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Nikon D850 Fast Start

Lesson 14 of 19

Custom Setting Menu Part 1


Nikon D850 Fast Start

Lesson 14 of 19

Custom Setting Menu Part 1


Lesson Info

Custom Setting Menu Part 1

And next up it is time to dive into the Custom Setting Menu, and so this is where we get to go in and make little tiny tweaks about how our camera is setup and the way it works, so that we can get it exactly customized to the way that we want it to work. As we go through these, you will notice that as you make a change on a particular feature, it's gonna add an asterisk by the letter and number of that particular feature, and that's just a good little indication for you to know that you have made a change from the standard settings that the camera comes with. First up is a custom setting bank, and so if you have a variety of different ways that you like your camera setup, you can store those in group A, B, C, and D here, and you can go in and you can rename these as well. So, I don't find too many people who are doing this, but if you do have some radically different setups on your camera, you can make it very easy on yourself by having these stored in there so that you don't have to g...

o change all the individual items every time you want to go from one type of shooting to the next. All right, our first group of topics in here is dealing with the autofocus system on the camera. a1 is autofocus continuous priority selection. And so when you were in the AF-C, the continuous shooting mode, how do you want the camera to focus versus shoot? Because there's two important things. One is to get accurate focus. The other is to shoot quickly, and sometimes those things come in conflict, and so you have some different options. Where, in the listing of options, the first frame priority is listed first, and the second frame priority is listed second. So if the most important thing is to have the camera release, you would have that set on the top setting. Some people want to make sure that it's really, really in focus, and then they'll let the camera shoot as fast as it can. So for most people they're gonna leave this in the release mode, but if you find that you're not getting enough in-focus pictures, you might want to change it to the focus release option. Next up is the AF-S priority selection, and so when you're shooting in the single focusing mode, what's most important? That your camera be in focus? Or that you can release the shutter? And in most cases people like to have their camera confirming that it's in focus before they are allowed to shoot a photo. So that's the safest place to be in this setting. Focus tracking with lock-on. So the camera has a few controls in here to really dial in the way that this camera tracks moving subjects. So the first option in here is Blocked shot AF response. And so if you are focusing on a subject and a new subject comes into that frame, do you want the camera to refocus on that new subject? And the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. You don't want it to do it, or say you don't want, do you want to stay on your original subject? In some cases, like if you're just looking for the person closest to the camera, the person at the finish line first, you don't want the camera to stay on the original subject. You want it to move to that newest subject as quickly as possible. In some cases, you do want to stay on that original subject because there's slight little interferences. With tennis, there's a racket and a ball that are constantly coming between you and your subject. In butterfly swimming, they're often splashing a lot of water ahead of them, and you don't want the camera to focus on that water. You want the camera to stay on the person's face, and so in that case you'd want to leave it on five. And so different sports will have different things going on as to where you might want to change it. Leaving it at three is probably gonna be fine for most people most of the time. The second option is subject motion, and this is how erratic is your subject, and how quickly does it change from one speed to another? So imagine a subject approaching you and your camera. Is it going steady, or is it changing in speed? And so if you have a subject that's pretty erratic, like basketball, football, or long jump, think about the long jump. They're standing still, they're running at top speed, they're jumping up in the air, and then they're stopped still again. So their speeds are constantly changing, and this is letting the camera know how quickly to update its information about how quickly it's moving. And if it's more steady, auto racing, or marathon running where the speeds don't change as dramatically, you can set it a little bit over to steady. So once again having this set in the middle between the two is probably fine to start with, and until you notice a focusing error in the sports that you're shooting or the action that you're shooting, that's when you want to come back and make this change. 3D tracking face detection on and off, and so if you are using the 3D tracking, do you want it to look for faces? Most of the time we prefer the faces to be in focus, and so that's not a bad thing to have. It's just that I don't know how many people are using the 3D tracking on there. And so, it can throw things off a little bit, and so it's something that you may want to turn off. It's something you may need to experiment with. 3D tracking watch area. So, when you do use the 3D tracking what it does is it starts with a single point, and the wide option here is gonna allow the camera to look in a little bit wider area so that you need to be a little less exact when pointing the camera out. And so it's better for just slightly more erratic subjects, so it depends a little bit on what type of shooting you're doing. The number of focusing points can be reduced from 55 to 15 just for speed of changing from one point to the other. A lot of people don't need to move to every individual