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Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 14 of 15

Menu Functions: Playback Menu


Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 14 of 15

Menu Functions: Playback Menu


Lesson Info

Menu Functions: Playback Menu

All right, so now I'm gonna kinda switch my camera over to another mode, program mode, and put it back at ISO 200. I'm gonna change the display on the back of the camera so that we can see what we're doing here on the back of the camera. So you can see where my camera is in program ISO 200. Let's change it to U1 and I immediately go down to ISO 64, F16, and the various settings that we've set up in this case. Now, if we go to U2, we're gonna have it set up here at ISO 400, it's an aperture priority, and so it's memorized all these larger focusing modes and everything else that we've put in there. And so you can do that for three different modes, and you just set the camera up as you like it and then go to the save user setting and say okay and you'll have it all set up in there. So that is what save user setting is. Now you can reset the user settings and you can go in here and have these things all completely reset so you're basically taking everything back to default. Next up we have...

the language of the menu system, should be pretty obvious where you want to go with that one. Time zone and date takes us into a sub-menu for all of this. The time zone, pick appropriately, adjust as you travel. Date and time, you can just set this as need be for your home location and then change the time zone when you move from place to place. The date format, I prefer year month day, that way things always stay organized in chronological order. And then daylight savings time means that you don't have to go in and change the date and time every time you go in and out of daylight savings time, you can simply say whether you are on or off and so it's designed to save you a bit of hassle as opposed to adjusting the clock. Monitor brightness is something you probably won't need to do unless you're working with the camera in very low light or very bright light situation and you need to adjust the brightness of it. Normally you can just leave it just manually at zero in the middle of the options. Hopefully you will never need to adjust the color balance but if it drifts over time, you can use it as needed. You'll be able to do the same with the brightness of the viewfinder. I prefer to leave it in manual, just leave it at zero, standard brightness, probably won't need to adjust it from there. We can also adjust the color once again if things drift over time or things don't look right in the viewfinder. None of this has any effect on the final image, it's just on the screen that you're looking at. The control panel brightness is on the top of the camera. If you're working under really bright light or really low light and you need to see that for reference reasons, you may need to adjust that. Auto setting here is probably fine most of the time. So the monitor mode on the side of the viewfinder allows you to cycle through the different viewfinder options. If you don't utilize one of those options, you can come in here, uncheck that box, and not use it. Information display, the information screen that I showed you just a moment ago. You can choose to have it either dark on light or light on dark. If you're working in a dark environment, the light on dark would be nice, so if you're doing astrophotography, it's gonna be a little bit darker and it's not gonna hurt your night vision of your eyes. AF fine-tune. When I saw this, I kinda did a double take like, I thought we got rid of this stuff when we went to mirrorless. Back in the days of SLRs, there could be a discrepancy between the lenses and the cameras, and the camera's lenses could focus a little bit off and that's what this is dealing with. It's dealing with a focusing problem. Normally, you, pretty clear what you want to focus on but if you focus in front of that subject it's considered front focus. If you focus behind it, it's called back focus. And so any sort of consistent front or back focus is a problem. And so, you can calibrate this camera like you could many of the SLR cameras. And so in theory, you shouldn't have this problem with a mirrorless camera. But in theory it's possible so they have put this on here in case you might need it. What you want to do is you want to have a focusing target, and then you want to have a measuring device to see if where you're focusing is actually, correctly the best place to be focusing. They do sell professional targets like this if you want to do this, if it's important to get it exactly right or you just like dealing with a system that's really well designed for it, you can buy these and do your own focusing test. I do it just kind of old school, just with a couple of rulers and yardsticks and I want to see if I'm focusing in the right place. You can adjust lenses by minus 20 to plus 20 increments. And in this case, I would probably need a plus three, four, five, to correct for the focusing because it wasn't focusing at zero, it was a little bit front focused by a couple of millimeters. And so if you have really shallow depth of field lenses, it could be an issue. And so as you get in here, you can turn this on or off, and for most people, you can leave this turned off and you're probably not gonna have to worry about it because the camera is focusing the lens at the sensor. And so as I say, in theory you should never have a problem. If there is something with unusual lenses that you need to adjust and it's not coming out right for some reason, this is the way to get in here and do it. So, if you do want to get in here and do it, you can save values for individual lenses. That way your 24 to 70 might be calibrated a little bit differently than your 70 to and you can have two unique numbers so that they're both calibrated correctly. You can have a default for everything. If you found that the camera was off for everything, you can do that. I don't recommend it, it's better to test lenses individually if there is an issue. And then you can go down through your saved values that'll be stored in the menu system here. Once again, I don't think most people are going to need to use this at all. If you want to use one of the older Nikon lenses and there's a lot of them out there and there's some really great stuff. If you want to hook 'em up, none of the metadata gets passed forward to the camera from the lens. If you want to input it manually you can do so here and so obviously you an put in the focal length and aperture, and if you want to have a lens number for it just to keep it memorized in the system, you can do that so you can switch more easily from one lens to the next. And so, if you use a lot of classic Nikon glass, this would be a way to pass that metadata forward so it's easier to suss out later on which lenses you were using for any particular shot. Clean image sensor takes us into the sub-menu here. Once again, the camera will automatically go through this automatic sensor cleaning every time you turn the camera off. Usually there's nothing for you to do in here. You could tell it to clean it right now and do it over and over again if you wanted to. You could turn it off if for some reason it was causing a problem. Normally, as I say, you can just leave this at clean at shutdown and you can pretty much set and