- • a3: Dynamic AF area
- • a4: Focus tracking with lock on
- • a5: AF activation
- • a9: Built-in AF assist illuminator
- • C3: Self timer delay
- • d2: Viewfinder grid display
- • e3: Flash cntrl for built-in flash
- • Non-CPU lens data
- • NEF (RAW) recording
- • Long exp. NR
- • Lock mirror up for cleaning
- • Multiple exposures
- • ISO sensitivity auto control
- • Image Review
Custom settings menu
- a1: AF-C Priority selection: Release (unchanged default). As far back as I can remember Nikon photographers have been debating over the release versus focus issue of this option. Personally I have always used the “release” option and still do.
- a2: AF-S Priority selection: Focus (unchanged default). I don’t use this option so I leave the factory setting as is.
- a3: Dynamic AF area: 21 or 51 with 3D-Tracking. I have this option also available in the My Menu for easy access. For the majority of my shooting though, I use 21-points.
- a4: Focus tracking with lock on: Normal (unchanged default).
- a5: AF activation: AF-ON. This is an option that many photographers hesitate to try or simply find it hard to decide what’s best. For auto-focusing I use the AF-ON button on the back of the camera simply because it offers me the best of both worlds. Both AF (continuous and single mode) and MF are at my finger tips without removing my eyes from the viewfinder. 1) I can pre-focus using AF and then recompose after I have released my thumb from the AF-ON button, 2) I can focus manually simply by not using the AF-ON button (AFS & AFI lenses) and 3) I can track focus the subject while pressing the AF-ON button continuously. I should point out though that I primarily use AF for action since I still love the control that MF offers me (most of my focusing is done manually). I also need to point out that for this to work as advertised; you will have to have the AF mode selector on the front of the camera set to Continuous all the time which in itself is another advantage, since you don’t need to bother with that switch again. (more on AF setup here)
- a6: AF point illumination: Off. I turn this feature off, I’m not sure why, I seem to want a clean and less distracting viewfinder.
- a7: Focus point wrap-around: No wrap.
- a8: AF point selection: 51 Points. When I first got the camera and was thumbing my way through all 51 points, I thought to myself what a big waste of time and energy to get to certain part of the frame. This option doesn’t affect AF, but rather reduces the points available making it faster to select the initial focusing point. Great if you regularly select points, but I find I don’t use it. Landscapers might not find the a8 setting too helpful either since they may want to have all 51 points available as well.
- a9: Built-in AF assist illuminator: Off. I prefer this in the off position mainly because I shoot wildlife and I rather not have any lights going off when I least expect it. If I ever do need it (shooting in a dark pub for instance) I can have easy access to it since I have included it in the “My Menu” menu.
- a10: AF-ON for MB-D10: AF-ON (unchanged default). Since I use the AF-ON in the landscape orientation, I obviously would use it for the portrait orientation as well.
- b1: ISO sensitivity step value: 1/3 STOP (unchanged default)
- b2: EV steps for exposure control: 1/3 STOP (unchanged default)
- b3: Exp comp/fine tune: 1/3 STOP (unchanged default)
- b4: Easy exposure compensation: ON (Auto Reset). I have used this feature a lot and find it very handy and love it while using it.
- b5: Center-weighted area: 8mm (unchanged default). I use center weighted a lot and sometimes find myself selecting 6mm for this option.
- b6: Fine tune optimal exposure: (Unchanged default). There are a lot of unreliable reports that the D300 overexposes and that it should be corrected by utilizing some form of correction. I haven’t found this to be true, but offer this explanation for those reports. Unlike previous models from Nikon, the new version of Matrix metering in the D300 (and most probably all cameras after it) will try to utilize the right side of the histogram by exposing as much to the right as it thinks the subject will allow in an attempt to try and avoid the noise zone. It seems to also be utilizing some form of smart gamma correction on individual color channels as well. So in effect the new camera does not produce overexposed images, but brighter images. And this is the preferred result to get from a camera since reducing the brightness or correcting the black point in post processing produces cleaner files compared to trying the opposite of lightening up the shadows which intensifies noise. So before you go and use this correction tool, make sure your camera is actually overexposing - which means it is burning beyond correction needed highlights (not spectral highlights). I would like to remind you that my remarks are for RAW based shooting.
