu. It contains all the Current images
found in this folder.
D-Lighting all the time is that it tends to You have two selections under the
take away some of the “snap” (contrast) Playback folder:
in an image and can introduce extra . Current – This represents the folder you
noise into the darker areas as the camera have selected currently, which is the
reveals image data by turning up the D folder. If you look at the mem-
power on darker sections of the frame. ory card in your computer, you will
Here are the steps to turn Active find a folder called DCIM, and within
D-Lighting on or off (see FIG ): it you’ll see another folder called
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera D. This is the D folder
to GUIDE. containing your Current pictures. With
. Press the Menu button on the left side Current selected, no other images will
of the camera’s back. be displayed except the ones in the Cur-
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and rent folder.
then press the OK button. . All – If you are using a memory card
. Select Active D-Lighting from the Set up that has images from another camera
menu, and press the OK button. on it, they will be in a different folder
. Choose On or Off, and then press the from your D Current folder. You
OK button. The camera will switch back won’t be able to see any of the images
to the Set up menu, and you’re ready to in other folders unless you select All.
take some pictures. This selection tells the camera to dis-
play any compatible images it finds
Now, let’s look at the Playback folder, in any folder on the memory card. I
which allows you to select whether your normally leave my camera set to All

FIG  – Active D-Lighting


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

FIG  – Playback folder


3
because I might have borrowed a mem- PictBridge-compatible printer without
ory card from one of my other cameras involving your computer.
and forget that there were images in
another folder. Then, since I can’t see Print Set (DPOF)
the other pictures, I might format the Some photographers would rather not
card in the D and lose any other use a computer but still be able to print
folders. All is a safe selection. If you their pictures on a home ink-jet printer or
have All selected, the images in all the DPOF-compatible print kiosk at the local
folders will show when you are doing superstore. If your printer is a PictBridge
image playback on your LCD screen. type, you can simply create print orders
We’ll talk much more about this in the that are saved to your computer’s memo-
chapter entitled Playback Menu. ry card. Then you pull the card out of the
camera and insert it into your printer—or
Here are the steps to set All or Current a printing kiosk—and the device will ask
under the Playback menu (see FIG ): you if you want to print the print order
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera on the card.
to GUIDE. This print order allows you to select
. Press the Menu button on the left side the number of copies for each image that
of the camera’s back. you want printed. You could select three
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and copies of one image, six copies of another,
then press the OK button. and just one of an additional image, and
. Select Playback folder from the Set up the PictBridge-enabled printer or kiosk
menu, and press the OK button. will obey your print order. It’s really
. Choose Current or All, and then press convenient to use.
the OK button. The camera will switch I’ll often take a bunch of pictures, then
back to the Set up menu, and you’re just sit down with my camera and use
ready to take more pictures. Print set (DPOF) to select my favorites for
printing. When I insert the memory card
Now, let’s look at Print set (DPOF), into my printer—an Epson PictureMate
which allows you create “print orders” PM — it puts this on its monitor
that will print your pictures on a screen: “DPOF data detected. Do you want
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

to use the DPOF data? Yes/No.” I answer right with the Multi Selector (see FIG
yes and it starts printing my print order. I A, image ). We’ll talk about Deselect
come back later to a nice pile of pictures. all? shortly.
You can have information on the shut- . You’ll be presented with the Select/
ter speed, aperture, and date of each set screen and a thumbnail listing of
image printed right on the lower-right the current images on your memory
corner of the picture if you’d like—if your card (see FIG A, image ). You can

3 printer supports it. Here are the steps to


use Print set (DPOF) to create a print order
scroll up or down to see all your im-
ages. To select an image and set the
on your camera’s memory card for use in printing quantity, highlight it with
your PictBridge-compatible printer (see the small yellow rectangle surround-
FIG A): ing the thumbnail. Press and hold the
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera Playback zoom in button to view a larger
to GUIDE. thumbnail of the image. To set the
. Press the Menu button on the left side print quantity on a selected image,
of the camera’s back. hold down the Thumbnail/playback zoom
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and out button and press up or down on
then press the OK button (see FIG A, the Multi Selector until the number you
image ). want appears in the top-right corner of
. Select Print set (DPOF) from the Set up the image, next to a tiny printer sym-
menu, and press the OK button (see FIG bol (see red arrows in FIG A, image
A, image ). If it is grayed out, you ). Once you have all the images that
have no pictures on your memory card. you want to print prepared with print-
Take some pictures! ing quantities, just press the OK button.
. Choose Select/set from the Print set . Now you’ll see the Data imprint and
(DPOF) menu, and then scroll to the Imprint date selections on the second

FIG A – Print set (DPOF) – preparing a print order


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

FIG B – Print set (DPOF) – deleting a print order


3
Select/set screen. You can select Data are the steps to deselect all markings (see
imprint if you want aperture and shut- FIG B):
ter speed information printed on the . Refer to the screens shown in FIG A,
lower-right corner of the print. You images  to , to find the Deselect all?
can also select Imprint date if you want screen. We’ll use the Deselect all? selec-
a date there too. To put little checks in tion instead of the Select/set choice (see
the check boxes, as seen in FIG A, FIG B, image ).
image , simply highlight the selec- . On the Deselect all? screen, you’ll see a
tion and scroll to the right. You’ll see a question with the words, Remove print
check mark appear in the little box. Be marking from all images? You have the
sure to scroll back up to the Done selec- choice of Yes and No. Choose Yes and
tion and press the OK button. I often then press the OK button to remove the
forget to do this and lose my settings markings (see FIG B, image ).
as a result. . The camera will briefly display the
. Once you have the selections made screen seen in FIG B, image , and
and press the OK button, you’ll see then switch back to the Set up menu.
the screen shown in FIG A, image You can then create a new print order
 briefly show on your camera’s LCD or go take more pictures.
screen. Then it will switch back to the
Set up menu, and you’re ready pull out By the way, in case you are curious,
the memory card and insert it into the DPOF stands for Digital Print Order
DPOF-compatible device for printing. Format. Now you can impress your
friends by telling them that your new
Now let’s see what the Deselect all? D camera will create on-the-fly print
screen does (see FIG B). orders in the Digital Print Order Format.
This series of screens begin where FIG Then you can show them the large pile of
A, image  leaves off. It allows you to pictures you just printed with very little
delete any existing print order on the effort.
memory card by removing the print quan-
tity markings on all existing images. Here
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Format Memory Card give you a final dire warning, “All imag-
This is a function you’ll use often. Today’s es on memory card will be deleted. OK?”
memory cards can hold hundreds, if not Simply select Yes and press the OK but-
thousands, of images. However, eventu- ton. While the formatting process is
ally your card is going to get full and you’ll taking place, you’ll see a black screen
need to transfer the pictures and format with the words “Formatting memory
the card. card.” Once the process is done, it will

3 Be careful with this function because it


permanently removes all images from the
briefly display “Formatting complete.”
and then switch back to the Set up
memory card, including any in folders you menu.
can’t see (see the section earlier in this
chapter on the Playback folder setting). It Make sure that you don’t format a
is better to format the memory card in memory card with unseen pictures from
your camera instead of your computer so another camera hiding on it. The best way
the format is customized to your particu- to make sure of that is to set the camera’s
lar D. Playback folder selection to All (see the
Here are the steps to format a memory section earlier in this chapter about the
card in your camera (see FIG ). You Playback folder).
did transfer all those pictures to your
computer’s hard drive, right? LCD Brightness
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera The LCD brightness setting allows you to
to GUIDE. control how brightly the LCD screen dis-
. Press the Menu button on the left side plays its screens. If you are shooting on a
of the camera’s back. very bright sunny day, it may be helpful
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and to turn the brightness up, or down on a
then press the OK button. darker day.
. Select Format memory card from the Set However, please be aware of one
up menu, and press the OK button (see thing. When you have the LCD screen
FIG , image ). set too brightly, it may fool you into
. Choose Yes (or No to back out) from the thinking that an image the camera has
Format memory card screen, as seen in underexposed is just fine. It is impor-
FIG , image . The format screen will tant that you do not depend on the LCD

FIG  – Format memory card


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

screen completely to decide whether . Press the Menu button on the left side
an image is exposed well, or not. Learn of the camera’s back.
to use your camera’s Histogram, as . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
discussed in the chapter titled Exposure then press the OK button.
Metering System, Exposure Modes, . Select LCD brightness from the Set up
and Histogram. This little readout will menu, and press the OK button (see FIG
protect you by displaying a visual read- A, image ).
ing of whether the exposure is good or
not. With this knowledge, just set the
. There are two selections on the follow-
ing screen, LCD brightness and Auto dim.
3
LCD brightness to a value that makes it I’ll discuss Auto dim in a moment. Se-
comfortable to view your images. I’ll lect LCD brightness from the menu and
often set mine to - or , according to the scroll to the right with the Multi Selector
brightness level of the ambient light. It’ll (see FIG A, image ).
fool you though, so be careful. Learn to . Now you’ll see the actual LCD brightness
use your camera’s Histogram! screen (see FIG A, image ). Notice
Here are the steps to adjust LCD bright- the  between the yellow up and down
ness (see FIG A): arrow tips (see red arrow in image )?
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera Using the Multi Selector, you can scroll
to GUIDE. up or down here to raise or lower the

FIG A – LCD brightness


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

brightness level of the LCD screen. It is screen will then gradually dim to a lower
adjustable in both directions by three brightness level over several seconds.
levels (+/- ). Select your preferred This setting is useful to conserve
setting while watching the graduated battery life, but I don’t use it because the
bands of black to white vary in bright- battery lasts so long on the D. If I
ness. It will help you see when the were overly worried about depleting the
screen is too dark or light. Up is bright- battery, I’d just buy an extra one to keep

3 er, down is darker.


. Press the OK button when you’ve select-
with me.
Here are the steps to enable or disable
ed the brightness level you prefer. The Auto dim (see FIG B):
camera will switch back to the Set up . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
menu, with your new LCD brightness to GUIDE.
level set. . Press the Menu button on the left side
of the camera’s back.
There is another setting called Auto dim . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
that we need to examine. This function then press the OK button.
causes the LCD screen to initially display . Select LCD brightness from the Set up
the brightness level you have previously menu, and press the OK button (see FIG
selected using the screens in FIG A. The B, image ).

FIG B – Auto dim


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

. Select Auto dim from the LCD brightness FIG A you’ll find a sample of all three
menu and then scroll to the right with colors—Green, Black, and Brown, in that
the Multi Selector. order. I prefer the black color.
. The Auto dim screen gives you two Here are the screens and steps to
menu choices, On or Off. Select your fa- choose your favorite Information screen
vorite choice and then press the OK but- color (see FIG B):
ton. The camera will then switch back . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
to the Set up menu. to GUIDE.
. Press the Menu button on the left side
3
Most people will set their camera’s LCD of the camera’s back left.
brightness when they first configure it and . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
then forget about it. I leave mine set to . then press the OK button.
. Select Info background color from the Set
Info Background Color up menu, and press the OK button (see
You can modify the color of the Info screen FIG B, image ).
that you see when you first turn the cam- . Now you’ll see the Info background color
era on—if you’re not using the GUIDE screen offering you the three colors.
MENU. You can also use this Information Select Green, Black, or Brown from the
screen when you press the Info button just menu and then press the OK button.
behind the Shutter release button. . Press the Info button on the camera’s
The default color of the Information top near the Shutter release button and
screen is a teal color (greenish blue) that make sure you like the color of the
Nikon calls Green. You can also select Information screen.
Black or Brown for the Info screen color. In

FIG A – Info screen background color samples

FIG B – Setting the Info screen background color


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Auto Info Display . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
Auto info display is a setting that allows then press the OK button.
the Information screen to show whenever . Select Auto info display from the Set up
you press the Shutter release button half- menu, and press the OK button (see FIG
way down. Normally this screen comes up , image ).
when you first turn the camera on (except . Now you’ll see the Auto info display
in Guide mode) and when you press the screen offering you two choices. Select

3 Info or Information edit buttons. If you don’t


have the camera configured to show the
On or Off from the menu and then press
the OK button.
picture on the LCD screen each time you . Press the Shutter release button partway
take one, this screen will show after each and make sure the Information screen
picture. shows or doesn’t show, per your selec-
Some do not like this screen to appear tion (Off = no show).
when they partially press the Shutter
release button. Personally, I leave this Video Mode
selection set to Off so that I can tap You can connect your D directly to
the Shutter release button to turn off the an old-style non-HD television or a VCR
display and save battery life. using an audio/visual (AV) cable. You’ll be
Here are the steps to enable or disable able to show a slide show on the TV or re-
Auto info display (see FIG ): cord a slide show to videotape or DVD.
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera However, before you connect it, you
to GUIDE. should make sure the camera’s Video mode
. Press the Menu button on the left side is configured for your equipment. Most
of the camera’s back. U.S. devices will be NTSC format, while

FIG  – Auto info display

FIG  – Video mode


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

European equipment requires the PAL Time Zone and Date


format. To determine the correct format, There are several functions to set under
please refer to the instructions for the the Time zone and date section of the Set
device to which you want to connect your up menu. These are probably already con-
D. figured since they were covered when I
Here are the steps to configure the explained the initial camera setup. How-
proper Video mode setting for your D ever, let’s briefly examine each function
(see FIG ):
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
again, in case you want to modify the set-
tings later.
3
to GUIDE. Here are the four parts of the Time zone
. Press the Menu button on the left side and date configuration:
of the camera’s back. t Time zone
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and t Date and time
then press the OK button. t Date format
. Select Video mode from the Set up menu, t Daylight saving time
and press the OK button (see FIG ,
image ). As I cover each of the four selections, I
. Now you’ll see the Video mode screen won’t include the opening screens in the
offering you two choices. Select NTSC or figures and instead will start with the
PAL from the menu and then press the Time zone and date screen shown in FIG
OK button. A, image .

FIG A - Time zone and date setup – main screen

FIG B - Time zone setup


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

Time zone – FIG B shows the Time . Once you have your Time zone selected,
zone configuration screen’s world map press the OK button to save the setting.
interface for selecting the area of the
world in which you are using the camera. I Date and time – FIG C shows the Date
selected New York (Eastern) time zone. and time configuration screens. The final
To set the Time zone, use these steps (see screen in the series allows you to select the
FIG B): Year, Month, and Day (Y, M, D) and the

3 . Refer to the steps for FIG A and get


to the screen shown in FIG A, image
Hour, Minute, and Second (H, M, S):
. Refer to the steps for FIG A, and get
 and B, image . We’ll start with the to the screen shown in FIG A, image
Time zone and date screen.  and C, image . We’ll start with
. Select Time zone, and then scroll to the the Date and time screen.
right. . Select Date and time, and then scroll to
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll left or the right.
right until your time zone is under the . Using the Multi Selector button, scroll
yellow vertical bar (or yellow highlight left or right until you have selected the
with a red dot) in the center of the value you want to change. Then scroll up
world map screen. or down to actually change the value.

FIG C - Date and time setup

FIG D - Date format setup


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

. When you have set the correct date  Hour Time Equivalents
and time, press the OK button to save
For your convenience, here is a listing of
the settings. Please note that the time
the -hour time equivalents:
setting uses the -hour military-style
clock. To set  p.m., you would set the A.M. Settings:
H and M settings to :. I set mine : a.m. = : (midnight)
to :: which is equal to : p.m. : a.m. = :
(and  seconds). : a.m. = :
: a.m. = :
3
: a.m. = :
Date format – The D gives you
: a.m. = :
three different ways to format the date
: a.m. = :
(see FIG D): : a.m. = :
t Y/M/D = Year/Month/Day : a.m. = :
(//) : a.m. = :
t M/D/Y = Month/Day/Year : a.m. = :
(//) : a.m. = :
t D/M/Y = Day/Month/Year
P.M. Settings:
(//)
: p.m. = : (noon)
: p.m. = :
Owners of the D in the U.S. will : p.m. = :
probably use setting  , which matches : p.m. = :
the MM/DD/YYYY format so familiar to : p.m. = :
Americans. Other areas of the world can : p.m. = :
select their favorite date format. : p.m. = :
: p.m. = :
To select the Date format setting of your
: p.m. = :
choice, do the following (see FIG D): : p.m. = :
. Refer to the steps for FIG A and get : p.m. = :
to the screen shown in FIG A, image : p.m. = :
 and D, image . We’ll start with
the Date format screen. Note: There is no : time (midnight).
. Select Date format, and then scroll to After : comes :.

the right.
. Choose the format you like best from
the three available formats.
. Press the OK button.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

3
FIG E - Daylight saving time screens

Daylight saving time – Many areas of adjustment is good. My computer adjusts its
the United States use daylight saving time own time, and my camera can do the same.
to “spring forward or fall back”. In the
spring many American residents set their Language
time forward by one hour on a specified day Nikon is a company that sells cameras
each year. Then in the fall they set it back, and lenses around the world. For that rea-
leading to the clever phrase quoted above. son, your D can display in up to 
To configure the Daylight saving time languages. In FIG  are the screens used
setting, do the following steps (see FIG to select your favorite language.
E): The D using firmware version .
. Refer to the steps for FIG A and get includes the following languages:
to the screen shown in FIG A, image t Danish
 and E, image . We’ll start with t German
the Daylight saving time screen. t English
. Select Daylight saving time, and then t Spanish
scroll to the right. t Finnish
. Select On or Off from the menu. t French
. Press the OK button. t Italian
t Dutch
If you chose On, your D will auto- t Norwegian
matically “spring forward and fall back”, t Polish
adjusting your time forward by one hour t Portuguese
in the spring and back one hour in the fall t Russian
of the year. t Swedish
I always leave mine set to On because t Traditional Chinese
I want my camera to record an accurate t Simplified Chinese
time on each image. Anything that keeps t Japanese
me from having to remember an annual t Korean
Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

FIG  - Language selection


3
Your D should default to the . Now you’ll see the Language screen of-
language of the area in which you live (or fering you  choices. Select your Lan-
in which you purchased it). However, you guage from the menu and then press
may choose to use a different language the OK button.
from your multilingual camera.
Here are the steps to select a language Auto Off Timers
(see FIG ): The Auto off timers allow you to control how
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera long the screens stay on when you’re look-
to GUIDE. ing at images or configuring a setting and
. Press the Menu button on the left side how long the light meter stays on after use.
of the camera’s back. You can adjust these settings using the
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and following chart:
then press the OK button. Here are the steps to configure Short,
. Select Language from the Set up menu, Normal, or Long timings (see FIG A):
and press the OK button (see FIG , . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
image ). to GUIDE.

Auto Off Timers

Playback/menus Image review Auto meter-off


Short  seconds  seconds  seconds
Normal  seconds  seconds  seconds
Long  seconds  seconds  minute
Custom Set each of these times individually (see FIGs B to D).

FIG A – Auto off timers


 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

. Press the Menu button on the left side Now, let’s look at the Custom screens,
of the camera’s back. which allow you to configure the timings
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and on an individual basis. There are three
then press the OK button. sections, and each has its own configu-
. Select Auto off timers from the Set up rations. Please refer to FIG A so that
menu, and press the OK button (see FIG you can see how to get to the screen with
A, image ). the Custom selection. We’ll start with

3 . Now you’ll see the Auto off timers screen


offering you four choices. Select your
that screen on each of the next series of
screens, one for each Custom setting.
choice from the menu and then press Here are the steps to configure each of
the OK button. I’d choose Long if I didn’t these timers. We won’t consider all three
want to take the time to configure the individually because the same process
values using Custom. is used to set each one. Use these steps

FIG B – Auto off timers – Custom – Playback/menus

FIG C – Auto off timers – Custom – Image review

FIG D – Auto off timers – Custom – Auto meter-off


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

to configure any of the three—Playback/ Beep


menus, Image review, or Auto meter-off All the little point-and-shoot cameras beep
(see FIGs B through D): when they have achieved focus. That’s be-
. Refer to FIG A to see the screen flow cause it takes so long to get them into focus
to get to the first screen in FIG B that one feels relief when it finally happens
through D. and welcomes the beep. No so with a DSLR!
. Select Custom from the Auto off timers The autofocus system on your D is an
menu, and scroll to the right (image ).
. Select one of the three items that need
advanced one, found on professional-level
Nikons only a couple of years ago. It is fast!
3
Custom timing, and scroll to the right I don’t like the beep because it merely
(image ). draws attention to me taking a picture.
. Select an Auto off timer custom time (im- How can I be sneaky and get that shot of
age ). I prefer longer timings, except Cousin Billy sneaking another meatball
on the Auto meter-off, which I leave at  if my camera beeps when I autofocus.
seconds. I like to leave my Playback/menus You may like it because it offers a level of
and Image review timing set to  minute assurance that autofocus was successful.
( min.) each. That gives me time to con- However, once you’ve seen how quick and
figure a menu or look at an image well. accurate the AF system is on the D, I
. Press the OK button to lock in a timing think you’ll tire of the beep.
for that particular function. There are several things that will make
your D beep:
Now let’s decide whether to let our t Successful autofocus
cameras beep at us. Some like the beep, t The self-timer and delayed remote in
some don’t mind it, and some can’t stand action
it (me). No beep for me! Not after that t The Quick-response mode taking a pic-
grizzly bear let me know he didn’t appreci- ture
ate my invading his territory. He’d never t Throwing it at a grizzly bear to distract
have known if I hadn’t left Beep turned on! him while you run for your life (not re-
ally, I made that up).
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

3 FIG  – Beep, beep, BEEP, etc.

Other than the with self-timer, maybe, Date Imprint


I can’t see a good reason to leave Beep We all remember how we could set our
on, especially when I am trying to photo- film cameras to imprint a little red date
graph things like noise-sensitive wildlife in the lower-right corner of our prints.
and meatball-sneaking cousins. Do you Well, the D does that in a big way.
get the feeling that I don’t like beeping Not only can you put a date visibly on your
cameras? If you love to hear the beep, images, you can imprint date and time,
don’t let me influence you. The D is or the number of days between the date
ready to serve your and my personalities the image was taken and another chosen
without complaint. date. Here are the four menu choices and
Here are the steps to enable or disable three formats you can imprint on your im-
the beep (see FIG ): ages—permanently—and in bright red:
. Set the Mode dial on top of the camera Date Imprint Format Chart:
to GUIDE. t Off – Nothing is imprinted on the im-
. Press the Menu button on the left side age.
of the camera’s back. t Date – looks like ...
. Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and t Date and time – Looks like ..
then press the OK button. :.
. Select Beep from the Set up menu, and t Date counter – Has several formats:
press the OK button (see FIG , image ). – Number of days: /..
. Now you’ll see the Beep screen offering – Years and days: ./..
you two choices, On or Off. Select your – Years, months, and days:
choice from the menu and then press ../..
the OK button. Guess which one I’d
choose!
Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

FIG A - Date imprint


3
At first, I understood the date/time Now, I must admit, this is truly an
well enough but had trouble understand- unusual functionality to me, and I’ve
ing why there’s a date counter. Finally, been taking pictures since I was a kid
I started to see a reason for recording back in the late sixties. However, some
the number of years, months, and days segment of society must need this exact
between the date an image was taken and functionality, and now has it. Maybe
another chosen date. police forensic departments or private
An example might be a graduation detectives really need this capability,
party. Let’s say my daughter gradu- since the formats recorded are perma-
ated high school on May , , and I nently added to the image. The selected
took a picture of her with some friends. date for comparison to the shooting date
Several years later, on July , , can be a past or future date.
I take a reunion picture of her and the The date format I presented earlier is
same friends. Of course, they all want to based on the American MM/DD/YYYY.
see how much they’ve changed since the However, the camera allows you to adjust
first picture  years and  days earlier, the date readout to your favorite format
so I put the two images side-by-side. under the Set up menu’s Time Zone and Date
Since they are young and haven’t changed function. Whatever format you choose
much, the newest image needs a date under the Setup menu will be shown in the
counter. Here are the formats the counter date section of the Date imprint screen.
will imprint on the second picture for the FIGs A through C show the menu
this scenario: screens to set up the Date imprint system.
May ,  to July ,  Let’s look at the steps to set up the
t Number of days: /.. entire function:
(days/date) . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
t Years and days: ./.. to GUIDE.
(years.days/date) . Press the Menu button on the left side
t Years, months, and days: of the camera’s back.
../.. (years. . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and
months.days/date) then press the OK button.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

. Select Date imprint from the menu, and skip the rest of these steps. However,
then scroll to the right (see FIG A, if you choose Date counter, you’ll have
image ). to choose a comparison date and a final
. Choose one of the four choices (Off, display format. The next step starts
Date, Date and time, or Date counter). The that process.
first three are simple (see FIG A, im- . You’ve chosen Date counter, so scroll
age ). If you choose Off, Date, or Date to the right to set the date and format

3 and time, just press the OK button and (see FIG B, image ).

FIG B - Choosing the comparison date

FIG C - Choosing a display option (format)


Guide Menu’s Set up Selections 

. On the Date counter screen you’ll need to .At the bottom of the Date counter
choose the comparison date first. Scroll screen, you’ll see the chosen com-
down to Choose date, and then scroll to parison date and below that the for-
the right (see FIG B, image ). mat that will be written on the image
. You’ll find a list that contains either a (see FIG C, image , bottom half of
previously entered date or just a line of screen). The format shows after the 
dashes (see FIG B, image ). Choose icon and the small white triangle and
one of the date positions and scroll
to the right to change or set the date.
looks like one of the formats in the date
imprint format chart listed previously.
3
(If an acceptable date is already there .Take your picture.
from doing this previously, just choose
it and press the OK button). I realize that this is a somewhat
. You’ll now see the Set date screen for complex-looking function. However,
the date position you chose on the pre- if you will study how the Date counter
vious screen (–). Modify this date formats work and use this function regu-
so that it matches the date you want larly, it will become easy to understand.
to compare with your shooting date I normally don’t use this functionality
(see FIG B, image ). It can be a past myself since I don’t want bright-red char-
or future date. Set the date and then acters written permanently on my imag-
press the OK button, and the camera es. The EXIF data inside the digital image
will return to the Choose date screen. contains dates and times in case I need
.Press the OK button on the date you just to know that information. However, you
modified, and the camera will return may love having a date imprinted on your
to the Date counter screen. You need to images—a lot of people do. Or, you might
select a Display option, next. have a scientific, forensic, or surveillance
.Scroll down to the Display options line purpose for some of these functions. They
and then scroll to the right (see FIG work easily and well. Nikon gives us a lot
C, image ). of choices with this little camera.
.You’ll now see the Display options screen.
Choose one of the three formats (see
FIG C, second image). Your choices
are Number of days, Years and days, and
Years, months, and days. Choose one and
then press the OK button.
 Guide Menu – Advanced Use

No Memory Card? Here are the steps to configure No


This setting defaults to locking the shut- memory card? (see FIG ):
ter when you try to take an image without . Set the Mode dial on top of the camera
a memory card inserted in the camera. By to GUIDE.
enabling it, you can take pictures with- . Press the Menu button on the left side
out a memory card, but you can’t save of the camera’s back.
them anywhere unless you’re using Nikon . Select Set up from the GUIDE MENU, and

3 Camera Control Pro  software to send


pictures directly to your computer. The
then press the OK button.
. Select No memory card? from the menu,
software is not included with the D. and then scroll to the right (see FIG ,
FIG  shows the screens used to image ).
configure No memory card? . Select Release locked or Enable release
Here are the selections in No memory from the menu.
card?: . Press the OK button.
t LOCK – Release locked – If you choose
this default setting, your camera will There’s no point in setting anything
refuse to release the shutter when but Released locked unless you are using
there is no memory card present. Nikon Camera Control Pro  software
t OK – Enable release – Use this setting to control the camera. In that case, the
if you want to use the optional Nikon camera feeds pictures to your computer,
Camera Control Pro  software to send not a memory card. Otherwise, with it
images from the camera directly to the enabled you can shoot pictures but can’t
computer. save them.

FIG  – No memory card?


My Conclusions 

My Conclusions
The new Guide Mode in the Nikon D
gives a new photographer a place to start
in the DSLR world. The Guide menu will be
useful until the photographer advances
into the more detailed settings in the oth-
er two user interfaces.
We’ll now move into a new chapter and
our first detailed look at the older-style
3
menus. Much of what we’ll discuss will
seem familiar since they’re just a different
interface into the same camera settings.
I think you’ll learn to like the brev-
ity of the older-style menus for camera
configuration. Pay special attention to the
settings found under the Information edit
menu since it uses only two screens to set
the most important camera functions.
We’ll start with the Playback menu
in the next chapter, and then progress
through the Shooting menu, Setup menu,
and Retouch menu. Lots of new stuff
ahead!
 Playback Menu

Playback Menu

4
Delete Function 

The Nikon D has a sharp -inch (. Delete Function


cm) LCD screen with , dots of reso- The Delete function allows you to selec-
lution. It can display images with excel- tively delete individual images from a
lent resolution and allows you to zoom in group of images in a single folder or mul-
to check their clarity. tiple folders on your camera’s SD memory
Everything you need to control your card. It also allows you to clear all folders
camera’s image playback is concentrated of images without deleting the folders.
in a series of menu selections. They’re This is sort of like formatting a card but
found under the first menu in the camera, affecting only images.
called the Playback menu (see FIG ). The Delete menu selection has a close
We’ll examine the eight functions of the relationship with the next selection,
Playback menu in the following sections. Playback folder. The process for deleting
images is affected by how you have the 4
Playback folder configured. In other words,
be sure you understand that the D
might delete more images than you
expect if you have Playback folder set to All.
There are three parts to the Delete
menu selection:
t Selected
t Select date
t All

FIG  – Playback menu main screen

Note

When using these older-style menus,


please make sure that the Mode dial on
top of the camera is not set to GUIDE. You
won’t be able to access the regular menus
with the Menu button if it is.
 Playback Menu

Selected – FIG A shows the menu . Press the OK button. The “Delete?”
screens you’ll use to control the Delete warning screen will appear (see FIG
function for Selected images. A, image ). The number of images
Here are the steps to delete selected you have selected for deletion will be
images: listed like this: “Delete? NN images.
. Press the Menu button and select the Yes/No”.
Playback menu (top menu). . Scroll up to Yes and press the OK button.
. Select Delete from the Playback menu, An hourglass will appear briefly, and
and scroll to the right. then “Done” will flash on the monitor.
. Choose Selected from the Delete screen, Then the camera returns to the main
and scroll to the right. screen of the Playback menu.

4 . Use the Thumbnail/playback zoom out


button to select each image you want to Notice in image  of FIG A that
delete (see Chapter , FIG B, number there is a display of tiny images with
 for button location). A trash can icon numbers in their lower-right corners.
will appear in the upper-right corner These numbers run in a sequence from
of each image marked for deletion (see  to however many images you have in
FIG A, image , red arrows). your current image folder, or the entire

FIG A – Delete menu screens for selected images


Delete Function 

memory card. The number of images Selected date – You can also delete
shown will vary according to how you images by choosing a date or dates. All
have the Playback folder settings config- images taken within your chosen dates
ured. (See the next section of this will be deleted. (Be careful!) FIG B shows
chapter.) the menu screens used to delete all imag-
If you have the Playback folder set to es under various dates.
Current (factory default), the camera will Using the Select date method is simple.
show you only the images found in your When you preview your images for dele-
current playback folder. If you have the tion, you won’t be shown a list of all the
Playback folder set to All instead, it will images as you would for the Selected
display all the images it can find in all the option. Instead, on the Select date screen
folders on your camera’s SD memory card.
I leave mine set to All.
(see FIG B, image ), you’ll see a list of
dates with a single representative image 4
The camera will delete only images that following each date. Notice how there’s a
you’ve selected; they will be marked with check box to the left of each date (see FIG
the trash can icon (see FIG A, image , B, image , red arrow)? You’ll check this
red arrows). check box by scrolling up or down to the
date of your choice with the Multi Selector,

FIG B – Delete menu screens for selected dates


 Playback Menu

and then scrolling to the right, where all images under the dates you select
you see a tiny black arrow and the word will be deleted permanently!
Set. This “sets” the check box to give the . Press the OK button. The Delete all
camera permission to delete all images it images taken on selected date? warning
finds with the date(s) you’ve checked. screen will appear (see FIG B,
If the single tiny representative image image ).
next to the date is insufficient to help . Scroll up to Yes and press the OK button.
you remember which images are under An hourglass will appear briefly, and
that date, you can confirm the images you then the word Done will flash on the
want to delete by viewing them. Press monitor. Then the camera returns to
the Thumbnail/playback zoom out button the main screen of the Playback menu.

4 and the camera will show you the images


under that date. If you want to examine Next, we’ll look at how to delete all
an image more closely than what the list images, either images in the current fold-
shows, you can use the Playback zoom in er or every image on the memory card.
button to temporarily zoom in on indi- Read this carefully because you might
vidual images (see Chapter , FIG B, otherwise delete more images than you
numbers  and  for location of these two intend.
buttons). All – FIG C shows the Playback menu
Here are the steps to delete all images screens used to delete all images.
under a single date or multiple dates (see This selection works like a card format,
FIG B): except that it will not delete folders—
. Press the Menu button and select the only images. Here are the steps to delete
Playback menu (top menu). all images. Did I mention that you must
. Select Delete from the Playback menu, be very careful with this function? Please
and scroll to the right. understand that this deletion function
. Choose Selected date from the Delete works differently according to how you
screen, and scroll to the right. have the Playback folder set. Please read
. Scroll right with the Multi Selector on the next section in this chapter before
each date you want to delete. A check using this function!
mark will appear in the box next to . Press the Menu button and select the
each date you select. Remember that Playback menu (top menu).

FIG C – Delete menu screens for deleting all images


Delete Function 

. Select Delete from the Playback menu, protection. The AE-L/AF-L button to
and scroll to the right. the right of the viewfinder eyepiece
. Choose All from the Delete screen, and doubles as an image protect button, as
scroll to the right. signified by a small key symbol to the
. If you have the Playback folder set to left of the button. You’ll see a small
Current, the camera will delete only im- key symbol surrounded by a rectangle
ages in the current folder, and the a appear on the top left of the protected
warning screen will ask, All images will image on the LCD screen. Now, this im-
be deleted. OK? (see FIG C, image ). age cannot be deleted by normal cam-
However, if you have the Playback folder era functions. It will be deleted if you
set to All, the warning will ask, All im- format the memory card.
ages in all folders will be deleted. OK?
(See next section for information on Recovering Deleted Images: If you 4
the Playback folder selection.) accidentally delete an image or a group
. Scroll up to Yes and press the OK button. of images—or even format the entire
An hourglass will appear briefly, and memory card and then realize with great
then the word Done will flash on the pain that you didn’t really mean to—all is
monitor. Then the camera returns to not lost. Simply remove the memory card
the main screen of the Playback menu. from your camera immediately and do not
use it again until you can run image recov-
Quick Image Deletion: You can also ery software on it. Deleting or formatting
delete a single image by displaying it on doesn’t permanently remove the images
the monitor with the Playback button and from the card. It merely marks them as
then pressing the Delete button (trash can deleted and removes the references to
icon) below the Multi Selector. A red excla- them in the memory card’s File Allocation
mation point with the question Delete? Table (FAT). The images are still there
will pop up over the image. Press the Delete and can usually be recovered as long as
button again to delete the image. A fast way you don’t write any new data to the card
to do this is to simply display the image before trying to recover them.
and press the Delete button twice quickly. As a digital photographer, you’ll need
Protecting an Image from Deletion: to have a good image recovery program on
This is a very easy process and will your computer at all times. Sooner or later
prevent an important image from being you’ll make a mistake or have problems
accidentally deleted—except by formatting with a card and will need to recover imag-
the memory card. Here’s how to prevent an es. Many of the better brands of memory
image from being deleted: cards include recovery software either on
. Display the image in the normal way, the card itself or on a separate CD that
by pressing the Playback button. comes with the card. Make sure you install
. Press the AE-L/AF-L (protect) button, the software on your computer before
and the image will be marked for formatting the brand-new memory card!
 Playback Menu

Playback Folder Here are the two selections you can


The Playback folder setting is used to al- choose from:
low your camera to display images for you t Current (default)
during preview and slide shows. You can t All
have the D show you images only in
the Current image folder (usually D) Current – This is the most limited play-
or in All the folders on the memory card. back mode available. Whatever Playback
If you regularly use your memory card folder your camera is using currently will
in multiple cameras as I do and sometimes be displayed during playback. No other
forget to transfer images, adjusting the images or folders will be displayed.
Playback folder setting is a good idea. I use All – By selecting All, your camera will

4 a Ds, D, and D on a fairly regu-


lar basis. Often, I’ll grab an -gigabyte
obligingly show you every image it can
find in all the folders on the memory
card out of one of the cameras and stick card. This maximum flexibility setting has
it in another for a few shots. If I’m not saved me several times when I thought
careful, later I’ll transfer the images from to check my camera for images before I
one camera and forget that I have more formatted the card and found that I had
folders on the SD memory card created by other images on the card besides D
the other camera. It’s usually only after images. During playback, or before dele-
I have formatted the card that I remem- tion, the D will display images
ber the other folders and images on my from other Nikons you’ve used with the
D’s memory card. The D comes current memory card. Each camera usual-
to my rescue with its Playback folder > All ly creates its own unique folders, and the
function. other folders do not report that they are
Let’s look at how the Playback folder there except by showing a reduced image
function works by first looking at the capacity. When you select All, the D
menu screens in FIG . intelligently displays its own images and
any other Nikon images on the card.

FIG  – Playback folder menu screens


Display Mode 

Here are the steps used to select Current want to see a lot of information on each
or All (see FIG ): image, you can select it here. Or, if you
. Press the Menu button and select the would rather take a minimalist approach
Playback menu (top menu). to image information, turn off some of
. Select Playback folder from the Playback the screens.
menu, and scroll to the right. If you turn off certain screens, the
. Choose Current or All from the Playback camera still records the information
folder screen. for each image, such as lens used, shut-
. Press the OK button. ter speed, and aperture. However, with
no Data screens selected, you’ll see only
The camera will switch back to the main two screens. One is the main image view,
Playback menu screen with the current
folder name displayed after Playback folder
and the other is a summary screen with
a luminance histogram and basic shoot- 4
if Current is selected or ALL displayed if All ing information. I haven’t found a way
is selected (see FIG , image ). to turn this summary screen off. You get
Recommendation: I leave my D to the screens by scrolling with the Multi
set to the Playback folder > All setting Selector in the opposite direction from
because I want to be sure I can see every viewing images. I can scroll through my
image on the memory card. This helps me images by pressing left or right on the
to avoid being worried about losing imag- Multi Selector. Then I can move through
es as a result of my own mistakes. One the Data screens by scrolling up or down
day it may get to the point that memory with the Multi Selector.
cards are big enough to leave months of Here are the steps to select the Detailed
picture taking in various folders as anoth- photo info screens (see FIG A):
er form of image backup. I’d like to be able . Press the Menu button and select the
to see all those images without switching Playback menu (top menu).
folders. . Select Display mode from the Playback
menu, and scroll to the right.
Display Mode . Select your combination of screens
This selection allows you to customize from the list on the Detailed photo info
how the D displays all the histogram screen. You’ll highlight a line such as
and Data screens for each image. If you RGB histogram and place a check mark in

FIG A – Display mode menu screens


 Playback Menu

the little box by scrolling right toward about Highlights on the new screen. You’ll
the black arrow tip. Check as many as see the word Highlights in the lower-left
you’d like (see FIG A, image ). portion of the camera monitor, just above
. Scroll back up to Done at the top of the the words “NIKON D” (see FIG B,
list (see FIG A, image ). image , red arrow). You can leave this
. Press the OK button to make the select- screen selected as your normal view-
ed photo info screens active. ing screen if you want. If you turn the
camera off and back on when this screen
Here are the selections found in Display is selected, it will remember and return to
mode > Detailed photo information and a this screen instead of the regular image
description of what each does: viewing screen. You can get to the normal

4 t Highlights
t RGB histogram
viewing screen, or the image summary
screen, by scrolling up or down with the
t Data Multi Selector.
What does the Highlights screen do?
When you make changes to these selec- When Highlights is enabled and any part
tions, make sure you scroll up to the word of the image is overexposed, the over-
Done and press the OK button to save your exposed part will blink an alternating
setting. I keep forgetting to do this when white and black, indicating that it has
I make changes (see FIG A, image ). lost detail. You will need to use exposure
Highlights – If you put a check mark compensation or manually control the
next to the Highlights selection, as shown camera to contain the exposure within
in FIG B, you’ll turn on what I call the the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor.
“blinky” mode of the camera. The D FIG C shows how an image looks
uses the Highlights screen to view the when an area has been overexposed. It
image with special emphasis on any areas shows one image on both sides of the
that might be overexposed. It looks very “blink” from white to black to white:
similar to the normal viewing screen The image on the left is showing the
except that there is only information white blink, and the one on the right is

FIG B – Highlights – Display mode menu screens


Display Mode 

FIG C - Highlights “blinky” mode in action

FIG D – RGB histogram - Display mode menu screens

showing the black blink. “Blinky” mode! area. All previous detail in the image has
The image in this figure is a picture of a gone to pure white. (See Histogram infor-
bright window blind in a darkened room. mation in the chapter titled Exposure
See how the overexposed area turns black Metering System, Exposure Modes, and
as the blink happens (see the red arrow). Histogram.)
The blinking white to black to white Highlights mode is a nice way to allow
indicates that the black blink section of your camera to warn you when you have
the image has lost all detail, or has “blown surpassed what its sensor can capture
out”. If you examine the histogram for and you’re losing image data.
the image, you’ll see that it’s cut off, or RGB histogram – I like this feature! It
“clipped”, on the right side. Current soft- allows me to view, not just a basic lumi-
ware cannot usually recover any image nance histogram, which is a combination
detail from the blown-out sections. of all three color channels, but all three
The exposure has exceeded the range of color histograms and a luminance histo-
the sensor and the image has become gram in one screen (see FIG D).
completely overexposed in the black blink
 Playback Menu

Each color channel, red, green, and green channel histogram very closely. It
blue (or RGB), is displayed with its own makes me wonder if the white luminance
small histogram. This is quite useful histogram is basically just a copy of the
because it is possible to overexpose, or green channel histogram with a bit of
“blow out”, only one color channel, as minor influence from the other two chan-
happens most often with the red channel nels. The luminance and green histograms
in my case. are not absolutely identical, but they are
You can view the luminance histogram very close, so it appears that green colors
on top in white and the three RGB color influence the luminance histogram more
histograms below it (see FIG D, image than the other two (red and blue).
, right side). When you examine the Data – Checking this setting will give

4 RGB Histogram screen, you’ll see that each


of the RGB color channel histograms is
you three additional image data screens
to scroll though. The data found on these
different. Red will look different from screens is quite detailed and includes the
blue, for instance. The luminance histo- following information (see FIG E, red
gram on top always seems to resemble the numbers identify the screens):

FIG E – Data – Display mode menu screens


Display Mode 

Image Data Screen  Image Data Screen 


t Light meter in use (Matrix, Spot, or t Noise reduction (e.g., Long exp., High
Center-weighted) ISO, Norm)
t Shutter speed and aperture (e.g., t Active D-Lighting (Auto Extra high,
/, F) High, Normal, Low, Off )
t Exposure mode (P,S,A,M) and ISO t Retouching (D-Lighting, Red-eye cor-
(i.e.,  or Lo ) rection, Trim, Monochrome, Filter ef-
t Exposure compensation (+/- EV) fects, Color balance, Small picture)
t Lens focal length (e.g., mm) t Comment (Up to  characters at-
t Lens overview (e.g., -mm f/. tached to each image)
– .)
t
t
AF/VR (i.e., AF / VR-On)
Flash Mode and compensation (e.g.,
That’s a lot of screens to scroll through,
but they provide a great deal of informa- 4
Built-in, TTL, +.) tion on the image. Look how far we’ve
come from the old film days of writing
Image Data Screen  some date information on the lower-right
t White balance (Auto, , ) of the image, permanently marking it,
t Color space (sRGB, AdobeRGB) or between the frames on the pro-level
t Picture control detail (Standard, Neu- cameras.
tral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, In fact, there are seven screens just
Landscape) brimming with data, if you enable all the
t Picture control fine-tuning (Quick ad- Display modes. Or, you can get by with the
just, Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, main image display and one summary
Saturation, Hue) display, with a single luminance histo-
gram (see FIG F). Complex control at
your fingertips!

FIG F – Two playback information display screens


 Playback Menu

Recommendation: I always leave Image Review


the Highlights and RGB histogram settings The factory default for the D is to
turned on. I want to be sure I’m not acci- display the just-taken image on the moni-
dentally “blowing out” important sections tor for several seconds. You can adjust this
of my image. The Highlights “blinky mode” value from  seconds to  minutes using
always warns me when my images have the Setup menu or Guide menu and enabling
overexposed sections, thereby allowing Auto off timers > Custom > Image review. FIG 
me to adjust my exposure quickly. The shows how to turn Image review on or off.
RGB histogram setting is also very impor- There are two Image review settings:
tant to me. It allows me to see all the color t On – Shows a picture on the monitor af-
channels, just in case one of them is being ter each shutter release (default).

