Important Functions of Nikon Cameras

This article will be useful to Nikon Digital SLR owners. Many people already know how to adjust shutter speed, ISO, aperture, but Nikon cameras have very useful functions and settings. Today we will focus on a few basic ones.

Thoughts on setting up Nikon cameras

Thoughts on setting up Nikon cameras


Setting Picture Control Modes

Almost all Nikon DSLR cameras have image management modes. This setting is in Shooting Mode Menu -> Picture Control Mode. Depending on the model, you can select one of the shooting modes in the submenu. Most often it

  • SD - standard
  • NL - Neutral
  • VI - saturated
  • MC - monochrome
  • PT - portrait
  • LS - landscape or native shooting mode.

This is very convenient - with the desired type of shooting you just need to set the appropriate mode and get the image settings for a given plot.

These modes affect sharpness, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue the resulting image. For example, the portrait mode has low sharpness, contrast and brightness in order to correctly convey skin tones. A saturated mode, on the contrary, has saturated colors, great sharpness and contrast.

Here is an example of the same photo in different image management modes. There is an improvement in color saturation:

Standard and Rich snapshot management in action

Standard and Rich snapshot management in action

All sample photos in this article are made on Nikon D90 using a tripod and remote control Nikon ML-L3. Focusing with Live View on Nikon 50mm F1.8D in manual mode. The items are mounted on a studio stand and flash foot. If you look closer, 1 to 1, you can see an improvement in sharpness in VI mode compared to SD

Difference in SD and VI image management modes

Difference in SD and VI image management modes

Important notice! If you shoot in RAW format, then the file is actually recorded in RAW format raw information from the camera’s matrix, but in EXIF cameras record data about the shooting control mode. At the same time, a picture with the established image management mode will be visible on the camera’s display. But when loading into a RAW converter like ADOBE LIGHTROOM, ADOBE Camera RAW these converters will not accept the metadata from the file and you will see naked original RAW picture without overlaying Picture Control. So, shooting in RAW and processing the picture on a computer, you don't have to bother with the selected picture control mode.

But, if you are shooting in JPEG, then the selected mode will greatly affect the photo. I strongly recommend that you always remember about the mode that is set and change it depending on the situation. By the way, when shooting in MC mode - monochrome, BW letters will flash in red in the viewfinder, warning that you are shooting in black and white. And if you shoot in RAW, then on the computer you will be able to see the original color photo, and if you shoot in JPEG, it will already be impossible to restore the color in the photo.


High ISO Noise Reduction

In order to minimize noise at high ISOs, you can, and sometimes need to enable the noise reduction function. Function is in  Shooting Mode Menu -> High ISO Noise Reduction. This feature helps to reduce digital noise and make your photo more attractive. The function also has the name NR (noise reduction) and several intensity values.

Two photos with and without noise reduction

Two photos with and without noise reduction

If you increase the scale, then the difference in image quality will be really visible. See for yourself:

Noise Reduction Function

Noise Reduction Function

Important factor! Shooting in RAW mode does not actually reduce the noise in the image, and the camera, when reviewing the image, shows the RAW image with noise suppressed. If such a RAW image is viewed on a computer with and without noise reduction mode, they will be identical. At first for the article I shot in RAW, but when viewed on a computer, all the photos with or without noise reduction looked the same.

Shooting in JPEG you really get a picture with suppressed noise. But always remember that shumodav is not a panacea, it reduces noise but with the same success reduces the detail of the picture (including its sharpness). For non-commercial purposes and printing, 10 * 15cm can be safely shot in JPEG at super high ISO with noise reduction turned on at maximum power level.


Using Active D-Lighting

This feature expands the Dynamic Range and preserves shadow detail. In short - the function programmatically pulls information from the shadows.

Active D-Lighting in action

Active D-Lighting in action

As you can see for yourselves, dark details became brighter in the pictures and the picture turned out brighter at the same values excerpts and apertures.

