I just traded my Canon 5D in for a Nikon D700, and have a feeling that I'm going to give up something I relied on with the 5D ... but thought I'd post here first, to see if I'm mistaken.
I do lots of event type photography, in which I can lose shots if I have to spend much time fiddling with camera settings. The 5D let me set a couple of custom settings that I could swap in and out of rapidly, when following subjects from brightly lit outdoors to indoor settings. For instance, I could quickly go from: 1/640 shutter speed at ISO 400, to 1/40 shutter speed at ISO 1600, just by making one change on a dial.
When I dove into the D700 manual, I was elated to learn about shooting menu banks and custom settings banks ... and then disappointed to discover that these don't seem to help at all. Shooting menu banks won't save a shutter speed setting, or a shutter priority vs aperture priority setting. The *only* thing they're good for -- for this shooter -- is saving ISO information.
So far, the best I've been able to do is set the Function Key to call up My Menu, and then assigned My Menu to list shooting menu banks first. I've renamed Shooting Menu Bank A to 6400, for 6400 ISO, and also gave the other menu banks different names for different ISO settings. That, at least, lets me quickly change ISO settings, without having to hunt for the ISO button and then look at the control panel while I turn the command dial.
But to change shutter speeds, I do have to watch the control panel while turning the dial. And to change from shutter priority to aperture priority, I've gotta find the mode button, hold it down, and watch the control panel while turning the command dial. No presets, no shortcuts.
Nikonians, am I doing something wrong?! Is there a way to set presets that can be changed in and out of quickly?
The changes to ISO,shutter speed and shutter to aperture priority can also be seen in the viewfinder. It does take some pratice to get used to the buttons. You can also change dial settings to swap out their positions. Hope this helps.
------------------- "On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you." - The Hitchhikers Guide
Fri 02-Jan-09 04:59 AM | edited Fri 02-Jan-09 05:04 AM by robsb
Being new to Nikon you will have a learning curve. While what you are seeking sounds nice to have, most of us use our banks to set modes of shooting like action, landscape, portrait, etc. We set min and max ISO's, picture controls, flash modes, but not specific shutter speeds or shutter or aperture priorities because they are so easily accessible from the dials on the camera, with no need to look in menus. You have 3 ways to see what changes you are making, the control panal, on the LCD itself where you can change settings with a few clicks of the button or right in the viewfinder. I can change shutter speeds, apertures, etc without taking my eye off the viewfinder. So in summary the banks are powerful as they set many functions that are then set for the type of shooting you are doig and you can still change ISO, Mode and shutter speed and Apertures at the press of a button and a flick of a wheel. oh and I almost forgot you can set minimum shutter speeds in the auto ISO area, so that when you changed banks that shutter spped whould be set.
My first message should have read 'arranged to trade in' rather than trade in: I've still got the Canon gear. I had intended to ship it this a.m., but called the dealer instead today and arranged an extra week to hold onto it. I'll do my first "real" shoot with the Nikon late next week, and that will tell me far better than anything I've done so far if it's gonna work for me.
If it is, I may be a regular here. I'm impressed by how many log on to Nikonians. You're obviously a helpful bunch!
If not, I'll have to sell the Nikon gear used ... as it *will* be used gear once I shoot with it in the field. That would hurt the ol' pocketbook, but would be better than spending months and years cursing at ergonomics that don't match my shooting style.
FWIW, I used an F100 years ago, and liked it a lot. My high opinion of the Nikon multicontroller versus the Canon joystick, and the ability to set focus point in advance without looking through the viewfinder, are selling points for me.
I think these ergonomic issues don't get as much attention as they deserve for photogs who have to change settings quickly in the field. For others, I understand that they're less relevant.
"but would be better than spending months and years cursing at ergonomics that don't match my shooting style."
Funny because most Canon converts we get think the Nikon ergonomics is better than Canon's, but to each his own. I have been a Nikon shooter for so long, I would not know where to start on another brand.
I am a recent Canon convert as well having purchased the D700 just weeks ago. I was under the impression that the banks work the way that custom settings on the dial of the Canon worked. I won't sell my Nikon for lack of this, but I do have to say I'm surprised the Nikon doesn't have this. I do a lot of event type photography as well and I really need the ability to adjust ISO, aper, and shutter very quickly. It's a little disappointing. For instance, try following a bride and groom out a dimly lit church and just outside where it's very brightly lit. Having to change ISO, aper and shutter that drastically means missing a lot of great opportunities in many cases (assuming your second photographer isn't in just the right spot). I hope there's a way to approximate this feature.
