Camera Controls: Back Side Control
Camera Controls: Back Side Control
5. Camera Controls: Back Side Control
Class Introduction15:02 2
Photo Basics10:09 3
Exposure Control16:46 4
Camera Controls: Top Deck10:33 5
Camera Controls: Back Side Control28:54 6
Camera Controls: Back Side Control Continued42:49 7
Left Side & Right Side, Bottom and Front15:13 8
Menu Functions: Image Quality19:37 10
Menu Functions: Shooting Settings38:51 11
Menu Functions: Focus Settings14:12 12
Menu Functions: Movie Settings12:10 13
Menu Functions: Set Up46:31 14
Menu Functions: Playback Menu23:18 15
Camera Controls: Back Side Control
All right, let's switch over to the backside of the camera. All right, so we have the large monitor, or the viewfinder, which can be used for viewing your scene. Now in general, I prefer to use the viewfinder, because that puts the camera in a more stable position, and you're able to see with more detail sharpness of what's going on, it does have a very good viewfinder in there, and so it's good comfortable position. Now the camera does have a flip out screen that can be very handy when shooting in certain types of unusual positions and so forth, so they're both good, but I encourage you to use the viewfinder on a regular basis. It's gonna be a lot easier, especially in bright light situations. Now as far as where is the image displayed that you are photographing, that is controlled from a button over on the side of the camera, the Monitor Mode button, and as you press that button, it's gonna cycle through four different options for you. The main option is an Auto Switch Display, where...
it automatically switches, depending on whether your eye, or something else is held up to the viewfinder. You can choose the viewfinder only, or just the monitor on the back of the camera, if you so need it. The Prioritize Viewfinder option only uses the viewfinder, but will only turn on when your eye is up to the viewfinder. So if your camera's say on a tripod, and nothing's near it, it powers down and saves a little bit of battery power. And so that's a good mode I think, is either the Prioritize Viewfinder, or possibly the Auto Switch Display, and that Auto Switch Display will use a bit more battery information. Now the way it switches is that there is a sensor right above the viewfinder that senses when any physical object is pretty close to the viewfinder. I don't know, two, three, four, five inches or so. And so if you have the camera say hanging over your neck with a neck strap, and it's leaning against your chest, or your shoulder, or your torso in some way, that viewfinder may be turned on, because there's something physically close to it, and that's a case where you might wanna turn the camera off, to save that battery power. So the viewfinder is a very high quality viewfinder, it's one of the best on the market at this time. Kind of an interesting thing is the glass that is made in the viewfinder, the outside glass element is fluorine coated, and what a fluorine coating does to it, is it makes it really, really easy to clean, and so if there's dirt on it, or anything like that, it's gonna be able to be cleaned off with a cleaning cloth quite easily. Now there is a diopter over on the right hand side, and the way this works is that you pull it out, and you pull it out maybe about one or two, about two millimeters, just like 1/16 of an inch, and then you can adjust it, and this is adjusting the focus of the viewfinder. What you wanna be looking at is the numbers, and display information in there, and you wanna make sure that that is nice and sharp, and clear for you to see. And you'll find that this one, this diopter adjustment is what I think most of them should be. I could use a little bit more stiffness on it, but it's kind of nice, because as it sits normally on the camera, it's not going to get turned, and the only time it'll be turned, is when it's pulled out. And if there are two people who are using your camera, good luck over arguing on exactly where that needs to be. You might need to memorize how many clicks in one direction it is for you. There is a Display button on the back of the camera, which will let you cycle through different amounts of information over the image. And so you can turn on more indicators, or less indicators. And one of the interesting ones is the histogram, which will show you a graph of the exposure information, and then another virtual horizon one, which is important for anyone who's trying to get the horizon correctly level. And if I could just for a moment talk to Nikon directly, and say, "Shame on you, Nikon. "Absolutely shame." They do not have an option where there is no information. From time to time, all I wanna look at is the image I'm framing. I don't wanna see any shutter speeds, apertures, or any other information, and that is not an option. I wish they had pushed the information out to the side. I wish they would have done this. It's not an option, I don't know what to do about it. We all have our own little aggravations, and that's mine. All right, let's talk a little bit about what is in the electronic viewfinder itself. The framing is about 100% accurate, and the frame is accurate, but the depth of field may not be, and that's because when you are looking through the camera, the camera is setting an aperture of either 5.6 or wider, if you have it set. And so if you have your camera set to F22, the camera does not stop the aperture down F22, and give you a preview in that regard. It'll only stop down when it takes a photo, or if you have a program called Depth of Field Preview, programmed to one of the custom buttons in the camera. Next up is the focusing frame, and we're gonna talk more about focusing in a little bit, but when you look through the viewfinder, there's a lot of different options. It might be yellow, or red, or green, depending on which mode it's in, and what is activated. It's going to of course show you the size