forget that feature. Cleaning the image sensor and so next up is image dust off reference photo. So this is another highly unlikely scenario, but possible. If you were to be shooting photos and let's say you're on vacation and all your photos have all these specks over it, what you are supposed to do is supposed to photograph a white subject so that your camera can clearly see where all the dust is on the sensor. Then, using software from Nikon later on, it would mask out where all that dust was so that you can get nice clean images. The downside to this whole system is that you're gonna have to use Nikon software in order to use it. So you'll need the Nikon Capture NX-D software and go through that process of fixing your images up in post-production. Working on to the next page in the setup menu is image comment. If you wanted to add an image comment right into the camera, you're out traveling, you take someone's photo and you tell 'em you're gonna email 'em the photograph, you could put their name and their email address right in on their particular photo. Copyright information, this is a great place for you to put in your name, perhaps your email or your website in case anyone, first off this is gonna get written to the metadata of the files that you take. And so if, for some reason, you took a photo, and you gave it to somebody and they gave it to somebody else and they wanted to publish it and they wanted to get ahold of you, they could look in the metadata and find you. Now this is not written in stone. They could delete that information and put somebody else's name in there so it's not secure in that manner. But it does allow honest people to do nice things. For instance, if you lost your camera and they or the police were looking through the camera's menu and they came across this, they would see your name and your contact information in the camera and that might be helpful in those situations. The beep option, so the camera makes some noises when you are focusing, when you are making settings on the camera and this is something I hope everybody turns off. There is nothing more irritating than being with a crowd of photographers and all of their cameras chirping away like little birds. But if you do need to have it on, 'cause sometimes maybe you have the camera mounted in an unusual position and you can't hear the shutter and you want to hear if it's actually shooting photographs, that's a pretty legitimate, good use for turning the beep on. But for most people I would say turn it off. If you do want to have it on, you can have some control over the volume as well as the pitch and the sounding of it, as well. Next up, the touch controls. So the LCD screen has touch options. Do you want to use those or not? And that's kinda the basic options we're looking at. And so you can enable it, disable it, or only enable it in playback. And so that might be a case where people like to use it but only some of the time. This is kind of an unusual one, the flicks. Do you like to flick to the right, or do you like to flick to the left when advancing through your images? Well, you have a choice here, and so, have fun with that one. Next up, bunch of features controlling the HDMI output. Remember, we have a little port on the side of this camera which will allow you to output a video feed from the camera. Either used as a monitor for giving slideshows or viewing what you're shooting, or for an actual recording device. And so you can set the output resolution to auto. That's probably going to be fine in most situations. If it's not connecting up right or you want to force it into one particular standard, you can do that here. In the advanced category, guess what? It's some advanced stuff. So in here we can choose the output range and this is for devices that have different RGB signals. And so auto will automatically adjust for whatever device you have. Some things have a limited range and you can force it into that limited range or force it into the full range and this just has to do with the RGB, red green blue, signal out of the camera. External recording control, this can be turned on or off. And so when you press the record button on the camera, do you want that to record the external recorder? Can be kinda handy. Output data, you can either have it set at eight or ten bit. A lot of times for people doing the external recording they wanna get that extra data, which means they want to be shooting that 10 bit footage. N-log, Nikon log. Log is a special type of picture mode that shoots a very flat picture profile. Now we did talk about the flat picture profile but this is even flatter than flat. I don't know what's flatter than flat but the N-log is a very flat image, it's got very few highlights, very few shadows, it's meant to be color graded in post-production and so you get this image that looks horrible out of the camera, but when treated properly can look absolutely fantastic. And so that's something that more advanced users are gonna be likely to use. The view assist will restore the N-log so that it actually looks like a normal image so that when you're shooting through the camera, the camera gives you information of what the final image is going to kind of look like, at least or what a normal image out of the camera looks like. It doesn't show you that extremely flat image 'cause the flat image can make it hard to compose and focus your scene normally. And so that's a good option to leave turned on. If you are to purchase Nikon's GP-1A, or whatever subsequent devices they have for GPS, the camera will record GPS in the metadata of the files of the camera. And so this will let you take a look at the location data that you have in there. And so first off is how often do you want to leave the camera on the standby timer. How quickly does it shut down. This will give you the GPS coordinates of where you are. And if you want to set the clock in the camera in synchronization with the satellite clocks, which tend to be pretty accurate and that would be a good way of doing it if you are connected up with that GPS signal. But it is not doing that by default. Gotta have the extra device. There are a number of wireless remote options that you can plug in to the camera. So that little WR-R10 will plug into the side of the camera and that will be triggered with other devices, simple and fancier. Sells for a variety of prices here, and this will enable you to trigger the camera or trigger the camera and additional flash units as well, and this allows you to turn those sorts of options where the camera is looking for that signal. The WR-T10 has a function button on it and you get to choose what that button does by going in here and making a selection. The airplane mode is turning off all of the bluetooth and wi-fi signals coming out of the camera and is what I recommend enabling all the time. And so that means you can't use the remote, the wireless, the bluetooth, the wi-fi, any of that stuff, and that's gonna get you better battery life. Most people are not shooting with this camera on wi-fi or bluetooth most of the time. If you are, you want to make sure that this is disabled so that those systems can then run, but this is gonna enable you to get the most battery life in most basic shooting situations. If you do want to connect it to a smart device, there are a variety of ways that you can do it through bluetooth and wi-fi. Earlier in the class, I did an example of hooking it up through wi-fi