Top of Camera
As I mentioned before, the shutter release needs to be pressed halfway down to wake the camera up from it's automatic sleep modes, as well as to activate the metering and autofocus system. So when you press halfway down, it wakes the camera up. And if you're in the menu system and you're kind of lost, and you don't know how to back out, and you just want to shoot a photo, simplest thing is just press halfway down on the shutter release. It automatically turns off the menu system and gets you ready for the next shot right away. Press all the way down to take your photo, and just remember that halfway position is very important, because it's gonna be waking that camera up. Now one of the things is that the camera will focus when you press halfway down. Not everybody likes this. A lot of people like doing something called back button focusing, and if you want to do that on this camera, well there is a button on the back of the camera called the AF on button, and you can focus there. But i...
t doesn't do much good with the camera straight out of the box, because you may press that back button for focusing, but when you go around to press the shutter release, it's gonna autofocus there as well. So if you want the camera to work in a true back button focus system, you need to turn off the autofocus on the shutter release. Now the way that you do that, is you need to dive into the menu system, and I'm gonna give you a little shortcut for anybody who wants to go in and do it right now. You're gonna go into the menu system, and you're gonna go to the custom setting menu, and you're gonna look up group A for autofocus, and specifically a8 AF activation. And you can turn off the autofocus mechanism of the shutter release. That way you have to press the button on the back of the camera to focus. Once it's in focus, you can release your fingers, recompose, take as much time as you want, and then press the shutter release whenever you want to shoot the photo. This is how a lot of people like to have their camera set up, because they don't need to keep any fingers pressed, and then they can shoot many pictures with the camera pre focused oi the location exactly as they want it. When you rotate the on off switch, all the way around, you will get to the light portion, which will illuminate the LCD on the top of the camera. I'm not gonna go through all the different things that it shows in here. It's mostly your critical shooting information. Shutter speeds, apertures, ISOs, images left, and so forth. And so, if you want to turn that light on, you just simple rotate that dial all the way around to the light position, and it's gonna flick on that little lime green light for you to see under low light conditions. So we're gonna be looking here closely at the top deck, at all the different features. The first and definitely one of the most important is the ISO dial. Now this is the sensitivity of the sensor, and it can be changed anywhere from 64, all the way up to 25, with additional low and high settings that you can go a little bit beyond it. And so, you will get the best image quality by shooting this camera at the lowest setting possible, ISO64, and then you'll want to bump it up as needed depending on what your shutter speeds are, and apertures are, and your lighting situation. So I always like to throw the cameras through a little bit of my own ISO tests, to see how good they are. And this camera is shooting some of the cleanest, best information out there at these low ISOs. And so, at around 50, 100, 200, 3200, it's gonna do an incredibly good job at shooting in those low ISOs. As you get to the higher ISOs, you're gonna get to some grain. And so on this camera, it's doing better than in previous D800 series cameras, and it's shooting very, very clean data all the way up to 12800 in my opinion. And so I can see pushing it there quite frequently. Now you can go up to 25000, and that's when you're really starting to get to notice quite a bit more grain. We do have a Hi 1 and Hi 2 setting, which get progressively worse. And so, as always, with ISO, the lower the better. And so getting down to ISO is where you're gonna get the best image quality, and where I would want to have the camera set up as much as possible. The reason that I'm gonna be changing that ISO up from 64, is when I need a faster shutter speed. If I'm shooting a portrait, and I'm at too slow of shutter speed, let's say 1/30 of a second, I'm probably going to bump it up to 1/125 of a second, and I might be shooting at ISO 200 in that case. Not gonna be a big deal. This camera is still very good at 200, but if I'm shooting landscape-type shots from a tripod, that's when I'm gonna want to be at ISO 64. We'll let you know that when we get into the shooting menu, there are gonna be several more controls that we have for controlling the parameters of the ISO setting, including the the auto ISO option. So there is an auto ISO option on this, and what you will do is, you will press the ISO button, and turn the dial in the front. Now, I have to admit, your fingers are put into a kind of unusual position. It's not something that you would easily be able to do. It's much easier to change the ISO by pressing the ISO button down and turning the back dial. And if you press the ISO button with your thumb, then you can use your index finger to reach around the front and turn the camera into its auto ISO, or turn it out of that. Working our way over to