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Nikon D500 Fast Start

Lesson 23 of 31

Custom Setting Menu: Autofocus

John Greengo

Nikon D500 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

23. Custom Setting Menu: Autofocus

Lesson Info

Custom Setting Menu: Autofocus

Okay folks, it's time to continue to the next tab in the menu system, and this is the custom setting menu which is broken up into a bunch of different parts. We're gonna have the first one just simply a custom setting bank, and so you can go in and you can tweak some of just the custom menus and you can save them in the a, b, c, or d setting. Now, as we go through this, there's gonna be a whole list of different groupings, of things that we're gonna be able to tweak as we go through this. Something to be aware of, is the little asterisk mark by the colored letter. If you see the asterisk that means you have made a change from the default setting on the camera. So it's a good way to go through and see what things you might have been playing with and changing. First up, things dealing with auto focus. And so, auto focus, continuous priority here, and so what this does, is it prioritizes either focusing or taking the photo when the camera is in the AF-C mode. And so in the AF-C mode a lot...

of people who are shooting sports want the camera to try and focus, but shoot a photo when they need it on the timing side and so that's why they have it set on the release side. For AF-S, which is single shot focusing, most people have it set to focus. That way the camera is gonna focus all the way before it allows you to shoot a picture. It also means that you will not be able to shoot a picture if your camera is not in focus. And so if your subject is too close to you, or you don't have the focus brackets properly on a subject that has decent contrast, the camera may not focus in that case. And so these can be tweaked, but most people usually don't move these from these settings. Focus tracking with locked-on. So as you're tracking a subject and it's coming towards you, there's a couple of things that may happen. You may have something interfere, something come between you and your subject, and interfere in that line of sight, whether it's a tree, or a referee, it could be almost anything. The other thing that can happen is a subject can move from one point of the frame to a different point of the frame, and the camera is gonna try to use its own algorithm to follow this information. And these two items in a3, blocked shot AF response and subject motion, allow you to tweak the way that the camera works in its auto focusing system. By default, it's very hard for me to tell me how to tune your camera, but for the most part, leaving these in the middle is a good place to start with. If you move the arrow over to the quick side, in block shot response, that means the camera is gonna more quickly jump onto a new subject. If you're photographing, say, football, basketball, a sport where there's a lot cross traffic, you probably don't wanna have it too quick 'cause you're gonna be focusing on a subject, something is gonna interfere with you, and you don't want it to go to that referee or that other player. In some cases, you do want it to go very quick to that subject. Maybe you're photographing the end of a cycling race, and your job is to get a good picture of the winner. And all these riders are going back and forth, you want it to jump to whoever is closest to you. So it really depends on the type of sport, your angle of view, the lens you're using, and probably a few other factors as well. The subject motion is determining how quickly the camera will jump from one focusing point to another focusing point. If you know that the movement is fairly steady, like you're gonna do auto racing, where the cars are usually moving in a fairly smooth fashion, whereas if you're photographing something like a football player who stops and starts and changes and goes side to side, that's very erratic movement, and so you'll have these two options to tweak with your focusing. And so, I don't recommend doing this right out of the gate, I would go out, I would shoot some photos, and see if there's certain type of movements or, any consistent problems that you're having with your focusing and where you're not getting the right focus. And then you can come back to this. I wish I could give you more detailed exact information but I don't know exactly what you're shooting. 3D-tracking face-detection. So this is a little bit more of the Nikon magic mojo on how it tracks subjects. And it's using other information in this case mostly facial information, and so this may be a better way for you to track subjects that are moving around. And so if you are photographing people, and there's not too many people in the frame, like you were gonna photograph one runner coming at you, this would be able to track the face of that subject which is what you probably want in sharpest focus. However, because it's using software that you don't have a lot of control over, it's a little out of your control how it's exactly focusing and so, the professional sports photographers are typically not using this type of feature in their camera. But once again this is another good little test for you to see how it works with the type of subjects that you are shooting. The 3D-tracking watch area, you can either choose the normal area, and when you choose a series of brackets, think about the 25 points, which are the nine boxes and all the little points around them. Do you want it looking specifically in that area or do you want it to look a little bit wider? And generally if you've chosen an area, you want that area which would be normal. But if you do have very erratic movement, you can have it look for that outside of that at other nearby focusing points. The number of focusing points, we have 55 selectable but if you find you really don't use em that much, or all of them that much, and you more quickly wanna be able to get from the left side to the right side, you can reduce the number down to 15, which are spread out throughout the frame lines. Storing by orientation is a very interesting one. If you were to select the right group of pixels and then turn the camera vertically, they're now no longer on the right, they're on the top because you turned the camera vertically. If you wanna turn this feature on, you can select the right ones, and then when you rotate the camera, you can have the right ones still selected. Granted it's not as far right, but you can have separate controls for when you're having the camera in a horizontal position, versus a vertical position. And so I've found this very helpful depending on the type of photography you're doing. But a lot of times I'm deciding, hey, I would like this subject over on the left side, and I don't care whether I'm shooting verticals or horizontal, I always want it off to the left side. Aright, listen up everybody who likes back-button focusing. So if you like back-button focusing, this is the thing that you wanna turn on. So it says, AF-ON only. And so what this does by turning this AF-ON only, is it turns off the auto focusing when you press down on the shutter release. And so this