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Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 10 of 15

Menu Functions: Shooting Settings


Nikon Z7 & Z6 Fast Start

Lesson 10 of 15

Menu Functions: Shooting Settings


Lesson Info

Menu Functions: Shooting Settings

Alright folks we're in the middle of the menu system and this is a good time to have your recommended settings out. Real quickly, let me talk to you about some of what's in here. So I was not able to put the entire menu system on one page because there are so many items. So we have to Play Back, the Photo and the Movie menu on the first page. I have my recommendations. The red are more advanced. Gray is kind of more your general ones. The second page has all of the custom settings as well as the the other My Menu that you and other things the basic setup menu in here as well. And after this you get to see the menu again without my recommendations because I know some of you think I'm nuts in the way I set up my camera. It's pretty normal but if you just wanna look at it with a clean sheet of paper you might say, you can write in your own recommendations here and then once you get beyond those two pages, then I have some other recommendations as far as where I would set the camera up for...

shutter speeds, apertures, focusing for different types of situation whether you're shooting action or portraits or landscapes or just general photography and a little bit of advice on how to do it. So it's a little bit of photography tips in there as well, along with the other technical information in the menu system. So let's continue on working our way through the menu. Right now we are in the Camera menu, and next up on the list is the White balance. Now we did talk about this before. It was a short cut in the Eye menu. We also had a button on the front of the camera, which access white balance but we have it again in here and so we're not gonna go through everything. But we'll talk a little bit about what you see in here because it's a little bit more detailed than it is in other places. And so, first option is in Auto. We have three different options, and here's a good visual example of what happens with these three different options, is the zero will keep the whites white and the one and the two will keep a little bit more of that atmospheric color that you might see in the lights that are already there. Be aware of any sort of arrows that you get to on any of these settings because they're gonna give you some more options. So down at the bottom under Natural light auto, it'll allow you to go in here and adjust the settings. And so, the Natural light auto is a little unusual and so that is good for people who are shooting outside under natural light conditions, whether it be sunny or cloudy or shade, and you're kinda going back and forth. It tends to do something that's a little bit more natural in those cases and so, it consolidates the options, you might say, a little bit in that case. Next up, Fluorescent. Fluorescent has a lot of different options. When you actually look at fluorescent light bulbs in the different types of color that they will produce. And so there are seven different settings for fluorescent lights. I know it gets a little complicated but Nikon likes being very exact about these things. And so depending on where your fluorescent lights hit is where you can adjust this particular fluorescent setting. When you choose the color temperature, you can go in and choose the specific number of the color temperature if you want. And finally with Preset, we did an example earlier where I showed you how to do a preset. There are six different preset options. You can go in and shoot photographs of a white piece of paper and calibrate the white system, the white balance to the life you have right then and there. And so, there's gonna be some sub menus in here. I'm not gonna go through every element of this. But this is a great way for getting the light correct in tricky lighting situations. Picture Control, we talked about this before if it seems familiar from the Eye menu. This controls the color contrast and look of your JPG images. We have a lot of basic options. I think Standard is a good general option here. They do have those other creative picture controls and so if you do wanna create something that looks notably different, kind of an Instagram heavily-filtered look, you can play around with these. I wouldn't leave the camera in this mode for all shooting but it might be fun to play around in there for some of you. Manage picture control allows you to set up a picture-style system of contrasting color and say that in the camera itself. And so once you have something that you have set up, you've taken a mode and you customized it to the exact look that you want, you can then save that as you have set it. And so, that's what this whole option here is for. And so, hit okay. You can go ahead and save it as one of seven different presets. Then you can even go in and rename it if you want. And so, if you have a particular name, maybe it's your indoor shooting or it's the gymnasium that makes it look right, in that case you could call it whatever you need to. You can of course go in and delete anything that you've put in there before so that you can clear the system out. And you can actually copy them from a