Nikon® D500 Fast Start

Lesson 6/31 - Top of Camera: Buttons


Nikon® D500 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Top of Camera: Buttons

Moving over to the left side of the camera, we have a number of buttons and once again these are the types of buttons where you have to press and hold them down while you're turning the appropriate dial on the camera. So a lot of these buttons will have dual functions so if you press the button and you turn the back dial, it does one thing and if you press the front dial, it does something else. So in this case, the back dial is controlling the image quality and we have JPEGs, RAWs and TIFFs as different formats that we can shoot. JPEGs are the common simple ones that we're going to be able to see, images that we're going to be able to send across the internet and post on the websites very, very easily. RAW is the original information from the sensor and TIFF is a common file that people use in Photoshop or they want a universal file that everybody can read but has a lot of information, does not have the compression that the JPEG has. Now if you are shooting JPEGs, you can press the qu...

ality button and turn the front dial to change the image size between small, medium and large. Now you can see all this if you press the info button on the back of the camera, and so let me do a quick little demo for you here with the camera, let me go ahead and turn this on and so I'll reach around and I'm going to press the quality button and you can see that I can change between the RAW, define normal, these these are all JPEG options. And so RAW says RAW, JPEG says fine and normal and TIFF, I'll go through more about what these are and then with TIFFs and JPEGs, we can choose large, medium and small and let me just double check on the RAW. So RAW, we don't have small, medium and large. It's just one size RAW which is the full size RAW. So let's go ahead and take a look at some photo examples from these different quality settings. So I'm just going to use my standard test subject. It's got nice, little highlight shadow information, some good details and small basic is not where you want to have your camera if you want high resolution. That is for sure. Now, one of the things is that there are JPEGs that have little stars by them. This is kind of new for Nikon and the little stars by them mean it's a slightly better quality compression setting, so you're going to get a little bit higher quality with the star setting they're not, and there's a little bit of file size increase when you do that and there's not a huge difference in image quality but I'm always trying to get the highest quality images out of the camera. So one of the things that I noticed here is that the framing of the raw image was slightly different than the others and that is because the camera in the non RAW modes will often do an image distortion or image correction. It's going in and it's trying to fix any little problems with the lens. We'll see more about this in the Menu section but it's correcting things and the final image will have a slightly different crop to it by very, very subtle amounts, and so the raw image is going to get you the full amount of color and light information so if you're serious about photography and you want to get as much workable data from your camera, you want to be shooting RAW. However, the camera will shoot quicker if you are into sports and action photography when you're shooting in the JPEG mode. So a lot of people are going to be shooting this camera in the large, fine JPEG mode And if you're very particular, you may want to do your own test to see how your camera does shooting in large fine versus large fine with the star to see if it's a big difference to you and if you want to save a little bit of file size, you can start compressing your images just a little bit more to save that file size. In general, if you're not sure what you're going to do, it's better to save it large and that way you can always make it smaller later on. Generally, when you look back at the photos, you rarely look back and say, "Oh, I wish I'd set the camera to a lower quality setting." I never looked at my parents' photographs of our family and say, "Wow, I wish you were... "Would have used a worse camera." We generally want to record the highest quality images unless we know something very specific about what we're doing. So we'll see that in the back of the camera, as I say, I'm very visual. I like being able to look at the back of the camera so I'm often hitting that info button so that I can make those settings while the camera is on a tripod or just with that bigger screen on the back of the camera. Next up is our white balance which controls the color of our images when we are shooting under different types of lighting situations. So lights range anywhere in color from red to blue. The camera has three different settings for automatic, or for natural light; sunlight, cloudy and shade, and then for artificial light, the one that is most notably different is the incandescent or tungsten lights that many of us have in our homes. These are orange lights and if you want to correct for that orangeness, you set your camera to the incandescent setting and your whites will then be true white. There are a variety of fluorescent bulbs, if you've purchased fluorescent bulbs, you can get the cool ones and the warm ones and in the camera, there are multitudes of different fluorescent settings depending on the exact temperature of the bowl. Beyond these, there is also some manual settings that you can set. One is a preset manual if you knew the exact color temperature that you were working in. Say you were photographing in an office and you had the same lighting setup all the time and you knew it was 5700 degrees Kelvin, you could just set it there if you want to. The preset manual option on it allows you to photograph a white sheet of paper and the camera then analyze what color the