of the frame, and where it is in the viewfinder itself. The critical exposure information will be in that line right down along the bottom. They've kept it pretty clean and simple here. The most important things, over on the right hand side, that number will change depending on whether your finger is pressed halfway down on the shutter release or not. When it's not pressed down, it tells you the total number of estimated images on the card. When you press down, it will tell you the buffer size. And so the buffer size on these cameras is listed here, but I do have something to say about the buffer, and that is what's listed in the instruction manual is what I have listed up here. What I've gotten in the field is pretty close, not exact to that, but what's listed in the viewfinder, when you press halfway down, seems to be very short. A lot of times my camera will just simply say that I have 16 images, but when I press down and shoot a series of photos, I'll shoot through 25. And so the listed buffer is incorrect, at least in my camera. I haven't been able to confirm this in multiple other cameras, but be aware that it might be shortchanging you on the number that it's telling you you're going to get, and you'll actually get more than that, so might wanna take a look and investigate your own camera in that regard. Next up is the information along the top. I'm not gonna go through all these little bits and pieces, but it's a lot of indications of features that are either turned on or turned off, so every once in a while, you might wanna take a little glance up there, just to see if everything is as you would like it to be. I mentioned before pressing the Display button will give you more information. And so that'll give you some of that information. It'll allow you to see the Histogram, which is a great way of checking to see if you've got the correct exposure. If you wanna make sure the horizon is correct, you're not tilted forward, or back, or left and right, you can use the Virtual Horizon, and that's kind of fun. Anybody who is a pilot, or has dreamed of being a pilot, this is a lot of fun to have in there, because it feels like you're actually flying that plane. And so it'll get you nice straight horizon levels in there. If you wanna have gridlines, I find this helpful because sometimes I wanna know where the exact middle of the frame is. Kind of thinking about rule of thirds, getting horizon lines correct, building lines straight for architectural type work. These can be turned on by going into the custom setting D9, and flipping that on, and you'll see that in the viewfinder, or on the back of the camera. Next up, you could control the brightness and color. You probably won't need to do this, but if you do need to power up, or power down the power, or change the color, because it's drifted, or it just doesn't look right, this has no impact on the final image you are taking. This just affects the viewfinder itself. And so as I say, hopefully you will not need to use this in any way. The camera does have a removable eyecup, and after many years of hard use, that could wear out. It's the DK-29 rubber eyecup, and I thought I'd show you real quickly on how to take it off, because some people who are not familiar with it, it feels a little uncomfortable, because there isn't a particular lever on it, on how to take it off, and you just kind of need to work it from the bottom a little bit, like that to pull it up, and what it's using is it's got a couple of clip pins here on the side, and you just need to push past it. And so just put it on there, and it will snap into place, and once again, just kind of pull up like that, and push it on back down. And so if it does wear out, that's gonna cost you about eight dollars if you want a replacement one. All right, let's talk about the LCD monitor on the back of the camera. Pretty good resolution, pretty good size on this one. Once again, when you press the Display button, you're gonna get different options. Once again, shame on you Nikon. I just wanna see the image and nothing else as one of the options. We do have the additional information display, which is a lot of the critical settings in the camera. And so that can be kind of a nice one, working from a tripod, or anytime you're looking at the back camera a lot, and you don't wanna see the image there, you just wanna see how the camera is setup. This is a touchscreen. We do have touch controls that can be turned on and off. We do also have a flip screen, and we can focus, we can shoot photos, so let me show you real quickly on the camera. I'm gonna leave it profile here, so that you can see the flip portion of it. Occasionally we get people watching these classes that haven't purchased the camera, that kind of wanna see how it works, and so you can get it all the way out to a 90 degree angle, which is great as a waist level one. If you wanna shoot over your head, you can't quite go 90 degrees in that direction. It's easiest to grab it from the bottom, because there's a little bit of a notch here on the side where you can grab it out, and turn it out pretty easily like that. And so on the back of the camera here, we have a touchscreen, but there's a little touch control over here, and you'll see that if I touch the screen, it will move the focusing point to that area and shoot a photo. And this can be either really cool, or very annoying, depending on who you are, and your point of view. Now if you wanna change this, it is now AF-ON, so it's going to set the focusing point, but it's not going to shoot a photograph. And if I go one more step on the touch, it doesn't do anything. It turns the touch off, unless I happen to touch that one point on the screen over there, and then it turns it back on, and cycles through those three modes. Autofocus in Shooting, Autofocus, or nothing. And I'm gonna leave it on nothing for right now. All right, so we're looking at features on the back of the