memory card. And so if you wanted to move the settings from one of your other cameras that you've set up, you can transfer 'em back and forth, from one camera to the next. Not all cameras have that ability, so there's gonna be a limited number of cameras that you can go back and forth to and from. The color space is the range of colors that you are recording. When you shoot raw, you are shooting in something called Adobe RGB, which is very large color gamut of colors. When you shoot in JPEG, you can choose either as the smaller or the larger size. I would say, for most people, you're gonna wanna shoot in the larger size if you have any desire for manually working on your images afterwards in post-production or printing them. It'll give you a little bit more color information for the best color fidelity. Active D-lighting is another topic we've talked about before in the Eye menu system. What this does here is it tries to lighten up the shadows and hold the highlights back so that they don't get overexposed. And so this is something that is of main effect on JPEG images and can help out seeing faces that are in the shadow and so forth, but has very little effect on raw images. Long exposure noise reduction, well when you shoot a 30 second exposure, the camera with this turned on will process that image for another 30 seconds in order to get the cleanest possible image. And I've always found this a little frustrating when I'm doing my long exposures because it's night time. It's often cold out and you kinda wanna get all your shots in and then get back in where it's warm. And so you take a picture and it takes a while and then the camera sits there and processes and you can't do anything with the camera while it's processing. I'm wondering, is this worth my wait? Is this actually doing anything? And so I wanted to throw example in here. And so this is just with the Z but you can try it with your Z6. And I've tried shooting 30 second exposures, which is what this is. Just shot with a Tungsten light. And I turned the noise reduction on and off and I don't see any difference. There is very little difference in most every case that I have ever seen and so, I think that noise reduction can be done in post, if there is any. So this is something I think is kind of a waste of time and is not really necessary. If you don't believe me or you wanna check it yourself, just send your camera through its own test. Do a couple of photos with long exposures and see how they look. High ISO Noise Reduction deals when shooting at higher ISOs. You know, they use 6400, 12,800 settings and this definitely has an impact on your images at least the JPEG images. Has no effect on the raw images. So let's take a look at what this looks like with a Z7 and we're gonna go ahead and crop in, enlarge, and this is without any noise reduction and you can definitely see as you get from left to right, there is less and less noise but also there is kind of a smearing of the details. And so if you go to High, you start losing edge detail. And so going to the High setting is a little bit much in my opinion. I think Low or Normal would be better for the JPEG shooters. Let's do a test with the Z6 and high ISO noise reduction. So when it's turned off, we get a bit of noise and the same type of results here, going all the way over to High, it's like throwing on a soft focus filter that's maybe a little too soft. And so maybe a little bit too much on the noise reduction in that case. And so I think Low or Standard is a better option for those of you shooting JPEG and shooting at those higher ISOs. Next up is Vignette Control. This is for JPEG images only. When you are shooting with faster lenses or really any lens that's wide open, you're gonna get a darkening of the corners, that's the vignette. And this will go in and correct for it or at least fix it a little bit. And so this is an example from the 24 to 70 F4, shot at F4. And when it's turned off, you can see those corners are getting a little bit dark. The more you turn it on, the more it corrects for it. And this can have a notable impact on certain types of outdoor photos and so when you're shooting landscape photos, I don't like to have it, that vignette on there very much 'cause I like to have my skies an even tonal value across the image from left to right. However when I'm shooting people photographs, I often wanna make those edges a little bit darker to draw your eyes into those people's faces. And so I don't mind vignetting on some types of photographs. But other types, I'm not a big fan of it. So it depends what your thoughts are. I think turning this off is fine for people who shoot raw. If you're shooting JPEG, Normal's probably a fine setting. Diffraction compensation is for JPEG shooters, and what it does is it will sharpen up your image when you have closed the aperture down to a very small opening. Defraction occurs when you shoot at apertures like at F16, F22, F32. So in this example, I shot the camera at F22. And you can see the image on the right does appear a little bit sharper, a little bit more crisper, and the camera is adding its own sharpening, which it can do in other ways but in this case, it only does it when it's shot at small aperture settings. And this doesn't seem to be a bad thing and it's only on JPEGs. And so I think this is something that's probably