point. They want to quickly move from one side to the other. I think most people leave it at 55, but you can narrow it down to 15 if you want. Store by orientation is kind of interesting because when you store all the points and you have them recorded over to the right-hand side, that's fine when you're horizontal, but when you go vertical, now they're at the top of the frame, which is not where you wanted to focus on your subject. So when you change this to focus point and AF-area mode, what you can do is you can have one set of focus points for when you're horizontal, and a separate set of focus points memorized when you turn the camera vertically. I've found this to be very helpful in shooting a variety of types of sports, so that you can really have multiple different types of areas depending on how you're composing the shot. AF activation, I've talked about this a couple of times before, back button focusing. So if you want to use back button focusing, well if you leave this AF, if you leave this on, you would activate the focus with the shutter. If you turn this feature off, the camera will focus only with the AF button on the back of the camera. So the more advanced photographers like turning this feature on so that you focus with the back button on the camera. Continuing on in Autofocus, there are a wide variety of ways that you can choose to focus. All these different single, nine, 25, and so forth, and if there's some of these here that you don't use, you can uncheck them. If you're new to this camera and new to this focusing system, I say leave them all turned on until you can figure out which ones you use and which ones you don't use. Then as you don't use them you can uncheck them, and you won't have to navigate by them as you work the camera. Autofocus mode restrictions. I would recommend no restrictions here for most photographers, because they're gonna want to go between single and continuous. If you want to leave your camera only in one mode, you can leave the other mode completely turned off so you can't even accidentally turn the camera to that mode. Focus point wrap-around. If you're on the far right-hand focusing point and you want to get all the way to the left-hand focusing point, you would need to press that little control tab on the back of the camera numerous times to work your way all the way over to the left. If you have wrap turned on, you press once to the right and it wraps you around and automatically gets you around to the other side of the screen. I figure there's not really much harm in this so I would leave this one turned on. Focus point options is gonna take us into a submenu, and first up here is Focus point illumination. And in this case it's going to determine what the focus point looks like when you are in focus. If you leave this turned off it's gonna show up in a black box. If you leave it turned on it's gonna show it to you in a red box, which is kind of a little bit brighter. Some people like that brightness, some people don't. The camera will automatically switch back and forth according to the ambient brightness as to which one it will use, but if you would prefer to use just one or the other, you can do that. A lot of people just leave it on the Auto setting. Do you want to leave your focus points turned on when you're in the manual mode? And there might be some people who want to leave that turned off so it clears up the viewfinder. One reason for keeping them turned on is so that you know which points are active, because inside the viewfinder over on the far left-hand side is a little green dot, and that'll turn on when you are properly in focus in the viewfinder points that you've selected. And so if you want to use that electronic viewfinder for focusing, then it's good to know exactly what focusing points you have activated. If you are using the dynamic-area assist, do you want the camera to show you the extra little points in the image area around that subject where it's also looking for focus? Which I think is helpful but not too distracting. Next up is metering and exposure. Letter B on our codes through the custom setting. First up is the ISO sensitivity step value, and so you can have this in third, half, or full steps. Most people like leaving it in third stops so they can be very exacting. Basically the same thing for exposure control, so for instance on your shutter speeds, third, half, or full stops. Most people want to be pretty exact here with those third stops. Same option when it comes to exposure and flash compensation. And so, sometimes people have light meters or other devices they are trying to match their cameras up to, or they just don't use third stops, they prefer half stops. But third stops is kind of the normal standard these days. You remember earlier when we were talking about exposure compensation, you would press down on the button and turn the dial in order to make an exposure compensation. Well some people don't like pressing down on the button. They just want to be able do it by using the available dial on it, and so some people who want to do exposure compensation a lot very easy without any restrictions, if you turn this feature on it'll allow you to do exposure compensation without even pressing down on the button. You can just do it with one of the available dials on the camera. Matrix metering has an option for turning on face detection. It'll recognize a face, and it will adjust exposure, and it will oftentimes lighten the exposure up just a little bit so that you can see that face a little bit better. Seems to work pretty well to me. You can do your own little test to see if it works for you, but it seems to be working most of the time quite well. If you're somebody who likes to use center-weighted metering area, you get to choose and customize exactly what size weighted area you use. Now the standard option is the 12 millimeter circle which is indicated in the viewfinder, but if you would choose a larger, if you would prefer a larger or a smaller area, you can