Your Nikon D7200, D7100 or D7000 is an amazing camera. It provides an exceptional auto-focus system, wonderful low light performance, HD movies, data backup facilities, and a whole lot more – all in a light weight, rugged construction body. In addition to providing all these features it can be highly customized to work how you need it to. Press the MENU button and take a look at the SETUP and CUSTOMIZED SETTINGS menus. First timers will be daunted! Even the more experienced will need to dig out the manual and learn what all the settings mean, even those upgrading from a more recent DSLR.
The DSLR’s metering and autofocus systems can be modified to your preferences, its dials and buttons can be assigned and customized so that you can gain easy access to the functions you use most, its frame rates can be configured, its white balance tuned, and lots more. But which settings needs changing? Well, in this article I’ll explain the first ten customisation settings you should perform (or consider performing) on your DSLR.
NB: On the D7200 the SHOOTING MENU is renamed as PHOTO SHOOTING MENU to differentiate from Movie Shooting settings. The text below refers to the PHOTO SHOOTING MENU as SHOOTING MENU for consistency across the DSLRs.
1 Ensure you’re not wasting shots – by having no card in a slot!
The first change I’d make is to ensure that you can’t take a shot without having a card in one of the slots. By default the setting here enables you to shoot even if you have no card inserted.
To change this, go to MENU – CUSTOM SETTING MENU (pencil symbol) – f Controls , then…
– D7100/D7000 ; f8 Empty Slot Release – set this to LOCK – OK.
– D7200 ; f7 Slot Empty Release Lock – set this to Release Locked
2. Insert Copyright and Contact information into every image.
If you’re posting images to the web then you really need to embed copyright details into the EXIF. Set this to be your name or web site, possibly including a contact email address or telephone number.
To configure this go to MENU – SETUP (spanner/wrench symbol) – Image Comment – Input comment. Enter your copyright details and ensure you press the OK button. After you’ve entered the comment you need to attach it to all images, do this by going to Attach Comment, hit SET, then DONE, then OK.
3. Add Copyright information.
Carrying on from item 2, you need to set your copyright details, so go to MENU – SETUP (spanner/wrench symbol)
– Copyright information – Artist – set this to your name
– Copyright – again set this to your name
– Attach copyright information – ensure this is ticked
4. Set the appropriate video mode for your region on your D7000 (doesn’t apply to the D7200/D7100):
If you’re in the Americas or Japan set this to NTSC (525 lines/59.94Hz) , but if you’re in Europe, set this to PAL (625 lines/50Hz).
To set this, go to MENU – SETUP MENU (spanner/wrench symbol) – Video Mode – select NTSC or PAL as needed – OK.
NB: The Nikon D7200 & D7100 have no separate PAL or NTSC video timing modes. This is a consequence of their HD-only recording.
5. Set the flicker reduction mode for your region.
Same as with the previous regions, set this to 60Hz for America/Japan and 50Hz for Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia. Check your power line frequency if you live elsewhere.
To set this, go to MENU – SETUP MENU (spanner/wrench symbol) – Flicker- select 60Hz or 50Hz as needed – OK.
6. Check Date/Time, TimeZone and Daylight Saving settings.
The last thing you want is a whole load of photos with the wrong date/time!
So go to MENU – SETUP MENU (spanner/wrench symbol) – Time zone and date – and check that you have the right time zone/date and time, date format, and daylight saving time settings.
7. Ensure that vertically orientated shots are shown by software as vertical.
When you swivel the camera and take a shot vertically, you want to ensure that software (Photoshop / Lightroom etc) shows the shot vertically.
By default this setting is OFF, so to enable this go to MENU – SETUP MENU (spanner/wrench symbol) – Auto image rotation – ON – OK.
8. Set JPEGs to record in best quality.
OK, so you may elect to shoot in RAW most of the time (you’ll get better image quality/recovery etc), but at times you want to shoot in JPEG (e.g. sports/action) so it’s best to set this once and forget it.
Go to MENU – SHOOTING MENU (camera symbol) – JPEG Compression – set this to Optimal quality – OK.
9. Set the image sensor to clean at camera startup & shutdown.
It’s best to get the camera to perform self cleans at startup and shutdown automatically, you’ll get rid of more dust etc that way.
Go to MENU – SETUP MENU (spanner/wrench symbol) – Clean image sensor – set this to Clean at startup & shutdown – OK.
10. Let the camera help manage lens distortion.
All zoom/superzoom lenses distort images to some degree, through either barelling (concaving) or pin-cushioning (convexing) your images. If you have Nikon lenses, the D7x00 can help reduce this in camera; go to MENU – SHOOTING MENU (camera symbol) – Auto distortion control– set this to ON – OK. Some considerations here though:
It won’t completely eliminate distortion. You may still need to use software (PhotoShop/DxO etc) for this;
Fit a non-Nikon lens and you’ll find this setting disabled (greyed out);
Nikon recommends you only use this with their type G and D lenses;
Prime lenses don’t suffer from distortion issues, but having the setting enabled will have no effect, since the D7x00 will recognize a Nikon prime;
It will slow down image processing/saving and therefore may not be appropriate for shooting bursts. Look at my BIN files (under Advanced Setup) and you’ll see it’s enabled in Landscape, but not in Sports & Action.
That’s it! For the moment anyway, you’ve got some of the more fundamental settings covered.
In the next article I’ll give you another ten settings to consider…. Click here to read it now…