Recommended Nikon D800 / D800E Settings

After I published the article on the recommended settings for the Nikon D600 / D610, I received plenty of requests from our readers that asked me to write a similar article for the Nikon D800 and D800E cameras. Since I own and use both frequently, I decided to expand the series to other cameras (and I do have plans to publish similar articles for Canon DSLRs as well). In this article, I want to provide some information on what settings I use and shortly explain what some of the important settings do. Please do keep in mind that while these work for me, it does not mean that everyone else should be shooting with exactly the same settings. The below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of menu settings.

Nikon D800

Before going into the camera menu, let’s first get started on the exterior controls. The D800 / D800E have a lot of menu options, but there are some things that you can only control with external controls.

Autofocus Modes, Bracketing and Flash

On the front left of the camera, you will find a lever that goes from AF to M, with a button in the middle (big red circle in the image below). Make sure to keep that lever on “AF”, or your lens will not autofocus. If for some reason your lens stops focusing, this is what need to check first. Pressing the button in the middle of the lever allows to choose between different focus modes.

Nikon D800 Left

To activate this change, you need to press and hold the button, then rotate the rear dial with your thumb. As you do this, look at the top LCD and the camera will switch between AF-S and AF-C. I won’t go into too much detail about each focus mode, since it is all explained in detail in this article that I wrote a while ago. Here is a quick recap:

  1. AF-S – this mode is called “Single-servo AF” and it is used only for stationary subjects that do not move. When you half-press the shutter button, autofocus lock on the subject and if the subject moves, the focus will not change, resulting in a blurry picture. Only use this mode for photographing stationary subjects (landscapes, architecture, etc) and when shooting in extremely low-light situations and need the camera to engage the AF assist lamp.
  2. AF-C – known as “Continuous-servo AF” in Nikon’s lingo, this setting is used for photographing moving subjects. When you half-press the shutter button and your subject moves, the camera will re-acquire focus. I mostly keep my D800E in AF-C autofocus mode and only switch to AF-S in some situations.

If you cannot decide which one to start with, I would recommend to go with the AF-C mode for continuous tracking instead of AF-S.

Now if you rotate the front dial with your index finger while holding the same button, you will get many different options like “S”, “D 9″, “D 21″, “D 51″, “3D” and “Auto”. These settings are there for controlling the focus points that you see inside the viewfinder. Once again, most of these are already explained in detail in my autofocus modes explained article, so I won’t go into too much detail here. If you don’t know where to start, keep it on “S” (Single), which lets you choose one single focus point that the camera will use for focusing. Let’s move on to other external controls.

Right above the AF / M lever, you will find one additional Flash button, which allows you to fine-tune flash compensation and set other flash parameters like front/rear flash sync. Flash settings don’t really matter, but for now just make sure that everything is turned off and shows “0.0” when you press and hold it.

Shooting Mode and Camera Mode Dials

On the top left side of the camera you will find a large dial with buttons on the top. The primary function of this rotary dial is to set your shooting mode and the buttons that sit on the top are there for making quick adjustments to image format/quality, bracketing, ISO and white balance:

Nikon D800 Top

The dial has a bunch of shooting modes like “S” (Single), “Cl, Ch” (Continuous low and Continuous High), “Q” (Quiet), Timer and Mup (Mirror lock-up). Mine is usually set to “S” which only fires a single shot when I press the shutter release button. If I want the camera to fire multiple shots when shooting action, I switch to “Ch”. I rarely use other settings, but those can be useful as well, particularly the timer feature that I use when shooting landscapes to reduce vibrations (more on this below).

The top buttons are great for quickly changing important settings like ISO and White Balance. Personally, I do not like the fact that Nikon provides the “QUAL” (image format) button on the top – I was once shooting with my D800E in cold using thick gloves and accidentally changed the format setting from RAW to TIFF, which I found out about a day later. Gladly, I did not shoot too many images, but if it was something important, I would have been pretty upset about it. It would have been nice if Nikon made that button configurable instead. The configurable “BKT” button is for setting bracketing parameters, which you can change using the front dial (bracketing steps) and rear (number of frames). The D800/D800E allow bracketing up to 9 frames and up to 1 stops (EV) apart. The ISO button allows quick change of ISO if you use the rear dial and the front dial allows switching Auto ISO on and off. While I like the ability to quickly turn Auto ISO on and off, I typically end up mapping the Fn (Function) button on the front of the camera to Auto ISO settings, so that I can make changes to maximum sensitivity and minimum shutter speed (see my notes below under Custom Setting Menu). Lastly, the “WB” button is there for setting/changing white balance. The rear dial allows you to change white balance, while the front dial allows fine-tuning it.

To the right of the shooting mode dial, you will find three buttons: the “MODE” button for changing camera mode, the video recording button (with a red dot) and the exposure compensation button. I practically never record videos, so the two most used buttons here are the MODE and the exposure compensation buttons. Unlike other cameras with traditional “PASM” dials, the Nikon D800 / D800E do not have such a dial and require using the MODE button instead. So if you need to switch between different camera modes, you need to hold the MODE button and rotate the rear dial. Doing so will reveal 4 different modes: “P” (Program Auto), “S” (Shutter Priority), “A” (Aperture Priority) and “M” (Manual). I mostly rely on Aperture Priority and Manual modes when shooting with my D800E. The exposure compensation button nicely complements the Aperture Priority mode and the AE-L / AF-L button on the back serves me really well when I need to lock exposure.

Playback Menu

I rarely ever touch anything in the Playback menu, since that’s only used for displaying pictures on the rear LCD. The only two settings that I ever mess with are “Playback display options” and “Rotate tall”. The “Playback display options” can be useful when reviewing images. When you press the playback button on the back of the camera, you can press up/down buttons and you will be able to see different types of information. To keep the clutter out, I have three things turned on: “Focus point”, which allows me to see where I focused, “Highlights” to show overexposure in shots (a.k.a. “blinkies”) and “Overview”, which gives me a summary of my exposure (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal length, etc). I always turn the “Rotate tall” setting off, because I do not want my camera to change vertical images to horizontal when I review them – it is much easier to rotate the camera to see a vertical image, rather than having to zoom in every single time. Everything else is default.