do that. All right this one I hope you do not need to use, but if your meter built into the camera is a little bit off, you find that all of your photos when you follow the light meter guidelines are a little too light or a little too dark. It's possible that your metering system is off. As I say, this rarely ever happens, but you can dive into the individual options for metering, and you can adjust these. Now, it does give you this slightly dire warning on here, and the camera's not gonna show you this, it's not like exposure compensation. Although what it's doing is it's adjusting the light meter in very small, I believe it's one sixth stop increments. And so if you thought it was just a smidgen too bright or a smidgen too dark, you could come in here and adjust it, and you wouldn't need to think about it or see anything about it again. Our next major category is section C dealing with timers and auto exposure lock. First up is shutter release button auto exposure lock. When you press down on the shutter release that starts the metering system. Now, would you like it to lock the metering system so that it doesn't make any changes as you move the camera around? Some people like it, some people don't. It's something I think is a pretty good thing to leave turned on. A lot of people are locking exposure as they move from one subject to a slightly different composition, and so I think it's generally a pretty good thing to leave it turned on, but some people don't like it turned on. Standby timer, how long is the camera gonna stay turned on in any particular given period of time? Six seconds is the standard time. You can lengthen it if you need to. Self-timer. Remember the self-timer is on the top of the camera with the mode dial, and we get to go in and customize what the self-timer does in here. You can choose two, five, 10, or 20 seconds. Two and five is often good from working from a tripod when you're just trying to reduce camera shake from you touching the camera. You can choose a number of shots, and so if you're doing a group shot you might choose 10 or 20 seconds, and choose three, four, five images, depending on how many images you wanted to take right in a row. And then you get to choose the interval between the shots. So does everybody have just a moment to breathe? Or do you want it shoot through those shots very, very quickly? And so this can be real handy anytime you're setting up group shots that you're trying to be in yourself. Next up, the monitor on the back. How quickly does it turn off? So there's gonna be a whole submenu in here when you use this LCD in a variety of ways. First up is playback. When you playback an image, how long do you want it to hold that image before it turns off to save battery power? So here, you can leave these on longer periods of time, for maybe easier convenience of working. You can do a shorter period of time to save battery life so that you can shoot longer periods of time out in the field. Up to you, the settings that they start with are pretty good starters, but feel free to go in and adjust those as necessary. Next big category deals with shooting and display options. So, the continuous low shooting speed is set at five frames a second. You can make it a little faster at six frame, or slower frames per second. I have found that in shooting certain sports, some series of frames per second works better than other frames per second. Kind of depends on the cycle. Maybe runners have a certain cadence to them that works better at one frame or the other frame, or perhaps just a number is a little too high or a little too low for what you're wanting. So that's the continuous low setting on the mode dial on the top of the camera. The maximum continuous release of this camera is 200 shots, and this is a safety precaution so that if you had the camera in a camera bag and something got pressed up against the shutter release, it wouldn't just fire continuously while your camera bag was in plane flight or something. So it stops after 200 images, and so if you ever shoot a burst of 200 images, and you want to shoot more, just lift up on the shutter release and press back down. If you want to shorten this to a different number, you can shorten it to a different number so that you only can shoot through so many images at one time. ISO display is something that I think should be turned on, because it will allow you to see what ISO you have set in the top LCD of the camera. Normally it's showing you a frame count of how many images you have left. I think a more important piece of data is what ISO you are currently shooting at. The sync release mode options, if you are hooking this camera up with different devices, and you're triggering this camera with a remote, and you have, let's say you have a remote, and you have a couple of cameras. Do you want all the cameras to fire at the same time? If so, you're gonna do sync, let's see, sync with master camera, which is Sync, or you'd do No sync where it just syncs with the remote, and the other cameras are all firing as quickly as they can, but they're not completely synced. But this is only gonna apply to people who have multiple cameras firing on a remote signal. The exposure delay mode is gonna be a very handy mode for anybody who likes to use mirror lock-up. Because self-timer option and mirror lock-up are on the same drive dial on the camera, the release mode dial, you can't use both of them at the same time. So if you want to be in the mirror lock-up mode, and you want a little bit of a delay from the time you press the shutter release to the time the picture is actually taken, so that there's no motion in the camera, it's quite common for a landscape or a tripod-bound photographer to put this camera in a two or a three second delay mode, so that there's a little bit of time between the time they press the shutter release and the time that the picture is actually taken. So, mirror lock-up with the exposure delay mode will keep the camera at its steadiest, most precise