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Durban, ZA
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"RE: D800 Settings"

jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004
Wed 01-May-13 05:58 PM | edited Wed 01-May-13 06:22 PM by jamesvoortman

I find that although the Japanese English in the camera manual is gramatically correct it tends to describe what each setting will do, but not how to use it in practice.

For example : read the section on Auto FP High Speed Sync flash (what a mouthful) and see if you can work out from this that it actually extends the duration of the flash and weakens it and that to freeze action at the highest possible shutter speed using flash, you should actually not use Auto FP High speed sync at all!!

What I'm saying is rather than collecting a bunch of bin files from others, it may serve you better to buy one or two of the aftermarket books on D800 and learn how each feature works and how to use it.

Referring here specifically to the AF system, Flash system, ISO adjustment system, Noise reduction settings, Active D lighting etc.

No matter how many bin files you collect you can only ever load 4 banks of settings into each of two menus giving up to 16 possible combinations, not all of which will be useful. So you will inevitably find, during a session, that you need to make some changes that may not have been pre-programmed into one of your other banks. So it is useful to know how all the settings work. I will grant that it may be useful at first, to simply spend some months just using the camera as is to get familiar with it...and then start researching the subtleties.

The Custom Settings menu affects what happens in the light path upstream of the sensor (i.e. focussing, flash, exposure and controls). The Shooting Settings Menu affects what happens to the data generated by the sensor (i.e. how it is processed).

There are several different ways of setting up the menu banks.
1) the conventional way is to identify genres that you like using, such as; Landscape, Portrait, Sport, Wildlife, Photojournalism, Macro etc. then choose 4 and make settings appropriate to each in both the Custom Settings and Shooting menus. When doing a shoot you select the appropriate bank in each menu and start shooting . this means that you normally shoot bank A in Custom Settings with bank A in Shooting Settings. This approach gives 4 cameras in one. However, lighting levels will differ in shoots of the same genre and you may find that you are making frequent adjustments to settings like ADL, HINR, LENR, WB, Auto ISO and so on to optimise the camera to the conditions of each location.....which leads to method 2....

2) In my D800 I have currently set up the Shooting Menu banks to respond to different lighting levels and support types. Hence I now have Bank A = Bright+Handheld, B = Dim+handheld, C = Bright+tripod, D = Dim+tripod. In the Custom Settings Menu I do the normal thing and set the banks up for my favourite Genres of Landscapes, Wildlife, Snapshots and Macro. This approach gives theoretically 16 different combinations so it is more flexible than method 1) above but not all of the combinations are useful ( e.g. Dim+Handleld pushes up ISO to maintain shutter speed in poor light and it can be noisy - so it is inappropriate for Landscapes) . I am still fine tuning this approach and have not fully settled on the optimum bank settings for my typical usage. Today I bought a long lens for wildlife.....and this gave me an idea for a 3rd method....

3) I am considering setting up my banks to respond to my individual lenses and lighting conditions. So instead of setting up my Custom Settings Menu for Genres such as landscape, portrait etc I am thinking to make a custom setting bank for each of my most frequently used lenses. In my case these are a UWA zoom, a general purpose zoom, a macro and a tele. This method is still conceptual and I have not worked it out fully in my mind yet.

the D800 settings spreadhseet anchored at the top of this forum is a good place to start. You can open it up and start playing with groups of settings and save them for further development. Going one by one through the list helps me to get familiar with all the options available, and this helps a lot in the field when you want to change something.

Finally : What I would really like to see, in a firmware update, is a system with 8 banks instead of 4 in each of the Custom Settings and Shooting Settings menus. Then we wouldn't have to be so picky. If I had 8 banks in Shooting Settings I would add banks called Jpeg snapshots, HDR, Flash and Snow. In Custom Settings I would add a dedicated bank for my new long lens and some additional Genres like portraiture and sports

I hope my ramblings give some ideas to think about.

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A general, generic topic D800 Settings [View all] , Magnum164 Silver Member , Thu 25-Apr-13 10:32 PM
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