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NCmermaid

Help with D300 basic settings

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WooooHoooooo! My new D300 has arrived but before I even think about taking this baby underwater, I will be learning the camera topside. I suppose I should have prefaced this by saying that the camera I am retiring is an Olympus 5050 so SLR is new to me. So, here it is, all spread out on the dining room table, warranty cards, manuals, and software everywhere and I'm petrified!!!!!! I am a manual reader so eventually I'll wade thru the encyclopedia size user manual but that just tells me what all my options are. Can you D300 users help me jump start the process just a little by recommending some basic settings and formats you use? For example, I tried a couple of test shots, viewed them, but when I tried to delete them, it said there were no images to delete. These minor obstacles are just the kind of things that have me afraid that I'm in WAY over my head. When I bought my 5050 years back, a 5050 user sat down with me and went thru a "setup" list. Wow! was that helpful. Now, I realize the setup options on this camera are FAR more complex than my wee 5050 but is there a starting point any one could help me with? I want to LOVE my new toy, not be afraid of it!!!!

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WooooHoooooo! My new D300 has arrived but before I even think about taking this baby underwater, I will be learning the camera topside. I suppose I should have prefaced this by saying that the camera I am retiring is an Olympus 5050 so SLR is new to me. So, here it is, all spread out on the dining room table, warranty cards, manuals, and software everywhere and I'm petrified!!!!!! I am a manual reader so eventually I'll wade thru the encyclopedia size user manual but that just tells me what all my options are. Can you D300 users help me jump start the process just a little by recommending some basic settings and formats you use? For example, I tried a couple of test shots, viewed them, but when I tried to delete them, it said there were no images to delete. These minor obstacles are just the kind of things that have me afraid that I'm in WAY over my head. When I bought my 5050 years back, a 5050 user sat down with me and went thru a "setup" list. Wow! was that helpful. Now, I realize the setup options on this camera are FAR more complex than my wee 5050 but is there a starting point any one could help me with? I want to LOVE my new toy, not be afraid of it!!!!

Is the image visible on the screen when you try to delete it? There are two ways to delete, using the delete (trash) button, and reformatting the card.

I would start with the default settings for the most part. The only thing I would say you have to make some decisions on initially are RAW vs JPEG and Color Space. In the Shooting Menu you can choose color Space, I think default is sRGB, most people recommend AdobeRGB.

RAW vs JPEG you can set by holding the top qual button and rotating the back dial. Set ISO of choice in a similar fashion with ISO button. Set WB to Auto, Set Mode in a similar fashion to exposure priority of choice, S, A, Manual, or Programme.

To the left and side of the lens make sure the autofocus lever is on S.

Then shoot away you can adjust other things later.

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I will add to that decision if you are going to shoot 12 bit or 14 bit but don´t worry about that for now...

 

If there was no card on the camera, it let you take some photos but you can´t delete them because there were never saved.. also if memory is misplaced.

 

D300 came with a huge user manual, do baby steps there.

 

Default settings are pretty much what you´ll need.

 

Read the manual step by step and a couple of times, that should help.

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How could you? When you buy a toy such as this, reading the manual is half the fun! ....You really need to know the basics of photography to understand everything of course (Aperture, Fstops, shutter speed, White Balance, etc).....if you do, then you know which functions you need to search for within the manual!

 

Don't let someone take the fun/learning experience away from you. I read the manual twice over before I got my camera by downloading it offline (I switched from a Sony Alpha to the Nikon D300)

 

Like the saying goes.... RTFM!!

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Like the saying goes.... RTFM!!

 

 

Nice eskasi, thanks for that tidbit of advice. :)

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mermaid, everyone's given pretty good advice so far,

 

the default settings are pretty good, I'd double check the following, some of which were already pointed out:

 

QUAL - you have to read about this and set it yourself (large,small, jpeg, raw, etc.)

ISO - 200; set to 400 or 800 or higher in lower light situations if needed

WB - auto

C/S/M button on the left (focus mode) - S for static subjects, C (continuous) for birds in flight

light metering dial (says AE-L / AF-L on the button) - set it to the middle setting

mode - start with P, learn about A,S,M

large dial under WB/QUAL/ISO - start with S (single shot), read about the other choices

 

and then, RTFM!!! :)

lol

 

Scott

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Nice eskasi, thanks for that tidbit of advice. :)
Hi Ms Mermaid, I love mermaids :) Don't worry about those guys, they didn't mean any harm. What kind of housing and strobes are you planning to use and what kind of images are you going to go for first? If you're thinking macro you might want to practice that a fair amount on land and/or in the pool before you hit the ocean. It might be easier for folks to help you if you could narrow it down a little. They can give you typical settings, etc. Congrats on the new camera by the way, opening all the stuff is fun isn't it! Don't worry about being in over your head, mermaids and divers are used to that, right? Have you had a chance to read Martin Edge's book "The Underwater Photographer" There is a fair amount of DSLR specific info in there that really helped me. Good luck and have fun. :)

 

Steve

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Hi all,

 

Someone designed an Excel file where you can modify the camera settings according to your needs. That helped me to give myself guidelines on how to set the camera for different priorities. I couldn't understand all the "shooting banks" in first place.

 

I found this very useful: http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.ph...13811&page=

 

It seems scary and it is not thought for underwater. However, I modified some of the headings and a couple of setting for underwater photography. you can personalize almost everything.

It's on nikonians and I saw it on others UW forums (don't remember which).

 

I've been reading the manual over and over and every time there is still something new.

The only best thing to do is going in the field and "waste" shoots.