It's not as simple as auto ISO. In the situation I described, it requires a change in WB, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I have had bad luck with auto WB, but haven't really delved into auto ISO. I shoot almost exclusively in manual as I take readings before the event. I have never found auto anything to perform as well as a manual exposure or WB. I will admit, Nikon's auto settings do much better than my Canons ever did. In my workflow, I'd have to change WB, then change to auto ISO (taking your advice) since I would be in a custom WB in the church, then change aper and shutter. That's a big difference from just changing the knob on the Canon. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not bashing Nikon, I prefer it. I simply am looking to find the same functionality if it does exist in the D700, which it seems not to.
>It's not as simple as auto ISO. In the situation I described, >it requires a change in WB, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I >have had bad luck with auto WB, but haven't really delved into >auto ISO. I shoot almost exclusively in manual as I take >readings before the event. I have never found auto anything to >perform as well as a manual exposure or WB. I will admit, >Nikon's auto settings do much better than my Canons ever did. >In my workflow, I'd have to change WB, then change to auto ISO >(taking your advice) since I would be in a custom WB in the >church, then change aper and shutter. That's a big difference >from just changing the knob on the Canon. Don't misunderstand >me, I'm not bashing Nikon, I prefer it. I simply am looking to >find the same functionality if it does exist in the D700, >which it seems not to.
For pulling up custom white balance use presets, this not a feature i have explored but pulled ths from the KR site
--------------- Managing the Preset White Card Settings
Well hidden, you also can set the green/magenta and amber/blue bias for white-card preset WB. Since the front dial selects among the five memorized settings, you have to use the menus even to set A/B bias.
To do this in the menus, MENU > SHOOTING > White balance > PRESET and click right. Select one of them, then hit OK, or hit SELECT (center of Big Thumb Button) and SET.
This is also the menu in which you can save, move and name your various preset white card WBs. This is another big advantage with Nikon: I save these and call them up using only the dials for various difficult conditions, like indoor home lighting. To save and rename, select one and hit the center thumb button.
Each time you hold down the WB button in PRE, get it to blink and press the shutter, you store that value in d-0. To save it, MENU > SHOOTING > White Balance > Preset > (click right) > Select a location (d-1 through d-4) into which you want to store it, press the center of the Big Thumb Button, select Copy d-0, OK. YOu just saved that setting into d-1, d-2, d-3 or d-4, and can call it up with the front dial when you've selected PRE with the rear dial.
You do the same thing to edit the comment (name). If you've shot a blank card, you really do need to add comments, since there's no way the little thumbnail will mean anything. ----------------
--------------------------- If only i knew what that button did! -------------------------
I understand about the presets. This is the custom WB I was talking about. The problem is that so far I have not found a way to very quickly (in one button click or two) switch from one custom WB, manual ISO, aper and shutter speed to another custom WB, manual ISO, aper and shutter speed. This is the function I really liked on the 5D.
Again the shooting banks let you set 4 custom White Balances (one in each bank) along with a different AUTO ISO range in each Bank which would also include your minimum shuuter speed. You can also assign custom picture controls to each bank. So if you do that, when you select a bank, it would come up with a preset WB, a preset Shutter speed, a preset custom Picture control and and a preset Auto ISO range. I understand you being wary of auto anything, but AUTO ISO up to 6400 is great. When you consider that you also have 4 custom banks that also have multiple functions you can assign, you now have 16 combinations of preset functions at the press of a button. You can also change the WB after the fact either in camera or if you are using NX2 for RAW processing.
That's good to know. That's what I was hoping with the banks. I think I'll be comfortable with setting auto ISO up to 1600-3200, and using a predetermined minimum shutter speed. That should solve the problem. Thanks for the help! Now to get over my fear of auto. It's funny, isn't it usually that people have the opposite fear!
Hey it is understandable. My first dsSLR was a D200 coming from an F3. I never used auto ISO on that camera because much above ISO 400 it was noisy. But when i got the D700 and haveing read all the stories about how great it was I tried it and have never taken it off Auto. It will shoot at tghe lowest ISo practical within your set range. Just look at my gallery and you will see setting from 200 all the way up to 6400.