the left side of the camera, we have a cluster of controls. The first and easily most important over here is the mode button. This is gonna control the shutter speeds and aperture options in shooting. And so let's walk through the different options that we have in the mode program. So by pressing the mode button down, and turning the back dial, you'll be able to change your exposure modes. The first one I want to talk about is the P mode, which stands for program. Program is where the camera will use an automated program according to the light coming in the lens. It's gonna choose your shutter speeds and apertures. Now if you want to see those shutter speeds, you'll be able to see them on the top LCD deck of the camera, or you can look in the viewfinder and you will see on the bottom of the screen, actually below where the image area is, on the far left, you will see the shutter speed, and then you will see the aperture, which is in the F, right after the F. So that's your F number, your F stop. And so you'll be able to see those shutter speeds and apertures changing, when you do that. Now, one of the things that you can do once you're in the program mode, is that you can do something called flexible program, which is where you turn the back dial of the camera so that you can get different shutter speeds and aperture combinations. So let me give you a little demo here on that, and so what I'm gonna do is get this camera pointed so that you guys can see the back end of the camera, and so that you guys can see what's going on. I'm gonna hit the info button, and I'm gonna do this frequently in the class so that you can see what's going on with the back of the camera. So to change the modes, you need to press in on the mode button and turn the dial here on the back. We'll talk about all of these other modes here in just a moment. So once you are in the program mode, you'll see that, and I'm just gonna change my ISO real quickly, because our studio's a little on the darker side, so let's just go up to 1600, that seems fine. And so you can see right now, the camera is suggesting 1/80 of a second at F4.5. As I move around the room a little bit, you're gonna see those numbers change, because they're constantly reading whatever light the camera happens to be pointed at. Now if I said, "You know what, I really don't like "that setting of an 80th 4.5. "I would prefer more depth of field," I can change this dial here on the back, so that I can get more depth of field. Now, right here, let's go ahead and take a test shot. And let's take a look at our image. I'm not composing this up so I'm a little bit awkward here, and that's fine. But if I said, "You know what? "I would like more depth of field," I can dial this and say over here to F11, and the camera's gonna automatically adjust shutter speeds and apertures in both cases. So both of these pictures, while taken at very different shutter speeds and apertures, have essentially the same amount of light coming in. And so this program mode works very well. Now there's one little quirk about this program mode I want to show you. And as I go to smaller and smaller apertures, I can continue turning this dial, and nothing happens. And that's because I've reached the limit of where the aperture is. But you'll notice that sometimes, I'll click, and nothing's happening here. And so if I click too far past the range, I sometimes get, the camera gets lost, and so let's see if it does this on that wide open side. And so you can see here, nothing is happening, and it's just because I clicked too far over from that four, and so I'll click back to the left, and I'll get back in the range. And so once you get to the end of the range, don't continue clicking because, then nothing happens when you turn that dial. I suppose you could use that as a safety, so that you don't accidentally change really easy. But that's just a small little quirk in the system. I'm not sure exactly why it does it but it's good to know that it does actually do that. All right, press down on the mode button, turn the main dial on the back of the camera, and you can get to the shutter priority mode. This is where you obviously have control over the shutter speed. The camera will figure out the aperture, to the best of its ability, and this is good anytime you want a specific shutter speed. So if you want a fast shutter speed, you can dial in 1/1000 of a second to stop something that's moving very quickly. If you want to show motion in your photographs, you can use a really slow shutter speed. If it's really slow, you're gonna probably need a tripod. Like one second, I definitely need a tripod to make sure that I can get something sharp in the frame and let whatever's moving blur during that one second in there. And so, shutter priority is an interesting mode, and I want to show you just a quick little view, of another little quirk in this mode here. And so let's go ahead and turn this on. I'm gonna change it into the shutter priority mode here. And if I choose a shutter speed that's within the range of what the aperture and the lens can handle, we can shoot here, and let me just reposition my camera maybe slightly better, shoot a photo here and we'll get a proper exposure there. But if I choose a different shutter speed, and you can see the aperture changing on my lens here. And so anytime the aperture is changing, that's a good thing. When it stops moving, you'll notice, my exposure indicator is telling