to my phone. And so once you get in here, I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on this stuff. If you want to go through the pairing process with bluetooth you can start by pairing and then go to your phone and match up the pairing device and you'll see these devices register with each other. You can see which devices you have hooked up with. And if you want to disable bluetooth, that is where you would normally do it with this particular setting here. And so that's for bluetooth and then you can also have it set up to send directly to bluetooth. And this is something that you're gonna normally keep off but it's got some cool possibilities in the right place at the right time. And this is where the camera will automatically send photos to your phone as you are shooting and you can have it set up to send smaller jpegs 'cause sending full size raws would be insane, especially with 45 megapixels. But you can have it set up, you can be shooting a concert and your phone is collecting all these jpegs that you can immediately access and put out on the social web if you wanted to very quickly. It's gonna use up a lot more battery power, or you could do it manually by selecting images in your camera to send over to your phone. Take a bunch of pictures and then manually send one image or two images over as needed. So that's one of the options but it does use up a lot of battery power. We can also connect up with the wi-fi, which is what we did earlier. What we did is we came in to the wi-fi connection and then we noted our name of the camera and our password, which is what we entered into the settings on my camera so that I could hook up to the wi-fi system and connect the wi-fi from my phone to the camera. And so if you want to go into wi-fi connections, it's gonna go into a bunch of the settings. In here, it's gonna show you the name of the camera and the serial number. If you want to use an open code or you want to use an encryption code where it's easier to access without the password, if you want. You can change the password if you don't like that name, you want to have multiple cameras with different passwords. You can shoot with multiple cameras on different channels, so you can go in here, work with different phones. And then it will show you a listing of your current settings as they are set. And then if you want to reset all your wi-fi setttings, just 'cause you're messing around with them, you can do a complete reset in here. All right, so that's pretty much all of our wi-fis. We do have one more option, send while off. This will actually send images while your camera is turned off. Obviously going to use batteries but everything else in the camera is shut down. So, normally you're gonna want to leave this type of stuff turned off because it uses so much battery and you want to try to get as much out of that for other things as possible. Now it is possible to connect this up to a PC. This is kind of a tethering without actually being physically connected to your computer. It's a little bit slow so you're gonna have to see and experiment and check if this works for the type of work that you are doing. And so you can physically connect the camera up with the USB or the USB-C connector to your computer to download your images as you shoot with the right programs on the other end or you can do it wirelessly. Obviously, wirelessly sounds really convenient but it's using the slower wi-fi system and so there's definitely some trade offs when doing this. If you have a network that you're hooking up to you may need to go in here and create a profile for it to hook up to the network. Options, goes into more options. Do you want it to automatically send or do you want to manually send your photographs over? Once again, that's gonna take up bandwidth. Do you want it to, this is scary to me, deleting a photograph on the card after it's been sent over to your computer. That would be very scary to me because if you send it over and it thinks it got over but it didn't actually get saved by your computer, that image is gone in the ether. And so that would be very, very special cases where you'd want to turn that one on. Send file as a raw image or a jpeg. If you send it as a raw, it's obviously going to take up a little bit more time 'cause those are larger file sizes. All right, if you want to see your address, your MAC address, you can do so here. Most people aren't gonna need that. And that is our connect to PC options which we're normally gonna leave turned off for most shooting. The wireless transmitter, as I've mentioned a number of times in here, is not real strong, it's not real fast. So you can connect this camera up to the WT-7A which is a relatively expensive booster that'll give you a more powerful signal. If you were doing the Santa Claus photos that we see every year, and you wanted to have a remote camera that sent images a little bit more quickly, maybe over a little bit more distance between your camera and your computer, this is one of the ways that you can solve that wireless problem of the camera not having a powerful enough signal. You can boost that signal with that transmitter. There's a conformity marking which might be the most useful, least useful thing in the menu system. The battery info is very helpful to let you know how many shots you've taken and how much percentage left you have with a particular battery. Slot empty release will lock the shutter of the camera if you do not have a memory card in the camera. This is a good safety protocol. You won't go out and take a bunch of pictures and think there's a memory card in there, and so I would leave this locked. Save and load settings. If you are fortunate enough to have multiple Z cameras, you can save your favorite settings from your video and your shooting modes and so forth onto a memory card, put it into another Z camera and load those settings up. I don't know if this will be able to load settings from non-Z cameras. I haven't had a chance to give that a try but it will do it between similar cameras like the Z6 and the Z7. Finally, we can reset all of the set up menus. If you want to take it back to the factory defaults, one setting here puts it all back with the factory defaults. The firmware version, as of the recording of this class, is 1.03. They actually did an update a short time ago and a lot of you, if you look at your firmware right now might be at 1.00. Nikon did a little update, I think they improved the focusing and a few other little performance issues, cleared up some bugs. There's gonna be another firmware coming after this class at some point, which is gonna add the raw recording, it's gonna add an eye detect autofocus, and who knows what else. You'll have to tune in and find out. And the way you tune in and find out is you go on to the internet, to Nikon's website, look up information about the firmware for this camera, download the appropriate software for your camera, put it on your memory card, put the memory card in the camera, open up this firmware version right here. It's gonna recognize that firmware and it's gonna ask you to load it up. You press the okay button and it takes five or ten minutes and it loads up. You want to do that with a formatted memory card that doesn't have any other information on it and so that would be the one tip I'll give you there. There is more information at Nikon's website on how to do that if you have any troubles downloading the software.