setting for tripod photography. The electronic front shutter curtain is something that works quite well in many different situations. This is when you are in live view, what it does is it does not close the front shutter and then reopen it to take a picture. It electronically just turns the sensor on, but then uses a second normal physical shutter curtain to stop the exposure, and this seems to work fine in pretty much all situations. You may not want to use this if you are using flash photography, but it will reduce the amount of vibration you have when you're in the live view mode. You can change the file number sequences of your images that you record, and so normally it's on an automatic count that goes up to 10,000 and starts over again. If you want to reformat it and start over from zero, or from one again, you can do that at anytime you want. I showed you in an earlier section in the class the highlight peaking, when you are focusing. So as you focus, it shows you which area you are in focus with, and you can choose different colors here. Red's pretty easy so it's a good one to start with. You may need to change it according to the colors of the items that you are shooting. Looking through the viewfinder, you can turn on the grid display. We talked about this in the viewfinder. As I said this is handy for architectural, landscape work, when you're wanting to make sure to get a level horizon. The LCD illumination. Now normally when you turn the on switch rotated all the way around, it turns that light on in the top deck of the LCD. And if you want, now one of the things that that also does that I have failed to mention is that it also lights up a lot of the other buttons and controls on the camera, which can be very handy. If you want to leave this turned on, all buttons activate the top LCD, so anytime you press a button, it turns on the LCD. Now that's gonna drive some people nuts and that's why they normally leave it turned off, and the only reason it comes on is when you rotate that collar all the way around. But if you want the top LCD to come on with every button press, you can turn this on. When you're in the live view mode and you're shooting continuous photos, do you want to see a continuous review of your images as you are shooting? And it can be very helpful if you're shooting a subject that's moving, and you're trying to track the subjects. If you don't like it you can turn it off. Next major grouping is dealing with bracketing and flash. And so the flash sync speed if you recall when we were changing shutter speeds, the x250 is your flash sync speed. Well if you don't want it to be 250, let's say you're shooting with really powerful strobes that have a very long duration time, and you want your flash sync speed to be 1/125th of a second. You would set it here to 1/125 of a second, put your camera in manual, dial down to 30 seconds, and then to bulb, and then the timer, and then the x sync in that case would be 125. Flash shutter speed is which shutter speed the camera will choose when the camera is in charge of shutter speeds, and you are using flash. So for a standard photographer you probably want to be around 1/60th of a second because that's a pretty good number for handholding. But if you're good at handholding and you're working in a low light environment, and you want to let in some of that ambient light, a 1/15th of a second will do a better job at that. You might be even able to set it even lower than that. But in here is where you get to choose exactly how slow you want the camera to go when using flash. Exposure compensation for flash. So when you are using exposure compensation with the flash on the camera, do you want that exposure compensation to only affect the background, or the entire frame of the camera? So, the more particular photographers just want it to control the ambient light in the area, not the flash itself, which is background only. If you just want to have one simple control for everything to make it all brighter and all darker at the same time, then you would leave it on entire frame. Auto flash ISO sensitivity control. So, when you are using a flash and auto ISO, do you want the camera's computer to take into account that you are using a flash? So in this case you can choose subject and background, so it's gonna adjust ISO for both the subject, which is being affected by the flash, as well as the background. Or you can choose it only choosing the subject only. On the front of the camera by pressing the Preview button when the camera has a flash on it, it will fire a series of strobes very quickly in order to create a little bit of light on your subject to show you where the shadows are. So this is a modeling flash, so that you can see what things are gonna look like under the flash situation. Now some people bump this button and it can be disturbing for wildlife and other subjects, and they just want to completely turn it off, but it's kind of a nice feature to have turned on from time to time. Auto bracketing, mode M here. And so if you are using auto bracketing, what do you want adjusting when you are using flash? You can choose a variety of settings, whether it's the flash power, the shutter speed, or the aperture, or only the flash. So if you are probably wanting to bracket the flash, it seems to make sense to choose the flash only, but there are a number of options depending on what you want to see in the bracketing of your choice. You can choose the bracketing order. Now the standard order is to shoot the normal photo first, and then the minus two and then the plus two. For a lot of photographers they found it easier when reviewing images to shoot the darkest one first, then the normal, and then the lighter, and then when you shoot the next bracketed series, it goes dark, normal, bright. So it's a nice simple series of photos and it's a little bit easier to organize where all those photos are, and what collection they are a part of, and so that I think is a helpful tip. Under, meter, over.