me that I am underexposed. And so if I try to shoot a photograph in here at 1/1000 of a second, the F4 is blinking, warning you that you don't have enough light, that your lens does not have the right aperture. It still allows you to shoot a photo, and that photo is gonna come out indeed very, very, dark here. And so if you do like to use the shutter priority mode, just be aware when something is blinking at you. Now this is what it looks like on the back of the camera. When you look through the viewfinder, the F number will also be blinking at you. But also, keep an eye on that exposure indicator. If you see that exposure indicator, that means you're letting in too much or too little light, and you want to make sure that that's not showing when you are shooting in the shutter priority mode. A good option for shooting in shutter priority, if you want to make sure that you don't have that problem, is use auto ISO on top of shutter priority. The next mode is aperture priority. This is where you get to choose the aperture. Now, rather than using the back dial on the camera, you're going to be using the front dial on the camera. With Nikon cameras, in general, unless you've been reprogramming your camera, the back dial is for shutter speeds, and the front dial is for apertures, if you have two dials on it. So controlling the apertures is a great way of controlling your depth of field. And so if you want a lot of depth of field, so that things in the foreground and the distance are in focus, you can stop down to f/16 or f/22. If you want to have very shallow depth of field, where you got a subject in focus, and the background out of focus, you might want to use your shallowest depth of field, so they have lenses that go down to f/1. to give you that very, very shallow depth of field look. And so, aperture priority works really well in this case, because the camera has so many different shutter speeds. At most, any aperture you choose, under most any lighting situation you're gonna choose, there's going to be an appropriate shutter speed to match that up with. And so a lot of people really like working with the aperture priority mode. Now the three modes that we've talked about, program, shutter priority, and aperture priority, these are all auto exposure modes. And if you want to adjust the brightness of your images, you can use the exposure compensation button in order to do that. So what you're gonna do is once you're in one of those modes, you can press down on the exposure compensation button, turn the main command dial on the camera, and adjust according to whatever you think you need. If you want your picture brighter or darker, this is where you can change it. Now the way this is gonna show it to you is a little different depending on whether you're looking at the top, at the back screen, or in the viewfinder itself. And so you might have an exposure indicator, or an exposure value. In this case, it's telling us we are one stop overexposed. Or this is telling us we are two stops underexposed. And probably the most important thing on this is remember to reset it back to zero when you are done. Because this is gonna affect the brightness of all future images that you shoot with. So let's get that reset back to zero. Now this is something that I would mainly use in aperture, shutter priority and the program mode. But it can be used in the manual mode in order to fool the light meter. And so it's kind of interesting in how that it can do it, but it's something that is mostly gonna be used in A, S, and P. When you're using those, just keep an eye on that light meter. Next up is the full manual mode. And so this is where you get to choose shutter speeds and apertures yourself. And this is what a lot of photographers like working with, because they're gonna get consistent results from one photo to the next. Once they've figured out the lighting, and the lighting is not changing, you can stay at the same shutter speeds and apertures. And so if you want lots of different compositions of the subject and the lighting's not changing, dial all your settings in manual, check them, make sure they're right, and they're good to go. It's also really good under tricky lighting conditions when the camera's automatic metering system may not work properly because there's a lot of dark area or very bright area, or it's a very, very tricky area. Now when you are changing your shutter speeds in manual, you'll have shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000 of a second on a fast side, all the way down to 30 seconds. We do have a couple of other special ones. First one is called bulb, and this is for long time exposures, anything over 30 seconds. Well you can actually do anything, almost any length of time over a second. Now the way bulb works is when you press the camera shutter release down, it's gonna open the shutter. And it's gonna stay open as long as you have your finger on that shutter release. When you want it to end, you lift your finger off the shutter. Now pressing the camera shutter, while you're doing a long exposure, is not the best technique. And that is why you might want to use one of the cable releases for it. Another option is the time long exposure, and this is very similar to bulb. This one works slightly differently though. IN this case, what's gonna happen is that you're gonna press down on the shutter release to start the exposure, and then you'll come back to the camera and press the