Shooting Menu

Let’s now go through the Shooting Menu, which is the first place that I usually go to when checking my settings. I will first provide my values, then talk about the important settings:

  • Shooting menu bank: A (default)
  • Extended menu banks: OFF
  • Storage folder: default, don’t change
  • File naming: DSC (default), don’t change
  • Primary slot selection: CF
  • Secondary slot function: Overflow
  • Image quality: NEF (RAW)
  • Image size: grayed out
  • Image area:
    • Auto DX crop: ON
    • Choose image area: FX
  • JPEG compression: Optimal quality
  • NEF (RAW) recording:
    • Type: Lossless compressed
    • NEF (RAW) bit depth: 14-bit
  • White balance: AUTO (AUTO1 Normal)
  • Set Picture Control: SD (Standard), Default values
  • Manage Picture Control: —
  • Color space: Adobe RGB
  • Active D-Lighting: OFF
  • HDR (high dynamic range): OFF (grayed out)
  • Vignette control: OFF
  • Auto distortion control: OFF
  • Long Exposure NR: OFF
  • High ISO NR: OFF
  • ISO sensitivity settings:
    • ISO sensitivity: 100
    • Auto ISO sensitivity control: ON
      • Maximum sensitivity: 3200
      • Minimum shutter speed: Auto -> one higher than middle
  • Multiple exposure: OFF
  • Interval timer shooting: OFF
  • Time-lapse photography: OFF
  • Movie settings:
    • Frame size/frame rate: 1080p 30
    • Movie quality: HIGH
    • Microphone: Auto sensitivity
    • Destination: SD card slot

While there are a lot of different settings here, do not worry – you won’t be changing many settings very often. Let’s go through some of the important settings. The first one is “Shooting menu bank”, which allows you to store up to 4 different shooting menu settings. The good news is, you can name each bank with a custom name like “Landscape”, “Portrait”, etc. The bad news is, these shooting banks are completely useless! Many Nikon shooters, including myself, have been puzzled by Nikon’s implementation of the menu banks, which have not been changed for many years now. There are three fundamental flaws with the custom settings banks:

  1. Menu banks are separate for “Shooting Menu” and for “Custom Setting Menu” sections, which means that one would have to store settings in two places and when a change is needed, also have to remember to change in two places. There is no single place to store all camera settings.
  2. There is no button on the camera to be able to select a bank quickly. The quickest way is to press the “Info” button on the back, then press it again, then choose a different bank for “SHOOT” or “CUSTOM”. Lower-end Nikon DSLRs like D600/D610 are much better in this regard, because they have U1 and U2 options right on the PASM dial.
  3. There is no way to save menu banks. Yup, menu banks are supposed to be “memory” banks that allow one to store specific settings. If you pick a specific bank and then end up changing any of the settings, those settings will be preserved, which completely defeats the purpose of memory banks.

I have tried to be organized with my pro-grade Nikon cameras in the past and failed – the above limitations just make memory banks useless for me. The thing is, it is not that hard to get this fixed, as it is just a firmware change. All Nikon needs to do is add a few options like U1, U2, U3 and U4 to the camera MODE button, then allow saving all camera settings into these memory banks (including autofocus settings) and the problem is solved! I don’t know why Nikon keeps pushing the same useless banks over and over again to the pro-grade DSLRs…

Enough of ranting, let’s move on to other shooting menu settings. The next important setting is “Secondary slot function”, which allows you to choose a role for the second card slot when shooting with multiple cards. You can set the camera to save images in three different ways. You can set it to “Overflow”, which basically saves images to the first card, then when the space runs out, the camera starts saving to the second card. I usually set mine to Overflow, unless I am working on something really important and need to backup images. And speaking of backup/redundancy, that’s what you use the second setting “Backup” for. Once selected, the camera will save photos to both memory cards at the same time. The last setting allows you to save RAW files to one card and JPEG files to another. For your day to day shooting, just leave it on “Overflow” and if you really need to make sure that your photos are not lost if one of the cards fails, then choose “Backup”.

“Image quality” is obviously set to RAW, since I only shoot RAW. “NEF (RAW) recording” is always set on mine to 14-bit Lossless compressed. I choose 14-bit to get the best image quality the camera can provide and “Lossless” compression results in much smaller files than “Uncompressed”. “White Balance” is Auto and all other settings like Picture Controls, Active D-Lighting, HDR, etc. are turned off, since none of them (with the exception of “Long Exposure NR”) affect RAW images. Remember, RAW files contain non-manipulated data and require post-processing, so the above settings only impact two things: images displayed by your camera’s LCD screen (each RAW file contains a full-size JPEG image, which is what is used to display images) and if you use Nikon’s proprietary software like Capture NX, those settings can be applied to RAW images automatically. Since I use Lightroom to store and process my images, the second part does not apply to me. And I also do not care for how images are displayed on the camera’s LCD, so I leave everything turned off.

Although color space does not matter for RAW files, I now use AdobeRGB because it gives a slightly more accurate histogram to determine the correct exposure (since the camera shows histogram based on camera-rendered JPEG image, even if you shoot exclusively in RAW).

The big menu setting that I frequently change is “ISO sensitivity settings”. When shooting hand-held, I mostly use Auto ISO, because it is a great feature that saves me a lot of time. Instead of specifying ISO for every shot, I just have it set on Auto, with its base ISO set to 100, Maximum sensitivity set to 3200 (my personal limit for “acceptable” noise levels) and Minimum shutter speed set to “Auto”. The “Auto” minimum shutter speed setting is great, because it reads the focal length of the attached lens and automatically adjusts the minimum shutter speed to the focal length of the lens. Since the Nikon D800 / D800E are very demanding cameras in terms of technique, I tune the Minimum shutter speed Auto to be one step closer to “Faster”, which basically doubles the minimum shutter speed. For example, if I have a 50mm lens mounted on the camera, my minimum shutter speed will go from 1/50 to 1/100 of a second with one step up. If I move it all the way to the end (Faster), it will double the shutter speed again to 1/200 of a second. When using a VR lens, I often lower the “Auto” minimum shutter speed to “Slower”. Unfortunately, Nikon has not yet implemented a way to automatically compensate for VR, so you have to adjust this setting based on the lens you are using. When photographing landscapes or architecture with the camera mounted on a tripod, I turn Auto ISO off and use ISO 100 for the highest dynamic range and lowest noise levels.

Custom Setting Menu

This is where a lot of people get lost, since there are so many different settings. Here are the settings that I personally use:

  • Autofocus
    • AF-C priority selection: Release + focus
    • AF-S priority selection: Focus
    • Focus tracking with lock-on: AF 3 (Normal)
    • AF activation: ON (Shutter/AF-ON) – please read below on this setting
    • AF point illumination: AUTO
    • Focus point wrap-around: OFF
    • Number of focus points: AF51
    • Built-in AF-assist illuminator: ON
  • Metering/exposure
    • ISO sensitivity step value: 1/3
    • EV steps for exposure cntrl: 1/3
    • Ex./flash comp. step value: 1/3
    • Easy exposure compensation: OFF
    • Center-weighted area: 12mm
    • Fine-tune optimal exposure: —
  • Timers/AE lock
    • Shutter-release button AE-L: OFF
    • Auto meter-off delay: 6s
    • Self-timer
      • Self-timer delay: 5s
      • Number of shots: 1
      • Interval between shots: 0.5s
    • Monitor off delay: 10s, 1m, 10s, 4s, 10m
  • Shooting/display
    • Beep
      • Volume: OFF
      • Pitch: Low
    • CL mode shooting speed: 2 fps
    • Max. continuous release: 100
    • Exposure delay mode: OFF
    • File number sequence: ON
    • Viewfinder grid display: ON
    • ISO display and adjustment: OFF
    • Screen tips: ON
    • Information display: AUTO
    • LCD illumination: OFF
    • MB-D12 battery type: LR6
    • Battery order: MB-D12
  • Bracketing/flash
    • Flash sync speed: 1/320*
    • Flash shutter speed: 1/60
    • Flash cntrl for built-in flash: TTL
    • Modeling flash: ON
    • Auto bracketing set: AE & flash
    • Auto bracketing (Mode M): Flash/speed
    • Bracketing order: Under > MTR > over
  • Controls
    • Lightbulb switch: LCD backlight
    • Multi selector center button
      • Shooting mode: RESET
      • Playback mode: Zoom on/off -> Medium magnification
      • Live view: RESET
    • Multi selector: OFF
    • Assign Fn button: Access top item in MY MENU
    • Assign preview button: Preview
    • Assign AE-L/AF-L button: AE-L / AF-L button press: AE/AF lock
    • Shutter spd & aperture lock: — (OFF / OFF)
    • Assign BKT button: BKT
    • Customize command dials: All default
    • Release button to use dial: OFF
    • Slot empty release lock: LOCK
    • Reverse indicators: – 0 +
    • Assign MB-D12 AF-ON: AF-ON
  • Movie
    • Assign Fn button: OFF
    • Assign preview button: Index marking
    • Assign AE-L/AF-L button: AE/AF lock
    • Assign shutter button: Take photos