camera, and we're just gonna start our way. Over on the left hand side we've got the Playback and the garbage can. So obviously if you've taken a photo, and you wanna play it back, and then if you wanna get rid of it, you need to hit the garbage can twice. It's kind of a safety protocol, so that you don't accidentally delete an image that you accidentally hit the button with. So, over on the right hand side, our little touchpad is gonna be used for going through the images. Going through next image, previous image, and then if you go up and down, you will hit different display options, if your camera is programed to do that. Hang in, we're gonna do that in just a moment. But if you do the different display options, which can also be done by the Display button, we'll have a whole bunch of different information screens, and thank you Nikon, you are showing us our image with no information overlay as our standard one, but then we can add in, because I do like to see what aperture, and shutter speed, and ISO did I set that on, where was the focusing point, what are the highlights, what's the histogram look like, and all of those sorts of things. Now, unfortunately, and I don't know why Nikon does this, this is one of those Nikon mysteries, and I'm not complaining about Nikon, I'm just mystified by how and why they do things. All of these features are turned off, so you need to go back into the Playback menu, and turn them on, and since this frustrates me so much right now, I wanna show you how to go do it. So let's go ahead and get this turned on, so that we can see all of this information. So, we're gonna dive into the Menu, and we're gonna go up to the Playback menu. Gonna go right, and come down to Playback Display Options. And I'm gonna go to the right or OK. So now we have a list of options in here, and if you go to the right, you can give a check mark. So the two different ways of doing this is either check the ones you want, or check all of them, and play around with the camera, and see if you like them, and then come back in and delete them if you don't like them. Now realize, Nikon menus scroll, so you need to come down here and check. Now what you don't wanna do at this point is hit the shutter release, because that'll kick you out of here without confirming these as yes, I want these, and so down here there's an OK, and I wanna press the OK that confirms that these are what you've locked in. So now if we playback one of my wonderful images here, when I hit the up button, I will cycle through the different options. And if I hit the Display button, I will cycle through the different options as well. So we have two different buttons that do the exact same thing, and so we have the up, the down, and the Display. So I guess that's three buttons. And so if you wanna see more or less information, you can use any one of those buttons to do that. Now if you find that there's something in here that you really don't use very much, you can completely delete it from the cycle of options that you have when you're kind of going around, choosing the different display options. All right, so one of the other things that you can do is you can edit images. I consider this a Photoshop in-camera feature. You can go in and you can alter your images in the camera in here, and so if you go into the I Image Edit, we'll talk more about this, because it's also in the menu system, you can go in and you can rate your images, and you can retouch it, you can make it a little lighter, a little bit darker, add in some of the effects that Nikon has on their images in there. Protecting it prevents it from being deleted, in-camera at least. If you wanna zoom in and check sharpness, you can zoom in, zoom out, and you can navigate as well. And then if you wanna use the touchscreen in the playback, there's gonna be a number of common gestures that we use on our smart devices and other touchscreens, for going in and controlling it. So let's go ahead and take a look at some of these things. And so for playing back images, if I go left and right, I can go through images. Let's see if we can find something interesting familiar. Okay, here we go. Playing around before class, shooting some photos of our props here. If we wanna go in and check sharpness, we can go in, and we can check sharpness, and move around. Can we use the joystick? No, that kicks us back out. So we're gonna go back in, and so you can zoom in, check sharpness. If you wanna go back out, you will go to thumbnails of four, nine on a screen, or many, many more on a screen. We can use our finger to scroll around. We can double tap to zoom in. We can move it around, we can pinch to enlarge. So we can go back and forth just by tapping in and out. And kind of a hidden feature that's kind of cool is if I wanna scroll through a bunch of images, I go to the bottom of the screen, and you see there's a scrollbar. And I can scroll across a huge collection of images, all the images that I've taken on this card right here. And so just go right along the bottom, and you can scroll through all of your images extremely quickly, and so that's a lot quicker than going one image at a time. Just come along the bottom. There we go. And so that's a nice little feature to be aware of. All right, so when you are shooting video, and you're gonna playback a video, and I know we haven't talked about video, but if you've shot a video, when you playback the video, there's gonna be some slightly different controls. So you're gonna hit the OK button to play, or you can touch the play symbol on the screen. Either one will work. Anything, there is nothing that you have to press the screen for, and so if you're somebody who doesn't like using the touchscreen, you don't have to do it, there's other buttons, but if you do like the screen, there's a lot of things that you can control on the screen. And so that control pad on the back is gonna become the control for the video, and so