Skip to main content

photo & video

Nikon D500 Fast Start

Lesson 10 of 31

Back of Camera: Buttons

John Greengo

Nikon D500 Fast Start

John Greengo

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

10. Back of Camera: Buttons

Lesson Info

Back of Camera: Buttons

The menu is what we're gonna be spending the second half of this class, and so have some patience for that, we'll get to that. There's a lot of different items in there that we're gonna be going through. It's kinda the full list of everything that the camera can do. Next up is a button that does three different things. The first thing that it does, is it helps you out. So when you're going through the menu system and you look at something and you forgot what I told you about that particular feature, you can say, "Huh?" And press that button, and it will give you a sentence or two of more description about what that particular feature does. It doesn't work in every place on the camera, but many places throughout the menu, it'll give you a little added information about what that particular feature does. And so that's gonna happen when you're in the menu for the most part. Next up, the picture control mode is how this often works in the shooting mode, and this controls the look and style...

of your JPEGs. So your JPEGs are compressed, they are processed, which means there's a certain color tone to them, there's a contrast level, there's a sharpening to 'em. And if you want to tweak and adjust those, you can go into the picture controls here and you can set it up to have a particular type of look. And these are ones that you can go in and tweak with. So if you like to shoot JPEGs and you need to shoot JPEGs out of the camera, but the JPEGs don't fit the needs that you have, they're over-sharpened, or they're under-sharpened, or they're too saturated, or whatever the case may be, you're gonna be able to go in and completely tweak with the way that your images look and get 'em customized exactly the way that you want 'em. Finally, it's the lock feature. So in the playback mode, this allows you to lock your images so they can't be deleted. We have our zoom in, which works in the playback mode and it also works in live view. So if we want to focus during live view, we can use that as well as zooming back out. So this is another triple button. In the playback, it goes back to thumbnails. And then if we were to have a flash attached to the camera, we would be able to go through the flash modes by pressing that button and turning the dial. I would do a demo on this, but I don't have a Nikon flash here with me for the class today. But these are the different flash modes that you would go through, and it will allow you to set up some of the different functions that you would oftentimes do on the flash, but it allows you to do it in the camera 'cause that's often where you have a little better hand grip on the camera. By pressing that button and turning the front dial, it'll change the flash compensation, which is the power of the flash. So for portrait photography, I often like to power the flash down so that is not quite so strong on my subject. I want a subtle light beam added to my subject. And so you could do that by simply turning the front dial of the camera. We have the OK button, which we've talked about, which is used for a variety of confirmations. And then we have a function button. This camera has a number of these that you are able to reprogram in many different ways. And so you can go into the custom control assignment, select that button, and look at the many different options that are available. And one of the new things on this camera that I haven't seen on previous cameras is actually two things that you can program in there. One for actually pressing the button, and one for pressing the button and turning a dial. So there are kind of two different types of programs, depending on how you're pressing the button, or whether you're pressing the button and turning the rear dial on the camera. We'll talk more about that in the menu system as well. We have our AF-ON button. And so, as you get the camera from the factory, press this button, the camera will focus, but it doesn't really matter because when you press down on the shutter release, the camera's gonna refocus for you. And so this is for people who want to get into back button focusing. And the key to this whole thing is turning off the shutter release button. But this button can be reprogrammed to do anything you want it to do. If you don't like back button focusing, and this button is perfectly positioned for you to do something else, feel free to go in and reprogram this in the custom control assignment. But if you want to do back button focusing, you need to go to A8 and turn off the AF activation. And what that does, is it turns off the auto-focus on the shutter release. And the only way that your camera will auto-focus is by pressing this auto-focus button. And I know a lot of serious and professional photographers who have gone to back button focusing, and there is no way that they would ever go back. And the advantage to back button focusing, if I'll just give you a little example right here, is, let's say I have a subject in front of me. In this case, it's my water bottle. And I want the water bottle not in the middle of the frame. Well, and we're gonna just assume I'm using the center focusing point, and we'll get to the whole focusing thing in a minute. But in the traditional system, I would have to press halfway down, move the camera off to the side, take a photo, and then if I take my finger off the shutter release, I'm gonna need to bring the camera back, focus, and reposition. With back button focusing, I will focus on my subject with the back button, and then I'll take my time, as long as I want. And I'll take a picture, and I'll take a break. And I'll take another photo, and as long as that distance hasn't changed, all of those photos are in focus. And so I'm separating the focusing and the shooting the photos. And it can be really handy when you are trying to get exactly the right composition you want and you don't want to have fingers pressed on the camera. Now, there are other ways of moving the focusing point around. Different options for different folks, but it's a good system that works for a lot of people. I don't personally know of anyone that has gone to back button focusing, given it a good solid go, and then gone back. Generally people, once they try it and they figure it out, and they see the light, they stay there. And so I encourage you to give it a try if you want to. I'll give you a warning, though. It's not an overnight thing. It took me a couple of weeks to really go, "Okay, I got it figured out, and it's a nice system." And it becomes very natural. It is one of those things that you want to know how to jump in and change very quickly. Because when you hand your camera to somebody else to take a photo, and you gotta explain the two-button thing, just forget it. That's a good time to be able to go in there and turn that back and forth very quickly if you need other people to use your camera. Alright, what's next? Okay, we got a little speaker back there. So when you're playing back movies, that's where the sound is coming from. And now, we get to our joystick, our sub-selector, as Nikon has so elegantly called it. Now this is a little joystick that you can move up, down, left, right, and so forth, but it is also a button. And right now, the button is auto-exposure lock. And so let me give you a little example of that on my camera. Let's go ahead and set my camera up. We're in aperture priority, turn the info button on so that you can see what's going on. And remember, if we pan the camera around, we're getting different shutter speeds 'cause we're in aperture priority. If we found, oh, you know what? That's where we need to be, right, where is it? There's a hundredth of a second. I can press in on this button, and we have locked the exposure. And I don't know that there's really any indication on the back of the camera. But in the viewfinder, let me check in the viewfinder. We do get an AEL that pops up. That lets us know that we have locked the exposure. And so if somebody was standing next to a bright window, we might point the camera over towards them, get the exposure for them, bring it back over, which is including some bright light that would be throwing the meter off in most situations, and then we can shoot that picture. Now that's just one way of controlling the exposure. We could also do exposure compensation, or we could set the camera up manually. So it's just one of many different ways of controlling the exposure. And some people, myself, I never use auto-exposure lock. It's just not the way I think. Some people use it all the time, and it's super, super handy. And so if you don't use this, this is a button that you can reassign to do something else when you press in on the button. The multi-selector on the back of the camera is gonna be used for navigating the menu system as well as a lot of the other focusing controls. We have our center button and our lock button that we talked about earlier, so be aware that this lock button also locks the joystick. And so if you bump that and you don't want to, you can just lock that by moving it to the left-hand side. And if it's not working, check to see if that's working before you send your camera back to Nikon to have it fixed. We have a little memory card access lamp down here that will illuminate when your camera is writing information to the memory cards. Probably the most important thing to do is not take the memory card out if that light is on. If you turn the camera off, the camera is just gonna stay on and continue processing data. But that's just kind of a... That reminds me of the old dark room light. That means somebody's in there, and they're doing work. And that means your camera is doing work. The info button, we've been playing around with this a lot. And so this is a great way of just popping that information on the back of the screen so that you get a good read of what your camera is doing. The I button, as we mentioned before, is a shortcut button to many features in the menu system. We're gonna talk about all of these, just not right now. So these are just shortcut features that allow you to go in and change what Nikon thinks are some of the most common items that you would want to go in and change on a quick basis.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Nikon® D500 with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential.  

