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Nikon D500 Fast Start

Lesson 31 of 31

Camera Operation Overview

John Greengo

Nikon D500 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

31. Camera Operation Overview

Lesson Info

Camera Operation Overview

So, camera operation. Okay fine, we just went through like 300 controls. We're not gonna use those on a regular basis. What are the things that are important? Well, getting those battery charge, making sure your cards are formatted before you go out at a big shoot, making sure image quality is set the way you need it to, and then just confirming a lot of those other operations that you may have been playing with on your previous shoot. If you're gonna do a big job, a wedding, a big vacation, do a test shot, make sure that your sensor is clean before you leave the house. It's much easier to deal with it at home than it is on the road. The key settings for this camera are gonna deal with exposure and focus for the most part. And so your exposure modes, shutter speeds, apertures, ISOs, exposure compensation. White balance is pretty important, as is metering. The drive mode is something you'll change quite frequently, and your auto focus mode. The focusing area, and the focusing mode itsel...

f on the side of the camera. And so with these 10 most frequently set modes, how would we tune the camera for different types of photography? So let's look at our key settings for different types of picture taking. So first step, super simple. So you wanna have your camera set up so anyone in your family can just grab the camera and start shooting photos. I would put the camera in the program mode, where the camera sets shutter speeds and apertures, you don't need to worry about that. You could throw the camera in auto ISO, and it will be good in a wide variety of lighting situations. Be careful about making that exposure compensation set at zero. You're gonna want the matrix metering set for good, general all-purpose reading of the light. Auto white balance will be fine in most cases. Adjust if necessary. Focusing mode will be in AFS, where it focuses on a single subject. AF-Area mode, and this is kinda which area. It's looking at all 153 focusing points in this case, so whatever is closest to the camera. And then the release mode will be in the single shot so you take one shot at a time. Let's try this in the landscape mode. And so the idea here is that we want more depth of field, and we're shooting subjects that are not moving, and hopefully, very hopefully, we're shooting from a tripod and we're not moving the camera ourselves. Gives you, you should have a little bit more time to be able to set up the exposure, and this is where I would prefer to be in manual exposure. You wanna get the cleanest detail possible, so you're shooting at the lowest ISO setting. You want lots of depth of field, so you're gonna be setting up 11, 16, 22, or something like that. With a low ISO setting and a very small aperture, chances are you're not gonna be letting in much light. You'll probably have a relatively slow shutter speed. It'll vary according to what the light levels actually are. We'll stick with matrix metering and auto white balance unless we need to change. Our subjects are not moving, so we're gonna stay with AFS. Since our subjects are not moving, we'll also be choosing the single mode, and then our release mode, we have a couple of different good options. We could choose the single shot mode with a cable release, we could use the self-timer if we don't have a cable release, and we could also use the mirror up mode if we have one of those shutter speeds that might be getting us a little bit of blur because of that mirror movement. Next up is our portrait mode. And so in this case, we have subjects that might be moving. We typically want shallower depth of field to separate our subject from the background. We're not gonna be on a tripod, so we need to have shutter speeds that are a little bit faster to accommodate our own hand-held movement. I prefer to set up in manual, so that all my photos are consistent in their brightness levels. In this case, my first choice is probably to go with a shallow depth of field, and then make sure that my shutter speed is fast enough to stop the action. I will try to have the lowest ISO possible, but if I need to raise it, I will have no qualms about going in there and bumping it up if necessary. We'll stay at matrix metering and auto white balance unless you need to change. If my subjects are not moving around too much, I'm gonna stick with AFS, so the camera focuses once and locks in, and I wanna be very precise about where I focus, so I'm choosing the single point mode. So I'm just choosing one point, and I may move that point left and right, or I may do a focus, lock, and recompose, depending on the subject. And then finally, the release mode is probably gonna be set at single, so I can just get one good shot at a time. Next step is action photography, which is where this camera is definitely going to excel at. We have to work with faster shutter speeds to stop the actions, as well as a focusing system that traps the movement. I prefer to be in manual if the lighting levels are consistent and allow me to work in that manner. In this case, I'm gonna wanna choose a faster shutter speed. 500th of a second depends on the speed of the subject itself. This is where it really pays off to have a faster lens that goes down to 2.8. Generally, whatever lens you have, you'll probably be shooting at the widest opening aperture that you have. Of course you wanna shoot at the lowest ISO, but the reality of the world is that with faster shutter speeds, you're probably gonna need higher ISO settings. 400 is just the start. Matrix metering, auto white balance will be good for most situations. One of the most important settings is the focusing change, which needs to change to AFC. So the camera is continuously adjusting focus for the subjects that are moving that you are photographing. A single focusing point is too hard to keep on a subject, and so you want something a little bit larger. The group point, the 25-point, the 72-point, they're all very good choices. My default starting position on this camera would be the 25-point, and then I would either go up or down, depending on the size of my subject in the frame for what lens and where I'm standing in my point of view. And then of course in the release mode, who can resist 10 frames a second, let's go for 10 frames a second and see if we can get the exact moment there. But perhaps you might need the low speed as well on the continuous setting. Lastly, basic photography. This is where you don't know what your next shot is. And so this is kind of good, general purpose how do I leave my camera in the camera bag for what's coming up next, and I don't know what that is. And this is where I prefer a little bit of automation, just to speed up the process. And so I prefer aperture priority, and I keep an aperture relatively wide open, maybe 2.8, four, 5.6, something like that. I get, start off with my ISO at 100, but I am quick on the trigger to change it if necessary. If my shutter speeds are not fast enough. Keep an eye on that exposure compensation. You don't want it left at +3, that could be a problem in future exposures. Starting off at zero and adjusting as necessary. We'll keep it with matrix metering, we'll keep it with auto white balance. Unless you're always focusing on action, you're probably gonna be fine with AFS for single focusing, focus on a subject and lock in so you can recompose for a more pleasing composition. And the AF-Area mode, I like a single point. And this is a little bit of a sharp knife here that you're choosing, a very careful tool, but if you're good with the focusing system, if you're good at pointing your cameras and getting focused, just leaving a single point for focusing allows you to be very precise about what you're choosing the camera to focus on. And then for the release mode, I would probably just leave it in the single mode, so that you can get one good shot at a time. So, number of different ways of setting the camera up. These are just kind of general recommendations to start with. I'm sure that as you go through your own photography, you're gonna take my ideas and you are just gonna run wild with them, and you're gonna do your own thing, and that's great. And there's tons of different ways that you can operate this camera. These are just some good suggestions for getting started.

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.