button once again, when you want it to finish. And so if you're gonna do a very long time exposure, I would prefer to use time. For a shorter one, I would use bulb. And these are only gonna be available to you in the manual mode. They are not going to be available to you in the shutter priority mode. Finally, if you dial all the way down to the very end, you're gonna get to the xSync, and this is the flash sync. So if you were in the studio, and you want to use a flash, the camera can use shutter speeds up to 1/250 of a second. If you want to select a different time for your flash sync, you can do that and I'll talk about that as we get through the custom menus in the camera. So these long time exposures can be really fun to use with tripods and nighttime in interesting locations. And so in some cases, you need more than the 30 seconds that the camera naturally gives you, and so it's nice to be able to get the camera to go for a much longer period of time. All right, let's do a little demo here on setting our camera up in the manual mode. So let's turn our display on. And so I'm gonna change my camera over to the manual mode. Let's make sure I got my info on here. And we'll go to the manual mode here. And so for the particular scene that I'm pointed at right now, let's change our aperture, and I'm gonna be at F8 to start with here. And I mean pretty close on shutter speed, and what I'm looking at is this light meter. And what I would do, and in any normal situation, is I would probably just zero it out. I would shoot a photo, and then I would look at that photo to determine if it's the correct brightness. If I thought, you know what, it's actually a little bit darker than that, I could then come in and change either the aperture, or the shutter speed, to make it a little bit darker. So if I want to make this just a little bit darker, let's just say it's in the shadows. This is 2/3 of a stop darker. I can shoot the photo here. Let's take a look at it. And now I have an image that's a little bit darker than the previous image. So here's second image, first image, back to the second image. And so I would usually do that in any situation where I'm going to be shooting a series of photographs and I want them to be very consistent, is I'm gonna figure things out as far as where I want my shutter speeds, my apertures, my ISO, how bright do I want it, according to the light meter, and then once I've got that set up, then I can be engaged in other more important things like composition and moving my subjects around, and getting my point of view just right. So that's a little bit on the manual exposure. Next button on the top of the camera is the movie record button. And so if you want to shoot movies with this, you'll want to put it into the movie mode, which is done with a switch and a button on the back of the camera that we're gonna talk about in a little bit. And then, this works like most record buttons, you press it once to start and once to stop. I have a lot more to talk about on movies. We're gonna do that when we get more into the movie section in the class. But there is an entire menu in this camera that is dedicated to the movie settings of this camera, and we will be going through that in detail in the second half of this class. Next button on the left hand side, we're gonna talk about is the metering button, so press down on this, turn the back dial on the camera, and you will change through the different metering options. So let's take a look at what Nikon offers, and talk about what it does. So first and foremost is the matrix metering. And this is what most Nikon users are using most of the time. This is the 3-D color matris metering II, which is using 180,000 pixel RGB sensor to get as much information as possible. It's one of the most sophisticated metering systems on any camera going out there. And this is good for pretty much all lighting conditions. It's very good in mixed lighting, because it's measuring highlight and shadow information, combining that all together to figure out what the correct metering of a particular scene is. And so this is what I recommend for most people to leave their cameras in most of the time. We do have a couple of legacy modes here. The center-weighted metering system is what a lot of cameras used to be, and so this is something that some people still like and use, and it's gonna measure the information in the middle of the frame much more heavily than things off to the side. And it works well if your subject is not overly bright or overly dark in the middle of the frame. For those that want to get more precise, there is spot metering, which is 1.5% of the frame. And so if you have a bright background, or a dark backdrop to your subject, and you want to meter the light directly off of a small portion, the spot metering can be a very useful tool in that regard. Relatively new on the Nikon cameras is a highlight-weighted metering system. And so this will probably require a little bit of use on your part if you do want to work with this out in the field. And what it's trying to do here, is it's trying to prevent any area from your photograph from becoming too overexposed, which is a good general idea. You don't want a lot of hot spots on your photographs. And so perhaps a subject on a stage where there's a spotlight could be a very tricky situation and it might work out very well there for you. And so for most people I'm gonna recommend the matrix metering, but