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closerlook

US
10 posts

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closerlook Registered since 15th Aug 2011
Tue 16-Aug-11 06:42 AM | edited Tue 16-Aug-11 06:43 AM by closerlook

I was wondering if there are generally agreed upon settings that maximize the D5100s potential for taking great pictures.
I had read a post by RRRoger who mentioned setting up the D5100 right, but I didn't find his recommendations or anyone else's either.
This is my first DSLR, I have a little experience with non-DSLR cameras and I'd be grateful if those who have determined how to get the best from it would share their knowledge and settings.
Thanks, in advance.

gkaiseril

Chicago, US
6739 posts

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#1. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 0

gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Tue 16-Aug-11 01:54 PM

No, there is no one set of settings. As your skill grows you learn what setting work best. For some of the forum there is a setting worksheet that list starting points for various situations. And from these settings you fine tune them for your needs.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

closerlook

US
10 posts

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#2. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 1

closerlook Registered since 15th Aug 2011
Tue 16-Aug-11 05:49 PM

I do realize that settings are a matter of preference as well as experience.
What I was wondering was if fellow D5100 users typically think that the default settings weren't good as far as sharpening, contrast, etc. are concerned.
You mentioned that," For some of the forum there is a setting worksheet that list starting points for various situations."
Do you mean that there are setting worksheets that are only available to those with any of the paid memberships?

Thanks for having taken the time to reply.

gkaiseril

Chicago, US
6739 posts

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#3. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 2

gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Tue 16-Aug-11 06:12 PM

> What I was wondering was if fellow D5100 users typically think that the default settings weren't good as far as sharpening, contrast, etc. are concerned.

I would not even worry about those. Many want shutter speed, aperture, metering mode, ISO, etc. Many of these settings are best for the subject you are trying to capture.

> You mentioned that," For some of the forum there is a setting worksheet that list starting points for various situations."
Do you mean that there are setting worksheets that are only available to those with any of the paid memberships?

You can access any "(open)" forum without a paid membership. Some members on their own time have make these Excel worksheets and posted them for all to use. "D7000 Configuration Settings and Set-Up Spreadsheet V.2..." is in the Nikon D7000 (Open) forum.

Many authors suggest possible settings in their books for specific shooting situations.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

closerlook

US
10 posts

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#4. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 3

closerlook Registered since 15th Aug 2011
Tue 16-Aug-11 06:25 PM

That's all good to know.
I've never had a DSLR before so I have plenty to learn but I enjoy reading and learning.
David Busch's Nikon D5100 book just arrived today, so that should keep me reading for a while.
Other books that I've recently bought are Understanding Exposure by Petersen and the Scott Kelby Digital Photography set , so I think that those should help me to get a decent base to start from.
Thanks again for taking your time to help me.

MEMcD

US
28679 posts

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#5. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 4

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Wed 17-Aug-11 01:19 PM

Hi Kathy,

As a beginner, take advantage of the Vari-Program (Pictogram) exposure modes to provide the optimal settings for each particular subject without having to set the camera up manually.
Understanding Exposure should help you get up and running in Manual exposure mode as well as P,S, & A modes.
Keep in mind that there is no substitute for expierience, so go out and shoot!
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3211 posts

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#6. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 5

RRRoger Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Basic Member
Wed 17-Aug-11 03:09 PM | edited Wed 17-Aug-11 03:14 PM by RRRoger

My D5100 settings might be a good place to start but it depends on the Subject, Lens, time of day or other lighting, and of course the shooter.