That’s a lot of options! Once again, I won’t go into details about each setting, so let me just go over the most important ones that you should know about. The “Autofocus” section is pretty important, because it controls the way your camera autofocus is configured. The first two settings “AF-C priority selection” and “AF-S priority selection” are there to assist in shooting in Single or Continuous modes. I personally prefer to set the “AF-C priority selection” to “Release + focus”, which puts priority on focusing after the first shot. This might drop the fps speed if the subject is not in focus, but the D800/D800E is not a super fast camera anyway, so fps is less important for me than accuracy. The “Focus” setting in the “AF-S priority selection” selection forces the camera to acquire focus before taking the shot. Unlike earlier DSLRs like Nikon D700, the D800/D800E will still let you take a shot if you “focus and recompose” in AF-S mode.

The next setting is “Focus tracking with lock-on”, which I normally keep at the default setting of “3”. This setting controls how quickly your autofocus will re-engage when it detects focus errors. When shooting birds in flight, I tend to reduce that setting to short delays, because I want autofocus to re-engage even with smaller changes. The rest of the time, I keep it in normal and almost never go up to long waits.

The “AF activation” setting on my D800E is always set to “OFF” (AF-ON only) to allow me to use the dedicated AF-ON button on the back for focusing. If you have not read my article on the Focus and Recompose technique, now is a good time to do it, because it explains this feature in detail. Basically, once you switch the autofocus function from your shutter release (half-press) to the AF-ON button on the back of the camera, your camera will no longer autofocus through the shutter release button and will only respond to depressing the rear AF-ON button. It is a neat feature that I always use by default on all of my cameras.

“AF point illumination” is used to light up the viewfinder focus point(s) and different grids in red color when you half-press the shutter button. I usually keep this on “Auto”, which does not light up in very bright conditions where I can clearly see everything in the viewfinder, and only does it in darker environments (which helps with identifying my focus point location).

I do not like when my focus points roll over to the other side of the screen when I am in the corners and I like to shoot with all focus points enabled, so my “Focus point wrap-around” is turned off and the number of focus points is set to 51.

The “Built-in AF-assist illuminator” is the lamp on the front of the camera that is engaged when shooting in AF-S focus mode. If the subject is dark, the front light will turn on and illuminate the subject you are photographing, which will help the autofocus system to acquire proper focus. I find the light to be helpful in low-light situations, so I keep that setting turned on.

I never mess with any of the “Metering/exposure” settings, so I would just recommend to leave them at default values. I would also skip the whole “Timers/AE lock” sub-section.

Under “Shooting/display”, the first thing I always do is turn off the focus confirmation beep. I often re-acquire focus many times and I would hate to annoy anyone with the beeps coming from my camera.

The big setting that I often rely on when photographing landscapes is “Exposure delay mode”. This feature is a gem on the latest Nikon DSLRs, because it first lifts the camera mirror (which generates a lot of vibrations), then waits a specified amount of time and only then opens up the shutter to capture the image. The nice thing is, you can specify up to 3 seconds of delay, which can completely eliminate the dreaded “mirror slap”. When I conduct my landscape photography workshops, I often walk around the participants and check how they trigger their cameras. Those, that do not have camera remotes (remote cable release) initially feel frustrated, but once they discover this neat feature, they don’t regret that they did not bring remote triggers anymore. The best part about this particular feature, is that you can actually use it in conjunction with the camera timer! If you set the secondary dial on the top of the camera to Timer, then set the “Self-timer delay” to something like 5 seconds, you can completely eliminate camera shake. Basically, the initial 5-second timer is for the camera to settle after you press the shutter release. After it waits for 5 seconds, the “Exposure delay mode” feature kicks in and the mirror is raised. The camera waits 3 more seconds before the shutter finally opens up and the image is captured. This is a great feature that I highly recommend to use when photographing landscapes and architecture in low light conditions / very slow shutter speeds.

The “Viewfinder grid display” is a neat feature that creates vertical and horizontal lines inside the viewfinder. I use those grids all the time when composing my shots – they are great tools for aligning the horizon horizontally or vertically and having a better visual look at my framing / composition.

I won’t go into Bracketing/flash sections, because that’s a big topic on its own. The only thing that I usually change here is Bracketing order – I like to have my frames underexposed, normal, then overexposed, so I set “Bracketing order” to “Under > MTR > over”.

The “Controls” section is something I always change, because there are some time-saving features there. Let’s first start with my favorite hidden feature on the D800 / D800E cameras – “Multi selector center button”. This one is a huge time saver and something I really wish the Nikon D600 / D610 cameras had. Basically, you can set up the center button on the multi-selector to zoom in and out to a set magnification level when reviewing images with a single press of the button! If you find yourself frustrated by constantly pressing the zoom in button until you get to the right magnification level, then you will absolutely love this feature. There are three magnification levels to choose from: “Low magnification”, “Medium magnification” and “High magnification”. I find “Medium magnification” level to be ideal for the D800 / D800E – it literally saves 9 zoom in button presses!

The next important menu option “Assign Fn button” allows programming the “Fn” (Function) button on the front of the camera. Since I shoot in different environments a lot, I like to be able to change my Auto ISO settings quickly. Unfortunately, Auto ISO is buried in the “Shooting Menu” and takes too long to get to. I love being able to access Auto ISO with just pressing the Fn button and that’s something you can set up very easily. First, go to “My Menu” section of the menu. Then go to “Add items” -> “Shooting menu”. Find “ISO sensitivity settings” and instead of getting into this menu, simply press the “OK” button. The next screen should say “Choose position” and you will see “ISO sensitivity settings” there. Just press “OK” one more time and you will see this on the top of the “My Menu” window. If you already have some favorites saved, make sure to move this one to the very top. Once you do this, go to the “Custom Setting Menu” again and navigate to “Controls” -> “Assign Fn button”. From there, pick “Access top item in MY MENU” and press OK. Now test it out – close the menu, then press the “Fn” button on the front of the camera. If you did everything right, the back LCD should get you right into ISO sensitivity settings! Pretty neat and saves a lot of time when you need to tweak the Auto ISO feature!