4 clipped off on the light or dark side. It also


allows me to see how well I am keeping
t Off – Monitor stays off when you take
pictures.
my exposure balanced for light and dark.
Remember to see the detailed Histogram Here are the steps to select whether
information in the chapter titled Exposure Image review is on or off:
Metering System, Exposure Modes, and . Press the Menu button and select the
Histogram. The three Data screens are not Playback menu (top menu).
terribly important to me since the D . Select Image review from the Playback
has the summary screen shown in FIG F, menu, and scroll to the right.
image , with the most important expo- . Select On or Off from the list.
sure information displayed. Also, by having . Press the OK button.
the Data screens enabled, I have to scroll
through three more screens to get to my Most of us will leave this function set
RGB histogram screen. So, my recommenda- to On, otherwise the only way to view an
tion is to enable only the Highlights and RGB image after taking it is to press the Playback
histogram screens. If you really feel the need button. The battery life will be affected
to examine a large amount of extra image if you review images constantly and for
data, then enable the Data screens too. longer periods of time than the default

FIG  – Image review menu screens


Rotate Tall 

 seconds. However, with the low power Rotate Tall


consumption of the camera overall, you’ll When you shoot an image as a vertical (or
find that your battery lasts long enough portrait image) by turning your camera
for a full day of shooting in most instanc- sideways, the image is recorded to the card
es. I carry one extra battery, just in case, as a horizontal image lying on its side. If
because I am a world-class image chimper. you chimp the image—view it immediately
Recommendation: I don’t want to after taking it—Nikon assumes that you’ll
waste hard drive space by storing lots still be holding the camera in the rotated
of almost good images, so I delete many position, so the image is left lying on its
images right after I take them. I have to side in portrait mode. Later, when you’re
review them to know whether I want to reviewing the images as a group and are us-
keep them or not! So, I leave the Image
review selection set to On. In fact, I set
ing the D’s Playback functionality, the
image will be displayed as an upright verti- 4
the Image review time to  minute in the cal image that is quite a bit smaller in size
Setup menu’s Auto off timers selection. That so that it will fit on the horizontal monitor.
way I can look at my images for extended If you would rather that the camera
periods of time, and maybe show them to leave the image in a horizontal view,
others too. The battery lasts a long time forcing you to turn the camera sideways
on the D, and I carry a spare, so I am to view it normally, you’ll need to turn
ready to “chimp” with the best of them. Rotate tall to Off. The default is On.
Here are the two available settings
Chimping Defined
(see FIG ):
“Chimping” means reviewing images on the t On (default) – When you take a vertical
monitor after each shot. The word is derived image, the D will rotate it so that
from the words “check image preview”, you don’t have to turn your camera to
which then was shortened to “chimping”. I view it naturally in later playback. This
guess people think you look like a monkey sizes the image so that it fits in the
if you review each image while voicing your
normal horizontal frame of the moni-
“ooohs” and “aaahs”. Well, I do it anyway!
tor. The image will be a bit smaller than

FIG  – Rotate tall menu screens


 Playback Menu

normal to view. When you first view Slide Show


(chimp) the image after taking it, the I used to do slide shows back in the old film
camera does not rotate it because it as- days. I’d set up my screen, warm up my
sumes you are still holding the camera projector, load my slides, and watch every-
in a vertical orientation. one fall asleep by the hundredth slide. For
t Off – Vertical images are left in a horizon- that reason, I hadn’t been using the slide
tal direction, so you’ll need to turn the show functionality of my camera. How-
camera to view it as it was taken. This pro- ever, all that has changed recently.
vides a slightly larger view of the image. Now, instead of hauling out a slide
projector and a box of slides, you can just
Here are the steps to select whether plug your D into the closest tele-

4 Rotate tall is on or off (see FIG ):


. Press the Menu button and select the
vision. The camera has a cool A/V port
(V-OUT) on the left side under a plastic
Playback menu (top menu). flap that will plug into a TV’s RCA jacks if
. Select Rotate tall from the Playback you buy a cable for it.
menu, and scroll to the right. If you prefer, you can just set your
. Select On or Off from the list. camera up on a table and have a few
. Press the OK button. friends gather around for a slide show. It’s
very fast and simple to start one.
Recommendation: I leave Rotate tall As shown in FIG , it’s easy to simply
set to On since I can zoom in if I want select the Slide show setting from the
more detail. This allows me to view a Playback menu, scroll right, and select
vertical image in its natural vertical Start. The slide show will commence
orientation without rotating my camera immediately and have a default display
during playback. Some would prefer not time of  seconds per image.
to display the vertical image in a hori- Here are the steps to set up a slide
zontal direction because it gets so much show:
smaller. You’ll need to turn this on and . Press the Menu button and select the
off to see which you prefer. Playback menu (top menu).

FIG  – Slide show menu screens


Slide Show 

. Select Slide show from the Playback Recommendation: I usually set my


menu, and scroll to the right. slide show Frame interval (display time) to
. Select Start or Frame interval from the list. three seconds. If the images are especially
If you select Frame interval, you’ll have beautiful, I might set it to five seconds.
additional choices as shown in FIG A. I’ve found that two seconds are not quite
. Press the OK button. enough and five or ten seconds may be
too long. I wish we had a four second
The following two settings are available setting, but three seems to work well,
under Slide show: most of the time.
t Start - This starts the slide show. There are several keys that will affect
t Frame interval - This setting controls the how the images display during the slide
amount of time in seconds each image
displays. You’ll need to change the dis-
show:
t Skip back/skip ahead – During the 4
play time to a value from  to  seconds. slide show you can go back to the previ-
The default value is s, or  seconds. ous image for another -second view-
ing by simply pressing left on the Multi
FIG A shows the menu screens to Selector. You can also see the next image
make the change. with no delay by pressing right on the
As shown in FIG A, you can select Multi Selector. This is just a quick way to
from the following settings: skip images or review previous images
t s –  seconds (default) without stopping the slide show.
t s –  seconds t View additional photo info – While
t s –  seconds the slide show is running, you can
t s –  seconds press up or down on the Multi Selector
to view the additional Data screens.
To start the slide show, select the This is dependent on how you have
frame interval as shown in FIG , and your D’s Display mode setting con-
this time, the show will run at your new figured (see the previous section) for
chosen speed. Highlights, RGB histogram, and Data. If

FIG A – Slide show frame interval menu screens


 Playback Menu

any of these screens are available, they Exit to playback menu – If you want
can be used during the slide show. to quickly exit the slide show, simply
t Pause slide show – During the slide press the Menu button and you’ll jump
show you may need to pause, change directly back to the Playback menu with no
the image display time, or even exit. By items selected.
pressing the OK button, you can pause Exit to playback mode – By pressing
the slide show. You are then presented the Playback button (the right-arrow key,
with the menu shown in FIG B. with a rectangle around it, on the top rear
left of the D), you’ll stop the slide
Using this menu screen, you can select show and change to normal full-frame or
from the following three settings: thumbnail image view of the last image

4 t Restart – Pressing the OK button or


scrolling to the right on the Multi Selec-
seen in the show. This exits the show on
the last image viewed.
tor continues the slide show from the Exit to shooting mode – Pressing
image following the one last viewed. the Shutter release button halfway down
t Frame interval – Scrolling to the right stops the slide show. The camera is now in
with the Multi Selector takes you to the “shooting mode”, meaning that it is ready
screen that allows you to change the to take some pictures.
display time to one of four values. You Using any of the buttons mentioned in
can choose , , , or  seconds. After the preceding list affects the slide show in
choosing a new Frame interval setting, the ways listed. Learn to use this function
you’ll have to select Restart to continue well and you’ll find yourself displaying
where you left off in the slide show slide shows frequently.
(see FIG B, image ).
t Exit – This does what it says—exits the
slide show.

FIG B – Slide show Pause menu screens


Printing Pictures without a Computer 

Printing Pictures without a set (DPOF) but with fewer features. Just
Computer remember, Print (DPOF) and Print set (DPOF)
are not one and the same.
PictBridge and Print Set (DPOF) Print set (DPOF) – Another way you
Printing can print images that involves the D
The Nikon D camera has the ability to and a compatible printer is to use Digital
print pictures directly to a PictBridge-com- Print Order Format (DPOF). You can
patible printer using a USB cable. It can print to any device that supports DPOF.
also create “print sets” that can be written You’ll create a print order, right on the
to a memory card, which is then inserted D, that saves out to the memory card
into a Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) using the Print set (DPOF) menu. This print
compatible printer for direct memory card
printing.
order allows a DPOF-compatible printer
or service to print the images directly 4
Here these two methods are briefly from your memory card. All you have
described: to do is insert the memory card, select
PictBridge – PictBridge allows you to Print from the printer, and wait for your
connect your camera directly to a compat- pictures to print. This is not a difficult
ible printer and print any or all the imag- process and is quite fun and satisfying.
es on the card without having to involve a In researching printers that will support
computer in any way. Your D comes all the Nikon D’s features, like borders,
with a special USB cable that has a very cropping, multiple prints, and DPOF
small end that fits the D—see FIG compatibility, I spent considerable time
—and a normal big USB end that plugs reading about printers on the Internet.
into the compatible printer’s PictBridge Some mentioned being PictBridge compat-
port. This is the same cable that you use ible. Some mentioned DPOF and others
to transfer images from the camera to a didn’t. Few manufacturers had real informa-
computer. To make things more confus- tion on their websites to let me know how
ing, PictBridge has a menu item called many features they support in my camera.
Print (DPOF), which works a lot like Print

FIG  – USB port on D and included cable


 Playback Menu

After a couple of hours of frustration, I A Note for RAW Shooters


decided to call some printer manufactur-
If you are a RAW shooter, the PictBridge
ers and simply ask them some questions.
process won’t benefit you. Not all print-
Since I’ve been using an Epson R for
ers can handle printing from RAW files, so
several years and always loved its output, Nikon chose to limit PictBridge and DPOF
I decided to call Epson first. I didn’t printing to JPEG files in the D. Also,
have to call anyone else! I got a technical you won’t be able to use the PictBridge
person who had real knowledge of camer- screens unless your D is plugged into
as and printers. He was kind enough to a compatible PictBridge printer.
talk with me about the different features
in the camera and which Epson printer I

4 could buy to use all of them. I wanted a


portable x inch (x cm) printer that
me images that look just like the ones I’ve
been getting from local labs. With this
supported my camera. He suggested the printer I don’t even need a computer to
Epson PictureMate Dash Personal Photo print as often as I’d like. I can even get a
Lab. I had already read about this printer battery for the printer if I want to go out on
in several ratings and reviews, and it had safari and print on the spot. Epson makes
one of the highest print quality ratings another version of this printer called the
out there. I spent about  minutes on Epson PictureMate Zoom that includes a
the phone with Epson’s tech and ordered CD-ROM burner. With that printer you
the printer immediately. wouldn’t even need a computer to print
In FIG A is a picture of my D x prints and back up your images to CD.
plugged into this tiny little x inch print- Now, let’s look in detail at how I used
er (on the left). The little thing looks like a the PictBridge option and my Epson
lunch box (on the right) when closed and PictureMate Dash to print without a
opens up into a printer that indeed gives computer.

FIG A – Epson PictureMate Dash and my D


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

PictBridge printer. All you have to do is go


Section 1 –
out and shoot some images and then come
PictBridge Printing
in and plug your camera into the printer.
The PictBridge printing system has its Make sure the printer is turned on! Nikon
own set of menus, which are not generally says to turn the D off before you plug
available from anywhere in the camera. the transfer cable into the camera. When
The only way you can get to the PictBridge you first turn the camera on you’ll see a se-
playback menu is to plug the camera into a ries of screens like those shown in FIG B.
PictBridge-compatible printer. Only then As shown in FIG B, image , the
will the menus for printing be available by first screen you’ll see contains the
pressing the OK button or the Menu button. PictBridge logo, which looks like a couple
At first I thought it odd that Nikon chose
to put image printing functions in the
of stretched water droplets. Next you’ll
be presented with the PictBridge play- 4
Playback menu. Then I thought about it and back screen and a JPEG image found on
realized that printing is a permanent form your memory card. You’ll notice in FIG
of image playback. You play (print) the B, image , how the PictBridge playback
images to your printer and then “chimp” screen has the droplet logo in the upper-
(view) them without battery power! left corner, letting you know that the
screen is not a normal Playback screen.
Basic Single-Image PictBridge Printing Next I’ll explain how to get a picture
Let’s just jump right in to printing pictures or pictures printed once you’ve gotten to
directly from your camera to a compatible this point. In FIG C you’ll find a series of

FIG B – Initial D PictBridge screens

FIG C – Press OK to enter Setup


 Playback Menu

screens used to select pictures and send . You’ll be presented with the PictBridge
them to the printer for printing. logo screen and then the first image in
Here are the steps you’ll use to print the PictBridge playback menu (see FIG
your pictures: C). Scroll through your pictures with
. Turn your camera off. the Multi Selector until you find an im-
. Connect the USB transfer cable to the age you’d like to print.
already turned on PictBridge printer . Press the OK button (see the red arrow in
and then to the camera. FIG C, image ) and you’ll move to the
. Turn the camera on. printing Setup screen (see FIG C, image ).

FIG D – Select a page size for the print

FIG E – Select the number of copies to print

FIG F – Select border or borderless for the print


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

. Continuing with the screen seen in FIG will be grayed out. You can also select
C, image , select Page size from the Printer default if you want to leave it up
list (see FIG D, image ) and match it to the printer to decide.
to the paper size in your printer (image . Next, select whether you want a time
). Mine is only a x printer; yours stamp in the lower-right corner of the
may have other sizes available. picture. Select Print time stamp or No
. Now, select the number of copies (No. time stamp (see FIG G).
of copies) you’d like to have of this print .Finally, you must choose whether you
(see FIG E). You can select from  to want to crop the print or not:
 prints. – Crop: If you select Crop, you’ll use
. If you’d like your print with or without the Thumbnail/playback zoom out
a border, make a choice between Print
with border and No border (see FIG F).
button to select the area of the crop
(see Chapter , FIG B, numbers  4
Of course, if your printer does not sup- and  for button locations). You can
port printing with borders, this option move the yellow crop frame around

FIG G – Select time stamp for the print

FIG H – Select cropping for the print


 Playback Menu

with the Multi Selector. If you need Let’s discuss each of them in detail.
to zoom back out, you’ll use the
Playback zoom in button (see FIG H, Note: You won’t be able to see these
image ). Press the OK button to se- screens unless your camera is plugged
lect the crop. into a PictBridge printer.
– No Crop: If you don’t want to crop,
just select No cropping, and press Print select
the OK button. This method is for when you want to print
.Once you’ve made all your selections, more than one image at a time. You can
scroll back up to the Start printing line choose from many images, set the num-
and press the OK button (see FIG H, ber of prints for each, and then set bor-

4 image ). Your printer will now print


your picture. FIG H, image , shows
ders and time stamp information.
Here are the steps to configure Print
the D screen you’ll see while the select:
print is flowing to the printer. Immedi- . Turn your camera off.
ately thereafter the printing starts. . Connect the USB transfer cable to the
already turned on PictBridge printer
Multiple-Print PictBridge Printing and then to the camera.
The basic single-print method is for when . Turn to the camera on.
you want to select a single image and . As shown in FIG , you’ll see a JPEG
print one or more copies of it. The follow- image after the PictBridge logo finishes
ing alternate PictBridge methods are also displaying. Since we’re interested in
available: printing more than one picture, you’ll
. Print select not press the OK button for the Setup
. Select date option at this time as the PictBridge
. Print (DPOF) playback screen suggests—notice
. Index print the big red X I added to the screen?

FIG  – Print select printing screens


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

Instead, press the Menu button. That to  prints per picture. Notice in
will display the PictBridge menu with FIG A, image , how a couple of the
Print select as the top choice. Choose images have  or  and a small
Print select and scroll to the right printer symbol (see the red arrow)?
(see FIG A). The numbers mean that the camera
. The Print select screen will appear (see will print that quantity of pictures
FIG A, image ). It contains the JPEG for each marked image.
files available on your camera’s mem- c) Repeat steps a and b for each addi-
ory card. Scroll around with the Multi tional image you want to print.
Selector. To select images for printing, d) Press the OK button when all images
follow these steps: are prepared.
a) Highlight an image.
b) Hold down the Thumbnail/playback
. The camera will now switch to the
printing Setup screen. You’ll need to 4
zoom out button and scroll up with choose a page size that fits your de-
the Multi Selector to increase the sired image (see FIG B). Mine is x in.
number of prints for this image, up Yours may have more choices.

FIG A – Print select screens

FIG B – Printing setup screen – Select page size


 Playback Menu

. Do you want a border on this image? time stamp or No time stamp (see FIG
If so, scroll down and select Border and D). Press the OK button to return to
then scroll to the right (see FIG C). the print Setup screen.
Select Print with border or No border. . To print the pictures, scroll up to Start
Press the OK button to select and return printing, and press the OK button (see
to the setup screen. FIG B, image ). Your images will now
. Now, choose Time stamp. This will add print, with a variable number of copies
the date to the printed picture in the of each picture per your selections.
lower-right corner. Select from Print

FIG C – Choosing the border style

FIG D – Choosing whether to add a time stamp


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

Select date option at this time as the PictBridge


You can select a date or multiple dates playback screen suggests (I added a red
and print all images within those dates. X in figure  as a reminder). Instead,
FIG  shows the opening screens for you’ll press the Menu button. That will
printing by date. display the PictBridge menu with Select
Here are the steps to print all images date as the second choice from the top.
by date(s): Choose Select date and scroll to the
. Turn your camera off. right (see FIG A).
. Connect the USB transfer cable to the . To choose dates, simply scroll down
already turned on PictBridge printer through the list and put a check mark
and then to the camera. next to each date with images you want
. Turn the camera on.
. As shown in FIG , you’ll see a JPEG
to print (see FIG A, image , red ar-
row). You set the check mark in the lit- 4
image after the PictBridge logo finishes tle box by scrolling to the right on each
displaying. Since we’re interested in line. If you want to examine a date to
printing more than one picture, you see what photos you took, you can use
won’t press the OK button for the Setup the Thumbnail/playback zoom out button

FIG  – PictBridge print by date

FIG A – Choosing a date or dates to print


 Playback Menu

to toggle a view of the images under desired image (see FIG B). I selected
a certain date. It’s a toggle, so press- x in., but your printer may have more
ing it opens and closes a detailed im- paper sizes.
age display. Press the OK button when . Do you want a border on this image?
you have finished selecting the image If so, scroll down and select Border and
dates. then scroll to the right (see FIG C).
. The camera will now switch to the Select Print with border or No border.
printing Setup screen. You’ll need Press the OK button to select and return
to choose a page size that fits your to the setup screen.

FIG B – Printing setup screen – Select page size

FIG C – Choosing a border style


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

. Now, choose Time stamp. This will add number of copies of each picture per
the date to the printed picture in the your selections. FIG E, image ,
lower-right corner. Select from Print shows the D screen you’ll see
time stamp or No time stamp (see FIG while the print is flowing to the print-
D). Press the OK button to select and er. Immediately thereafter the printing
return to the print Setup screen. starts.
. To print the pictures, scroll up to Start
printing, and press the OK button. Your
images will now print, with a variable

FIG D – Choosing whether to print a time stamp

FIG E – Printing the picture


 Playback Menu

Print (DPOF): the steps to print an existing print order


This function is not Print set (DPOF) which from your memory card:
is discussed in Section  below, but it’s . Turn your camera off.
rather similar. If you have created a . Connect the USB transfer cable to the
print order and saved it to your camera’s already turned on PictBridge printer
memory card, this function will give you and then to the camera.
the choice of printing the existing Digital . Turn the camera on.
Print Order Format (DPOF) selection. I . As shown in FIG , you’ll see a JPEG
haven’t found a way to make more than image after the PictBridge logo finishes
one print order at a time with the D. displaying. Since we’re interested in
Section , Print set (DPOF), will include full printing more than one picture, you’ll

4 details on how to create a print order. This


section just tells how to print it.
not press the OK button for the Setup
option at this time as the PictBridge
If there is no print order already creat- playback screen suggests (again, my
ed, this method acts like the Print select big red X is a reminder). Instead, you’ll
function discussed previously. Here are press the Menu button. That will display

FIG  – Printing the existing DPOF with PictBridge?

FIG A – Validating or changing the existing print order


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

the PictBridge menu with Print (DPOF) as prints for the selected image. You can
the third choice from the top. Choose reduce the amount by pressing down
Print (DPOF) and scroll to the right (see on the Multi Selector. Press the OK but-
FIG A). ton when you have examined and mod-
. The screen will now present an exist- ified or approved the print order.
ing print order from your memory card . The camera will now switch to the
(see FIG A). If there are no existing printing Setup screen. You’ll need to
print orders, the images will have no choose a page size that fits your de-
quantity numbers in their upper-right sired image (see FIG B). I chose x
corners (see the red arrow in FIG A, in. since my printer only prints that
image ) and you can proceed to add size. Yours may display and print other
some. You can change the quantity
on any image by selecting it, holding
sizes.
. Do you want a border on this image? 4
down the Thumbnail/playback zoom out If so, scroll down and select Border and
button, and pressing up on the Multi then scroll to the right (see FIG C).
Selector. This adds to the number of Select Print with border or No border.

FIG B – Printing setup screen

FIG C – Choosing a border style


 Playback Menu

Press the OK button to select and return . To print the pictures, scroll up to Start
to the Setup screen. printing, and press the OK button. Your
. Now, choose Time stamp. This will add images will now print, with a vari-
the date to the printed picture in the able number of copies of each picture
lower-right corner (see FIG D). Se- per your selections. FIG E, image
lect Print time stamp or No time stamp. , shows the D screen you’ll see
Press the OK button to select and return while the print is flowing to the print-
to the print Setup screen. er. Immediately thereafter the printing
starts.

FIG D – Choosing whether to print a time stamp

FIG E – Printing the picture


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

Index print time as the PictBridge playback screen sug-


When you select this type of printing, the gests (see the big red X). Instead, you’ll
camera will find up to the first  JPEG press the Menu button. That will display
images on your memory card and make the PictBridge menu with Index print as the
an index print containing thumbnails of last choice on the list. Choose Index print
each of them. If the paper size will not and scroll to the right (see FIG A).
contain all the thumbnails, it will print . You’ll now be presented with the first
multiple pages. This is basically the same  JPEG images found on your cam-
as the old contact sheet of yesteryear. era’s memory card (see FIG A). You
Here are the steps to create an index can’t do anything with the images ex-
print for your JPEG images: cept scroll through them, nor can you
. Turn your camera off.
. Connect the USB transfer cable to the
select more than . Press the OK but-
ton when you are ready. 4
already turned on PictBridge printer . The camera will now switch to the print-
and then to the camera. ing Setup screen. You’ll need to choose
. Turn the camera on. a page size that fits your desired image
. As shown in FIG , you’ll see a JPEG (see FIG B). Since my printer only
image after the PictBridge logo finishes does x in., I chose that size. You may
displaying. Since we’re interested in have more sizes available.
printing an index print, you’ll not press . Do you want a border on this image?
the OK button for the Setup option at this If so, scroll down and select Border and

FIG  – Making an index print

FIG A – Printing setup screen


 Playback Menu

then scroll to the right (see FIG C). stamp. Press the OK button to select and
Select Print with border or No border. return to the print Setup screen.
Press the OK button to select and return . To print the Index print(s), scroll up to
to the Setup screen. Start printing, and press the OK button.
. Now, choose Time stamp. This will add The printer will now output one or more
the date to the printed picture in the Index print pages containing small-sized
lower-right corner (see FIG D). Se- images in a grid pattern as you would
lect from Print time stamp or No time see on a contact sheet (see FIG F).

FIG B – Printing Setup screen – Select page size

FIG C – Choosing a border style

FIG D – Choosing whether to print a time stamp


Section  – PictBridge Printing 

In FIG F you can see a x Index print, can set a Scene or Guide mode and shoot
as printed on my little Epson PictureMate lots of images without thinking about
Dash. Even a print this small can contain camera settings. My -year-old son once
 thumbnail images. I took a picture of took  images of his face. It’s a good
a picture to capture this Index print for the thing the D doesn’t use film!
book. Oh, and try to ignore the subject That’s about all there is to PictBridge
matter; these are just family and friend printing directly from camera to printer.
snapshots. The D gets handed around Now let’s see how you can use the D
my family quite a bit. As a matter of fact, to create a print order, store it on the
I don’t think I took one of the images on camera’s memory card, and print directly
the index print. Everyone loves to use the from the memory card without attaching
D—especially the kids—since they the camera or computer to the printer.
4

FIG E – Printing the picture

FIG F – Sample -x--inch (-x--cm) index print


 Playback Menu

Section 2 –
Print Set (DPOF)
For printing with Print Set DPOF you do
not have to connect the printer to any-
thing. All you have to do is insert a memo-
ry card that contains a digital print order
on it and the printer will detect the order
and offer to fill it.
Since my printer is an Epson
PictureMate Dash, I’ll have to use its FIG  – Print set (DPOF)

4 screens to do the final DPOF print. Your


printer’s screens and methods may vary, ask you, Remove print marking from all
but I doubt they’ll be any more difficult images? And you are given a Yes or No
than the Epson’s. option. Choose Yes and press the OK
These steps will allow you to print your button. If there are previously marked
order on your DPOF-compatible printer: images, the brief message Marking re-
. Press the Menu button and select the moved from all images will flash in the
first menu on the list, the Playback screen, and the screen will return to
menu (see FIG ). the Playback menu. Otherwise, no mes-
. Scroll down and select Print set (DPOF) sage will appear and it will just return
and then scroll to the right (see FIG ). to the menu.
. If you don’t have any existing print . Since you’re going to create a new print
orders on the memory card, please order and save it to the memory card,
skip this step and go directly to step you’ll choose Select/set from the Print
. Otherwise, if you have an existing set (DPOF) screen, then scroll to the
print order that you no longer want, right (see FIG B, image ).
you’ll need to choose Deselect all? from . Now you’ll see the Select/set screen
the list and then scroll to the right (see with all the JPEG images on your
FIG A, image ). The next screen will memory card (see FIG B, image ).

FIG A – Deselecting an existing print order


Section  – Print Set (DPOF) 

You’ll need to choose images with the print order (see FIG B, image ). You
Multi Selector. Once you have an image can add data or the date:
highlighted, hold down the Thumbnail/ – Data imprint: This prints the shutter
playback zoom out button and scroll up speed and aperture on each print in
with the Multi Selector. This changes the order.
the number of prints ordered for that – Imprint date: This causes a date to be
particular image (see FIG B, image added to each print in the order.
, red arrow). You can select from  to
 prints for each image you highlight. You put check marks in the tiny
Each print you choose will be marked boxes by highlighting the line and
with a tiny printer icon and a number scrolling right on the word Set. I
of prints value. Once you have scrolled
through your images—highlighting
selected Imprint date but not Data im-
print in FIG B, image . When you 4
and incrementing print amounts—just have completed your choices, scroll
press the OK button. up to Done and press the OK button.
. This next screen allows you to add data . You’ll be presented with a screen tell-
imprints to each of the images in the ing you that the print order is com-
plete, as you see in FIG B, image .

FIG B – Choosing images and print amounts


 Playback Menu

At this point your print order has been I had absolutely no interest in printing
saved to the memory card and you’ll need directly from my camera to a PictBridge
to go insert the card into the printer’s printer until I wrote this chapter and saw
SD memory card slot. FIG C shows the how fun and easy it is. Printer costs are
screens I see at this point on my Epson reasonable, so you might want to pick up
PictureMate Dash printer. Your printer’s a PictBridge compatible one. Just look
screens may vary. However, since your for the PictBridge logo on the printer’s
printer is PictBridge/DPOF compat- packaging or body. Thank you Nikon for
ible, you’ll find something very similar, giving us this easy method for making
especially if you choose to buy an Epson nice prints!
PictureMate Dash or Zoom, like mine!
Look for the Folder on Your
4 FIG C shows the print order fulfill-
ment screens, in sequence.
Memory Card

As these screens appeared, I followed While examining my camera’s SD memory


the prompts and ended up with my select- card in my computer, I noticed that after
ed four prints within a few minutes. I am I created a print order, my D created
a folder on its memory card called MISC.
not going to discuss what I did during the
In the folder was a file named AUTPRINT.
print confirmation process since that may
MRK. This is the current Print order for
vary on your printer. Print set (DPOF).

FIG C – Print order fulfillment screens


My Conclusions 

FIG  – Playing stop-motion movies

Stop-Motion Movie My Conclusions 4


Stop-motion movies are created under I remember the old days when to “play
the Retouch menu but displayed under the back” some images, you’d have to find the
Playback menu. We’ll consider why and old shoebox full of pictures or open an
how to create a Stop-motion movie in this album and flip pages. Sometimes I miss
book’s chapter titled Retouch and Recent photo albums. I’m going to run down to
Settings Menus. the superstore right now and buy several
For now, let’s examine how to display albums. Then I’ll use PictBridge to print
a Stop-motion movie that you’ve already some actual images to put into those al-
created. If this Playback menu item is bums. Have you printed any images to-
grayed out, there are no movies on your day?
camera’s memory card. In the meantime I’ll use the playback
Here are the steps to select an existing features of my D to impress my
movie and play it back (see FIG ): friends with my images and my really cool
. Press the Menu button and select the camera!
Playback menu (top menu). Now, let’s move onto the next series of
. Select Stop-motion movie from the Play- menu items, found in the Shooting menu.
back menu, and scroll to the right.
. Choose one of the movies displayed on
the screen. I have two showing in FIG
, image .
. Press the OK button when you have a
movie selected and it will play on your
LCD monitor or your TV if the camera is
hooked up to it with an A/V cable.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Shooting and Information Edit Menus

5


The Shooting and Information edit menus are t ISO sensitivity


like fraternal twins. They have almost, but t Active D-Lighting
not quite, the same settings. This chapter t Color space
will focus on the Shooting menu, but I’ll t Noise reduction
discuss the Information edit menu when the t Release mode
two share functionality. Any extra func- t Focus mode
tionality in the Information edit menu will t AF-area mode
be considered at the end of this chapter. t AF-assist
The Shooting menu has  settings, while t Metering
the Information edit menu has . t Built-in flash
At the beginning of each section, I’ll t Flash modes
mention whether the setting applies t Flash compensation
to just the Shooting menu or to both. As t Exposure compensation
you use your camera, you’ll find that the
Information edit menu is very convenient Now, let’s take a look at each setting,
and easy to use, so I strongly suggest that learn what it does, and see how you can
you learn it well.
Some of the shared camera settings
use the two user interfaces to access it.
To save a lot of repetition, I’m going
5
are also found under the Guide Mode’s to show how to access each of the two
Set up menu, as discussed in previous menus here at the beginning of the chap-
chapters. Three user interfaces, same ter. As we progress through later parts
settings! Since we’ve covered the Guide of this chapter, I’ll simply say something
menu in great detail previously, we’ll now like, “Use the Shooting menu” or “Use
focus only on the Shooting menu and the the Information edit menu”. When you
Information edit menu. read references like that, simply refer
Here are the settings you’ll learn about to one, or both, of the next two sections
in this chapter. There are a total of  of to see how to access the particular user
them. We’ll use both interfaces to modify interface. Doing it this way will save a
them, when available: lot of needless repetition when I have to
The following advanced configuration describe how to use the two menus.
settings are covered in this chapter: If you’re like me, you’ll learn to favor
t Reset shooting options one over the others. Nikon makes
t Set Picture Control it easy for this camera to fit varying
t Image quality personalities.
t Image size
t White balance
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Using the Shooting Menu shown in FIG , I have selected the Im-
Here are the steps to open and use the age quality setting out of the  avail-
various settings on the Shooting menu. able settings.
. Make sure the Mode dial on top of the . Once you select one of the  options,
camera is not set to GUIDE. simply scroll to the right with the Multi
. Press the Menu button on the left side Selector and you’ll open one or some-
of the camera’s back. times two screens with additional set-
. Using the Multi Selector, scroll down tings. We’ll be using all these screens
the available menus and you’ll see the as we go through this chapter.
Shooting menu, which is the second
from the top and is represented by a As we progress, we’ll first use the
small green camera icon. There are sev- Shooting menu to talk about the settings,
eral other menus available below and then the Information edit menu if it allows
above the Shooting menu. We discuss changing the setting too. At the end of
them in other chapters. the chapter, you’ll see a few functions
. Scroll to the right with the Multi Selec- only found on the Information edit menu.
5 tor and you’ll be able to access any of
the  items on the Shooting menu by
scrolling up or down. In my sample

FIG  - Shooting menu


Using the Information Edit Menu 

Using the Information Edit Menu you want to adjust. In FIG , image ,
The Information edit menu is my favorite the Image quality setting is selected.
for setting many camera options. The pur- You’ll see the name of each setting at
pose of this shortcut (or “Quick Settings” the top left of the Information edit menu.
menu, as Nikon calls it) is to allow you to Use the Multi Selector to scroll until you
quickly change the most important set- locate the setting you want to modify.
tings without digging around in lots of . Press the OK button and you’ll be pre-
places. The most critical camera settings sented with the second Information edit
are all in one place! menu. It has a list of selections for the
Here are the steps to open and use the setting you have chosen. Choose a se-
Information edit menu (see FIG ). lection by scrolling up or down with
. Press the <i> Information edit button the Multi Selector and highlighting your
until you see the Information edit menu, choice (see FIG , image ).
shown in FIG , image . You may have . Press the OK button to choose your se-
to press it twice from many screens lection. The camera will return to the
since a single press opens the read- main Information edit menu and show
only Information screen shown when
you first turn the camera on. The <i>
your choice. 5
Information edit button is on back of the I use these screens to set the  avail-
camera on the bottom left. It shares able settings. These settings are the most
its functions with the Playback zoom in useful and most often changed options in
button, and is context sensitive. You’ll the camera. I think you’ll use these two
see a tiny <i> figure just above the but- screens often.
ton. If you’re still confused about its Now, let’s talk about the individual
location, refer to chapter , FIG B, settings on each menu.
number .
. Make sure that the yellow highlight
rectangle is positioned on the setting

FIG  – Information edit menu


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Reset Shooting Options . Scroll to the right with the Multi


This particular setting is exclusive to the Selector.
Shooting menu. It is designed to cancel out . Choose Yes from the menu (see FIG ,
all your changes and set the camera back image ). Choosing No simply returns
to factory settings for the Shooting menu to the Shooting menu main screen.
only. . Press the OK Button, and you’re done.
FIG  shows the screens and settings
for using this option. There are only two Once you’ve selected Yes, the Shooting
options in this operation: menu is returned to factory default
t Yes settings. If you choose No, nothing
t No happens except a return to the Shooting
menu. I only use this setting when I am
These are the steps to reset the shoot- about to sell my camera or give it to
ing options: someone since it erases all my personal
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section setting preferences. You’ll probably use
under “Using the Shooting Menu” a this setting only once or twice in all the
5 few pages back if you’re not sure how).
. Select Reset shooting options—the first
time you own the camera.

selection on the menu (see FIG ,


image ).

FIG  - Reset shooting options


Set Picture Control 

Set Picture Control the right for the fine-tuning screen


Picture Controls are special preset selec- (see FIG , image ). You can use the
tions that affect how your image appears. Multi Selector to move around and mod-
This function has the same effect as using ify the settings. Otherwise, go directly
different types of film in the olden days to step .
(pre-). . Press the OK button to make the select-
We’ll first look at how to use the ed control active. The two-letter abbre-
controls, then what they accomplish. viation for the control will show on the
This setting is available only on the Shooting menu. (See FIG , image .)
Shooting menu. It doesn’t show up on the To the right of Set Picture Control you’ll
Information edit menu. see VI.
Shooting menu – FIG  shows how
to access the Picture Controls from the What are Picture Controls
Shooting menu. You use the three screens used for? – Let’s examine what Picture
to select a particular Picture Control and Controls do and how we can use them with
even “fine-tune” it to your own standards. the D. This flexible image control
Here are the steps:
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section
system was designed by Nikon to allow
you to customize how you create images.
5
under “Using the Shooting Menu” a There are six different Picture Controls in
few pages back if you’re not sure how). your camera. If you used to shoot film,
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll to Set this is sort of like having six different film
Picture Control, and then scroll to the types available at all times. Here is a list
right. If the selection is grayed out, of the controls:
please set the camera’s Mode dial to P, t SD - Standard
S, A, or M. You can’t adjust picture con- t NL - Neutral
trols when using the Scene modes on t VI - Vivid
the Mode dial. t MC - Monochrome
. Select one of the Picture Controls from t PT - Portrait
the menu. I’ve selected Vivid in FIG . If t LS - Landscape
you want, you can modify the control
to have different sharpening, contrast, The Scene modes and Guide Mode both
saturation, or hue and then scroll to use one of these Picture Controls to give

FIG  – Accessing Picture Controls from the Shooting menu


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

your images a certain look. You can use somewhat similar look. It can be used
them yourself for a similar look—while for portraits or nature and has lower
controlling other features of the camera contrast for ease of working on the
personally. These controls all make the image in-computer. If you are forced
image look a different way, with different to shoot in extremely bright condi-
levels of color saturation, contrast, hue, tions with high contrast—such as on a
and sharpening. bright sunny day—this control works
The camera always has one of the well to try to tame some of that deep
controls selected. You can use the auto- contrast.
matic functions of the camera—like t Vivid – Are you a hard-core nature
the Scene and Guide modes—and it will shooter who loved Fuji Velvia? Do
select one for you. Or, you can use one you regularly add a little saturation
of the P, S, A, or M settings on the Mode to your colors? Do you boost contrast
dial and you can select which one you to get that “snap” needed for great
want to use. We’ll discuss the more nature images? If so, here’s your pic-
advanced exposure modes, called P, S, A, ture control! This is an “in your face”
5 M, in this book’s chapter titled Exposure
Metering System, Exposure Modes, and
deep-saturation, high-contrast, and
make-it-green-blue-and-beautiful pic-
Histogram. ture control. Are the colors extremely
Here is a list of the six Picture Controls accurate? Well, were they accurate with
and how they work: Velvia slide film? No! However, if you
t Standard – This is the most balanced want beautiful nature shots, this will do
picture control. It is not too colorful it. Be careful shooting Vivid on a sunny
or too “contrasty”, but it does provide day because it tends to increase con-
a great look. If I were to compare this trast to higher levels. You’ll get deep,
control to a certain film, I would say dark blacks and very saturated greens,
it looks most like Fuji Provia. It has reds, and blues with this control. If you
medium contrast and saturation. I are shooting on a low-contrast overcast
wouldn’t consider this a portrait mode day, this mode will add contrast for you.
but would tend to use it when I wanted t Monochrome – Have you wanted
natural and realistic colors in nature or to experiment with black and white
indoor settings. pictures? This picture control makes
t Neutral – This is for individuals want- pretty decent straight black-and-
ing an image that will be easier to post- white images, with nice blacks and
process later in the computer. It has a clean whites. In addition, you can tone
somewhat extended dynamic range, the images with different tints. The
so it can capture more shadow and old-style Sepia (warm reddish) and
highlight detail. If you used Fuji NPS Cyanotype (cool bluish) are available.
in the past, you’ll notice that this has a Nikon also provides other tints for
Set Picture Control 

your experimentation, including Red, control to be similar but not quite as


Yellow, Green, Blue Green, Blue, Purple, drastic as the Vivid control. There was so
and Red Purple. The normal black-and- little difference between the two that
white mode looks like Kodak Plus-X you would have to compare them side-
film to me but has slightly less black. by-side to notice. Maybe this control
It is hard to fully imitate the effect of is meant to be a tiny bit more natural
silver-based film with a digital sensor. than the supersaturated Vivid control. It
However, this control gives you a good will certainly improve the looks of your
starting point for deepening the blacks landscape images. I’d say the look of
and brightening the whites so that it this control is somewhere between Fuji
can look the way you want it to appear. Provia and Velvia. Great saturation and
t Portrait – Nikon says that this control contrast with emphasis on the greens
is “for skin with natural texture and of natural settings.
a rounded feel”. I’ve taken numerous Each of these controls is fully configu-
images with this Portrait control and rable. You can fine-tune them and the
shot the same images with the Neutral camera will remember your changes. On
control. The results are very similar.
I’m sure that Nikon has included some
image  of FIG , notice how the Vivid
control has an asterisk after it. It looks
5
software enhancements specifically for like this: VI* Vivid*.
skin tones in this control, so I’d rec- I added a couple of levels of sharpen-
ommend it for shooting portraits. The ing to Vivid as an experiment. It shows the
results from this control look a bit like asterisk to remind me that the default
smooth Kodak Portra film to me. Pho- values of the control have been changed.
tos of individuals and groups of people Any control that you’ve fine-tuned stays
will benefit when you use this mode the way you set it until you change it
because the skin tones will be more ac- back to the normal factory settings. Once
curate and smooth looking. you have returned it back to the factory
t Landscape – This control “produces settings using the Quick adjust menu, the
vibrant landscape and cityscapes”, ac- asterisk will disappear (see FIG , image ).
cording to Nikon. That sounds like the
Vivid control to me. I shot a series of im- Which Picture Control Should I Use?
ages using both the Landscape and Vivid
controls and got similar results. Com- Good question! It really boils down to
pared to the Vivid control, the Landscape whether you are a person who likes to
shoot in RAW (.nef) mode and later post-
control seemed to have very slightly
process the images into their final form
less saturation in the reds and a tiny
or whether you simply enjoy taking great
bit more saturation in the greens while pictures in JPEG mode and will use them
blues stayed about the same. It could immediately.
be that Nikon has created the Landscape
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Personally, I am a post-processing kind modify a JPEG later without causing prob-


of guy. I use the Neutral control most of lems from image recompression losses.
the time since I’m shooting in RAW mode Ask yourself, “When I shot film, what
and want to get extra dynamic range type was it?” Did you shoot Kodak Gold
from lower contrast for later computer negative film? Then you should prob-
enhancement. I realize that by shoot- ably use the Standard control. Did you
ing in Neutral I’m not going to create shoot Velvia slide film? Then go for Vivid
images with immediate “snap” or deep or Landscape. Was your imaging mostly
color saturation. However, I’ve found pictures of people—using negative
that I can make superior images later in film? In that case, Portrait or even Neutral
Nikon Capture NX when I use Neutral. might work best. Nikon has given us a
I boost the color until it matches what I nice series of Picture Controls as a base for
remember and raise the contrast until it creativity.
is just right to my eyes. It’s extra work, Learn to use the Picture Controls and
of course, but deeply satisfying when I your images will look the way you want
create a great-looking image. For me, digi- them to.
5 tal imaging is a two-part process.
First, shoot the RAW picture, and Image quality
then, finish it in Capture NX. Since I’m The “quality” of your image is directly re-
shooting in RAW mode, it really makes no lated to what image format or type you
difference what Picture Control I’m using use. The Nikon D has two specific
since the RAW file is completely change- image formats that can be used alone or
able, after the fact, in my computer. I find together. They are NEF and JPEG. NEF
that when I’ve shot in Neutral, Capture stands for Nikon Electronic Format, while
NX displays it as a low-contrast, low- JPEG stands for “Joint Photographic Ex-
saturation image so that I can easily see perts Group”.
the effects I am trying to achieve when I Both the Shooting and the Information
make modifications. edit menus allow you to change the Image
If you are allergic to computers or have quality setting. First, FIG A shows how you
no interest in post-processing, then you can select Image quality from the Shooting
should carefully match the Picture Control menu. Then in FIG B, you’ll see how to do
to the type of images you are shooting. If this from the Information edit menu.
you’re shooting portraits of people, you The camera supports the following
may want to use the Neutral or Portrait image types:
controls. For scenics, landscapes, and t NEF (RAW)
indoor events, you might want to use t JPEG fine, normal, and basic
Landscape, Vivid, Standard, or even Neutral t Combination of NEF and JPEG basic
if you are conservative. This is espe- at the same time (same image stored
cially important if you are shooting in twice, one as a NEF, the other as a JPEG
JPEG mode because you can only slightly basic)
Image quality 

FIG A - Image quality Shooting menu screens

FIG B - Information edit menu – Image quality

Shooting menu: Here are the steps to Follow these steps to do the selection:
use these Shooting menu screens. . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section the section under “Using the Infor-
under “Using the Shooting Menu” earli- mation edit or Quick Settings Menu”
er in this chapter if you’re not sure how). earlier in this chapter if you are unsure
. Use the Multi Selector to select Image how).
quality, and then scroll to the right. . Make sure the yellow highlight rect-
. Select one of the quality levels from angle is positioned in the Image qual-
the menu. I’ve selected JPEG fine in FIG ity field, as shown in FIG B (Where it
A, image . says FINE in the left-hand image).
. Press the OK button to choose your fa- . Press the OK button to move into the
vorite image quality level. next screen.
. You’ll be presented with the second
We’ll discuss the image quality differ- Image quality screen. It has the list of
ences in an upcoming section. You can selections mentioned previously. Se-
also Image quality from the Information edit lect your favorite Image quality level.
menu (see FIG B). Note: You’ll also notice that the camera
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

gives you a couple of useful pieces of NEF (RAW) Format – This Nikon
information. Just to the left of the proprietary format stores raw image data
list of Image quality selections, you’ll directly to the camera’s memory card in
see information on the approximate files and can easily be recognized because
image file size (MB = megabytes) and the file name ends with .nef. This is not an
the number of images your camera’s image format used in day-to-day graphi-
memory card can hold for the current cal work (like JPEG) and the image is not
Image quality selection. FIG B, image  yet really even a usable image. Instead,
informs us that the average image size it’s a base storage format used to store
for the FINE quality is . megabytes images for conversion to another format
and that the memory card will hold ap- like JPEG, TIFF, or EPS. Other than initial
proximately  more images at that compression, it stores all available image
size. My memory card was almost full. data and can be easily manipulated later.
. Once you’ve made your selection, press You must use conversion software,
the OK button. The camera will return such as the included Nikon Software
to the main Information edit menu with Suite (on CD) with Nikon ViewNX, Nikon
5 your choice showing in the Image qual-
ity field.
Capture NX, Adobe Lightroom, or Adobe
Photoshop to later change your NEF
format RAW file into a format like TIFF or
For quick changes, I always use the JPEG. There are also several after-market
Information edit menus. For more deliber- RAW conversion applications avail-
ate changes, I use the Shooting menu. I able, such as Bibble, Capture One, and
rarely use the Guide menu. You may be PhaseOne.
different. It’s cool that Nikon gives us a Before you go out shooting in the NEF
choice. To me, it reflects the dual nature RAW format, why not install your conver-
of the D. It’s designed to work well sion software of choice so that you’ll be
for new or advanced DSLR users. able to view, adjust, and save the images
Let’s look at each of these image qual- to another format when you return?
ity formats and see which you might You may not be able to view NEF files
want to use regularly. Following this directly on your computer unless you
section is a special supplement called have RAW conversion software installed.
Image Format Pros and Cons. This Some operating systems provide a
special section will go beyond just how downloadable “patch” or “codec” that
to turn the different formats on and off lets you at least see NEF files as small
and explain why you might want to use thumbnails. Do a Google search on these
a particular format over another. It will specific words and you’ll find Microsoft
cover details you should know as a digital patches for NEF file viewing: “Microsoft
photographer. raw thumbnail viewer download” and
“NEF codec download”. You’ll be able to
Image quality 

download codecs that Microsoft operat- memory cards get bigger and bigger, I can
ing systems can use to display small NEF see a time when I’ll keep several months
file thumbnails when you view a folder of images on my camera’s card and trans-
containing them. At the time I was writ- fer the newest ones I take to the comput-
ing this book, I could only find codes er. I shot about  gigabytes of pictures
for -bit Windows XP and Vista. There last year. I just saw an ad for a  gigabyte
should be one available for Microsoft memory card, so it looks like that time is
Windows  by the time this book is in drawing near.
your hands, or maybe it will natively work Nikon ViewNX RAW conversion soft-
with the NEF format. ware is supplied free with the D,
There are also third-party compa- while Nikon Capture NX requires a sepa-
nies, such as Ardfry Imaging, LLC, that rate purchase. Capture NX has become
offer various - and -bit codecs for my favorite conversion software pack-
a small fee (www.ardfry.com). I bought ages, along with Adobe Photoshop. I use
the Ardfry version for my computer. If ViewNX to look at my images because it
you’re running -bit Windows Vista has an excellent browser-type interface
or Windows , you may want to check
out the Ardfry Imaging site or do a little
and then push them to Capture NX for
final post-processing. If I need to remove
5
research to see what else is currently an ugly spot in the sky from the edge of
available for viewing NEF files as thumb- an otherwise spotless image or a blemish
nails in Windows or on a Mac. from a person’s face, I’ll use Photoshop’s
The Nikon CD that’s included “in Clone and Healing tools.
the box” contains the Nikon Software JPEG Format – As shown in FIGs
Suite for both Macintosh and Windows A and B, the D has three JPEG
computers. It provides Nikon ViewNX, modes. Each one affects the final quality
which can be used to examine your NEF of the image. Let’s look at each mode in
(RAW) files in detail and convert them to detail:
other formats. It also has Nikon Transfer, t JPEG fine (Compression approximately
a program that helps you get your images :)
off of the camera and onto your comput- t JPEG normal (Compression approxi-
er. I really like Nikon Transfer since it mately :)
helps me transfer pictures to my comput- t JPEG basic (Compression approximately
er and leave them on my memory card :)
too. Then if I take more pictures on the
same memory card, Nikon Transfer will Each of the JPEG modes provides a
transfer only the new ones when I recon- certain level of “lossy” image compres-
nect to the computer. In a sense, Nikon sion. Lossy means that JPEG throws away
Transfer acts like a one-way, memory- image data. The human eye compensates
card-to-computer synchronizer. As for small color changes quite well, so the
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

