Best Setting for the Zoo?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by emmanuel_tangonan, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. I am a new Nikon user and just recently bought a Nikon D7100 with a AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. I am new to all the different kinds of setting and effects the camera has, and I was wondering what the best setting was for taking pictures at the zoo of all the animals and my family. I just would like to get the best quality pictures for a day at the zoo with my family. Thank you for your kind consideration.
  2. For someone new to DSLR photography, I would recommend the following.
    • P exposure mode
    • Auto ISO
    • Auto White Balance
    • Standard picture style
    • AF-S Single Shot Auto Focus
    • JPEG Fine/Large file size and quality
    Experienced photographers will use different settings, but this is a good start for beginners.
  3. If you're totally new to cameras in general, or at least non-automatic ones, Dan is right.
    If you have a little background in film, etc. then I'd choose to set the ISO yourself, high for dark areas, slow (ISO 100-200) for ordinary light.
    If you think the pictures will turn out to be keepers, it would be awfully nice to have RAW files too, but that will require more card storage space than even large JPEGs.
  4. Try to avoid bright sunlight because of the harsh shadows. If you can find open shade, like under a large tree, that would help. Usually an overcasts day is best. Here in Los Angeles, the mornings have been overcast, then the rest of the day is bright sunlight.
  5. Thank you Dan, JDM and Michael
    for your responses.I really
    appreciate it. What about indoor
    and no flash is allowed.Thank
  6. "Try to avoid bright sunlight because of the harsh shadows"
    Shadows can be the key to great images, otherwise they can look rather 'flat' Also, you don't always have control of where your subject is, especially at the zoo. In any case, the D7100 and easily handle shadows which can be adjusted as needed in post processing.
    I like Dan's setup, but would recommend the following modifications:
    I would shoot in M Exposure mode, rather than P, this way you have full control over your aperture and shutter speed 100% of the time. Auto ISO will handle the exposure for you and unless you are very off in your settings, for example a very high or very low shutter speeds, you will get perfect exposures every time.
    Also, I would shoot RAW/JPG, so you can make corrections to any special images that may have issues. You can better correct major issues such as (but not limited to) exposure, sharpening, noise and white balance with a RAW file.
    The D7000 is a gem of a camera - enjoy!
  7. Emmanuel, if you don't already know it, here's a great resource to learn the particulars of your D7100:
  8. What's the advantage of P over A for beginners? With A, you pick the aperture but with auto-ISO and auto-WB, it's no different from P.
  9. For a beginner the advantage of P over A is that the camera chooses the best aperture/shutter combination. Most beginners do not know enough about apertures to use A. I have taught beginning photography and I can attest that for many they never advance from the fully Auto setting that some cameras have. And that setting works well 80-95% of the time if they understand the basics of composition, lighting, setting picture controls, and using proper shooting techniques.
    I suggest you google Cambridge photo tutorials. These are excellent tutorials for beginning photographers. A zoo is a great place to practice your photo techniques.
    For best quality, I suggest you get a monopod and use it with your camera. It will produce sharper pictures for you. Attach the camera to it with an Arca Swiss plate; Wimberley makes one. Add a small ball head that takes arca swiss plates like those made by Kirk Enterprises or Really Right Stuff.
    Joe Smith
  10. it


    there is no "zoo" setting
  11. I agree with Dan. I believe 'P' will give you good results 95 % of the time. If you know what you are doing and like to blur your backgrounds, 'A' would be the way to go for 97% of the time.
    I purchased my D300 in September of 2008. For the first 6 months I left the camera in 'P' mode. Then I went to 'A' mode where I lived with my FE for 30 years.
    When I shoot office parties I go to 'M' mode. The lighting and various clothing brightness just totally messes up 'A' mode.
    Good luck - Mark
  12. What about indoor and no flash is allowed​
    This is where you turn off the automatic ISO and set ISO to as high as is necessary to get the shot.
    The trade-off is that there will be more "noise" in the image, and that will show up more in large enlargements. On the other hand, you get the picture, which many of us consider more important.
    Here is an ISO 3200 picture taken on a first-generation 35mm-sized sensor. The inset shows how more 'noise' is visible at a larger view.

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