Sun 04-Nov-12 02:39 PM | edited Sun 04-Nov-12 02:47 PM by jamesvoortman
I have a slightly different take on the Settings banks, aimed at getting more versatility programmed in without needing to make as many changes while shooting.
On my D200 and later D300 I had them set up as many have done ; both the shooting menu and custom settings menu had the same categories (in my case Normal, Landscape, action/wildlife, tripod/macro). This effectively gives 4 cameras in one. when shooting e.g. action/wildlife I would adjust both the settings banks to the relevant option. With this approach I still found that I often had to make further on-the-spot changes to suit the scene.
I always had the view that if the tweo sets of banks could be configured as a 4x4 matrix of settings - you would effectively get 16 different cameras and much more versatility. This requires the two banks to have appropriately independent sets of features (more on this later) to get greatest versatility.
Now with the D800 I am having an extended think about this (bear with me while the gears grind ). Firstly though, have to state a baseline assumption that makes it all work : I post process using Capture NX2. This makes nearly all the features of NEF files available for change after the fact in post processing. Other post processing software does not make as much use of the info available in the NEF format (e.g. if you convert to .dng on importing to LR).
Critically, not all settings can be changed after the fact in software and these are the ones that must be made in-camera. In particular, choices relating to ISO and noise reduction, shutter speed, depth of field, supplementary lighting etc. must be made before the exposure occurs and cannot be fixed later. Some of these choices also cannot be adjusted without diving laboriously into the menus (e.g Noise reduction settings) This hints at where I am going.
The shooting settings menu could/should have been called the Image Development Menu. This would make it consistent with the "develop" tools in Capture NX2 and LR 4.x because all contain categories of settings that relate to the processing of image data (i.e. things that happen to the data during and after light hits the sensor). Stands to reason then that the setting banks in the shooting menu can be set up to respond not to the genre of photograph being taken, but to the nature of the light in which the photo is being taken. Consequently I have set up and am experimenting with following settings banks: A - Good light (maximum responsiveness with high ISO NR, Long exposure NR turned off, Auto ISO on but restricted to very low noise range. ADL activated to compensate for stronger shadows in bright light B - Low light Long Exp : This would occur on a tripod. Long exp. NR active, Fixed low ISO etc. C - Low Light High SS : intended for action and wildlife in poor light so makes use of Auto ISO and high ISO NR to keep the SS high. D - HDR : just for fun because its a novelty to me and requires jpeg output. when the novelty wears off I will find some other use for it but the plan for now is to keep this one for HDR, Multiple exposures and other fun stuff. Could be useful to set this one up to work with flash if you do a lot of supplementary lighting shots.
In these banks I have left settings such as WB, Picture Controls and others that can be altered in PP all at defualt values. At a later time I might choose WB presets for the poor light options because these will usually apply in overcast or shaded situations.
The one thing that is irritating is that for this approach to work even better, the Picture Controls should be in the custom settings menu and I also think the flash controls should be in the Shooting setting menu for better independence of the sets of options.
In the Custom Settings Menu I am setting up the banks in the conventional way to make choices of AF settings, exposure control, flash settings etc. to suit my favourite Walkaround/Candid, Landscape, Wildlife and Macro genres.
Any one of these genres can now be selected in combination with a lighting type from the Shooting Menu banks and voila! Not quite 16 cameras in one but I expect to do a lot less fiddling around in the menus when the light changes.
This approach might not suit all and I have not taken many pics with it yet. I would be interested to hear comments on the concept and some suggestions.