D300s Whats the best settings

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by nigel_gibbs, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Hi I have just brought the Nikkon D300s.
    With A AF s Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5:6 G VR SWM ED if lens.
    And a AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens.
    And a SB 600 flash.
    I am new to digital cameras and was wondering what the best settings are for this camera any advice would be welcome.
  2. This is a *very* good reference.......
  3. In the end, there are no best settings per se. You need to find out what settings to use to actualize your vision and workflow. Use anyone's recommendation as a starting point, but experiment, evaluate results, and customize the settings to suit yourself. The point behind all those choices is to make images that are your own. Start from the defaults and see where it takes you.
  4. Shoot RAW and post process. You may also look at setting the white balance if auto is not giving good results. I have Thom Hogan's manual for the D700 and there is good information about many things in it. I think it is a good purchase.
  5. Shoot RAW and post process.​
    As far as I know, Raw can't rescue out of focus shots. Check this thread and you will see what I mean:
  6. Are you new to photography or just DSLR cameras?
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    There is no such thing as "best" settings; otherwise Nikon would have just provided those "best" settings and that is the end of the story. It is a matter of personal preferences and what type of subject you are shooting at the moment. In other words, I change my settings depending on what I am shooting; I have different settings for sports, children, landscape, wedding ....
    Anyone with a camera at the D300S level should always keep a RAW file just in case you need it. If you find RAW difficult to deal with initially since you are new to digital photography, shoot RAW + JPEG fine so that you have the best of both worlds.
    Two settings I would pay attention to first are Custom Settings a1 and a2. A lot of auto focus issues are due to wrong focus priority and release priority expectations.
    Thom Hogan's D300S guide would be a good place to start. I was one of the volunteers proofreaders for his original D300 guide, but that was not a paid job and I have no financial relationship with him. Hogan is very thorough and has a lot of good advices for people who are new to digital. If anything, he may be providing too much information than you need.
  8. I am new to digital cameras​
    A "guide book" is in your future. Notice they are called (Guide) books; not ("You gotta' set it this way") books. :)
    The operational manuals that come with DSLR's are a wealth of info for people who understand how DSLR's work and experienced users who also know how to interpret the oft poor translation from one language to another. LOL
    As a beginner, start with the basics; right? Program mode.
    After a while you will ask yourself "Hmm, I wonder what this feature does?" At that point you dig in and focus your efforts in finding out.
    As one of many examples:
    (FV Lock) on the D-300/D-300s is a wonder button many beginners overlook. That's ok for now as you have your hands full learning such a feature rich camera. Later; you'll look at this feature again and say "How did I live w/o it."
  9. This is the first camera I have owned for years my wife uses a Nikkon F801 film camera.
    thx for all you advice
  10. Get the byThom guide!
    Also, for free, google "Ken Rockwell D300 Users Guide". Ken is a blowhard but his guides are very good.
  11. All of the guides and books mentioned above are excellent sources for learning how to technically use your camera. To learn how to take pictures, I recommend the book "Understand Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. You will learn that there's probably 6-8 technically correct ways to take a specific picture but understanding which is the best way is what's really hard.
  12. This is the first camera I have owned for years my wife uses a Nikkon F801 film camera.
    thx for all you advice​
    I own a few N8008s for decades before switching to dslr. With the N8008s, I know it inside out and can get it to do exactly what I want in a variety of shooting situations. But not so with the dslr. The 300+ page manual is difficult to digest. Even after several reading and months of experiment, I only begin to gain confidence that I'm controlling the dslr for a few limited shooting situations, and not vice versa. The &%$#* manual is a nuisance to carry around, but I won't leave home without it.
    Be afraid, be very afraid.
  13. Another useful avenue for the visual learner is youtube. search Nikon d300 tutorial and your own your way. I glanced at this and thought it was nicely done:
    The hardest part in my opinion are guides are a compromise because often the question is not "how do I" but often "why would I" e.g. why would I shoot in single frame mode instead of "CH.'' Or why would I shoot in spot rather than matrix.