Class Description


  • Easily navigate the controls, menus, modes, and settings on the Z6 and Z7
  • Shoot with confidence in full manual mode
  • Utilize advanced features like focus stacking
  • Use the 4k film options for incredible video performance
  • Adjust camera settings to shoot in challenging situations, such as low light
  • Master the autofocus system and different autofocus modes
  • Understand the camera's strengths and limitations
  • Choose the right lenses and accessories for the Z series cameras


The Nikon Z6 and Z7 wrap several advanced features in a compact mirrorless system -- but as first generation full-frame cameras, there's no precedent to get a jump start on exactly where all those features are. Covering both the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 with nearly identical control schemes, this Fast Start class quickly brings you up to speed on using Nikon's new full frame mirrorless cameras. These mirrorless digital cameras offer 4K UHD video recording, superb in-body image stabilization, and excellent low light capabilities. But the Nikon’s long list of features is just money wasted if you don’t actually know how to find them and put them to use.

Skip the floundering through menus and join photographer John Greengo exploring the camera’s many features, from customizing the camera to understanding subject-tracking focus. Locate the controls, find hidden features, and put the camera's advanced features to use, whether you are new to interchangeable lens cameras or have shot Nikon DSLRs for years.

This class is designed for photographers using either the Nikon Z7 or Nikon Z6, from those just pulling it out of the box to photographers that just haven’t found all the camera’s features yet. The class can also serve as an in-depth look if you’re not yet sure if the Nikon Z6 or Z7 is the best camera for you. The Nikon camera class covers the camera from the exterior controls to the menu.

What's packed in this Nikon camera Fast Start? Learn the vital information in less time than it takes to analyze the menu -- and have more fun doing it too.