you might want to play around with either the spot metering in special cases or the highlight-weighted metering in some other places where you may be getting blown out skies or hot spots on your images, and you want the camera's meter to take into account those brightest areas. So by changing the metering, one of the things that I like to do is I like to be able to look at the back display on the camera, because it's got a nice big display on that camera. So if you want to see that, you'll often have to hit the info button to turn it on so that you can see it. And by pressing the metering button, turning the back dial, you'll be able to see that change right there on the back of the camera. The next up is our quality button, and so using that same technique, we're gonna be able to change our image quality on the back of the camera, but if we go to the front dial, we'll be able to change the image size and so Nikon has recently allowed us to be able to shoot in large, medium and small sizes, not only in the JPEGs but also in the TIFFs and the RAWs. But let's take a closer look at the many different options that we have for the quality settings on this camera. If you want to record the greatest amount of information, and have that available for you to use, you want to be shooting with a raw image. And this is what Nikon calls a NEF file. Nikon Electronic Format. And so this is gonna be using the entire information off the sensor. It's gonna be a relatively large file size, somewhere between 34 and 92 megabytes. And I know there's quite a bit of difference between 34 and 92, and we're gonna talk a lot more about that as we get into the menu settings and the compression settings, and the 12 bit versus 14 bit RAW options. So there's some subcategories on the RAWs that we're gonna get into in the menu section of the class. But if you want the greatest amount of information, greatest amount of color information, greatest amount of information from the highlight to the shadows, you want to be recording a RAW image. But you do need either Nikon software, or other software like from Adobe, that can read the RAW file from this camera. We do have a number of JPEG options. We have fine, normal and basic. And we have two options between each of these. The ones with the star, they have a priority of quality over file size. And so if you want a little better quality, you choose the one with the star by it. If you want something that's a little bit smaller in file size, you choose the one without the star by it. So we have small, medium and large options available for this. I'll be talking about on the next slide here. And so these are quite a bit smaller in file size than the RAW option. We do also have the option of shooting a TIFF on this camera, which is a tag image file format. This is a very large file. Most people aren't going to shoot in a TIFF, because it ends up being, as you can see the file size down there, a very large file. But, if you needed to shoot something in camera, very high quality, give it to somebody who did not have the Nikon or Adobe software that you would normally need to look at a RAW image, you can shoot that TIFF, which is gonna keep virtually everything from that RAW file, but put it in a more universal format. The downside is that's a very large format, and so this is something that most people are not going to use on a regular basis. And finally, we have a collection of RAW plus JPEG options. If you want the RAW, so that you have access to the greatest information, but you need a JPEG for short term needs, or immediate upload needs, there's a variety of options where you get a full RAW in all of these, and a variety of smaller size JPEGs according to what you choose here. And so this will obviously eat up more space on your memory card, because you are storing two files. I don't recommend shooting in RAW plus JPEG unless you have a specific application for those JPEGs that is needed right away. Because if you have a RAW, you can create a JPEG of any quality you want, later on with the right software. And so yeah, a lot of photographers are just gonna shoot in straight RAW. There are some people that don't have all the software set up, so they'll shoot in the highest quality JPEG. And sometimes photographers will shoot in lower quality JPEGs when they know the final use of their image is not too demanding, and they can shoot with a smaller size and save a lot of file space on memory cards and hard drives going forward. But I encourage most people with a camera like this to probably shoot in RAW most of the time. Now whether we shoot in RAW or JPEG, we're gonna be able to choose different sizes. And so the camera has 45.4 megapixels. Most of us are gonna be pretty excited and want to get our images into that largest file size, but if you do know the application, and you know that you don't need that extra information, you can save space by shooting in a medium or small size. And so this would be something that you can change in the menu system as well, or you can change it right here on the top of the camera, by pressing the quality button and turning the front dial of the camera. Next up is our white balance, and this is controlling the color of our image, which will depend on the light source that we have. So by pressing the white balance button and turning the back dial on the camera, you'll be able to change the white balance setting. And then, if you turn the front option, you'll