I know this is a bit off topic, but while I've been impressed with ISO 6400 when shooting inanimate objects, I haven't really liked skin tones at that setting. I'm sure it's my exposure or something else. The contrast just seems too much and the colors just aren't there. I'll keep trying though.
Sun 04-Jan-09 04:32 PM | edited Sun 04-Jan-09 04:41 PM by greyface
If you go to the Shooting Menu - Set Picture Control, and pick one, you can adjust the Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation and Hue. Manage Picture Control will let you save adjusted presets. You can also add presets from the net via the flash card. I love the versatility of this camera.
------------------- "On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you." - The Hitchhikers Guide
The thought of being able to set a minimum shutter speed really appealed to me, so I did some more experimentation with Auto ISO this morning. On the D shooting bank, I set ISO sensitivity control to 'on,' and the minimum shutter to '400.'
Unfortunately, it didn't take. When I went from shooting bank A to shooting bank D, and looked hopefully in the control panel to see if I was now at 400 ... no soap. The shutter speed hadn't changed. The answer might be on page 109 of the D700 manual, if I'm understanding all this correctly:
"Note that when the flash is used, the camera uses the shutter speed selected for Custom Setting e1 (Flash sync Speed, pg. 305) in place of the value selected for Minimum shutter speed."
For any Nikon reps who may haunt these boards: boy, do I think this is a golden opportunity for improvement! I don't think that Kirk and I are alone. Just think of how terrific it would be to:
push one button, perhaps a reassigned function key, to call up the shooting menu banks
For shooting menu bank A, you've got presets for all your typical indoor settings: ISO, aperture/shutter/manual priority, aperture or shutter speed or what have you. You're ready to shoot indoors by clicking that reassigned function key once, and then selecting A.
For shooting menu bank B, you've got presents for all your outdoor settings: a much lower ISO, perhaps a different shooting priority ... the works. And it's one button push away.
Then you've got two more banks to play with.
Canon has this now, with custom settings. I think it would be an easy, low cost change for Nikon to make -- perhaps even a change in firmware! -- and would give shooters like me one more reason to buy their product.
I agree Rhay. That's exactly what I'm hoping for. For the time being, I think I'll have to rely on my backup camera being set that way, or for my second shooter to be ready to handle transition shots. I will say, those shots make up a minority obviously, so this will not be a deal killer for me.
I know that some people do not like the web site but please check Ken Rockwell's website at http://www.kenrockwell.com. He has simple ways to set the D700 to where you can maximize the versatility of the camera and perhaps also check Thom Hogan out also (I have his D3 book) and that was also very very helpful.
I used Canon for several years and went Nikon last year. I have set my own banks. I set them as A for portraits/Studio, B for Active landscape, C for Landscape and D for sports (On my D3 and D700). In each of these banks I saved the ISO minimum shutter speed to what ever I needed (such as 1/8 for studio, 1/250 for active landscape, 1 for landscape and 1/125 for sports) this allows the ISO to handle levels to suit the minimum shutter speed that I have set. The auto Active D lighting will take care of the change in lighting that will occur with moving out of a church situation to the outdoor (perhaps this is what bothers you) and there is nothing that will beat this Active D lighting. I also leave the exposure in -1.3 EV because the D3/D700 are tremendous with deep deep darks and it is easier to retrieve exposure that you want in NX2 at post-processing than to try to claim super over-exposure/clipping in digital. I have also created my own Picture controls for studio (as I like mildly warm colors and saturations and I have also created one for older people with softer sharpness to help with wrinkles). Once you have these set appropriately then you can create a heirarchy of ISO, banks and about anything you need in the 'My menu' setup which you can program to bring up at a press of a button and can alter any of these settings instantaneously. You may set one shooting bank for indoor wedding and one for outdoor wedding while you leave active D lighting at Auto to take care of exposure compensation for each location and then when you go outside all you have to do is change is memory bank and leave the camera in aperture priority (as minimum shutter speed is already set in the bank). So all you have to do is flip the main command dial with your thumb to set whatever aperture you want.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your D700. Don't give up so easily as you will miss out on the best DSLR on the market (and that takes the D3x and 5D Mark II into consideration).