Active D-Lighting Function

Active D-Lighting Function

Attention! Although the function takes a picture with a large DD, at the same time there is one trick. Both pictures were taken in manual control of the camera at F2.8 1 \ 4c, but in automatic mode and with Active D-Lighting turned on, the camera tries to underexpose the frame by reducing excerpts or aperture. Also, information from the shadows is extracted by the program method and as a result there is an extra noise in the shadows.


More useful features

Long exposure noise reduction function should reduce noise when shooting at long exposures - but I tested and did not notice any significant change in noise. The test was carried out on shutter speed 30 seconds in RAW and JPEG - the result is almost the same at ISO100 and ISO 400. Therefore, I did not take any sample photos. Caution - Long exposure noise reduction also reduces frame buffer. For example, for Nikon D200 from 21 frames in the buffer, when this function is enabled, it sags up to 11 frames. Similarly, on other cameras. And also, when shooting at slow shutter speeds with this feature turned on, you reduce the speed of the camera. If a excerpt was 10 seconds, then the camera will “think” and process the image for 10 seconds after the picture is taken, and the display will show “work nr”. Personally, sometimes it is very, very inconvenient for me to wait 30 seconds before I can take the next picture, because this function is almost always turned off for me.

Chromatic Aberration Control Function - reduces HA. Distortion Control Function - reduces distortion. Since I have on mine Nikon D40, D80, D90, D200 I don’t have these functions, I can’t describe their work with examples, but in any case they are also very useful when shooting in JPEG.


Conclusions:

All image enhancement functions are mainly software implemented. When shooting in JPEG, they are an indispensable means of improving images, but all of them can equally well be implemented by editing a RAW file. In order for Nikon's RAW file (NEF) to be used with the image control function applied there, you need to use the native Capture NX utility, you will have to do everything yourself in other RAW converters.

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 347, on the topic: Important functions of Nikon cameras

  • Epoxy

    D-Light kills the picture mercilessly. However, like any other software picture tightening. Better then do it in a RAW processor. At least - the result can be undone)))

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, because you need to shoot wisely.

      • Moonlight Rambler

        There is still a moment. You can twist ADL in the native converter only if it was enabled in the camera settings. If this option is turned off, then the converter will not let you adjust it :)

        • nikola

          everything is possible there

  • Victor

    There is another very useful, in my opinion, function in the latest Nikon models (for example, in the D5100). It's called “Auto ISO Control”. When the camera is operating in mode “A” with a preset ISO value, the exposure metering decreases the shutter speed to the value set in the menu of this function and only then increases the ISO, remembering to inform the owner of the camera by blinking in the viewfinder. The function menu also sets an ISO limit above which the camera cannot raise (the camera will increase the shutter speed beyond the specified function set in the menu).

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you, this is a “standard feature” on almost all cameras. I have already described in more detail in the article about ISO.

  • Moonlight Rambler

    And Nikons also have a multiple exposure ... If not in real time (D5100) then at least in the camera processing menu (D40). Very interesting feature :)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You see, specific functions are described here, multiple exposure is in a very large number of digital SLR cameras. The multiple exposure is interesting, but, actually, what exactly did you shoot with it?

      • Moonlight Rambler

        A girl, a bicycle and something out of the field of landscapes.
        https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-qNaI8ZJCF2Q/TxGLuJY6p3I/AAAAAAAAQ7U/Bi6nln6jXBU/s912/DSC_0982_1200.jpg - waiting for the season.

        New plug, attention is accentuated by the window.

        Is chamber noise reduction also a specific Nikon function? :)

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Nikon's on-camera noise control has its own specifics when working in RAW files, therefore it really is a specific Nikon function. Also, you need to remember that there are two types of noise reduction - at long exposures and at high ISO values.