generally pretty good to put on. Auto distortion control, this one is something that will correct typically with wide-angle lenses distortion. So if I go back and forth here, you can see there's a little bit of distortion on that horizon and the camera can automatically go in and fix this. Now one of the things some of you may notice is that this may be grayed out in your camera, which means it's automatically turned on, and there's something kind of interesting going on behind the scenes in this one and that is when the lens manufacturer designs a lens, they can try to make that lens perfect, or they can design it with a known problem and fix it in software. So it's very difficult to design lenses with no distortion. And so in some cases and this is what it looks like, I don't have proof of this, but this is what it looks like with Nikon, and the 24 to 70, F4 is that that lens naturally has a fair bit of distortion. And Nikon is going in automatically fixing that before it's even captured into a raw image. And it allows the lens designers to design smaller, more compact, more versatile lenses. But it needs the software to correct for it. And so that's why it's grayed out in your cameras. It is automatically needed on that particular lens. On other type of lenses that might even be higher quality, it's something that you could turn on and off. Flicker reduction shooting deals with shooting under fluorescent lights that have a flicker to them. This is the way fluorescent lights work. They turn on and off so quickly, we as humans do not notice it but our cameras can capture it. In most cases these lights will be fluctuating at between a 100 and a 120 Hertz per second. Which means they're going up and down and up and down during that second. Now if you were to take a series of shots, whether it's with the Z7 or Z6, doesn't matter, and at 5.5 frames a second, how bright are those images gonna be? It's gonna vary depending on where the light is during its particular flicker. And this can be particularly annoying, you go to a gymnastics meet, you set your camera to manual shutter speed and aperture, you shoot the whole meet and you come home and half of them are lighter than average and half of them are darker than average. We're not talking huge amounts, but we're talking a half a stop, maybe a stop of light. It depends on the situation. And so what the flicker does is it looks at the light, kinda sees the wave pattern and it matches up the next shot with the peak of that wave. That way it's consistent and it's always at the brightest, most amount of light that you can get. Now it's possible that this is gonna slow down your motor drive a little bit, and so if the motor drive is more important than the even lighting of all the images, then you might not wanna turn this on. And so you'll see this in a number of different places. So these four images were taken with a light that flickers. And this is something that was frustrating me 'cause I was shooting all these photos and the light was just different between these even though it was the exact same shutter speed aperture and ISO. Now when you turn on flicker reduction, the difference between it is much, much smaller. They're still a little variable. I think it's on image three, but it's much, much easier to deal with. And so if you shoot under flickering lights, this could be a really helpful tool. All right, we talked about metering before. It was in the Eye menu but this is the Matrix metering that most people choose for good, wide variety of situations. It's gonna analyze the entire scene and look for areas of highlights and shadows and try to give you a good balance. Spot metering could be helpful with small subjects with bright or dark backgrounds and then the other nice one is Highlighted-weighted metering which looks for the highlights and tries to hold them back from getting overexposed. All right, the camera does not come with a flash. It does not have a flash but there is a whole section, a whole sub menu, and it's actually pretty large in here, that dives into controlling the flash, so that you can control the flash from the menu within the camera. So for some people, they're not even gonna use this 'cause they don't even own a flash. But let's let's take a quick look through this. I apologize, we're not gonna be able to go through an entire flash class right now. That is a class unto itself. But let's look at what we have in here. So the main control is how the camera or the flash is being powered. The standard system is TTL, stands for through the lens. It means that the camera, the lens, and the flash are all gonna work together to figure out the correct amount of power to send out of that flash to give a proper exposure. There are some other options. A full manual one, kind of an interesting repeating one for special effects. There's some other ones we're not gonna get into right now. Next up, if you do have it set to TTL, you can go in and do a TTL compensation. And this is where you can power down the TTL flash or you can power it up. Now in most cases, what most photographers like to do is to power it down, especially portrait photographers. The automated flash is just a little bit on the harsh side. Technically it's accurate. But from the aesthetic side, it's a little bit harsh so they might wanna power it down by 2/3 of