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 the improvement in sharpness in VI mode compared to SD

Difference in SD and VI image management modes

Difference in Picture Control Modes SD and VI

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.


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.

Add a comment: @ f_e_d_2



Comments: 353, on the topic: Important functions of Nikon cameras

  • Valery

    When viewing, in a miraculous way, the frame discolored and I can’t return the color. Nikon 3200 (Novice)

    • Yana

      press in this case immediately Ctrl + Z))) but if you turned off the image in a modified form, then it's too late)

  • Sofia

    Now I have a f5.6 aperture; how can I change it? Nikon d5100 camera

  • sergey

    Thanks so much for the article.

  • Anna

    Tell me, please!) Probably, Nikon D 90 has made some tricks in the camera settings ... and the shutter button stopped working exclusively in the preset scene shooting modes ...

  • Andrei

    I rent in raw, ADL to the maximum. Photos when opened in adobe converters by histogram are underexposed. It turns out that it is better to turn off ADL altogether like all other on-camera settings?

    • Arthur

      Andrey, when the ADL function is enabled, in order for the converter to display it correctly, you need to use only the “native” Nikon software - Capture NX (or other Nikon software) - other third-party converters simply “do not see” this function - as well as “do not see” - all Nikon's proprietary functions - built-in color Nikon profiles, etc ... If you plan to process in non-native converters, it is better to turn off the ADL function in the camera.

  • Sergei

    Good day, Arkady. Please clarify. When viewing (RAW) images in Camera RAW - a file without applying an overlay mode, after correction - everything is fine, you should save the processed file and view it with any other program (ACD Systems, FS Image viewer) - the picture is very different from that received in Camera RAW after processing. Maybe you still need to change the mode control mode in Camera Raw itself in the settings?

    • Nicholas

      Most likely, when exporting you have a color space setting other than sRGB, and standard non-professional monitors are not able to show in such schemes and are set to sRGB by default, try changing these settings.

  • Julia

    please tell me how to set up the Nikon D60 so that the background is blurred. As far as I tried, nothing comes out. If possible, then step by step.

  • Julia

    Arkady, I put the disk on A f 3,5 and nothing works! The background is not blurred

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Forgot to put a focal length of 55mm, not 18 (I suspect :)


    After purchasing the NIKON D1 camera with serial number 2013 on August 5100, 8333589, it turned out that the store
    "CAMERA". which is located in Haifa
    Not licensed by Nikon. An attempt to set up the camera for a month failed. Pictures are of very low quality and do not correspond to the class of this camera.

  • maksimych

    Just go nuts, you’re out of luck ..


    A lot of interesting.

  • Natalia

    please tell me, I bought a NIkon D90, before that there was a Nikon D80 and there were no problems. I just can’t set up the D90. Nikkor 18-135 lens. in aperture-priority mode, pictures are taken highlighted. ISO 200, aperture 5,6. flash on the machine. if you raise the ISO to 800, noise is visible, and the pictures are still illuminated, the aperture 16 and the pictures are unclear on the street. what's wrong?

    • Shamil

      Natalya !!! play with exposure compensation. I had such a disaster, two years ago. true to fujik.

  • Max

    Hi all!
    1. From which ISOs does the noise reduction turn on?
    2. I shot in mode (A) f no more than 6 ISO 1800 (18x55) d90. Even when the flash is turned on, it sets a slow shutter speed. When switching to an automatic machine, the shutter speed is small! Can I somehow configure this?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1. On different cameras in different ways
      2. In the “shutter on flash” menu, set 1 / 60s.

  • Alena

    I have a Nikon D90 camera. Help !!! In the upper left corner is the letter P. Wherever I switch either the machine or the manual, it still stands and does not clean and does not switch. What should I do? Why can I not put the machine on? And the flash does not It turns on. And also I can not delete the photos on the screen with the delete button. Thank you in advance!

  • Elena

    Tell me how to remove the sound on the s 2600?

  • Valery

    How can I rebuild a Nikon 5100 camera with AF in another mode?

  • Alexander

    If possible, tell me, please, what can be done to improve sharpness with the Nikon-D90 + Sigma 150-500. The lens was wonderful, for example, there is no HA at all, but not sharp. I bought it for photo hunting and sometimes have to sharpen so that the feathers on the bird look like a disheveled broom. Curiosity programs are also of interest.