you can stop, pause. You can rewind, press it a number of times to rewind faster. Same thing with Advance, going in the right hand direction. You can also change the volume of the sound recording. You can't zoom in on the video, but you can go up and down in the recording. And if you hit the I button, you can go in and you can do a number of edits to the movie. Now I recorded a movie earlier, and I was gonna see if I could go back and find this movie. And it's pretty easy to see the movies, because they definitely look different. And see, where is this? Ah. Well, I don't see it, so I'm gonna record a movie real quickly. And so I'm gonna turn this on. I'm just gonna put it in a simple mode for recording video, and I'm gonna do a little tilt, and I'm gonna start recording. I'm gonna talk more about video in a moment, but I just needed a little video to playback. And I'm gonna stop recording right there. So I'm gonna hit Playback, and it's gonna say OK Play, and if I hit the Display button, you'll see that there's different options. I think that's why I missed it before. All right, so I'm gonna hit OK to play. And I'm gonna pause it right here. Actually, I needed... I'm gonna go back to the first frame. Let's get some more information on here. I want more information, there we go. Okay, so now I see my place, and so I'm gonna hit pause down here. Now the I button is gonna allow me to edit this, and what I wanna do is I want to pull a frame from the video. And so I wanna take this frame right here. Now I could move forward a couple frames at a time, and so I'm moving very slowly through the video. I'm gonna hit the I button here, and I can go in and I could edit the beginning and the end. Not gonna do that, but you can. We're gonna save a current frame, so I'm pulling a frame from the video, and I'm gonna say OK, and it's gonna save that image. And so now, when I come back, I'll have the video, and then I'll have a still image from that video as well. Now it is a relatively low resolution. As you can see here, it's 1920 by 1080, so it's about a two megapixel image, and that's because it's just pulling one frame from that HD video out of it. And so you can pull those frames out if you need an individual photo from your video, and it's super easy to do it in the camera, as you can see. Now if you wanna use the command dials on the camera, the back dial, the main command, it allows you to skip forward in a video by 10 seconds, so if you're trying to fast forward around it, that might be an easier way to do it. And then on the front of the camera, that'll turn it to the first or the last frame in the video, and so you're able to kind of scrub through your videos very quickly. All right, we have our main control switch for changing from movies to stills here. And so the camera does keep a pretty distinct firewall between these two modes, and so you could have your camera setup in one particular way, with shutter speeds and apertures for video, and in another way for stills, which is really handy when you're switching back and forth, because a lot of times you have different requirements between them. So let's talk a little bit about the movies. First thing is is that there's gonna be a slightly different aspect ratio in the viewfinder, or in the LCD on the back of the camera, because we are shooting with a 16 by nine aspect ratio. The Record button on top, pretty obvious. You press it once to start, and once to stop recording. If you do wanna take a still photo during recording, you can do that by pressing the shutter release. It's either gonna be a two or an eight megapixel image, depending on what resolution video you've selected at that time. Of course, hitting the Display button will change the amount of information that you have along with your image, so depending on how many other factors you wanna see in the camera, you can turn those on and off when you are recording video. The I button is something we'll talk more about throughout this class. The information button allows you to get into a submenu. It's a bit of a shortcut into some of the most popular features that people use with video or stills, in this case video. And this is also something that you can go in and customize. And so if you wanna go in and customize it, go into G1 in the custom setting menus, and you'll be able to replace each one of these boxes with a variety of different options. Not everything is available to be put in here, but it's highly customizable, and so you can switch where the boxes are, and so if you like to have focusing controls on one side, exposure ones on the other side, you'll be fully able to customize it in that regard. When shooting movies, we have two basic resolutions that we can shoot at. Full High Definition, 1920 by 1080, and 4K, 3840 by 2160. You can change this, either in the I menu, you can also go into the main movie shooting menu, and make this change as well. The other major option when it comes to shooting movies on this, is the frame rate. Standard frame rate for most video is 30 frames. Technically, 29.97 frames per second. If you are in a PAL country, it's gonna be a little different than NTSC. PAL uses 25 and 50 frames, and NTSC is gonna be using 30, and sometimes you want a different look, so you'll set it at 60, or you might set it at 60 or higher, in case you want to slow your footage down later on. You can shoot all the way up to 120 frames per second, which will slow time down by four or five times, depending on what your playback speeds are. And so these are all gonna be some of the options that you have when you go into the Movie menu for setting the various frame rates and resolutions. There are two different file types that you can choose. MOV, which is a little bit more popular, but it can also shoot with an MP4 option. You can record your video to the memory card in the camera, or externally through the HDMI port on the camera. If you go external, you can then