Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P16

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P16

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Complete Guide to the Nikon D200- P16:As with all my books, a full draft was reviewed by volunteers to weed out unclear language and misstatements. This book is better because of them.

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  1. V1.03 Recommendation: 1. A good idea, but not fully fleshed out. There are more things I’d like to be warned about than shooting in black and white. And I’d like to control which warnings would appear and which wouldn’t (otherwise you could end up with a lot of overlay icons in the image area). Most users should probably leave the warnings enabled. Custom Setting #D4 Continuous Low Shooting Speed (CL-Mode Shooting Speed) The D200 is a responsive camera. In either of the continuous frame advance settings the camera can rattle off a burst of more images than you might expect from a single shutter press. Continuous High always shoots at 5 fps. But you can vary the speed at which Continuous Low operates: 4fps 4 frames per second 3fps 3 frames per second [default] 2fps 2 frames per second 1fps 1 frame per second Recommendation: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 451
  2. V1.03 1. Keep your camera set at one of the lower speeds (I leave mine set at 1 fps). This gives you a continuous shooting option that doesn’t chew through card space and for which it’s easy to keep count of how many images you’re taking (at 3 fps and above you’ll lose track quickly). It also means you’re less likely to jab the shutter release hard and get multiple shots. Custom Setting #D5 Shutter Delay (Exposure Delay Mode) Like the Mirror-up function (M-Up frame advance setting), this option is used to reduce vibrations or camera shake caused by the shutter press. When activated, the camera flips the mirror up immediately upon shutter release, and then opens the shutter about 0.4 seconds later (the mirror is lowered after the shot). Off camera works normally [default] On mirror lifted 0.4 seconds before shutter opens Recommendations: 1. Remember that exposure will be calculated before the mirror goes up. 2. Likewise, flash exposures are calculated before the mirror goes up, so you’ll see a preflash on pressing the shutter release, then the main flash 0.4 seconds later when the shutter opens. For most subjects, that’s probably okay, but be careful of subjects that will be startled by the preflash. Some people will blink in response to the preflash and have their eyes closed at the main flash. Some insects and animals will bolt on the preflash. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 452
  3. V1.03 3. In general, I prefer this function to the M-Up frame advance function when I’m handholding the camera and not using a wired remote. The timed shutter lag also works best for static subjects (some people and animals react to hearing the mirror flip). I use M-Up when my camera is on a tripod, using a remote release, and trying to precisely time the actual picture taking for a particular moment (e.g. in macro shots trying to time when the wind stops blowing the flower). Custom Setting #D6 File Number Sequence (File Number Sequence) You may remember from the section on filenames (see page < 169>) that the D200 has two basic capabilities for naming H files: file numbers are reset to 0001 by a number of actions (formatting, new card, new folder, etc.), or they aren’t reset until you hit 9999. This is where you set that behavior: Off File numbering always resets to 0001 [default] On File numbering picks up after last number Reset Same as Off but number immediately reset to highest file number in the current folder plus 1. Recommendations: 1. Set this option to On, otherwise you’ll end up with a lot of DSC_0001 duplicate filenames on your computer, and if you aren’t disciplined about renaming files or checking for overwrites, you could easily lose images. 2. If for some reason you need to set file numbering to a specific value, use the Reset option for this setting, then put a file with a file name one less than where you want Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 453
  4. V1.03 to start numbering into the appropriate folder on your memory card (has to be the active folder), insert that card into the camera, then immediately set this option back to On. Custom Setting #D7 LCD Illumination Control (LCD Illumination) The top LCD has a yellow-green backlighting that makes it easier to see at night. To preserve power, the backlighting isn’t applied unless you specifically tell it to. By default, that is done by turning the Power switch to the illumination icon (just past the On position), which provides backlighting for about six seconds. You can change this behavior: Off Backlighting controlled by power switch [default] On Backlighting occurs when meter is active Recommendations: 1. Nikon has made a change since the D2: the alternate setting on the D2 series was triggered by pressing any button on the camera (shutter release partway, and of the control buttons), and was of limited duration (6 seconds). Now, the system simply looks at if the camera is active (metering) and backlights the LCD during the entire time the camera is active. For some heavy-handed users (or if you have #C3 set high), that can be very long periods of time. The drawback is that battery consumption is increased by this backlighting, and it is already high when the camera is active. Thus, I say you should only set this control for situational conditions (i.e. when you need it). All other times it should be Off. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 454