Class Description


  • Capture images expertly with the Nikon D850
  • Set up a custom menu on the Nikon D850
  • Find the best lenses to pair with the Nikon D850
  • Uncover hidden features on the Nikon D850
  • Shoot movies with the Nikon D850
  • Edit in-camera and share with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth using Snapbridge
  • Use shortcuts to format the SD card instead of digging in the menu


Great design is invisible.

The Nikon D850 ($3,300 body-only) is one of the best full-frame cameras on the market, mixing a high-resolution sensor with a speedy burst mode. But the D850 is so feature-packed, you may not know even half the features right out of the box. From the new multi-selector tool to setting up the Wi-Fi, the D850 has a steeper learning curve than entry-level cameras. Sure, you could spend days going through the entire 360+ page manual -- or you could spend a few hours with some hands-on experience lead by a professional photographer.

In this class, you'll learn how to control the Nikon D850, from the physical controls to the settings inside the menu. While watching the class, you'll be able to create your own custom menu and get the camera set to your shooting style. You'll learn valuable time-saving shortcuts and uncover features you didn't realize the camera had.

John's straightforward teaching style is easy to follow along with and fun to watch. Ditch the manual drawings and learn from live demonstrations, including questions from students like you.


  • Photographers new to the Nikon D850
  • Self-taught photographers that haven't yet uncovered all the D850 has to offer
  • Photographers on the fence about whether to buy the D850 or another camera

MATERIALS USED: Nikon D850, Nikkor Lenses, SD Card


John Greengo has spent the better part of three decades building a photography career -- and using all different kinds of digital cameras. His experience has lead him to teach others how to best maximize the camera they have. John has taught classes on Nikon DSLRs like the Nikon D810, Nikon D7200, Nikon D7500, Nikon D3500, Nikon D5600, Nikon D500, Nikon D750, and several others. His CreativeLive class list also includes classes on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras from Olympus, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm.

Along with teaching, John works as a travel and landscape photographer, a passion that has won him several awards. His work allows him to shoot around the globe at several "bucket list" locations, including Iceland, South America, and Alaska.


  1. Class Introduction

    Meet the instructor and get a glimpse at what's up next with this short introduction to this Nikon camera class, along with picking up a few basic photography tips.

  2. Basic Camera Controls

    Jump into the dials and buttons on the Nikon D850 with this initial introduction to the basic camera controls. Learn the general overview of the camera's control scheme, including the new multi-selector.

