79 — Customizing your camera for free

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #79 talks about how to cus­tomize your cam­era using the cus­tom set­tings func­tions in your camera’s menu. There are many, many, many use­ful ways to cus­tomize these set­tings for the way YOU per­son­ally shoot, but many pho­tog­ra­phers don’t use these set­tings or are afraid to touch these set­tings. Many fea­tures that your cam­era offers are set to OFF by default, and the only way to access them is by turn­ing their cus­tom func­tion on in the cus­tom menu of your cam­era. A quick and easy exam­ple is high ISO. On my for­mer 30D from Canon, this set­ting was set to off so my high­est nor­mally avail­able ISO was 1600. With one set­ting change in the cus­tom func­tion menu the high­est avail­able ISO becomes 3200.‚ This pod­cast encour­ages you to play with sim­i­lar (and even bet­ter) set­tings in your camera.

Nikon D700 customization menu
Nikon D700 cus­tomiza­tion menu

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Nikon D700 at B&H
March 2010’s Light and Shadow assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum

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Thanks to Wicked­dark, jack label, f8&Bthere, sephi­box, Fortytwo and Casil403 who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

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You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.


  1. Bambi says:

    Thanks Marko. I finally was able to lis­ten to this pod­cast. It was quite help­ful to some­one like me, new to dSLR. I will be eter­nally grate­ful for point­ing out the ‘wrong’ way nikon does the expo­sure. I thought I was los­ing it!

  2. Zenon5940 says:

    Nice pod­cast Marko. I use sev­eral cus­tom set­tings on my D90. It realy makes the dif­fer­ence. The most use­ful for me is the abil­ity to use the AE-L/AF-L but­ton to com­mand the Aut­o­fo­cus instead of press­ing the shoot­ing but­ton halfway. Another one I use all the time is the grid in the viewfinder. Once again thanks for the Pod­cast and Con­grat­u­la­tions for your get­ting a D700.

  3. Fortytwo says:

    Hey Marko. Nice pod­cast! The mes­sage is clear, RTFM. :P Nah, I think I’m gonna go through the menu one more time, see what’s in there. You’ve got a very good point, I bet there are tons of users out there that don’t use all the fea­tures of their gear. :)

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for the com­ments jack and WD — Nice tips, thx!

  5. jack label says:

    Helo Marko, inter­est­ing post there, I already mas­tered my cam­era menus, theres a lot of inter­est­ing stuff in there, spe­cially for Nikon users, in that I think youre a bit unfair, cause grid, and some other items aint avail­able for Canon users. THe other two things I think is inter­est­ing in the menu (for Nikon D80 >) are Mul­ti­ple expo­sures, it is like shoot­ing twice on the same film cell and theres the Delayed Shut­ter option, which is good for slow speeds it works like mir­ror up, but you dont need to click twice, it will raise the mir­ror and a sec­ond or a half of a sec­ond later it will expose the pic­ture, so youll have a stead­ier image.

  6. WickedDark says:

    Delv­ing into the menu is a must. Here’s one I found on my cam­era (Olym­pus E-30) that’s a macro photographer’s dream. Zoom in Live View. My best macro lens is also a legacy lens which means no auto focus (even with auto focus I often man­u­ally adjust any­way) and sub­jects so tiny it’s dif­fi­cult to see them on a 3″ screen. The zoom func­tion give me 5x, 7x or 10x enlarge­ment and I can choose any part of the frame to zoom in on. Wow. What a huge dif­fer­ence this makes and I’m glad I know about it. Now I just have to remem­ber to use it.

  7. admin says:

    Thanks for the com­ment JJJ — auto ISO.…hmmm. Not sure I’d ever want to use that one. ISO and aper­ture are two set­tings I want full con­trol over 99% of the time…though I CAN see how it can save your butt if you’re not a checker. :)

    I’m not at all hav­ing the same prob­lem as you are with regard to expo­sure comp. It works per­fectly — just triple checked. My MINUS expo­sure (- sign) is now on the left as it should be. When I dial in minus expo­sure compensation…I see it on the left side as I should. Try it again to be sure.

    One KEY thing to be aware of are the set­ting banks. (A, B, etc) make sure both expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion and reverse indi­ca­tors have been set in the same bank. (I use default A).

    Gotta say.…I’m Lovin the D700 :)

  8. Hi Marko. I really enjoyed your “cus­tomiz­ing your cam­era” pod­cast. It inspired me to get my man­ual out once again and learn more about my cam­era set­tings. I did try your sug­ges­tion and reverse the + and — indi­ca­tors (cus­tom set­ting f 12 con­trols) so that + was on the right and — on the left. I thought my prob­lems were solved but when I go and press the expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion but­ton it is the exact oppo­site to the + and — indi­ca­tors that I just changed! Too con­fus­ing so I changed my set­tings back to the Nikon defaults. I wish Nikon would bite the bul­let and do it the Canon way.
    Per­haps the most use­ful cus­tom set­ting on my D700 is AUTO ISO. I never miss get­ting the shot now I leave my cam­era on AUTO ISO. I can set the min­i­mum shut­ter speed I want to shoot at and the max­i­mum ISO. Just makes pho­tog­ra­phy more fun and takes the pres­sure off, if you just have to get the shot.
    Well thanks again Marko for the great pod­cast with a Cana­dian per­spec­tive– jumpinjimmyjava

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