JPEG compression algorithm works great Combined NEF and JPEG shooting
for viewing by humans. A useful thing (two images at once) - Some shooters use
about JPEG is that one can vary the file a clever storage mode whereby the D
size of the image (via compression) with- takes two images at the same time. NEF
out affecting quality too badly. (RAW) + JPEG basic is what it’s called (or
JPEG fine (or fine quality JPEG) uses a RAW+B). The camera makes a RAW (NEF)
: compression ratio, so there is a large file and a JPEG file each time you press
difference in the file size; the JPEG fine the Shutter release button. My camera’s
file can be as small as  percent of the storage drops to about  images on its
original size. In this mode an image can  GB memory card because it’s storing
be compressed down to as little as  or a NEF and a basic JPEG file at the same
 megabytes without significant loss of time for each picture taken. You can see
image quality. If you decide to shoot in this format’s selection at the top of the
JPEG, this mode will give you the best qual- second image in both FIGs A and B.
ity JPEG your camera can produce. Where a You can use the RAW file to store all
RAW setting only allows - images the image data and later to post-process it
5 on an -gigabyte memory card, the JPEG
fine setting raises that to over  files.
into a masterpiece, or you can just use the
JPEG file immediately and later work on
JPEG normal (or normal quality the RAW file for high-quality purposes.
JPEG) uses an : compression ratio. This There’s no need to go into any detail
makes the D image file about . about these modes other than what we’ve
megabytes. The image quality is still very already discussed. The images from the
acceptable in this mode, so if you are just NEF (RAW) + JPEG basic mode has the same
shooting at a party for an average x features as their individual modes. In
printed image size, this mode will allow other words, the NEF (RAW) file works
you to make lots of images. An -giga- in an NEF + JPEG just like an NEF (RAW)
byte card will hold over , JPEG normal file if you were using the stand-alone NEF
image files. (RAW) mode. The JPEG in an NEF + JPEG
JPEG basic (or basic quality JPEG) mode works just like a stand-alone JPEG
uses a : compression ratio, so the shot without a NEF (RAW) file.
D’s image file size drops to about Now, let’s consider which of these
. megabytes. Remember, these are formats might become your favorite and
full-size files. If you are shooting for the the benefits each might bring to your
Web or just want to document an area photography.
well, this mode has sufficient quality. My
D tells me it can store a whopping
+ JPEG basic files on my -gigabyte
SD card.
Image quality 

Image Format Pros and Cons When you take a picture in RAW, the
There are many discussions in Internet camera records the image data from the
camera forums on image formats and sensor and stores markers for how the
which is the best. To decide which format camera’s color, sharpening, contrast,
you may frequently use, why not examine saturation, and so on are set, but it does
the pros and cons of each? This special not apply the camera setting information to
section is designed to do just that. We’ll the image. Your computer’s post-process-
examine the two formats available in the ing software will display the image on the
D: NEF (RAW), and JPEG. screen using the settings you initially set
in your D. However, they are applied
Nikon Electronic Format — NEF (RAW) only in a temporary manner for your
I am a NEF (RAW) photographer about  computer viewing pleasure.
percent of the time. I think of a RAW file If you don’t like the white balance you
as I thought of my slides and negatives a selected at the time you took the picture,
few years ago. It’s my original image file simply apply a new white balance and the
that must be saved and protected. Here image will look just as if you had used the
are a couple of things to consider when
you’re deciding whether to use the RAW
new white balance setting when you first
took the picture. If you had low sharpen-
5
format: ing set in-camera and change it to higher
t You must post-process and convert sharpening in-computer, the image will
every image you shoot into a TIFF or look just as it would have looked had
JPEG (or other viewable format). you used higher in-camera sharpening
t There is no industry-standard RAW im- when you took the image. You can change
age format, and Nikon has the option sharpening levels in the Picture Control
of changing the NEF (RAW) format you have selected.
each time it comes out with a new cam- This is quite powerful! Virtually no
era. And it usually does! camera settings are applied to a RAW file
in a permanent way. That means you can
Other than those drawbacks, along change the image to completely different
with many others, I shoot NEF (RAW) for settings and it will be just as if you had
maximum image quality. used those settings when you first took
It is important that you understand the picture. This allows a lot of flexibility
something very different about NEF later. If you shot the image initially using
(RAW) files. They’re not really images— the Standard Picture Control and now want
yet. Basically, a RAW file is composed to use the Vivid Picture Control, all you have
of black-and-white sensor data and to do is change the image to the Vivid
camera setting information markers. The Picture Control before the final conver-
RAW file is saved in a form that must be sion and it will be as if you used the Vivid
converted to another image type to be Picture Control when you first took the
used in print or on the Web. picture. Complete flexibility!
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

The Pros and Cons of NEF (RAW) NEF (RAW) is generally used by indi-
Format viduals concerned with maximum image
quality and who have time to convert
NEF (RAW) Pros
the image in the computer after taking it
tThis format allows the manipulation of with the camera. A conversion to JPEG
image data to achieve the highest quality sets image markers permanently, while
image available from the camera. a conversion to TIFF sets the markers
tAll original detail stays in the image for
but allows you to modify the image later.
future processing needs.
tNo conversions, sharpening, sizing, or
Unfortunately, TIFF images are very large
color rebalancing will be performed by in size.
the camera. Your images are untouched
and pure! JPEG Format
tYou can convert NEF (RAW) files to any Joint Photographic Experts Group
of the other image formats by using your (JPEG) is used by individuals who want
computer’s much more powerful proces-
excellent image quality but have little
sor instead of the camera processor.
time or interest in post-processing or
5 tYou have much more control over the fi-
nal look of the image, since you, not the
camera, are making decisions as to the
converting images to another format.
They want to use the image immediately
final appearance of the image. when it comes out of the camera, with no
tThis is -bit format for maximum major adjustments.
image data. The JPEG format applies whatever
camera settings you have chosen to the
NEF (RAW) Cons image when it is taken. It comes out of the
tNot often compatible with the publishing camera ready to use—as long as you have
industry, except by conversion to exposed it properly and have all the other
another format. settings set in the best way for the image.
tRequires post-processing by special Since JPEG is a “lossy” format, you
proprietary software as provided by the
cannot modify and save it more than a
camera manufacturer or third-party soft-
time or two before ruining the image
ware programmers.
tLarger file sizes (so you must have large from compression losses. However, since
storage media). there is no post-processing required
tNo accepted industry-standard RAW later, this format allows much quicker
format. Each camera manufacturer has usage of the image. A person shooting
its own proprietary format. Adobe has a a large quantity of images, or someone
RAW format called DNG (Digital Nega-
who doesn’t have the time to convert
tive) that might become an industry
RAW images, will usually use JPEG. That
standard. We’ll see!
tIndustry standard for printing is -bit encompasses a lot of photographers.
files, not -bit files.
Image quality 

While a nature photographer might Final Image Format Ramblings


want to use RAW because they have more Which format do I prefer? Why, RAW,
time for processing images and wringing of course! But, it does require a bit of a
the last drop of quality out of them, an commitment to shoot in this format. The
event or journalist photographer may not D is simply an image-capturing de-
have the time or interest in processing vice, and you are the image manipulator.
images, so they’ll use JPEG. You decide the final format, compression
Here are the pros and cons of using ratios, sizes, color balances, picture con-
JPEG mode. trols, and so on. In RAW mode, you have
the absolute best image your camera can
The Pros and Cons of JPEG Mode produce. It is not modified by the D
JPEG Pros and is ready for your personal touch. No
camera processing allowed!
tMaximum number of images on camera
card and later in computer hard drive If you get nothing else from this chap-
storage ter section, remember this... by letting
tFastest writes from camera memory your camera process the images in any way,
buffer to memory card storage
tAbsolute compatibility with everything
it is modifying or throwing away image data.
There is only a finite amount of data for
5
and everybody in imaging
each image that can be stored on your
tUses the industry printing standard of
camera, and later on the computer. With
 bits
tHigh-quality first use images JPEG mode, your camera is optimizing
tNo special software needed to use the the image according to the assumptions
image right out of the camera (no post- recorded in its memory. Data is being
processing) thrown away permanently, in varying
tImmediate use on websites with minimal amounts.
processing If you want to keep virtually all the
tEasy transfer across Internet, and as
image data that was recorded in the
e-mail attachments
image, you must store your originals
in RAW format, otherwise you’ll never
JPEG Cons again be able to access that original data
tJPEG is a “lossy” format, which means to change how it looks. RAW format is
that it permanently throws away image the closest thing to a film negative or a
data from compression algorithm losses transparency that your digital camera can
as you select higher levels of compression make.
(fine, normal, basic).
That’s important if you’d like to use
tYou cannot use JPEG to manipulate an
image more than once or twice before
the image later for modification. If you’re
it degrades to an unusable state. Every a photographer who’s concerned with
time you modify and resave a JPEG im- maximum quality, you should probably
age, it loses more data. shoot and store your images in RAW
format. Later, when you have the urge to
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

make another JPEG masterpiece out of Image size


the original RAW image file, you will have Most people leave the image size set to
all of your original data intact for the Large (L) so they can use the maximum
highest quality. quality the camera can create. How-
If you’re concerned that the RAW ever, there may be circumstances where
format may change too much—over a smaller image is just right. We’ll talk
time—to be readable by future genera- more about this after we look into the
tions, then you might want to convert camera’s Image size configuration.
your images into TIFF, DNG, or JPEG Image size is available from the
files. TIFF is best if you want to modify Shooting and Information edit menus. There
them later. I often save a TIFF version of are three settings available under Image
my best files just in case RAW changes size:
too much in the future. I’m not overly t L (Large) – x – . megapixels
concerned, though, since I can still open t M (Medium) – x – . megapixels
my  NEF (RAW) files from my old t S (Small) – x – . megapixels
Nikon D in Nikon Capture NX.
5 Why not do a little more research on this
subject and decide which you like best?
First, let’s discuss the Shooting menu
method (see FIG A).

FIG A – Image size selection

FIG B – Information edit menu – Image size


Image size 

This menu selection applies only to . Once you’ve made your selection, press
images captured in the JPEG modes. If the OK button. The camera returns to the
you are shooting with your D in NEF main Information edit menu with your
+ JPEG mode, it applies only to the JPEG choice showing in the Image size field.
image in the pair.
Here’s how to select the size of the I’ve been playing around with these
image in the Shooting menu (see FIG A): settings for the fun of it. I’m certainly not
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section interested in using my  MP camera as
under “Using the Shooting Menu” earli- a . MP or a . MP camera. I suppose
er in this chapter if you’re not sure how). there may be some reasons to reduce the
. Choose Image size, and then scroll right. MP rating of the camera, but not for me.
. Choose the size of the image—usually If I set the image quality to JPEG basic
Large is best. and image size to Small, my D will
. Press the OK button. capture about , images (. k)
on an -gigabyte card. The images are
The Image size settings are also found in small, . MP in size and compressed
the Information edit menu (see FIG B).
The following steps will help you set or
to about . megabytes, but there are a
large number of them. If I were to set off
5
verify the image size using the Information to walk completely around the earth and
edit menu: I had only one -gigabyte SD card to take
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to with me, well, my D will give me
the section under “Using the Informa- nearly , images on the one card, so I
tion edit or Quick Settings Menu” earli- could at least document my trip very well.
er in this chapter if you are unsure how). Recommendation: If you are shooting
. Make sure the yellow highlight rectan- basic images that you’ll use only in email
gle is positioned in the Image size field. messages or on a website, the smaller
. Press the OK button. image sizes will work fine. Otherwise,
. You’ll be presented with the second leave your camera set to Large because
Image size screen, which has the list of there is little reason—for most of us—
image size selections mentioned pre- to reduce the image size and lower the
viously. Using the Multi Selector, scroll resulting output quality. To make a great
up or down in the list and make your large print of an image requires as much
choice. You’ll also notice that the camera size and resolution as possible. Why not
gives you a couple of useful pieces of in- experiment with these settings and see if
formation. To the left of the list of Image you can tell a difference between an image
size selections, you’ll see information used on the Web and one used in a small
on the approximate image file size (MB) x print. If you have only a very small-
and the number of images your camera’s capacity memory card, the smaller image
memory card can hold for the current size may be all you need until you can get
selection, as seen in FIG B, image . a larger card.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

White balance earlier in this chapter if you’re not


White balance (WB) basically let’s you bal- sure how).
ance your camera to the light available . Choose White balance, and then scroll
when you are taking pictures. Whites will to the right (see FIG A, image ).
then look white, and other colors will be . Select a White balance setting, such as
natural looking. Auto, from the menu (see FIG A, im-
An entire chapter of this book has age ). Until you read the chapter titled
been devoted to this subject. Please read White Balance, why not leave the
the chapter titled White Balance for camera configured to Auto. If you de-
detailed information on this very impor- cide to change the Fluorescent settings,
tant process. I won’t cover much more you’ll have to configure another set of
than how to change the settings in this screens:
chapter. – Fluorescent WB settings: Since
The Shooting and Information edit menus fluorescent light comes in various
both allow you to adjust the White balance color temperatures, from sodium
settings. Let’s look at how to set the white vapor to mercury vapor, you will see
5 balance with the two available menus.
First, refer to FIG A for the Shooting
an additional screen just before
the fine-tuning screen. It will ap-
menu screens needed to set the modes. pear between the second and third
Here are the steps used to set the screens in FIG A. It’s a screen
white balance using the Shooting menu giving you seven types of fluores-
(see FIG A): cent lighting to choose from. Once
. Use the Shooting menu (see the sec- you’ve made a fluorescent selec-
tion under “Using the Shooting Menu” tion, just scroll to the right and the

FIG A – White balance selection and fine-tuning screens

FIG B – Fluorescent White balance choices


White balance 

fine-tuning screen will appear. If Selector to move it back to the middle


you aren’t familiar with fluorescent before pressing the OK button. If you
types, you may have to experiment feel like experimenting, you won’t hurt
a bit. I recommend just doing a PRE anything. You can simply move the
ambient light measurement under cursor back to the center when done.
Fluorescent.
The seven Fluorescent choices are You can also use the Information edit
as follows (see FIG B, image ): menu to set the white balance. FIG C
a) Sodium-vapor lamps shows the screens used to select the Auto
b) Warm-white fl. WB setting.
c) White fluorescent Use these steps to configure White
d) Cool-white fl. balance with the Information edit menu
e) Day white fluorescent screens:
f) Daylight fluorescent . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
g) High temp. mercury-vapor the section under “Using the Infor-
. Normally, you won’t use the third mation edit or Quick Settings Menu”
screen (see FIG A, image ) because
it is involved in fine-tuning the White
earlier in this chapter if you are unsure
how).
5
balance, so that your camera will devi- . Make sure that the yellow highlighted
ate from factory settings. Only use rectangle is positioned in the White bal-
this screen after you have become pro- ance (WB) field.
ficient in using the White balance set- . Press the OK button.
tings and fully understand what each . You’ll be presented with the second
does. White balance screen. It has a list of WB
. Press the OK button while in the fine- selections. Highlight the WB setting
tuning screen. If you accidentally move you want to use for the current ambi-
the small black cursor from its posi- ent light and use the Multi Selector to
tion in the middle of the color box (see select it. Maybe Auto is the best choice
FIG A, image ), simply use the Multi for now?

FIG C – Information edit menu’s White balance selection


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

. Press the OK button to confirm your Recommendation: For general shoot-


selection. The camera returns to the ing, Auto is generally sufficient. However,
main Information edit menu with your if you want the images to match each
choice showing after the WB setting. other in color, it’s important to use a
preset white balance mode like Sunlight or
You can select from a total of eight Flash. If you’re really critical about your
white balance settings with the camera images, the PRE ambient light measure-
controls. I’ve given you only the basics ment method is best. Make it one of your
here, so please be sure to read the chapter priorities, as a digital photographer, to
titled White Balance for more detailed learn how to use your camera’s White
information. balance settings.
These are the eight white balance
modes: ISO sensitivity settings
The ISO sensitivity setting allows you to
White Balance Modes change your camera’s base light sensitiv-
ity so that you can take pictures in low or
5 Auto White Balance, -K high light levels. You can let the camera
decide when to change the ISO—using
Incandescent, K
Auto ISO sensitivity mode—or you can do it
yourself manually. After learning how to
set the ISO sensitivity settings, you’ll find
Fluorescent, K
a section called “When and Why Should I
Use Auto ISO sensitivity?” It goes beyond
Direct Sunlight, K just how to set Auto ISO sensitivity mode
and explains the reasons you may or may
not want to use it with your style of pho-
Flash, K tography.
An ISO number, such as , , or
, represents an agreed-upon sensi-
Cloudy, K
tivity for the image-capturing sensor.
Virtually everywhere one goes in the
Shade, K
world, all camera ISO numbers will mean
the same thing. With that fact estab-
PRE (Preset Manual), used to lished, camera bodies and lenses can be
measure the White balance (WB) designed to take advantage of the ISO
for the actual ambient light. If no mea- sensitivity ranges they will have to deal
surement is taken, the value used is what- with. Standards are good!
ever was last stored in the camera WB In the D, the ISO numbers are
memory.
sensitivity equivalents. To make it very
simple, ISO “sensitivity” is the digital
ISO sensitivity settings 

equivalent of film speed. As the ISO sensi- . You’ll be presented with the second ISO
tivity number gets higher, the camera sensitivity screen. It has a list of ISO sen-
needs less light for each exposure. A high sitivity selections. Choose the ISO you
ISO setting allows faster shutter speeds want to use by highlighting it with the
and smaller apertures, at the expense of Multi Selector (see FIG A, image ).
greater noise in the image. . Press the OK button. The camera re-
The camera allows access to the ISO turns to the main Information edit menu
sensitivity settings through both the with your choice showing in the ISO
Shooting and Information edit menus. We’ll field.
examine the Information edit menu first,
this time, since it is limited to just chang- Next, let’s look at the Shooting menu
ing the basic ISO sensitivity, while the screens for setting ISO sensitivity. FIG B
Shooting menu allows you to adjust some shows the three screens used to change
other functions in addition to just setting the camera’s ISO.
the ISO level. Notice in FIG B, image  that there’s
FIG A shows the Information edit menus a scrollable list of ISO sensitivity values—
to select an ISO sensitivity level.
Follow these steps to make the ISO
although they can’t all be seen in the
figure, they range from  ISO to Hi 
5
sensitivity selection from the Information (~ ISO). The “normal” ISO range
edit menu: for the camera is  to  ISO, with a
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to boost to  (Hi ) when needed. Here’s
the section under “Using the Infor- how to select ISO sensitivity from the list of
mation edit or Quick Settings Menu” available ISO numbers:
earlier in this chapter if you are unsure . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
how). under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
. Make sure the yellow highlight rect- lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
angle is positioned in the ISO field (see how).
FIG A, image ). . Choose ISO sensitivity settings, and then
. Press the OK button. scroll right (see FIG B, image ).

FIG A – Information edit menu—selecting an ISO sensitivity level


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

. Choose ISO sensitivity, and then scroll Now, let’s see how to set the Auto ISO
right (see FIG B, image ). sensitivity function so that your camera
. Choose an ISO sensitivity number be- can work automatically when you don’t
tween  and Hi  (). There is have time to fool with changing ISO
also an Auto selection at the very top settings. We’ll talk more about how it
of the list as shown in FIG B, image . works after we learn to set it. We are still
This selection is grayed out unless you using the Shooting menu to control the
are using the Auto setting (little green function.
camera icon) or one of the Scene modes Recommendation: I often use  or
from the Mode dial on top. Auto works  ISO because I appreciate the smooth-
as the name infers and lets the camera ness and lack of noise those settings
decide which is the best ISO sensitivity in provide. As a stock shooter, I want to
those modes only. This is not the same avoid noise in all of my images, so I go
as the Auto ISO sensitivity setting shown with the lowest ISO my camera allows
in FIG C. if the light is bright enough. ISO  is
. Press the OK button to confirm your ISO a stop faster, so it provides a little more
5 sensitivity selection. See FIG B, im-
age , where I’ve selected  ISO. (Hi
speed for handholding the camera. My
most critical work is always done on a
 does not show in the figure because tripod, so I don’t worry about slow shut-
it is the last selection and did not fit ter speeds as often as a “handholder”
on the screen.) Scroll down one more would. I can just detect the smallest
place from what is shown in image  to amounts of noise showing up in images
get to the Hi  setting. at ISO  when I underexpose by as
little as / stop. You’ll have to test your
The minimum ISO sensitivity setting images and discover your noise tolerance
for the camera is  ISO. You can adjust level. I am an anti-noise fanatic. You may
the camera in its  to  (Hi ) ISO not be.
range in  EV steps.

FIG B – Shooting menu screens to set ISO


ISO sensitivity settings 

ISO Sensitivity Auto Control Once you’ve turned Auto ISO sensitivity
You may have noticed in FIG C, image  on, you should set two values, according
that there is another setting available— to how you shoot:
Auto ISO sensitivity—which defaults to off. t Max. sensitivity
This setting is used to allow the camera t Min. shutter spd.
to control the ISO sensitivity according
to the light levels sensed by the camera Maximum sensitivity (Max. sensitiv-
meter. FIG C shows the Shooting menu ity)– This setting is a safeguard for your
screens used to enable Auto ISO sensitivity. image quality because it allows you to
To enable Auto ISO sensitivity, do the control how high the ISO will go when
following: you shoot. If you would prefer that Auto
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section ISO sensitivity not exceed a certain ISO
under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear- number, simply select a Max. sensitivity
lier in this chapter if you’re not sure value from the list shown in FIG D, im-
how). age .
. Choose ISO sensitivity settings, and To select the maximum ISO sensitivity
then scroll to the right (see FIG C,
image ).
that your camera can use while in Auto ISO
sensitivity, simply follow these steps:
5
. Choose Auto ISO sensitivity, and then . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
scroll to the right (see FIG C, image ). under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
. Select On (see FIG C, image ). lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
. Press the OK button. how).

FIG C – Shooting menu screens to set Auto ISO sensitivity

FIG D – Auto ISO maximum sensitivity settings


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

. Choose ISO sensitivity settings, and then Minimum shutter speed (Min. shut-
scroll to the right (see FIG D, image ). ter spd) – Since shutter speed controls how
. Choose Max. sensitivity, and then scroll sharp an image can be, due to camera shake
right (see FIG D, image ). and subject movement, you’ll need some
. Select the maximum ISO sensitivity that control over the minimum shutter speed
you want the camera to use. I often use allowed while Auto ISO sensitivity is turned
ISO  (see FIG D, image ). on. See FIG E for a list of shutter speeds.
. Press the OK button. You can select a shutter speed from the
list to set the minimum shutter speed the
You’ll note that there are only five camera will allow when the light diminish-
available settings: es. In P – Programmed auto and A – Aperture
t  priority modes on the Mode dial, the camera
t  will not go below the Min. shutter spd
t  setting unless the Max. sensitivity setting
t  still won’t give you a good exposure.
t Hi  In other words, in P or A mode, if you
5 Whichever one of these settings you
get into low light and try to take pictures,
the camera will try to keep the ISO sensi-
choose will be the maximum ISO the tivity as low as possible until the shutter
camera will use to get a good exposure speed drops to your selected Min. sensitivity
when the light drops. To protect the setting. Once it hits the selected lowest
image from excessive noise, it won’t shutter speed value—like the /s shown
exceed this ISO level. Once again, you’ll in FIG E, image —the ISO sensitivity
have to determine your personal noise- will begin to rise up to your selected Max.
level tolerance to select one of these sensitivity value, like the  ISO shown in
settings. The higher the ISO sensitivity, the FIG E, image . If the camera still doesn’t
higher the potential noise level. have enough light for a good exposure, it
won’t keep raising the ISO sensitivity since
ISO Settings and Noise
you’ve artificially limited it with the Max.
In testing the Nikon D for noise, I sensitivity selection. Instead, the camera
find that it makes entirely usable images, will now go below your selected Min. shut-
with relatively low noise, all the way up to ter spd by dropping below the /s shown
ISO . However, being noise sensitive, in FIG E, image . Be careful, because if
I do not often set Auto ISO sensitivity the light gets that low, your camera can
higher than ISO . I will leave it set to
go all the way down to a shutter speed of
ISO  most of the time for best image
 seconds to get a good exposure. You
quality. If you are an event shooter who
must get the image no matter what, then better be on a tripod and have a static
open the ISO maximum up to its highest subject at shutter speeds that low.
levels. The camera will use them only when Look at the Min. shutter spd value as
it can’t get the shot otherwise. the lowest “safe” speed after which you’ll
ISO sensitivity settings 

FIG E – Auto ISO minimum shutter speed

put your camera on a tripod. Most people In the S – Shutter Priority or M – Manual
can handhold a camera down to about exposure mode, you are in control of the
/s if they are careful, and maybe /s shutter speed, so this value doesn’t apply.
if they’re extra careful and brace them- The available minimum shutter speeds
selves. Below that, it’s blur city for your run from  second to / second.
images. It’s even worse with lenses longer Only part of the list shows in FIG E,
than the mm setting for your kit lens. image . Here are the steps:
Camera movement is greatly magnified
with telephoto lenses.
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section
under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
5
For fun, let’s listen to the camera talk lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
to itself while you take pictures in low how).
light with Auto ISO sensitivity enabled . Choose ISO sensitivity settings, and then
(referring to the settings in FIG E). scroll right.
Nikon D Thinking . Choose Min. shutter spd, and then scroll
right.
“Okay, Auto ISO is on! The light is drop- . Select a minimum shutter speed, keep-
ping and my current / shutter speed ing in mind that most people have
and  ISO sensitivity won’t let me make problems handholding a camera below
a good exposure. I’ll slow the shutter speed
/ second. You can choose between 
to the minimum of /s, as my owner
second and /s.
specified in my Min. shutter spd setting.
More pictures are incoming, and the light . Click the OK button.
is still dropping! I can’t go any lower on the
shutter speed for now because my owner When you have enabled Auto ISO sensi-
has instructed me to keep the Min. shutter tivity, the Information screen will blink ISO-A
spd at /s. I’ll have to start raising the next to the picture control, beep, and
ISO sensitivity. Here come more pictures,
battery symbols—and the viewfinder will
and whew, it’s getting dark. I’ve raised the
blink ISO AUTO. The blinking is a reminder
ISO sensitivity to the Max. sensitivity level
of  ISO, which is as high as I am allowed to turn Auto ISO sensitivity off when not
to go. I have no choice now but to go below needed so that you don’t get unnecessar-
the /s Min. shutter speed my owner has ily noisy images.
specified. I hope I’m on a tripod!”
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Note limousine. Under those circumstances,


you will have little time to check your
When you enable Auto ISO sensitivity, it
ISO settings or shutter speeds and will be
might be a good idea to also enable Noise
shooting in widely varying light conditions.
reduction. This is especially true if you
leave the camera set to ISO values above Scenario : You are a wedding
. Otherwise, you may have excessive photographer in a church that does not
noise when the light drops. Noise reduc- allow the use of flash. As you follow the
tion will be discussed later in this chapter. bride from the dark inner rooms of the
church out into the lobby and finally up
to the altar, your light conditions will
When and why should I use Auto ISO be varying constantly. You have no time
sensitivity? How much automation do you to deal with the fluctuations in light
need to produce consistently excellent by changing your ISO since things are
images? Let’s explore how and when auto- moving too quickly.
matic self-adjusting ISO might improve Scenario : You are at a party, and
or degrade your images. What is this you want some pictures. You want to use
5 feature all about? When and why should
you use it? Are there any compromises in
flash, but the built-in pop up flash may
not be powerful enough to reach across
image quality in this mode? the room at low ISO settings. You really
Normally, you will set your camera to don’t want to be bothered with camera
a particular ISO number, such as  or configuration at this time, but you still
, and shoot your images. As the light want some well-exposed images. Light
diminishes (or in the deep shade), you levels will vary as you move around the
might increase the ISO sensitivity to allow room, talking, laughing, and snapping
the handheld camera to continue making pictures.
images. These scenarios represent excellent
If you are in circumstances in which environments for Auto ISO sensitivity. The
you absolutely must get the shot, Auto ISO camera will use your normal settings,
sensitivity will work nicely. Here are a few such as your normal ISO, shutter speed,
scenarios. and aperture until the light will not allow
Scenario : Let’s say you are a photo- those settings to provide an accurate
journalist and you’re shooting flash exposure. Only then will the camera raise
pictures of a famous politician or celebrity or lower the ISO value to keep function-
as he quickly disembarks from his airplane, ing within the shutter/aperture param-
walks into the terminal, and departs in a eters you have set.
ISO sensitivity settings 

Look at Auto ISO sensitivity as a fail- Note: Auto ISO sensitivity is available
safe for times when you must get the shot only when you have the Mode dial set to P,
but have little time to deal with camera S, A, or M mode. It grays out when you’re
settings, or when you don’t want to vary using the Scene modes because the camera
the shutter/aperture settings but still then controls the ISO sensitivity.
want to be assured of a well-exposed Th e Drawbacks to Auto ISO
image. Sensitivity - Are there any drawbacks to
Recommendation: Unless you are a using Auto ISO sensitivity? Maybe. It really
private detective shooting handheld tele- depends on how widely varying the light
photo images from your car or a photo- conditions will be when you are shoot-
journalist or sports photographer who ing. Most of the time your camera will
must get the shot every time regardless maintain normal ISO range settings in
of maximum quality, I personally would Auto ISO sensitivity mode, so your images
not recommend leaving your camera set will be their normal low-noise, sharp
to Auto ISO sensitivity. Use it only when masterpieces.
you really need to get the shot under any Just be aware that Auto ISO sensitivity
circumstances. Of course, if, due to lack
of experience, you are unsure of how to
can and will push your camera’s ISO into
a range that causes noisier images when
5
use the “correct” ISO for the light level, light levels drop, if you’ve set the ISO
don’t be afraid to experiment with this Max. sensitivity to high levels. Use it with
mode. At the very worst, all you might this understanding and you’ll do fine.
get are noisier-than-normal images. The default maximum Auto ISO sensitiv-
However, it may not be a good idea to ity setting is  ISO, unless you’ve set
depend on this mode over the long term the maximum to a lower number. Make
because noisy images are not very desir- sure you understand this or you might get
able. On the other hand, when I go out some noisy images.
on the Internet and read blogs, I find that Auto ISO sensitivity is yet another
some people use Auto ISO sensitivity on feature in our powerful Nikon cameras.
a daily basis. This is one of those highly Maybe not everyone needs this “fail-safe”
personal settings. I don’t use it since I feature, but for those who do, it must be
just manually turn up the ISO when the there. I will use it myself in circumstances
light gets low or use a powerful flash unit where getting the shot is the most impor-
to light up the subject. However, I’m not a tant thing and where light levels may get
private detective. too low for normal ISO image making.
Even if you think you might only use it
from time to time, do learn how to use it
for those times. Experiment with Auto ISO
sensitivity. It’s fun and can be useful.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Active D-Lighting extending process happens when you take


Often the range of light around our im- a picture and while it is being processed
age’s subject is broader than our D’s by the camera, so it is considered an
sensor can capture. Where the D active process. The other form—called
might be able to capture  to  EV steps of just D-Lighting—is available under the
light—its maximum dynamic range—the Retouch menu and is for manually working
light out in the world on a bright summer with images after they have been taken
day might equal  EV steps in range. The and written to the memory card. We’ll
contrast between bright and dark can be look into the Retouch menu and after-the-
too high for the imaging sensor to cap- fact D-Lighting in a later chapter titled
ture all the light without losing detail in Retouch and Recent Settings Menus.
either the bright areas or dark areas. There are two ways to select Active
Since the camera cannot capture the D-Lighting: using the Shooting menu and
full range of light, and most people use using the Information edit menu.
the histogram to expose for the high- Active D-Lighting has these two settings.
lights, some of the image detail will be Refer to FIGs A and B for the steps to
5 lost in shadow. The D allows you to
“D-Light” the image and bring out addi-
choose a setting:
t On
tional shadow detail to lower the image t Off (no Active D-Lighting)
contrast. Later, in the chapter titled
Exposure Metering System, Exposure Use these steps to configure Active
Modes, and Histogram, we’ll look deeper D-Lighting via the Information edit menu
into how the dynamic range of the image (see FIG A):
sensor works and ways to control it. . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
There are two types of D-Lighting the section “Using the Information
available in the D. One is Active edit or Quick Settings Menu” earlier in
D-Lighting, and the other is called just this chapter if you are unsure how).
D-Lighting. This section is about Active . Make sure the yellow highlight rectan-
D-Lighting only. This dynamic range gle is positioned in the Active D-Lighting
(ADL) field.

FIG A – Active D-Lighting Information edit menu


Active D-Lighting 

. Press the OK button. If you are familiar with Nikon Capture


. You’ll be presented with the second Ac- NX, you may know how D-Lighting works
tive D-Lighting screen. It has two selec- because it’s an available function in that
tions—On or Off. Choose one of them. software. You can use it to bring up “lost”
. Press the OK button. The camera re- shadow detail, at the expense of adding
turns to the main Information edit menu noise in the darker image information
showing your choice at the end of the that’s recovered.
Active D-Lighting field. Active D-Lighting will bring out some
Here’s how to select Active D-Lighting detail in areas of your image that are
using the Shooting menu (see FIG B): hidden in shadow due to excessive image
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section contrast. Plus, if there are extremely
under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear- bright areas, it tries to tone those down
lier in this chapter if you’re not sure a little. FIG C shows two images; the
how). first without and the second with Active
. Select Active D-Lighting, and then scroll D-Lighting.
right. Notice how image  has very little
. Select On or Off.
. Press the OK button.
shadow detail inside the bell, and on
top where the sunlight hits the bell, it is
5
washed out (see red arrows). Then notice
that after Active D-Lighting does its job in

Figure B – Active D-Lighting Shooting menu screens

FIG C – Example Active D-Lighting images: On and Off


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

image , the inside of the bell has some D-Lighting may improve your images
nice detail and the spot hit by the sun because there is so much contrast. You’ll
is toned down significantly. Also notice need to experiment with Active D-Lighting
how image , which has received Active and see if you like it. It has the effect of
D-Lighting treatment, is lower in contrast lowering contrast, and many people do
overall. Even the clouds in the back- not like lower-contrast images. Also,
ground have more detail. If you examine anytime you recover lost detail from
these images carefully, you’ll come to shadows, there will be extra noise in the
understand that Active D-Lighting lowers areas recovered. So watch for noise!
the contrast of the image and extends the Note: Active D-Lighting is not available
dynamic range so that there is more detail when you’re using the Scene modes. You
in both shadow and highlights. Keep in can use that functionality only when the
mind that lowering the contrast like this Mode dial is set to one of the P, S, A, or M
takes away “snap” from the image, so modes.
colors are not as strong looking and the
pleasing contrast our eye expects is lower. Color Spaces
5 Experiment with Active D-Lighting and see
if it helps or hinders your photography.
Color spaces are an interesting and im-
portant part of digital photography. They
Using the Fn Button to Turn Active help your images fit into a much broader
D-Lighting On and Off – Within the range of imaging devices. Software, print-
Setup menu there’s a way to assign the ers, monitors, and other devices recog-
Active D-Lighting function to the Fn button. nize what Color space is attached to your
You can then hold down the Fn button and image and use it, along with other color
turn the Command dial while looking at profiles, to help balance the image to the
the Information screen to see the change to correct output colors for the device in
On or Off. I’ll describe this in more detail use. The two available Color space settings
in the chapter Setup Menu. You can in your camera each have a different gam-
assign various functions to the Fn button, ut, or range, of color.
and this may be a good choice if you use The Color space setting is available only
Active D-Lighting a lot. If not, just use the from the Shooting menu. The Information
Information edit menu or Shooting menu to edit menu and Guide menu have no Color
adjust it, as described in this section. space selection.
Recommendation: I like Active Here’s how to select your favorite color
D-Lighting when I’m shooting JPEG space (see FIG ):
images on bright sunny days because it . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
tends to expand the dynamic range of the under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
image. It not only opens up the shadow lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
details, it also protects the highlights so how).
they don’t “blow out” as quickly. If you’re . Select Color space, and then scroll to
shooting on a sunny day, using Active the right.
Color Spaces 

. Select the color space that you want to Technical Information on


use, keeping in mind that Adobe RGB Color Spaces
has a larger color range but that most
To get technical for a moment, Adobe RGB
home and kiosk printers like sRGB bet-
contains about  percent of the CIELAB
ter. Highlight one of them with the color space, while sRGB only has  per-
Multi Selector. cent. CIELAB color space is designed to
. Press the OK button to choose your fa- approximate the color range of human vi-
vorite Color space setting. sion. Adobe RGB gives your images access
to significantly higher levels of cyans (blu-
ish) and greens. That’s what “wider gamut”
The Nikon D camera uses these
means.
two Color space settings:
t sRGB
t Adobe RGB have a wider gamut of colors to work with
and can make your images the best they
Adobe RGB uses colors from a broader can be. Later, you can convert your careful-
selection of the total color range. It has ly crafted images to print with a good color
a wider gamut. If you are taking images
that might later be printed in a book or
profile and get great results from ink-jet
printers and other printing devices.
5
magazine, Adobe RGB is the best color So, here’s a rough guide:
space selection to use because it is the t Many JPEG shooters use sRGB.
industry-wide standard for conversion to t Many RAW shooters use Adobe RGB.
CYMK offset presses.
If you are shooting and printing images This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but many
for yourself on a home ink-jet printer or people use these settings according to their
taking them down to the local drugstore, style of shooting. I shoot RAW, so I use
sRGB may be the best choice. Adobe RGB. If you are shooting for money
If you are a RAW shooter and regularly (such as for stock imaging), most clients
post-process your images in your comput- expect that you’ll be using Adobe RGB. It has
er, you should use Adobe RGB. You will then more colors, so it’s the quality standard.

FIG  – Shooting menu Color space screens


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Recommendation: I personally use Here are the steps used to turn NR on


Adobe RGB since I shoot a lot of nature or off (see FIG A):
with a wide range of color. I want color as . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
accurate as my camera will give me. Adobe under “Using the Shooting Menu” earli-
RGB has a wider range of colors, or gamut, er in this chapter if you’re not sure how).
so it can be more accurate when a wide . Select Noise reduction, and then scroll
range of colors is present in my image’s to the right.
subject. There are some drawbacks to . Select On or Off.
using Adobe RGB, though. The sRGB color . Press the OK button.
space is widely used in printing and
display devices. If you try to print directly The two choices for Noise reduction are
to some ink-jet printers using the Adobe as follows:
RGB color space, the colors may not be as t On
brilliant as with sRGB. If you aren’t going t Off
to modify your images out-of-camera but
just take them directly to print, you may On – When you select On and the expo-
5 want to use sRGB. If you shoot JPEGs only
for computer display, it might be better to
sure goes over  seconds—or you’ve set
ISO sensitivity to greater than  ISO—the
stay with sRGB for everyday shooting. D will take two exposures with the
exact same time for each. The first expo-
Noise reduction sure is the normal picture-taking expo-
Nikon knows its image sensors well and sure. The second is a black frame subtraction
feels that images taken at exposures exposure, in which an image is made for
longer than  seconds may exhibit more the same length of time as the first one but
noise than is acceptable for normal use. with the shutter closed. The noise in the
Two settings are provided for Noise reduc- second (black frame) image is examined
tion (NR), as shown in FIG A; On or Off. and subtracted from the original image.
Only the Shooting menu allows access to It’s really quite effective and beats having
this setting. to blur the image to get rid of noise.

FIG A – Noise reduction screens


Noise reduction 

I’ve taken exposures of  seconds and Off – If you select Off, then of course
had perfectly usable results (see FIG B). there will be no noise reduction with long
The only drawback is that the exposure exposures. However, even if Off is select-
time is doubled because two exposures ed, the camera will force another type of
are taken, one right after the other. You Noise reduction whenever you select an
won’t hear the second exposure since the ISO sensitivity above  ISO. This type
shutter does not open for it. Instead, it of NR evidently is not the black frame
will simply take twice as long as a normal subtraction method since the exposure
exposure without NR. time is not affected. Instead, the camera
When the second black frame exposure uses normal “blurring” noise reduction
is being taken, the words Job nr will blink and will lower the sharpness of the image
in the lower-left portion of the viewfind- somewhat to reduce noise.
er. During this second exposure, while Job Recommendation: I always leave Noise
nr is flashing, you cannot use the camera. reduction turned on. I’ve found that the
It acts like it’s locked up, so don’t panic! black frame subtraction method it uses
If you turn it off while Job nr is flashing, gives me much higher-quality images
the camera still keeps the image; it just
doesn’t do any noise reduction on it.
with long exposures. FIG B is an exam-
ple image of a lightning shot taken with
5
If Noise reduction is on, the frame the shutter open for  seconds to give
advance rate in Continuous release mode time for a lightning flash. It has no appre-
will slow down and the capacity of the ciable noise.
in-camera memory buffer will drop.

FIG B – Example of a long exposure with noise reduction


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Release mode . Press the OK button. The camera re-


The Release modes encompass five differ- turns to the main Information edit menu
ent ways of allowing the D to release showing your choice in the Release
its shutter and take a picture. These set- mode field.
tings are available under the Shooting and
Information edit menus. Next let’s examine the Shooting menu
First we’ll look at the Information edit and steps to select a Release mode
menu and steps to select a Release mode (see FIG B):
(see FIG A). . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to under “Using the Shooting Menu” earli-
the section under “Using the Informa- er in this chapter if you’re not sure how).
tion Edit Menu” earlier in this chapter . Select Release mode, and then scroll to
if you are unsure how). the right.
. Make sure the yellow highlight rectangle . Select one of the five Release modes.
is positioned in the Release mode field. . Press the OK button.
. Press the OK button.
5 . You’ll be presented with the second
Release mode screen. Choose one of the
We’ll discuss how you may best use
the first two of the five Release modes in
five choices. a later chapter of this book, Multi-CAM

FIG A– Information edit menu Release mode settings

FIG B – Shooting menu Release mode settings


Release mode 

 Autofocus. Here are the five ways Self-timer delay setting to change the de-
to release the shutter—the five Release lay time. This setting is also good to re-
modes in summary: duce camera shake for sharper pictures
t Single frame – One press of the Shut- when using a tripod.
ter release button takes one picture. This t Delayed remote – You don’t press the
is the mode that we all use for land- shutter manually in this mode. Instead
scapes, snapshots, and one-at-a-time you use the ML-L Wireless Remote
pictures. Control to fire the shutter (see FIG
t Continuous – One Shutter release but- C). Once you have your subject pre-
ton press, held down, fires the camera pared, press the button on the ML-L
continuously for up to three pictures remote and the shutter will fire after
per second. It’s best used when you’re a -second delay. During the -second
taking pictures of moving subjects like countdown the camera will beep and
sports, races, or wildlife. This mode al- flash the AF-assist illuminator.
lows your camera to fire several frames t Quick release – This mode works like
in sequence to capture multiple views the Delayed remote mode, with no Shut-
of your subject over a short period of
time. This mode causes the camera to
ter release button press. You use the
ML-L remote device to release the
5
make that ever so cool “chika-chika- shutter. As soon as you press the ML-
chika” sound that makes point-and- L remote’s button, the camera takes
shoot camera users jealous. a picture. There is no delay! After the
t Self-timer – When you press the Shut- picture has been successfully taken, the
ter release button, the camera counts camera beeps and blinks once.
down  seconds—merrily beeping—
and then takes the picture. During Recommendation: These five release
the last couple of seconds the camera modes all have distinct uses. I use Single
beeps twice as fast. This time-out inter- frame and Continuous release modes
val gives you time to run and join the frequently. I rarely use the Self-timer, but I
group of people you’re photographing. do use the -second Delayed remote func-
The self-timer defaults to  seconds, tion when taking nature pictures from
but you can vary that time from  to a tripod. This helps me get really sharp
 seconds. You’ll use the Setup menu > pictures by not shaking the camera with a
manual press of the Shutter release button.
The -second countdown gives my tripod
time to stop shaking before the shut-
ter releases. If you buy yourself one of
these little ML-L remote control units,
you’ll probably use it often. They’re fairly
inexpensive!
FIG C - Nikon ML-L Wireless Remote Control
(Infrared)
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Obviously, the most important of these The chapter in this book called Multi-
modes are the first two, and the chapter CAM  Autofocus goes into great
Multi-CAM  Autofocus discusses detail on how the Focus modes work, so I
them in detail. won’t do more in this chapter than briefly
cover how to adjust them and provide
Focus modes some basics on how to use them. Refer to
Focus modes are used to let your camera the chapter Multi-CAM  Autofocus
work with different types of subjects. for deep detail on Focus mode usage.
Some of your pictures will be of static, You can select Focus modes in both the
nonmoving subjects like mountains and Shooting and Information edit menus. First,
trees. Others will be of subjects that are let’s look at the Shooting menu screens
moving quickly, like a flying bird or a race (see FIG A).
car. Then you may be taking pictures of Here are the steps to set the Focus mode
erratically moving subjects like people with the Shooting menu:
at a party. Your autofocus system has to . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
deal with all types of subjects and the way under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
5 they move. lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
how).