If you don’t particularly care for the depth of field “Preview” button, you can program your D800 / D800E to do the same thing from that button instead.

Aside from these, I would leave the rest of the settings alone.

Setup Menu

Not much to go over here, because this is the area that you will only use for particular tasks like setting time/date, adding image comments, adjusting LCD brightness, formatting memory card, etc. The only thing I would do is set up “Image comment” and “Copyright information”. Basically, these settings add text information that gets embedded into each photograph. If you ever happen to lose your memory card somewhere (which I personally have in the past) and someone finds it (let’s just assume that you have no labels on the card with your info) leaving your Copyright and/or Name could help big time in finding/locating you. Plus, you are writing data into RAW files, so if you ever needed to prove that you are the author of a photograph, the RAW file along with your contact info could make for great evidence.

I hope you found this article useful. Once again, these are settings that work for me and they might not necessarily suit your needs. It is best that you explore your camera and learn about each setting as much as you can in order to take advantage of all the available features and customizations!


  1. 1) Terry44
    March 2, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Just a few words to thank you for your work, and this latest article….

    just one question, please

    can you post a file of these settings: I’d really appreciate to be able to download it, and then load it, just to check it again my current settings..

    Again thank you

  2. March 2, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Excellent Nasim, thank you. As a long term user of both D700 and D800 I totally agree with your recommended settings. I always carry an old SD card with the CB settings file on, as I’ve had a case where I reset the whole camera settings including custom bank settings and had to wait until I got home to re-load them.


  3. 3) eric laquerre
    March 2, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Thanks for posting this but the best way is to read the manual and understand each setting and how to properly organize the dslr option for the way we like to shoot.

  4. 4) giancarlo
    March 2, 2014 at 4:54 am

    I can not do anything but thank you. As I said your advice is valuable and intelligent because they explain.
    Thank you, Giancarlo.

    March 2, 2014 at 5:13 am



  6. March 2, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Great tips there :) I was wondering about long exposure NR for a while. I see you recommended keeping it off. I always turned it on, though this limits the number of frames you can shoot, especially in fast changing light (which is almost always in my case), as it basically doubles the time for each shot. Do you think it’s not worth it? I bought a 9 stop ND filter a few months ago, and started doing longer than 30 sec exposures…

    • 6.1) Richard
      March 2, 2014 at 6:43 am

      I also do multi stop filter work. I used to set long exposure NR and read that for some cameras it’s recommended, however the noise generated is much lower with the D800 and it said to leave it off. I often expose for 90-120 secs and never noticed a problem, certainly not at ISO100. Perhaps it’s required at high ISO.

      I’m sure Nasim will correct me if I’m wrong.


      • 6.1.1) Csaba Molnar
        March 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

        Thank you Richard, next time I’ll try it without long exposure NR :)

    • March 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

      If you do a quick search for dark frame subtraction, you can accomplish this after the fact with a single dark frame. Basically, if you shoot long exposures of, say, 5 minutes, include in all of that a single 5 minute exposure with the lens cap on and then use that to subtract out sensor noise from the other images. Same basic activity as what the camera is doing, but just not as long. If your exposures are relatively short (e.g. 30 seconds to a minute) and at low ISO, it’s not really worth it at all. The D800 is very clean.

      • 6.2.1) Csaba Molnar
        March 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

        Interesting ideas John – thank you for your kind reply :)

  7. 7) Pete Johnson
    March 2, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Hi Nasim, the great thing about separating the focus from the shutter with the AF-On button (a4, AF-ON only) is that you have both AF-C and AF-S without having to select either. Keep the AF-ON button pressed and you have AF-C. Focus and let up on the button and you have AF-S,


  8. 8) Jerry
    March 2, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I shoot a D7100. It looks like most of my camera menu settings are the same as the D600/610.
    Aside from the obvious differences , I would assume the setting for the d7100 and d600/610 would apply .


  9. March 2, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Very nice article. I wasn’t aware of the delay feature on the shutter and that’s very handy to know! I may have to add that to my menu, mirror up with a timer is a very handy setting.

  10. 10) Don B
    March 2, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Thank you for a wonderful article. I appreciate your hard work.

  11. 11) Vernon
    March 2, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Nasim, I actually do use the A,B,C,D banks and find them useful. Yes, you do have to store setting in two separate locations. And I do admit they could be MUCH improved. At the moment my D800 is set up with Normal, HDR, MACRO, FIREWORKS banks. Then the custom banks are set up with the same titles. I would like to see a U1-U10 menu setting that all parameters could be set in. Keep up the good work.

  12. 12) Kartken
    March 2, 2014 at 8:52 am

    My D7100’s setting is pretty much the same as the D610 except e4: Exposure comp. for flash where I prefer
    Background Only. That way I separate camera flash exposure compensation from camera exposure comp.
    and I’m in better control of what I want to achieve.

  13. 13) DJ
    March 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Excellent article, and I’ve adopted these same setting for my D700. Thank You.

  14. 14) Gery
    March 2, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Nikon D4 setiing, Sir.. please…

  15. 15) Bob Gobeille
    March 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Hi Nasim,
    I’m surprised you use sRGB color space instead of (the larger color space) adobe. Is that because your pictures are always for the web instead of print?

    • March 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Bob, have you read the text above? I specifically point out why I use sRGB – because color profiles do not matter for RAW files.

      • 15.1.1) Bob Gobeille
        March 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Whoops. I’ve seen so many replies where I’ve wondered the same thing – “why don’t these darn commenters actually read the article!!”. I should not cast stones. Mea Culpa.

        Thanks Nasim!

      • 15.1.2) Brian
        March 5, 2014 at 11:32 am

        Thanks for the article. I use AF-ONAFC and release as some others do but that suits my needs.

        I do shoot raw but have set the color space to AdobeRGB because like you, I’ve ended up in Tiff once or twice without realizing it.

  16. 16) Sammy
    March 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    Thanks so much for all your effots to do settings on D800 and perhaps, explanation on AF-ON button, this is great. Continue the great work.

  17. 17) Tom Crossan
    March 2, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Nasim

    As an owner of a D800, I am always learning more about it all the time.

    Great work, and easy to read and follow.

  18. 18) Common Sense
    March 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Readers writing in to inquire about basic settings for a high-end, professional, multi-thousand dollar DSLR? Hmm . . . there’s something discretely wrong with this picture.

    • 18.1) Tom Crossan
      March 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Have to agree with your comments.

      It is a bit like buying a very expensive car and then having to get your drivers licence.

      I started with a D60 and slowly moved up the models until I got a D800. I am glad that I did because if I had started with the D800 I might have lost interest in photography.

      It is a great camera, but you do have to know how to drive it to get the best out of it. It is a continuing learning process, but you need the basics to start. For example if you don’t understand how focusing works hmmmmmmm!