be able to change the sub option, because there's a number of white balances that have subcategories that you can choose from. So white balance is gonna be dealing with light that ranges from red to blue. We're gonna have some natural lighting options, we're gonna have some artificial lightings. The one that's most distant from the normal light is the incandescent light, and so you definitely want to change it over if you are under that type of lighting. Now one of those areas that has a lot of subcategories is the fluorescent light, because flourescents come in many, many different colors. And so once you get the fluorescent light option dialed in on the back dial, then you can go to the front dial, and dial in the sub option. Camera has a number of other controls as well. We have auto where the camera will choose the correct color for you. It looks at the scene, looks at the highlight information, and then will just choose according to what it thinks it needs. Now there are actually three different variations on the auto setting. We can have it auto zero, one, or two, and it depends on how strict you want the camera to keep whites white. For instance, you may be illuminated by campfires. Well the camera's gonna see a lot of orange, reddish light, and it's gonna wanna correct for that. Maybe you want to keep some of that warm light as part of the photograph, so you can use AUTO2 to keep those warm colors. And so you can really tweak that auto exactly the way that you want it to work. We do have a new setting here in white balance. Haven't seen a new setting in any white balance for awhile, and this is natural light auto, and this will be good for anyone who shoots a lot of natural light, that really wants to keep a lot of the natural light in the photograph. And so it's gonna correct for it a little bit, and so there are actually four choices here that are very similar, because they're all auto, with slightly different tweaks on how much the camera is gonna correct for your color. Which one is best for you is hard for me to recommend. I know I was pretty happy with AUTO1, the normal setting, most of the time, but I've had to play around with it a little bit to get the exact look I wanted. Next up is the Kelvin temperature, and this is where you can set the temperature yourself. You can dial in a specific number by just turning that front dial, and setting it into one particular area. This works fantastic if you have two cameras and you want them to shoot at exactly the same Kelvin temperature. And finally, you can do a preset manual. And so what this is gonna do is this is going to allow you to shoot a test subject, a white card, or a gray card, and calibrate that under the lights that you are working. And this is gonna be good for anybody who's working in a studio, or an office, or any sort of location that has funky lighting, and you want to get it corrected. All it takes is a white piece of paper, so it's very easy to do. And so all of that is in the white balance button on the back of the camera. Looking around the rest of the top of the camera, we do have our focal plane mark. It's rare that you will ever need this, but if you needed to measure the distance from your subject to the focal plane, that is where the sensor is in the camera. There's a couple of stereo microphone little ports out there, that are gonna be picking up the microphone sound. If you are recording video, and you want better quality sound, you should probably look at an external mike. There's many different models out there that will plug right into the jacks on the camera. But it does have stereo microphone for the automatic, built-in recorded sound. We then have a hot shoe on this camera. We do not have a built in flash. The change from this camera from previous generations is they took off the built-in flash to make the camera more weather resistant, and to have a better viewfinder. A little bit of a trade-off there, but not if you want to add light, you're gonna need to do it in some other way. So let's take a look at some of the Nikon flashes. If you just wanted the smallest, simplest one, currently that is the Nikon SB-300. The SB-500 has a video light, which is kind of nice, but it's a little bit of a low end flash. I think the SB-700 and SB- are gonna be my recommended flashes for this particular camera. They're gonna give you quite a bit of power. They're gonna give you the ability to bounce the light against walls and ceilings. They're gonna have an infrared emitter, to help you focus under low light, and so I think those are gonna be two of the best options for people interested in adding on-camera flash. There's a lot that you can do with multiple flashes off camera. There is an SU-800 unit which allows you to have an on-camera remote system that triggers off-shoe flashes. You can just purchase a number of flashes, but if you don't want the one to fire on the camera, this can be a handy unit to have. As many experienced photographers will tell you, one of the best ways to get better quality light is to get the flash off of the camera, and so suing the SC-29 TTL remote cord, you can have a flash that is fully automatic, but is off the camera by some degree. And so you'll see some people at event shooting with cameras on brackets to get that flash a little bit further away from the lens, and so that can be a very good way of getting a little bit better quality light when you do have to add in a little bit of flash.