Setting up your camera to reflect how you like to take photographs takes a bit of time, but it’s worth the effort in the long run…
Save custom settings
Different Nikon D-SLRs offer different degrees of customisation. The D3000-series cameras are designed for novices – the options are limited and confined to the Setup menu. The D5000-series cameras add a Custom Setting menu, the D7000 introduces ‘savable’ C1 and C2 settings, and Nikon’s Pro D-SLRs have four settings ‘banks’.
Create your own menu
Fed up of constantly trawling through the menus to find the option you want? All but the most basic Nikon D-SLRs have a customisable ‘My menu’ screen where you can add the menu items you use most often. And if you don’t know what these are, you can swap this menu to ‘Recent Items’ instead to see the options you last used.
You can add an image comment (via the Setup menu) to your images to provide you with image information and identification (such as the location or subject’s name). However, this is not one of the standard ‘IPTC’ fields used by programs like Adobe Bridge or Lightroom, so it won’t necessarily show up on your computer in non-Nikon software.
Check your battery age
Camera batteries do wear out eventually – you can’t just keep recharging them for ever. But on some Nikons you can find out the ‘age’ of your battery (0-4) using the Battery Info command in the Setup menu – a score of 0 is good, while 4 means your battery is at or near the end of its life, so it’s probably time to get a new one.
Up date firmware
Your camera’s functions are controlled by an internal processor and programmed-in ‘firmware’ – it’s like the operating system on a computer. Periodically, Nikon releases firmware updates to fix bugs or add features. Updates and instructions can be found on the Nikon website in the Services & Support downloads section.
Shoot without a memory card
With all these configuration adjustments you’re going to want to check how your camera works without filling up your memory card with test shots. Normally, your Nikon won’t fire if there’s no memory card, but if you change the Slot empty release lock setting (Setup or Custom Settings menu), you can shoot as many ‘blanks’ as you like!