Shane Baker | It's worth taking another look at your camera's menus
Wind-blown grassesWind-blown grassesDry grass blowing in the wind near Canberra.

It's worth taking another look at your camera's menus

May 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I spent last weekend with some friends in Canberra's Southside Camera Club. Despite some not-so-great weather, we had a good time. I even made a Rainbow Lorikeet in a eucalyptus tree looking directly at the camera, South Durras, NSW.Rainbow Lorikeet, South Durras, NSW.Rainbow Lorikeet, South Durras, NSW. couple of decent photographs!

Of course, whenever two or more photographers gather, their thoughts and conversation turn to camera settings. During one of these chats, I was surprised to hear a fellow Nikon user say that he didn't know he could set his ISO (sensitivity) to Auto. (For those of you new to this, by digging into your camera's menus, you can set up a base ISO, maximum ISO you will allow the camera to use, and then instruct the camera to boost its sensitivity when it's needed.)

This facility is key to my so-called fifth mode - about which I happen to have written a blog.

Anyway ... this surprised me as the photographer in question is no mug. But it did raise in my mind the question of what we all know about our cameras. They're incredibly powerful computers, and those menus aren't the most user friendly.

So as fate would have it, a couple of days later, I'm home and for reasons I now can't remember, I was in the menu of my D800. I discovered a function - a useful function that I didn't know the Nikon had!

When I shoot low shutter speeds, I employ a tripod (naturally). To minimise camera shake I either use a cable release, or if timing isn't critical, use the timer release on my camera. The timer release is intended to allow the camera time to settle after I ham-fistedly press the shutter release button.

What I stumbled across in the D800's menu is a facility specifically designed to minimise camera shake - and I didn't know it was there.

I now know that I can select a delay in releasing the actual shutter, to allow time for the camera to settle after the shutter is pressed and the mirror flips up. It's better than using timer delay - and I didn't know it was there.

So there you go. My level of hubris is not so high that I thought I knew my camera's menu - but I did think I knew about the stuff that was really useful to me. I was wrong!

Serves me right. I will continue to browse my camera's menus from time to find. Who knows what I'll find!




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