Save User Settings (U1/U2) and Save/Load Settings

Like many D7x00 users, I too decided I was going to have a go at setting up several “shooting modes” – similar I guess to the D7x00’s built-in Scene modes, but doing it in a way that enables me to fully control aperture, shutter and ISO. Numerous others have already given this a go; Mike Hagen and Ken Rockwell to name but a few. You can download a settings file that both guys have uploaded to their web sites . I decided to go a step further and create settings for; Landscape, Travel, Portrait/Wedding, Sports/Action and lastly Point and Shoot. Along the road of setting this up, I discovered that Nikon’s Save User Settings and Save/Load Settings didn’t quite work as I had thought. Below is a summary of my findings.

Why Did Nikon Create Save/Load Settings?

Well, the official answer from Nikon;

“This option to save settings to your memory card was applied to the D7x00 to enable the user to configure the settings in one camera and then apply the exact same settings to another camera by inserting the memory card and applying the settings. Unfortunately it was not designed to allow you to create various different profiles for different optimised settings for different types of photography. For this reason Nikon have created the different scene modes in the camera such as landscape, portrait, sports and auto mode.”

What’s the difference between “Save settings” and “Save user settings”?

“Save settings” saves a group of settings to SD card, but excludes exposure, AF & flash.

“Save user settings” saves a different group of settings to either U1 or U2; including exposure, AF & flash. So if the DSLR is currently set at Aperture exposure, f8, 1/125s, fill-in flash – that’s what’s saved to Ux.

Does Save/Load Settings save both U1 and U2 to the card?

No. It doesn’t save either U1 or U2 settings.

Can you load new settings into U1/U2 and make them permanent?

Yes. Set the mode dial to U1 or U2. Load the SD card containing the settings you want. Load Settings, then Save User Settings Save to Ux

Does the Menu system make sense?

Probably not. Saving should have been under one Menu, but it should be much clearer that Save settings saves a different group of settings than Save user settings. Nikon have not really made it clear that Save settings does not save exposure, AF etc.

Does Load Settings load both U1 and U2?

No. It doesn’t load either U1 or U2. In fact, it has nothing to do with them. It loads the specific group of settings that you saved into the current shooting mode.

When you Load Settings – are they permanent?

If you load settings to P, A, S or M then the settings are permanent. They stay the same regardless of which of these modes you switch to. If you switch to Ux however, the settings may be different depending on what you’ve saved to Ux.

If you set the dial to U1 or U2, then Load Settings, then immediately “Save user settings” you permanently configure Ux with those settings.

In what modes can you save/load settings?

P, A, S, M, U1 or U2 modes.

How can I setup a method whereby I have my own scene modes?

Quite easily really, you just need to have an SD card for each of your scene modes. Label them appropriately. Best thing is to use some of your old 1Gb (or less) cards and set them aside specifically and only for this purpose. Write the settings to them and make them read only (small slide switch on the edge of the card).

I’ve done this for each of my 5 scene modes – so I have 5 cards. I set the camera up for each mode, and then saved the settings to a new card.

NB: The file names are the same for each of the modes: NCSETUP7.BIN for the D7000, NCSETUPB.BIN for the D7100, NCSETUPH.BIN for the D7200, and NCSETUPL.BIN for the D7500.

The trick here is to load the settings from the card into either U1 or U2 (whichever you decide), then immediately save the settings. For example; set the camera to U1, Load Settings, and immediately Save User Settings to U1 (i.e. before you move the mode dial).

NB: Exposure, auto-focus & flash settings are not saved to BIN files.

Can I obtain your settings for Landscape, Travel, Portrait/Wedding, Sports/Action and Point & Shoot?

Yes – I have uploaded them to this site – so you can download them (see Advanced Settings).

How will I know what settings these modes contain?

The download contains an Excel workbook that that details them.

What benefit will these modes give me that the Nikon scene modes won’t?

The Nikon SCENE modes don’t let you control aperture, shutter, ISO and numerous other settings. The DSLR controls these settings itself to try and give you an optimised exposure for the SCENE you’ve chosen. Using my settings gives you all the advantages of selecting the Nikon SCENE mode (e.g. Picture Control set to Landscape), but gives you the control back of shutter, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation etc.

What do you think?

What do you think about how Nikon have implemented Save/Load and U1 & U2 on the D7x00?

Could they have done better?

Could the manual be clearer?

Would you like to see the firmware (Menus) changed so they are more explanatory?

Post your thoughts below:

4 comments to Save User Settings (U1/U2) and Save/Load Settings

  • fraxinus

    Yes, Nikon could easily have added a sub menu(In Camera depending on camera memory)for any extra user settings. Leave U1 and U2 on dial. Or allowing to choose user settings from separate sub folders on SD card.

  • Ted Mar


    I believe there is a work around to this problem.

    Just got my D750 today and right away I can see the need to have my U1, U2, and Main custom setting’s saved externally to a memory card. It’s too easy to “Reset user settings” or mess them up and it takes way to much time to be fumbling around trying to reconfiguring.

    You’ll be able to save as many custom settings as you want for U1 & U2. You will need some extra memory cards for your U1 & U2 settings, it doesn’t matter if there high speed, big or small, you are just saving the different custom setting’s on them.

    FIRST BE SURE TO SAVE your Main Custom settings (as described above) on the memory card you normally use. After you are sure you saved your settings, remove this card and label it.

    Next insert the card you want to store your custom U1 or U2 settings on.
    Save your camera’s custom settings to this card with “Save/load settings”. Label this card in a way what helps you remember what the settings were about, for example: Wedding settings, U1, U2, Bob’s, etc. etc.

    Do the same again with different cards and different settings, be sure to label them separately.

    Now to reload your favorite U1 or U2 settings:
    Inserting the appropriate card.
    Go to “Save/load settings” and choose “Load settings”.
    Next, go to the “Save user settings” and select “Save to U1” or “Save to U2”.

    Finally, after you have finished reloading your U1 and/or U2 BE SURE TO INSERT YOUR MAIN MEMORY CARD back in and reload your main settings, with the “Save/load settings”.

    I know this sound a bit tedious, but it just might save the day by having all your different settings stored in you camera bag.

    Hope this helps,
    Once you get the idea it really is pretty easy,


  • Ted Mar

    Hi again,
    I just reread the answer above and I see this was already answered.
    Thanks for your answer,
    I had to restore my setting on my first day out, somehow I locked out the auto focus via a menu setting.
    Your answer above really helped,
    Thanks again,

  • sbv

    Late reply though, just in case if it helps someone.

    I have saved all the nikon settings (both custom and standard settings) in phone and apply the saved settings to the same model cameras. “Nikon Dslr Remote & Dslr Settings Organizer” – android app is quite handy to save and apply those settings back to camera.

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