  • nfs244

    Why is there noise at slow shutter speeds with the iso 200? NikonD5100 camera
    How is it treated?

  • Natalia

    Nikon D5200 camera. Filmed in NEF (RAW) mode for the first time. When I send pictures to a computer, they do not weigh anything. The computer does not see them. Can someone tell me what to do? I am completely new.

  • Non-adviser

    Good afternoon. I don't understand why there are so many questions? For a long time I did not hold a f / a in my hands, somehow it turned out like that. Still in school I went to a photo circle, 2 years: b / w and color., Studied, in my hands was the first Smena-symbol, Viliya, Fed, then Zenit ET shot , films in tanks, washes, red lanterns, glossing agents, etc., everything, like everyone else at that time. Then there appeared the development-printing center “Kodakovskie” and others. At this stage, I think people turned off their brains: this is probably more convenient! In 2012 I decided to buy a DSLR, they brought me Nikon D 90 from Dubai, there were no instructions, I downloaded from the Internet, not right away, but after a week, with the help of instructions and trial and error, I began to understand what was what. Now it seems to have become easier to shoot, but on the other hand ... how to say! You just need to remember your actions and understand: the camera has its own vision of the situation even in the manual, you can't overwrite it, you need to find a common language with it, and everything will work out if only the camera is not buggy. There are only three scenarios here: Either a camera-lens for diagnostics, or the owner. The third option: BOTH, this is already a critical case. But seriously, everything has been written for a long time, but for those who do not understand the capital letter (also sometimes I do not understand everything, it takes a long time to figure it out myself, a knowledgeable one would help, but ... almost everything is there, it is not the Gods who break the pots, but people simply do not understand the essence, hence there are many stupid questions. The only f / a on which I had no questions is the Polaroid "Impulse-portrait", and that is because it is not a f / apparatus, but a quick-release device, almost independent, so ...

  • Non-adviser

    Natalya, you need to download the program for processing RAV images, go to the nearest photo studio, there are smart guys, he did it at the beginning. The RAV pictures are heavy, just your companion does not see them, so you need to put on "glasses" for him. since he also threw off the RAV on the computer, so he, the parasite, did not read them, first transferred it to the f / a into JPEG, transferred it to the computer, and then to a friend in the photo studio, he clicks these RAVs on the computer like a squirrel nuts those who know the program properly for processing RAV files to sit together, look at it, remember, everything will be better than to argue like this, plus live communication! Good luck!

  • Non-adviser

    By the way, why do you need the noise reduction function? In D90, you can shoot without it up to ISO 800, I almost never put it on again. The rest of the shutter speed-aperture, or plus a camera flash, from the tripod blur, nobody canceled it, and noise reduction is like not washing, but perfume is the same masked dirt, only in photography. Many people shoot without a flash, in principle. I do not really agree with them, there are different moments, but in the modern world and in technical equipment in particular, there are many perversions! Why does an amateur camera need ISO 6400 or more? What, the Sun has burned out and the nights are darker than steel? There are photographs, and there are photographs, and there are still PHOTO PICTURES, but ... the more sophisticated the photographic equipment becomes, the less of them! Paradox?

    • anonym

      And I bet 6000, you are definitely NOT a Co-Advisor

  • Non-adviser

    And, in general, before taking photographs was something like a sacrament, akin to shamanism, it was interesting and even intriguing, but now ... A solid number is everywhere, and, although interesting, it is not so intriguing, and all the more interesting is that if With such a sophisticated technique, people manage to mishandle a simple task: adjust the camera, set the exposure, and release the shutter! Read often, memorize and practice more! And ask only knowledgeable people. Those who do not know also love to give advice, to cripple your brain. When I turn on the f / a, I immediately dive into the recent settings, rebuild something, forget, then I have to remember! And one more thing: sometimes you want to load the film into an old film! But you won't find film or chemicals in the daytime with fire, and who needs it ...

    • Albert

      Good hour.
      Totally agree with you. I read directly and remember my youth ...

  • anonym

    please tell me how to configure nikon d3100

    • anonym

      Take instruction

  • M.M.

    Good afternoon!
    Tell me how to set up a photo to take several pictures at once with the click of a button. Nikon D5100. Desirable step by step layout. And also what mode should be set to photograph the child in motion

    • anonym

      Read the instructions.

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