Mon 05-Jan-09 02:32 AM | edited Mon 05-Jan-09 02:40 AM by rhay_tana
r93mdue, thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your thoughts.
As noted above, I won't know until late this coming week how well I do with the D700 in the field, but I have hopes that my first experience will be a success.
I've written about negatives in this thread, but there certainly are positives, too. I knew from my F100 days that I'd like the Nikon multi-controller far more than the Canon joystick, and that's definitely the case so far. Plus the Nikon 14-24 seems to be a much better piece of glass than the Canon 16-35 II, which is important to me, too.
I haven't experimented yet with D-Lighting, as I don't think that ACR sees it ... but when I experiment with NX Capture, I'll give it a go.
However, I hope you'll forgive me for passing on Ken Rockwell!
If you are going to check into capture NX, their NX2 with its latest version is the one to get. I have used LR2 and CS4 (with bridge) and Aperture 2 also. The EXIF and detailed RAW conversion of NX2 beats all of the above in image definition as well as post-production changes. Essentially one can change all in-camera settings in post-production using NX2 (including addition of Active D-lighting). NX2 interface is a pain to use for other changes so I transport the TIFF file (after in-camera changes) into CS4 or LR2 (one can open TIFF in CS4 directly from NX2). I do not like the print interface of NX2 for my Canon 9500 either. But NX2 has the best RAW converter for Nikon D3/D700 on the market. If you try NX2 then you should try the free software of Nikon Transfer (supplied with your D700) with the version upgrade (it goes well with NX2 for obvious reasons!) at the Nikon website.
I take Ken's writings with a big pinch of salt although I must say that he often has an interesting point of view.
I second r93mdue's point here. I've been using LR2 and ACR for quite a while for my RAW conversion, but I've been using NX2 for the past couple of months, and the quality of the color, detail and tones is amazing.
Rhay, it sounds like you shoot mainly people as well. I absolutely love the results with this converter. That said, I may or may not use NX2 for very large jobs as it is painfully slow. But when quality matters, it's my choice.
Thanks for the info. I have a couple of questions. You mentioned that you leave the camera in -1.3 exp comp. I understand this camera has a lot more latitude, but boy that would scare the bajeepers out of me in worrying about what that setting would do to skin tones. Have you found this doesn't affect that?
Also regarding Active D Lighting. Kinda the same question.. I have appreciated what this setting does for inanimate settings like nightscapes, etc, but as this is just a mathematical compression, have you found that you still get the same quality in skin tones using this feature on all the time? I'll admit, I've become paranoid about anything that could sacrifice the beautiful graduation of tones that could affect skin. I'll have to do some tests to see myself as well.
Both the D3 and D700 are identical and in my experience they both over-expose by about one stop. In case of high contrast background and in cases of reflected light off the subject this results in clipping the bright areas (the ones in zone VII). Both these cameras are so good with dark areas of the picture that when you put them on a RAW extractor such as Nikon capture/NX2 it is easy to recover these areas. However when the bright areas of the image clips (hits 255 on the digital scale) there is no way to retrieve its constituent colors (even colors like red will look white) and reducing exposure value in post production dose not yield the original colors. About -0.7 to -1.3 is the range of over-exposure (and this is also subjective depending on the calibration of your screen, whether you use CRT or LCD monitor and what your tolerance to hot pixels might be). When I have situations with smaller dynamic range (such as indoors and I have control on lighting or as in most situations I shoot in available light only) then I may use my bank with my studio bank and not leave the EV value at 0. I apologize that I did not clarify this in my previous comment).
Active D lighting looks at the brightness of the subject and at the brightness of the background and if the background is significantly brighter than the subject it will attenuate the brightness and the exposure to reduce the very bright background (so as to reduce the danger of clipping) and yet leave the subject adequately exposed. This works very well with Auto ISO and takes into account exposure compensation values (if you set those on the camera). If you experiment with filling your screen with your subject (close-ups or group photos) as perhaps you would do while standing inside the entrance of a church and shoot the couple as they exit out or stand outside you might be able to tell the difference in skin tones better than I can. However remember that you can manipulate any in camera setting after the shoot in NX2 as well. I have one example of high contrast with active D lighting in my D3x shots (with auto Active D lighting) on my gallery on this forum of my daughter and my niece contrasting in a dark spot with a bright glass door in the background. See what you think of that and please let me know.