Basic settings with 18-55 kit lens:
Most will be default.
lens set A with VR off
top dial A aperture priority

Shooting menu image quality Fine, size Large, JPEG
White Balance Auto
Picture control Standard with sharpening increased one or two notches, everything else 0
High ISO NR = Norm
Auto ISO 100, ON, 6400, 1/640s
Release mode = Continuous
Movie settings 1080 @ 30fps (gives you smoothest Video that can be edited down for anything other than Blue Ray).
I change my AutoISO settings to 1/60s for Video

Custom Settings: Autofocus
AF-C priority = release
Shutter-release button AE-L = ON
Auto Off timers = Long
ISO display = ON
File number = ON
Function button = Active D-Lighting (when shooting faces into the sun).
Assign AE-L/AF-L button = AF-ON

SETUP MENU
Monitor brightness = +3
Auto info = OFF
Image comment = ON
Image rotation = ON

Info Button next to AE-L/AF-L
use multiselector, then push center
AF area mode + Single point
Metering = Spot
Active D-Lighting = Auto

Live View on + same button as above
Focus mode = AF-F (if it hunts too much you will have to try AF-S and then MF)


Landscape Stills: I usually like to use a TriPod, shoot at lowest ISO and f/8.
You can lower the shutter speed on a TriPod, but need to turn off the VR.
VR works best handheld, low camera speed, and low light.

Action shots usually require high speed and low f-stops.

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closerlook

US
10 posts

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#7. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 5

closerlook Registered since 15th Aug 2011
Wed 17-Aug-11 04:30 PM | edited Wed 17-Aug-11 04:58 PM by closerlook

Thanks, Marty.
I appreciate your help.
Looking at the David Busch book, I think it will be helpful.
The Petersen book on Exposure seems to be a gold standard of sorts, so I'll make sure to pay careful attention while reading that one.
You are right in that there's no substitute for experience.
Now, if only practice really did make perfect!

closerlook

US
10 posts

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#8. "Excellent !" | In response to Reply # 6

closerlook Registered since 15th Aug 2011
Wed 17-Aug-11 04:54 PM

RRRoger, thank-you so very much for your detailed setup info.
I'll be sure to have VR off whenever the camera is on a tripod, but I'm not confident that my hands are steady enough to shoot with VR off otherwise.
It's worth a try, though.
Macros and birds both fascinate me, so I'll have to start saving for lenses-- or give up food and start walking everywhere to get a couple of lenses much sooner
A bit surprising to me is that it seems like a number of people with higher-end cameras have picked up a D5100 as a lighter camera to carry around.

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3211 posts

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#9. "RE: Excellent !" | In response to Reply # 8

RRRoger Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Basic Member
Thu 18-Aug-11 11:50 PM

>RRRoger, thank-you so very much for your detailed setup
>info.
>I'll be sure to have VR off whenever the camera is on a
>tripod, but I'm not confident that my hands are steady enough
>to shoot with VR off otherwise.
>It's worth a try, though.
>Macros and birds both fascinate me, so I'll have to start
>saving for lenses-- or give up food and start walking
>everywhere to get a couple of lenses much sooner
>A bit surprising to me is that it seems like a number of
>people with higher-end cameras have picked up a D5100 as a
>lighter camera to carry around.
>
I don't advocate abandoning VR completely.
It can be very useful HandHeld in LowLight at low camera speeds.

Although I have not figured how to use it to advantage yet, it is also supposed to help with Video recording.

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LP0WELL

US
2 posts

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#10. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 0

LP0WELL Registered since 02nd Sep 2011
Wed 07-Sep-11 07:18 AM | edited Wed 07-Sep-11 07:18 AM by LP0WELL

Anyone know how to turn off the blinking question mark in the lower left corner and associated blinking of the interface elements? I realize it's helpful for novices, but it gets distracting after a while.

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3211 posts

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#11. "RE: Best D5100 settings?" | In response to Reply # 10

RRRoger Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Basic Member
Sat 10-Sep-11 02:08 PM

>Anyone know how to turn off the blinking question mark in the
>lower left corner and associated blinking of the interface
>elements? I realize it's helpful for novices, but it gets
>distracting after a while.

1. No but I would like to know.

2. Also, how do you get the info display not to come up when you first turn on the camera?
I can set it for 4 seconds, but then when I actually want it, it is too short.

3. Why are there two info buttons?
They seem to display the same thing.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

G