light source is so long as that truly is a neutral white piece of paper and you can calibrate it in that manner and so if you needed to calibrate on scene, and you didn't know what the lights were, that is another way of doing it. And finally there is an auto white balance. And so auto white balance looks at the scene. In particular, it's looking at the highlight information where the highlights are and what color they are and it's correcting for it. And in general, it does a really good job and so I'm fine leaving the camera in auto white balance until I see a problem. And so if you know that it's going to be something different than that. You're outside shooting landscape photos and it's cloudy out all day, well then yeah, you could put it in cloudy. Chances are it's going to be pretty good if it's auto but if you stick it in cloudy, at least it's going to be very consistent whereas in auto, it may fluctuate a little bit. And so auto is the default starting position I recommend and then adjusting as you need to from there. Now there is an auto one. You see that little one on there? Okay so there is going to be a choice between zero, one and two when we get into the Menu system and so when we work under tungsten lights, we have the option of absolutely correcting for everything. I want whites to be absolutely perfectly white or you can say you know what, keep a little bit of that warm color because our eyes do see that warm color. We do a lot of correction for it in our own eyes but we have a couple different levels of correcting for that white color and so it's just subtle tweaks on how that auto corrects for warm colors and we'll talk about that more when we get to that in the menu setting. If you press the white balance button and turn the front dial, you can do a little bit of fine-tuning of the white balance system so if you found that the direct sunlight just doesn't quite do it for you, it's just not quite right, you can adjust it on an amber and blue level of one to six and so you can tweak it. Now my guess is that most people will never do this. Probably not going to be necessary but if you're shooting JPEGs and you found that the tungsten light setting isn't the right color tungsten, well this is another way of adjusting it because you could go in and set the exact Kelvin temperature, you could do a preset. There's multitudes of answers to any sort of a problem on it but normally I would leave that set to zero and you'll see actually a little color matrix down there where you can go in and you can move that color point in any one of those directions to fix that. So once again, and if you shoot with RAW, most of this doesn't even matter because if you shoot RAW, you're getting all the information, all the color information and you can adjust it later but it's still nice to get things right in the camera out in the field. Next up is our metering button. So press this, turn the back dial and we can choose between four different metering systems. The matrix metering system is a multi-segment metering system where it breaks the scene up into a multitude of areas, it analyzes the highlights, the shadows and comes with a very good average for everything. My guess for most people these days is that matrix is going to be their only metering system. We do also have a traditional center-weighted metering system that is customizable, you can change it a little bit and then there is a spot metering system which is probably I would say the second most popular metering system. So if you want to measure a bird on a tree branch, that's pretty far often it's fairly small, that would do a good job of it. If you want to measure the skin tones of someone's cheek, a portrait photographer can do that and the clothes and the background and all that don't matter, it's just the the tonality off the skin. There is also a unique one called high light weighted and this is a spot, well this is not necessarily a spot although they do show it as a spot, it's not a spot metering system, and the idea here is that it analyzes the entire scene and it protects the highlights. What I think this was designed for was a spotlight on a stage with an actor or a person on stage with one spotlight, it analyzes all this dark area, sees a little bit of a light area and it makes sure that the light area does not go overexposed. Now there's a multitude of ways of figuring that out, you could use the spot meter or you could use the matrix meter and manual exposure and adjusting the exposure but this is just one of the other tools that you have for that situation and what it does is it protects the highlights from getting overexposed, and so you can try that in certain tricky situations and that may be the solution. And you'll see that once again on the back of the camera. In this case, there's nothing happening when you turn the front dial. All right, yes, our camera records movies and we have a little record button up here on the front of the camera and if you don't shoot movies, there's a very interesting split in the still photography world and there's those who don't like video mixed in with their still cameras and there's other people that say, "Hey, I make good money shooting videos with my camera, "I like having one device that saves me hassle size "and does a great job of it," and so if you are the one of the people that don't use this as a video product, well you can reprogram that button to do something that you find functional and you'll be able to do that by going into the custom setting menu and reprogramming that button to doing something else but in all other cases, it's going to be one press to start recording and then one press to stop recording and we'll talk more about the movies as we go through the class. We do not have a built-in flash on this camera to increase the durability, to increase the weather resistance of the camera, we have just a solid, nice big prism system in there that we can see through, no built-in