FIG A – Shooting menu Focus modes

FIG B – Information Edit Menu Focus Modes


Focus modes 

. Select Focus mode, and then scroll to camera will try to follow the subject as it
the right. moves, updating the focus as needed.
. Select one of the four Focus modes. t AF-S, or Single-servo AF – This mode
. Press the OK button. is best used on static subjects, or those
barely moving. Once you press the
Now, let’s examine the Information edit Shutter release button halfway down, it
menu for the same functions (see FIG locks focus on the subject and waits
B). for you to finish the button press to
Here are the steps to set the Focus mode take the picture. If the subject moves,
with the Information edit menu: your focus is out-of-date and you must
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to release and reapply the Shutter release
the section under “Using the Informa- button halfway down to re-establish a
tion edit menu” earlier in this chapter if good focus.
you are unsure how). t AF-C, or Continuous-servo AF – This
. Make sure the yellow highlight rectan- mode never locks the focus on your
gle is positioned in the Focus mode field. subject. It is continuously updating
. Press the OK button.
. You’ll be presented with the second
itself. For this reason, you can use this
mode for either static or moving sub-
5
Focus mode screen. Choose one of the jects. However, with a static subject,
four choices. the D may focus on an area you
. Press the OK button. The camera re- did not intend as it experiences cam-
turns to the main Information edit menu era movement. This mode is best for
showing your choice in the Focus mode sports, or rapidly moving subjects, so
field. that the camera can keep the focus on
the subject as it moves.
Here are the four Focus modes in the t MF, or Manual focus – Old-fashioned
D and what they each do: MF! You do the focusing and the cam-
t AF-A, or Auto-servo AF – This is an- era obeys your wishes. It does not at-
other type of automatic mode that the tempt to autofocus for you and unlocks
camera offers an inexperienced or expe- the Focus ring on your lens so that you
rienced user. If your subject is static, the can safely do critical focusing yourself.
AF-A mode emulates the AF-S mode men- This mode is best used when the cam-
tioned next. When you press the Shutter era might have a hard time determin-
release button halfway down, it locks au- ing where the subject is, such as when
tofocus on the subject and waits for you it’s a similar color to the background,
to finish the button press to take the or when you are taking close up (mac-
picture. If the subject suddenly starts ro) pictures.
moving, the camera stops emulating the
AF-S mode and switches to AF-C mode AF-S and AF-C are only available in
emulation instead. That means the Exposure modes P, S, A, and M.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

Recommendation: I leave my camera AF-Area Modes


set to AF-A (Auto-servo AF) most of the The AF-area modes are designed to give
time these days. This mode is very handy you control over how many AF Points are
since it senses whether the subject is stat- in use at one time and offer various ways
ic or moving and adjusts the focus accord- to track subject movement. The chapter
ingly. The other modes can be used when titled Multi-CAM  Autofocus goes
you want complete control over how the into much more detail on the use of these
focus works. I’ll sometimes use the MF functions. Let’s examine how to set each
(Manual focus) mode when I need complete of the focus area modes and briefly exam-
control over where I want to place the ine why we might use each one.
focus. I find myself using the MF mode First, let’s consider the Shooting menu
often when I am shooting landscapes and screens and steps to use the AF-Area
want to place the focus one-third of the modes; then we’ll look at the Information
way into the scene for best hyperfocal edit menu for the same functions
control (near to far maximum sharpness). (see FIG A).
You’ll probably find AF-A to be the most Here are the steps to use the Shooting
5 useful function most of the time. You’ll
use them all at various times, I’m sure.
menu to choose an AF-area mode (see FIG
A):

FIG A – Shooting menu AF-area modes

FIG B – Information edit menu AF-area modes


AF-Area Modes 

. Use the Shooting menu (see the section t Dynamic-area – This mode is best
under “Using the Shooting Menu” a used when your subject is moving. In-
few pages back if you’re not sure how). stead of a single AF sensor used alone
. Select AF-area mode, and then scroll to for autofocus, up to four AF Points sur-
the right. rounding the one you have selected
. Select one of the four AF-area modes. with the Multi Selector are also active.
. Press the OK button. This allows your camera to do some
basic subject tracking. When you look
Here are the steps to use the Information into the viewfinder, you won’t see any-
edit menu to choose an AF-area mode (see thing that helps you know you’re in
FIG B): that mode. The viewfinder screen looks
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to just as it does when the camera is in
the section under “Using the Informa- Single-point AF mode. You still just see
tion edit menu” earlier in this chapter if the one bracket surrounding a small
you are unsure how). square AF Point, and you can move it
. Make sure the yellow highlight rect- around among the  AF Points with
angle is positioned in the AF-area mode
field.
the Multi Selector. However, there is a
difference that is not visible. The three
5
. Press the OK button. or four points surrounding your se-
. You’ll be presented with the second lected AF Point are also actively seeking
AF-area mode screen. Choose one of the to focus on your subject, three if your
four choices. selected AF Point is on the edge of the
. Press the OK button. The camera re- viewfinder and four if not. This mode
turns to the main Information edit menu is good for people-based sports where
showing your choice in the AF-area you are following subjects in the view-
mode field. finder as they run across a field.
t Auto-area – This autofocus mode
Here are the four AF-area modes in the turns the D into an expensive
Nikon D, and how each works: point-and-shoot camera. Use it when
t Single point – This mode uses a single you have little time to adjust your cam-
AF Point out of the array of  AF Points era but would still like to get great im-
to acquire a good focus. Usually, the ages. The AF module decides what the
center AF Point is the one that provides subject is and selects the AF Points it
focus information. You can select thinks work best. It will display the
which AF Point causes autofocus with AF Points it has selected briefly, in red,
the Multi Selector. You may move the AF and the camera will beep once to sig-
Point around the viewfinder if a second- nify accurate focus (if Beep is enabled).
ary AF Point better fits your image com- Usually, it will select the closest and
position. brightest subject, with special empha-
sis on human faces.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

t D-tracking ( points) – This mode is AF-Assist


designed for action shooters. Images of This is a handy function in some ways
fast action sports, moving animals, auto and an aggravation in others. It is handy
races, and air shows will all benefit from when it is dark and I am trying to focus
the camera’s ability to track a subject. on something. The camera will shine its
You’ll select your subject by using one of little, but very bright, AF-assist illuminator
the AF Points. If the subject moves, the on my subject up to nearly  feet ( m)
camera will hand off the AF responsibil- away. That’s a good thing.
ity to other sensors. All  AF Points are The bad thing is that the AF-assist illu-
active and ready to take over autofocus minator immediately lets people know
functionality if you lose your subject un- when I am trying t o sneak a picture. It
der the selected AF Point. seems I do that pretty often, and invari-
ably they will notice me taking their
Recommendation: Each of these picture because the little light shines
AF-area modes is useful for a different type on them. Fortunately, when I’m feeling
of photography. I leave my camera set to really sneaky, I can turn the light off for
5 Single point AF most of the time since I do a
lot of nature work. When I am shooting a
a while.
The AF-assist illuminator is located on the
wedding or event, I’ll most often use Single front of the camera just next to and below
point and switch to Auto-area for the recep- the Shutter release button. The function
tion. When I am shooting a really fast- that controls it is available only on the
moving object that I’d like to follow (pan) Shooting menu.
in my viewfinder, I will use D-tracking ( Here are the steps to turn the little
points). The least-used mode on my camera AF-assist illuminator On or Off (see FIG ):
is the Dynamic area mode. I seem to use it . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
only when I am doing macro shots of small under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
creatures like ants on a flower. Learn to lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
use all these modes because you’ll need how).
each one at some point.

FIG  – AF-Assist Illuminator On or Off


Metering 

. Select AF-assist, and then scroll to the Metering


right. There are three light meter types built
. Select On or Off. into your camera. Each has a specific pur-
. Press the OK button. pose. I’ll briefly discuss the purpose and
how to select each meter. However, the
There are some times when the AF-assist chapter titled Exposure Metering Sys-
illuminator will not come on: tem, Exposure Modes, and Histogram
t When you are using Continuous-servo goes into much more detail on the use of
autofocus (AF-C). these three meters.
t In several of the Scene modes such as You can select the light meter type
Landscape and Sports. from both the Shooting menu and the
t When you are using the AF-area modes Information edit menu.
Single point, Dynamic area, and D-track- Here are the steps to select one of the
ing and are not using the center meter types from the Shooting menu (see
AF Point. FIG A):
. Use the Shooting menu (see the section
Recommendation: I find that I often
need the little AF-assist illuminator. It
under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
5
makes a difference when the subject is how).
not well lit. For that reason, I leave it . Select Metering, and then scroll to the
turned on. Remember, if you want the right.
light to come on, you’ll have to use the . Select Matrix, Center-weighted, or Spot.
center AF Point to do the autofocus. Of . Press the OK button.
course, I’ll turn it off, along with the
beep, when I’m at a party and want to Now, let’s see the screens and steps for
take sneaky shots of people so that I can the Information edit menu (see FIG B).
get natural expressions while they’re . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
enjoying themselves. the section under “Using the Informa-
tion Edit Menu” earlier in this chapter
if you are unsure how).

FIG A – Shooting menu Metering modes


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

. Make sure the yellow highlight rectan- image to tens of thousands of image
gle is positioned in the Metering field. characteristics in its image database,
. Press the OK button. makes complex evaluations, and comes
. You’ll be presented with the second up with an exposure value that is usu-
Metering screen. Choose one of the ally very accurate, even in complex
three metering types. In FIG B, I lighting situations.
added the red numbers next to each: t Center-weighted – This meter exam-
Number  is the Matrix meter, number  ines the entire frame, but concentrates
is the Center-weighted meter, and num-  percent of the metering into a circle
ber  is the Spot meter. in the middle of the frame. The other 
. Press the OK button. The camera re- percent of the frame, the part outside of
turns to the main Information edit menu the circle, provides the rest of the meter-
showing the symbol of your choice in ing. You can see a circle in the middle of
the Metering field. your camera’s viewfinder. Use that as an
approximate size for the area that has 
Here’s how each meter works: percent of the meter’s attention.
5 t Matrix – The meter examines four
critical areas of each picture. It com-
t Spot – This meter evaluates only a tiny
bit of the frame, so it is indeed a “spot”
pares the levels of brightness in vari- meter. Since the spot is surround-
ous parts of the scene to determine the ing the currently active AF Point, you
total range of EV values. It then notices can move the Spot meter around the
the color of the subject and surround- viewfinder within the  AF Points by
ings. If you are using a G or D lens with pressing the Multi Selector in various di-
a CPU chip—like the AF-S Nikkor - rections. The light meter is active only
mm kit lens—it also determines how under that one tiny AF Point.
far away your lens is focused so that it
can figure the distance to your subject. Recommendation: I use the Matrix
Finally, it looks at the compositional metering system  percent of the time.
elements of the subject. Once it has However, I do use Spot metering when I
all that information, it compares your want to be very critical about exposing

FIG B – Information edit menu Metering modes


Built-in flash 

a certain area of my subject properly. If Here is how to select TTL from the
you leave your camera set to Matrix, you’ll Shooting menu. These choices are not
do very well. This is a very accurate meter available from the Information edit menu
type. Remember to use your camera’s (see FIG A).
histogram to validate the exposure of . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
important pictures. under “Using the Shooting Menu” ear-
lier in this chapter if you’re not sure
Built-in flash how).
The D has a pop up Speedlight flash . Select Built-in flash, and then scroll to
unit. It’s easy to use; you can press the lit- the right.
tle Flash Mode button to open it manually . Select TTL from the menu for Through
or use AUTO modes and it will open when The Lens flash metering. This lets the
needed automatically. It will light up your camera decide when the flash exposure
subject out to  or  feet with normal is correct.
ISO sensitivity like  or  ISO, and . Press the OK button.
even farther with higher ISO values.
The flash has two modes; TTL and Manual.
TTL (Through The Lens) uses the camera’s
Here is how to select Manual from the
Shooting menu (see FIG B).
5
light meter to determine a correct expo- . Use the Shooting menu (see the section
sure, while Manual allows you to control the under “Using the Shooting Menu” earli-
exposure from full power to / power. er in this chapter if you’re not sure how).

FIG A – Built-in flash modes - TTL

FIG B – Built-in flash modes - Manual


 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

. Select Built-in flash, and then scroll to Flash Compensation


the right (see FIG B, image ). Normally, the TTL flash system performs
. Select Manual from the Built-in flash well. Sometimes, though, you may feel
screen, and scroll to the right (see FIG that the pop up or hot-shoe-mounted
B, image ). flash unit is putting out too much or not
. Select the flash power that best fits enough light. This can happen with highly
your manual flash needs, from Full to reflective subjects or extremely dark sub-
/ power. The camera makes no expo- jects.
sure decisions about the light from the Nikon has designed a Flash compen-
flash and simply records the exposure. sation system that allows you to fine-
You are responsible for figuring the tune the automatic flash output for
correct distance and power to get the special subjects. It is available only on
best exposure. Manual mode is not for the Information edit menu, or you can use
beginners in this case. external camera controls to adjust it.
. Press the OK button to choose the flash We’ll look at both methods.
power. Here are the screens and steps to set
5 Recommendation: I leave my camera
Flash compensation with the Information
edit menu (see FIG A).
configured for TTL flash most of the time. . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
The only time I would consider using the section under “Using the Informa-
Manual flash is when I use the camera to tion Edit Menu” earlier in this chapter
trigger a larger flash unit with an electronic if you are unsure how).
sensor that sees the small flash and fires . Make sure the yellow highlight rect-
the bigger one. I set the camera at minimal angle is positioned in the Flash compen-
flash power like / to keep from influenc- sation field (see FIG A, image , red
ing the exposure of the subject too much. arrow).
I’ve done this with my studio monolights. . Press the OK button.
Otherwise, the camera does a very good job . You’ll be presented with the second
in exposing correctly with the TTL setting. Flash compensation screen. Notice the

FIG A – Information edit menu Flash compensation


Flash Compensation 

red arrow in FIG A, image . This is


the place that you actually set the
Flash compensation. You’ll use the Multi
Selector to scroll up or down and set the
compensation value. I have selected
+. EV step in FIG A, image . You
can select between -. EV and +. EV.
The increments are in / EV steps.
So, if you want to get to +. EV, you’ll
scroll with the Multi Selector through
FIG B – External control Flash compensation
these values: +., +., +., and +..
Select your compensation value.
. Press the OK button. The camera re- Notice in FIG B that the Information
turns to the main Information edit menu screen shows Flash compensation at the
showing the symbol of your choice in top of the screen. Also notice that at the
the Flash compensation field. Be sure to other end of the red arrow there is a +.
set it back to . when you have taken
all your compensated pictures!
Flash compensation value dialed into the
camera. Here are the steps to achieve this
5
two-handed, multi-finger operation.
Now, let’s look at how you can use . Press the Flash Mode/Flash compensation
external camera controls. If you will look button and you’ll notice the Information
at the front of your camera, you’ll notice screen show Flash mode at the top. Now,
the Flash Mode/Flash compensation button. while still holding the Flash Mode/Flash
It is between the Nikon and D logos on compensation button, press the Exposure
the right side of the prism housing (see compensation button.
Chapter , FIG A, number  for button . The Information screen will now say Flash
location). The Flash compensation button compensation as you see in FIG B.
has an arrow shaped like a lightning bolt While holding down the two buttons,
on it, with a +/- compensation rectangle use your thumb to turn the Command
just above it. We can use this button along dial, and you’ll see the Flash compensa-
with the Exposure compensation button (see tion value change. Select the EV value
Chapter , FIG C, number  for button that you want to use.
location) to set Flash compensation. You’ll . Let go of the buttons and take your
hold both buttons down together, while pictures. Be sure to return the Flash
turning the Command dial, and you’ll see compensation value back to . when
the Information screen shown in FIG B. you are done. It won’t return auto-
matically.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

FIG A – Information edit menu exposure compensation

Exposure Compensation place that you actually set the exposure


When you learn to use the histogram compensation. You’ll use the Multi
well, you’ll sometimes find yourself in Selector to scroll up or down and set the
disagreement with the exposure choices compensation value. I have selected
5 the light meter makes. You may want to
tweak the exposure a little to make the
+. EV step in FIG A, image . You
can select between -. EV and +. EV.
image lighter or darker. The exposure The increments are in / EV steps. So,
compensation (Exposure comp.) functions if you wanted to get to +. EV, you’ll
and controls allow you to do that. scroll with the Multi Selector through
You can use the Information edit menu or these values: +., +., +., and +..
external camera controls to set Exposure Select your compensation value.
compensation. Let’s see how both works. . Press the OK button. The camera re-
Here are the steps you can use to set an turns to the main Information edit menu
Exposure comp. value with the Information showing the symbol of your choice in
edit menu (see FIG A): the Exposure comp. field. Be sure to set
. Use the Information edit menu (refer to it back to . when you have taken all
the section under “Using the Infor- your compensated pictures!
mation edit or Quick Settings Menu”
earlier in this chapter if you are unsure Now, let’s look at how you can use
how). external camera controls. If you will look
. Make sure the yellow highlight rectan- at the top of your camera, you’ll notice
gle is positioned in the Exposure comp. the Exposure compensation/Aperture
field (see FIG A, image , red arrow). button. It is just behind the Shutter release
. Press the OK button. button next to the Info button (see Chapter
. You’ll be presented with the second , FIG C, number  for button loca-
Exposure comp. screen. Notice the red tion). It has a +/- compensation rect-
arrow in FIG A, image . This is the angle on its face. You’ll hold the Exposure
Flash Modes 

Flash Modes
The Flash modes are a rather complex sub-
ject since there are  various mode com-
binations, and they’re not all available at
the same time. There is a combination of
modes that are available for each P, S, A, M
setting on the Mode dial. In addition, the
various Scene modes allow different com-
binations of Flash modes.
In this chapter, we’ll look at how to
FIG B – External control exposure compensation
set just the Flash mode. In the chapter
titled Speedlight Flash Photography
compensation button down while turn- in the section “Understanding the Flash
ing the Command dial, and you’ll see the Modes”, we’ll go into great detail about
Information screen in FIG B. how each mode works and how you may
Notice in FIG B that the Information benefit from it.
screen shows Exposure comp. at the top
of the screen. Also notice that at the
You can use the Information edit menu or
external camera controls to accomplish
5
other end of the red arrow there is a +. Flash mode changes. First, let’s look at the
Exposure compensation value dialed into Information edit menu method.
the camera. Here are the steps to config- Here are the steps you can use to set a
ure this operation: Flash mode value with the Information edit
. Press the Exposure compensation/Aper- menu (see FIG A):
ture button and you’ll notice the Infor- . Use the Information edit menu (refer to
mation screen show Exposure comp. at the section under “Using the Informa-
the top. Now, while still holding the tion Edit Menu” earlier in this chapter
Exposure compensation/Aperture button if you are unsure how).
use your thumb to turn the Command . Make sure the yellow highlight rectan-
dial, and you’ll see the Exposure comp. gle is positioned in the Flash mode field
value change. Select the EV value that (see FIG A, image , red arrow).
you want to use. . Press the OK button.
. Let go of the button and take your pic- . You’ll be presented with the second
tures. Be sure to return the Exposure Flash mode screen. Notice the red arrow
comp. value back to . when you are in FIG A, image . This is the place
done. It won’t return automatically. where you actually set the Flash mode.
 Shooting and Information Edit Menus

FIG A – Information edit menu Flash modes

You’ll use the Multi Selector to scroll up


or down and select one of the modes.
I have selected normal front-curtain
flash with red-eye reduction in FIG
5 A, image . Select a Flash mode.
. Press the OK button. The camera re-
turns to the main Information edit menu
showing the symbol of your choice in
the Flash mode field.
FIG B – External control Flash mode
Now, let’s look at how you can use exter-
nal camera controls. If you will look at front-curtain red-eye reduction Flash
the front of your camera, you’ll notice the mode. Here are the steps to configure this
Flash Mode/Flash compensation button. It operation:
is between the Nikon and D logos on . Press the Flash Mode/Flash compensation
the right side of the prism housing (see button and you’ll notice the Information
Chapter , FIG A, number  for button screen show Flash mode at the top. Now,
location). The flash button has an arrow while still holding the Flash Mode/Flash
shaped like a lightning bolt on it, with a compensation button, use your thumb to
+/- compensation rectangle just above it. turn the Command dial, and you’ll see
You’ll hold this button down while turn- the Flash mode value change. Select the
ing the Command dial, and you’ll see the particular Flash mode that you want to
Information screen shown in FIG B. use. See the chapter titled Speedlight
Notice in FIG B that the Information Flash Photography to learn more
screen shows Flash mode at the top of the about how the various Flash modes
screen. Also notice at the other end of work.
the red arrow that there is a lightning . Let go of the button and take your
bolt and an eye symbol, which represents flash pictures.
My Conclusions 

My Conclusions
Using the D’s Shooting menu allows
you a great deal of flexibility in how your
camera operates. Learn to use each of
these settings by adjusting them often.
Take full advantage of that power! The
Information edit menu provides a quick ad-
justment point for critical camera func-
tions and is the easiest menu to use.
Congratulations! Now that you’ve
fully configured your D’s Shooting
menu, let’s move on to the Setup menu.
The settings there allow you to configure
the basics of how your camera physically
operates. Learn this menu well too!

5
 Setup Menu

Setup Menu

6
Reset Setup Options 

The Setup menu in the Nikon D con- not confuse this menu with the Guide
sists of a series of basic camera settings Mode’s Setup menu.
not directly related to taking pictures. In this chapter, we’ll examine each
They cover things like the LCD brightness, setting in detail. Let’s start with the first
the camera’s Firmware version, the default menu option, Reset setup options.
Language, and the image File number se-
quence. You’ll be able to set your camera’s Reset Setup Options
Time zone and date, Format memory card, This is a simple function you might use if
set Viewfinder options, and modify several you sell your camera or if you just want to
other functions. partially start over with the Setup menu
The icon for the Setup menu looks options. It basically just resets the Setup
like a wrench. When you press the Menu menu to factory default values. It does not
button, it’s the third menu down the reset all of them, however.
menu tree on the left. See FIG  for a Not affected by Reset setup options
look at the Setup menu location. Make are the Video mode, Time zone and date,
sure the camera’s Mode dial is not set Language, and Active folder settings.
to GUIDE or you won’t be able to use Here are the steps to cause a Setup menu
the older-style Setup menu. Please do reset (see FIG ):
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
Setup menu.
. Select Reset setup options, and then
scroll to the right.
6
. Select Yes or No from the menu.
. Press the OK button and the reset will
occur.

If you ever want to start fresh with most


of the Setup menu options, simply use this
FIG  – The Setup menu function. Personally, I rarely use it.

FIG  – Reset setup options


 Setup Menu

Format Memory Card first screen. The card is now formatted,


You’ll need to learn the location of this and you are ready take lots of pictures.
particular function on the Setup menu
since you’ll be using it frequently. It is a LCD Brightness
good idea to use your camera—not your The LCD brightness selection is more im-
computer—to format the memory card portant than many people realize. If you
that holds your pictures. That way, the set the LCD too dim, you’ll have trouble
card’s format is customized to the camera. seeing your images in bright light. If you
It’s a relatively simple process to format set it too bright, you might allow some
the card. FIG  shows the screens involved. images to be underexposed, thinking
You’ll see four screens when format- that they look fine on the LCD, unless you
ting an SD/SDHC memory card. You’ll check the histogram. If the LCD is too
make selections from only two of them, bright, even a seriously underexposed im-
as shown in FIG . Here are the steps: age may look OK on the screen.
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the There are two settings available within
Setup menu. the LCD brightness menu (see FIG A):
. Select Format memory card, and then t LCD brightness
scroll to the right. t Auto dim
. Select Yes from the screen with the big
red exclamation point and the words LCD brightness – You can select from

6 All images on memory card will be delet-


ed. OK?
seven levels of brightness, from - to +,
as shown in FIG A. Here are the available
. Press the OK button. values:
-, -, -, , +, +, +
Once you press the OK button, you’ll see
the next two screens in quick succession. Here are the steps to adjust the
One says Formatting memory card and the brightness:
next says Formatting complete. Then the . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
camera switches back to the Setup menu’s Setup menu (wrench icon).

FIG  – Formatting a memory card


LCD Brightness 

. Select LCD brightness, and then scroll to If you choose to set your camera to a
the right (see FIG A, image ). level higher than , just be sure you check
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or the histogram frequently to validate your
down through the values (- to +). exposures. Otherwise, you may find that
You’ll see the screen brighten or dim you are allowing the camera to slightly
according to which direction you scroll. underexpose your images. The D has
Using the bars with varying levels of an excellent exposure meter, but it is not
brightness, as shown in FIG , image perfect and needs your help sometimes.
, adjust the brightness until you can Letting your LCD screen run too brightly
barely make out a distinction between might mask those times that it needs
the last two dark bars on the left. help. Use your histogram!
. Press the OK button once you’ve found Auto dim - This is a battery-saving
the value you like best. feature that gradually dims the LCD screen.
You won’t notice it unless you’re watch-
Recommendation: The camera defaults to ing for it. The easiest way to see it is to
 (zero), which is right in the middle, yet press the Info or Information edit button
the resulting LCD screen is quite bright. I once and view the Information screen. As
feel that  is a little too bright and makes you watch, the monitor will dim over a
my images look like they are exposed more period of a few seconds to a lower light
brightly than they are when I see them level. It cuts the brightness down by only
later in the computer. Recently, I’ve been
using - on my camera. That seems bright
a few percentage points, so it is not highly
apparent. If you use a control, such as the
6
enough for outdoor use but doesn’t make OK button or the Multi Selector, the screen
my images appear overly bright. will revert to full brightness.

FIG A – LCD brightness settings

FIG B – Auto dim setting


 Setup Menu

The screens used to enable or disable Info Display Format


Auto dim are shown in FIG B. The D is all about customizable vari-
These steps are useful for configuring ety. You can change the Information screen
Auto dim: between the very graphical Graphic set-
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the ting to the somewhat less graphical Classic
Setup menu. setting. The Classic format makes the Infor-
. Select LCD brightness, and then scroll to mation screen look more like the Informa-
the right. tion edit menu. See FIG A for a look at the
. Select Auto dim, and scroll to the right two formats side by side.
again. You can also change the look of your
. Select On or Off from the list. display based on whether you are using
. Press the OK button. the P, S, A, and M modes or the Auto or
Scene modes. These are found on the Mode
Recommendation: Honestly, I don’t dial on top of the camera. Each has a Setup
worry much about the battery running menu setting to choose between Graphic
down on my D. I have a spare battery. or Classic. They both work the same way.
The camera seems to use little power, and We’ll discuss how after we review the
a battery will last all day long. I leave this different color schemes.
setting set at Off. However, if you don’t Interestingly, you can also choose
have a spare battery, you might want to between several different color schemes.

6 leave it set to On until you get one. FIG B shows the choices for the Graphic
format, which are Green, Black, and Brown.

FIG A – Graphic vs. Classic black Information screen

FIG B – Graphic Information screen color schemes


Info Display Format 

For the Classic format, you can choose . Select Auto/scene modes or P, S, A, and M
Blue, Black, or Orange (see FIG C). modes, and then scroll to the right (see
FIGs D and E show the screens and FIG D or E, image ).
steps used to change between the two . Select Classic or Graphic from the list,
formats. then scroll to the right. I showed only
Here are the steps used to change the the screens from the Graphic selection
format: since Classic works exactly the same
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the way (see FIG D or E, image ).
Setup menu. . Choose one of the color schemes from
. Select Info display format, and then the list of three colors (see FIG D or
scroll to the right. E, image ).
. Press the OK button.

FIG C – Classic Information screen color schemes

FIG D – Setting a color scheme for the display modes Auto/scenes modes > Graphic > Black background
color format
 Setup Menu

6 FIG E – Setting a color scheme for the P, S, A, and M modes > Graphic > Black background color format

Recommendation: The Graphic > Black panel LCD like the larger DSLR cameras
scheme looks best to me. However, if I get in Nikon’s lineup. The control panel LCD
tired of that scheme, the D offers added to the width of the camera signifi-
several others. Use the settings to experi- cantly because the Mode dial had to be
ment with the colors and graphical styles placed somewhere else. On the D,
and see which you prefer. You can always the Mode dial is where the control panel
change it to a different scheme later. LCD is placed on the Nikon D or Ds,
for instance. Since it has no control panel
Auto Info Display LCD, the D can be significantly
This function allows you to view the Infor- smaller in size. However, it is useful to
mation screen when you press the Shutter look down at something like the control
release button halfway down. It displays panel LCD when you want to change the
the screen that would appear if you camera settings. On the D, the rear
pressed the Info button. Many like to re- LCD screen is all we have, so it must do the
fer to camera settings without having to work of a control panel LCD by display-
press the Info or <i> Information edit button. ing images and menus plus allow us to
The Auto info display may be a good view and change camera settings like the
idea since the D has no top control control panel on a larger camera would.
Auto Info Display 

The “smallness” of the D has its Recommendation: Nikon recommends


advantages and disadvantages. this: “Choose On if you find yourself fre-
This Auto info display option on the quently referring to the information dis-
Setup menu allows you change when the play during shooting”. For many users, I
Information screen displays. With Auto info agree for this setting. However, I person-
display turned on, the Information screen ally keep it set to Off. Why? Well, as I’ve
will be there whenever you press the used Nikon DSLRs over the years, I’ve
Shutter release button halfway down. You learned to tap the shutter release button
can also get to the screen at any time by slightly to turn off the rear LCD screen. It
pressing the Info or <i> Information edit is unnerving to me to have the Information
button. The factory default is On. screen appear. I tend to shut off the cam-
This setting can also be configured to era unnecessarily just to get the screen
display the Information screen or not in to go off. You see, I use long display time-
Auto/scene modes and P, S, A, and M modes outs on all the LCD screen displays. I don’t
(see FIGs A and B). think using long display time-out settings
Now let’s look at the steps to configure and enabling this setting is a good idea
this setting: because batteries don’t stay charged for-
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the ever. The D has a very long battery
Setup menu. life, but I don’t want to drain it unneces-
. Select Auto info display, and then scroll sarily. I can get to the Information screen by
to the right.
. Select Auto/scene modes or P, S, A, and M
pressing the Info button. However, many
new DSLR users may indeed want the
6
modes, and then scroll to the right. Information screen to pop up often. If that
. Select On or Off from the list. describes you, then leave this set to On.
. Press the OK button.

FIG A – Auto info display – Auto/scene modes

FIG B – Auto info display – P, S, A, and M modes


 Setup Menu

Clean Image Sensor with your D, you can simply select
Dust is everywhere, and eventually it Clean now and the camera will execute a
will get on your camera’s imaging sensor. cleaning cycle. Here are the steps (see
Fortunately, the D provides sensor FIG A):
cleaning by vibrating the low-pass filter in . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
front of the sensor. These high-frequency Setup menu.
vibrations will dislodge most dust and . Select Clean image sensor, and then scroll
make it fall off the filter so you won’t see to the right (see FIG A, image ).
it as spots on your pictures. . To execute the cleaning function, select
The low-pass filter is directly in front of Clean now, as shown in FIG A, image .
the imaging sensor, so dust should never . Press the OK button. The graphical Im-
really get on the sensor itself. However, if age Sensor Cleaning screen will display
you go to the beach, where sand is blow- for a couple of seconds and then the
ing in the wind, and change your lenses cleaning is complete (see FIG A, im-
a few times, you might develop a dust age ).
problem.
Here are the options for cleaning the Clean at - For preventive dust control,
camera’s sensor (see FIG A): many users will set their cameras to clean
t Clean now the sensor at startup and shutdown.
t Clean at startup/shutdown There are four selections for startup/

6 Clean now – This option allows you to


shutdown cleaning (see FIG B):
t Startup
clean the sensor anytime you choose. If t Shutdown
you detect a dust spot, or just get nervous t Startup & shutdown
because you are in a dusty environment t Cleaning off

FIG A – The Clean now screens

FIG B – Clean sensor at startup and shutdown


Mirror Lock-Up 

These settings are all self-explanatory. may end up only shaking the dust from
I find it interesting that I do not detect one part of the sensor to another. It’s a
any serious startup or shutdown delay lot like putting grains of salt in your palm
because of the cleaning cycle. I can turn and shaking your palm left and right
my camera on and immediately take a while it’s facing the ceiling. The grain of
picture, even though it’s in the middle of salt may just move from one side of your
about a -second cleaning cycle. Taking a palm to another. If you turn your palm 
picture or pressing any button seems to degrees—like shaking someone’s hand—
interrupt the cycle. and then vibrate it, the grain of salt has a
Let’s select Startup & shutdown as an better chance of falling off your palm.
example. This is the mode I recommend. Recommendation: As mentioned
If you prefer a different one, just use previously, I use the Clean at > Startup &
the following steps and substitute your shutdown setting on my D. In the
choice: months I’ve been using the D, I have
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the yet to see a dust spot. It’s important to
Setup menu. keep dust off of your camera as much as
. Select Clean image sensor, and then possible, especially when changing lenses,
scroll to the right. and this camera’s extra cleaning method
. Select Clean at, and scroll to the right. seems to make a big difference compared
. Select one of the choices (Startup, Shut- to older digital Nikons I’ve used. When
down, Startup & shutdown, or Cleaning
off).
I’m really concerned about cleaning the
sensor, I use the Clean now method.
6
. Press the OK button.
Mirror Lock-Up
FIG A, image  shows a picture of the If the high-frequency vibration method
graphical Image Sensor Cleaning screen of cleaning your D’s sensor does not
that appears during a cleaning cycle. dislodge some stickier-than-normal dust,
You’ll see it when you turn the camera on you may have to clean your sensor more
or off if you have Clean at > Startup & shut- aggressively.
down selected. In many cases all that’s needed is a dust
Nikon suggests that you have the blower to remove the dust with a puff of
camera base down when you use these air. I remember having to do this with my
modes to clean the sensor. Checking Nikon D in , and I was always
with Nikon technical support, I found afraid I might ruin the shutter if I did it
the reason for that guidance. Those high- incorrectly. With the D, I had to hold
frequency vibrations will indeed dislodge the shutter open in bulb mode with one
most dust particles, but if the camera is hand while I blew off the sensor with the
not positioned with the base down, you other.
 Setup Menu

FIG  – Mirror lock-up for cleaning screens

The D helps out by providing this


Mirror lock-up function for cleaning mode
so that you can blow a stubborn piece of
dust off the low-pass filter. Using this
function, it is much safer to blow off the
FIG A – Giottos Rocket-Air blower
sensor, and you can use both hands.
FIG  shows the three screens you’ll inside the front of the camera, you’ll
use to select this mode for manual sensor see the bluish-looking low-pass filter
cleaning. in front of the sensor. Carefully insert
Here are the steps to move the mirror the tip of a blower, without touching
and shutter out of the way for cleaning: the sensor, and blow off the dust with a

6 . Press the Menu button and scroll to the


Setup menu.
few puffs of air.
. To close the shutter and lower the mir-
. Select Mirror lock-up, and then scroll to ror, turn the D off.
the right.
. Next, select Start. Then press the OK You’ll need a good-quality, professional
button. sensor-cleaning blower such as my favor-
. When the camera has locked the mir- ite, the Giottos Rocket-Air blower with
ror and shutter in an open position and its long red tip for easy insertion (see FIG
exposed the low-pass filter in front of A). I bought mine from the Nikonians
the sensor, you’ll see the screen on the Pro Shop (www.PhotoProShop.com).
right in FIG  with the following mes- Make sure you have a fresh battery
sage: When shutter button is pressed, the in the camera because that’s what holds
mirror lifts and shutter opens. To lower the shutter open for cleaning. It must be
mirror, turn camera off. above a  percent charge or the camera
. Remove the lens, if you haven’t already will gray out the menu selection, refusing
done so. to allow you to start the process.
. Press the Shutter release button fully, as Special Note On Sensor Cleaning - If
you would if you were taking a picture. even an air blower fails to remove stub-
. The camera now raises the mirror and born dust or pollen, you will have to
retracts the shutter. When you look either have your sensor professionally
Video Mode 

cleaned or do it yourself. Nikon states Recommendation: It helps to have


that you will void your warranty if you the proper tools, such as the Giottos
touch the low-pass filter. However, many Rocket-Air blower from the Nikonians
people still wet- or brush-clean their PhotoProShop.com. I’ve used other
D’s sensor. I’ve done it to various blower types, but this one is the best and
Nikons in the past, although I’ll never doesn’t cost too much. It has a special
admit it! check valve that allows air to blow out of
Critical Information on Wet-Cleaning the nozzle but not suck back in because
Your Sensor - The Nikon D has a that might draw dust into the blower’s
special tin-oxide coating on the low- squeeze bulb and you’d later blow it right
pass filter that is designed to make it back onto the sensor. It pulls air back
harder for dust to stick to its surface. into the bulb from the opposite end,
Unfortunately, the fluids that have been not through the nozzle. It’s an excellent
used for several years to clean sensors design, with a strong air blast.
may adversely affect this coating. You
must purchase the correct cleaning fluid Video Mode
to wet-clean the low-pass filter. It is called If you plan on connecting your D to
Eclipse E, and it is said to be safe for a video device, you’ll need to be sure you
cleaning the filter without damaging the use the correct Video mode to commu-
tin-oxide coating. nicate with the device. This is not about
If all of this makes you nervous, send
your camera off to Nikon for approved
playing a video from your D; it has
no video mode. However, you can inter-
6
cleaning or use a professional service. face the camera with a device like a DVD
Fortunately, a few puffs of air will often player or TV and play back the pictures
remove dust too stubborn for the high- for viewing.
frequency vibration methods to remove. There are two Video mode settings avail-
able in the D:
t NTSC
t PAL

FIG  – Video mode selection screens


 Setup Menu

Here are the steps used to set the Video Time Zone and Date
mode (see FIG ): There are several functions to set under
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the the Time zone and date section of the Setup
Setup menu. menu:
. Select Video mode, and then scroll to t Time zone
the right. t Date and time
. Select NTSC or PAL (probably NTSC) t Date format
from the menu. t Daylight saving time
. Press the OK button to set the mode and Time zone – FIG A shows the Time zone
return to the Setup menu. configuration screens. You’ll use a famil-
iar world map interface to select the area
You’ll need to refer to the manual of your of the world in which you are using the
television, DVD player, or other device camera. Since I live in the eastern half of
to determine what video input it uses. the United States, I selected the New York,
This is the mode you’ll use with the V-out Toronto, Lima (Eastern) time zone.
port on the side of the D. You can To set the time zone, follow these steps
purchase a Nikon EG-D video cable (see FIG A):
from your camera dealer that allows you . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
to do slide shows on your TV or to record Setup menu.
a DVD. . Select Time zone and date, and then scroll

6 Recommendation: Users in the U.S.


will usually choose NTSC because that is the
to the right (see FIG A, image ).
. Select Time zone, and then scroll to the
most common video format in the United right (see FIG A, image ).
States. In many European countries, the . Use the Multi Selector to scroll left or
PAL format is more prominent. Please do right until your time zone is under the
check your video device’s manual to see yellow vertical bar—or yellow outline
what format it uses. Or, you could simply with a red dot—in the center of the
plug it in and see if it works. If you don’t world map screen (see FIG A,
see a picture with NTSC selected, try PAL image ).
instead. Nothing will burst into flames if . Once you have your time zone selected,
you are using the wrong setting. press the OK button to save the setting.

FIG A – Time zone setup


Time Zone and Date 

FIG B – Date and time setup

 Hour Time Equivalents


Date and time – FIG B shows the
For your convenience, here is a -hour
three Date and time configuration
time equivalents chart:
screens. The final screen in the series
allows you to select the year, month, and A.M. Settings:
day (Y, M, D) and the hour, minute, and : a.m. = : (midnight)
second (H, M, S): : a.m. = :
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the : a.m. = :
Setup menu. : a.m. = :
: a.m. = :
. Select Time zone and date, and then
: a.m. = :
scroll to the right.
: a.m. = :
. Select Date and time, and then scroll to : a.m. = :
the right.
. Using the Multi Selector, scroll left or
: a.m. = :
: a.m. = :
6
right until you have selected the value : a.m. = :
you want to change. Then scroll up or : a.m. = :
down to actually change the value.
P.M. Settings:
. When you have set the correct date
: p.m. = : (noon)
and time, press the OK button to save : p.m. = :
the settings. Please note that the time : p.m. = :
setting uses the -hour military-style : p.m. = :
clock. To set  p.m., for example, you : p.m. = :
would set H and M to :. I set mine : p.m. = :
to : a.m. in FIG B, image . For : p.m. = :
: p.m. = :
your convenience, here is a listing of
: p.m. = :
the -hour time equivalents: : p.m. = :
: p.m. = :
: p.m. = :

Note: There is no : time (midnight).


After : comes :.
 Setup Menu

Date format – The D gives you . Choose the format you like best from
three different ways to format the date the three available formats (see FIG
(see FIG C): C, image ).
. Y/M/D = Year/Month/Day (//) . Press the OK button.
. M/D/Y = Month/Day/Year (//)
. D/M/Y = Day/Month/Year (//) Daylight saving time - Many areas of the
United States observe daylight saving
United States D owners will prob- time. In the spring, most U.S. residents
ably use the M/D/Y setting, which matches set their clocks forward by one hour on
the MM/DD/YYYY format so familiar a specified day each year. Then in the fall
to Americans. People in other areas of they set it back one hour, leading to the
the world can select their favorite date clever saying, “spring forward, fall back”.
format. To enable or disable Daylight saving time,
To select the date format of your do the following (see FIG D):
choice, do the following (see FIG C): . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the Setup menu.
Setup menu. . Select Time zone and date, and then scroll
. Select Time zone and date, and then scroll to the right (see FIG D, image ).
to the right (see FIG C, image ). . Select Daylight saving time, and then
. Select Date format, and then scroll to scroll to the right (see FIG D,

6 the right (see FIG C, image ). image ).


. Select On or Off from the menu (see FIG
D, image ).
. Press the OK button.

FIG C – Date format setup

FIG D – Daylight saving time screens


Language 

If you selected On, your D will t French


now automatically “spring forward and t Italian
fall back”, adjusting your time forward by t Dutch
one hour in the spring and back one hour t Norwegian
in the fall. t Polish
Recommendation: I always leave mine t Portuguese
set to On because I want my camera to t Russian
record an accurate time in the EXIF meta- t Swedish
data of each image. Anything that keeps t Traditional Chinese
me from having to remember an annual t Simplified Chinese
adjustment is appreciated. My computer t Japanese
adjusts its own time, and now my camera t Korean
can do the same.
Your D’s Language setting should
Language default to the language of the area
Nikon is a company that sells cameras in which you purchased the camera.
and lenses around the world. For that However, you may choose to use a differ-
reason, your D can display its menus ent language on your multilingual camera.
and prompts in one of  languages. FIG Here are the steps to select a language
 shows the screens you can use to select (see FIG ):
the language used by your camera.
The following Language settings are
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
Setup menu.
6
included with the D using firmware . Select Language, and then scroll to the
version .: right (see FIG , image ).
t Danish . Choose your favorite language from
t German the list of . You might have to scroll
t English up or down in the menu to find yours
t Spanish (see FIG , image ).
t Finnish . Press the OK button.

FIG  – Language selection screens


 Setup Menu

Image Comment can delete it with the garbage can De-


This is a useful setting that you can use lete button. To insert a new character,
to attach a comment to each image you position the yellow cursor in the char-
shoot. I attach the words Copyright Darrell acter list above and press the Playback
Young to my images. Unfortunately, Nikon zoom in button. Whatever character is
does not include the copyright symbol © in under the yellow cursor will appear on
the list of numbers and letters or I would the name line below, at the position of
include that in my copyright notice. the gray cursor. If a character is already
Here are the steps to create an Image under the gray cursor, it will be pushed
comment that attaches to each of your to the right. Limit your comment to 
images (see FIG ): characters.
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the . Press the OK button when you have com-
Setup menu. pleted the new comment, and the cam-
. Select Image comment, and then scroll era will return to the previous menu.
to the right (see FIG , image ). . Scroll down to the Attach comment se-
. Select the Input comment line and scroll lection.
to the right (see FIG , image ). . Scroll to the right one time to “Set” the
. In the next screen, you’ll see a series of check box. You’ll see the little check
symbols, numbers, and letters on top, box receive a check on the left of the
and a line of tiny dashes at the bottom line (see the red arrows in FIG , im-

6 (see FIG , image ). To create a new


comment, scroll back and forth within .
ages  and ).
Finally, scroll up to the Done menu se-
the comment line with the Command lection, and then press the OK button
dial. When you have the small gray cur- (see FIG , image ).
sor positioned over a character, you

FIG  – Image comment setup screens


Auto Image Rotation 

I keep forgetting to finish the process On - With Auto image rotation set to
with the Done selection and usually lose On, the D will automatically record
my comment. Make sure you complete the direction or orientation of an image
the process or any comment you ardu- within the image itself. In other words, it
ously entered will simply disappear! Your records, as part of the image’s metadata,
comment will be added internally to the whether you were holding your camera
metadata of new images. It will not show horizontally or vertically—handgrip
on the image itself. down or handgrip up. It saves the orienta-
tion information with the image so that
Auto Image Rotation it will display correctly in computer soft-
This function is concerned with how a ware. It will display in the correct orien-
vertical image displays on the back of tation on your camera’s LCD screen only
your camera, and later in software. Hori- if you have the Playback menu > Rotate tall
zontal images are not affected by this set- function set to On. Many people do not
ting. The D has a direction-sensing fully understand that Auto image rotation
device so that it knows how the camera is and Rotate tall work together in how the
oriented while you are taking a picture. image displays on the D’s monitor.
According to how you have Auto Auto image rotation lets the image “speak”
image rotation set and how you hold your for itself as to orientation, while Rotate tall
D’s handgrip, the camera will display lets the camera “listen” to the image and
vertical images as upright portrait images
with the top of the image at the top of the
display it in the proper orientation. Later,
in your computer, the image will display
6
LCD screen, or in a horizontal direction with the correct orientation if you’ve set
with the top to the left or right. Auto image rotation to On. Otherwise, it
FIG  shows the two screens used to may display with a vertical image lying on
set the Auto image rotation function. There its side when viewed in the computer.
are two selections: Off - If Auto image rotation is set to Off,
t On the camera does not record orientation
t Off information with the image. The vertical

FIG  – Auto image rotation setup screens


 Setup Menu

image will be displayed as a horizontal determine which you would prefer. I want
image lying on its side in computer soft- all my images to have orientation infor-
ware and on the camera’s LCD screen. The mation stored within them so I won’t
top of the image will be on the left or have to manually rotate dozens of images
right according to how you held the hand- after an extensive shoot. I leave mine set
grip, up or down. to On and I’ve had no problems.
Here are the steps to enable Auto image
rotation (see FIG ): Dust Off Ref Photo
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the You may go out and do an extensive shoot
Setup menu. only to return and find that some dust
. Select Auto image rotation, and then spots have appeared in the worst possible
scroll to the right (see FIG , image place in your images. If you then create an
). image Dust off ref (reference) photo, you can
. Select On or Off from the menu (see FIG use it to remove the dust spots from your
, image ). existing images and afterward go clean
. Press the OK button. the sensor for the next shooting session.
Here’s how it works.
If you are shooting in Continuous release When you use the instructions that
mode, the way you’re holding the camera follow to create the Dust off ref photo,
for the first shot sets the direction the you will be shooting a blank, unfocused

6 images are displayed, even if you change


direction while shooting.
picture of a pure white or gray back-
ground. The dust spots in the image
Remember, if you have Auto image rota- will then be readily apparent to Nikon
tion set to Off, the camera does not record Capture NX software. When you load
orientation information for the image, so the image to be cleaned into Capture
no matter how you have the Playback Menu NX along with the Dust off ref photo, the
> Rotate tall option set, the image still will camera will use it to remove the spots in
be displayed in a horizontal direction. your production image.
Plus, your computer will probably display Remember that you take the Dust off ref
your vertical images as horizontals. photo after you’ve taken your other imag-
Recommendation: The manual states es. It needs to identify where in the frame
that you might want to choose Off if you the dust spots exist so that they can be
are “taking photographs with the lens removed from your real images.
pointing up or down”. However, I have The position and amount of dust on the
tested it carefully, and the D seems low-pass filter may change. It’s recom-
quite good at determining when you have mended that you take Dust off ref photos
the camera held horizontally or vertically, regularly and use one that was taken
even when you do have the lens pointed within a day of the photograph you wish
up or down. Test this for yourself and to clean up.
Dust Off Ref Photo 

Finding a Subject for the Dust Off Now, let’s prepare the camera for the
Ref Photo – First, select a “featureless” actual reference photo (see FIG ):
subject to photograph for the reference . Press the Menu button on the back of
photo. The key here is to use a material your D.
that has no graininess, such as bright- . Select the Setup menu and scroll down
white, slick plastic or a white card. I tried until you find the Dust Off ref photo
using plain white sheets of paper held menu selection (see FIG , image ).
up to a bright window, but the resulting . Once there, scroll to the right and you
reference photo was unsatisfactory to will find the Start selection (see FIG ,
Capture NX. It gave me a message that image ). There is also a Clean sensor,
my reference photo was “too dusty” when then start selection. Since we’re remov-
I tried to use it. ing dust on current pictures, we won’t
After some experimentation, I finally use this setting. It might remove the
settled on three different subjects that dust bunny that is imprinted on the
seem to work well: last  images you just shot! It’s best
t A slide-viewing light table with the to clean the sensor after getting a good
light turned on dust off reference photo.
t A computer monitor screen with a . After you have selected Start, your
blank white word processor document camera is ready to take the reference
displayed image. You will find the word rEF in the
t A plain white card in the same bright
light in which the subject resides
viewfinder. This simply means that the
camera is ready to create the Dust Off
6
ref photo.
All of these provided enough light . Once the camera is ready, hold the lens
and “featurelessness” to satisfy both my about  inches ( cm) away from the
camera and Capture NX. The key is to blank subject. The camera will not try
photograph something fairly bright, but to autofocus during the process, which
not too bright. You may need to experi- is good because you want the lens at in-
ment with different subjects if you have finity anyway. We are not trying to take
no light table or computer. a viewable picture; we’re just creating

FIG  – Dust-off reference photo preparation


 Setup Menu

an image that shows where the dust is NDF file is basically a small database of
on the sensor. Focus is not important, the millions of clean pixels in your im-
and neither is minor camera shake. If aging sensor, and a few dirty ones.
you try to take the picture and the sub-
ject is not bright enough, or if it’s too You cannot display the NDF file
bright, you’ll see the screen in on your computer. It will not open in
FIG A. Capture NX or any other graphics
. If you’re having problems with too program that I tried.
much brightness, use a gray surface
instead of white. Most of the time this Where to Store the Reference Photo
error is caused by insufficient light Copy the Dust Off ref photo’s NDF file from
though. your camera’s memory card to the com-
. If you don’t see the screen in FIG A puter folder containing the NEF (RAW)
and the shutter fires, you have success- images that have dust spots on them and
fully created a Dust Off ref photo. The for which you created this dust off refer-
Information screen will now appear with ence photo. Later, when you are ready to
a label in the top left announcing Data post-process your NEF (RAW) images for
acquired (see FIG B, red arrow). A dust spot removal, you’ll have a reference
-megabyte file is created on your cam- photo with a picture of the dust only so
era’s image card with a filename ending that a program like Nikon Capture NX

6 in .ndf instead of the normal .nef or


.jpg (for example, DSC_.ndf). This
can automatically remove it for you.