  5. V1.03 2. Most people don’t realize it, but this function is also linked to external Speedlight LCDs, and it works both ways. If you set backlighting to be On for the SB-800 using its options, that setting is applied to the camera, too! Indeed, since I’m usually shooting with a flash on the camera at night, I simply leave backlighting set on my SB- 800 and leave the camera’s #D7 option set to Off. Just remember that you’ve done this. Custom Setting #D8 Battery Type in MB-D200 (MB-D200 Battery Type) If you use AA batteries in the optional MB-D200, you need to tell the camera what type they are. That’s because different types of batteries not only have different voltages, but they also change voltage at different rates as they expire: LR6 (Alkaline) Use for AA Alkaline batteries [default] HR6 (Ni-MH) Use for rechargeable AA Nickle-Metal Hydride batteries FR6 (Lithium) Use for AA lithium batteries, such as the Eveready Lithium series ZR6 (Ni-Mn) Use for AA Nickle-Manganese batteries (rare) Recommendation: 1. You must set this function if you use AA batteries in the MB-D200; otherwise you won’t get accurate and reliable power indication. In some cases, the camera could report the battery exhausted when it is isn’t. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 455
  6. V1.03 2. You don’t have to set this function if you use EN-EL3e batteries in the MB-D200; the D200 detects those automatically. 3. So what type of battery should you use in the MB-D200? EN-EL3e batteries are the first choice, by far. First, they’re rechargeable, which is good for the environment. But they’ll also provide the longest shooting time and ultimately do so at the lowest expense. Using AA batteries in the MB-D200 is there as an emergency capability, in my opinion. Thus, you use what you’ve got. For me, that’s NiMH batteries, since I’m always carrying extras for use in my flash units. Lithium AA batteries are expensive, and disposing of lithium isn’t exactly something you want to do regularly—it’s not a great environmental friend, though it’s better than some of the other materials batteries have been made of. Alkaline AA batteries are cheap and ubiquitous, but they won’t last as long as NiMH or Lithium batteries. Custom Setting #E1 Flash Top Sync Speed (Flash Sync Speed) I’m not entirely sure why Nikon thought it useful to include this function. There is one useful aspect to the setting that I can see, but I can’t think of any time I might want to set my flash sync speed to 1/80. 1/250 1/250 second lower limit [default] 1/250 (Auto FP) 1/250 second lower limit, plus TTL FP with SB-800 at shutter speeds over 1/250 1/200 1/200 second lower limit 1/160 1/160 second lower limit 1/125 1/125 second lower limit etc. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 456
  7. V1.03 Recommendations: 1. The most interesting use of this function is to restrict an external SB-800 from going into TTL FP flash mode at shutter speeds above 1/250. TTL FP uses short repeating th bursts of flash, and has a maximum power of about 1/8 that of normal i-TTL. Moreover, some photographers feel that the burst of the TTL FP system makes for slightly different edge definition on moving subjects. If you have an SB-800 and TTL flash isn’t working at shutter speeds above 1/250 (the SB-800’s LCD also won’t show TTL FP), this is the setting to check. Bookmark that in your brain, because it’ll come up some day, especially if you reset Custom Settings banks. 2. I said I couldn’t think of a reason to include the slower shutter speed limits. That’s not true. One reason would be to force the D200 to operate like a backup camera, which might not have the same top flash sync speed. With two cameras shooting the same scene with slightly different shutter speeds you can get different edge effects on moving objects, which you might not want (if you had two photographers covering a wedding, for example, and were trying to seamlessly integrate the pictures). Still, that’s a pretty weak reason to use this function (and it would probably mean you’d need to be shooting in Shutter-priority exposure mode, as in Program and Aperture-priority you’d be getting the other end of the shutter speed range). Custom Setting #E2 Flash Shutter Speed Barrier (Slowest Speed When Using Flash) The section on flash that comes later in the eBook (see “Setting Flash Options” on page < 494>) describes an option H Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 457
  8. V1.03 called Slow Sync. Essentially, the camera places a lower limit on the shutter speed that can be used when flash is active unless you tell it to ignore that limit. Custom Setting #E2 allows you to modify the limit (and the Slow Sync option allows you to remove the limit): 1/60 1/60 second lower limit [default] 1/30 1/30 second lower limit 1/15 1/15 second lower limit 1/8 1/8 second lower limit 1/4 1/4 second lower limit Recommendations: 1. I believe everyone should set at least 1/30. Nikon’s 1/60 default is very conservative, and will cause problems in most indoor lighting situations (for the reason why, read the full flash section). 2. I personally set 1/15 because I know I can usually hand hold the camera to that level when using flash as I describe, and it’s the slowest speed where subject motion in the ambient exposure doesn’t become a constant problem (it may be a bit of a problem at 1/15, but I watch for that). Custom Setting #E3 Flash Mode for Internal Flash (Built-in Flash Mode) I wish Nikon had set flash mode up differently (e.g. put the flash mode control into the Flash Pop-up button in conjunction with the command dials). Because buried down in the Custom Settings menus, and requiring multiple settings Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 458
