Thu 14-Aug-08 04:11 AM | edited Thu 14-Aug-08 04:27 AM by voyageurfred
Like the others above and before me, thank you for this superb spreadsheet and overview of the D300!
The D200 was my very first digi cam which I purchased in Dec 06 after being a 35mm film shooter since the mid 70's.
I purchased my D300 in June(08) and have already shot some 4,600 images after seven weeks of travel through Russia and Mongolia. It was an easy move up from the D200, with some nice additional features.
Going through your Playback menu and Shoot menu, I was surprised by some settings, so permit me to make the following suggestions and comments:
Display Mode - RGB Histogram - recommend ON
While the Data window on the display mode also has a histogram, the RGB will tell a photographer what is happening with each individual channel. The Data display histogram is an AVERAGE of the three RGB channels, so you could actually be clipping the red channel if you are say shooting a sunset where there are lots of reds and oranges. This is also true of the other two channels if there is one predominant colour in the channel - green foliage for example in the Green channel, deep blues from water or the sky in the Blue channel.
If you are after best quality in an image, its best to make sure none of the channels are being clipped.
Bank B Landscape
Colour Space - Adobe RGB ISO - 200 Long Exp NR - OFF Image Review - ON AF - OFF
Most serious landscape shooters use a tripod, so a high asa of 1600 is unnecessary, no matter what the lighting conditions. An ISO of 200 assures best quality with no noise, so you can turn off the NR.
And as long as we are talking about quality, photographers should be shooting in Aperture Priority A mode with a starting aperture (f-stop) of f/8 or f/11 to be in the sweet zone and get maximum sharpness from your glass.
If there is an object in the foreground such as a rock formation, flowers, etc, then aperture priority becomes even more important and depending upon the lens, you may have to go to f/22 or even f/32 to get everything in the frame pin sharp.
And AF is not required here, so save your battery, and possibly your camera from "hunting."
If you are in windy conditions, where you are trying to freeze moving trees or flowers, then try changing the ISO to get your shutter speed up. As a rule of thumb, if your camera is on a tripod and you wish to freeze action in your frame, match your shutter speed to the mm of your lens. So with a 28mm lens you should have a minimum of 1/30th of a second, which will be closest to 1/28 (which is actually 42mm with an FX lens if you account for the 1.5 crop factor, in which case 1/60th). If shooting with a 200mmm, then it would be 1/200th, and so on.
You will notice I have IMAGE REVIEW as ON, this is so you can monitor what is happening with your images, particularly with changing light conditions of say sunsets.
What I do with my cam, in the MY MENU, is set the MONITOR OFF DELAY to 10 seconds. This way I can review each shot quickly. Of course, the monitor will not stay on 10 seconds if you take another pic within that time period.
For maximum colour gamut, you also want to shoot in Adobe RGB, not in sRGB as listed. That's assuming of course you will run your images through some kind of image processing software, so you can make a big print of you favourite landscape with the best colour!
Now if you are doing NATURE shooting, where moving wildlife is involved, then you may want to create a different bank, and choose Shutter Priority and raise your ISO. All this will depend upon lighting, your lens choice and what your subject is.
I personally hate this name change from the D200's previous settings mode, however here is my personal choice and the order, with explanations why:
1. Self Timer 2. Monitor Off Delay 3. Long Exp NR 4. D Lighting 5. Live View 6. Multiple Exposure 7. World Time 8. Battery Info
1. Self Timer - This has to be for me the most used setting. Frequently when shooting with a long lens on a tripod, I will set the self timer to the 2 second setting, to trip the shutter two seconds after I press the button to assure there is no camera movement. I don't always have my shutter release cable with me, so this is the next best alternative. If I am doing night photography where I am taking long exposures up to 30 seconds, this again is handy to have in my menu, so I don't have to go scrolling through all the menu's to find it.
Its neat to have for self portraits, and frequently, I will setup my cam on a tripod or bean bag setting it to a 20 second delay, then walk away a bit to capture street scenes in a natural, candid way
2. Monitor Off - the next most used setting. Mostly in the 10 second mode to verify my shots, many times off, but when I want to turn the camera around and show people what I have just photographed, I can then change the setting to 1 Minute or longer for all to look at. This is very usefull when shooting children in foreign lands - as they love the "instant replay" feature. Again, I HATE scrolling through the menu to...
3. Long Exposure NR - When I do night photography with long exposures, and its dark out, I want this setting fast. And of course, I don't want to muck around, scrolling through...
4. D Lighting - Always experimenting, I will switch this effect on and off in contrasty light, making two exposures - one natural, and one with the D light boost. Mostly this setting is OFF
5. Live view - to switch from hand held to tripod and back again, depending upon the situation. The release mode usually sits in shutter mode
6. Multiple Exposure - In camera digital "sandwiches" can be fun, so I make sure I have this feature available when the situation presents itself where I can access it quickly
7. World time - If you live ALL the time in one time zone, then you probably don't need it. However if you go into another state, province or country where there is a time change, then you want to make sure you pics are correctly documented. This summer, I travelled through 12 time zones as I went from Montreal Canada, through Russia and into Mongolia. That's a lot of changing to do.
And when I am not wearing my watch, I have a clock... right in my camera! No excuse for missing the moon rise or sunset times, or my girlfiend's great cooking!
Just one thing, just make sure you don't actually change the YEAR by accident. I have quite a few images that are marked 2007, which should be this year!
8. Battery Info - I know, it appears immediately on your LCD screen, but if you are in the middle of a shoot or changing light, and want to know if you have 20 percent or 10 percent battery left, its nice to know. It will also tell you if your battery recharging days are over too. Another one bites the dust!
I could write more, but I think there is enough here to "chew on!"