Now that I have been taking a few more photos with my Nikon D200, 18-200 etc, I have noticed I make small mental errors such as forgetting to switch VR off or on, forgetting to change from continuous to single servo focus, not straightening my monopod head and so on. Wondering if you have a mental checklist before you take your first shot or do you realize something is amiss after a few errant shots or even worse, after the entire shoot is over. Your thoughts would be helpful. Thanks.
When I switched to digital several years ago, I made every possible mistake. When I moved to a a pair of D2X bodies a year or so ago, I made even more. I finally generated a pocket-sized check list for the cameras which contains seventeen steps, including lens options. I now have a dozen SB800 strobes and had to rely on another similar check list for them until I was familiar with their many menu options.
I also found that getting into a fairly systematic approach to setups helps. Always going through the checklist in the same sequence assures that you will not miss anything. Once you go through it enough times, it becomes second nature. These cameras have more menus than many computers ... it seems.
HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
HBB in Phoenix, Arizona Nikonian Team Member
Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.
My checklist includes resetting to my standard settings after each shoot so I know what I may need to do for each subject and have no assumptions.
VR is Off when I put my lens or camera/lens in my bag Limit switch On for 80-400 and 70-200 ISO is reset to 200 AF-S servo WB is Auto -1 when at home, Cloudy if on a field trip RAW Continous shooting High
The first four are things I may routinely change so I always set it back. Having a system for VR is critical as I have shot with the wrong setting more times than I will admit
Albert J Valentino Nikonian Moderator Emeritus Vantage Point Images Mastery of Composition is the Key to Great Photography
>My checklist includes resetting to my standard settings >after each shoot so I know what I may need to do for each >subject and have no assumptions.
Excellent advice. I'm still at the stage where I prefer to experiment with a small subset of settings at once. My making sure to "reset" my camera I don't run into situations where varying option "A" is affected because I forgot to reset option "B".
Jeff Bower I wish my D200 body was a significant portion of my NAS-related expenses...
My most basic is to say "Siam" to myself whenever I pick up or turn on the camera. S=Speed (as in shutter) I=ISO A=Aperture M=Metering Mode Of course, that leaves out focus mode, white balance, and a few others, but it's saved me more than a few times from my own absentmindedness. To be current. of course, I'd have to come up with a mnemonic for "Thailand."
I learned the value of checklists when I learned to fly. A good checklist is easy to remember, intuitive, and very rigid (so that you check everything important, in exactly the same order, every single time).
A checklist should have a logical "flow". Every time I pick up one of my D200s, I do a quick checklist starting on the lower left side of the body. It goes like this:
Focus Mode:S Quality:RAW WB:A ISO:100 AF:Center Metering:Matrix Mod Exp Comp:None Banks:Both A Battery:Good
Basically, the flow of this checklist goes up the left side, and then up the right side of the camera, ending on the right top. Everything is done in order. Pick whatever order works best for you.
I then turn to the lens and check on the left side:
Focus:M/A VR:On & Normal VR Limit:2.5m
It is a little hard to make doing a checklist completely instinctive, but it is worth it. In an airplane, it helps avoid creating a large, greasy crater. With a camera, it helps avoid shooting 200 of your best outdoor pictures ever at an ISO of 3200 and two stops of over exposure compensation.