Camera Set-Up


Nikon Digital Camera Set-Up

Many people experience problems with digital photography and their camera set-up because they overlooked the set-up of their camera’s custom functions which will affect the output from their camera. These settings are my personal preferences and opinions only and serve as a suggested baseline set-up for the different Nikon Cameras I have used.

Now the standard disclaimer: This page is for attendees of workshops taught by me and are intended to be used as an additional resource for attendees. The information here does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the sponsors or any of my workshops. Please drop me an email and let me know what you thought of the seminar you attended.

Standard Nikon Menu Choices (Some models may have fewer choices)

Please Note: I have tried to make the table and information fit all the different models of Nikon Cameras. But the menus do change slightly between models and firmware versions (make sure you have the latest firmware for your camera). I have listed the important items in each one of the menus, it’s not an exhaustive list containing each and every menu item.

Playback Menu Display Mode = CheckOn = Focus, Highlights and RGB Histogram
Rotate Tall = off
Shooting Menu File Naming = Set to your initials (Mine is njd = Nick John Didlick)
Role played by card in Slot 2 = Overflow
Image Quality = NEF (RAW) + Jpeg Fine
Image Size = Large Image Area
JPEG Compression = Optimal Quality
NEF Recording = Type Losseless Compressed, 14-bit (Sometimes 12-bit when shooting sports because of the cameras buffer
White Balance = Depends on shooting situation.
Set Picture Control = Standard but is CAMERA and SCENE DEPENDANT* (See below)
Optimize Image (Older Cameras) = Normal but is CAMERA and SCENE DEPENDANT** See below)
Color Space = When shooting RAW set sRGB (Good for Internet and most printing situations. Set Adobe RGB when output is not defined.
Active D-Lighting = CAMERA and SCENE DEPENDANT but start with Low or Normal
Vignette Control = On
Long Exp NR = Off unless shooting exposure of longer than 1/2 a second
High ISO NR = Normally Off, at 1600 iso and above – Set to Low
Custom Setting Menu AF-C Priority = Release
AF-S Priority = Focus
Dynamic AF Area = Normally set to 9 (But this is Subject Dependent)
Focus Tracking with lock-on = Normal or Off
AF Activation = On Shutter/AF-On
AF point illumination = On
Focus point wrap around = Off
AF Point Selection = Subject Dependant but normally set to the lowest number available
Built-in AF assist illuminator = Off
ISO step value = 1/3 EV steps- 1/3 EV comp/fine tune- 1/3 Easy expsoure com.- ON
Beep = Off
Viewfinder grid display = On
Screen tips = On
CL Shooting speed = Set to the Max number of fps (Frames per second)
Max continuous release = 100 (Or the maximum number of your camera)
File Number Sequence = On
Shooting info display = Auto
LCD illumination = Off
Exposure delay mode = Off (Unless using long exposures with camera on a tripod)
Flash sync speed = 1/320 Auto fp
Flash shutter speed = 1/4s (but would depend on the user)
Flash control for built-in flash =  TTL unless using remote flash then CMD
Modeling Flash = Off
No Memory Card = Lock
Setup Menu LCD Brightness = 0
Video Mode = NTSC
HDMI = Auto
Image Comment = On (And add your user name)
Auto Image Rotation = On
Copyright Information = On (And add your copyright information)
Firmware Version – Check Nikon USA for current firmware here.
Retouch Menu User Preference
My Menu User Preference

*Picture Control (Most Nikon Models newer than 2008)
Set Picture Control  = These settings tell the camera how to process the file (These can be changed in Nikon Software after capture)
Standard = Generally the most pleasing for all types of Photography
Neutral – Minimal Processing
Vivid = Enhanced overall
Portrait = Soft Natural Skin Tones
Landscape = Vivid overall for Landscapes
Black and White = Images are processed as Monchrone

Note: That if you shoot RAW (NEF) and use editing software other than Nikon Capture NX2 or Nikon View NX2 all your Picture Control settings will be over ridden.

Nicks Settings for Picture Control Cameras (Portraiture)
Set Picture Control = Custom (C1)
Sharpening = Set to Default or None (This would depend on the output)
Contrast = 0 (Active D-Lighting will override this setting)
Brightness = 0 (Active D-Lighting will override this setting)
(If using Active D-Lighting setting it to Low or Normal)
Saturation = -1
Hue = 0
Remember all these settings can be changed when Shooting in RAW (NEF) Format

**Optimize Image (Most Nikon Models older than 2008)
Optimize Image  = These settings tell the camera how to process the file (These can be changed in Nikon Software after capture)
Normal = Suited to a Wide variety of Subjects
Softer = Soften Outlines and Contrast
Vivid = Contrast and Saturation are Increased
More Vivid = Contrast and Saturation are Increased further
Custom = See Below for recommendations
Black and White = Images are processed as Monochrone

Note: That if you shoot RAW (NEF) and use editing software other than Nikon Capture NX2 or Nikon View NX2 all your Optimize Image settings will be over ridden.

Nicks Base Settings for Optimize Image  = Custom
Sharpening = Set to Default or None (This would depend on the output)
(Why set to None? I prefer to do this in two steps in Photoshop, one to compensate for the Lo Pass Filter and the other depending on the output size). Otherwise I set my cameras to normal.
Tone Compensation = Less Contrast (-1)
Color Mode = Mode Ia (sRGB) for Portraits, Mode II (Adobe RGB) for General Photography
Saturation = Normal
Hue Adjustment = Normal
Remember all these settings can be changed when Shooting in RAW (NEF) Format



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