  9. V1.03 for some functions, partially negates a very useful feature. Nikon needed a way to control what method the internal flash uses when it’s popped up, and this is where we set that. Just be forewarned that this gets a little involved (especially if you haven’t read the flash section that starts on page yet): TTL TTL used for flash mode [default] Manual Manual flash mode Repeating Flash Repeating flash mode Commander Mode Internal flash used to control other flashes If you set Manual Flash, you also need to select a power setting (see the section on Internal Manual flash on page < 507> for GNs): H If you set Repeating Flash, you also need to set the power setting (suddenly renamed Output in this menu by Nikon), the number of times to repeat the flash during the shot, and the interval at which the flash is repeated. This is a little complex to figure out, as there’s an interaction between your shutter speed, Times, and Interval that potentially gives you Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 459
  10. V1.03 something other than you want (see my Recommendations, below): If you set Commander Mode, you’re telling the camera that want to use the internal flash for wireless flash control. You then need to set the flash mode and flash exposure compensation for each and every flash group, including the internal flash (I’ll have more to say about this in the section on wireless flash on page < 511>): H Recommendations: 1. If you’re going to use Repeating Flash, start by first establishing a shutter speed you’re going to use. Let’s say your shutter speed will be 1/60. Next, use Interval to determine how many flashes will be fired a second. An interval of 1Hz means 1 times a second, so we need to divide the lower value of our shutter speed (60) into this, which tells us that we could have as many as 1 flash while the shutter is open, which obviously isn’t going to generate a “repeating” flash effect. By contrast, if your shutter speed was 1/2 and your Interval was 10hz, you could get as many as 5 flashes into your shot. You’ll need to jigger your shutter speed and Interval until you get a Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 460
  11. V1.03 meaningful potential set of repetitions. Finally, set Times to a value less than or equal to what you just calculated. 2. Commander Mode may be where you want to leave your camera set if you sometimes use wireless flash. That’s because you can still run the internal flash just on its own for TTL at this setting. You have to set the flash exposure compensation in this CSM rather than using the Flash Options button and Front Command dial on the camera, though. And you need to be aware that you’ll extend the preflash sequence a bit because the camera has to look for other groups, so this might not be a good idea if you’re shooting people or things that react to light. But for someone like me, who tends to shoot static objects (scenics) and often, but not always, uses multiple flashes, leaving my D200 set to Commander Mode with my usual settings actually saves me a lot of time and fumbling in the field (especially since it’s usually around dawn or dusk when I’m shooting with flash). 3. If you use visual slaves to trigger studio lighting, try leaving your D200 set at Manual flash mode at 1/128 power. That’s generally not enough flash to do much more than produce a minor catchlight effect on your models, but it’s usually enough to trigger you main studio lighting. Custom Setting #E4 DOF Preview Triggers Modeling Flash (Preview Button Activates Modeling Flash) The internal flash, SB-600, and SB-800 have a modeling light, which triggers the flash to rapidly pulse the flash at low power. This is handy for seeing how lighting hits your subject and what shadows might be triggered. I find this especially useful for estimating shadows in macro photography with flash. Normally, you’d have to reach all the way up onto the flash and press the modeling light button to trigger this function (and you’d have no way of doing it all on the internal flash or SB-600), but this custom setting allows you to not move your hand positions to trigger the modeling light: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 461
  12. V1.03 On DOF Preview button triggers modeling light [default] Off DOF Preview button does not trigger modeling light Recommendations: 1. Leave it On unless you’re in some situation where you need the DOF Preview and don’t want your subject to be startled by flash. 2. Two types of photographers get the most benefit out of this setting: (a) those who work with flash in a flash bracket or further off camera (they can’t always conveniently press the SB-800’s Modeling Light button); and (b) macro shooters who are trying to evaluate how shadows and depth of field interact. 3. Surprise, surprise. The SB-600, which does not have a modeling light button, does have a modeling light function. I had initially missed that paragraph in the SB- 600 manual, but the D2x’s manual made me test it: it works, both on the D2 series and D200. Custom Setting #E5 Exposure Bracketing Method (Auto Bracketing Set) Exposure bracketing can be performed entirely with ambient exposure (e.g. altering aperture or shutter speed), with flash exposure (e.g. using flash exposure compensation), or both. This setting allows you to choose how the camera performs this bracketing (it also enables white balance bracketing): AE & Flash If a Speedlight is attached, exposure bracketing is performed by using both Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 462