FIG A – Exposure settings are not appropriate FIG B – Successful dust-off reference photo
warning notice
Auto Off Timers 

Auto Off Timers LONG – Long


The camera has timers for various things t Playback/menus get  seconds delay.
that display on the screen, such as Im- t Image review gets  seconds delay.
age review. It also has to time important t Auto meter-off gets  minute delay.
things like when to shut the light meter
off after you’ve used it and how long the Custom
menus stay on the LCD screen. t Playback/menus can be delayed from 
Nikon has combined three separate seconds to  minutes.
timed functions under one Setup menu t Image review can be delayed from 
selection. Here is a list of the three specif- seconds to  minutes.
ic things that must be timed: t Auto meter-off can be delayed from 
t Playback/menu seconds to  minutes.
t Image review
t Auto meter-off FIGs A to D show the menu
screens used to configure the Auto off
You can set these timed functions to timers selection. The screens in FIG A
one of four different settings, as shown in allow you to select one of the preset
the following timed functions chart: values like Short or Long, and the screens
SHORT – Short in FIGs B to D let you set Custom
t Playback/menus get  seconds delay. time-outs.
t Image review gets  seconds delay.
t Auto meter-off get  seconds delay.
Here are the steps to set Auto off timers:
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
6
Setup menu.
NORM – Normal . Select Auto off timers from the menu,
t Playback/menus get  seconds delay. and then scroll to the right.
t Image review gets  seconds delay. . Choose Short, Normal, Long, or Custom
t Auto meter-off get  seconds delay. from the menu.

FIG A - Auto off timers – Presets Short, Normal, and Long


 Setup Menu

. Please refer to the timed functions the OK button. I usually forget to scroll
chart and FIGs A to D for poten- up to Done and thereby do not save my
tial settings—FIGs B to D are settings when I am using Custom (see
continuations of FIG A. If you chose FIGS B to D, image ).
anything besides Custom, the camera
has default values that it will use, as Recommendation: This is a highly
previously listed. If you chose Custom, personal series of settings. I tend to like
carefully review the various timing the longer time-out settings since I want
values and select a value for each of the to view my images or set configurations
three functions, Playback/menus in FIG on menus without constantly having
B, Image review in FIG C, and Auto to wake up the camera. I do not worry
meter-off in FIG D. about battery life with this camera since
. Press the OK button for the presets it will last all day, easily. A battery isn’t
Short, Normal or Long (see FIG A). cheap, but having a spare is a good way to
If you’re using the Custom selection, remove worries about long time-outs. I
scroll up to Done first and then press use the Custom timers and generally have

6
FIG B – Custom Playback/menus time-out settings

FIG C – Custom Image review time-out settings

FIG D – Custom Auto meter-off time-out settings


Self-Timer Delay 

time-outs set to minutes, not seconds. If adjust the self-timer up to  seconds or


you don’t want to take the time to config- down to . At the maximum  seconds
ure the Custom timers, simply review the you have enough time to calmly walk at
timed functions chart listed previously least  or  feet from the camera, posi-
and select one of the preset values instead. tion yourself, and smile.
Once you set the self-timer time-out,
Self-Timer Delay you can use the Information edit > Release
When you set the camera’s self-timer for mode setting to start the operation. FIG
group shots or self-portraits, do you find A shows the menu screens to set Self-
yourself running like a wild person trying timer delay.
to get in position before the camera fires? Here are the steps to set the Self-timer
Have you ever knocked anyone or any- delay:
thing down or tripped and made a fool of . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
yourself in the process? Setup menu.
Well, those problems are solved with . Select Self-timer delay from the menu,
the D’s adjustable self-timer delay. and then scroll to the right.
Whether you are shooting a group shot . Choose s, s, s, or s from the
or just using the self-timer as a cheap menu.
remote release, it’s good to be able to . Press the OK button.

FIG A – Self-timer delay

FIG B – Information edit menu’s self-timer release mode


 Setup Menu

FIG C – Shooting menu’s self-timer release mode

Be sure to review the Information edit Remote on Duration


and Shooting menu Release mode sections This is an interesting function that con-
(see FIGs B and C). Whatever value trols how long the camera will wait for
you put in Self-timer delay for the time-out you to press the button on your ML-L
will be the value that executes with the Infrared Remote when using either De-
Information edit/Shooting menu > Release layed remote or Quick-response remote
mode > Self-timer choice. Release mode. The D will hold the
Note: You cannot use the Guide Mode’s camera in a ready state for a time delay of

6 Shoot menu > Timers & remote control selec-


tion for the Self-timer delay value. The
between  and  minutes, as set in Re-
mote on duration. During that period the
Guide menu’s self-timer mode defaults camera stays prepared to take a picture,
to  seconds, no matter what Self-timer leaving the exposure meter active, until
delay setting you select here. the Remote on duration times out. If the
Recommendation: I use the self-timer time-out occurs, the camera will switch
from time to time for group shots that back to the previous Release mode, like
I want to be in. Otherwise, I use it only Single or Continuous, and will not respond
to release the shutter without touching to the ML-L Infrared Remote’s button
the camera, for extra sharp shots from a press until you put it back into the De-
tripod. I find that the -second Self-timer layed or Quick-response mode.
delay setting allows any tripod vibrations Here are the Remote on duration delay
to die down after I’ve pressed the Shutter times:
release button. t m –  min.
t m –  min.
t m –  min.
t m -  min.
Remote on Duration 

In FIG A, images  and , you can see Here are the steps to configure Remote
the Delayed and Quick-response modes as on duration using the Setup menu (see
the last two entries on the list. These are FIG B):
the Information edit menus for the Release . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
modes. Delayed remote fires -seconds Setup menu.
after you press the ML-L infrared . Select Remote on duration, and then
remote’s button (FIG A, image ). scroll to the right.
Quick-response remote fires instantly upon . Select the time-out delay period from 
pressing the button on your infrared to  minutes.
remote (FIG A, image ). . Press the OK button.
See the section “Release mode”
in the chapter titled Shooting and Recommendation: At first, I was leav-
Information Edit Menus for how to ing the Remote on duration delay time set
select these modes. The Remote on duration to  min. However, recently I have been
setting affects how long these two Release leaving it on  min. I wish there was a
modes stay active before switching back -minute setting because  minute is not
to Single or Continuous mode. It will auto- quite enough time in some instances,
matically switch back to whatever mode especially where there is a large group
you had selected previously. involved.

FIG A – Information edit menu’s Remote on duration

FIG B – Setup menu’s Remote on duration


 Setup Menu

Beep Recommendation: Other than when


The camera can beep at you when certain using the self-timer, I can’t see a good
events occur. You’ll find an upcoming list reason to leave Beep on, especially when
with several things that cause the camera I am trying to photograph things like
to beep. noise-sensitive wildlife. I don’t like beep-
I don’t particularly like the beep ing cameras. If you like the beep, don’t
because it usually draws attention to me let me influence you. The D is ready
taking a picture when I’d rather it didn’t. to serve both your personality and mine
However, you may like it because it offers without complaint.
an audible assurance that autofocus or
other events were successful. Viewfinder Options
There are several things that will make There are two Viewfinder options available
your D beep: for this Setup menu choice:
t Successful autofocus t Viewfinder grid
t The self-timer and delayed remote in t Rangefinder
action
t The Quick-response remote mode tak- Let’s consider each one:
ing a picture Viewfinder grid – Back a few years ago,
the mm film Nikon D (F) was
Here are the Setup menu steps used to released with a viewfinder grid display

6 enable or disable Beep (see FIG ):


. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
and I was hooked. Through the years, as I
bought more professional cameras, I was
Setup menu. sometimes chagrined to find that they
. Select Beep, and then scroll to the didn’t have the “on-demand” gridlines
right. that I had grown to love. With the D,
. Select either On or Off from the menu. you have the viewfinder gridlines!
. Press the OK button.

FIG  – Setup menu’s Beep On or Off


Viewfinder Options 

FIG A – Viewfinder options - Viewfinder grid display

FIG B – Viewfinder options – Rangefinder

I use these gridlines to avoid tilted Recommendation: I dearly love these


horizons. If you turn Viewfinder grid on, gridlines! They help me keep horizons
I doubt you’ll turn it back off. The nice level and pay attention to the overall level
thing is that you can turn it on and off at
will.
of my images. I use them to line up with
edges when I shoot buildings, trees, or
6
Here are the Setup menu steps used to other tall objects. I also use them when
configure Viewfinder grid (see FIG A): I’m concerned about using the rule of
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the thirds in an image—where you place your
Setup menu. subject at a / viewfinder junction point
. Select Viewfinder options from the for better composition. They’re a very
menu, and then scroll to the right. useful feature in the D. Try them
. Select Viewfinder grid from the menu, yourself and see if you agree.
and then scroll to the right. Rangefinder – This is an unusual little
. Select On or Off from the menu. function that helps those who want to
. Press the OK button. manually focus their lenses. Here are the
Setup menu steps to select the function
(see FIG B:
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
Setup menu.
. Select Viewfinder options, and then
scroll to the right.
 Setup Menu

. Select Rangefinder, and then scroll to and comes on when your subject is in
the right. focus. In addition, with Custom setting a
. Select On or Off from the list. set to On, you will have a sliding scale in
. Press the OK button. the lower middle portion of the viewfind-
er. It looks a little like the +/- exposure
What is this function designed to do? indicator when you are using M or Manual
Provide you with an old-fashioned range- on the Mode dial.
finder in a more modern form. Manual In FIG C I’ve taken the bottom part
focus assist! of a D viewfinder and made a close-
Most AF lenses have an A/M switch (or up of the focus indicator area with each of
M/A - A) on the side. If you leave it in A – its six indications.
autofocus mode (or M/A), the lens works Has Good Focus (FIG C, image ) –
like a normal autofocus lens. However, if You’ll see double lines just below the  in
you switch it to M – manual focus mode, the middle of the viewfinder. This signi-
the autofocus motor disengages and you fies that the image is in focus. You’ll also
can manually focus the lens—if you can see the round green good focus indicator
find the focus ring on today’s lenses. on the lower-left corner light up. This
What the function does is provide an is the one you want to see before taking
additional autofocus indicator so that you the picture. If you don’t want to memo-
can see if the lens is in focus, and if not, rize what all the patterns mean, at least

6 just how far out of focus it is. You may


have noticed the little round green indi-
memorize this one. Make sure you have
the double lines below the  and the little
cator on the lower left of your camera’s green light (see red arrows) and your
viewfinder. It is a “good focus” indicator images should be in focus.

FIG C – Viewfinder view of the Rangefinder


File Number Sequence 

Focus Point Slightly Behind Subject it does nothing until you put the lens into
(FIG C, image ) – You’ll see three lines M – manual focus mode. I tried this out
and a right-pointing arrow to the right of with an old manual focus Series-E Nikkor
the . The D is focused just behind mm f/. lens and the green good
the subject. The round green good focus focus indicator worked when I found the
indicator on the lower-left corner will be proper focus manually, but the Rangefinder
flickering or off. didn’t. The D was very unhappy with
Focus Point Slightly in Front of the old “non-CPU” lens mounted on the
Subject (FIG C, image ) – You’ll see camera and kept a showing an F-- error in
three lines and a left-pointing arrow to the viewfinder, even when I had the lens
the left of the . The D is focused just stopped down to its smallest aperture.
in front of the subject. The round green It seems clear that Nikon doesn’t want
good focus indicator on the lower-left us using old manual focus lenses on the
corner will be flickering or off. D. However, we can switch our auto-
Focus Point Well Behind Subject (FIG focus lenses to manual focus mode and
C, image ) – You’ll see six lines and a focus manually all we’d like.
right-pointing arrow to the right of the
. The D is focused way behind the File Number Sequence
subject. The round green good focus indica- This setting allows your camera to keep
tor on the lower-left corner will be off too. count of the image numbers in a run-
Focus Point Well in Front of Subject
(FIG C, image ) – You’ll see six lines and
ning sequence from  to . After
, it rolls back over to . Or, you
6
a left-pointing arrow to the left of the . can cause it to reset the image number
The D is focused way in front of the to  when you format or insert a new
subject. The round green good focus indica- memory card. Here are the three settings
tor on the lower-left corner will also be off. —On, Off, and Reset— and an explanation
Camera Cannot Autofocus on the of how they work:
Subject (FIG C, image ) – You’ll see t On – Image file numbers start at 
six lines and an arrow to the left and and continue running in a series until
right, with no . The subject contrast is you exceed , at which time the im-
not sufficient for the autofocus system to age numbers roll over to  again.
find the subject and focus on it. The round If you exceed  images during a
green good focus indicator on the lower- shoot, the D will create a brand-
left corner will be off. new folder on the same memory card
Recommendation: I sometimes like and start numbering the new images
to manually focus the lens, such as when in order starting from  in the new
I’m shooting a close-up macro shot. I leave folder.
Rangefinder set to On all the time because
 Setup Menu

FIG  - File number sequence

t Off – Whenever you format or insert Special Note on Image Numbering


a new memory card, the number se-
On page  of the D Reference
quence starts over at . If you ex-
manual (CD) you will find a description
ceed  images in a single folder, the
of an unusual situation that few of us will
D creates a new folder and starts ever see. Each time you exceed  images
counting images at  again. on a memory card, the D will create
t Reset – This works in a similar way to a new folder. If you ever exceed  fold-
the On setting. However, it is not a true ers, with  images in each, on a memory

6 running total to  solution since


the image number is dependent on the
card—what a large card that would have
to be—and your current folder ()
has  images, or an image is numbered
folder in use. The D simply takes
, your D will stop responding to
the last number it finds in the current Shutter release button presses. If this situ-
folder and adds  to it, up to . If you ation occurs, set File number sequence to
switch to an empty folder, the number- Reset, and format or insert a new memory
ing starts over at . card. What I think Nikon means by this
strange-sounding warning is clearly that
you should never let a folder number go
Here are the Setup menu steps used to
as high as  and then shoot over 
configure File number sequence (see
images, or let the D’s running total
FIG ): of images exceed  while writing to a
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the folder numbered . Basically, just keep
Setup menu. your folder numbers less than  if you
. Select File number sequence, and then are going to shoot more than  images
scroll to the right. that day or your number sequence is about
. Select On, Off, or Reset from the menu. to exceed . You may have to read this
paragraph  times to fully understand
. Press the OK button.
this warning. I did!
Buttons 

Buttons The Self-timer/Fn button is located just


There are two buttons on the D that in front of the D label on the front
have easy programmability. That means of the camera (see chapter , FIG A,
you can change what they do. The buttons number  for location). Here are the
I am speaking of are the Self-timer/Fn but- steps used to configure the Self-timer/
ton and the AE-L/AF-L button. Fn button (see FIG A). We’ll refer to
We’ll examine how to program these it simply as the Fn button for the rest of
two buttons and the many choices you this section:
have for their functionality. First, let’s . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
look at the Fn button and all the things you Setup menu.
can assign to it: . Select Buttons, and then scroll to the
Fn button – The Fn button—also known right.
as the Func., Function, or FN button in much . Select FN button from the menu, and
Nikon literature—is a multipurpose then scroll to the right.
programmable button for your use. There . Select one of the seven choices from
are seven specific functions from which the menu (only six are showing in FIG
you can select. The Fn button will then A, image ).
assume the particular function you’ve . Press the OK button.
chosen until you decide to change it. It’s
a shortcut to your favorite camera adjust- Here is the list of the seven Fn button
ments and may save you time by not
having to scroll through several screens
selections and how to use them:
t Self-timer – Press the Fn button to toggle
6
to set a frequently used function from the the Self-timer on and off. Whatever
seven available. value you have set in Setup menu > Self-
timer delay will be the amount of time

FIG A – Programming the Fn button


 Setup Menu

delay used by the self-timer. When you image quality and size settings. The la-
press the Fn button, you’ll see the Re- bel at the top of the Information screen
lease mode field of the Information screen will say Image quality/size.
toggle between whatever mode you t ISO sensitivity – Press and hold the Fn
started with and the self-timer, plus button while rotating the Command dial.
the label at the top of the Information Each click-turn of the dial will present
screen will say Self-timer shooting. Use you with different ISO sensitivities
this function for a really fast way to set from ISO  to ISO Hi  (). You’ll
the self-timer if you use it often. see the ISO value changing in the In-
t Release mode – Press and hold the Fn formation screen’s ISO field. The normal
button while rotating the Command range of ISO sensitivity is  to .
dial. You’ll see the Release modes scroll Be careful of ISO sensitivities above
by on the top right of the Information ISO  since extra noise may make
screen. You can select any of them, in- your images look grainy. See the sec-
cluding Single, Continuous, Self-timer, tion “ISO Sensitivity Settings” in the
Delayed, and Quick-response remote. chapter titled Shooting and Informa-
See the section “Release Mode” in tion Edit Menus for details. The label
the chapter titled Shooting and In- at the top of the Information screen will
formation Edit Menus for details on say ISO sensitivity.
each of these Release modes. The label t White balance – Press and hold the Fn

6 at the top of the Information screen will


say Release mode.
button while rotating the Command dial.
Each click-turn of the dial will present
t Image quality/size – Press and hold the you with a different White balance sym-
Fn button while rotating the Command bol. You’ll see the value changing in the
dial. Each click-turn of the dial will Information screen’s WB field. You’ll need
present you with different image qual- to familiarize yourself with each of the
ity and size settings on the Informa- symbols shown in the White balance
tion screen. You can scroll through all screen. See the section “Setting White
the image qualities, like (JPEG) FINE, Balance with the Information Edit
NORM, BASIC, RAW, and RAW+B, and each Screens” in the chapter titled White
of the Large, Medium and Small image Balance for details on each WB icon’s
size settings. See the sections “Image meaning. The label at the top of the In-
Quality” and “Image Size” in the chap- formation screen will say White balance.
ter titled Shooting and Information Remember, each of these WB symbols
Edit Menus for details on each of these represents a preset color temperature
Buttons 

(image tint), with the final one called Recommendation: Personally, I assign
PRE containing the last ambient light the Release mode function in Buttons >
WB reading you’ve made with a white Fn button. To me, this is a shortcut way
or gray card. to quickly change between Single and
t Active D-Lighting – Press and hold the Continuous Release modes when I have
Fn button while rotating the Command to switch between a static or moving
dial. Each click-turn of the dial will subject. ISO sensitivity is another function
toggle ADL ON or ADL OFF. Active D- that I find useful, and you may too if you
Lighting (ADL) will lower the image like to control the camera’s ISO values.
contrast, so that more detail is found Set your camera to each of these Fn button
in darker areas, and protect the image’s assignments, use them, and see which
highlights too. Be careful to not un- you prefer. Once again, Nikon has given
derexpose images with ADL turned on us a flexible choice!
since extra noise may make the darker AE-L/AF-L – This is another somewhat
areas of your images look grainy. See programmable button on your D,
the section “Active D-Lighting” in the with the exception that the available
chapter titled Shooting and Informa- functions all have something to do with
tion Edit Menus for details. The label either exposure or autofocus. The AE-L/
at the top of the Information screen will AF-L button is just to the right of the
say Active D-Lighting. viewfinder’s eyepiece on the D
t Set Framing Grid – Press and hold the Fn
button while rotating the Command dial.
(see chapter , FIG B, number  for
location).
6
Each click-turn of the dial will toggle
the viewfinder grid lines on and off. See
the description of the function View-
finder grid in the section “Viewfinder
Options” earlier in this chapter for de-
tails. When you use the Fn button/Com-
mand dial pair to change the value, you
won’t see anything on the Information
screen. Instead, you’ll need to have your
camera up to your eye and be looking
through the viewfinder in order to see
the grid lines come and go.
 Setup Menu

Here are the steps used to program the t AF lock only – When set, this function
AE-L/AF-L button (see FIG B): locks the AF system (focus) on the last
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the autofocus reading while you hold down
Setup menu. the AE-L/AF-L button.
. Select Buttons, and then scroll to the t AE lock (hold) – This allows you to lock
right. AE (exposure) on the last meter read-
. Select AE-L/AF-L from the menu, and ing when you press the AE-L/AF-L button
then scroll to the right. once. To release the lock hold, press it
. Select one of the five choices from the again. If the meter goes off, it will also
menu. release the lock hold on the exposure.
. Press the OK button. t AF-ON – Some people don’t want to use
the Shutter release button for autofocus.
Here is a list of the functions you can They’d rather the Shutter release button
select and what each does. Whichever of only release the shutter. This function
these you select will be assigned to the is for those individuals. You can sepa-
AE-L/AF-L button until you change it to rate the autofocus and shutter release
something else: by assigning autofocus to the AE-L/AF-L
t AE/AF lock – Enabling this function button. Once this is set, the AE-L/AF-L
causes AE (exposure) and AF (focus) to button must be pressed to make the
lock on the last meter and autofocus camera autofocus. The Shutter release

6 system reading while the AE-L/AF-L but-


ton is held down.
button will only release the shutter. Ei-
ther one of the buttons will cause the
t AE lock only – This allows you to lock meter to become active.
AE (exposure) on the last meter read-
ing when you hold down the AE-L/AF-L
button.

FIG B – Assigning the AE-L/AF-L button


Buttons 

Recommendation: Personally, I Here’s how this alternate form of AE


choose the AE lock only selection. I want lock works and why you might want to
to be able to lock my exposure but leave use it:
AF (autofocus) active so that I can meter AE lock – This function works the same
from one area of the subject and then way AE lock only works. The only difference
recompose for the picture. Of course, you is that you use the Shutter release button to
may be interested in one of the other four cause auto exposure lock instead of the
functions. Play with this a bit—using this AE-L/AF-L button. This stand-alone AE lock
book—until you feel comfortable with function allows you to lock AE (exposure)
this setting. If you will do that, you’ll be on the last meter reading when you hold
rewarded with a camera that works the down the Shutter release button halfway.
way you want it to work. Recommendation: I normally prefer
Now, let’s consider an alternate way to to use the AE lock only function assigned
use the AE lock function. Instead of using to the AE-L/AF-L button instead of AE lock
the AE-L/AF-L button, you can choose to let assigned to the Shutter release button. That
the Shutter release button lock the expo- way I don’t have to remember to change
sure instead. Here are the screens and the Shutter release button back to normal
steps (see FIG C): exposure afterward. I leave my camera’s
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the AE-L/AF-L button set to AE lock only all
Setup menu. the time. Then, when I want to lock the
. Select Buttons, and then scroll to the
right.
exposure, I can simply press the AE-L/AF-L
button. When would it be good to assign
6
. Select AE lock from the menu, and then AE lock to the Shutter release button? Well,
scroll to the right. if you have AF-ON assigned to the AE-L/
. Select On or Off from the menu. AF-L button, you would have no way to use
. Press the OK button. that button for AE lock at all. So in that
case, you might want to assign AE lock to
the Shutter release button instead.

FIG C – AE lock with the Shutter release button


 Setup Menu

No Memory Card? Here are the two selections in No


This setting defaults to locking the shut- memory card? and how they work:
ter when you try to take an image without LOCK – Release locked – This default
a memory card inserted in the camera. setting causes your camera to refuse
When it’s enabled you can take pictures to release the shutter when there is no
without a memory card, but you can’t memory card present.
save them anywhere. OK – Enable release – Use this setting
Why did Nikon give you a way to if you want to use the optional Nikon
take pictures without saving them to a Camera Control Pro  software to send
memory card? Well, you can control your images from the camera directly to the
camera in a studio environment with an computer.
optional software package called Nikon Recommendation: There’s no point
Camera Control Pro  while hooked up in setting anything but Released locked
to your computer via a USB cable. This unless you are using Nikon Camera
software will send each picture you take Control Pro  software to control the
directly to your computer. It’s not includ- camera. In that case, the camera feeds
ed with the D. pictures to your computer, not a memory
Here are the steps used to configure No card. With it enabled, you can shoot
memory card? (see FIG ): pictures but can’t save them. What’s the
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the point in that?

6 Setup menu.
. Select No memory card? from the menu,
and then scroll to the right.
. Select Release locked or Enable release
from the menu. (If you don’t have the
Camera Control Pro software, choose
Release locked.)
. Press the OK button.

FIG  – No memory card?


Date Imprint 

Date Imprint they’ve changed since the first picture 


Remember how we could set our cameras years,  months, and  days earlier, so I
to imprint a little red date in the lower- put the two images side by side. Since they
right corner of our prints? Well, the are young and haven’t changed much, the
D does that, in a big way. Not only newest image needs a date counter. Here
can you put a date visibly on your images, are the formats the counter will imprint on
you can also imprint date and time or the the second picture for this scenario:
number of days between the date the im-
age was taken and another chosen date. May ,  to July , 
There are four menu choices and three t Number of days: /..
formats you can insert on your images— (days/date)
permanently—in bright red. t Years and days: ./..
(years.days/date)
Date Imprint Format Chart: t Years, months, and days:
t Off – Nothing imprinted on the image ../..
t Date – looks like .. (years.months.days/date)
t Date and time – looks like ..
: Now, I must admit, this is truly an
t Date counter – has several formats: unusual functionality to me, and I’ve
– Number of days/date: been taking pictures since I was a kid
/..
– Years and days/date:
back in the late sixties. However, some
segment of society must need this exact
6
./.. functionality, and now has it. Maybe
– Years, months, and days: police forensics departments or private
../.. detectives really need this capability,
since the formats recorded are perma-
I understood the date/time setting nently added to the image. The “selected
well enough but had trouble understand- date” for comparison to the shooting date
ing why there’s a date counter. Finally, can be a past or future date.
I started to see a reason for recording The date format I presented is based on
the number of years, months, and days the American MM/DD/YYYY. However,
between the date an image was taken and the camera allows you to adjust the date
another chosen date. readout to your favorite format under the
An example might be a graduation Setup menu’s > Time Zone and Date func-
party. Let’s say my daughter graduated tion. Whatever format you choose under
high school on May , , and I took a the Time Zone and Date will be shown in
picture of her with some friends. Several the date section of the date imprint.
years later, on July , , I take a FIG A shows the menu screens to get
reunion picture of her and the same friends. to the Date imprint system. In FIG B are
Of course, they all want to see how much the screens used to choose a Date imprint
 Setup Menu

format along with a comparison date. . Select Date imprint from the menu, and
Selecting Date or Date and time is a simple then scroll to the right.
process, while configuring Date counter is . Choose one of the four options (Off,
a bit more complex. Date, Date and time, or Date Counter).
Let’s look at the steps to set up all three The first three are simple. If you choose
of the choices (see FIGs A and B): Off, Date, or Date and time, just press the
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the OK button and skip steps  through .
Setup menu. However, if you choose Date counter,

FIG A – Date imprint

FIG B – Choosing the comparison date


Date Imprint 

you’ll have to choose a comparison . Press the OK button on the date you just
date and a final display format. The modified, and the camera will return
next step starts that process. to the Date counter screen. You need to
. You’ve chosen Date counter, so scroll to select a Display options setting next.
the right to set the date and format. . Scroll down to the Display options line
. On the Date counter screen you’ll need and then scroll to the right (see FIG
to choose the comparison date first. C, image ).
Scroll down to Choose date, and then .You’ll now see the Display options screen.
scroll to the right (see FIG B, Choose one of the three formats (see
image ). FIG C, image ). Your choices are
. You’ll find a list that contains either a Number of days, Years and days, and Years,
previously entered date or just a line of months, and days. Choose one and then
dashes (see FIG B, image ). Choose press the OK button.
one of the date positions and scroll .At the bottom of the Date counter
to the right to change or set the date. screen, you’ll see the chosen comparison
(If an acceptable date is already there date, and below that the format that
from doing this previously, just choose will be written on the image (see FIG
it and press the OK button). C, image , bottom half of screen).
. You’ll now see the Set date screen for The format shows after the  icon
the date position you chose on the pre- and looks like one of the formats in the
vious screen (images  to ). Modify
this date so that it matches the date
Date Imprint Format Chart present-
ed previously.
6
you want to compare with your shoot-
ing date (see FIG B, image ). It can I realize that this is a somewhat
be a past or future date. Press the OK complex-looking function. However,
button, and the camera will return to if you will study how the Date counter
the Choose date screen. formats work, and use it regularly, it will
become easy to understand.

FIG C – Choosing a display option (format)


 Setup Menu

Recommendation: I normally don’t So a folder named D that gets


use this functionality myself since I to  images will cause the camera to
don’t want bright red characters writ- automatically create a new folder named
ten permanently on my images. The EXIF D. Interestingly, the D treats
data inside the digital image contains any new folders it creates as an extension of
dates and times in case I need to know the first folder. This allows you to continue
that information. However, you may shooting a certain style of images and
love having a date imprinted on your have them stay in the correct folder. If
images—a lot of people do. Or, you might you create and select a new folder, the
have a scientific, forensic, or surveillance D will do the same with it. Even
purpose for some of these functions. They though there may be more than one fold-
work easily and well. Nikon gives us a lot er in the series, the camera treats them
of choices with this little camera. like they are one big folder.
This is a good way to isolate certain
Active Folder types of images on a long photographic
The camera creates a folder on your outing. Maybe you’ll put landscapes in a
memory card with a name of D. folder called LAND and people shots in
This folder can contain up to  imag- PPL . The D will then create fold-
es. If you feel that you might shoot more ers called LAND and PPL_.
than  images on the current memory Notice how the people folder has an

6 card, you might want to create a new


folder, such as DRY (my initials plus
underscore between the L and ? If you
do not use all five characters, leaving a
) or FLDR. Whatever name you can space, the camera will add an underscore
think up that uses only five of the char- to the blank character location. If you
acters available in the naming screen exceed  images in any of the folders,
will work. Folder names are limited to it will create the next one automatically
five characters within the camera but (LAND and PPL_).
show up as eight-digit names on the SD To you, using the camera, the folders’
memory card. numbers won’t seem to change, since
If you examine the contents of the you’ll only see the last five characters.
memory card in your computer, you’ll The camera will not tell you that you’ve
notice that the folder names are preceded exceeded  images and that new imag-
by a three-digit number. So your folder es are going into a new folder. To you it
D will look like this: D. If will just seem as if there is one folder. The
your folder ever contains  images, the camera uses the numbers it adds to the
camera will create a new folder with the beginning of the folder name to track the
same name, except it will increment the series of extra folders it creates when you
digits it added to the front of the name. exceed  images in each folder.
Active Folder 

Select folder: Let’s see the steps to All images will now be saved to the
select an existing folder (see FIG A). latest folder selected until you change it
. Press the Menu button and select Setup to another. You can tell at a glance which
menu. folder is active by looking at the Setup
. Choose Active folder, and then scroll menu’s > Active folder line. To the right of
right. the words Active folder, you’ll see the five-
. Choose Select Folder, and then scroll character name of the current folder (See
right. FIG A, image , D). Notice how you
. You’ll see the available folders dis- don’t see the extra three numeric charac-
played in a list that looks like this: ters in the folder name—you see D
– D instead of D. The camera keeps
– AAAA track of the numeric progression of fold-
– LAND ers that exceed  images and considers
– PPL_ all folders with the last five digits match-
ing as a single big folder, even though
(You may only have one folder named there might actually be several camera-
D. I created the ones shown in FIG created folders in the series.
A as examples—other than the one New: Now let’s consider how we might
named D. If you have more than one, create new folder names.
choose one of them to make it active. The As shown in FIG B, to create a new
currently active one will be at the top of
the list.)
folder, do the following:
. Press the Menu button and select Setup
6
. Press the OK button. menu.
. Select Active folder, then scroll to the
right.

FIG A – Selecting an active folder

FIG B – Creating a new folder


 Setup Menu

. Now scroll down and select New, then you can delete it with the garbage can
scroll to the right. You’ll see a screen Delete button. The name limit is five
that allows you to create a new folder characters. (See chapter , FIG B for
name. To insert a new character, posi- control locations.)
tion the yellow cursor in the character . Press the OK button when you’ve com-
list above, using the Multi Selector, and pleted the new name. I named mine
then press the Playback zoom in but- NEW.
ton to add the character to the name.
Whatever character is under the yellow Once you have created a new folder,
cursor will appear on the name line be- it will automatically become the current
low, at the position of the gray cursor. folder.
If a character is already under the gray Rename: If you decide to change the
cursor, it will be pushed to the right. name of a particular folder, you can do it
If it’s at the end of the line and you try by following these steps (see FIG C):
to overwrite it, the new character will . Press the Menu button and select Setup
replace the old. Use the Command dial menu.
to scroll back and forth within the old . Select Active folder, then scroll to the
name. When you have the small gray right.
cursor positioned over a character,

FIG C – Renaming an existing folder


Active Folder 

. Scroll down and select Rename, then five digits matching, it will rename all of
scroll to the right. them to the new name you created in the
. Select a folder name to modify, and preceding steps except for the leading
then scroll right. three numbers, which will maintain the
. Use the Command dial to scroll back sequence. Remember, the D consid-
and forth within the existing name. ers these camera-created folders as one
When you have the small gray cursor folder.
positioned over an existing character, If you try to give an existing folder a
you can delete it with the garbage can name that already exists, the D will
Delete button. To insert a new charac- flash up a warning when you press the
ter, highlight it with the yellow cursor OK button to save the name. The warning
in the character list above and press will inform you, Folder with selected name
the Playback zoom in button. Whatever already exists. Choose another name.
character is under the yellow cursor Delete: Now, let see how to delete all
will appear on the name line below, empty folders from the SD card.
at the position of the gray cursor. If Use the following steps to delete the
a character is already under the gray empty folders (see FIG D):
cursor, it will be pushed to the right. . Press the Menu button and select Setup
If it’s at the end of the line and you try menu.
to overwrite it, the new character will . Select Active folder, then scroll to the
replace the old. Please limit the name
to a maximum of five characters. I re-
right.
. Scroll down and select Delete, then
6
named NEW to OLD. (See chapter scroll to the right.
, FIG B for control locations.) . You’ll be presented with the Delete
. Press the OK button when you’ve com- screen asking you, Empty folders will be
pleted the new name. deleted. OK?
. Scroll up to Yes and press the
If you rename a folder, the camera OK button.
will look at your memory card and see if . You’ll see a message flash up briefly
there are any other folders in the series— saying Folder(s) deleted.
e.g., D, D, D,
etc. If it finds other folders with the last

FIG D – Deleting an existing folder


 Setup Menu

Remember, when you do a delete oper- When a firmware update becomes


ation, it will remove all folders with noth- available and you install it, this is the
ing in them. Be careful not to use this screen you’ll use to validate that the firm-
function if you have a series of folders ware update was successful.
you use regularly and want them to stay Firmware Updates – If you want
in place. There is no way that I’ve found to to check for a firmware update on any
delete just one folder. It’s all the “empty” Nikon digital camera, you can go to this
folders or none. If there are no empty web page on the NikonTech website. It
folders, nothing happens. lists virtually all the camera firmware
updates that are available from Nikon—
Firmware Version you’ll need to look for the DSLR link, or
This is a simple informational screen just scroll down the web page until you
that informs you of which version of the find the D section. If there is no
Nikon D’s internal software (firm- new firmware yet, you’ll see No firmware
ware) your camera is running. The firm- updates available.
ware was included with my D from http://support.nikontech.com/app/
the factory because a firmware update answers/detail/a_id/
was not yet available at the time this book If by the time this book is published
was published. The two screens to see the that Internet address has changed, you
firmware version are shown in FIG . can always go to the Nikon website in

6 Follow these steps to see your camera’s


firmware version:
your part of the globe and start a search
under technical support for “firmware
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the updates”.
Setup Menu.
. Select Firmware version, and then scroll
to the right.
. View the Firmware version screen. My
camera currently has firmware version
. in both A and B positions.

FIG  – Firmware version selection screens


My Conclusions 

My Conclusions
Now that you have your D fully set
up, you’re ready to take a large number of
premium images.
The next chapter is about the Retouch
menu and the last menu in the D—
Recent Settings. The Retouch menu is
designed to help you adjust images you’ve
already taken, in-camera, without having
to resort to using your computer. The
Recent Settings menu displays items you’ve
changed recently.
The Retouch menu lets you work on
images you have taken while they are still
on the memory card. You can shoot RAW
images and convert them to JPEGs or do
other operations that normally would
be done in a computer. The Retouch menu
was designed for those who don’t like
to use computers or just want to make a
quick adjustment to an image or two. Any
adjustments made are not destructive
6
to the original image since the camera
creates a brand-new image with the
adjustments. Let’s go find out how to use
the D’s built-in image adjustment
functions.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

7
Section  –Retouch Menu 

Many people would like to take pictures


Section 1 –
without using a computer to finish them.
Retouch Menu
Some may not mind using the computer,
but may want to be able to give pictures
to friends by swapping memory cards. With the Retouch menu, you can adjust
The D, with its chameleon-like user images you’ve already taken and that are
interface, is designed to allow you to ad- still on your camera’s memory card, in
just your pictures while they are still in various ways. FIG  shows the Retouch
the camera. The Retouch menu gives you menu.
tools to control the look of your pictures There are two ways to access the
without post-processing them with a Retouch menu:
computer. t Press the Menu button and select the
You can adjust image contrast, add fourth menu down from the top, the
filter effects, change the color balance, and Retouch menu.
reduce the size of or crop a picture. You t Use the Playback button to review an im-
can convert pictures to black and white, age, and then press the OK button while
do color outlines, overlay two pictures, the image is showing on the LCD screen.
and even convert a RAW image into a
JPEG. The cool thing is that you do all this Either method will allow you to get to
in the camera, not on the computer. the tools you can use to modify an exist-
This chapter covers the last two menu ing image in various ways. Let’s start at
systems in the Nikon D: the Retouch the top of the Retouch menu and exam-
menu and the Recent Settings menu. There ine each item on it. We’ll primarily use
are two sections: the Menu button access method for the
Section  – The Retouch menu consists
of  in-camera image adjustments
that allow you to do things to the image
discussion of the settings in this chapter,
although we will consider the Playback
button/OK method for one function called
7
that normally would be done in a graph-
ics program on your computer. If you
don’t particularly like using a computer
and you’re not very good with graphics
programs but you still want to shoot RAW
images, the Retouch menu will be of great
help to you.
Section  – Recent Settings is a list of
the  menu items you’ve changed most
recently from the Playback, Shooting, and
Setup menus. If you’ve made a recent
camera adjustment, it will appear here. FIG  – Retouch menu
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Before and after. Just remember that you dark areas. If you are shooting on a bright
can also adjust an image by pressing the sunny day, the light values between light
Playback button and then the OK button and dark may be twice what the sensor
for Retouch menu operations. The access can record. If you have exposed for the
methods work pretty much the same, highlights, you can recover detail in some
so you should experiment to see which of the darker shadow areas. In a sense,
method you prefer. D-Lighting is a quick form of high dynamic
range (HDR) imaging. It has a similar
D-Lighting effect although not as pronounced, with
D-Lighting allows you to reduce the shad- the addition of more noise in the image
ows and even reign in the highlights a bit. than with real HDR imaging.
You’ll see the effect immediately upon If you like the effects D-Lighting brings
using it. If an image is a little dark or the to an image, you can save the image and
shadows are too dense, you can bring out the D will create a copy of it on the
detail with D-Lighting. This function is not memory card. Your original is safe.
the same as Active D-Lighting, which is ap- The steps to D-Light an image are as
plied at the time an image is made (see follows (see FIG ):
the section “Active D-Lighting” in the . Press the Menu button and select the
chapter titled Guide Menu – Advanced Retouch menu.
Use). D-Lighting is an after-the-fact appli- . Select D-Lighting and then scroll right.
cation of similar technology. . Select the image you want to modify
D-Lighting doesn’t just brighten or with the Multi Selector and then click
darken an image. It lowers the overall the OK button.
image contrast, which will help some . Choose the amount of D-Lighting you

7 images but may not benefit others. It is


primarily used to bring out detail from
slightly underexposed images or from
want for the selected image using the
Multi Selector to scroll up or down.
You’ll choose from Low, Normal, or High.
images in which the contrast is too high (High was selected in FIG , image .)
for the dynamic range between light and

FIG  – High selected for D-Lighting


Red-Eye Correction 

where D-Lighting is applied. It is a quite


powerful functionality. One of the only
drawbacks of using D-Lighting is that
it adds noise to the darker areas of the
image as darker detail is lightened.