flash but we do have a hot shoe we can add on to the Nikon flash system which has arguably one of the best flash systems out on the market. And so if you needed just a little kicker flash you know just to have a little bit of fill light, you could go with something like the SB- which is very, very small in size. Moving up from there, the SB- is kind of unique because it has a hot light on it, so if you're going to be shooting movies, it adds a little bit of fill light for subjects that are fairly close to you. I think most people would probably be best served going up to the next level which is the SB- which is a good intermediate level flash, it's going to give you quite a bit of power, the ability to swivel and tilt and I think this is probably the flash that I would recommend for most people with this camera. If you do use flash a lot and you need either more power or faster recycling time, or extra features, that's when you would want to look at the SB- and so the SP 5000 also has a radio trigger and so if you want to purchase multiple SB-5000s and Nikon would greatly appreciate it if you bought lots of these SB-5000s. They're relatively expensive; they're about 600 bucks but you could buy like 20 of these things and you could fill a studio or take them out in the field and you can do all sorts of remote photography and we'll talk a little bit about flash but because this camera doesn't have one, it's an area that we're going to pass by a little bit quickly. There is probably a five-hour class just on the Nikon Wireless flash system and so we're just going to touch on it, there's a lot more to it than we have time to go for in this class. With any of these, I would recommend potentially getting this little cord, the SC-29 cord. This allows the flash to fire automatically at arm's length distance and so the reason this is handy is if you want to use it for macro photography, you want to put it on a flash bracket to get a better the flash in a better lighting position. It works really well for that and it's something that I think goes hand in hand with an SB-5000 or SB- and there is finally another unit that you can get a SU- which does not have a built-in flash on it but it does allow the camera to communicate with other flashes but this is using a little bit older technology from Nikon and so most people are probably going to be going with multiple SB-5000 units because that will allow them to communicate with each other. All right, so that is the top deck of the camera and we're going to stop and check in on some questions, see if we have any questions at this point. All right, any questions in our studio audience? All right, we have one. Yes Jonah, what I was noticing on the different formats for the images, I looked at TIFF and it sounded like it was huge compared to the other ones, why is that? Well, a JPEG image is a compressed image and the TIFF image is more like a RAW image but it needs to be put into a file that can be read by everyone and it ends up being and I don't have a that technical Adobe lingo on why it's so large but it's not a compressed image and it ends up being very, very large because it's trying to contain all the data in a readable format for everyone to get, and so let's just say you took a fantastic photo and National Geographic wanted to use it in a triple spread in their device, they would probably want a TIFF image to work with. Now, they might want to check your RAW image to see if it was actually a real image but they're going to probably work in the layout program with a TIFF image and so it is an option for shooting but I don't think it's a wise option for most people to shoot because it is such an enormous file size. So it's kind of a special case scenario and this is, Nikon is the only brand of camera that I know that allows you to shoot TIFF in-camera, very few people use it but it's... Nikon loves to be really, really nerdy, okay, for that .01% of the population that might need that, they're going to put it in there. All, right. All right, well we have a question from someone at home who is wondering she has the D- and she is saying that it only allows the bulb setting in manual mode not in shutter priority mode, is that the case? That is normal, yes and so if you want to shoot in the bulb mode, you will need to set your aperture yourself because if you were in shutter priority, the camera would have to figure out what aperture it's at and with bulb, it's such a long exposure, it's a very tricky setting and so, if you want to get into nighttime photography, I think we have some nighttime photography classes here but you're going to have to do a little experimentation and it's it's not a cut and dry science where you need exactly the shutter speed and exactly this aperture, it's a little bit of field testing before you dial that in. And so that is the case, you will see that in manual.

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.


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.

Adam Webster

I have to say I had been disappointed I had to work through parts of this course, it was so good! I purchased it, and going through it again was well worth it. I learned how to do so many of the functions, and when peered with John's Fundamentals, Lenses, and Nature/Landscape courses I think I have been taking much better pictures already. I do feel that if you have or are planning on getting the D500, this course and the others are very much worth it, and will help your techniques, getting you better photos.

Peter Rudy

As a amateur "enthusiast" who loves taking sports shots of my kids, I was scared the Nikon D500 was going to me too much camera for me. But after taking this class, I feel a lot better about my purchase and am really excited about getting out there and shooting. John's class is so much easier than reading through a long manual. I wish there was a course like this for every camera I have purchased in my lifetime! Highly recommended.