  13. V1.03 flash exposure compensation and 113 ambient exposure alteration [default] F AE Only Bracketing is performed using only ambient exposure alteration Flash Only Bracketing is performed using only flash exposure compensation WB Bracketing White balance is bracketed instead of exposure Recommendations: 1. This “feature” catches many users by surprise. Or it just puzzles them. But changing exposure via flash exposure compensation doesn’t look the same as changing it via ambient exposure compensation. This is especially true if you’ve set flash mode options such as Slow Sync. The default setting is okay, but generally is not what all users want. I tend to leave my D200 on AE Only, as I’m using Standard TTL and setting my own flash compensation value. If you use Balanced Fill-Flash, strongly consider leaving the default set. 2. White balance bracketing is an interesting option, though Nikon doesn’t document it nearly well enough, and it would be more helpful if we saw real Kelvin values, not cryptic –1 and +1 indicators. Also, you only press the shutter release once when WB Bracketing is set (unlike bracketing for exposure compensation). You still get your full number of shots, though, each with a different white balance setting. If you’re wondering which white balance 113 Aperture and shutter speed changes are used for ambient exposure alteration. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 463
  14. V1.03 values are used, well, you need a white balance table handy to figure it out (see Page < 280>). Even then, in H Nikon’s documentation it’s not clear what happens. What if, for example, you want a bracket value of +2 but you’re already set at, say, Flash +2 114? Also, note that the F camera doesn’t bracket white balance when WB Bracketing is set if you are taking NEF images (it won’t even allow you to make bracketing active). In short: kudos for the idea; thumbs down for the execution. 3. If you use Manual exposure mode and are considering setting Flash Only, see the next Custom Setting (#E6) for a better option. Custom Setting #E6 Manual Exposure Mode Bracketing (Auto Bracketing in M Exposure Mode) If you’ve elected to have bracketing change the ambient exposure (any AE value in Custom Setting #E5), you also can specify which parameters get bracketed in Manual exposure mode: Flash/Speed Flash (if active and set in CSM #E5) and shutter speed are varied [default] Flash/Speed/Aperture Flash (if active and set in CSM #E5), shutter speed, and aperture are varied Flash/Aperture Flash (if active and set in CSM #E5) and aperture are varied 114 I’ll answer it: you get Flash +4! What the heck is that? Well, each white balance increment (other than in Fluorescent, where who knows what happens due to the channel imbalances introduced) is 10 MIRED (MicroREciprocal Degree, a way of calculating color temperature). The footnote in the manual about MIRED is trying to be helpful, and is better than the footnote in previous Nikon DSLR manuals (p.37), but still a bit unclear. Amusingly, Nikon only gives you a way of calculating MIRED from the color temperature difference, and not vice versa, which is what you need. (I’m wondering if the source for this is page 43 of my Nikon Field Guide). Put a more useful way, each 10 MIRED shift is equivalent to using an 81 or 82 filter (depends upon which way you’re going). A 20 MIRED shift is like an 81A or 82A, a 30 MIRED shift is like an 81B or 82B, etc. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 464
  15. V1.03 Flash Only Ambient bracketing is not done; only the flash value is varied Recommendations: 1. Which option you choose probably depends upon what kind of photographer you are. Sports photographers are likely to pick Flash/Aperture to preserve shutter speeds, while others are more likely to pick Flash/Speed to preserve aperture and depth of field. 2. Flash/Speed/Aperture really is of use only on really long bracket sequences (e.g. nine exposures), as you probably don’t want the extreme changes in shutter speed or aperture alone that would happen over nine shots. 3. Flash Only is probably a better choice than setting #E5 to Flash Only, at least if you’re bracketing often in Manual exposure mode. Why? Because it gives you a quick and dirty way to play with flash and ambient balances (by switching exposure modes). Custom Setting #E7 Bracketing Order (Auto Bracketing Order) You can select the order in which the D200 exposes the photographs when automatic bracketing is set (see “Exposure Bracketing” on page < 263>): H Note: Bracketing can set sequences fewer than three exposures. The bracketing order describes what happens when at least three exposures are taken. If you’ve set bracketing to two- shot sequences, the orders shown below are still correct, but one of the values is left off. For example, if you asked the camera to set bracketing to -2F 0.5, the “overexposed” value is not taken, so just ignore its place in the order. If you set the camera to bracket more than three images, the orders shown below are correct: extra – and + Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 465