Note: If you see a tiny yellow box with


an x in it on the center of a picture in
the image selection screen, that simply
means you can’t use the D-Lighting func-
FIG A – Retouched image symbol
tion on that particular image. It has been
. When the image on the right looks the adjusted in-camera already and is most
way you want it to look, press the OK likely a modified copy of a previous image.
button to save the new file under a new
file number. The D will display a Red-Eye Correction
brief message that says Image saved Red-eye correction is a convenient way to
and then switch to displaying the new remove those aggravating red pupils that
file in full-screen playback mode. The sometimes occur in a flash picture. The
new file will include an icon that looks camera will locate the red pupils and color
like a little paintbrush in a rectangle them black. It’s quite effective!
(see FIG A, red arrow). This signifies If you used flash to create the picture,
that this image is a duplicate with ad- the Red-eye correction function will work
justments. The original is untouched! only if it can detect red-eye. Sometimes, if
the person’s face is too small in the image,
D-Lighting always lowers the image
contrast (opens shadows). As I mentioned
earlier, you can’t use it to simply brighten
the D cannot find the red-eye, even
though you can see that it’s there. If it
can’t detect red-eye in the image, it will
7
or darken an image because it will always not open the red-eye system but will,
lower the contrast too. However, this instead, briefly display a screen informing
gives you a nice level of control in adjust- you that the camera was Unable to detect
ing the contrast of an image in-camera. red-eye in selected image.
If you choose to experiment more If flash was not used, the D will
deeply with D-Lighting, why not buy a put a tiny yellow x in a box in the center
copy of Nikon Capture NX and use its of the thumbnail, meaning that you
D-Lighting function in your computer. cannot select it. If you still try to select it,
You’ll have a larger screen to work with the D will tersely inform you, Cannot
and much more control over how and select this file.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG  – Red-eye correction screens

The steps to execute the Red-eye correc- Trim


tion function on an image are as follows: The Trim function allows you to crop an
. Press the Menu button and select the image in-camera and/or change the as-
Retouch menu. pect ratio of the trimmed section and
. Select Red-eye correction and then scroll then save the file as a new image.
right (see FIG , image ). Your original image is not modified.
. Use the Multi Selector to select the im- “Trim” is merely another word for crop-
age you want to modify (see FIG , ping the image.
image ). You can’t select images that You can trim up to six crop levels deep,
have a little yellow x on them since the smallest of which crops a x-
they were taken without flash. pixel section out of the ,x,-
. Press the OK button and the Red-eye cor- pixel image (in the : aspect ratio). You
rection routines will execute. You’ll see can crop a section from anywhere in the
an hourglass on your screen for several image by moving the yellow trim frame
seconds. around with the Multi Selector. Here are

7 . After Red-eye correction is done, you can


zoom in on the image and see how well
it worked (see FIG , image ).
the six crop-levels for a D default :
aspect ratio image:
t x
. Press the OK button to save the file un- t x
der a new file number. t x
t x
I really like this Red-eye correction func- t x
tion! If I’m shooting flash pictures at an t x
event, I’ll invariably get a few images with
red-eye in the series. Since red-eye can Also, here are the aspect ratios you can
make a person look angry or evil, I tend select:
to want to remove it. This function makes t :
it easy. t :
t :
t : (square)
t : (fits an HD screen)
Trim 

FIG  – Trim screens

These aspect ratios are controlled by a : ratio with the Command dial. Notice
the Command dial. When you have the how the yellow frame changed in size ac-
image and the yellow crop rectangle cording to the new ratio between the im-
showing, just turn the Command dial. ages. You can increase the crop area with
Here are the steps to trim an image in the Thumbnail/playback zoom out button.
the D: . Once you have the aspect ratio set and
. Press the Menu button and select the the crop correctly sized, press the OK
Retouch menu. button to save the trimmed image un-
. Select the Trim function and then scroll der a new file number. You can see the
right (see FIG , image ).
. Select the image you want to modify and
press the OK button (see FIG , image ).
final cropped file in FIG , image .
Notice the little retouch symbol on the
top left of the image (red arrow).
7
. You’ll be presented with a screen that has
a crop outline shown in yellow. Using the I haven’t found a way to turn the yellow
normal zoom buttons (Thumbnail/play- box upright so that I can make a verti-
back zoom out and Playback zoom in), you cal crop out of the center of a horizontal
can zoom in for a deeper crop or zoom image. However, for a basic horizontal or
out for a lesser crop. Zoom until you find square crop, it does a good job. The clos-
your best crop position. Move the yellow est I can come to a vertical crop is the :
trim frame with the Multi Selector until ratio, which makes a square image.
it is exactly positioned in the image. See Remember that these functions are for
chapter , FIG B for button locations. convenience and quick “in-the-field” use. If
. Select the aspect ratio of the crop by rotat- you are serious about post-processing—or
ing the Command dial. See where the red have many images to modify—it’s much
arrows point in FIG , image  and image easier to accomplish this type of work
. They show that I changed from a : to in-computer with a good graphics package.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Monochrome . Select the image you want to modify


The Monochrome functions in the D with the Multi Selector (see FIG ,
are fun to play with and can make some image ).
interesting images. You can convert . The last three images of FIG  show the
a normal color image into a black and three monochrome types. Each can be
white, or you can create a monochrome made darker or lighter to change the
image with two types of tones: warm (se- saturation of the image tint. Use the
pia) and cool (cyanotype). Multi Selector to change the saturation
You can choose from three different by scrolling up or down.
types of monochrome (see FIG , image , . Press the OK button to save the new
image , and image ): image under a new file number or the
t Black-and-white Playback button to cancel (see FIG ,
t Sepia images , , and ). If you save the im-
t Cyanotype age, you’ll be presented with an image
converted and toned to the tint you se-
Here are the steps to create a mono- lected. You’ll see the retouch symbol in
chrome image from one of your existing the upper-left corner of the new image.
color images on the camera’s memory
card: Recommendation: Use the Retouch
. Press the Menu button and select the menu > Monochrome function to convert
Retouch menu. a color picture to one of three types of
. Select Monochrome and then scroll monochrome. It’s easy and effective.
right (see FIG , image ). However, if you are serious about making
. Select a monochrome tone (Black-and- black-and-white images with the D,

7 white, Sepia, or Cyanotype) and then


scroll to the right (see FIG , image ).
why not use the MC–Monochrome setting
under Shooting menu > Set Picture Control

FIG  – Monochrome selection screens


Filter Effects 

(see the section “Set Picture Control” Skylight – This effect is rather mild and
in the chapter titled Shooting Menu). removes the bluish tint caused by atmo-
MC-Monochrome allows you to shoot spheric diffraction in distant scenes.
initially with various levels of tinting— Basically, by using this you will make the
far exceeding the basic conversion and image slightly less blue. It is rather hard
three tints of the Retouch menu’s version. to see any difference. Here’s how to set
the Skylight effect (see FIG A):
Filter Effects . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
The D allows you to add seven filter Retouch menu.
effects to any previously taken image. You . Select Filter effects and scroll right (see
can intensify the image colors in various FIG A, image ).
ways and add starburst effects to points . Select Skylight and scroll to the right
of light. In addition to changing colors (see FIG A, image ).
and adding starbursts, you can soften an . Choose an image with the Multi Selec-
image for a pleasing “soft-filter” portrait tor and press the OK button (see FIG A,
effect (three levels). image ).
Here is a list of the effects that are . The image appears with the Skylight ef-
available: fect added (see FIG A, image ).
t Skylight . Press the OK button to save the image
t Warm filter under a new filename, or press the
t Red intensifier Playback button to cancel. You’ll see an
t Green intensifier hourglass appear, then the screens
t Blue intensifier shown in FIG A, images  and  in
t Cross screen (starburst filter) quick succession.
t Soft
7

FIG A – The screens for the Skylight effect


 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Warm filter – This effect adds red to the . Choose an image with the Multi Selec-
image to make it appear a little warmer. tor and press the OK button (see FIG B,
In fact, it adds a mild red cast to the image ).
image. Here’s how to set the Warm filter . The image appears with the Warm filter
effect (see FIG B): effect added (see FIG B, image ).
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the . Press the OK button to save the image
Retouch menu. under a new filename, or press the
. Select Filter effects and scroll right (see Playback button to cancel. You’ll see an
FIG B, image ). hourglass appear, then the screens
. Select Warm filter and scroll to the right shown in FIG B, images  and  in
(see FIG B, image ). quick succession.

7 FIG B – The screens for the Warm filter effect

FIG C – The screens for the Red intensifier effect


Filter Effects 

Red intensifier – This effect intensifies . Press the OK button to save the image
the reds in an image and also adds a red under a new filename, or press the
cast. It can be controlled by making an Playback button to cancel. You’ll see an
initial selection and then, when the image hourglass appear, then the screens
is onscreen, increasing or reducing the shown in FIG C, images  and  in
effect by using the Multi Selector to scroll quick succession.
up or down. Even though it doesn’t tell
you, there are three levels of intensity. Green intensifier – This effect intensi-
Scroll up for maximum effect and down fies the greens in an image and also adds a
for minimum effect. Here’s how to set the green cast. It can be controlled by making
Red intensifier effect (see FIG C): an initial selection and then, when the
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the image is onscreen, increasing or reduc-
Retouch menu. ing the effect by using the Multi Selector to
. Select Filter effects and scroll right (see scroll up or down. There are three levels of
FIG C, image ). intensity. Scroll up for maximum effect and
. Select Red intensifier and scroll to the down for minimum effect. Here’s how to
right (see FIG C, image ). set the Green intensifier effect (see FIG D):
. Choose an image with the Multi Selec- . Press the Menu button and scroll to the
tor and press the OK button (see FIG C, Retouch menu.
image ). . Select Filter effects and scroll right (see
. The image appears with the Red intensi- FIG D, image ).
fier effect added. Use the Multi Selector . Select Green intensifier and scroll to the
to scroll up or down to add or subtract right (see FIG D, image ).
color saturation to the red color— . Choose an image with the Multi Selec-
called Darker or Lighter (see FIG C, im-
age ).
tor and press the OK button (see FIG D,
image ). 7

FIG D – The screens for the Green intensifier effect


 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

. The image appears with the Green intensi- . Select Blue intensifier and scroll to the
fier effect added. Use the Multi Selector to right (see FIG E, image ).
scroll up or down to add or subtract col- . Choose an image with the Multi Selec-
or saturation to the green color—called tor and press the OK button (see FIG E,
Darker or Lighter (see FIG D, image ). image ).
. Press the OK button to save the image . The image appears with the Blue intensi-
under a new filename, or press the fier effect added. Use the Multi Selector to
Playback button to cancel. You’ll see an scroll up or down to add or subtract col-
hourglass appear, then the screens or saturation to the blue color—called
shown in FIG D, images  and  in Darker or Lighter (see FIG E, image ).
quick succession. . Press the OK button to save the image
under a new filename, or press the
Blue intensifier - This effect intensifies Playback button to cancel. You’ll see an
the blues in an image and also adds a blue hourglass appear, then the screens
cast. It can be controlled by making an shown in FIG E, images  and  in
initial selection and then, when the image quick succession.
is onscreen, increasing or reducing the
effect by using the Multi Selector to scroll up Cross screen – This effect is designed to
or down. There are three levels of intensity. work like a cross-screen filter and adds
Scroll up for maximum effect and down for a starburst (rays) effect to any points of
minimum effect. Here’s how to set the Blue light (see FIG F). There are four differ-
intensifier effect (see FIG E): ent adjustments to this effect, along with
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the Confirm and Save options. To create the
Retouch menu. starburst rays effect, do the following:

7 . Select Filter effects and scroll right (see


FIG E, image ).
. Press the Menu button and scroll to the
Retouch menu.

FIG E – The screens for the Blue intensifier effect


Filter Effects 

. Select Filter effects and scroll right (see using the two screens shown in FIG
FIG F, image ). G. Scroll to the right on the number
. Select Cross screen and scroll to the (shows a  in FIG G, image ), and
right (see FIG F, image ). you’ll have a choice of , , or  (im-
. Choose an image with the Multi Selec- age ). Choose the number of rays you
tor and press the OK button (see FIG F, want.
image ). Now we’ll switch to FIG G, . Select a Filter amount value with the
which is a continuation of FIG F. two screens in FIG H. This affects the
. Select a Number of points value (, , brightness of the light sources. More
or ) for the Cross screen’s star effect Xxs means brighter lights.

FIG F – The screens for the Cross screen effect

7
FIG G – The Number of points screens for the Cross screen effect

FIG H – The Filter amount screens for the Cross screen effect
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG I – The Filter angle screens for the Cross screen effect

FIG J – The Length of points screens for the Cross screen effect

actual rays yet since you haven’t con-

7 firmed the changes. That happens in


the next step.
. Select Confirm to see the effect. This is
like an update button. You can repeat
the confirm step multiple times, modi-
fying the settings, then confirming
each time, until you have the effect just
FIG K – The Confirm screen for the Cross screen
the way you want it to look. In this ex-
effect ample, I set Filter angle to , and then I
confirmed the effect (FIG K). You can
. Select a value for Filter angle (ray clock- finally see the cumulative effects after
wise rotation) with the two screens in the Confirm selection is made.
FIG I. .Select Save and then press the OK but-
. Select a value for Length of points (lon- ton. The full-sized image appears in
ger rays) with the two screens in FIG normal playback mode (FIG L).
J. You won’t see any effect on the
Filter Effects 

FIG L – The Save and Playback screens for the Cross screen effect

FIG M – The screens for the Soft effect

Soft – If you’ve ever wanted to make Here are the steps to select the Soft
one of those “dreamy” effect shots of a
lovely lady, like they used to do in the
s Star Trek shows, the D has the
filter effect (see FIG M):
. Press the Menu button and select the
Retouch menu.
7
filter for you. . Select Filter effects and scroll right.
The Soft effect filter softens the image . Select Soft and scroll to the right.
and adds a misty effect. If you are doing . Choose an image with the Multi Selector
portraits of an older individual, or some- and press the OK button (see FIG M,
one with skin problems, this filter will image ).
provide a nicer portrait effect. There are . A side-by-side comparison of the image
three levels to the softening effect—Low, then appears with the Normal setting
Normal, and High. FIG M shows all three, applied. Scroll down to set Low and up
but the dreamy, misty look will be easier to set High. See FIG M, images , , and
to see when you have the camera in your , where all three effects are shown.
hand. . Press the OK button to save the image
under a new filename, or press the Play-
back button to cancel.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG N – The Soft effect – Off and High

FIG N shows four larger images that work well for high-contrast subjects. The
hopefully allow you to see the Soft effect level you use will be very much a person-

7 a little better. The Soft effect isn’t applied


to the first image, and the next three
show the effect at Low, Normal, and High
al decision and may vary based on the
subject.

settings. The Soft effect images are not Color Balance


just blurry—there’s a sharper image The Color balance function allows you to
beneath the blurriness. It looks sort change the color of your image after the
of like how a picture might look if you fact. You might just want to warm things
breathed on the lens and then quickly up a bit by adding a touch of red, or cool
took a picture. It’s soft and sharp at the things down with a touch of blue. Or, you
same time, if that makes any sense. You’ll could get creative and easily add various
have to see this effect on a computer color casts to the image for special effects.
screen or in a print to fully see what I You’ll see what I mean when you try it.
mean. The Color balance menu screens are
Recommendation: The Low setting shown in FIG . Following are the steps
provides a nice effect. However, the used to adjust the picture:
dreaminess increases with each level. I . Press the Menu button and select the
think that High is too blurry, but it may Retouch menu.
Color Balance 

. Select Color balance and then scroll right. tint you’d like to use. Watch the his-
. Select the image you want to modify tograms as they display the changing
with the Multi Selector, and then press color relationships between the red,
the OK button. You’ll see a screen with green, and blue color channels. You
a series of histograms on the right and can see the color changes as they are
a small color selection box on the bot- applied to the small version of your
tom left (see where the red arrow is image in the upper-left corner of the
pointing in image  of FIG ). screen (see FIG A).
. Use the Multi Selector to move the tiny . Press the OK button to save the new
black indicator square in the center of image under a new file number or the
the color box toward whatever color Playback button to cancel.

FIG  – The Color balance retouch screens

FIG A – Four Color balance tint variations


 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Small Picture Here are the steps to make use of the


If you want to convert an existing image Small picture reduction function:
on your camera’s memory card to a small- . Press the Menu button and select the
er-than-normal size, you can use this Retouch menu.
function. This is handy when you want to . Select Small picture and then scroll right
send someone an image over the Inter- (see FIG ).
net, display it on a TV or web page, or give . Select Choose size and then scroll to the
someone a small version that can’t be eas- right.
ily enlarged and printed. . Select one of the three sizes and then
There are three levels of “smallness” press the OK button. As you can see in
available in the Small picture setting (in FIG , image , I selected x.
pixels): . The camera returns to the Small picture
t x screen.
t x . Now choose Select image and then
t x scroll to the right (see FIG A, image).

FIG  – The Choose size screens for the Small picture option

FIG A – The Select image screens for the Small picture option
Image Overlay 

. Use the Thumbnail/playback zoom out Image Overlay


button and the Multi Selector to select Image overlay allows you to overlay two ex-
one or more images to convert to a isting images from your camera’s memory
smaller size. You’ll see a tiny resize box card and then save the overlaid image as
appear in the upper-right corner of the a brand-new image with a different image
selected images (see where the red ar- number. Your original images are pro-
row is pointing in FIG A, image ). tected. You can also vary the lightness/
. When you have selected all the images darkness (gain) on each image before
you want to resize, press the OK button. overlaying them. According to Nikon, im-
. A screen with the question Create ages overlaid in this way are “noticeably
small picture? appears and gives you a better than overlays created in an imag-
Yes/No choice. Choose Yes and press the ing application”.
OK button (see FIG A, image ). This particular function only works
.You’ll see an hourglass for a few sec- with NEF (RAW) files. You won’t even be
onds, and then Image saved appears on able to see JPEGs in the image selection
the screen. screen.
.Next, the newly converted images dis- You’ll need to use multiple screens
play in normal playback mode. If you to overlay the two images. Here’s the
selected multiple images to convert, procedure:
the playback screen will be showing the . Press the Menu button and select the
last image in the series. Scroll back- Retouch menu.
wards to see all of them. You’ll be able . Select Image overlay and then scroll to
to identify the images converted to the right (see FIG , image ).
small size by the large gray border, the . You’ll now see the screen that allows
retouch symbol in the upper-left cor-
ner, and the small size (e.g., x)
listing in the lower-right corner (see
you to select the two images you’ll be
overlaying. The yellow selection box
should be surrounding the Image 
7
FIG A, image ). area, with the word RAW in a small box
(see FIG , image ).
You cannot zoom into the smaller files . Press the OK button and you will be pre-
the way you can the normal sized ones. sented with the NEF (RAW) images on
Now that you have made the small size your camera’s memory card (see FIG ,
conversion, you can plug your memory image ). If there aren’t any, the cam-
card into a computer and transfer the era won’t display anything.
smaller files for whatever use you have for
them.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG  – Overlaying two images – selecting the first image

7
FIG A – Overlaying two images – selecting the second image

. Scroll through the available NEF . Press the OK button and you’ll be
(RAW) images and then press the OK presented with a display of the NEF
button to select the first image. The im- (RAW) images on the memory card.
age selection screen will appear again. . Select a different image this time, un-
Your selected image will be in the Im- less you want to overlay the same im-
age  position (see FIG , image ). age. Press the OK button to select your
. Move the yellow selection box to the second image. The image you select will
Image  area with the Multi Selector (see become the second image in the over-
FIG A, image ). lay. You’ll see an unadjusted preview of
Image Overlay 

FIG B – Overlaying two images – changing image gain

FIG C – Overlaying two images – previewing and saving the overlay

the overlaid images in the Preview box the gain, that image in the preview box
(see FIG A, image ). gets darker. Use the X-gain function on
. You now have the two images you are both Image  and Image  until you have
going to overlay in their respective Im- the Preview image looking just the way
age  and Image  boxes (see FIG B).
.You’ll need to select and change the
gain on each image (if you want to
you want it to look. Use the gain to bal-
ance each image’s brightness until they
look natural together.
7
add this step). Gain affects the image .Scroll the yellow selection box to the
brightness. Notice that below each im- Preview area. You have two selections
age, there is an X followed by a number available, Overlay and Save (see FIG B,
(see where the red arrows are pointing image ).
in FIG B). These are gain settings. Use
the Multi Selector to scroll up or down. Now, use FIG C as a guide. If you
You’ll see that you can scroll up to X . select Overlay and press the OK button, the
or down to X .. While you are scroll- camera will overlay the image and show
ing the X-gain numbers, pay attention you a somewhat larger version of it. You
to what is happening in the Preview box can preview before selecting Overlay by
to the far right. As you increase the pressing the Playback zoom in button. If you
gain in one of the images, it gets light- don’t like the looks of the image and want
er in the preview box. If you decrease to readjust the gain, simply press the
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG D – Overlaying two images – saving the overlay

Thumbnail/playback zoom out button and Well, when you shoot a JPEG, all
the main overlay configuration screen will settings are applied to the image imme-
reappear. The word Preview will have been diately—and irreversibly. NEF (RAW)
replaced with Overlay. If you press the processing gives you an opportunity to
OK button (Save) when using the screen take an existing NEF (RAW) file, which
in image  of FIG C, please skip step  has no permanent settings applied, and
(next) since the save will take place imme- use it to create whatever type of JPEG
diately. (See chapter , FIG B for the you want. It’s an after-the-fact, or post-
locations of the camera controls.) processing, method, that Nikon has given
us. Conversion from NEF to JPEG with
.Once you are happy with the overlaid your settings!
image, simply scroll to the Save menu You can apply the following settings to
item in the new Preview/Overlay section your new JPEG:
and press the OK button (see FIG D). t Image quality
You’ll see an hourglass, then a screen t Image size

7 that says Image saved. The final image


will now show with a new image num-
ber in normal playback mode. This is
t White balance
t Exposure compensation
t Picture Control
the second way to save an overlaid im-
age, only this one does it without an Let’s look at the screens and steps
overlay preview. involved with converting from NEF
(RAW) to JPEG in-camera:
NEF (RAW) Processing . Press the Menu button and select the
Without using your computer, you can Retouch menu.
process a RAW file into a JPEG, right in . Select NEF (RAW) processing and then
the camera. Why is this different from scroll to the right (see FIG , image ).
just shooting an NEF (RAW) + JPEG basic . Select a RAW image from the list with
at the same time? (See the section “Image the Multi Selector, and then press the OK
Quality” in the chapter titled Shooting button (see FIG , image ).
Menu for more details.)
NEF (RAW) Processing 

FIG  – The NEF (RAW) processing screens

FIG A – The Image quality screens

7
FIG B – The Image size screens

. Select one of the Image quality set- . Select one of the Image size set-
tings—Fine, Norm, or Basic—from the tings—L (large, x), M
Image quality selection (see FIG A). (medium, x), or S (small,
Fine gives you the best possible qual- x)—from the Image size se-
ity in a JPEG image. Select the setting lections (see FIG B). L (large) gives
you want to use, and then press the OK you the biggest possible size in a JPEG
button to return to the main NEF (RAW) image at . megapixels. Select the
processing configuration screen. setting you want to use, and then press
the OK button to return to the main NEF
(RAW) processing configuration screen.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

. Select one of the White balance settings You’ll see your fine-tuning adjustment
for your new JPEG (see FIG C). You change the color temperature of the
can choose from Auto, Incandescent, image. Modifying the color balance
Fluorescent, Direct sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, of a particular White balance setting is
Shade, or PRE (preset manual from a entirely optional. Most have no need
previous ambient light white balance to change it and leave the little black
reading). Please review the section square in the middle of the color ad-
“White Balance” in the chapter titled justment box (see FIG C, image ).
Shooting Menu for detailed informa- . Now you have an opportunity to light-
tion on each of these selections. As you en or darken the image by selecting
scroll through the list of settings, you’ll an Exposure compensation value of +/- 
be able to see the color temperature of stops in either direction (see FIG D).
the image change. Select the setting Scroll up or down the list with the Multi
you want to use, and then press the OK Selector and stop when the image looks
button to return to the main NEF (RAW) just right. Then press the OK button to
processing configuration screen. You return to the main NEF (RAW) processing
can modify the colors of the individual configuration screen. As you can see in
white balance settings for this image FIG D, image , I’ve selected + EV
by scrolling to the right and changing steps of Exposure compensation, consid-
the value in the color adjustment box. erably lightening the image.

7
FIG C – The White balance screens

Figure D – The Exposure compensation screens


NEF (RAW) Processing 

. Now you can apply a Nikon Picture . Now, scroll down to the EXE menu se-
Control from the list shown. See the lection and press the OK button (see
section “Set Picture Control” in the FIG F). The hourglass will show
chapter titled Shooting Menu and for a few seconds while the new JPEG
the subheading for detailed informa- is being created with your carefully
tion on these settings. These controls crafted settings, Image saved will show
make changes to how the image looks. briefly on the screen, and the new
You can make it more “contrasty”, give JPEG will be shown in a normal play-
it greater or lesser color saturation, back screen.
or even change it to monochrome.
Choose from SD-Standard, NL-Neu- This is a convenient way to create
tral, VI-Vivid, MC-Monochrome, PT- specialized JPEG images from NEF
Portrait, or LS-Landscape (see FIG (RAW) files without using a computer.
E). When the image looks just How much longer will it be until our
right, press the OK button to return to cameras come with a keyboard, monitor,
the main NEF (RAW) processing configu- and mouse ports? They are computerized
ration screen. after all!

7
FIG E – The Set Picture Control screens

FIG F – Saving the new JPEG


 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG  – The Quick retouch screens

Quick Retouch . Press the OK button when you’re satis-


If you want to simply adjust an image so fied with the look (see the red arrow
that all parameters are within viewable in image ). The new image will be cre-
range, that’s the purpose of this Quick re- ated and shown to you in the playback
touch function. It creates a new copy of an window.
existing image with “enhanced saturation
and contrast”. D-Lighting is automatical- Color Outline
ly applied to your old image and the new Have you ever wanted to convert one of
image is supposed to look better. You can your images to a cartoon or a line draw-
scroll up and down in the preview screen ing? This retouch setting is fun to use,
to see the range of enhancements that providing an interesting outline effect
can be applied when the new image is cre- on the distinct lines or color changes in
ated. Here are the steps: your image. FIG  shows an original im-
. Press the Menu button and select age and the image after Color outline was
the Retouch menu. applied.

7 . Select Quick retouch and scroll to the


right.
. You’ll be presented with the images on
You can convert the image to a color
outline, open it in Photoshop, and use
the fill functions to add cartoon colors
your SD memory card that are eligible between the lines. Or you can post-
for a quick retouch. process it into a fine-art line tracing. This
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll to an im- is an unusual functionality and shows the
age you want to retouch, and press the direction that our highly computerized
OK button to select it. cameras are going. They have computer
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll up or power built in, so why not make use of
down, selecting High, Normal, or Low. that power in new and fun ways?
You can preview the effect of your Here are the steps used to set Color
changes on the image by looking at the outline (FIG A):
before and after images (see FIG , . Press the Menu button and select the
image ). I chose Normal. Retouch menu.
Color Outline 

FIG  – Color outline – original and conversion

FIG A – Color outline setup

. Select Color outline and scroll to the . Press the OK button (red arrow) again
right. to save or the Playback button to cancel
. Choose an image from the list of (see FIG A, image ).
thumbnails (see FIG A, image ).
Press the OK button and the conversion This setting gives us the opportunity
to outline form will take place. to be creative and have some fun with our
images. I’m going to use Color outline often!
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

Miniature Effect The camera added lots of extra satura-


This is a unusual new effect that allows tion to the image to make the train cars
you to create a reverse diorama. A diora- look unreal. Notice how there is a band
ma is a small D model made to look like of sharpness running horizontally across
the real thing. You may have seen a city the middle of the image? That very shal-
diorama, where there are tiny detailed low depth of field in a full-sized image
houses and cars, and even people figures. makes it look fake. We normally would
A diorama is often used to make a low- see depth of field that narrow only when
budget movie when the cost would be too shooting a close-up or macro shot.
high to use real parts. Here are steps to create your own
The reason that I call it a reverse diora- Miniature effect reverse diorama (see FIG
ma is that the camera takes an image that A):
you have shot and uses a very narrow . Press the Menu button and select the
band of sharpness with very shallow Retouch menu.
depth of field to make it appear to be a . Select Miniature effect and scroll to the
diorama when it is actually real. right (see FIG A, image ).
In FIG  is a sample Miniature effect . Choose an image shot from above that
image I took while overlooking a train would make a good reverse diorama
depot from a bridge over the tracks. It’s and press the OK button (see FIG A,
best to shoot this type of image from on image ).
high so that it looks like a real miniature . Notice the red arrow in FIG A, image
(see). ? It is pointing at the yellow outline

FIG  – Miniature effect reverse diorama


Stop-Motion Movie 

FIG A – Miniature effect implemented

of the horizontal band of sharpness. Stop-Motion Movie


You can move this up or down on the Stop-motion is an animation technique
screen until you’ve found the optimum
place to put the sharpness. Everything
receding from the band gets gradually
used for moving inanimate objects a
short distance between frames so that
when all the frames are replayed, the ob-
7
blurrier. If you are shooting a vertical ject seems to move on its own. The way it
image, the band will be reversed—ver- works is similar to a normal movie except
tical instead of horizontal. Move the the frame rate is a lot slower. Where a
band until it is positioned where you normal video records and is played back
think best, then press the OK button at  frames per second, a stop-motion
(Save). movie can be created at frame rates
. You will now see the new Miniature ef- from  to  frames per second, with a
fect image in a normal playback screen limitation of  frames in a segment. I
(see FIG A, image ). It is saved un- suppose you could make a full-length ani-
der a brand new file number on your mation movie by assembling  frame
memory card. segments into a larger group.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

FIG  – Assembling a stop-motion movie

FIG A – Selecting a frame size

FIG B – Selecting a frame rate

FIG C – Selecting the first and last frames


Stop-Motion Movie 

FIG  shows the initial screens you


use to assemble the stop-motion frames
into a short movie. Here are the steps:
. Shoot a series of controlled images in
sequence. You can shoot up to  im-
ages to include in the movie. Make sure
they are still on the camera’s memory
card.
. Press the Menu button and select the Re-
touch menu.
FIG D – Editing or saving the movie
. Select Stop-motion movie and scroll to
the right.
. Select Frame size from the menu and
scroll to the right. Choose one of the
frame sizes (x, x, or
x) and press the OK button (see
FIG A).
. Select Frame rate from the menu and
scroll to the right. Choose a frame rate
from one of the available rates (, , ,
or  fps) and press the OK button (see
FIG E – Edit menu functions
FIG B).
. Select Create movie to select the first
and last frame in the stop-motion move that image forward or backward
movie. If you choose the last image
first and the first image last, the movie
will play backwards. You can see the
in the movie’s total frames, thereby
shortening or lengthening the movie.
Middle image is a little different. You
7
Starting image screen in Figure C, im- can use it to remove frames from the
age  and the End image screen in image middle of the movie, one frame at a
 (see red arrows). Select the start and time. After selecting Middle image, use
end frames. the Multi Selector to scroll left or right
. Choose to edit or save the selected im- within the frames of your movie. To re-
age order. If you choose Edit, when you move (or re-add) a frame, simply press
are done, select Save and press the OK the Thumbnail/playback zoom out but-
button (see FIG D). ton. A small check mark will appear or
. There are four ways to edit a movie, as disappear on the top left of the frame
shown in FIG E. Each of them mere- you have highlighted as you press the
ly lets you change the order of things Thumbnail/playback zoom out button. If
within a not-yet-saved movie. If you the check mark is removed, that frame
choose Starting or End image, you can is deleted from the movie.
 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

. You’ll now see the Create movie menu stop-motion movie. Your choices are
from which you can choose Save, Pre- , , , or  frames per second.
view, Frame rate, or Edit (see FIG F). t Edit – Choosing Edit takes you to the
t Save – If you select Save, you’ll see Edit screen (see FIG E). You can
a screen that says Creating stop- choose to edit the Starting, Middle,
motion movie. Once it has finished, or End image. Editing the Starting
your new movie will be displayed in image allows you to change which im-
a playback screen. Press the OK but- age begins the series. Editing Middle
ton to view the movie. images allows you to deselect any of
t Preview – If you select Preview, you’ll the images in the middle with the
see a different screen with the words Multi Selector, thereby removing them
Creating preview as the movie is as- from the movie. Editing the End
sembled. Then the preview movie image allows you to select a different
will play immediately. Afterward, the final image for the movie. Everything
Create movie screen reappears. between the first and last image that
t Frame rate – If you choose Frame rate, has not been deselected will play
you can change the number of frames when you press Preview, or you can
per second that will display in your choose Save to save it for later playing.

7
FIG F – Final Save/Edit screen

FIG G – Movie being created and ready to be played


Before and After 

The screen shown in FIG E appears if Before and After


you select Edit in the screen shown in FIG Now that you’ve learned to use all these
D. This is a screen that allows you to new tools for image adjustment, you may
modify things during the creation of the find yourself wanting to view an origi-
movie. Nikon also gives you a final chance nal image and its retouched image side
to preview or save your image if you select by side. You can enjoy a before and after
Save, as shown in FIG F, image , while view of the two images.
image  shows the final Create movie Save/ This particular side-by-side compari-
Edit screen. You can use this screen to son function is not available on the
make last-minute tweaks and changes to Retouch menu by selecting it directly. The
the format of the movie, and then you can only way to get to it is to view an origi-
preview it and do the final save. nal version of an image that has been
retouched, or the retouched version itself
.Now, select Save and press the OK but- in the normal playback window, and then
ton. You’ll see two final screens, one of press the OK button. One of the menu
which is the movie being created and selections you’ll find is Before and after,
then the actual movie itself, ready to which is at the bottom of the available
be played (see FIG G). selections (see FIG , image ).
.Once you’ve saved your movie, you can Let’s look at what the Before and after
play it at any time on your camera (see function does for us. Here are the steps
FIG G, image , red arrow) or your (see FIG ):
TV via the V-Out connector, or you can . Using the normal image playback
transfer it to your computer for play- system, find an image that has been
ing there. At  fps, it can resemble a re- retouched. You can tell when you’ve
ally fast slide show, while at  fps it is
almost a very short full movie.
found one because it will have a small
square in the upper-left corner with a
brush and pallet.
7

FIG  – Before and after screens


 Retouch and Recent Settings Menus

. Press the OK button to open up the spe-


Section 2 –
cial retouch image menu.
Recent Settings
. Scroll down until you find the Before
and after selection, and then press the
OK button. The Recent Settings menu is very simple. It
. You’ll be presented with an informa- is a menu that remembers the last  dis-
tional side-by-side view of the original tinct changes you’ve made to your D
and retouched image so that you can camera’s settings. Each setting you
compare them. changed is stored in a temporary menu
called Recent Settings (see FIG ).
If you happen to be looking at an image If you change something in your
that was created from an overlay, then it camera that is not already on the Recent
has two source files. It will show one of Settings menu, it will be added to the
the originals along with the retouched menu; if there is no room left, it will
version. You can select the first original replace the oldest (or least recent)
and then scroll up or down with the Multi change. This can be a convenient way to
Selector to see the other original. The find something you’ve changed recently
side-by-side comparison will not work but have trouble remembering where it is
if the original has been deleted from the on the main menu systems.
memory card. FIG  shows only seven of the most
If the original image has multiple recent changes. As you scroll down in the
retouched versions, you will see tiny up or menu, you’ll find up to  total. If you’ve
down arrows at the top or bottom of the not made  changes, then there will be
second comparison window (see FIG , fewer than  on the menu. Check this

7 image ). You can scroll up or down with


the Multi Selector to see all the retouched
versions that came from the original
menu for functions you change a lot, and
I’m sure you’ll find the functions there.

image.

FIG  – Recent settings menu


My Conclusions 

My Conclusions
Whew! The D is surely a complicated
little beast. I guess that’s the price of put-
ting advanced functionality in a small
DSLR body. Complex as it is though, it’s
not very hard to use. In fact, due to its
small size, it’s a great “carry-with-me-
everywhere” camera.
This chapter marks the end of the chap-
ters devoted to step-by-step configura-
tion of the camera, and now we’ll move
into more advanced usage of the camera.
We’ll discuss some photography basics for
those who may be moving into the DSLR
world for the first time. Then we’ll tie all
these hundreds of functions together in
several chapters discussing the applica-
tion of the various settings.
My goal is to help you master your
camera, not just in the sense of knowing
how to change a setting, or how to use
that setting, but instead how to use the
entire camera and its lenses to create the
best photographs you’ve ever made.
By becoming an owner of this powerful
little DSLR camera, you’ve moved into the
world of passionate photographers. Your
7
images clearly mean more to you than
the average person since you invested
in superior equipment with advanced
capability. Now when you show a beauti-
ful image that you’ve made to friends or
family you’ll be able to say, “It didn’t just
turn out this way. I intentionally made
this picture look this way”.
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

8
Understanding the Camera’s Aperture 

With its excellent Guide Mode, the Nikon various focal lengths of your kit lens
D allow s you to take great pictures change the perspective of the image.
without understanding how the aperture
and shutter speed works. You can simply Understanding the Camera’s
select either aperture priority or shutter Aperture
priority or just go fully automatic and the You’ve probably read about or seen what’s
camera has you covered. So why have I in- called a pinhole camera. A few years back
cluded a chapter devoted to this subject? many people liked to experiment with
Many D owners are interested them for fun and education. All one need-
in going beyond basic photography. ed was a box or tube, a piece of film, and a
Previously, they might have been using pinhole to use instead of a lens.
a camera with fewer features or even a The concept involves going into a dark-
point-and-shoot model. The D is a room, fastening a piece of film on an
more powerful camera in that it provides inside wall of a light-tight box, and prick-
a much finer degree of control over the ing a tiny pinhole in the opposite wall of
final look of the image. You don’t have to the box. This will later allow light to shine
learn the information in this chapter to through the pinhole onto the film on the
take great pictures with the D, but opposite side. To use the pinhole camera,
you’ll make yourself a better photogra- you temporarily cover the pinhole, take
pher if you do. Even if you feel that you the box out into the sunlight, place it in
understand the concepts well enough, front of an interesting scene, uncover the
why not do a quick review? Maybe you’ll pinhole, and leave for a while.
learn something helpful. When you return, you cover the
The relationship between the aperture pinhole, go into the darkroom, cut the
and shutter speed seems to be a diffi- box open, and develop the film. If your
cult thing to understand for quite a few pinhole was the right size for the amount
photographers. Yet, it’s one of the most of time the light was shining on the film
important concepts to understand since through the pinhole, then you’ll have a
it affects how an image looks in a major nice image taken in a very basic way. If
way. You can achieve certain effects by
understanding the shutter speed and
you guessed wrong about the amount of
time you let the light shine through the
8
aperture relationship that you would have pinhole onto the film, the image will be
a hard time achieving in any other way. either over- or underexposed.
In this chapter, we’ll look at the aper- It seems a lot easier to use your D
ture and shutter speed settings in a instead of a pinhole camera, doesn’t it?
comprehensive way. Then, we’ll explore While it might be fun to use a pinhole
how the relationship between the two camera a few times, it certainly wouldn’t
settings changes the appearance of an allow you to take the wide range of beau-
image. Finally, we’ll consider how the tiful images you’ve been getting from
your complex digital camera.
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

However, the D works in a similar FIG  shows a sample of lenses with
way. The difference is variability. You can the aperture blades set to various aper-
vary the size of the “pinhole” with the ture sizes. You are looking at the business
D. end of the lens, which would normally be
With the pinhole camera, if you wanted pointed at the subject.
to leave the box out in the sun for a longer If you look at the front of your lens,
period, you’d make a very small pinhole with the lens cap off, you’ll see the actual
so only a little light shines on the film. maximum aperture of your camera. Hold
If you wanted to leave the box out in the your D so that you can look from the
sun for a shorter period, you’d make the front of your lens from about half an arm’s
pinhole bigger so that more light would length away. Make sure something bright
hit the film. is behind the eyepiece on the back of the
That’s the concept of an aperture. It’s camera. You can actually see through the
basically a variably sized pinhole, and front of your lens, right through the rear
you or the camera can choose that size. eyepiece of the camera. It’s sort of like the
Instead of a hole in a box with film taped time you looked through a pair of binocu-
to one wall, you have a light-tight camera lars backwards when you were a child.
“box” that has a lens with aperture blades Everything was small and distant, but you
that allow you to vary the size of the could see things.
pinhole. Instead of shining light on a The hole you see behind the glass
piece of film, you have a digital sensor. of the lens is the biggest opening—or

FIG  - Aperture variability


What Is an Aperture Number 

largest pinhole—that your D can use This aperture opening can be changed
with the particular lens mounted on the from large to small so that the amount
camera. Basically, the opening in the lens of light passing through the lens can be
is your camera’s “aperture”. accurately adjusted for a correct expo-
sure. The size of the opening chosen
How Does the Aperture Work? – An by either you in a manual mode or the
Experiment camera in automatic modes is referred to
Go to an area bright enough that your with an aperture number.
D will not need to use the pop-up
Speedlight flash. It’s best, for this experi- What Is an Aperture Number?
ment, that you go outside so that there’s a If you look through the eyepiece of your
lot of light. Set your camera’s Mode dial on D, you can see the shutter speed and
top to AUTO (with the green camera icon). aperture setting shown on the lower-left
Now, I want you to take a picture of side of the viewfinder screen (see FIG A,
your face from an arm’s length away. You image , red arrows). You’ll see some-
can keep the picture as an example of how thing like  f or  f. displayed. The
you look while concentrating. While you number on the left is the shutter speed,
take the picture, pay careful attention to and on the right is the aperture setting.
the aperture opening you saw earlier. If You’ll also see these same characters dis-
the light is bright enough, you will see the played in the middle of the Information
D do something quite interesting. screen (see FIG A, image , red arrows).
At the moment the picture is taken, the In FIG A you’ll see the two different
camera meters the light and adjusts the screen views; the first shows the view-
aperture size by moving a series of blades to finder screen and the second shows the
form the aperture opening (see FIG ). You Information screen. Both show settings of
will see the aperture size change very briefly /s at f/..
as the picture is being taken. If there’s a lot We’ll look at the shutter speed in
of light outside, the opening will appear to the next major section of this chapter.
get darker and smaller very briefly. For now, let’s examine the aperture
8

FIG A - Shutter speed and aperture settings


 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

numbering system. This system has Since it is easier to understand this


evolved through many generations to by seeing an example, let’s look at some
standardize on what we now commonly aperture openings. In FIG B you’ll see a
refer to as f-stops or f-numbers. The f mm f/. lens set to a large aperture of
comes from terms such as focal length and f/., a medium aperture of f/., and a
focal ratio. The usual method for referring small aperture of f/.
to a specific aperture setting like the one The aperture number works backwards
in FIG A is f/. or F.. from what many expect. A big number
If you bought the “kit” version of the means a small aperture opening. A small
Nikon D, you will have received number means a big aperture opening.
the AF-S Nikkor -mm f/.-.G Notice in FIG B how f/. is a big hole
VR zoom lens with your camera body. compared to f/’s small hole. The big
You may have chosen a different lens or aperture opening of f/. allows a lot of
already had some lenses when you bought light into the camera, while the small aper-
your D. However, for this chapter ture opening of f/ passes less light in.
we’ll assume that the -mm is the
lens on your camera. Let’s talk about Using Older Lenses with an
aperture numbers for that lens. Aperture Ring
There are specialty lenses out there Moving from a large aperture opening to
with aperture settings outside the normal a smaller aperture opening is called “stop-
range you are most likely to use. Most of ping down”. The word “stop” comes from
us will have lenses with apertures that the time when we had aperture rings on
run from about f/. to f/. The AF-S virtually all our lenses instead of only a
Nikkor -mm f/.-. has a range of few. As you turned the aperture ring, you
aperture openings varying between f/. would feel a click, or a stopping point, for
to f/, although it can actually go all the each aperture setting. Moving the ring
way down to f/ when fully zoomed out. one stop meant moving between these
What does this mean? click points by one click. In older lenses,

FIG B - Aperture settings f/., f/., and f/


Using the Camera’s Aperture 

each click stop is equal to  EV (Exposure in image  of FIG C, you don’t have to
Value). of light transmission—and would worry about locking it. Yours probably
modify the brightness by either half or doesn’t have an external aperture adjust-
double, according to the direction you ment ring, as in FIG C, image . Now,
turned the ring. Newer manual-use lenses let’s get back to aperture information.
generally have finer control with / and
 EV click stops as well. Using the Camera’s Aperture
In FIG C, image , you can see the The amount of light entering the camera
aperture adjustment ring on my AF is measured in stops, or EV steps. An ap-
Nikkor -mm f/-. lens, which is erture opening of f/ is one “stop” down
designed for use on old and new cameras. from aperture opening f/.. An aperture
In image , the large arrow points to of f/ lets in one stop ( EV step) less
the aperture ring, while the small arrow light than f/., which simply means that
points to the ring lock. f/ transmits one half as much light as
FIG C, image , shows a G Nikkor lens f/.. So,  EV step (or one stop) is sim-
(like your -mm kit lens), which has ply a value with one half or twice as much
no external aperture ring. Most lenses light as the previous step. It’s according
produced today are G-type lenses with no to which direction you are changing the
aperture adjustment rings since we use aperture opening. One stop up allows in
the Command dial to adjust aperture. twice as much light. One stop down re-
If you have an older lens with an aper- duces the light by half.
ture ring, you need to set and lock it to its FIG B shows the lens “stopping down”
smallest aperture, like f/, if you want from f/. to f/., then to f/.
to adjust the aperture using the Command With the -mm kit lens, the aper-
dial. If you don’t lock it to the smallest ture can only be smaller than f/ when
aperture setting on the lens, your D it is zoomed out past the lens’s wide-
will not be able to meter properly. angle setting. At mm, it can go down
Look at your lens, and if it doesn’t have to f/, at mm to f/, and at  mm
an aperture adjustment ring, as shown or longer down to f/. This will vary for
8

FIG C - Manual aperture ring with lock, and G lens with no aperture ring
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

F-Stops Each step in the aperture number list


The F-Stops for your AF-S Nikkor -mm lets in either less light or more light,
f/.-. Lens according to which direction you are
When you “stop down” from a large aper- moving in the list. When you are using
ture to a smaller aperture, you do so in EV A–Aperture priority or M–Manual exposure
steps, or stops. Here is an aperture num- mode, as discussed the chapter Exposure
ber list of f-stops for the AF-S Nikkor - Metering System, Exposure Modes,
mm f/.-. lens in / EV steps.
and Histogram, you’ll be able to control
In / EV step (/ of a full stop) chang-
the aperture with the Command dial on
ing from a big aperture (large opening) to
small aperture (small opening):
your camera.
tf/., f/, f/., f/, f/., f/., Remember that you can buy other
f/., f/, f/, f/, f/, f/, f/, lenses that will have a larger maximum
f/, f/, f/, f/, f/, f/, aperture, such as Nikon’s professional-
f/, f/ level AF-S Nikkor -mm f/. lens.
They cost more than the D itself,
often significantly more. What do you get
The Basic Rule on Apertures for your money? A bigger maximum aper-
ture that lets in more light for low-light
The basic thing to learn and remember
shooting, along with premium lens glass
about the aperture on your Nikon D
and a more robust lens build (much less
is that the aperture controls the amount
of light (how much) entering the lens dur- plastic).
ing an exposure. In an upcoming section
I’ll also discuss the shutter speed, which Understanding Depth of Field
allows you to control the other side of the Depth of field (DOF) is one of those things
issue; how long the light is allowed to enter that confuses a lot of new DSLR users.
the camera.
Yet, it is very important! The aperture
opening controls the depth of field, or
range of sharp focus (depth of focus) in
each lens you put on the camera. The your images. I’m going to attempt to ex-
8 “normal” aperture range for most lenses
you’ll use runs from f/. to f/. The
plain this concept with pictures.
Let’s say you are taking a picture of a
lens has apertures smaller than f/ friend who is standing  feet ( meters)
because the longer the focal length, or away from you. About  feet behind your
millimeter (mm) setting you zoom a friend is another person. There is also a
lens to, the farther the light has to travel third person standing about  feet behind
to get to the sensor. There is a consider- the second person. Three people total,
able amount of “light falloff ” as the lens each about  feet apart, with the friend in
length increases. front (see FIG ).
Understanding Depth of Field 

FIG  - Three kids at f/. aperture – shallow depth of field

You are shooting with a mm f/. So what would happen if we made the
lens. You focus on your friend’s face, the aperture opening smaller, or “stopped
young lady in red, and take a picture. It down”, to a medium aperture like f/? The
looks like the image in FIG . picture in FIG A shows what that will do
Notice in the picture in FIG  that your to the depth of field.
friend (in red) is sharp since the focus In FIG , the camera is focused on the
is on her face. The girl standing behind young lady in front, and at the large aper-
her, to the right, is not in focus, nor is ture opening of f/. the others were out
the young lad even farther away to the of focus. In FIG A, without changing the
left. This is the result of shooting with a focus in any way, you adjusted your aper-
big aperture. An aperture of f/. is a big
opening in the aperture blades of your
ture (stopped down) to f/. Something
changed!
8
lens. A large aperture opening causes the Notice, in FIG A, how the girl in front
depth of field, or zone of sharp focus, still looks sharp, but now the girl to the
to be shallow. Only the girl in front is in right looks sharp too. You focused your
focus at f/.. Not much else is in focus, camera on the girl in front, but now the
so there is very little depth of field. The girl to the right is in the zone of sharp
depth of field in this picture is rather focus, even though you didn’t change
shallow, probably something like . feet your focus point on the first girl’s face.
(.m). The depth of field, or zone of sharp focus,
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

FIG A – Three kids at f/ aperture – medium depth of field

FIG B - Three kids at f/ aperture – deep depth of field


Effect of Focal Length on Depth of Field 

now extends past the girl in front and (f/.), and as the aperture got smaller,
covers the girl in back. It got deeper. more and more of the surroundings came
However, notice that the boy to the left into sharp focus (f/ and f/).
is still not in focus. The background is not So, depth of field is simply the zone
in focus either. The depth of field is deep- of sharp focus. It extends in front of and
er, but it’s still not deep enough to cover behind your focused subject and gets
all your subjects. deeper in both directions, toward the
This image is the result of a medium camera and away from it, as you “stop
aperture opening (f/), not large (f/.) down” your lens. If you set your camera to
and not small (f/). Now, let’s consider A–Aperture priority or M–Manual mode, you
what happens if we “stop down,” or close can adjust this powerful functionality to
the aperture to a small opening like f/. control what is in focus in your pictures.
Aha! Now everything in the picture
is sharp. In FIG B, you can see that an Effect of Focal Length on Depth of
aperture as small as f/ makes it easy to Field
get sharp focus. Remember, you focused One other issue to consider is how the
on the girl in front in all these pictures. focal length of a lens affects depth of
At first only the girl in red was in focus field. When you use a wide-angle zoom
setting on your D’s lens—such as
Apertures In Review an  mm—you have significantly more
depth of field available. A wide-angle lens
F/. is an aperture number. An aperture is
simply an opening in your lens controlled is considered a “short” focal length. The
by blades. It lets light come in through the shorter the focal length, the greater the
lens to expose your D’s sensor. You potential depth of field. If you are using
normally can’t see the aperture when you a “longer” lens, such as a short telephoto
look in the front of your lens since your setting of  mm, which reaches out and
D allows you to focus with the aper-
pulls a subject in closer, the depth of field
ture blades wide open and out of the way.
that’s available will be considerably more
The aperture closes down to its selected
shallow. Longer lenses, because they com-
setting when you fully press the shutter
release button to take your picture. press perspective, have a smaller zone of
sharp focus. So, if you are interested in
8
Basic exposure rule:
maximum depth of field, use the shortest
Aperture = How much light passes through focal length that will cover the subject.
your lens. Now, let’s move on to a detailed discus-
Shutter speed = How long the light passes
sion of the shutter speed and how it
through your lens.
works.
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

The Low Down on Fast Lenses Available Shutter Speeds for your
D
You may have heard of a certain lens being
a “fast lens” or heard a lens disparagingly Here is a list of the shutter speeds avail-
called a “slow” lens. Fast or slow means able in your D (fastest speed is
how large the maximum aperture size / of a second, slowest speed is 
is. A fast lens will have a large maximum seconds).
aperture like f/., f/., or f/., while
a slower lens might have a maximum ap- / EV step (/ of a full stop), changing
erture of f/., f/, or f/.. In the lens from fast shutter speed to a slow shutter
world, the larger the maximum aperture, speed (s = second):
the faster the lens and greater the cost. /s, /s, /s, /s,
The AF-S Nikkor -mm f/.-. kit /s, /s, /s, /s,
lens included with the D is a medium- /s, /s, /s, /s, /s,
speed lens. /s, /s, /s, /s, /s,
/s, /s, /s, /s, /s, /s,
/s, /s, /s, /s, /s, /s,
Understanding the Camera’s /s, /s, /.s, /s, /.s, /.s,
s, .s, .s, s, .s, s, s, s, s, s,
Shutter Speed
s, s, s, s, s, s
While the camera’s aperture is concerned
with how much light gets to the image sen-
sor, the shutter speed is concerned with
how long the light shines on the sensor. a shutter speed of / of a second
What does shutter speed do for an (/s). Now look at the “Slow Shutter”
image? It allows you to control move- picture. The water seems to be flowing
ment. A fast shutter speed stops and has a smooth, more natural appear-
action, while a slow shutter speed blurs ance. It was taken using a half of a second
movement. (/s) shutter speed. I was shooting from
In FIG , we see a small waterfall. The a tripod when I took these pictures, so
water in the “Fast Shutter” image looks the rock looks about the same in both
agitated and frozen. It was taken using images. The slower shutter speed is more
8

FIG  - Fast and slow shutter speeds compared


Understanding the Camera’s Shutter Speed 

FIG A - Handheld at / of a second. Use a tripod instead!

appropriate for this type of image. It what your limit is. Below those speeds,
makes the water look more natural and you must do this:
appear to be flowing, which is what your t Hold your elbows against your body
eye expects. with your camera at your eye, stand
Sometimes, we want to blur move- with one foot in front of the other, and
ment, sometimes we want to freeze it, several inches apart. (You are steadying
according to our subject. Primarily, we yourself.)
use shutter speed to control movement, t Brace yourself against something like a
including camera shake. If you try to tree or post.
handhold your camera at shutter speeds t Use a tripod or monopod.
below /s, you may get images that
look like the one in FIG A, taken with a Using a tripod is the preferable method
8
shutter speed of /s. of dealing with slow shutter speed camera
If you want sharp pictures when you shake. This is especially true when using
are handholding a camera, you must telephoto lenses, which magnify camera
keep the shutter speed above a minimum shake greatly while pulling in distant
number that varies with the steadiness subjects.
of a person. Most people can handhold If you are taking pictures of a car race,
a camera and create a relatively sharp birds flying, or people moving quickly,
image at / of a second (/s). Some you’ll need to use a faster shutter speed
can’t! You’ll have to try it yourself to see to stop the action. FIG B shows a young
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

FIG B - Fast shutter speed stops action! (Image © by Kristian Sekulic.)

woman leaping gracefully into the air. while holding down the Exposure compen-
There is no blur or apparent movement sation button. These issues are discussed
in the woman’s image. This was accom- more fully in the chapter Exposure
plished by using a fast shutter speed of at Metering System, Exposure Modes,
least /s. and Histogram. In this chapter, you’re
If you plan to shoot sports or anything just learning about how aperture and
with quickly moving subjects, you’ll shutter speed relate to each other. Later
need to control the shutter speed. If you we’ll talk about how to use the camera
set your camera’s Mode dial to Shutter- controls in greater detail.
priority auto (S) or Manual (M) mode, you

8 can adjust this powerful functionality


to control movement in your pictures.
Shutter Speed in Review

When you are using Shutter-priority auto or A camera’s shutter speed is primarily used
to keep a moving subject sharp (jumping
Manual exposure mode, you’ll control the
woman) or to allow it to show motion blur
shutter speed by turning the Command
(flowing water). Handholding a camera at
dial.
slow shutter speeds can lead to blurry pic-
Shutter speed is controlled by turning tures. Use a tripod for the sharpest
the Command dial alone, while aperture is images!
controlled by turning the Command dial
Using the Aperture and Shutter Speed Together for Great Pictures 

FIG C - Flying bird stopped with fast shutter speed.

