Top Of Camera
All right, next up on the camera is the ISO button. And this is a third way of controlling the amount of light, or the brightness of our images beyond the shutter speed and the aperture of the camera. This is controlling the sensitivity of the sensor. Now, the camera has a native sensitivity of ISO 100. If you want the best image quality from this camera, you want to try to have the image sensor set at 100, or ISO 100. You can set it to a low setting of 50 if you want. But you can also raise it up if you need to. So let's go ahead and take a look at the image quality that you get from these different ISOs. And so I like to do an image quality test to see how good the camera is at different ISO settings. As I say, 100 is the native sensitivity which means that's where the sensor is designed to be at its very best. As you crank it up for low light conditions where you might need faster shutter speeds, it's gonna get a little bit lower quality. In this case, I would say the camera is very...
clean through ISO 1,600. 3,200 and 6,400 are not bad for those numbers, but you're definitely starting to notice some noise at ISO 6,400. Now, this camera can really crank it up pretty high, and I gotta admit, normally, I tell people the top two settings are what you want to avoid. But Nikon really takes this up very, very high. And I would say probably the top five or six of those settings are not real good for most photography. In case you're wondering, why does Nikon push it so far up, 1,640,000 for ISO? Well, not everyone who uses these cameras is trying to create a masterpiece, a piece of art. Some people are using this for scientific reasons, and they just are trying to record very low light levels, and so they're just giving you as many options as possible no matter how you might want to use it. And so, I think you definitely want to stay down into the 6,400 and below range if image quality is very important to you. In any case, you always want to have the lowest ISO possible when you are working in any particular situation. You bump it up when you have to, especially when you need faster shutter speeds. Next up is our exposure compensation dial. So in modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, and program, the camera is figuring out how bright your subject is. And if you want to go in and adjust the brightness by making it a little lighter or a little darker, exposure compensation is how you do that. So, you press down on the exposure compensation dial, and you turn the main command dial on the back of the camera. You can go minus for darker, or you can go plus for brighter on this. As you look in the viewfinder or on the top control panel, you'll see either an exposure value or an indicator, something like this, is telling you you're one stop over exposed. Or it might tell you you are two stops under exposed. And so you can set it wherever it needs to be for a particular photograph. So this will mostly be used in program, shutter priority, and aperture priority, but it can be used on Nikon cameras in the manual mode. And what it's doing is it's kinda of fooling the light meter, it's adjusting the light meter. So if you say that, I want everything to be one stop under exposed, it would kind of fool you in the manual mode and adjust the light meter so that when you do shoot it at what looks like even exposure, you'll be one stop under exposed. I think it's usually best used in something like Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Program. Next up is our movie record button. And we'll talk more about the movie recording capabilities of this camera. There's a button on the back of the camera where we can dive into the movie mode and we can use this button for starting and stopping our movies. There's a little focal plane indicator. It's unlikely that you'll ever make use of this, this is to let you know exactly where the sensor is in the camera. So if you need to measure the distance from your subject to the sensor, which you do sometimes in macro photography, that is exactly where you would be measuring to in the camera. We do have a built in flash, and while this button is mostly on the left side, let's just go ahead and talk about flash right now, because flash is on the top of the camera and that's what we're talking about right now. So there is a flash button on the side of the camera, and it does three different things. It's a triple duty button. The first press of the button will pop the flash up. The second press of it will allow us to change either the flash mode or the flash exposure compensation of the camera. So let's a take a look at some of the different options within the flash modes. These flash modes will vary according to what exposure mode you are in. So if you're in the auto mode, you can change between auto flash, red eye reduction, or just flash off. And the way that you do this, is that you have to press and hold the lightning button on the side of the camera while you turn the back dial of the camera. And that'll enable you to switch between those different modes. Let's go ahead and do a little demo here. I'm gonna put my camera back into the full auto mode. And on the back of the camera you'll see, when I press the button, the flash... Well, actually, the flash will only pop up here if I need it. But if I press this button and I turn the back dial, you will see the different settings. So we have flash off. We have flash with red eye reduction, and then we have just a standard auto flash. And so, if the camera needs the flash, which, let's force the flash up here a little bit by choosing a lower ISO. Or actually, do we have enough light in here? There we go, the flash is now popping up because it's relatively low light and it needs it. So if we want to change which mode, if we wanted red eye reduction, we could add it here, we just didn't want the flash to fire. We could do this, which doesn't make a lot of sense because normally we would just turn the camera to the flash off mode up here on the top of the mode dial. But if we needed to have it in the auto mode, we could electronically turn it off by doing that. Now, as you're gonna see, as we go to different modes when we press this button here on the side of the camera, we're gonna get new options depending on what mode we're in. So let's go back to the key note and change our modes over to a program mode, shutter priority or aperture priority, and we're gonna have a new list of options that are available. We'll still have the fill flash, we'll have red eye reduction, but now we have slow sync which allows us to shoot at slow shutter speeds, which will allow more light in from the background, which would be very good in a lot of situations where we don't want our subject to be all bright and our background completely dark. Rear curtain can be a lot of fun with subjects that are moving. What it does is it fires the flash, timing it with the closing of the second shutter curtain, rather than the first shutter curtain. So anything that moves will have blur streaks behind it rather than in front of it. So if you do any sort of action photography where you need flash, rear curtain sync is often a good thing to use. When you get into full manual, there will be a different set of options available because the camera is set up in a different way. And so, we'll actually have a few less options here because the camera doesn't have control over the shutter speed here. You can manually control that. So those are different options that are available by pressing that flash button and turning the back dial on the camera. Flash exposure compensation allows you to change the power of the flash. The camera uses a system called TTL, or Through the Lens Technology, for metering and measuring the correct amount of flash. And the technical correct amount of flash is oftentimes, artistically, a little too much flash. It's a little too overwhelming. So you would change this by pressing the lightning bolt and turning the front dial of the camera to adjust the power of the flash. And so lot of photographers prefer to power down their flash so it's not quite as intense on their subject. And so powering it down by two thirds of a stop or a stop or a stop and a third, it'll vary depending on your subject, the background and the other tonalities in the photograph itself. But stopping it down around a stop is something that I would recommend for a lot of people that are doing people photography. We don't want too much flash on our subjects. We want enough to fill in the shadows, but not to be overblown in the photo. And so that is the flash mode on the camera. Now, we do have a hot shoe if you want to add more flash onto the camera. The built in flash is somewhat limited in its power and range. In fact, it has power rating of 12, and as you'll see that's not very powerful when you look at the world of flashes. The SB-300 is probably not a great choice for this camera just because it's not that much powerful. I think the SB-500 would be good for a moderate flash. The SB-700 would be an excellent flash complement to this camera because it's going to give you quite a bit more power and features, the ability to bounce, help in auto focus. It's got a wide angle diffuser for anyone who's using a wide angle lens. For the professional photographers, the SB-5000 is gonna offer more power, radio triggering capability so you can get it off the camera at a very far distance, and a number of other special effects options that we're not gonna get into right now. They're all very good choices. I think the SB-700 is probably the best matched flash for most average users with this camera.