  • Olga

    Please tell me how to fine tune Nikon one ??? the photos are not clear, very cloudy ... ((

  • Igor

    It interests me, such obvious questions, (Nikon cameras)
    - if you set the AF Mode - AF-C, then you need to set the shooting mode (C low or C High)?
    -In the above shooting mode, what is the main difference in using 9, 21, 51 focus points?
    -Why is such a thing needed in settings like PICTURE CONTROL SYSTEM if I shoot in RAW?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1) Focus mode and shooting mode are not related. Set the shooting speed (Cl, Ch) as you see fit.

      2) The fundamental difference in the speed of access to the desired focus area when cropping.

      3) Picutre control snapshot optimization settings needed
      a) for people who shoot in JPEG, including for prof. photographers who need to immediately give the finished material
      b) for people who shoot in RAW using “native” software that recognizes different modes (Vi, SD, NL, etc.) when viewing a RAW image, and does not show “naked” RAW
      c) as such, “bare” RAW does not exist, since the encoder uses algorithms to build an image from the source file, setting, for example, the level of sharpness.

  • Igor

    1) But the camera will not peel the series, in AF mode: AF-S?
    2) Something is too simple. (it is understood that the same …… central point is “faster to get” than to any of 51.). There are examples, here “must” 9, here 21, and here 51 and not a dot less.
    3) With this Picture Control mode ... ... it knocks me down.
    I chose “Neutral” from many styles in this mode and everything else is zero.
    All settings (by default) in bank A. (I tweaked something there: for example, I changed the color profile, the quality of the picture, etc.)
    Bank B - everything for photographing sports.
    Bank C - Flash. Etc.
    How, in what place / does this (settings) Photo Management affect all Settings Banks?
    Or just one of them. Or ……?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1) on different cameras in different ways, usually on more or less advanced cameras, for each mode, the priority of shooting or focus is selected. For example, my Nikon D200 camera equally clicks 5 fps with successful focusing and in AF-C and AF-S modes, therefore, I repeat, AF-C, AF-S modes are not directly related to CL, CH modes
      2) The ergonomics of the camera are just designed to simplify the shooting process, or why then there are so many points, if one central one is enough for focusing.
      About banks - all banks are independent.

  • Igor

    That is, Picture Control is a kind of “enhancer” / fine-tuning for the photographer.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, you are completely right, since many people immediately need a ready-made image with certain parameters "rolled up". Marketing is ruthless.

  • Vladimir

    Arkady, tell me where you can find out what approximate settings, for a better photo, you need to set Nikon d3100 for shooting in manual mode

    • Arkady Shapoval

      On-site shooting, adjusting to the desired task.

  • Igor

    Awesome website!
    Arkady you success and prosperity!
    I read it with pleasure (you write excellently and interestingly and everything is up to date - a lot of useful information).
    Way to go, Arkady!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks. By the way, today came out 10 of the photo tricks.

  • Vladimir

    Tell me how to set the metering correctly, and why is it needed? D 3100.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      My article Exposition will help you with this.

  • Vladimir

    The article is excellent, everything is clear. But I do not understand, in the menu the metering of exposure-matrix-center is weighted and point, what should I put?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      One that requires the scene you're filming. If you do not know what it is and how to set it up, use the matrix metering, it is the most versatile.

  • avs28

    “In auto mode and with Active D-Lighting on, the camera tries to overexpose the frame by increasing the shutter speed or aperture.”

    incorrectly, dear colleague, in fact, the camera underexposes, and then pulls curves, hence the noise in the shadows. Tom Hogan’s details, also ADL, also reduces flash output (makes a negative correction to the 1st stop), which can (sometimes) be confusing.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks for the information. I was wrong.

  • Sergei

    I shoot RAW + JPEG in SD mode. So the images in JPEG come out somehow more glossy, a little more colorful and with a slight highlighting of some areas. I use ADOBE Camera RAW for processing. But it still comes out of RAW somehow not as “good” as if the camera writes in JPEG.
    What should be the preset (settings) in ADOBE Camera RAW in order to do the same as the camera shoots in JPEG, and what is the basis for further processing through ADOBE Camera RAW? This question torments me for a long time.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It is quite difficult to achieve the same image as on-camera JPEG in ADOBE Camera RAW. Better use the native ViewNX.