is what we call back-button focusing. It requires two buttons, in order to shoot a photo. Okay, that's not quite correct, it takes two buttons to focus and shoot a photo. You can shoot a photo any time you want whether it's in focus or not, by pressing the shutter release button in this case, and so you would focus once with you're thumb, and then you would shoot a picture whenever you need to. Now if you do have the AF-ON setting, you can have something called Out-of-focus release enabled or disabled. And normally you're gonna leave this on enabled so you can focus on a subject, recompose, take a picture, and even though what you're focusing bracket at is pointed at is out of focus, you can still shoot a photo. But if you wanted to, you could put this in disabled, and what it essentially becomes, it becomes a trap focus option. And the way that would work is, let's just say I'm gonna focus on something, I could focus on it with my thumb, get it right, and then I could come back and press down on the shutter release, and I would just move in and out until it took a photo. That way it's not trying to focus, it's just looking for sharp focus. And it would let me take a picture only when it was in focus. I think there's a very small amount of cases, that that's the way people are gonna use the camera, but it is possible if you need to. Alright, so Limit the AF-mode selection area. And so if you remember all those different ways that we can focus with, single, 25, and more points, you can not use those. If you find that you don't use them, you can uncheck that box. And it will no longer use them. So AF mode restrictions, and I guess this is where we can kinda answer the question that we talked about earlier, there was a question, that we had about the AF-S, AF-C, and then the AF-A that I said. Well, I gotta admit, I made a mistake, the camera doesn't have AF-A. I never checked it when I did the class, and that's because I didn't do my due diligence, I guess. But it's a feature that I never use and I always recommend people not to use. And so I didn't check to see if this camera had it, and this camera is like the Nikon D5 and the D and I think possibly the D800 and 810 as well, which don't have that feature. It's a feature that's common on the D7200, 7000 series, the 5000 series, the 3000 series, the 750, the 600s and so it's a feature that's very common in the Nikons but they did take it out of here, 'cause they figured most people wouldn't use it. You are limited to either single or continuous, and if you've found that you never used one of those, you could take it out of there, but I think most people are gonna wanna have access to both of those options in there. Focus point wrap-around. Alright, this is pretty cool. So imagine you've selected the focusing point on the far right hand side of the screen, and you now want the focusing point on the far left hand side of the screen. How would you get there? Well, you gotta press that little control tab over and over and over and over and over again til you get to the left side or, you can have wrap turned on, and what it does is it wraps around the backside and instantly ends up on the other side. And so, I kind of think of this as the Star Trek warp, just suddenly get me to the other side of the universe. And so this doesn't really hurt anything and this can go left to right, right to left, it can go from the top back around down to the bottom, it just makes navigating to the desired focusing point a little bit more quickly. Focusing point options will dive us into a sub menu. And so within here, when you are manually focusing, do you wanna be able to see focusing points, because remember, in the viewfinder, that little green dot will turn on, when you are properly in focus and if you wanna see which focusing point you have activated, you can leave it turned on, but if you know you don't want em, you can turn em off. The Dynamic-area auto focus assist. And so that's just gonna show you the other helping points that are gonna help you in focusing. And some people want information about where it's focusing some people wanna have an uncluttered viewfinder, so it's a little bit of a personal style here. But I think it's kinda nice to see where they are, it's pretty small in size. Group-area display, just has slightly different options for the way that the group-area which is that five point system, one point with four nearby points illuminated. Focus point illumination deals with what color the focusing brackets are. Under normal lighting they show up as black but when it gets dark out, they show up as red boxes that light up in the screen, and some people don't like those red boxes. And they turn this feature off, so that they're just simply black boxes all the time. And it's a little bit harder to see at nighttime, but some people don't like that red light shining in their eyes. SO those are our focus point options, next up is our Manual Focus Ring, and we can disable this if we want to, and this is only gonna work with some lenses, and it's typically their big monster lenses, where you'll be able to do this. Alright, moving over to letter b, things dealing with Metering and exposure. The ISO values can be set in third, half, or full stops. Most people prefer third stops so that you can be very precise about it, but there's a number of people who like to change ISOs more rapidly. And they don't use those third stop settings so they set it to one stop and so it's just less clicks to get from 100 to 6400. And so if you want less clicks, you can go with one stop, or if you wanna be very precise, you go with third stops. The same can be said for exposure control, if you wanna be able to control shutter speeds and apertures in third stops, half stops, and full stops, once again most people are gonna be leaving it in third stops. I happen to have an old light meter that works in half stops and so sometimes it could be more convenient to have one of the other settings depending on other things you're trying to match up to it. Same thing with exposure compensation for the flash, so if you're gonna be working with flash, you probably wanna be able to fine tune this, third steps makes the most sense here. Easy exposure compensation. Alright, remember how we did compensation, you have to press down on the plus minus button, while you turn the back dial on the camera, so it requires two buttons working on the camera. And that's how it works in the off position, if you turn it into the on position, all you have to do is just simply turn the available dial and it will allow you to make your picture either brighter or darker. Now all lot of people don't like this, because it's way too easy to set an exposure compensation on your camera, so there's kinda a safety precaution on the first setting but some people know exactly what they're doing and they wanna be able to change it very quickly with less fuss. The typical user I think will probably wanna leave this turned off but somebody who accesses this sort of information all the time, might wanna leave it turned on.

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

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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.