a stop, one stop, 1 1/3 stop. And so, you could do that right here. Now if the flash control mode was put to manual, then you could go in here ad manually control the power of the flash to 1/2 power, 1/4 power, 1/8 power and so on, depending on what's available in that flash. If you had set it to repeating flash, you would have controls for setting up the output level, how many times does it flash, and the frequency of the flash. And so these are kind of special effects modes, allows you to go in and really fine-tune them. Down below this, one of the options is hooking this camera up two wireless flashes so you can have multiple flashes or you can get these wireless adapters so that they will trigger flashes. So you don't actually need a flash on your camera, but you can have flashes pre positioned and triggering them without cords on your camera and this is gonna help you determine and set up that particular system. So when you do have remote flash control, there is a repeating option, which is pretty obvious the repeating one. There's group flash, which is where you get to really go in and dial everything out very specifically, and the quick wireless control is more of a simple setup that's a little bit easier to get the power set right between all the different flashes as you'll see here in just a moment. So if you were to have the group flash options, what you can do is go in and separate the flashes into different groups. You can set them powered and you can set the ratio between the powers as a particular amount and so you can really customize a flash option very, very finely here. And so that Quick wireless option allows a ratio of light between the first light and the second light or the first group and the second group, and it might be a 2:1 ratio where one light's twice as bright as the other light. But then you have a C light, which might be your hair light, which you were setting to a completely different power. And so this would be a quick, easy way to get a pretty sophisticated flash system setup nice and quickly. If you're gonna do repeating flashes, they'll be some more options down here for exactly how things are done in a repeat fashion when you are using these external flashes. And then if there's general info about the flashes you've hooked up to, you'll see that here. So that is your flash control. Flash mode, shortcut to some of the other modes that you might be using with flash. Fill flash is gonna force the flash on in bright light situations as a filling in the shadows. Red eye reduction will shine the light on the camera to help reduce the size of the pupil on your subject. Rear curtain will synchronize the flash with the second curtain, the closing of that second curtain for special effects. It can look really good with cyclists runners and things moving around in front of you. And so it's something fun to play with. Once again, we have flash compensation, a little bit easier to get to in this regard, and as I said, TTL flash is sometimes a little bit harsh and powering it down gives you a little bit more natural skin tones in many cases. Focus mode, we once again saw this in the info menu. But Single and Continuous is for our stationary subjects and are moving subjects. And sometimes you might even wanna be in manual for full manual control. You'll just need to keep scrolling down to get to the next page. The AF-area mode, once again, we saw this before in the Eye menu. This is selecting which area you are going to be focusing at. And so I have found that the pinpoint is a little bit small for day-to-day use and so, either the Single-point or maybe Wide-area single is good for a general, precise focusing area. For action, I prefer to be either in Dynamic or the Wide-area large. And in some cases, I would be in Auto-area if I knew there's not gonna be any obstructions coming between me and my subject. But that's the only time that I really wanna engage the entire area for focusing. Vibration reduction can be turned on and off so we do have that five axis stabilization and we do have the sport option on here too, which is gonna reduce the motion of the or the, it's gonna reduce the vibration reduction as you're looking through the viewfinder and in the direction that your panning so that you can track your subject a little bit more easily. So if you're doing a lot of panning back and forth, you'd wanna the sport mode. For general handheld action, just leave it in the Normal position. Auto bracketing, so the camera can shoot a series of photos, changing a bunch of aspects of what's going on, depending on what you wanna change. So we're gonna dive into a little bit of a sub menu and check out all that's here. Alright so first option is Exposure and Flash bracketing, and if you don't have a flash, it's just gonna be Auto exposure, which is the next one as well. You can do Flash bracketing and then White balance and Active D-lighting. So let's look at many of these examples in here. So the most common is Auto Exposure Bracketing. And this is where you shoot a series of photos, usually over a short period of time at different exposures, either because you're gonna use all of these photos in an HDR, high-dynamic-range photo, or maybe you just don't know which one's the best and you just want a variety to choose from later on. And so you can choose the number of