    So follow the advice given above: start out with simple settings like P mode etc. and spend time just getting comfortable with mechanics. And than ask yourself a question like why would I shoot in A mode. Once you do this for the major functions you will feel comfortable enough to have a ton of fun. Going from a 801 to a 300 is quite a jump. On the other hand light is light the shutter speed/ aperture interaction has not changed so your previous knowledge will serve you well.
  14. Nigel, the camera will work very will with its default settings from the factory. Shooting in P mode will allow you to shoot without worry for most common shooting situations. The flash will not pop up automatically though. This is a starting point. Beyond that, there are numerous good recommendations above.
    Good luck with your new camera!
  15. Lets see...D300s and
    I am new to digital cameras and was wondering what the best settings are for this camera​
    This screams trouble to me. so, here's my suggestion:
    1. Go buy a guide on SLR cameras...something that explains how ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture affect your final results. Your wife shoots a film SLR, so she will be a great resource for this, but I still recommend a book. It doesn't have to be specific to the D300s, but you'll want one that is eventually. READ IT COVER TO COVER, then READ IT AGAIN
    2. Go practice what you've learned. Start in Manual mode...you'll want to be able to change both Aperture and shutter speed. You can practice with ISO 200 or 400, but eventually you'll want to play with this also. Don't expect great results until you get the hang of what makes a good photo and how to get it with your tools.
    3. Go buy "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Read it, then read it again...you should read this book at least once a year. This book explains what "artistically correct" exposure is, (there's really only one)... rather than just "correct exposure", (which there are infinite combinations of).
    4. Practice some more.
    5. NOW buy a guide specific to the D300s. The byThom Guide is great. Read it...rinse, repeat.
    6. Practice as you go with this book...you've got a lot to learn about your camera and there are settings you will rarely use, but it'll be nice to know how to use them before you need them.
    7. SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT - This is a complicated, pro-level camera and, once you learn how to use it, a tool you will find invaluable.
    You've made a great purchase, not learn to use it and make great photos.
  16. I am going to take this question in the spirit that it was asked and answer it objectively.
    I have been shooting Tri-X, HP-5, Kodachrome-64, Kodachrome-200, various Ektachromes, and Fujis through Leicas and Nikons for over 35 years. For the past two years I have been experimenting with d300, mostly with a single manual focus prime lens. Like many, I have been lamenting the demise of Kodachromes. However, recently I have come to the conclusion that d300 at 400ASA, shooting in RAW at -1.7 to -2.5x underexposure in bright sun, with aperture priority auto, comes closest to Kodachrome 64 on Leica M6.
  17. I am new to digital cameras and was wondering what the best settings are for this camera.​
    The most important settings are "ON" and "POINTING AT STUFF." After that is the RAW setting (or RAW+JPEG if shooting only in RAW is intimidating) and the BLINKING HIGHLIGHTS warning.
    Start in auto-everything mode (green).
    When you're ready, try shooting in A mode. Experiment with different f-stops (4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, etc.) to see how they affect the exposure and the look of the image. Learn how to vary the the exposure with the exposure compensation control.
    Next , try shutting off auto-ISO. It's useful in some cases (as when you're firing rapidly in changing light), but if you always leave it on it could hamper your understanding of exposure. Learn to tell when a low ISO setting (200) is best and when you need a higher setting (800 or 1600).
    Learn how to view the histogram. Learn what it means if the histogram is pressed up against the left or right margin.
    Now, try to choose your own White Balance from one of the presets. In several different types of light shoot with the preset you picked, and then shoot the same shot with Auto white balance to see how they differ. Who chose the best WB, you or the camera?
    Try different photo optimization modes: Standard, Vivid, etc. See how they work on your subjects in various lighting conditions.
    Try using flash and learn how to vary the intensity of the light with Flash Compensation.
    Learn how to use Mirror Lock Up. Learn how to use the self-timer. Learn how to capture video.
    Learn what all of those confusing autofocus settings do (switches on the front and back of the camera plus more controls in the menus). That ought to blow your mind for a little while!
    So many settings, so little time.

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