 

Enjoy.

alex

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I am reding this thread with much interest as I also recently got a d300, and just bought the housing. I'll take it underwater for the first time next week, and start playing :) - Any default settings you would recommend as a starting point, both for macro and WA ?

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Hey NCM!

 

Great choice. I've had mine about 3 months and love it.

 

Have you got a CF card installed? One doesn't come with the camera - and if you don't buy one and stick it in, you're camera can't save pics. So there is nothing to delete.

 

Once you have that bit sorted, I'd suggest: set the camera to "A" (for aperture priority) using the Mode button and dial. Then have lots of fun taking pics by changing the aperture (the camera will pretty much get the right exposure for you) and seeing the different "depth of field" effects - the smaller the aperture (the bigger the aperture number) the more of the pic will be in focus. I've found this a good way to play and to start learning the creative elements of photography. And just take loads of pics: I suggest the same view with different aperture settings - and you can then compare the difference. Here endeth the First Lesson.

 

Most important is to have fun!

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Sorry....couldn't help myself... It was meant more as a joke

 

Here you go.....please accept this as an apology from me....I scoured another forum for you and got this;

 

D70 Settings;

http://www.splashdowndivers.com/photo_gall...ettings_d70.htm

 

D200 Settings (quite a good article for the beginner with a D300/200);

http://www.theunderwaterphotographer.com/article_10.shtml

 

 

Much is the same on your camera. Focus settings will be slightly different but that will remain a personal choice and depends on the dive...

Edited by eskasi

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Sorry....couldn't help myself... It was meant more as a joke

 

Eskasi, no harm, no foul! :)

 

Thanks to all for the info. I made some progress last night...I think I'm expecting it to be harder than it is. I have plenty of experience with the basic concept of aperture, shutter, and ISO...it's those weird "curtain sync" kind of things that relate only to SLR that weren't a part of my P&S history that are confusing to me. For now, I'm going to just go outside and shoot til my fingers bleed! (and spend as much time reading and re-reading the manual as possible). :)

 

Saw a previous post on the forum with photos of a handle for handing the rig down into the water, and ideas for clipping this monster onto my BC so yesterday I made a terrific handle from a dog leash thanks to that post.

 

Keith, I've been shadowing your progress on the forum with your new rig and will probably follow your steps for acclimating myself with the camera in the water. All good stuff so thanks for posting your experiences.

 

Can't get in the water til next week when I return to MX but I think I have plenty to keep me busy til then!

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Yep, I got one too, so following the settings with interest.

 

Shooting Nootka Sound, BC this weekend and hopefully will have some better settings to use to share.. heheh... never stops.. always something new eh???

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Manuals are boring, but some times necessary... I've had my D300 for a couple of months, and have just played around with it in a pool, testing different settings including Live View, focus modes etc. which was great to explore the camera. I will put it to test in a few weeks in the mediterranean.

When i got my D50 a few years ago i took some nice high ISO wide angle UW-shots using the P-mode and natural ambient light only. I think that is a good way to start, and then move over to A-mode.

Edited by tobbe

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I think that is a good way to start, and then move over to A-mode.

 

 

That's twice now that folks have recommended Aperture mode...why not Manual? When I shot my 5050 it was always in manual. Why is it different with this camera? Don't I want to control all the settings?

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That's twice now that folks have recommended Aperture mode...why not Manual? When I shot my 5050 it was always in manual. Why is it different with this camera? Don't I want to control all the settings?

 

One reason to recommend "A" mode is that it's "easier" than manual to get a correct exposure, and (generall) shutter speed for U/W is way less important than aperture as stuff doesn't really move that fast compared to topside (race cars, birds etc)

 

Generally, what I am trying to do underwater (and I am a complete novice :) is to use the aperture to get the effect I want. This might be a really deep focus area (DOF) by using a small aperture (big f-number) for wide-angle, or a shallow focus (DOF) using a big aperture (small f-number) to isolate a subject.

 

if you use "A" mode, you can choose your aperture (say I want f/8 for a wide-angle), then the D300 (and other cameras of course) will try to adjust the shutter speed to get a "correct" exposure (which is easier than in manual mode, having to potentially turn both the aperture and shutter dials to get a similar effect)

 

of course, you still need to take care that the shutter speed is "reasonable" -- if it's too slow, then you will get blur. In that case, you can either increase the ISO to let in more light (and noise), or increase the aperture (smaller number like f/5.6 or f/4 etc.) You can also use the AUTO ISO to help here

 

Benefits of manual

 

- If you know the metering of the camera is going to be too dark or light for a given scene (based on experience) then you can more easily adjust the exposure (in A mode, you only have the aperture and ISO as independent variables to set, although you can use exposure compensation mode to over or under expose in A mode)

- if you are shooting say in a cave, where the camera basically cannot meter the scene (as its pitch black), then manual can be a good choice.

 

For the D300 the most important thing to reduce noise seems to be to make sure you dont under-expose, and get the focus correct. If you get those two things right, it really makes beautiful images.

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That's twice now that folks have recommended Aperture mode...why not Manual? When I shot my 5050 it was always in manual. Why is it different with this camera? Don't I want to control all the settings?

 

hey NCMermaid,

 

 

If I'm shooting with strobes I shoot in manual mode in almost all cases.

 

if you are shooting natural light only, you can use "A" or "S" mode, depending on your needs, just like you would topside, if you want the camera to calculate proper exposure for you.

 

different people use different methods, YMMV

 

Scott

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I suppose with strobes and TTL, TTL will get you proper exporsure anyway if used in the right circumstance? You can then use shutter speed and aperture for effect. This probably applies mainly to Macro as WA is not as simple with TTL

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