shots, how big a difference it is from one shot to the next, and whether you're in Single or Continuous. Do you wanna take the pictures one at a time or do you wanna press down on the shutter release continuously and have them all taken at the same time. So I'm gonna do example of this a demo of this in just a moment. So let's look at these other options. So the white balance bracketing will take a photo and then it will create multiple copies of that photo with different white balance applied to it. Now this is completely unnecessary for anyone shooting raw because you can adjust white balance afterwards without any problem. But if you are shooting JPEG, you could do it. I have to think that this is one of the more useless features in the camera, but it can do it. All right, another one with the Active D-lighting, in this case, you are shooting a bunch of photos with different D-lighting settings automatically applied to it and so it has a minor effect. It works in raw but it's minimally effective and I think you don't really need to do it so it's not very useful but it is in here as well. So let's go ahead and do a standard Auto exposure bracket with my camera. So let's go ahead and I'm gonna set my camera up in aperture priority. I'll zoom in on our subjects here and I'm gonna dive into the menu system and let's get up here to the Photo Shooting menu and we're about three or four pages down. Let's see. Auto bracketing, so here we're gonna go to the right. Auto bracketing set. What do we wanna do? And we definitely wanna do auto exposure bracketing. We could choose either one of these top two ones and they're both gonna do the same thing. I'll just leave it on the top one here. Now how many shots? Now normally when I do a the traditional bracket is three shots. When I do a bracket, I like a little bit more. I like doing five but just to show you the extremes of things, I'm gonna do a nine stop bracket here. You can come down and choose different levels. 0.3 is just a really small difference. I'm gonna do one stop bracket 'cause that's kind of significant. And then I'm gonna hit okay. Now the main thing to think about now is do I wanna be in Single shot or Continuous shooting? And I'm gonna be, I'm gonna put myself into Continuous shooting, in this case. Let me get myself over here in the release mode. I'll put myself in the high-speed continuous because generally when you shoot an exposure bracket like this, you want the photos to be taken as near to each other as possible, in case there's anything that changes. So there is a nine of nine over here. If I was to take single photographs, you would see that number come down with each shot. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna hold in on the shutter release and it's focus, see if we can, I'm gonna change my focus bracket to make sure I'm whoops, gotta change that. It helps if you're an auto focus to change the auto focus, how about that? Things you learn. All right so now we're in focus and I got to press down and we're gonna take nine shots and then it's gonna stop. Here we go. (camera clicking) Okay so we got our nine shots. Let's play 'em back. I'm guessing this is the bright one here. I'm gonna change display screen so we can see exactly where we are and so we can see that we are four stops overexposed. Three, two, one, properly exposed. Under, excuse me. 1, -2, -3, -4 and there's our normal exposure right there. And so you'll notice that the order is a little bit funny. It shoots the normal one and then the darkest to lighter through the series. And we're gonna be able to change that when we get into the custom menu if you prefer to re-change the order but we can do that with a variety of systems. And so it's something that can be very helpful in challenging lighting situations where you don't know what the correct light and the correct exposure is. So with all of these you'll be able to change the number of shots. These numbers may vary according to the exact exposure bracketing system you have set up. But choose as many shots, but no more than is absolutely necessary. and then you can choose the increment amount. How big of change do you want between any particular photograph with these files being so versatile these days, it seems like a third stop is really too small. So in most cases, most people are gonna have this set at one stop brackets or increments here. So one thing more I wanna show you on the back of the camera is that when you have it in the bracketing mode and you are done with bracketing, you should turn it off. And the way that you turn it off is by selecting the number for a shots and changing it down to 0F so zero frames or off misspelled slightly. And so we're gonna say okay. So now it is turned off again and we're just shooting single photos and we don't have that number here over on the side that was nine of nine, indicating that we are in a bracketing mode. Next up is multiple exposures. This is something I always thought should be done in Photoshop, where you can have multiple layers and you can blend the layers in different ways. But there is an argument to doing it in camera, to doing it out in the real world. And the big advantage there is lining up subjects exactly as you want them in the frame. So this leads into a bit of a sub menu in here with the multiple exposure mode. Now you can have