  19. 19) Britt
    March 3, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Can you do a review and information for the canon 600d please.


  20. 20) Alec Trusler
    March 3, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Many thanks for all the work you put into your articles very much appreciated ..

  21. 21) D700
    March 3, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Have you heard of Red’s camera wows with top score in image-sensor test

    A cinema camera just showed it can outclass full-frame SLRs from Canon and Nikon that have sensors nearly twice as large.
    Nikon’s D800E is the top dog on the DxOMark sensor test rankings, with a score of 96 on precise measurements of dynamic range, noise, and low-light performance. It’s not often that a new winner emerges, but a cinema camera from a company called Red — the Epic-M camera with the Dragon sensor — just earned a score of 101. Please tell us more about this Red’s camera. Thank you

    • 21.1) Andy Kochendorfer
      March 3, 2014 at 9:59 am

      It would be silly to expect a Nikon DSLR to have Red Dragon specs – the Red is a $35,000 cinema camera. Of course it has better specs.

      The real compelling comparison is, however, that the D800 costs less than a 10% of the Red cinema camera. Are the few quality points worth the extra expense for the Red?

      BTW, the Red uses a full frame sensor.

    • March 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

      I would take this type of stuff with a grain of salt if I were you. Taking an image that is already processed with recovered shadows, reduced noise, saturated colors, etc and trying to analyze it would obviously yield better results. Remember that DxO could not get true RAW access to analyze the bayer data from the Red sensor. If DxO took an image from the D800 that had Active D-Lighting turned on, colors properly calibrated and noise reduced in post, I am sure it would be the king of all kings :) Just remember that you are comparing apples and oranges here!

      Either way, even if Red scored remarkably higher, so what? It is a video camera that costs $30K for the body alone. Add the cost of SSD and accessories and you would be looking at a cool $50K+ price range…

  22. March 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Thank you so much for this awesome information.

  23. March 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Sir; in reading through this article there is one question I would ask: What setting do you use for the Metering selector (Matrix, Center-Weighted or Spot)? I could understand using different ones depending upon the scene. Is there an existing article that you already have that addresses this question?

    Thank you,

    • March 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

      William, yes, I have already written an article on metering modes. I mostly use matrix metering and sometimes switch to spot in some situations.

  24. 24) Guest
    March 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you for this article. I look forward to your article on D4 settings.

    I’m a beginner to photography. In addition to the D4, I also just purchased a Hasselblad H5D-40 Medium Format DSLR Camera Kit with 100mm f/2.2 HC AF Lens, but I’m not really sure how to get started with the settings. I’m really struggling with this equipment. Would you be willing to share your personal settings with this camera, because I really wish to learn.

    Thank you! You guys are the greatest!

    • 24.1) Beyti
      April 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      You`re new to photography and you have D4 and Hasselblad?!?!?!?! Ohh my, some people got money…I started with D3000 and upgraded to D7000, D600 and finally I was able to afford to D800.

      • 24.1.1) xandra photography
        January 7, 2015 at 7:56 pm

        Seems like some people start with high-end cameras. Meanwhile, if someone cannot picture with a point and shoot camera than I reckon is would be better to go to a photography school than to buy a D4.

  25. 25) Klaus
    March 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Regarding AF settings I want share my setup which works perfect for me:
    1) Set AF to AF-C
    2) AF-C priority selection: Release
    3) AF activation to “just AF-ON button”

    This setup allows the following:
    – w/o AF-ON you need to focus manually
    – press AF-ON, focus and leave the button, vóila you have AF-S
    – press AF-ON and hold, you have AF-C

    With this setup the switch between AF-S and AF-C isn’t any longer necessary.

    One further setup which I’m using for my portrait setup is to set individual function a5 to OFF. In this case you didn’t get a thin border if you use f.e. 5:4 frame, what I like especially for portraits , the inactive part of the sensor is grey blurred then. In my opinion much better as the thin border. Of course you don’t have the red focus point in low light situations, but this I usually don’t need for portrait shoots.

    I hope my explanation is clear. I know my English is far a way from perfect ;) If there is something unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Best regards

    Klaus a loyal reader and fan of your site

    • March 7, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Klaus, there is one “gotcha” with using AF-C mode instead of AF-S – AF assist lamp never activates in AF-C mode :)

  26. 26) Jerry R
    March 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Thank you for the article on D800 settings. I thoroughly enjoy reading your site and check it out almost daily. I learn something new every time I read it and I have been shooting for over 60 years.

    You have confirmed my setting choices as they are very similar to yours. I do find the My Menu feature a real time saver. I too keep the ISO sensitivity settings at the top of the list. I also keep the AF activation next so I can change the setting quickly.

    My Fn button, however, is used to turn on/off the camera “level indicators” in the viewfinder which my wife particularly likes on her D800. We keep the settings the same on our two bodies so we can grab the other’s camera when needed without introducing confusion for a quick shot.

    I have set my Df body up as close to the D800 settings as I can.


  27. 27) m. blume
    March 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    May I point out one small item where your article is misleading, if not actually in error. You state:

    “If you use the “focus and recompose” technique (more on this below), you might get frustrated shooting in the AF-S mode, because the camera will not let you fire after you focus and move to a different area that might be out of focus. The best thing to do at that point is to either change the “AF-S priority selection” setting to “Release”, or switch to AF-C mode.”

    Actually ‘focus and recompose’ is easily accomplished without resorting to either of these changes. If one has NOT switched autofocus activation (CSM a4) to ‘AF-ON only’, simply place the focus point on the desired object; half press the shutter release to focus; and maintain the half press (focus will remain locked) while recomposing; fully depress the shutter to take the shot.

    If one prefers to set autofocus activation to ‘AF-ON only’ then place the focus point on the desired object, press and release the AF-ON button (focus remains locked); recompose and take the shot.

    • March 7, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Thank you for your comment. Please give this a try:
      1) Set the camera to AF-S mode, Single focus (center focus point will work).
      2) Set the AF-S priority selection to “Focus”.
      3) Focus on a nearby object by half-pressing the shutter release. Then recompose to a blurry spot and try to take a picture.

      The camera will refuse to fire, because the focus point is on a blurry area. The only way to get out of this is to set the camera to “Release” instead of “Focus” or switch to AF-C mode.

      That’s exactly what I was trying to express above :)

      • 27.1.1) m. blume
        March 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Sorry, but you are still wrong or missing the point of my post.
        At your 3rd step, if you maintain the half press of the shutter release while recomposing, the focus will remain locked and the shutter will fire. From the D800 user’s manual, pp 98-99.

        “2 Lock focus:
        AF-S focus mode: Focus locks automatically when the in-focus indicator appears, and
        remain locked until you remove your finger from the shutter-release button.

        3 Recompose the photograph and shoot:
        Focus will remain locked between shots if you keep the shutter-release button pressed
        halfway (AF-S)”

        My camera works this way and I’m pretty sure yours does too.