- c1: Shutter-release button AE-L: OFF (unchanged default)
- c2: Auto meter-off delay: 6 seconds (unchanged default)
- c3: Self-timer delay: 10 seconds (unchanged default). I use this option often to change from longer settings to shorter settings, so I have included this setting in the “My menu” menu.
- c4: Monitor off delay: 20sec (unchanged default). 20 seconds feel about right, and what I find myself doing now is tap the shutter as soon as I’m finished reviewing to turn off the LCD screen.
- d1: Beep: OFF. This is one setting which with all my previous cameras I had always chosen the off option mainly because I shoot wildlife and I rather not have any beeps going off when I least expect it.
- d2: Viewfinder grid display: OFF (unchanged default). I have always desired a clean and unobtrusive viewfinder so why ruin a good view by using the grid. The only time I use this is when shooting a scape. This is why I have placed this setting in the “My menu” menu.
- d3: Viewfinder warning display: ON (unchanged default).
- d4: CL mode shooting speed: 4 FPS.
- d5: Max. continuous release: 100 (unchanged default). I only shoot RAW, so this doesn’t affect my 17 frame limit (@8fps).
- d6: File Number sequence: ON (unchanged default). This is another of those options I have always set to on as soon as I get the camera. It just gives me a rough indication of the number of shutter actuations fired just by looking at the file name.
- d7: Shooting info display: Auto (unchanged default)
- d8: LCD illumination: Off (unchanged default).
- d9: Exposure delay mode: Off (unchanged default). If you do landscapes without a cable release, this may interest you. The mirror goes up and the shutter actuation happens seconds later giving a chance for any mirror vibrations to settle first. I don’t use it since I still have my old MC-20 cable combined with the M-up selection.
- d10: MB-D10 battery type: Ni-MH. The AA battery holder of the MB-D10 has put my rechargeable flash batteries back in heavy use providing me with 8fps.
- d11: Battery order: MB-D10 (unchanged default). Obviously you want to deplete the batteries in the pack first.
- e1: Flash sync speed: 1/250 Auto FP
- e2: Flash shutter speed: 1/60 (unchanged default)
- e3: Flash control for built-in flash: COMMANDER. I usually have the Built In flash set to Commamder mode with the following settings for starting off: TTL -0.7 and groups A and B set to TTL at zero compensation. I have placed this setting in “My menu” for easy access.
- e4: Modeling Flash: OFF
- e5: Auto bracketing set: AE/Flash (unchanged default)
- e6: Auto bracketing (Manual mode): Flash/Speed (unchanged default)
- e7: Bracket order: Meter/Under/Over (unchanged default)
- f1: Multi selector center button: Playback/Zoom/Low
- f2: Multi-selector: Off (unchanged default)
- f3: Photo info/playback: Off (unchanged default)
- f4: Assign FUNC button: Flash off (Function button + dials = OFF)
- f5: Assign preview button: Flash value lock (Preview + Command dials = OFF)
- f6: Assign AE-L/AF-L button: Spot (AE-L/AF-L + Command dials = OFF)
- f7: Customize command dials: Reverse rotation/on, Change main sub/on, Aperture setting/on, Menus & playback/off. I never liked the orientation of the dials and especially the exposure graph. They both seemed wrong, so I was especially happy that now I can have those things changed to my liking. I can reverse the rotation of the command dials so their rotation matches the direction of the graph (see f10 below). This means when using Manual exposure mode, rotating either dial towards the right (away from the lens) will add exposure and left (towards the lens) will reduce the exposure. These adjustments add to a more natural way of using the camera.
- f8: Release button to use dial: Off (unchanged default)
- f9: No memory card: Lock. Have you ever in the past shot an event on a film camera only to find out there was no film in the camera or that it didn’t wind on the taking spool? Well with most digital cameras, those fears have disappeared unless you leave this setting at its default setting! So if you don’t want to start shooting an important event with no memory card in the camera set this to Lock.
- f10: Reverse indicators: -0+. I love this option! I now can reverse the exposure graph so that it reads in the more natural way of starting from minus on the left and gaining positive values towards the right.