Using the Aperture and Shutter you use a small aperture for deep depth
Speed Together for Great Pictures of field, the opening the aperture blades
While the camera’s aperture is concerned form is rather small, and not much light
with how much light gets to the image sen- gets into the camera. So, to compensate
sor, the shutter speed is concerned with you’ll need to let the light come in for a
how long the light shines on the sensor. longer time period, which means using
You must understand how to control a slower shutter speed. Unfortunately,
both depth of field (aperture) and subject a slow shutter speed means the bird will
movement (shutter speed) in your pictures. blur as it flies through the air. You’ve got
Which is most important? That varies yourself a real quandary!
with the type of subject you are shooting.
Let’s say you are taking a picture of a
How can you balance your need for
stopping action (a fast shutter speed)
8
bird flying through the air (see FIG C) with your need to keep all parts of your
and you want the entire bird to be in subject in focus (a small aperture)? Great
sharp focus, including its eye, body, and question! Let’s find an answer.
both wings if possible. You need enough Now, let’s say you are taking a picture
depth of field to be able to focus on the of a beautiful scenic view of the moun-
bird’s eye while still getting the rest of tains. You need deep depth of field to
him in the zone of sharp focus. You could cover the distance from up close to out
set a small aperture, which you know will past the mountain ridges, which requires
give you a nice deep depth of field so that using a small aperture. You also want
the whole bird is in focus. However, when to keep the wind from blowing the tree
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

limbs and blurring them, so you want a if we have to sacrifice some of our depth
faster shutter speed. of field. In other words, we’ll need to open
This quandary is what makes photogra- the aperture to let enough light in so that
phy a learned skill. We are always balanc- we can limit the time the light comes in.
ing our need for depth of field with our We need a fast shutter speed because that
need to stop motion. When there’s a lot of limits the time and can stop action.
light, as on a bright sunny day, there may In our mountain scene example, the
be enough light to have a small aperture mountain is not moving very fast, is it?
and a fast shutter speed, which gives us So, the most important thing in that
deep depth of field and stop motion capa- picture is that we have as much depth of
bility. However, if there is less light on field as possible. We want everything from
our subject, we can’t have both. the foreground all the way out to the far
We can artificially make our cameras distance to be in good focus. We have to
more sensitive to light by raising the ISO use a small aperture for depth of field—
sensitivity setting of the sensor. In the old letting in less light—which means our
days we called it “film speed”. That can shutter speed must be slower to let the
be helpful, but when we take our camera light come in longer. We still want a shut-
much above the native ISO sensitivity ( ter speed fast enough to keep the limbs
ISO), we start introducing digital artifacts from blowing, but that’s not as important
called noise into our picture. We had the overall as the deep depth of field.
same results with very high speed films So that you can enjoy your pictures,
and we called it “grain”. High ISO sensitivi- they must be exposed properly in the
ty can create so much noise that our image first place. So you’ll have to learn how to
is no longer very nice. So, higher ISO balance aperture and shutter speed to get
sensitivity is only used in an emergency a proper exposure while still capturing
when the shot must be acquired at all costs. the image in the best way for the subject.
What we have to learn to do is to Let’s discuss how a correct exposure is
balance your shutter speed and aperture made by using a combination of aperture
according to the most important thing and shutter speed. We’ll use an imaginary
8 we are trying to accomplish. What do
you think is more important in our flying
scale of light called “units”. In FIG  you see
a test image with three exposures of the
bird example (FIG C)? Should every part same subject. The first exposure is under-
of the bird be in critical focus, or do we exposed (too dark), the second exposure is
want to stop the motion of the bird flying just right, and the third exposure is overex-
through the air? Clearly, if the bird is posed (too light). The picture with  units
blurry from movement, it doesn’t matter is correctly exposed, while the other two
if we have good focus and depth of field, are not. How can we get a good “ unit”
does it? In the bird example, therefore, exposure and make sure we have good
the most important thing is a fast shutter depth of field and movement control?
speed. We have to use whatever shutter We put our camera in Manual exposure
speed will stop the bird’s movement, even mode and focus on the scene. The light
Using the Aperture and Shutter Speed Together for Great Pictures 

FIG  - Imaginary units of light

meter reports that to get  units of reach all the way out to infinity while
light, we need a shutter speed of /s keeping the foreground sharp too. It
at an aperture of f/. Now think about looks like our solution is to use exposure
this a minute. At f/, a big aperture, we amount  (aperture f/), which gives us
will have very little depth of field. For a good aperture for deep depth of field,
sure, the limbs blowing in the wind will and should cover our scene well. However,
be stopped since the shutter speed is so the shutter speed is so slow at / of a
fast at /s, but the depth of field will second that we will blur the image from
be so shallow that our mountains in the camera movement if we try to handhold
distance will not be in focus. the camera while taking the picture.
Let me show you a series of exposure What’s our solution? One of the
amounts that all give us exactly  of our following:
imaginary “units” of light. t Go ahead and use exposure amount 
t Exposure amount : /s at f/ (aperture f/) because it provides good
t Exposure amount : /s at f/ depth of field. However, at / of a
t Exposure amount : /s at f/ second, it’s hard to get a sharp image
t Exposure amount : /s at f/ due to camera shake, so you’ll have to
be very careful and brace yourself.
Our light meter tells us that our t Put your camera on a tripod and use the
current setting (/s at f) gives us a best value—exposure amount , (ap-
good exposure, but we want more depth erture f/)—to keep the image sharp
of field for a good distant focus. What
can we do? We can select one of the other
from foreground to distant mountains.
It is nearly impossible to get a sharp
8
exposure amounts in our list, with a handheld image at a shutter speed of
better aperture for our needs. Which is / of a second, so we must use a tripod
best? Well, exposure amount  (aperture at speeds this slow! (See FIG A.)
f/) will not work because the depth of
field is too shallow. Exposure amount  The whole point of inventing this imagi-
(aperture f/) is better but only margin- nary “ units of light” exposure system is
ally so. Exposure amount  (aperture to show you that you can arrive at a correct
f/) is getting much better, but since exposure using combinations of differ-
our distance is so great, it still may not ent aperture and shutter speed settings.
provide deep enough depth of field to In the real world, there are no “units” of
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

light, just a correct or incorrect exposure. can we compensate so that we get back
Our imaginary “ units of light” simply to  units of light without changing our
represents a correct exposure. aperture? We’ll have to change the shut-
A setting of /s at f/ gives the image ter speed too! Since we’ve cut our light in
a correct exposure. /s at f/ provides half by using a smaller aperture opening,
exactly the same amount of light for a what would happen if we held the smaller
great exposure, and /s at f/ is best for aperture open for twice as long?
the mountain scene because the f/ aper- Aha! Holding the half-sized f/
ture gives so much depth of field and deep aperture open for twice as long—/
focus from foreground to infinity. of a second—gives us exactly the same
amount of light as an aperture opening of
A Little More Exposure Detail f/ at / of a second. / of a second
Let’s play with our exposure amounts for is twice as much time as / of a
a bit until this makes sense. I’ll explain second. So, /s at f/ is half the light
why /s at f/ and /s at f/ are ex- let into the camera for double the time,
actly the same amount of exposure, and an equivalent exposure.
why either one will give a “ unit” well- t /s at f/ =  units
exposed picture, like the second image in t /s at f/ =  units (aperture half
FIG . Here’s why I used the imaginary sized, shutter speed twice the time)
units of light—to represent how light or
exposure is cut in half or doubled by ei- In other words, we’ve changed it so
ther the aperture or shutter speed. that our shutter speed is twice as long.
If /s at f/ lets in  units of light, Why? Since the aperture is half the size,
how many units would /s at f/ we must allow more time for the light
let in? Remember, when the aperture to come into the camera by increasing
number gets bigger, the aperture open- the length of time the shutter is open.
ing gets smaller. Since f/ is one half We double the time the shutter is open,
the aperture size of f/, it will let in only putting light through the half-sized f/
one half as much light. Therefore, /s aperture for twice as long. That gives
8 at f/ would then give us only  units
of light—or half of what’s needed—and
us our imaginary  units of light, or a
correct exposure.
our exposure would be dark, as in FIG ’s
underexposed “ unit” picture. General Shutter Speed/Aperture
t /s at f/ =  units Exposure Rule
t /s at f/ =  units (aperture is half To arrive at a similar exposure equiva-
the size, so lets in half as much light) lency, you have to first use the light meter
to get a correct exposure reading. Then
The exposure above uses the same you think about what the aperture/shut-
shutter speed, but the second exposure ter speed combination will give you. Do
has an aperture half the size and lets in you need a faster shutter speed to control
only  units or, half as much light. How motion? Do you need a smaller aperture
Aperture and Shutter Speed Chart 

to have more depth of field? Only you can much light shines on the sensor. You
make those decisions. The camera just have the exact same exposure with a
suggests a combination that will give you different combination of aperture/
a correct exposure, nothing more, un- shutter speed: /s at f/ equals
less you are using Auto exposure mode or /s at f/..
one of the Scene modes, which makes the . Likewise, if you wanted more depth
camera decide for you. of field than the metered amount of
Here’s a general rule for those using /s at f/ would allow, you could
exposure modes A, S, or M (on the Mode close the aperture to the smaller size
dial): of f/ (stop down). The aperture f/
. Get an accurate meter reading. (Use lets in exactly half as much light as f/.
the camera’s histogram readout too.) So, your exposure is exactly one half
. Decide whether you need an aperture of the suggested good exposure. To
or shutter speed that differs from what compensate, you could use the slower
the meter recommends. You might shutter speed of /s, which lets light
want more or less depth of field (ap- in twice as long. You are again giving
erture) or want to stop or blur motion the camera exactly the amount of light
(shutter speed). that it needs to make a good exposure
. Let’s say the camera suggested /s but have more depth of field. In other
at f/ for a good exposure, but you words, if you close the aperture by
want a faster shutter speed to stop ac- one step (removes light), you’ll need
tion. If you select a shutter speed one to slow the shutter speed by one step
step faster, or /s, which cuts the (adds light). F/ at /s equals f/
exposure to the sensor by half, you at /s.
must open the aperture to let in more
light. In other words, if you set the The two considerations are how
shutter speed one step higher (re- much and how long. Use your aperture
moves light), you’ll need to open the to control how much light gets onto the
aperture one step larger too (adds sensor. Use your shutter speed to control
light). So if your original exposure was
/s at f/ and you select /s
how long the light gets to the sensor.
Balance the two for a correct exposure!
8
instead, simply open the aperture to
f/. and you get the same amount of Aperture and Shutter Speed Chart
exposure. That is, by increasing your In FIG A you’ll find an aperture and
shutter speed by one step, you cut the shutter speed equivalency chart that you
time the light comes into the camera can use to figure out how the relation-
by half, so there is only half as much ships we’ve discussed work, but in a more
light that gets to the sensor. To com- visual way.
pensate, you open the aperture to To use the chart, you simply select
twice the previous size so that twice as a certain aperture and shutter speed
 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

combination. For instance, let’s use /s As long as you keep your finger in the
at f/.. Notice on the chart that the same row of shutter speeds, the aper-
gold-colored f-stops run from f/. to ture’s in the preceding list will give you
f/. Put your finger on the f/. position an equivalent exposure. Let’s switch to a
(.). Just below there you’ll see the shut- new row of shutter speeds. Find the f/.
ter speed of /s (). Put your finger f-stop and look down the column until
on the shutter speed of . Move it to you find /s (). Using the same
the left one space to , or /s. You’ll logic as before, here are more exposures
notice that above the  is a gold . The  that provide exactly the same amount of
represents f/. Now this is important— light to the camera’s sensor:
f. at /s is exactly the same exposure t /s at f/.
as f/ at /s. t /s at f/
If you follow this out to the end of t /s at f/.
the chart, you’ll see that f/. at /s t /s at f/
is equal to f/ at /s. Also, f/ at /s
is equal to f/. at /s. Any of the If you play with this chart for a while,
numbers along the top (f-stops) of the you will begin to see how flexible your
chart matched with the number below camera is in giving you so many choices
(shutter speed) is exactly the same expo- of apertures and shutter speeds. Now you
sure. To make this clearer, I am going to can choose just the right aperture for the
list several exposures that are exactly the best depth of field in your image. Or, you
same and bring the same amount of light can choose just the right shutter speed to
into the camera: stop action or allow blurred movement in
t /s at f/. your picture.
t /s at f/ By using this chart and exercising your
t /s at f/. new knowledge while taking pictures,
t /s at f/ you’ll soon become comfortable with the

FIG A - Aperture and shutter speed equivalency chart


Focal Length 

ideas expressed in this chapter. You’ll In FIG , you see an image taken with
have control of your camera in its manual the -mm kit lens at  mm. This
modes and much finer control over how “wide-angle” setting has lots of depth of
your images “turn out”. In fact, no one field, so the scenic image is in good focus
will be able to say, “That one turned out from near to far. You’ll use this  mm
well”. You’ll be able to look at them and focal length often when you are taking
say, “It didn’t just happen by chance, I did pictures of beautiful landscapes and
that intentionally!” groups of people.
Now, in FIG A you see an image taken
Focal Length at the opposite end of the -mm
Your camera most likely was shipped with lens’s focal length. This “longer”  mm
an -mm kit lens. This small zoom lens setting narrows down the amount of
lens is quite sharp and easy to use. It is the scene your lens can see. The image in
considered a wide-angle to short tele- FIG A was taken at the same spot as the
photo lens length. What I mean by that is image in FIG , but notice at how much
that its focal lengths range from wide an- less “field of view” the  mm setting in
gle ( mm) to short telephoto ( mm). FIG A is seen. It pulls the view in closer
Let’s look at a couple of pictures to see to you, or magnifies it.
the effects of focal length on the image.

FIG  - Shooting at  mm – Wide-angle focal length


 Aperture, Shutter Speed, and Focal Length

FIG A - Shooting at  mm – Short telephoto focal length

The width and height of the area the pull in more distant subjects, for shoot-
lens can see is called “field of view”. In ing sports from the bleachers or taking a
other words, a wide-angle lens has a wide picture of the moon.
field of view, while a telephoto lens has a
narrow field of view. FIG  shows a wide- Vibration Reduction (VR) Lenses
angle field of view, while FIG A shows a Your -mm VR kit lens should have
short telephoto’s narrower field of view. what’s called VR, or vibration reduc-
You can purchase lenses for your tion. If so, there is a switch on the side
D that vary from as (super) wide as of the lens with VR On/Off above it. (We
 mm to as long as  mm (or more). discussed this, with pictures, in chap-
8 The wider and/or longer lenses cost a lot
more money. You can even buy lenses
ter .) Leave this turned on when you’re
handholding your camera because it will
that see slightly behind themselves. I’m cut down on vibrations and make your
not kidding! picture significantly sharper. You don’t
If you want to take a picture of a deer need VR when you are using a tripod, so
out in a field, you may want to get a it’s best to turn it off, unless your tripod
longer telephoto lens. Nikon makes an is old and wobbly.
inexpensive lens that matches the next VR lenses are really nice to use because
step up in focal length from your kit lens. they allow you to handhold your camera
It’s the AF-S Nikkor -mm f/-. at slower shutter speeds than normal.
ED lens. This will let you reach out and Many new lenses in the Nikkor lineup are
My Conclusions 

now equipped with VR. Buy one of those ever experience the persistent desire to
if you can; you’ll get better images as a own every lens ever made by Nikon, you’ll
result. Here’s a list of lens manufacturer’s realize, too late of course, that you’ve
reduced vibration code names: come down with NAS. You may never
t Nikon VR – Vibration Reduction recover! The only real treatment for it is
t Sigma OS – Optical Stabilizer buying new Nikon equipment.
t Tamron VC – Vibration Compensation Since , I haven’t recovered from
NAS and don’t particularly want to
Focus Motor in the Lens either!
Since the Nikon D does not have a
motor in the body that will cause a lens My Conclusions
to autofocus, like some older and larger The relationship between aperture and
Nikons, you’ll need to be sure any new shutter speed—and how each changes the
lenses you buy have the “AF-S Nikkor” picture—is rather difficult for many to
name. AF-S stands for Autofocus–Silent understand. If you don’t quite get it yet,
wave motor and means that the lens is put your camera in Manual mode and re-
equipped with an internal autofocus mo- read the information in this chapter while
tor, so your camera doesn’t have to have adjusting your camera’s aperture and
one itself. Here is a list of in-lens motor shutter speed. Focus on something that
brands and their code names: has a consistent level of ambient light and
t Nikon AF-S – Autofocus-Silent wave see if you can get a correct exposure with
t Sigma HSM – Hypersonic Motor different apertures and shutter speeds.
t Tamron BIM – Built In Motor This is sort of like learning to ride a bicy-
cle. You cannot understand it until sudden-
A Simple Warning ly you do. Keep studying this subject
Besides much better image quality, own- because it will make you a better photogra-
ing new and exciting lenses is one of the pher, more able to control your camera for
major reasons to buy a Nikon DSLR cam- the best image results. Obviously, this book
era. Sometimes I go online and look at can only review this subject since it is not
(and desire intensely) lenses just for the
fun of it. But be forewarned, as this desire
a tutorial on exposure. Instead, it is a tuto-
rial on the Nikon D.
8
can get out of hand! I’d like to see you use the D very
Warning: Owning a Nikon DSLR may effectively and enjoyably. You have a very
cause you to develop a certain “sickness” flexible camera, and you are a passion-
that few recover from. In fact, the condi- ate photographer. Learning to effectively
tion is quite pleasurable due to the sensa- use the aperture, shutter speed, and focal
tions it causes in the human brain, so length in combination will only increase
few ever really seek a way to recover from your enjoyment.
it. What is this malady? It’s called NAS
(Nikon Acquisition Syndrome). If you
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes,


and Histogram

9
Section  –Exposure Metering Systems 

The Nikon D is chock-full of meter-


Section 1 –
ing and exposure modes. If you want to
Exposure Metering Systems
leave the Nikon Guide Mode behind and
venture into self-controlled photography,
you’ll need to study this chapter. The basis for the Nikon D’s expo-
We’ll consider how the exposure meter- sure meter is a -segment RGB sensor
ing system and modes work. We’ll look that meters a wide area of the frame. If
at how each of three different light meter you took your camera apart, the meter-
types is best used. We’ll examine the vari- ing sensor would look like what you see
ous modes of shooting your camera can in FIG .
use, including several Scene modes for When used with a G or D Nikkor lens
when you want the camera to do most of containing a CPU, the camera can set
the work while you enjoy shooting. And, exposure based on the distribution of
finally, we’ll look in detail at how the brightness, color, distance, and composi-
histogram works on the Nikon D. tion. Most people leave their camera set
The histogram is a new feature to those to Matrix metering and enjoy excellent
who are coming over from film shoot- results. Let’s look more closely at each of
ing. This little readout gives you great the Nikon D’s exposure metering
control over metering and will help you systems.
make the most accurate exposures you’ve
ever made. It is very important that you
understand the histogram, so we’ll look
at it in detail.
This chapter is divided into three parts:
. The Exposure Metering Systems – Ma-
trix, Spot, and Center-weighted.
. The Exposure Modes P, S, A, and M: Pro-
grammed auto, Shutter-priority auto, Ap-
erture-priority auto, and Manual, plus the
six Scene modes that give a new user FIG  – -segment RGB sensor
command of a certain style of shoot-
ing.
. The Histogram – How to read it and
better control your exposures.
9
Let’s get started by looking into the
three exposure metering systems.
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Information edit metering screens

The metering mode controls on the 3D Color Matrix II Metering


Information edit menu of the Nikon D The Nikon D contains the D Color
are shown in FIG  (the red numbers are Matrix II metering system that’s one of
mine). the most powerful and accurate automat-
FIG , image  shows the first ic exposure meters in any camera today.
Information edit menu, found by pressing How does Matrix metering work?
the <i> Information edit button twice (see Through complex mathematical formulas,
chapter , FIG B, number  for the loca- there are characteristics for many thou-
tion of the <i> information edit button). sands of images stored in the camera. These
Select the Metering screen as shown in characteristics are used, along with propri-
FIG , image , and then select one of the etary Nikon software and complex evalu-
three Metering modes (see my red numbers ative computations, to analyze the image
-). As shown in FIG , image , the top appearing in your viewfinder. The meter is
mode () is Matrix metering. The next then set to provide very accurate exposure
one down is () Center-weighted meter- for the greatest majority of your images.
ing. And the last in the selections is () A simple example of this might be a
Spot metering. picture where the horizon runs through
Let’s consider each of these modes and the middle of the image. The sky above
how they work. is bright, and the earth below is much
dimmer. This image is evaluated and
compared to hundreds of similar images

9 in the camera’s database, and a meter


setting is automatically input for you.
The meter examines four critical areas
of each picture. It compares the levels of
brightness in various parts of the scene
to determine the total range of EV values.
It then notices the color of the subject
Center-Weighted Metering 

FIG  – D Color Matrix II metering

and surroundings. If you are using a G Center-Weighted Metering


or D lens with a CPU chip—like the AF-S If you’re a bit old-fashioned, having been
Nikkor -mm kit lens—it also deter- raised on a classic center-weighted meter
mines how far away your lens is focused and still prefer that type, the D’s ex-
so that it can figure the distance to your posure meter can be transformed into a
subject. Finally, it looks at the composi- center-weighted meter.
tional elements of the subject. Here are the steps to select Center-
Once it has all that information, it weighted metering mode (see FIG ,
compares your image to tens of thou- and for the location of the controls,
sands of image characteristics in its chapter , FIG B):
image database, makes complex evalu- . Press the < i> Information edit button twice
ations, and comes up with an exposure to get to the Information edit menu.
value that is usually very accurate, even in . Use the Multi Selector to scroll to Meter-
complex lighting situations. ing (FIG , image ).
FIG  shows how to select the Matrix . Press the OK button.
metering mode. . Scroll to the second item in the list for
Here are the steps to select the Matrix the Center-weighted metering mode
metering mode (see FIG , and for the loca- (FIG , image ).
tion of the controls, chapter , FIG B): . Press the OK button to select it.
. Press the <i> Information edit button
twice to get to the Information edit The Center-weighted meter in the
menu.
. Use the Multi Selector to scroll to Meter-
D is a pretty simple concept, really.
It meters the entire frame but concen- 9
ing (FIG , image ). trates  percent of the metering in a
. Press the OK button. circular area in the middle of the frame.
. Scroll to the top item in the list, or Ma- The other  percent of the frame outside
trix metering mode (FIG , image ). the circle provides the rest of the meter-
. Press the OK button to select it. ing. You can see a circle in the middle of
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Center-weighted metering

Spot Metering
Often no other meter but a spot meter
will do. In situations where you must get
an accurate exposure of a very small sec-
tion of the frame or you must get multiple
meter readings from various small areas,
the D can, once again, be adjusted to
fit your needs.
Here are the steps to select Spot meter-
FIG A – Approximate center-weighted metering ing mode (see FIG , and for the location
circle (Red) of the controls, chapter , FIG B):
. Press the <i> Information edit button
your camera’s viewfinder. Use that as an twice to get to the Information edit
approximate size for the area that has menu.
 percent of the meter’s attention. In . Use the Multi Selector to scroll to Meter-
FIG A I have colored in red the approxi- ing (FIG , image ).
mate area for the most sensitive part of . Press the OK button.
the Center-weighted meter. The part of . Scroll to the third item in the list for
your subject that’s in the center of your the Spot metering mode (FIG ,
D’s viewfinder influences the meter image ).
more than whatever is seen toward the . Press the OK button to select it.

9 edges of the frame. Do your best metering


with the circle in the middle of the view- The D’s Spot meter consists of
finder when in Center-weighted mode. a tiny circle surrounding the currently
You can’t move the Center-weighted active and moveable autofocus (AF) point
meter area around the viewfinder as you if you are using single or continuous AF
can with the Spot meter. It is always with- focus modes (AF-S, or AF-C). In Auto-area
in the circle in the center of the viewfinder. (AF-A) focus mode, the Spot meter is
Spot Metering 

FIG  – Spot metering

How big is the spot the meter uses?


Well, the Spot meter barely surrounds
the currently selected AF Point in your
viewfinder. It is fairly close to the size
of the little brackets that appear around
the active AF Point when you slightly
press the Shutter release button. FIG A
shows the small area in red. Remember
that you can move this spot around with
FIG A – Viewfinder view of the Spot meter area the currently selected AF Point if you have
the camera set to AF-area modes Single-
point or Dynamic-area. (See the chapter
metering from the center AF Point only titled Shooting Menu for more informa-
and does not move when other AF Points tion on selecting and using the AF-area
are automatically selected. If you are modes Single-point and Dynamic-area with
going to use the Spot meter effectively, the Information edit menu. You can also
you might want to set your D to AF-S set the AF-area modes using the Shooting
or AF-C modes! (See the chapter titled menu.
Shooting Menu for more information on
selecting and using the autofocus modes Feel Confident when Using the
AF-A, AF-S, and AF-C.) Spot Meter
The Spot meter evaluates only a tiny
bit of the frame, so it is indeed a “spot”
When your D is in Spot meter
mode and you move the AF point to some
9
meter. Since the spot is surrounding the small section of your subject, you can rest
currently active AF Point, you can move assured that you’re getting a true spot
the Spot meter around the viewfinder reading.
within the  AF Points by pressing the
Multi Selector in various directions.
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

In fact, you can use the Spot meter to instead and then take the picture, the
determine an approximate EV range of person’s face is likely to “blow out” to
light values in the entire image. You can solid white. We’ll discuss this in more
do this by taking separate meter readings detail later in this chapter in the section
from the lightest spot in the frame and about the Histogram.
the darkest spot. If this value exceeds  Use the Spot meter to get specific
or  stops difference, you’ve got to decide meter readings of small areas on and
which part of your subject is most impor- around your subject, make some expo-
tant to you and meter only for that part. sure decisions yourself, and your subject
The critical part of your subject is going to should be well exposed. Just remember
be improperly exposed otherwise. that the spot meter evaluates only for
On an overcast day, you can usually the small area that it sees, so it cannot
get by with no worries because the light adjust the camera for anything except
values within the range are often within that one tiny area. Some practice is
the recording capability of the sensor. required to learn how to use Spot meter-
On a bright sunny day, the range of light ing well, but it is a very professional way
exceeds what your sensor can record by as to make images.
much as two times, often as much as  Note: The camera does not store multi-
stops total, while your sensor can record a ple spot meter readings in any way. It’s up
maximum of only  or  stops! to you to make those individual readings,
Don’t let the numbers make you interpret them, and then figure out what
nervous. Just remember that Spot meter- you want to do with the exposure.
ing is often a trade-off. You trade the
highly specific ability to ensure that a Which Metering Mode would I Use?
certain portion of an image is “spot-on”
Most of the time, I’ll leave my camera set
for the ability of the camera’s multiple to Matrix metering. I use the Spot meter-
“averaging” skills to generally get the ing mode only when I am using flash to get
correct exposure throughout the frame. the best reading from my subject, or when
The choice is yours, depending on the I need to meter a difficult subject with a
shooting situation. range of light wider than my sensor can
If you spot meter the face of a person contain. I haven’t used Center-weighted
metering since back in the film days and
standing in the sun and take a picture,
look at it as an old-fashioned system.
the shadows around that person will However, there are those that love the old-

9 contain little or no data. The shadows will


be underexposed and look like solid black.
style Center-weighted meter. It’s there if
you want it.
Then, if you spot meter from the shadows
Section  –Exposure Modes 

so; if not, you may just be getting into


Section 2 –
the digital photography DSLR realm with
Exposure Modes
your D, and I ought to stop reminisc-
ing and get to the point.
My first Nikon was an FM back in . The point is that today’s cameras are
I remember that camera with fondness amazingly complex compared to cameras
because I had it when I got really seri- from only a few years ago. Let’s exam-
ous about photography. It’s hard for ine how we can use that flexibility for
me to imagine that it has been so many our benefit. The D is also a P, S, A, M
years since I last used my FM! Things camera. That’s the abbreviated progres-
were simpler back then. Now that I think sion of primary modes on the Mode dial
about it, I remember my grandma say- that allow you to control the camera’s
ing something similar about her Brownie shutter speed and aperture yourself.
Hawkeye. In addition, the D has several
When I say simple, I mean that the FM Scene modes, and a fully AUTO mode for
had a basic Center-weighted light meter, when you just want to take good pictures
a manual exposure dial, and manual without thinking about exposure.
aperture settings. I had to decide how There is just one control on the D
to create the image in all aspects. It was to set the AUTO, Scene, or P, S, A, M modes.
a camera with only one mode—M, or It is a convenient dial called the Mode dial
Manual. (see FIG ).
Later on, I bought a Nikon FE and was Now, let’s discuss each Exposure mode
amazed to use its A mode, or Aperture- in detail.
priority. I could set the aperture manually
and the camera would adjust the shutter
speed for me. Luxury! The FE had two
modes, M–Manual, and A–Aperture-priority.
A few more years went by and I bought
a Nikon F. This camera was loaded with
features and was much more complex.
It had four different modes, including
the two I was used to—M and A—and
two new modes, S–Shutter-priority, and
P–Programmed auto. I had to learn even
more stuff ! The F was my first P, S, A, M 9
camera.
Does this sound anything like your
progression? If you are over , maybe FIG  – Mode dial for exposure modes
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Mode dial set to Programmed auto mode, or P mode

P – Programmed Auto Mode Get Down, Grandpa!


Programmed auto mode (P) is designed for You’re shooting at a family party and sud-
those times that you just want to shoot denly you see a perfect shot of Grandpa
pictures and not think much about cam- dancing on the dinner table and Grandma
era settings but still want emergency standing on the floor behind him with
control when needed. The camera takes her hand over her mouth. You, being a
care of the shutter speed and aperture for well-trained photographer, glance down at
you, and uses your selected exposure me- your camera and realize that the f/ aper-
ter type to create the best pictures it can ture showing on the Information screen won’t
without being a human. FIG  shows the give you enough depth of field to focus on
Mode dial set to P–Programmed auto mode Grandpa and still have a sharp image of
and the Information screen. Grandma, who by this time is tugging at
It is called Programmed auto because Grandpa’s pant leg. With only seconds to
it uses an internal software program spare you turn your camera’s Command dial
built into the D. It tries its best to to the left. The D realizes that it is be-
create optimal images in most situations. ing called upon to leave snapshot mode and
However, this is considered by most to be a give you some control. As shown in FIG A
“snapshot” mode. P mode can handle a wide (red arrow), it puts a small P with an aster-
variety of situations well, but I personally isk next to it on the Information screen (P*)
wouldn’t depend on it for my important to let you know it realizes that you are tak-
shooting. At a party, where I want some ing over control of the aperture. Since you

9 nice snapshots, it’s great. I don’t want to


think about the camera then, just enjoying
are turning the dial to the left, it obligingly
starts cranking down the aperture. A few
the party. P mode to me is P for Party. clicks to the left and your aperture is set to
P mode actually comes in two parts. f/. As soon as the D detected that you
Programmed auto and Flexible program. were turning the command dial, it started
Flexible program works similarly to A– adjusting the shutter speed to match the
Aperture-priority mode. Why do I say that? new aperture. With only milliseconds before
Let me explain. Grandma starts dragging Grandpa off the
P – Programmed Auto Mode 

dinner table, you get the camera to your eye, it to the right and the aperture gets larger.
compose, press the shutter, and the D Nikon gave you control of the aperture in
starts grabbing frames. Since you were using P*-Flexible program mode only. Can you see
Continuous release mode—at three frames why I say that Flexible program mode acts
per second—the camera shoots several pic- like A–Aperture-priority mode?
tures in the few seconds it takes Grandma to
get Grandpa down from the table. The Trick to Getting Out of P* Mode
What you did, in my imaginary scenar-
Once you’ve entered P*–Flexible program
io, was invoke the Flexible program mode
mode, you have to turn the Command dial
(P*) in your D. How? As soon as you back the same number of clicks to get back
turned the Command dial, the D left into normal P mode. This has a strange
normal P mode and switched to Flexible side effect. If you have your D in P
program. Prior to turning the Command mode and turn the Command dial to the
dial, the D was happily controlling right, the D goes into P* mode and
both shutter speed and aperture for you. starts counting clicks to the right. To get
back into normal P mode, you have to turn
When you turned the dial, the D
the Command dial back to the left that
immediately switched to Flexible program same number of clicks (up to  clicks).
mode and allowed you to have control over
the aperture, while the camera maintained The reason I know that the D is actual-
control of only the shutter speed. In effect, ly counting clicks is that I counted it count-
the D allowed you to exercise your ing clicks. Here’s what I did. I set my D
knowledge of photography very quickly to P mode and got into a darker area where
it was at maximum aperture. I then started
and only assisted you from that point.
cranking the Command dial to the right,
When you enter P*–Flexible program
which should increase the aperture. Since
mode, you control the aperture and the I was already at maximum aperture, the
D controls the shutter speed, unlike D could not increase the aperture size,
normal P mode, which controls them both. so it just sat there counting clicks instead.
In P* mode, if you turn the Command dial In order for me to get back into normal P
to the left, the aperture gets smaller. Turn mode, and out of Flexible program, I had
to turn back to the left the exact number of
clicks I turned to the right (up to  clicks).

I am telling you this just in case you do


what I did. Then you’ll already know that
the D will let you out of P*–Flexible
program mode only when you return to the
original position on the dial. Another way to
9
get out of the Flexible program mode is to
turn the camera off or turn the Mode dial.
Once you have left P* mode, the Informa-
tion screen will simply show a P without
FIG A – Flexible Program mode P* on the Informa- the asterisk, as is shown in FIG , image .
tion screen
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Mode dial set to Shutter-priority auto mode, or S mode

S – Shutter-Priority Auto Mode To change the shutter speed, simply


Shutter-priority auto is for those who need rotate the Command dial to any value from
to control their camera’s shutter speed  seconds to / of a second. Turn
while allowing the camera to maintain the the wheel to the right for faster shut-
correct aperture for the available light. ter speeds and to the left for slower. The
FIG  shows the Mode dial set to S for Shut- camera will adjust your aperture to main-
ter-priority auto mode. tain a correct exposure and will warn you
If you find yourself shooting action, when it can’t.
you’ll want to keep the shutter speed
high enough to capture an image with- A – Aperture-Priority Auto Mode
out excessive blurring. Shooting sports, Nature, macro shooters, and anyone
air shows, auto races, or anything with concerned with careful control of depth
subjects moving quickly requires careful of field will often leave their D set
control of the shutter. Sometimes, too, to Aperture-priority auto (A) mode. FIG 
you might want to set your shutter speed shows the Mode dial set to Aperture-priority
to a very slow setting for special effects or auto mode.
time exposures. A–Aperture-priority auto mode lets you
If the light changes drastically and control the aperture while the D
the D cannot maintain a correct takes care of the shutter speed for opti-
exposure, it will inform you by replac- mal exposures. To select an aperture,
ing the normal aperture reading on the you’ll use the Command dial. Turn the

9 Information screen with either Hi or Lo.


They mean what they imply. Hi means
wheel to the right for a smaller aperture
and to the left for a larger one.
there is too much light for a good expo- The minimum and maximum aperture
sure. Lo means there is not enough light settings are controlled by the mechanical
for a good exposure. minimum and maximum aperture sizes
available within the lens you’ve mounted
M – Manual Mode 

FIG  – Mode dial set to Aperture-priority auto mode, or A mode

on the camera. Most “consumer” lenses M – Manual Mode


run from f/. to f/. More pricey “pro” Manual mode takes a big step backward to
style lenses may have apertures as large days of old. It gives you complete control
as f/., but they generally start at f/. of your camera’s shutter and aperture so
and end at f/ or f/. that you can make all the exposure deci-
The aperture directly controls the sions, with suggestions from the expo-
amount of depth of field in an image. sure meter. FIG , image  shows the
Depth of field is an extremely important Mode dial set to Manual mode (M).
concept for photographers to understand. Also, in FIG , image , notice the
Simply put, it allows you to control the electronic analog exposure display.
range or depth of sharp focus in your This display is found when you press
images. If you are focused on a person’s the Info button on top of the camera or
face, will the person standing behind him the camera’s <i> Information edit button
also be in focus? Depth of field controls (once). On the LCD screen you’ll see a
that! See the chapter titled Aperture, plus sign + on the left, a minus sign - on
Shutter Speed, and Focal Length for the right, and a  in the center. Each dot
deeper information on depth of field. on the scale represents / EV step, and

FIG  – Mode dial set to Manual and -. EV underexposure


 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

each line represents  EV step for a total with its meter, but you make the final
of  EV steps overexposed and  under- decision about how the exposure will
exposed. You’ll see a miniature version look. Manual mode is for taking your
of the same scale at the bottom of the time and enjoying your photography. It
viewfinder when you look through the gives you the most control of how the
eyepiece. image looks but also expects you to have
When you’re metering your subject, a a higher level of knowledge to get correct
bar will extend from the zero in the center exposures.
toward the plus side to indicate overexpo- Aperture, shutter speed, depth of field,
sure, or toward the minus side to indicate and lens use are discussed in more detail
underexposure (see FIG , image ). You in the chapter titled Aperture, Shutter
can gauge the amount of over- or under- Speed, and Focal Length.
exposure by the number of dots and lines
the bar passes as it heads toward one side My Recommendations on Exposure
or the other. The goal in Manual mode is to Mode Selection
make the bar disappear. In FIG , image As a nature photographer, I am mostly
, the bar is indicating  / EV or . EV concerned with getting a sharp image
steps (stops) underexposure. with deep depth of field in most cases.
You’ll adjust the aperture by holding About  percent of the time, my cam-
down the Exposure compensation/Aperture era is set to A–Aperture-priority and f/.
button while turning the Command dial I started using this mode back in about
(see chapter , FIG C, number  and  when I bought my Nikon FE and
FIG B, number  for the location of the have stayed with it since. My style of
controls). The shutter speed is adjusted shooting requires it.
simply by turning the Command dial alone. However, were I a sports or action
When in Manual mode, you have control shooter, I would have my camera set to
over aperture for depth of field and shut- S–Shutter-priority most often. That would
ter speed for motion control. If your allow me to control the speed of the shut-
subject needs a little more depth of field, ter and capture those fast-moving people
just make the aperture smaller, but be and objects without a lot of blur. The
sure to slow down the shutter speed too, camera will control the aperture so that I
or your image may be underexposed. If only have to concentrate on which shutter
you suddenly need a faster shutter speed, speed best fits my subject’s movement.