this on or off. You can have it on for a single photo or you can have it on for a continuous series of multiple exposure shots. You can choose the number of shots. Most the time it's gonna be two, but if you're doing something very creative, you can do more shots. An overlay mode will change the way that the two images are blended together. So normally I would just do addition, one adds on to the other. But the camera has its own system for dealing with light and dark backgrounds. And so if you are wanting the camera to help you out, if you have dark subjects in front of a light background you might wanna choose darken. If you have light subjects in front of a dark background, then you would probably want to have the lighten option. And so if you're not familiar with multiple exposures, you might wanna do average because then it will take care of the exposure thing for you. If you wanna do things fully manually, you would wanna do them in the add style, which is what I did for the eclipse here. And I photographed seven different exposures, each with its own unique exposure but I was able to combine it all in camera in doing that. And so that's a good way of doing in camera multiple exposures. You can choose to keep all the exposures. This could be really handy in case something goes wrong during your multiple exposure, you can keep those original files. If you're just playing around and goofing around and you don't care about the original files, you just wanna make some fun multiple exposures, you may not need to do it. But I think most serious photographers would wanna keep those around in case they need to work them in other programs. The Overlay shooting will overlay the first subject on top of the second subject so you can see the positioning of them. It might make it easier or harder to compose depending on what you're thinking of and what year it was in your shot. But in general, that will be helpful for aligning subjects where you want them. You can also go in and select an image and then use that as part of your image if you wanna add multiple exposure to an image you've shot previously. Normally it goes, you're gonna wanna leave this mode turned off. This is a special mode. Next up, another special mode is the HDR mode and so this is gonna work with JPEG images and it's gonna shoot a variety of images at different exposures and then combine them into a single exposure. And so, I'll say it right now, if you really wanna do HDR right, you should shoot individual photos and process them in a special computer program for doing HDR imagery. What the camera can do on its own is limited by its own processor, it's little processor in the camera, and it's just not as powerful as the ones that are loaded onto your desktop-style computers out there. But if you wanna do it in camera, it is here to do it in there without a computer at all. So you can choose the difference between the exposures. Probably way two stops and three stops will be a good choice here, 'cause you're trying to capture information from vastly different exposure levels. And so this is a very challenging exposure situation, we have a tunnel and we have bright sunlight outside and so this is what a JPEG image looks like. Let's do HDR with one EV, a two stop EV and a three stop EV. And so things that we're looking at is the shadowed areas. How much lighter they becoming and where the sun is hitting the pavement out there, are we resurrecting some of that highlight information, getting back to some detail. Now there is a further option for changing the smoothing, the transition from the highlight to the shadows. We have low smoothing, normal smoothing and high smoothing. Now one of the things, as I said at the beginning, is that this isn't as good as a normal HDR software program. And one of the things I wanted to test this against is well what if you just took a raw image, okay. And then you adjusted the raw image in software, could you make it look similar to that? And the answer is yes. So let's take a closer look at some of those highlight information. And so, one of the problems that highlight or HDR is trying to account for is overblown pixels in bright areas. And in these examples, the raw image has done a better job at recovering that highlight information than any of the HDR JPEG images. And that's because you're limited by shooting on a JPEG image. Alright so, you can choose the different style of smoothing. You may need to do some tests on your own to figure out what you like here. And do you wanna save the original NEF raw image? Now the thing is is that when you're shooting, you can be shooting JPEG or RAW but it saves it as an HDR JPEG image. However if you want, you can save the original RAW files here so that you can work with those later on, which would make a lot of sense if you know you're gonna be doing that down the road. You get kind of a short-term view of here's what I think it's gonna kinda look like. And then you take your NEF images and you work them in a good processing program and then you can really get the most out of it. Next up is the Interval timer shooting. Now this be a lot of fun, where you shoot a large series of photos and then you turn them into a video. And it's gonna be very similar to a feature I'm gonna talk about in that two minutes and this difference between these is this one shoots