        It is worth noting that this is different to the function of the D700 and many other earlier Nikons. With those cameras (and the settings you specify) the shutter will indeed refuse to fire if the object under the focus point is not in focus. This is what made “focus trapping” possible in earlier cameras and was, unfortunately, eliminated with the D800.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          March 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

          Please take out your D800, set it to the same settings I have pointed out above and give it a try. Focus does lock on with AF-S if you continue half-pressing the shutter, but the camera will not fire if you change your composition and try to shoot with the focus point that is pointed at a blurry subject.

          Please try this for yourself and let me know the result.

          • m. blume
            March 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm

            I have done as you asked.
            To be sure, the settings were: AF-S, single (center) point used.
            AF-S Priority (CSM a.2) set to: Focus. AF Activation (CSM a.4) set to: Shutter/AF-ON.

            When I focus on nearby object, hold half-press on shutter release, recompose to a distant object (which appears well out of focus in viewfinder) and fully press shutter release, the shutter fires and I get an out of focus image of the distant object. Focusing first on a distant object and recomposing to a close object gives the same result.

            If you try this yourself you will note that, after focus has been achieved, the green dot in the viewfinder comes on and remains on as long as you maintain a half press of the shutter, regardless of where you point the camera. There are several places in the user’s manual that state: when the green dot is on focus is locked and the shutter will fire regardless of what other settings may be.

            Again, the behavior you are describing is correct for a D700 but not for the D800.

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              March 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm

              Duh, forgive me please for being such an idiot! I had the D700 (friend’s camera) and the D800E on my desk (along with 4 other cameras). I grabbed the D700 without even looking at the camera and tried to shoot it in AF-S mode and the camera obviously did not fire.

              This is what sleeping for 4 hours for the past 2 weeks has been doing to me. And sadly, I knew about this behavior change on the D800 – see my comments here:

              I will update the article shortly. Time to get some rest this weekend!

  28. 28) Richard Loper
    March 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

    How about a similar post on Nikon’s D4 and D4s.

    Thanks much. Your site is extremely useful to me.


    Dick Loper

  29. 29) Oguzhan Altun
    March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the custom settings banks. They just need to fix this once for all, issue a firmware update, and make thousands of nikon users happy. How hard can it be???
    In fact I’m so curious that I will now go to Quara and ask this. Maybe someone from Nikon can answer….

    • 29.1) Oguzhan Altun
      March 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      PS: I used a part of your article to describe the issue in the question in Quora, as you described the issues so well. I hope you don’t mind.

  30. 30) Ota
    March 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I appreciate your explanations, what were the reasons for setting up your D800 the way you did. It makes my own consideration easier, what may be useful (and what not) for my way of photography. That’s great!

    But I notice an incorrect finding regarding RAW and ADL in your article. Sure, Active D-Lighting doesn’t affect the RAW data but it definitely CAN affect RAW images; it need not but it can. For this reason, ADL is not greyed out if the camera is set on ‘RAW only’. Activated ADL biases the exposure when shooting a high contrast scene and the camera is in the exposure mode A, S, or P. The higher the scene contrast, the lower the exposure. The exposure reduction induced by ADL can be up to 1 stop in matrix metering. The flash output will also be lowered (by similar amount). So, your RAW image CAN be different depending if ADL is ON or OFF when shooting higher contrast scenes.

    In this way, ADL can be utilized in the RAW shooting as an additional automatic protection against highlight clipping. I prefer the ADL setting AUTO for this. Although I have no real control over the amount of the exposure correction, it helps (moderately) if necessary and it doesn’t impair images which don’t need any additional exposure correction.

    • March 7, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Ota, yes, I am aware that these settings can potentially impact exposure. However, ADL’s task is to provide as much shadow detail as possible in a high-contrast scene. It simply applies a curve to the image as it tries to pull more data. In my experience, this often results in underexposure and that’s exactly why I turn it off. When shooting high-contrast scenes, I prefer to expose to the right rather than underexpose, because I can recover a LOT more data that way. That’s the main reason why all of my settings are set to OFF…

      • 30.1.1) Ota
        March 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

        Sure, Nasim, ETTR is the right way how to get as much data as possible. In this case, we get the best possible conditions for recovering data in the shadows, no question. I shoot with ADL-AUTO and I expose my images also ‘to the right’ as you do, these two things don’t rule each other out.
        However, according to my experience, when shooting a high-contrast scene, an underexposure (empty right hand part of the histogram) is usually not the problem, but blown highlights is it frequently. In ADL-AUTO, the camera analyzes the scene and reduces the exposure only if necessary, i.e., if there are both, blown highlights and deep shadows (‘U’-shaped histogram). If it is not necessary, the ADL doesn’t induce any exposure reduction and the camera exposes with the same parameters as it would do it with ADL-OFF. After the shot, a quick glance at the histogram is always highly recommended. With ADL-AUTO a further minus correction (after the first shot) and the second shot can become superfluous.
        However, I must confess, ADL-AUTO is just a little help. A manual minus correction of the exposure along with ADL-AUTO (in the sum >1 aperture step) is often necessary in critical situations. And with LV and live histogram, ADL is totally out of play.

  31. March 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Nasim, Great article.

    I have pretty much the same setup all throughout and similar workflow. If I may, I’d recommend mapping the rear AF-ON button to acquire Focus, and de-couple with the shutter-release on the top. This way, if you always keep your camera in AF-C mode, with just one hit of the AF-ON button you can get focus and release shutter to capture the shot, Or if you continue to hold the AF-ON button and then release shutter, it will continuously track the subject. This technique is also commonly referred to as Back-button focus, I think. I was skeptical at first, but once you follow this technique you’ll wonder how you lived without it for so long. (It may take a few days getting used to though.)

    The benefits are, for instance – if your subject remains stationary, since you have acquired focus using the AF-ON button once, next time you take a similar shot it doesn’t need to focus again – great for those landscape shots or stationary subjects and saves battery also. Better than focus + recompose using shutter-release method – this is more accurate. Also, this is handy for those shooting Bracket shots for HDR or Time-lapse sequences. Secondly, it gives you the best of AF-C mode since it can continuously track the subject and you can release the shutter anytime to get your fav. shot. This works exceptionally well when you’re in High speed mode to shoot multiple frames with a moving subject like birds or animals with relatively unpredictable path of motion. Just my 0.02!


    • Profile photo of Ankur Puri 31.1) Ankur Puri
      March 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Quick video that demonstrates what I mentioned –

    • March 7, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Ankur, not sure why you think I shoot differently – I think I specifically pointed out that my back button focus is set to engage AF-ON and the menu setting reflects that. I always shoot with the back-button focus and most of the time in AF-C mode, so it is no different than what you’ve pointed out above :)

      • Profile photo of Ankur Puri 31.2.1) Ankur Puri
        March 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

        Jeez! Apologies Nasim. And I thought I’d read the whole article properly :( This is what happens after a long day at work I guess. *phew*

  32. 32) Ibrahim Dogan
    March 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Nasim

    Please add your D7100 settings reommendations

  33. 33) Gromit
    March 10, 2014 at 4:30 am

    If lossless compressed is the one most people choose, why does Nikon bother having an uncompressed option?