9 then set it faster, but be sure to open the


aperture to compensate.
I use the other two modes, M-Manual
and P-Programmed auto, only for special
The point is, you are in complete occasions.
control of the camera and must make M-Manual mode is for when I have time
decisions for both the shutter speed and to just enjoy my photography. When I
aperture. The camera makes suggestions want to control the camera absolutely,
Full AUTO and Scene Modes 

I’ll go to manual. I also use Manual mode more advanced uses of the P, S, A, and
when I am shooting events like a wedding M modes when you are shooting slowly.
indoors with my external Nikon SB- Let’s look into how these extra modes
flash providing the main light. I’ll often work.
select /s at f/ and keep my subject
within  feet of the flash. This lets the AUTO Exposure Mode
flash unit control the exposure. The AUTO mode is for those times when
I probably use P-Programmed auto mode you want to get the picture with no
least of all. I might use it when I’m at a thought as to how the camera works. The
party and just want to take nice pictures setting for AUTO mode is found on the
for my own use. I’ll let the camera make Command dial located on the top of your
most of the decisions by using P mode camera (see FIG A).
while still having the ability to quickly About all you need be concerned with
jump into P*-Flexible program mode when in AUTO mode is how well the image is
events call for a little more aperture composed and whether the battery is
control. fully charged. When in AUTO mode, the
D becomes a big point-and-shoot
Full AUTO and Scene Modes camera, like a heavy Coolpix. Many of
Some people have recently switched its internal modes go to auto too. For
from using a point-and-shoot camera, instance, here is a list of important
to a more powerful DSLR like the Nikon camera features that go into automatic:
D. Most point-and-shoot cameras t White balance
have a completely automatic mode and t Picture Control
some scene modes, representing common t Meter type
photographic opportunities. t Built-in Flash mode
If you have come over from the point-
and-shoot world, you might enjoy using In effect, you relinquish control of the
the AUTO or Scene modes on your D camera’s functions for a “guarantee” of
for quick snapshots while learning the some sort of picture being provided. In

FIG A – Full AUTO exposure mode


 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

most cases, the D will provide its Portrait Scene Mode
normal excellent images when you’ve The Portrait mode is best used when you
selected AUTO. However, in difficult are taking pictures of people or static sub-
circumstances, the camera is free to turn jects. The icon for this mode looks like a
up the ISO sensitivity to get a picture lady wearing a fancy hat (see FIG B).
even at the expense of image quality. If an The camera tends to emphasize shallow
alien spaceship lands in the local super- depth of field (large apertures) so that
store parking lot, I might be convinced only your subject is in sharp focus. That
to use AUTO since I am going to get a is a more flattering way to focus atten-
picture no matter what. I don’t have to tion on your subject while trying to blur
think about anything except framing the out the background as much as possible.
subject and pressing the shutter release. It also tries to make skin tones look soft
If you want to loan your camera to your and natural looking. It uses face recogni-
grandmother and she has no interest in tion technology along with Auto AF-area
how cameras work, the D will hap- mode, so that it can locate faces for group
pily make nice images for her in AUTO pictures.
mode. While you are learning to use the To control the color in the scene, it
more advanced functions of the camera, uses the Portrait Picture Control (PT), which
you too might benefit from using this emphasizes accurate, natural skin tones.
mode for a while. You’ll usually get bet- It automatically adjusts sharpening and
ter pictures when you control the camera, contrast to fit the subject. If you are
but the D has some awfully nice taking pictures of adult friends, alone or
software for when you don’t want to take in small groups, use this mode.
control yet.

9 FIG B – Portrait Scene mode


Full AUTO and Scene Modes 

FIG C – Landscape Scene mode

Landscape Scene Mode shots in Landscape mode. Greens, blues,


If you are spending a day in the and reds will have extra saturation for
mountains, you’ll want to use the a beautiful colorful look. Autumn scen-
Landscape mode a lot. Its icon looks like a ery and summer foliage will really look
couple of mountain peaks with a square great. To control the color in the scene,
around them (see FIG C). it uses the Landscape Picture Control (LS)
Landscapes are usually best photo- for vivid colors and good contrast. The
graphed on a tripod at small apertures D automatically adjusts sharpening,
so that the entire scenic view is nice and contrast, and saturation to fit the scene.
sharp. Whether or not you’re using a The camera gives you control over
tripod, the Landscape mode will empha- which AF point you’d like to use to estab-
size smaller apertures for more depth of lish primary focus. You can use the Multi
field. Be careful when the light gets low Selector to move the AF point around the
because the small aperture will lead to viewfinder. This gives you control over the
slow shutter speeds and the resulting best point of focus and the best exposure.
camera shake for blurry pictures. When The Built-in flash and the small AF-assist illu-
the light gets dim, please use a tripod. The minator on the camera’s front are disabled
D makes colors vivid for daylight while this mode is in use.

9
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG D – Child Scene mode

Child Scene Mode Auto AF-area mode, which uses face recog-
This mode is designed for those times nition technology to find the little faces
when you’re taking pictures of cute but in your picture and focus on them. To
wiggly children. Its icon looks like a child control the color in the scene, it uses the
wearing a cap and with arms raised (see Standard Picture Control (SD), with result-
FIG D). ing higher saturation in the colors. The
Child mode tries to make skin tones soft camera automatically adjusts sharpening,
and natural looking while boosting the contrast, and saturation to fit the picture.
colors in clothing and backgrounds. Since
kids move around a lot, the camera tries Sports Scene Mode
to keep the shutter speed a little faster to Since sporting events usually have people
capture the movement, if light allows. It and other subjects moving at a rapid
seems to try to balance between medium pace, this mode emphasizes fast shutter
shutter speeds and apertures so that speeds. Its icon is a person in full running
there will be sufficient depth of field to motion (see FIG E).
capture those cute little faces from front Since you certainly don’t want slow
to back. The autofocus system uses the shutter speeds at a car race or air show,

FIG E – Sports Scene mode


Full AUTO and Scene Modes 

FIG F – Close Up Scene mode

the camera will attempt to use the fast- Close Up Scene Mode
est shutter speed that the light will allow Another name for the Close up mode
and will open up the aperture to keep the might be flower mode or even macro
exposure reasonable. It will also tend to mode. Its icon is a flower (see FIG F).
raise the ISO sensitivity of the camera’s It’s designed to let you to take close-
sensor to help capture movement when up pictures of flowers, insects, and vari-
the light starts falling. Expect somewhat ous other small items. Since close-up
shallow depth of field in Sports mode since images have rather shallow depth of field
the emphasis is on faster shutter speeds. at all times, the camera uses small aper-
To control the color in the scene, it uses tures when light allows, hopefully giving
the Standard Picture Control (SD) for deeper enough depth of field to give your subject
color saturation. The D automati- a chance for sharp focus. To control the
cally adjusts sharpening, contrast, and color in the scene, it uses the Standard
saturation to fit the subject matter. The Picture Control (SD). This gives deeper color
Built-in flash and AF-assist illuminator are saturation since your subjects will often
turned off. be natural and will benefit from better
color. The camera automatically adjusts
contrast and adds + sharpening over a
normal SD Picture Control.
It is highly preferable that you use a
tripod when in Close up mode. The shut-
ter speeds will be slower, which could
cause blurry pictures from camera shake 9
in low light. Plus, you’ll want a lot of
control over what part of the subject is in
focus. Using a tripod helps make sharper
pictures. It’s simply hard to hold a camera
still when you’re focusing very closely!
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG G – Night Portrait Scene mode

Night Portrait Scene Mode picture, and there is proper exposure for
This is a difficult mode for a camera. Its the person in the portrait from the flash.
icon looks like a small man with a star There’s one problem to be aware of
on the right of his head, surrounded by a though. When slow mode flash is used, it is
square frame (see FIG G). really better to have the camera on a tripod
If you are shooting handheld at night, or brace yourself carefully. Also, ask your
it’s best to try to balance the shutter subject not to move. If the ambient light
speed and aperture so that the shut- is low, the slow shutter speed can cause
ter stays fast enough to handhold the an effect called ghosting. The subject is
shot while the aperture is open as much properly exposed by the flash, but camera
as possible to let in dim light. The Night movement from the still open shutter can
Portrait mode seems to emphasize large cause a ghosting or secondary picture of
apertures more than faster shutter the subject that is blurred. The camera is
speeds, for the simple reason that there is trying its best to balance the picture for
so little light at night the aperture needs a good exposure of the person, while still
to be large to capture the scene. allowing some light from the background
When flash is used, the camera switch- to record in the picture. You should keep
es the flash mode automatically to slow the camera very still when using this mode
mode. That means the camera uses the in low light. Of course, you should always
flash to light the subject but leaves the keep the camera still when shooting in any
shutter open for a longer period than type of low light. Tripods are good! You do

9 needed for normal flash so that the back-


ground will have time to get good expo-
have one, don’t you?
To control the color in the scene, Night
sure. This can mean very beautiful images portrait mode uses the Portrait Picture
when a sunset or dusk picture is taken. Control (PT). That makes sense because the
The sky and background can still have night portrait involves people in low light.
enough light to add a lovely look to the The D automatically adjusts sharpen-
ing and contrast to fit the portrait.
Section  –Histogram 

Why Have Scene Modes?


Section 3 –
These modes are considered “Creative
Histogram
Photography Modes” by Nikon. In fact,
they allow an inexperienced photogra-
pher to emulate the camera settings they Back in the “good old” film days we had
might be inclined to use if they had more no histogram, so we had to depend on
experience. A new photographer will have our experience and light meter to get a
access to a level of photographic experi- good exposure. Since we couldn’t see the
ence built into the camera that will help exposure until after we had left the scene,
them make good images. Later, as their we measured our success by the number
own experience grows, they can use the of “good” images we were able to cre-
P, S, A, and M modes to get more creative ate. With the exposure meter/histogram
control over the image. combination found in the D, and
Since the Nikon D has the speci- the ability to zoom into our images with
fications for tens of thousands of images the high-resolution monitor on the back
stored in its Matrix metering system, I of our cameras, the success rate we can
wouldn’t be surprised if the camera used experience is very much higher than ever
a subset of stored image types more close- before.
ly matching each of these Scene modes. Many do not realize it, but the histo-
That might hold true in Matrix meter- gram can be as important, or even more
ing mode. I have no way to prove this, so so, than the exposure meter. The meter
don’t quote me on it! sets the camera up for the exposure, and
If you choose to use Scene modes, do the histogram visually verifies that the
so with the understanding that you can exposure is a good one.
learn to control the image to a finer If your exposure meter stopped work-
degree with the P, S, A, and M modes. ing, you could still get perfect exposures
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the using only the histogram. In fact, I gauge
more powerful features of the D. You my efforts more by how the histogram
can always fall back on the Scene modes if looks than anything else. The exposure
you feel uncomfortable. With the P, S, A, meter and histogram work together to
M, AUTO, Guide, and Scene modes, Nikon make sure you get excellent results from
has given us the best of both worlds your photographic efforts.
in one camera. Full or partial automa- In FIG  is a picture of the D’s
tion or complete manual control. What
flexibility!
histogram screens (with your author’s
smiling mug). The screen on the left is 9
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Two D histogram screens

a basic informational screen with only Understanding the Histogram


a luminance histogram shown in white. (An Overview)
You can always access it on your camera Using the histogram screens on your
by scrolling up or down with the Multi D’s image-viewing LCD screen will
Selector during image review. guarantee you a much higher percentage
The second histogram screen in FIG  of well-exposed images. It is well worth it
is actually a series of histograms. On the to understand the histogram, and it’s not
upper right is a white-colored luminance overly complicated.
histogram. Next is the red channel, then I’ll try to cover this feature with
the green channel, and at the bottom is enough detail to give you a working
the blue channel (RGB = red, green, blue). knowledge of how to use the histogram
When you look closely at the top white to make better pictures. If you are deeply
luminance histogram, notice how it looks interested in the histogram, there is
very similar to the green channel histo- much research material available on the
gram. That’s because the human eye is Internet. In this section I’ll cover only
more sensitive to green light than red or a small amount of the information that
blue. Doesn’t it make sense to give us a is actually available, but you will gain
histogram that helps us accurately meter enough knowledge to improve your tech-
the light that our eyes perceive best? nique immediately.
Let’s discuss the use of a histogram in
detail.

9
Understanding the Histogram (An Overview) 

FIG  – Basic histogram

Light Range are the mid-range values that represent


The D’s sensor can record only a cer- middle colors like grays, light browns, and
tain range of light values. It seems able to greens. The values from just above  and
record about  or  usable EV steps. Un- just below  contain detail.
fortunately, many of the higher-contrast The actual histogram graph looks like a
subjects we shoot can contain over  mountain peak, or a series of peaks, and
steps of light values. This is quite a bit the more of a particular color, the taller
more than you can capture in a single ex- the peak. In some cases the graph will be
posure. It’s important to understand how rounder on top, spiked, or flattened.
your camera records light so that you can The left side of the histogram repre-
better control how the image is captured. sents the maximum dark values that your
Look at FIG  closely. The gray rect- camera can record. The right side repre-
angular area is a representation of an sents the maximum white values your
in-camera histogram. Examine it care- camera can capture. On either end of the
fully! Think about it for a minute before histogram the light values contain no
reading on. detail. They are either completely black or
The histogram basically is a graph that completely white.
represents the maximum range of light The top of the histogram (top of moun-
values your camera can capture, in  tain peaks) represents the amount of
steps ( = pure black, and  = pure individual colors, a value you cannot
white). In the middle of the histogram easily control in-camera, so it is for your
9
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Three Histograms – underexposed, correct, overexposed

information only. You can influence the The left (dark) to right (light) direc-
height of the peaks by using various tions are very important for your picture
Nikon Picture Controls from the Shooting taking. If the image is too dark, the histo-
menu, which have different levels of color gram will show that by clipping off the
saturation. For instance, the Vivid Picture light values on the left, or if it’s too light,
Control (VI) deeply saturates colors and by clipping on the right. This will become
contrast and may make taller or wider easier to understand as we look at well-
peaks. Or you could use the Neutral Picture exposed and poorly exposed images.
Control (NL), which tends to lessen color In FIG  you can see the three histo-
saturation and contrast and may narrow grams next to each other. Does this make
or lower the histogram peaks. In any case, more sense? See how the underexposed
you should not concern yourself a great Nikon camera histogram is all the way
deal with the height of the peaks. The to the left of the histogram window and
major concern is how far left and right is clipped mid-peak? Then note the well-
they extend. We are mostly concerned exposed landscape histogram and how
with the left and right side values of the both edges just touch the edges of the
histogram since we have plenty of control histogram window. Finally, see how the
over those (dark versus light). overexposed landscape image’s histogram
So, basically, the histogram’s left to is crammed and clipped on the right.

9 right directions are related to the dark-


ness and lightness of the image, while
If you allow the histogram “mountain
peak” to be cut off on the left or the right,
the up and down directions (valleys and the image will lose detail in the area it is
peaks) have to do with color information. clipped.
I repeated this for emphasis!
Understanding the Histogram (An Overview) 

FIG  – Normal histogram mountain peak shape

Image and Histogram Shape in between is exposed quite well, with full
Look at the image in FIG . It is well detail. A histogram does not have to cover
exposed, with no serious problems. The the entire window for the exposure to be
entire light range of this particular image fine. When there is a very limited range
fits within the histogram window, which of light, the histogram may be rather
means that it is not too light or too dark narrow.
and will take very little or no adjustment The image in FIG  is a relatively
to view or print. It contains no more than low-contrast image with smooth gradu-
a few stops of light range. ations of tone, so it makes a nice smooth
Look at the left side of the histogram mountain peak histogram graph. This
graph in FIG . See how it doesn’t cram will not occur every time because most
itself against the dark value side. In other images contain quite a bit more color
words, the dark values are not clipped off information. Each prominent color will
on the left. This means that the camera be represented with its own peak on
recorded all the dark values in this image,
with no loss of shadow detail.
the histogram graph. The most promi-
nent colors will have higher peaks, while 9
Then look at the right side of the the less prominent will have lower or
histogram graph and note that it is no peaks. You can’t often see the peaks
not completely against the right side, since they overlap. The luminance histo-
although quite close. The image contains gram in FIG , image  is an example of
all the light values available. Everything
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Histogram for an underexposed image

overlapped RGB peaks. You can see the The most important thing to under-
individual RGB peaks in FIG , image . stand when you see a histogram like the
As we progress into images with more one in FIG , with part of the peak and
color or light information, you’ll see that valley clipped off on the left, is that some
the histogram looks quite different. Look or all of the image is underexposed.
at FIG . This is from an image that far Now look at a similar image in FIG
exceeds the range of the D’s digital . In this image, a larger aperture was
sensor. used and more light was allowed in. You
Notice that, overall, this image is can now see more detail. However, once
dark and underexposed looking. The again, the range of light is too great for
histogram in FIG  is crammed to the the sensor, so it is now clipped off on the
left—the dark or black side—effectively right—the light or white side. The dark
being clipped off there. There are no side graph value is not clipped; instead,
gradual climbs as on a mountain range, the graph extends to the left dark side

9 from valley to peak and back to valley.


Instead, the image shows up on the left
edge but stops there.
The image in FIG  shows more detail,
side in mid-peak. It is “clipped”. This is an but it is not professional looking and
underexposed image, and the histogram will win no awards. The range of light
reflects that well. is simply too great to be recorded fully.
Understanding the Histogram (An Overview) 

FIG  – Histogram for an overexposed image

Many of the cloud details are overly light, right, you can then retake it, exposing in
and that can be seen by the histogram’s the direction of the opposite light value.
clipping on the right side. The most That’s one reason it’s important to
important thing to remember with this learn how to use the exposure modes
image’s histogram is that when you see a like P, S, A, and M. These modes give you
histogram graph that is crammed all the control over how an image is formed. The
way to the right and clipped, some or all camera’s automatic modes can only aver-
of the image is too light. Overall, a great age light values, while you can use your
deal of the image in FIG  is recorded as powerful brain to figure things out and
pure white and is gone permanently (it is make even better exposures.
“blown out”). If there’s too much light to allow
It is important that you try to center centering the histogram, you must decide
the histogram without either edge being which part of the image is more impor-
clipped off. This is not always possible tant, the side with the light values or the
because the range of light is often too
great and the sensor or histogram
side with the dark values. Does that make
sense? You must expose for the highlights 9
window can’t contain it. If you center or you will lose detail in the light areas.
the histogram, your images will be better Which is more important, the dark areas
exposed. If you take a picture and the or the light areas?
histogram graph is shifted way left or
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

How the Eye Reacts to Light Values light from overly bright areas. We can
The D camera with its imaging sen- even use multiple-exposure high dynamic
sor and glass lenses is only a weak imi- range (HDR) imaging and later combine
tation of our marvelously designed eye the images in-computer. Do a Google
and brain combination. There are very search on “HDR imaging”. You’ll find a lot
few situations in which our eyes cannot of information that may help you.
adjust to the available light range and we
can’t see well. So, as photographers, we Computer Adjustment of Images
are always seeking ways to record even a Looking at the image in FIG , taken in
small portion of what our eyes and minds midday overhead sunshine, you see an ex-
can see. ample of a range of light that is too great
Since our brain tends to know that to be captured by a digital sensor but is
shadows are black, and expects that, it exposed in such a way that we can get a
is usually better to expose for the high- usable photo later.
lights. If you see dark shadows, that Notice how the dark values are clipped
seems normal. We’re simply not used to off and dark detail is lost. But, look to the
seeing light that’s so bright that all detail right side of the histogram and notice
is lost. An image exposed for the dark how the light values are not clipped off.
values will look very weird because most So the camera recorded all the light values
highlight detail will be burned out. but lost some dark values. Since our eye
Your eye can see a huge range of light sees this as normal, this image looks okay.
in comparison to your digital sensor. The If you were standing there looking at
only time you will ever see light values the cabin yourself, your eye would be
that are so bright that detail is lost is able to see much more detail in the front
when you are looking directly at an over- porch area. But, the camera just can’t
whelmingly bright light, like the sun. record that much light range. If you want
So, in a worst-case scenario, expose the to get a bit more detail in the shadows
image so that the right side of the histo- than this image seems to contain, you
gram graph just touches the right side of can do it. One way is by using the Active
the histogram window and the image will D-Lighting (ADL) functionality built into
look more normal. your camera. It tries to pull out detail
Since the beginning of photography, in the shadows while reigning in detail
we have always fought with being able to in the highlights. However, it cannot

9 record only a limited range of light. But


with the digital camera and its histogram,
handle extreme light range situations
that are better handled in-computer. So
we can now see a visual representation you would use the histogram to get the
of the light values and can immediately best possible exposure—exposing for the
approve of the image, reshoot it with highlights—and then adjust the image
emphasis on lighter or darker values, or later in the computer.
see that we must use a filter to hold back
Understanding the Histogram (An Overview) 

FIG  – Cabin picture with correct exposure but dark shadows

We are now entering the realm of post- But, let’s continue with histogram
processing, or in-computer image manip- exploration.
ulation. Look at the image in FIG . It Notice in FIG how the histogram
is the exact same image as the one in FIG edge is just touching the highlight side
, but it has been adjusted in Photoshop of the histogram window? The greater
to cram more image detail into the histo- apparent detail in this image is the result
gram by compressing the mid-range of compressing the mid-range of the
values. light values a bit in the computer. If you
How this computer post-process- compress or make the mid-range light
ing was done is outside the scope of values smaller, that will tend to pull the
this book, but it is not very hard. Buy dark values toward the light side and the
a program like Nikon Capture NX, light values toward the dark side. You will
Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, then have more apparent detail in your
Lightroom, or any other fine graphics image. It’s like cutting a section out of
program designed for photographers.
Your digital camera and your computer
the middle of a garden hose. If you pull
both of the cut ends together, the other 9
make up a powerful imaging combina- two ends of the hose will move toward
tion, a digital darkroom, where you are in the middle and the hose will be shorter
control from start to finish, from click- overall. If you compress or remove the
ing the shutter to printing the image. mid-range of the histogram, both ends of
the graph will move toward the middle.
 Exposure Metering System, Exposure Modes, and Histogram

FIG  – Post-processed cabin picture with correct exposure and lightened shadows

If one of the ends of the graph is beyond In fact, now that the mid-range values
the edge of the histogram window, or have been compressed, the image in FIG
is clipped off, it will be less so when the  more closely resembles what our eye
mid-range is compressed. normally sees, so it looks more normal
We are simply trying to make the histo- to us.
gram fit into the frame of its window. If Many do not realize it, but a RAW
we have to cut out some of the middle to digital image contains an adjustable
bring both ends into the window, well, range of light. With a RAW image, you
there is usually plenty in the middle can use software controls in Capture
to cut out, so the image rarely suffers. NX, Photoshop, or even the basic Nikon
Remember, this is being done outside ViewNX software included with the
of the camera, in a computer. You can’t D to select from the range of light
really control the in-camera histogram to within the big RAW image file. It’s like
compress values—other than in a limited moving the histogram window to the

9 way with the Active D-Lighting function—


but, you need to be aware that it can
left or right over all that wide range of
raw image data. You select a final resting
be done in the computer. Then you can place for the histogram window, capture
expose accordingly with your camera’s the underlying RAW data, and then your
histogram. Later you can use your digital image is ready for use.
darkroom to post-process the image in This is a serious oversimplification
your computer. of the process, but I hope this makes it
My Conclusions 

more understandable. In reality, the digi- for the highlights with your histogram.
tal sensor records a wider range of light Let your light meter get you close, then
than you can use in one image. While you fine-tune with the histogram.
might be able to use about five stops of There are also other LCD viewing
light range in a normal image, the digi- modes that you can use along with the
tal sensor is recording probably about histogram graph, such as the Highlights
seven stops of light range. You just can’t (blinky blinky) mode for blown-out high-
get all of that range into the final image. lights (choose Display mode from the
It is there in the RAW file as a selectable Playback menu and select Highlights). What
range. I prefer to think of it as a built-in this does is cause your image to blink
bracket since it works the same way. from light to dark in the blown-out high-
This bracketed light range within the light areas. This is a rough representation
image is present to a very limited degree of a highlight-value-clipped histogram
in JPEGs and a bit more so in TIFF images, and is quite useful for quick shooting.
but it is the most pronounced in pure RAW Using your camera’s light meter, histo-
images. That is why many choose to shoot gram, and the Highlight blown-out blinky
in RAW mode instead of JPEG or TIFF. mode together is a very powerful method
to control your exposures.
My Conclusions If you master this method, you will
The Nikon D has the Multi Selector have a very fine degree of control over
that can be pressed right or left to scroll where you place your image’s light ranges.
through the images you have already This is sort of like using the famous black-
taken. You can also press the Multi Se- and-white Ansel Adams Zone System, but
lector up or down to scroll through the it is represented visually on the LCD of
various informational modes, such as your D.
the histogram screen. When you take a The manipulation of the histogram
picture of an important subject, find the levels in-computer is a detailed study in
histogram view of your image. If you can’t itself. It’s part of having a digital dark-
find the screen with multiple histograms, room. Learn to use your computer to
as shown in FIG , choose Display mode tweak your images and you’ll be able to
from the Playback menu and select RGB his- produce superior results most of the
togram. time. Even more important, learn to use
Your camera meter should be used to your histogram to capture a nice image in
get the initial exposure only. Then you
can look at the histogram and see if the
the first place!
Your histogram is simply a graph that 9
image’s light range is contained within lets you see at a glance how well your
the limited range of the sensor. If it is image’s light values were captured by your
clipped off to the right or the left, you camera. Too far left and the image is too
may want to add or subtract light with dark, too far right and the image is too
the camera’s +/- EV Exposure compensation light. Learn to use the histogram well and
button or use your manual modes. Expose your images are bound to improve!
10  White Balance

White Balance
How Does White Balance (WB) Work 
10
The human eye and brain can adjust to How Does White Balance (WB)
virtually any lighting situation. Let’s Work?
say you’re reading a book with an old- Normally, the WB settings are used to
fashioned incandescent light bulb in your adjust the camera so that whites are truly
lamp. You probably won’t notice that the white and other colors are accurate under
normally white pages of your book have a whatever light source you are shooting.
warm orange tint. Your brain adjusts your You can also use the White balance controls
color perception so that the pages of the to deliberately introduce color casts into
book look white to you. If you take your your image for interesting special effects.
book outside and sit under a tree in the Camera WB color temperatures are
shade, the color of the light is now a cool exactly backwards from the Kelvin scale
bluish, yet your eyes keep on perceiving we learned in school for star tempera-
the pages as white. tures. Remember that a red giant star is
Every light source has a different color. “cool” while a blue/white star is “hot”. The
If you’re taking pictures in direct sunlight WB color temperatures are backwards
and suddenly a cloud’s shadow covers because the camera’s WB system is adding
your subject, there is a difference in the color to make up for a deficit of color in
color of the light. This is referred to as the the original light of the subject.
color temperature of the light. Your brain For instance, under a fluorescent light,
adjusts automatically to different color there is a deficit of blue, which makes
temperatures and you perceive every- the image appear greenish yellow. When
thing with normal colors, no matter what blue is added by the camera, the image is
the light source. balanced to a more normal appearance.
Unfortunately, a camera does not Normal camera WB under Fluorescent
have the power of your brain. The Nikon light may be about  K.
D has an AUTO white balance setting Another example might be shooting on
that does its best to adjust to the current a cloudy, overcast day. The ambient light
lighting color temperature, and most could cause the image to look bluish if
of the time it does a good job. However, left unadjusted. The WB control in your
sometimes it needs a little help, especially camera sees the “cool” color temperature
when you want very consistent color in and adds some red to “warm” the colors a
your pictures. bit. Normal camera WB on a cloudy, over-
It will significantly benefit your photog- cast day might be about  K.
raphy to understand how the white Just remember that we use the real
balance features of your camera operate. Kelvin temperature range in reverse, and
Let’s consider them in detail. To save a lot that warm colors are considered reddish
of extra text, I’ll most often refer to white while blue colors are cool. Even though
balance by its abbreviation, WB. this is backwards from what we were
10  White Balance

taught in school, it fits our situation You can get the same results with the
better. Blue seems cool while red seems hard-coded WB settings built in to the
warm to photographers! Just don’t let D. These settings are presented
your astronomer friends convince you with generic names to put you in the
otherwise. ballpark. Just because you can use the
We will discuss these options from the Cloudy setting does not necessarily mean
standpoint of the Nikon D’s camera that if you see clouds, it’s the one you
controls and how they deal with WB. need to use.
To achieve the same effect as daylight
WB Simplified film and a warming filter, simply select
the Cloudy white balance setting while
Understanding WB in a simplified way is
shooting in normal daylight. This sets the
simply realizing that light has a range of
D to balance at about  K, and
colors that go from cool to warm. We can
adjust our cameras to use the available makes nice warm-looking images. If you
light in an accurate, neutral, “balanced” want to really warm the image up, set the
way that matches the actual light source, controls to Shade, which sets the camera
or we can allow a color cast to enter the to  K.
image by unbalancing the settings. On the other hand, if you want to make
an image appear cool or bluish, try using
the Fluorescent ( K) or Incandescent
Color Temperature ( K) settings in normal daylight.
The WB range can vary from a very cool Remember, the color temperature
 K to a very warm  K by using shifts from “cool” values to “warm”
various preset White balance settings. values. In AUTO WB mode, the D
We’ll examine how shortly. can record your images with any color
FIG  shows a picture adjusted manu- temperature from  K (very cool or
ally in Photoshop to three WB settings: bluish) to  K (very warm or reddish)
 K,  K, and , K. Notice and any major value in between. You can
how the  K image is much bluer, manually select between  K and
or cooler, than the , K image.  K by using the various preset WB
The  K image is about right for the values included in the camera’s menus.
picture’s actual daylight. The , K There’s no need to carry various film
image is much too warm. emulsions or filters to deal with light
In the “good old days” of film usage, color range. The D has very easy-
many of us used daylight-balanced film to-use color temperature controls and a
and an A filter to warm up our subjects. full range of color temperature selections
Or maybe we added a filter to put in some available.
blue on a foggy day to make the image
feel cold and foreboding.
Color Temperature 
10

FIG  - Same image with different WB settings

There are two ways of setting the WB on Note on Manual WB Settings


the D:
You can manually choose or adjust the
t Manually set a WB preset by selecting
white balance values only if you are using
options from the White balance setting
one of the P, S, A, M modes on the Mode
on the Information edit menu (method dial. These stand for Programmed auto,
) or the White balance setting on the Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, and
Shooting menu screens (method ). Manual. Since you take full or partial con-
t Manually set WB using the PRE func- trol over the camera when you use these
tion, measuring the actual ambient modes, it makes sense that they would
allow you to control WB also. The other
light color temperature with a gray or
modes allow the camera to take control, so
white card under the light source for
it decides what white balance the image
your subject. needs—which works fine most of the time.

We’ll consider each of these methods


in the following sections since you may
prefer to use different methods accord-
ing to the time you have to shoot and the
color accuracy you want. Most critical
photographers will use the second way
to set WB; the PRE measurement func-
tion. We’ll discuss the PRE function in the
section “Measuring Ambient Light and
Using PRE” later in this chapter.
10  White Balance

FIG  – The WB Information edit screens

Method 1 – Setting White Balance White Balance Modes


with the Information Edit Screens
Sometimes you might want to manually AUTO White Balance, -
K.
choose WB settings. The D allows
you to change the WB by using either
Incandescent, K.
the Information edit menus or the internal
Shooting menu. The Shooting menu gives
you more control over things like fine- Fluorescent, K.
tuning the white balance. We’ll look at
both methods in this chapter. First, let’s
examine the Information edit menu meth- Direct Sunlight, K.
od, which is very easy.
Here’s how to set the WB by using the
Information edit menu (see FIG ): Flash, K.

. Press the <i> Information edit button un-


til you see the Information edit menu.
Cloudy, K.
. Make sure the yellow highlighted rect-
angle is positioned in the White balance
(WB) field. Shade, K.
. Press the OK button.
. You’ll be presented with the second PRE (Preset Manual), used to
White balance screen. It has a list of WB measure the White balance (WB)
selections, as shown in the box at right. for the actual ambient light. If no mea-
. Choose one of the White balance set- surement is taken, the value used is what-
ever was last stored in camera WB
tings from the list.
memory.
. Press the OK button. The camera will re-
turn to the main Information edit menu
with your selection showing in the WB
setting.
Method  – Setting White Balance with the Information Edit Screens 
10
Note on Flourescent WB Settings light color according to the type of “va-
por” fluorescing inside. That’s why the
You’ll notice in the screen on the right in
D gives you seven different types
FIG  that the Fluorescent symbol has a 
to choose from. You’ll have to experi-
after it. This is because I had previously se-
lected the fourth type of fluorescent light- ment with the seven settings visually
ing available within the WB preset settings when under fluorescent bulbs since
when I was using the Shooting menu WB their color can vary so much. I usually
screens. There are actually seven different do a PRE ambient light reading when
Fluorescent WB presets available, but you faced with shooting under fluores-
can’t access them from the Information
cents. Often, many fluorescent lights
edit menus. For now, just realize that the
will make your images look a sickly
WB presets you can choose from the In-
formation edit menus must be configured green color without accurate white bal-
using the Shooting menu screens. We’ll ancing.
discuss this in the next section t Direct sunlight – Use this setting when
you are out shooting on a nice sunny
day and your subject is directly in the
You’ll need to think about the type of sunshine. As the day goes into evening,
light source in which you are shooting the sunlight’s color temperature tends
images. You’ll also want to recognize the to warm up to the “golden hour” right
individual symbols and what they mean. before sunset, when everything takes
The symbols are fairly self-explanatory. on that golden glow that makes us all
Here is a list of what each WB setting feel good. Most people enjoy looking at
represents and when to use it: warm golden-colored low-sun pictures,
t AUTO – The camera automatically se- so allowing the variance to take place
lects the color temperature that its without changing from the Direct sun-
software routines determine will make light setting is often a good thing.
neutral colored images under the light t Flash – Use this setting when you are
source in use. shooting with a flash unit and it is the
t Incandescent – The camera adds color to main source of light. The Flash WB set-
remove the strong orange color cast of ting is very close to the Direct sunlight
an incandescent light source. This type setting in color temperature since hu-
of light is output by the old-style light mans so much enjoy that color range
bulbs that we all used to use in house visually. It is slightly warmer.
lamps. t Cloudy – On those cool, overcast days,
t Fluorescent – We’ve all seen the long your images will have a mild blue tint
fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling fixtures that might make the subject appear
of most office buildings. Now we are cold. Often, it is a good idea to “warm
using smaller coiled versions instead up” the subject by using the Cloudy
of the hot incandescent bulbs in our setting. Be careful not to use this just
lamps at home. These bulbs vary their because you see some clouds in the
10  White Balance

sky. The Cloudy setting is there to warm Recommendation: Why not just leave
your images on cool overcast days. If the camera in AUTO WB mode? Well, you
you use the Cloudy setting in sunshine, may not get consistent color from image
especially toward the hour before sun- to image due to changes made by the
set, your images may be too warm look- camera in AUTO WB mode. If you want a
ing. certain consistent color balance in your
t Shade – When your subject is com- images, you can select one of the preset
pletely in the shade on a sunny day, not WB settings. For instance, let’s say that
being hit by the direct sunlight, the you are shooting on a cloudy day and
blue sky above provides most of the you want to make the images have the
color temperature. Strangely enough, a same color. You could select the Cloudy
subject photographed in the shade can WB setting and all your images will have
have an excess of blue and look cold,  K as the base color temperature. Or,
even though the surrounding light in you might be shooting in bright sunlight
the sunshine is very warm. Use it when and want to use the Direct sunlight WB
you need it, but be careful—if you use setting. If you’re shooting lots of images
this in the sunshine, your images will under a certain type of light and use
look like the third image (, K) in the corresponding WB setting, you’ll
FIG , a few pages back. later have excellent consistency when
t PRE – As mentioned elsewhere in this they are viewed side by side. Otherwise,
chapter, this setting gives you what- when the camera is left on AUTO WB,
ever is stored in the WB memory area each image may have a slightly differ-
from your last PRE WB ambient light ent color balance, and you’ll be forced to
reading. do a lot of extra work later to rebalance
the images. This is especially important
when you are shooting a series of images
that must be viewed together. It’s not so
important when the images are viewed
individually. If an image is a stand-alone
image—with no strong relationship to
its mates— then AUTO WB may work just
fine. When I’m just out shooting for the
fun of it, I use AUTO WB mode. However,
if I’m shooting serious stock images, I
will choose a preset WB or use the PRE
method to get an ambient light reading.
We’ll discuss the PRE method later in this
chapter.
Method  – Setting White Balance with the Shooting Menu 
10
Method 2 – Setting White Balance Special Note on the Fluorescent
with the Shooting Menu WB Settings
This method is similar to method ,
Since fluorescent light comes in all sorts
but you use the camera’s Shooting menu
of color temperatures, from sodium-vapor
screens to select the WB range instead of to mercury-vapor, you’ll see an additional
using the Information edit menus and Com- screen just before the fine-tuning screen.
mand dial. In FIG  are the screens used It will appear between screens two and
to set the WB selection in your D’s three in FIG . It’s a screen giving you sev-
Shooting menu. en types of fluorescent lighting to choose
from.
Normally, you’ll use only the first two
screens to set one of the preset WB values
The Fluorescent choices are as follows:
such as Cloudy, Shade, or Direct sunlight; tSodium-vapor lamps
then you’ll just press the OK button on the tWarm-white fluorescent
final screen, without changing anything. tWhite fluorescent
Here are the steps used to select a WB tCool-white fluorescent
setting: tDay white fluorescent
tDaylight fluorescent
. Press the Menu button and select the
tHigh temp. mercury-vapor
Shooting menu.
. Select White balance and then scroll to
the right.
. Select one of the preset values, such
as Direct Sunlight, Flash, or Cloudy, and
then scroll to the right. FIG , image 
shows AUTO WB selected.

FIG  – Setting the WB with the Shooting menu


10  White Balance

FIG A – Fluorescent white balance choices

Once you’ve chosen a Fluorescent type, That’s all there is to selecting a preset
just scroll to the right and the fine-tuning WB from within the Shooting menu
screen will appear. If you don’t know system. The only difference in doing it this
your Fluorescent types, you may have to way is that you can fine-tune the color
experiment a bit. I recommend just doing temperature values in the screen on the
a PRE ambient light measurement under right in FIG . If you decide to fine-tune
Fluorescent! We’ll discuss how shortly. a WB preset, an asterisk will appear next
to the Shooting menu’s WB symbol for that
. The fine-tuning screen will now appear preset. You’ll see this symbol on the main
(see FIG A, image ). Unless you want Shooting menu screen to the right of the
to fine-tune the preset, just press the OK symbol for the WB preset. (Refer to the
button immediately without moving the preceding section, on method , for a list-
little square from its center position. ing of what each symbol means.)
Once you have configured the various
WB presets, you can select from them
with the Information edit menu to save
time.
Mired WB Fine-Tuning Values 
10
Mired WB Fine-Tuning Values A Brief Technical Foray
One method for measuring color temper-
Color temperature is a characteristic of
atures is to use micro reciprocal degrees,
visible light and is determined by com-
commonly referred to by the abbreviation
paring the subject’s color with that of an
mired. You may enjoy studying this color ideal black-body radiator. The color tem-
temperature measurement. Why? Simply perature, measured in K (Kelvin) or mired
because Nikon makes the WB fine-tuning (micro-reciprocal degrees Kelvin), is the
adjustment in mired values. Mired is temperature at which a heated black-body
merely a way of expressing a very fine col- radiator matches the color of the light
source of the subject. In-depth informa-
or temperature measurement. With the
tion is available by looking up Planck’s Law
D, you don’t have to understand this
and Wien’s Displacement Law. Now back
fully to use it since you are given a visual to easy-to-understand stuff !
aid to help make choices.
If you choose to fine-tune any of the
color temperature settings after you have what you would like it to be, you can
selected one of the preset WB values, the experimentally fine-tune the color
last menu screen in FIG  allows you to do temperature in mired values for that
so by mired clicks. Each press of the Multi preset by adjusting it along the horizontal
Selector is equal to five mired values, in or vertical color directions.
the four color directions. Up is green (G),
down is magenta (M), left is blue (B), and Recommendation: I normally use
right is amber (A). method  because it allows me to select
If you aren’t familiar with fine-tuning a preset WB value without accidentally
the preset’s default color temperature, modifying the settings of its default color
or if you don’t want to change it (most temperature and doesn’t require that I
won’t), then simply press the OK button use the menus. I find that method  is
without moving the little square from much faster than using the Shooting menu.
the center (see the third screen in FIG ). Since I am using the Information edit menu,
If you’ve accidentally moved it, simply it takes only seconds to set the values. I
move it back with the Multi Selector until can’t do a PRE measurement of the ambi-
it’s in the middle again, then press the OK ent light with method , but I can select a
button, which will select the preset WB previously set PRE setting. Let’s consider
value you wanted to use without modify- how a PRE measurement is done since it
ing its default value. gives you very accurate WB under the
However, if you feel that one of the current source of light.
D’s preset WB values is not exactly
10  White Balance

Measuring Ambient Light and . Select Measure from the list, and scroll
Using PRE to the right (FIG B, image ).
This method allows you to measure ambi- . On the next screen, you’ll see the ques-
ent light values and set the camera’s WB tion Overwrite existing preset data?
accordingly. It’s not hard to learn and is (FIG B, image ). Select Yes. This over-
very accurate since it’s an actual through- writes the last PRE reading you may
the-lens (TTL) measurement of the Kel- have made.
vin temperature of the source light. You’ll . Press the OK button, and you’ll be pre-
need a white or neutral gray card to ac- sented with a screen that says, Take
complish this measurement (either color photo of a white or gray object filling
will work). Use white when the light is viewfinder under lighting for shooting
really dim. (FIG B, image ). (Note: If you wait a
FIG B shows the Shooting menu moment, the camera will switch to an
screens used to take a PRE ambient WB information screen with PRE flashing in
reading. the lower-right corner. Either of these
Here’s how to use the PRE White balance screens will work for this reading op-
measurement method (see FIG B): eration.)
. Press the Menu button and select the . Point the camera lens at a white or
Shooting menu. neutral gray card and take a picture.
. Select White balance from the Shooting The object is not to focus on this card,
menu and then scroll to the right (FIG so get to within  inches ( cm) when
B, image ). you take the picture. Make sure a shad-
. Scroll to the bottom of the list with the ow from the lens does not show in the
Multi Selector until PRE – Preset manual is picture or it may change the reading
selected, then scroll to the right (FIG slightly.
B, image ).

FIG B - Shooting menu screens used to take a PRE ambient WB reading.


Measuring Ambient Light and Using PRE 
10
. Press the Shutter release button and take change it. If you forget—which I often
a picture. This is not really a usable pic- do—you’ll later find yourself getting
ture—instead the camera takes a read- strangely colored pictures when shoot-
ing of the light source from your white ing under a different light source. Just
or gray card. remember to change back to AUTO WB for
. You’ll know that the reading was suc- general shooting.
cessful because Data acquired will ap-
pear at the top of the screen (see FIG Recommendation: The PRE measure-
B, image ). ment is very sensitive because it’s using
the light coming through the lens to
If the camera did not get a successful set the WB. Unless you’re measuring
reading—as shown in FIG B, image  in extremely low light, it will virtually
with a good Data acquired notice—you’ll always be successful. In fact, I have never
see the screen shown in FIG C instead. yet had the camera tell me that it wasn’t
If you get the Unable to measure… screen, successful in any normal level of light. Be
the light is simply too low to make sure that you’re using a correct white or
the reading. Use one of the preset WB gray card (or something comparable) to
settings instead. take the reading or you may have some
Once you have a successful ambient weird color casts as a result. When I am
light PRE reading, the camera will contin- shooting under most indoor forms of
ue to use the measurement until you light, I will often use the PRE method
and take a measurement. I don’t want
to be bothered with trying to figure out
what type of lighting is used where I’m
taking pictures. A PRE reading solves that
completely!

FIG C –PRE WB reading not successful


10  White Balance

Selecting the WB from a Previously . If a current image shows and it’s the
Taken Image correct image, select This image and
It’s easy to select a white balance value press the OK button. Skip steps  and
from an image you’ve already taken. A . Otherwise, choose Select image and
previous image’s WB value can be applied scroll to the right (FIG , image ).
to the new image you are about to take. . Select the folder that contains the im-
This may come in handy when you are age you want to use. Most of the time
shooting in the same place frequently and it will simply be D (FIG , image
can use an image shot at a previous time ). Scroll to the right. You’ll now be
as a reference. presented with a list of images from
FIG  shows the six screens used to which to choose.
recall the white balance from an image . Highlight one of the images by scroll-
already taken and stored on your camera’s ing to it and pressing the OK button
memory card. (FIG , image ).
Follow these steps to get the white . The camera will return to the main
balance from an image: Shooting menu screen with PRE after
. Press the Menu button and select the the White balance setting. You are now
Shooting menu. ready to take new images using the WB
. Select White balance and scroll to the from an existing image.
right (FIG , image ).
. Scroll to the bottom of the list with the Recommendation: We’ve consid-
Multi Selector until PRE – Preset manual is ered two ways to use the PRE method to
selected; then scroll to the right (FIG , select a WB setting. If you’ll experiment
image ). with these methods a time or two, it
. Select Use photo from the list, and will become easy for you. It is especially
scroll to the right (FIG , image ). important to learn how to make PRE

FIG  – Screens used to recover a WB setting from an image


Auto White Balance 
10
ambient light measurements. Buy your- . Make sure the yellow highlight rect-
self a small gray card from a photo shop angle is positioned in the White balance
or online; the card should be white on one (WB) field.
side and gray on the other. They don’t cost . Press the OK button.
much and will allow you to make profes- . You’ll be presented with the second
sional images with no colors casts unless White balance screen. It has a list of WB
you deliberately introduce one. selections. The selection we are con-
cerned with is the AUTO setting at the
Auto White Balance top of the list. If AUTO is not currently
Auto white balance works pretty well in selected, use the Multi Selector to select
the D. As the camera’s RGB meter it.
senses colors, it does its best to balance to . Press the OK button. The camera will re-
any whites or mid-range grays it can find turn to the main Information edit menu
in the image. However, the color may vary with AUTO showing after the WB set-
a little on each shot. If you shoot only in ting.
AUTO WB mode, your camera considers
each image a new WB problem and solves In this chapter, you’ve come to under-
it without reference to the last image stand how white balance works, when you
taken. Therefore, there may be variance might want to use preset WB values like
in the color balance of each image with Flash and Cloudy, and how to measure for
AUTO WB. PRE ambient light settings. Now that you
FIG  shows the Information edit menus have this knowledge, you can make deci-
used to set auto WB. These are the steps sions about when it’s best to use AUTO WB
used to set the camera to auto WB: and when it’s better to use a preset WB
. Press the <i> Information edit button un- or PRE ambient light reading. Use these
til you see the Information edit menu. features often so that you’ll remember
how to use them when you really need
them.

FIG  – Selecting auto white balance


10  White Balance

Should I Worry about White Balance most of the time? No. As mentioned at
if I Shoot in RAW Mode? the beginning of this chapter, the human
The quick answer is no, but that may brain can quickly adjust to an image’s
not be the best answer. When you take a colors and perceive them as normal—
picture using RAW mode (creating NEF even when they are not—which is one
files), the sensor image data has no WB, of the dangers of not using correct WB.
sharpening, or color saturation informa- Since an unbalanced image on-screen
tion applied. Instead, the information is not compared to another correctly
about your camera settings is stored as balanced image side by side, there is a
“markers” along with the raw black and danger that your brain may accept the
white sensor data. Color information is slightly incorrect camera settings as
applied permanently to the image only normal and your image will be saved with
when you post-process the image in your a color cast.
computer—or in-camera with the Retouch Use your WB correctly at all times and
menu—and save the image in another for- you’ll make better images. You’ll do less
mat, like JPEG, TIFF, or EPS. post camera work if the WB is correct
When you open an image in Nikon in the first place. As RAW shooters, we
Capture NX or another RAW conver- already have a lot of post-processing work
sion program, the camera settings are to do on our images. Why add WB correc-
applied to the sensor data in a temporary tions to the workflow?
way so that you can view the image on Additionally, you might decide to
your computer screen. If you don’t like switch to JPEG mode in the middle of a
the color balance or any other setting you shoot, and if you are not accustomed to
used