  • New Nikon Z6 or Z7 camera owners
  • Nikon DSLR shooters moving to the mirrorless system
  • Photographers considering buying the Z6 or Z7
  • Photographers, from beginners to advanced
  • Videographers and vloggers


With more than 50 classes exploring the features of interchangeable lens cameras across half a dozen brands, John Greengo is one of CreativeLive's top instructors. His class list includes Fast Starts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, and Panasonic, as well as classes covering photography basics and beyond. Shooting his first Nikon in the 1980s, the award-winning photographer is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of different cameras and different camera brands. When he's not teaching, he's building on his three decades of experience as a travel and landscape photographer.


  1. Class Introduction

    Get acquainted with Nikon's new full-frame mirrorless cameras. In the first lesson, see what's so different about the Z series, look at lenses and the FTZ adapter, and gain an overview of the class.

  2. Photo Basics

    In this lesson, John explains several basics for photographers picking up an interchangeable lens camera for the first time before diving into the controls on the Z6 and Z7. Quickly learn basics -- or gain a refresher -- on aperture, shutter speed, and image sensors. Then, get acquainted with the physical controls on the camera body.

  3. Exposure Control

    Dive into the different exposure modes on the Z6 and Z7. Locate where the essential exposure details are inside the electronic viewfinder or EVF. Learn to shoot in aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual mode, as well as digging into unique options like bulb.

  4. Camera Controls: Top Deck

    Continue the tour of the camera at the top. Find the ISO controls, including understanding the high ISO limits and turning auto ISO on and off. Dive into ISO performance and how the image quality stacks up between the Z6 and Z7 from the base ISOs and ISO 100 to high ISOs. Learn to adjust exposure compensation, record a video, and understand the top control panel.

  5. Camera Controls: Back Side Control

    At the back of the camera, explore the electronic viewfinder and tilting LCD screen with Live View, learn to read the different symbols, and customize the settings displayed on the EVF. Then, work with the physical controls at the rear of the camera.

  6. Camera Controls: Back Side Control Continued

    Continue exploring the back of the camera. Dive into the different options in the quick menu or "i" menu. Adjust colors and contrast with camera picture controls for JPEG images. Set the compression for shooting in RAW, link with Wi-Fi and SnapBridge, turn on continuous shooting with burst mode and more using the quick menu.

  7. Left Side & Right Side, Bottom and Front

    Move to the sides, front and bottom of the camera. Locate the different ports, XQD memory card slot, and other features. Dig into the different accessories for the camera, from microphones to battery grips, and learn the limitations of the EN-EL15b battery life and the differences between XQD cards and CFexpress. Finally, take a look at the full-frame sensors and the difference between the higher-resolution Z7 and the faster Z6.

  8. Lenses

    The Z series is compatible with F-mount lenses (and DX lenses cropped) using the FTZ adapter -- but the cameras also launched with its own new Z-mount lenses. Learn the controls that are located on the Nikkor Z lenses themselves instead of the camera and the new Z lenses available so far, like the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S and Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8.

  9. Menu Functions: Image Quality

    Decipher the menu on the Z6 and Z7, starting with the playback and photo shooting menus. Customize your camera's playback displays, organize files, and choose the image quality such as 12-bit or 14-bit RAW. See real-world examples of what the different image quality settings look like.

  10. Menu Functions: Shooting Settings

    After setting the image quality, work through the different available shooting settings located in the menu system like white balance, flicker reduction, metering, flash controls, and other advanced controls.

  11. Menu Functions: Focus Settings

    Tackle focus stacking using the built-in focus shift shooting feature on the Z6 and Z7. Then, choose between the mechanical and silent shutter and learn the pros and cons of each.

  12. Menu Functions: Movie Settings

    Ready to capture video with the Z6 or Z7? Learn the ins and outs of the different video settings, from video quality to slow motion frame rates and white balance. Master the difference between AF-C and Full-Time Autofocus.

  13. Menu Functions: Set Up

    Inside the custom setting menu, the Z6 and Z7 allow you to customize the camera for your shooting style. Work through the different available options, beginning with the phase detection autofocus options.

  14. Menu Functions: Playback Menu

    Fine-tune the way the camera works with the setup menu. Pick up advanced tools like AF fine tune, recording N-Log with HDMI output external recording equipment and more, along with basics like setting the time stamp.

  15. Camera Operations

    Finish navigating the camera menu with a quick overview of the retouch menu with in-camera RAW processing. Then, make the most frequently used settings easy to find by building a custom My Menu. Finally, go through a pre-shoot checklist for prepping the camera and note suggested settings for different scenarios.


Edward Luczak

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!.

Lynn Fisher

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!!!