individual photographs and you assemble the video later at some other point with another video program. This gives you the most control. So if you were to shoot a bunch of photos and you had dust that you wanted to clean up, exposure adjustments, you can go into each frame and fix them up. And so that's how I shot this particular time lapse. I did use a slider system for getting that extra movement on there. But recorded a bunch of pictures over about a 1/2 hour time frame. About one picture about every five to 10 seconds. Now as you dive into this menu, you'll have a start option where you can start. But let's get into the controls. When do you wanna start? You can choose a time in the future if you wanna start it at a particular time, you could do that. And you could set that time right in here. Next up, you could choose the interval. And this is one of the most important settings is what is the difference from one shot to the next in the series. And you wanna think about what sort of time span you wanna go for? How much is something moving? A lot of the time lapses I've done have them anywhere for one second to a minute, often times around 10 seconds. It really depends on what you're shooting. And then you can have it shoot multiple pictures at any one time if you want. Generally you're just gonna have it shoot through a bunch of images, one shot at a time. How many images should you shoot? 300 or 360 is a good number because a lot of times video is in 30 frames a second and this we get you 10 to 12 seconds of a nice time lapse sequence and that's a good cut to spice up a video or a slideshow of some sort. Exposure smoothing is going to smooth any differences between exposures because of the lights changing. There may be a notable change between one frame and the next. For basic shooting, yeah, turn this on. It might make it a little bit smoother. for somebody who wants to go in and really manually control things, you probably don't want the camera taking over control of the exposure for you. You wanna be doing that manually. You can turn on silent photography, which uses an electronic shutter. This can be a problem if subjects are moving quickly, they could get distorted. But in most time lapse situations, it's probably going to be okay. It might actually save your shutter a bit of life in here. Next step is Interval priority. Now this is something, if this comes into play, in my opinion, you've done something wrong. And if you could imagine shooting a time lapse, maybe at sunset, and you put the camera in an automatic mode and you're taking a picture every 10 seconds, as it gets darker and darker and darker and eventually, you're gonna need to shoot a 10-second exposure and an 11-second, and a 12, and a 13, and a 14 second, and then the camera's in a conflict. Do you want me to shoot the next photo or do you want me to get a proper exposure on the previous photo? And in either case, you're gonna get screwed up because either the exposures are gonna change or the sequence is gonna go out of whack, out of time. But in this case, if you want you can have it turned on for Interval priority. So what it does is it gives up trying to get it the right exposure, just making sure that you getting the photos at time. You can turn this on her off any way. I think you're kind of screwed if you if you've let your camera get down to this. You need to kinda have it set up so that it can handle the time between the exposures. And you can choose a particular storage folder. When you shoot time lapses amongst other still photographs, it can get a little complicated 'cause you got all these nice photographs and then hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of all of the same thing and you can take all of those and put them in a separate folder and it can make dealing with organization just a little bit easier. And so that is the Interval timer shooting where you end up with individual photographs. Time-lapse movie is the same thing we just talked about but you end up with a movie in camera. But it's gonna be a little bit harder to edit and adjust and you don't have the individual images to work with. I suppose you could pull frames from the video, but it's gonna be limited on the resolution you're working with. And so this is for people who want something a little bit quicker and a little bit faster. And it's gonna have the same basic options as far as when you're gonna start, how big are these intervals, and you're gonna see a slightly different display here that's gonna tell you what your recording time is according to what your interval and shooting time is. You can also do a exposure smoothing in this case as well. The big benefit here is that you're gonna end up with a the video that you can play in the camera. It's processed and ready to go. You can also choose the FX or DX area. So if you want a little bit more of a crop, you wanna get in a little bit tighter, you can do that and you're not losing image quality because you're shooting this at the standard of video that you've chosen to shoot. And so here's where you get to choose the video. You can either choose the standard FHD, full HD video or the 4K option. And finally, we have the Interval priority is too, you know what's more important, the intervals or the exposure?

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!!!