  3. Top of Camera

    Continue exploring the camera's different controls with an in-depth look at the top of the camera, from using the shutter release to using back-button AF. Learn how to adjust essential exposure settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

  4. Back of Camera

    At the back of the Nikon D850 DSLR camera, find the custom setting menu, bracketing options, and white balance. Learn continuous shooting modes. Figure out how to use that new multi-selector tool in this lesson.

  5. Live View Menu

    The LCD screen at the back of the camera body can be used as live view mode or in movie mode, depending on what you want to shoot. Learn the difference between these two modes and how to adjust the different viewing options.

  6. Movie Mode Menu

    Switching gears to the movie mode on the LCD, walk through the different controls for shooting video on the full-frame Nikon D850. Learn different shortcuts, as well as tips like silently adjusting the aperture while recording video.

  7. Left & Right Sides of Camera

    Moving around to the sides of the camera, find essential settings like bracketing and AF modes. Dive into autofocusing essentials, then learn the camera's different port options.

  8. Bottom of Camera

    Take a quick look at the bottom of the camera, where you'll find the serial number, the tripod socket, and the battery access. Learn how to look at your camera's battery life, and why you may not want to use older batteries on the camera.

  9. Front of Camera

    At the front of the Nikon D850 rests a customizable function button, as well as the depth of field preview. Uncover the hidden flash sync and ten-pin ports at the front of the camera.

  10. Lens Options

    Dive into Nikon's excellent Nikkor lens options, including recommendations specific to the D850 camera body. Learn how to recognize a compatible full-frame lens compared to a DX-format lens that will crop your photos to the APS-C format. Recognize Nikon's shorthand for lens features, like the VR (vibration reduction) to designate a VR lens.

  11. Playback Menu

    Move from the camera controls to the menu system inside the D850. Get an overview of the entire menu and menu navigation, then dig into the options for the playback menu.

  12. Photo Shooting Menu

    Inside the photo shooting menu, learn how to save settings, how to save your images to the SD card and XQD card, how to shoot RAW and more. Decipher the different shooting options and set the D850 up to your shooting style.

  13. Movie Menu

    Uncover the movie options inside the sub-menu catering specifically to video. Change your aspect ratio, shoot at 4K, shoot slo-mo, or adjust the video file format in this menu.

  14. Custom Setting Menu Part 1

    Customize your D850 to your own shooting style using the custom shooting menu. Learn how to create a custom shooting menu and how to add easier access to the most frequently-adjusted settings.

  15. Custom Setting Menu Part 2

    Continuing the look at the custom setting menu, learn how to re-program the Nikon D850's physical controls. Create a custom scheme on the D850 based on how you shoot.

  16. Setup Menu

    Inside the setup menu, learn how to format your cards as well as one-and-done essentials like timezone and language. Allow the camera's clock to sync to a smartphone using Bluetooth to avoid resetting the clock for travel or Daylight Savings.

  17. Retouch Menu

    Edit your photos before they leave the camera with the retouch menu. Learn how to convert a RAW file to an edited JPEG without a computer.

  18. My Menu

    Create menu shortcut options with the My Menu tool, which allows you to see specific menu options immediately, the first time you open the menu option. This is a great way to save the most frequently-accessed settings, like image quality and Bluetooth.

  19. Camera Operation

    Gain some final tips on using the Nikon D850 while out shooting, including a shooting checklist. Learn how to check the camera for dust on the sensor. Set the D850 up for several different types of shots.


a Creativelive Student

Excellent class. Very fast paced which I loved. I have had my D850 for a few months and thought I had it all figured out. I learned some awesome tips and tricks that I am eager to start using. Thanks John:-)


This is a great class with an exceptional instructor, and I learned so much about my new D850 camera! I especially appreciated the opportunity to follow along at a perfect pace with the instructor while being hands-on with my camera. The content was understandable, logical and enjoyable. This is my first class through CreativeLive -- thank you!

Francis Sullivan

82 yrs old. Been an avid photographers since 5 yrs old. Read and listened to all types of photo teachers. Greengo is the best of all. Every so called photographer can still learn from a master on the D850. Fantastic camera and fantastic teacher.