shoot 10-bit, which is less compression, and you're able to get just a bit more color, and detail out of it, so this is gonna be something that you would use with an external recorder from the camera. It's still very good in the camera, but you can just get a little bit better by going out through the HDMI. For the image area, you can shoot with the full frame, at least in the 16 by 9 aspect ratio, or you can shoot in the DX frame. So if you're needing a little bit more telephoto, you can go in. Now with the Z7, the video experts, and I'm not a complete video gearhead, I'd know a little bit, but I'm not the person who's done all the testing on this, they say that the DX is a little bit better than the FS, because in the FX, the camera has so much resolution, it's got more... It's got too much resolution, so it needs to scale it down, and does the system called line skipping. Kind of obvious what it's doing there, and it's not quite as clean of information as what you're getting with the DX sensor area. And so the Z6 is doing an oversampling on both, and so if you wanna compare full frame video on both the Z6 and Z7, you're probably gonna see it be a little bit better on the Z6, and that's why it's a little bit better. So one of the options is that you can shoot in high speed, and play it back in a slower speed, which basically is slowing down time. And so if you have something that you know that you want to shoot, and slowing it down, you can slow it down either four times, or five times, and it's pretty effective. Now it is limited, and it's not the best high speed film camera, but it does work for those of you who want to play around with that a little bit. I'll talk more about that when I do get into the full video menu in the menu system on the camera. Like always, you can hit the Display button, and that's gonna cycle through the various different display screens that you can see on the back of the camera. Next on, we're looking at the AF-ON button. So if anybody is into back button focusing, this is gonna be perhaps the most pressed button on the camera. And so you'll press here for focusing. Now, the thing is is that if you are not into back button focusing, you don't like it, you don't wanna try it, you tried it and you don't like it, this button, as it's programmed right now, is not gonna do you much good, because focusing with the back button, kind of doesn't matter when you go to press the shutter release to take the photo, the camera's gonna refocus on whatever the focusing area is then pointed at, and so if you don't like that back button focus, you might wanna reprogram this to be something else. If you like back button focusing, don't need to touch it. All you need to do is turn off the activation in the shutter release up top. And so if you do wanna do back button focus, what you need to do is turn off the AF activation, under A7 in the Custom menu. If you just want to set this button up to do something else, you can go under F2, custom control assignment, and you can reprogram this button to do one of the many other options that are available for you. And so set that up as needed, for what you like to do. All right, next up is our sub-selector. Now this is mainly used for moving the focusing point around, but we can also navigate through the menu system, but secretly it's also a button, and controls autofocus lock. And so, if you press in on it, it will lock the exposure. So let me show you real quickly on the camera, and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna throw the camera into aperture priority, and I'm gonna just bump up the ISO here a little bit. And we can see that I've chosen 5.6, and we're getting around 125th of a second, or 200, 50, 500, depending on where the camera is pointed at. And if I wanted to lock the exposure in, if I press in on this button, you'll see that there's this little AEL over on the bottom left hand side that pops up. And so now it's locked in, and I can maintain that exposure, no matter where the camera is pointed. And so if you are in one of the automated exposure modes, and you wanna lock it in, in a particular place, that would be the easiest way to do it. Now, another way to get around that is just to shoot with manual exposure, but if you are in aperture priority, shutter priority, program, any of those three, that's a system that'll work very easily for you. This is also one of those buttons that can be customized, so if you wanna go into the F2 custom control assignments, you can get in there, and reprogram that as well.
Ratings and Reviews
I love all of John Greengo's classes. Now he is a Canon man but he gives the Nikons a fair review and his lessons on them are excellent. I have the Z6 and I picked up a several pointers I had not run across yet, so this course has paid for itself already. The only negative I have, and hopefully this is because the course was streaming, but the camera focus was off when the video was zoomed into the Z camera. John may need to give the creative live camera operators a lesson on focusing. Great informative course at an excellent price.
Thank you very much, John! I've been using Z 6 for 18 months, so far, and now I've got Z 6 II as well and your training about these cameras is just an excellent job. Of course I've been following you in other trainings as well, like "Photography Fundamentals" (or something like that) and I've got some of your books too, all excellent, but with this Z 6/7 training have been useful to learn some new things and to remember others already forgotten. Thanks a lot!.
Loved the class. Just bought the Z6ii (waiting for it to ship) , so this is a great introduction. Would greatly appreciate it if John could add one more chapter to this class - Tell us about the Z6ii and Z7ii updates. It seems Nikon has addressed a lot of the concerns (particularly 2 card slots), so it might be very helpful for folks trying to decide on which camera to buy. Thanks!!!