Hey All: Great discussion. Your thoughts an opinions make me feel a bit better from all the experimenting I've been doing these last few months. I've attached a recent photo that shows how the active ADL looks with auto ISO as you describe. No post production changes are in this photo. I just wanted you to see how it looks and let me know what you think.
I took a look at the photo of your daughter and niece. I think that's a great job of dealing with a tough lighting situation. I really appreciate how balanced the bright background is with the subject. I think your daughter is the younger girl on the left. Those skin tones are surprisingly good. The other's, your niece, is starting to exhibit what seems to be some color shifting, maybe a hue of red in her face (which I associate with digital sensors pushed to their limits), and some odd colors in the shadow portions near her hairline. This is what I seem to find when recovering portraits that are under exposed. I have to say that the quality of this photo is really good and would be very acceptable for an event photo where you need to react quickly and deal with a contrasty scene. I'm merely judging the tones against an admittedly subjective standard.
Do you happen to have an example of a portrait where you took one photo with no exp comp, and another with your -1.3 to compare? I'd love to compare the graduation of tones and color in the two to see the difference. I think I'll have to do this test. I've heard the D700 added a lot of dynamic range to the shadows, so it certainly makes sense what you say. My hesitation is simply grounded in years of being taught the hard way that I must hit exposure on the head, or at least pretty close to get the best tones and colors. Keep in mind that I know I'm new to the D700 and have a lot to learn about the latitude.
I just loaded a few photos where I really like the skin tones to at least give you an idea of what I'm shooting for. Please check them out tell me what you think, but these are pretty easy lighting situations for the most part, and not meant to anything other than a baseline.
Can I assume that if I use Active-D lighting, and then deactivate it using Capture NX2, there will be no side effects or differences compared to a photo where Active D lighting was not used? Whoa, typing that made me a bit dizzy. I was under that impression, but I want to make sure. Makes for a great back up plan in case I don't like the effects.
I think we've officially kidnapped this entry... Sorry rhay.
Nikon reccommends ADl for high contrast situations and low ISO settings. They do not suggest keeping it on all the time as especially in high ISO situations it will add noise. It does have multiple setting Hi, Med, Lo and OFF. If you set it to OFF you cannot access it in NX2. But if you leave it ON you can change it in NX2, but turning it OFF in NX2 does not get you back to zero as ADL starts by lowering the exposure before it adjusts highlights and shadows. I prefer to leave it off and adjust using D lighting in post processing.
>Nikon reccommends ADl for high contrast situations and low >ISO settings. They do not suggest keeping it on all the time >as especially in high ISO situations it will add noise.<
Bob: you're absolutely right about when to use ADL. I had forgotten to turn it off during an event that went from daylight into night and when I kicked the ISO up to 6400 I started to think all the things I read about the D700 working in low light were false. Then I checked my settings and realized that the ADL was the culprit - after some trial and error.
Kirk - no snowboarding with the D700. I'm not that good a boarder. Those snaps of my daughter were taken outside our cabin in Lake Tahoe, CA.
>Press 'Info' (rear bottom) twice bringing up the viewfinder >and you can quickly cursor to the banks to change them.
Even better, set your ON switch so that when you turn it all the way to activate dial illumination, it pulls up the rear screen controls just as if you had pressed info twice! Wish my D300 could do that too as I have to remember to hit the LOCK Key button on that body to activate the rear control display.
>Unfortunately, it didn't take. When I went from shooting bank >A to shooting bank D, and looked hopefully in the control >panel to see if I was now at 400 ... no soap. The shutter >speed hadn't changed. The answer might be on page 109 of the >D700 manual, if I'm understanding all this correctly: > >"Note that when the flash is used, the camera uses the >shutter speed selected for Custom Setting e1 (Flash sync >Speed, pg. 305) in place of the value selected for Minimum >shutter speed."
Hi! Nice discussion here. Lot of good information and regarding the use of the custom shooting banks with minimum shutter speed with flash I'm curious to know what happens when the sync speed is set to FP.
Since FP sync speed allow the use of up to 1/8000s, is the 1/400s mentioned above possible?
Sorry for asking it here but I'm not at home to try with my own D700...