      • Sergei

        Thanks for the answer. In general, what is better for working with RAW (your preference), ADOBE Camera RAW, Lightroom, or standard ViewNX?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I use three, I prefer Lightroom

  • Daria

    Tell me how to configure the Nikon one V1 camera. What is the exposure mode, image quality, ISO sensitivity, digital space, vibration reduction, and what other basic settings are needed for better quality? Thanks!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I didn’t work with V1, I won’t tell you.

  • Daria

    Arkady, at least the basic settings?)) That the quality was normal

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Basic settings are described in this article. Find Picture Control, set it to VI (saturated), this will increase sharpness and brightness.

  • Daria

    But what should be the exposure mode, quality and sensitivity?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      These are all very difficult questions, and in order to answer them, you will have to seriously understand all the photo features. Each photo needs its own settings, because on cameras like yours it is easiest to use one of the automatic modes.

  • Daria

    Thanks a lot! I will sort this out)

  • Chantali

    Tell me, do you have a theme (ideal, of course for Nikon d7000) about autofocus tuning? I would like to understand what amendment needs to be set so that the AF starts to hit adequately.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Correction is usually used for lenses that do not work correctly. General article about focusing - https://radojuva.com.ua/2012/05/nikon-autofocus/

      • Chantali

        thanks, I read it yesterday :) just autofocus just started to walk on the new camera d7000, before that my 55-200 mm focused norms ...

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    How to increase the operating time of the camera Nikon d 3100? And is there a function of auto turning the photo back and forth, depending on the location in the hands, like how it is implemented in the Canon?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Disable unnecessary functions, reduce the backlight time of the display. Yes, there is an image orientation function.

      • sleepyhead

        help me set up the D5000 NIKON! I have something timno photoet ((((((

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Turn on the automatic shooting mode (green on the mode dial) and everything should work.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    The orientation of the photo is understandable, but is there exactly how it is typical in touch-sensitive phones or how in the initial settings mode, so that when viewing the device, it turns the device around, and with it the photo turns upside down or not? What are those superfluous? -Details if possible?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There is no such. Superfluous - turn off the stabilizer on the lens, reduce the display backlight time, turn off functions that consume the processor, do not constantly hold down the focus button. In general, the camera squeezes out a lot of photos on one battery charge.

  • anonym

    why on nikon d90 on the street pictures of norms are obtained, but if you take a picture of yourself then all the garbage is blurry, why? Tell me what to put on \?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Explain in a little more detail what you mean by “taking a picture of yourself”.

    • serge

      Because you are not photogenic !! or breathe on the lens, and that in turn sweats)))))))

  • serge

    to the article is a very good site, Thanks to the author !!! many have already advised to come to you and familiarize themselves with the normal, and most importantly, the description is clear

  • Ivan

    Arkady, here basically all the questions on Nikon cameras, one question on photo processing is very interested. can you tell me?
    question: I process a large number of photos in Photoshop, I open each one separately from RAW, then I edit and save it in JPG, then I look through the photo and see that different photos differ in temperature and brightness, etc., it doesn’t look very beautiful when one photo is warmer and another cold one for example .. how is the photo processed in this case so that they do not differ much from each other? thanks a lot in advance

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Set the white balance in kelvin for each photo the same. True, this does not always help. I use White Balance parameter synchronization when processing RAW files in Lightroom.

  • Alexander

    By the way, the Picture Control mode is very important when shooting video. Because the video is not saved in RAW and the sharpness is then harder to add, the shadows to stretch. In the Internet there are even special profiles for shooting video for d7000 (for sure there are for other cameras). I do not have much experience, but when using such a profile, and the subsequent processing of the video in Lightroom (white balance, contrast, shadow, light), I am satisfied with the result.

  • sasha

    How to properly configure the remote control for Nikon d300s. Thank you in advance for your help.

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