  16. V1.03 compensation values are performed in order of lowest exposure to highest. MTR>Under>Over Correct exposure first, then underexposed, then overexposed [default] Under>MTR>Over Underexposed first, then correct exposure, then overexposed Recommendations: 1. Pick one and use only that setting. This is one of those things where consistency is preferable. Since the D200 names every file only with numbers, this becomes even more important. (Though you could browse through the EXIF data to figure out which is which.) 2. I personally prefer to have my numbered images go from underexposure to overexposure, so I select Under>MTR>Over. That’s because that’s the way I used to set up bracket sequences on the light box when reviewing slides. I’m used to seeing values from low to high. 3. Note that the order applies to flash-only and white balance bracketing, as well. This is another reason why I like them in order—any time I see a bracketing sequence of shots, I know that they go from low to high in whatever is bracketed. Custom Setting #E8 Bracketing Selection Control (Auto Bracketing Selection Method) Because the D200 has so many potential bracketing sequences, the old style (Rear Command dial makes Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 466
  17. V1.03 bracketing active, Front Command dial chooses sequence) can be cumbersome. Nikon changed the default behavior to something a bit different on the D200 from earlier consumer bodies, but you can switch it back: Manual Value Select Rear Command dial controls number of bracketed shots (0 = Off), Front Command dial controls bracketing increment [default] Preset Value Select Rear Command dial controls whether bracket is active or not, Front Command dial scrolls through all sequences of shots and increments. Recommendation: 1. I have no problem with the default; some users of multiple Nikon bodies find that they don’t cancel bracketing when they think they do (Preset Value Select is a safer option if you use multiple Nikon bodies). Custom Setting #F1 Direction Pad Center Button (Multi Selector Center Button) The Direction pad on the D200 is like that of the D2 series in that you can press it any of eight directions or press the center. This option controls what that center press does while shooting and playing back images: Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 467
  18. V1.03 While Shooting (Shooting Mode) Center AF Area Selects central autofocus area (or center sensor group) [default] Illuminate AF Area Shows which autofocus area is the currently selected one by illuminating it Not Used Pressing center of the button does nothing Recommendation: 1. Your choice. I leave my camera at the default, though I’ve noticed that on some well-used D200’s that the Direction pad gets a little loose and you’re more prone to accidentally press the central area, which may move your autofocus area unintentionally. Thus, the last two choices are probably safer for someone who is in a hurry focusing. When an Image is Played on LCD (Playback Mode) Thumbnail On/Off Toggles display of thumbnail view [default] Histogram On/Off Toggles display of histogram view Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 468
  19. V1.03 Zoom On/Off Toggles zoom (with preset, user defined zoom amount) If you select Zoom On/Off, you also get to pick the zoom amount that you toggle to and from: Recommendation: 1. Histogram On/Off and Zoom On/Off seem the most useful options here. I usually leave my camera set to show the Highlights page on image review, plus this option set to Histogram, which gives me the two main options for exposure review with only one button press. 2. Note that if you pick Zoom On/Off, you’ll be zooming into the center of your image (though you can then move around with the Direction pad). Some photographers find this last option useful for evaluating focus. One note: if you shoot NEF, set a Sharpening value of at least Medium High if you’re going to try to evaluate focus using the color LCD. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 469
  20. V1.03 Custom Setting #F2 Additional Direction Pad Control (When Multi Selector is Pressed) This option is a little tricky, as the Direction pad still does what it normally would do, but now may add a second function: Do Nothing Direction pad operates normally [default] Reset Mtr-Off Delay Any press on the Direction pad does its normal function plus the meter off count is reset (same as when pressing shutter release part way) Initiate Autofocus Any press on the Direction pad does its normal function plus autofocus is initiated (as if the AF-ON button were also pressed) Recommendations: 1. When shooting action I often leave the camera set to Initiate Autofocus, as this sometimes gets me to the first in-focus shot faster when moving amongst autofocus sensor selections. 2. Note that this is another area where the D200 can be configured to work differently than all previous Nikon SLR bodies (other than the D2 series), so if you use multiple bodies, you might want to consider leaving the camera at the default. 3. This is another attempt (the Initiate Autofocus option) to make up for the lost button on the MB-D200 vertical grip. Essentially you reassign the AF-ON button to be the AE- Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D200 Page 470
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