  34. 34) JamesV
    March 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Nasim

    I disagree with you about the menu banks. I find them very useful. Analysed the settings and it seems to me that Custom settings menu is mostly for settings or choices to be made before or during shutter release. The Shooting menu is mostly for settings that affect how the image data is processed after shutter release and to me it seems these settings largely relate to the nature of the light you are shooting in (ISO , ADL, HINR, Picture controls etc)

    So I set my 4 favourite types of photography in the Custom Settings menu. These are General, Wildlife, Landscape and Macro for me but the reader can pick whatever suits them and adjust accordingly.

    Then, on the Shooting Menu I make adjustments related to light and shooting conditions so currently I have :
    -1) Bright light, handheld – for handheld shooting in high contrast conditions, high ISO is restricted to limit noiseand ADL is activated.
    – 2) Dim light handheld – allows very high ISO and maintains 1/FL or 1/(2FL) shutter speed. Low contrast so ADL = OFF etc….
    – 3) Fast, supported – primarily for using a long lens on a gimbal for wildlife. It has auto-ISO with an upper limit of 2500 for ISO which is my noise apetite on the D800
    -4) Slow supported – primarily for using a tripod with ISO locked at 100 for best image quality and with slow shutter speeds for landscapes or macro.

    This allows me to mix my shooting genre with any of the customised settings for the lighting and support being used. I find the only time make I manual adjustments on top of this is for exposure comp, WB and changing ISO to manual occasionally and all of these can be done with camera bttons . The only time I menu-dive is for flash settings when using CLS triggered flashes and this would not be needed if there were 6 settings banks instead of 4.

    These settings work for me because I use Nikon’s CNX2 which retains the RAW processing choices made in-camera (like ADL). For someone using LR or ACR for RAW import, some of the processing gets stripped out on import so this system would be less useful to Adobe users.

    • 34.1) Naftoli
      May 21, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I agree with u on this one James! as a wedding photographer, I love the custom settings menu
      Bank A is set for studio lighting. so (aprox) f/8, ISO 200, 1/60th, 5200 K WB
      Bank B is set for the action and candids, (aprox) f/5.6, ISO,1600, 1/250, WB set to 3600K (to match my gelled flashes)
      bank C i leave empty so far
      Bank D is set for school portrait photography. (aprox) f/7.1, ISO 250, 1/160, WB 5200, Crop mode set to 4×5, and Jpeg capture mode.

      i say aprox, bc i am often fine tuning the settings when the scenario changes slightly, and if i put my camera down or shut it off i dont want it to automatically change the settings back to what was originally set. that’s why when i shot with the d7k the U1 and U2 modes were completely useless to me

  35. 35) carlo
    March 26, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I’m trying to use this technique because it could be useful for me.
    Set my D800 accordingly the suggested set-up:
    AF-S Priority Selection: FOCUS
    AF Activation set to OF-ON button ONLY.
    AF Area mode set to SINGLE POINT.

    The camera works exactly as reported in your description.
    But when you use this technique for focus and recompose, what about the exposure meter? I mean, if I focus on the face of my subject then also the exposure must be taken from his face. But with AF-ON button to hold the exposure I must press also the shutter button.
    Do you have any suggestion to hold focus and take the correct exposure?

    I noticed also some interesting behaviour:
    – When I press and keep AF-ON pressed, also the exposure seems to be locked. I wrote seems because the exposure reading value has a strange reading. Try to acquire focus with AF-ON, keep AF-ON pressed, and then move completely the camera to a different light source and intensity. The exposure meter reads a certain value. Now release the AF-ON button. The exposure meter reads a totally different value.

    I believe that the AF-ON must lock only the autofocus and not the exposure.

    Thanks for your comments.

  36. 36) Mandip Lachhar
    March 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for the article. I have D800 and I cann’t do pre white balance as I can do on my D 700. I read in manual and I press WB and let it go press again in few seconds and Pre doesn’t blink. I will appreciate if you can help me.
    Dr Lachhar

  37. 37) giancarlo
    April 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

    After a few years I returned to photography. I have a D800 with:
    16-35 f / 4
    50 f/1.8
    85 f/1.8
    24-120 f / 4
    70-300 f/4.5-5.6
    All Nikon.
    Typically photographer landscapes and although heavy use the D800 trips.
    I ask your opinion on these lens and if I can improve anything or if there are duplicates.
    Thanks for all the valuable advice, and sorry for my English is not correct.

  38. 38) Andrew Beatson
    May 7, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Thanks for the very useful information, I have just bought the D800 after using every camera since my first D70 most of your settings are the same as mine but the auto iso will be very useful .

    regards Andy

  39. 39) augusto
    May 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I found a discrepancy in your comments.
    You first mention favoring the continuous Servo vs the single servo.
    Later when discussing focusing and recomposing you favor Single servo since continuous servo will not work with the AF On button. Could you please elaborate on this issue?

  40. 40) Dr Lachhar
    May 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Anybody can help me with Pre- White Balance on my D 800 ???

  41. 41) keith
    May 28, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Hi. I’m a new D800 user and found this to be quite helpful. Thank you!

  42. 42) Ved
    July 21, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Nasim Mansurov,
    I check your site ,its of great use to me Thanks
    I have D800 (sb910)onething i want to learn is how do you assign a shortcut button for not firing a flash when 910 is mounted on camera without switchoff the flash.It would be a great help.Thank You.

  43. 43) Ota
    July 21, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Hi Ved,
    you have to put the function ‘flash off’ onto one of the programable buttons, e.g. Fn-Button. For this, go to the menu ‘Custom’ >> f4

  44. 44) Ved
    July 21, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Ota, Thank you for solving my query. THANK YOU.

  45. 45) Jim
    July 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I am primarily a landscape and candid portrait type of shooter. For candids I like to use auto ISO and tune the Minimum shutter speed to one step faster like you recommended. I normally like to shoot landscapes in aperture priority and will turn off the Auto ISO feature. Is the minimum shutter speed option independent or is it tied to auto ISO? IOW, if I turn off auto ISO, is the minimum shutter speed option disabled as well?