In this class you'll learn:

  • How to use the D500’s various shooting modes
  • How to use and customize the D500’s menus
  • How to master the 4K video function
John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This Fast Start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Nikon D500’s settings to work for your style of photography.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon D500 Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Carl Vanderweyden

John Greengo is the best! I purchased a Nikon D500 and this course around the same time. Because of this camera being so complex, I felt that a course would be beneficial. This course that John teaches is exactly what I needed. His knowledge of this camera as well as photography in general is exceptional. In fact, I own a couple of other courses presented by John and I also bought a couple of his books! I would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to know the ins-and-outs of this D500! Thanks again John for a great course and your great way of explaining things with clear dialect and great visuals!

M Jo

Wow! What a great class! John is a natural teacher, moving at a good pace and explaining things carefully, never assuming you already know more than you might. I just got my D500 last week and am so pleased to have gone through this entire class. I learned a LOT and took some notes to refer back to. I've also just bought a Z6 and have purchased John's class for that. Can't wait to dive in!!!

Christina Brittain

By The class. John is the gold standard for teaching. He repairs lessons to perfection. He speaks in ways students comprehend all that he presents. Never waste words. Never bores. Always demonstrates his points. I will continue to purchase his classes as they provide the best learning I have found. He is making me a much better photographer, both technically and creatively. You can't make good images if you don't know your gear. Hope he teaches lessons in Portland Oregon one day. I know Pro Photo Supply would sponsor him.