  46. 46) Ota
    July 27, 2014 at 8:18 am

    If you turn OFF Auto ISO in Aperture-priority exposure mode, you get fixed ISO, and you get the Minimum shutter speed set in Auto ISO menu definitely disabled. Your camera will find & set the shutter speed resulting from the fixed ISO sensitivity (1), set aperture (2), brightness of the scene (3) and – if applied – from the exposure correction (4). If your scene is not well lit and your (fixed) ISO setting is too low, you can run into a too long exposure time. Auto ISO helps in this situation and raises ISO if necessary. It raises it as much as necessary and it does it only if necessary.
    In Program and Aperture-priority modes, ISO isn’t changed until the exposure reaches the Minimum shutter speed you set or 1/focal length if you’ve set Auto. If ISO 100 is set as the lowest ISO in the Auto ISO regime (it’s good for the best possible image quality), your camera will hold ISO 100 if possible.
    Your camera will not raise the ISO sensitivity if the resulting shutter speed is not too slow for the focal length of the lens, the shift of the Minimum shutter speed will be considered. If you shoot with a VR-lens handheld, the shutter speed can be even slower than the standard value (= midpoint on the scale), one step faster is OK for non-VR lenses.
    If you shoot alternately with VR- and with non-VR-lenses, it’s not an entirely bad idea to create two Shooting Banks, one for VR- and one for non-VR-lenses. The only difference between these banks shall be the shift of the Minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO sensitivity menu: slower for VR, faster for non-VR. According to my opinion, it is the fastest way how to switch between two different settings for the Minimum shutter speed depending on the lens type used (VR / non-VR). Additionally, you can check the current state on the info-display very fast (Shooting Bank A / Shooting Bank B).
    Bottom line:
    When shooting in Aperture-priority exosure mode, there is no necessity to turn off Auto ISO sensitivity control. It works perfect in nearly all situations and it is the most matured Auto ISO at all far and broad. You only have to understand how it works and then forget ist.

  47. 47) Michael Fothergill
    August 9, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I recently saw somebody demonstrate how to go back in a Nikon D800 and view the actual focus point of a photo. I lost my note I made on how to do this , can you advise if you now how this is achieved?
    Regards M Fothergill

  48. 48) Ota
    August 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Go to Playback Menu >> Playback Display Options [OK] >> then tick the option ‘Focus Point’ >> Done
    (don’t forget the last step (Done), otherwise nothing will happen

    I hope this helps



    • 48.1) M Fothergill
      August 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Many thanks for your help.
      Michael Fothergill

    • 48.2) Mandip Lachhar
      September 4, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Hi Mr Ota,
      I had assignes the button for video on my D800 and now I got D 810 and I forget how I assigned the button. Can you help me with that ? Thanks. When I try to assign button for movies, It always go to movie recording and live view.

      • 48.2.1) Ota
        September 5, 2014 at 4:38 am

        Hi Mandip,

        I’m sorry but I don’t understand your question. To WHAT did you assign the video button on your D800 and to WHAT do you want to assign it on your new D810?

        I don’t use my D800 for shooting movies, so that I assigned MY direct movie shooting button to ISO.

        (The factory standard is: ISO-button on the left + one of the command dials on the right > you need both hands for changing the ISO setting. When MY direct movie shooting button is re-programmed to ISO, I need just one hand and I’m faster. For this, the firmware has to be updated to the newest version).


        • Mandip Lachhar
          September 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

          Mr Ota, I am sorry I didn’t make my question clear. On my D 800, when I was on live view, I had assigned the shutter button for movie start and end recording instead of video button. I had read in some article about it and now I don’t remember how I did it. I got D810 and I can’t figure it out.

          • Ota
            September 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm

            Go to Custom Settings Menu (pencil icon), scroll to “g” (Movie) and select “g4″ (Assign Shutter Button…..). Here you can select the function of the of the shutter button in the video mode. There are here two options.
            1) Take photos
            2) Record movie
            (Page 364 in your D810 User Guide Book)



            • Mandip Lachhar
              September 6, 2014 at 7:08 am

              Thanks a lot.
              With regards,
              Dr Mandip Lachhar

  49. 49) Akos
    September 3, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Hi Nasim.

    Auto-ISO is not hidden that far in the menu.

    You just press the ISO button, and use the front-dial. You’ll get auto-iso on-off.

    • September 4, 2014 at 1:26 am

      Akos, I am aware of it, but you cannot make changes to min shutter speed and other settings with the dials…

      • 49.1.1) Ota
        September 5, 2014 at 5:49 am

        @ Nasim and all other interested in fast changes of the MIN SHUTTER SPEED settings:

        The changing of the MINIMUM SHUTTER SPEED (and also Maximum sensitivity setting) is in fact hidden in the deep parts of the menu. You need more than 10 (!) actions on buttons and/or dials to reach this setting in the menu on a standard way through the menu structure.

        I prize highly the comfort & refinement of Nikon’s Auto ISO and I use both non-stabilized prime lenses as well as VR-zooms on my D800. Thus, a fast change of the min shutter speed setting is very important to me. My present solution is:
        – SHOOTING BANK A = ‘Zoom with VR’ (min shutter speed set to ‘slower than standard’ )
        – SHOOTING BANK B = ‘Prime without VR’ (min shutter speed set to ‘faster than standard’)
        – MY MENU on a dedicated programmable button
        – SHOOTING MENU BANK on the first position in MY MENU
        If your priority for the fast and convenient changes of the camera settings is the same as my (ISO and appropriate min shutter speed on the top of the list), I recommend to customize the camera according to the above scheme. Then you can switch between two pre-programmed min shutter speeds very quickly (you need just 3 button-press-actions to confirm your choice). With the same customization of the SHOOTING BANKs but without implementing the way throught MY MENU (you have to start with the info-button in this case), you’ll need at least 5 button-press-actions to switch between two min shutter speed settings.

        In low light situations I usually shoot with my fast primes. Therefore I set my SHOOTING BANK C for HIGH ISO. It’s the same as the SHOOTING BANK B above but with higher ISO sensitivity setting than my standard preset in Auto ISO for common daylight situations.

        [For all who don’t shoot movies: See my response #79 above for faster changes of the ISO-settings.]

        I hope, it helps


  50. 50) Michal Pfeil
    December 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Have you done any testing and comparison between the three RAW recording modes on the D800? Also do you always shoot in Lossless and why if so? Always curious about the three modes and if there is any significant difference between them. Thank you.

  51. 51) Pierre
    January 2, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Nasim, may I add another tip? During playback, I like being able to scroll quickly through the images with the Main command dial. To do that, go to the f9 setting: Custom setting menu -> Controls -> Customise command dials -> Menus and playback -> On.

  52. 52) Curious
    July 13, 2015 at 3:43 am

    I have problem when I shoot with Manual mode with Nikon D800. I set my aperture and shutter speed but it changes automatically after I take first shot. I set exposure perfectly and then after shooting aperture stays same but shutter speed changes constantly which makes exposure terrible for next pictures. What would be solution for this? I do not want that Nikon D800 would change automatically setting but keep for example F 2.8 with shutter speed 1/80 if I do not change them myself manually. Thank you for this helpful setting guide!

    • 52.1) William Jones
      July 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

      Check how you are holding the camera, and make sure you don’t have any fingers on any of the wheels while you are shooting. I have accidentally changed settings while shooting because I moved my fingers onto a wheel. Also, as an experiment, put the camera on a tripod, make a note of the settings (Manual mode, Shutter speed, f-stop, ISO), and have a fixed subject (where light will not change). Carefully take a # of pictures, pressing ONLY the shutter button (reach from above, or use a remote trigger if you have). Check the settings to see if they changed. If they did not, then I would believe you are somehow rotating a wheel while you are holding the camera. If the settings do change during the above test, then I think you have a problem with the camera (unless someone else has any other suggestions).

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