100 Nikon DSLR tips you need to know right now

100 Nikon DSLR tips you need to know right now

Tired of only knowing what half of the buttons and menu options on your Nikon DSLR actually do? Our friends at NPhoto have compiled an exhaustive list of 100 need-to-know Nikon DSLR tips.

We’re fairly certain that by the time you read this list you will know your Nikon camera inside and out – and many of these camera tips will be relevant for you even if you’re loyalty lies with another brand. Have a look and see what you discover about your Nikon DSLR. We think you’ll be surprised!

100 Nikon DSLR tips you need to know right now

You can get great shots with your Nikon DSLR straight out of the box, but your results will be even better once you start taking over the controls and making the shooting decisions yourself with manual white balance, shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO settings.

But it doesn’t end there. The Shooting menu offers additional options for extending your camera’s capabilities, such as Nikon’s Active D-Lighting mode.

And the Setup menu handles important housekeeping tasks, such as firmware updates and how your files are named.

But it’s in the Custom Setting menu that things get really interesting, because it’s here that you can tinker with the innermost workings of your camera and configure it in a way that suits your own personal style.

There are differences between cameras, of course. The Nikon D3000-series cameras (see our Nikon D3100 tips) don’t have a Custom Setting menu, and all their configuration options are merged with the Setup menu.

And, not surprisingly, there are options on the professional models, such as the D4 and D800, that aren’t available on others. We’ll indicate broadly which cameras have which features as we go along, but you may need to check your own camera’s manual to find out for sure, and to get more detailed instructions if required.

Our aim is to show just what your Nikon DSLR is capable of, and we’re willing to bet that it’s a lot more than you think!

100 Amazing Nikon DSLR Tips: 1-10

1. Exposure bracketing

100 Nikon DSLR Tips: exposure bracketing

Estimating the correct exposure can be tricky, especially with a high-key subject like this. With the auto-exposure bracketing function, available on the Nikon D5100 (see our Nikon D5100 tips) and up, the camera takes three shots at three different exposures, so that you can choose the best later.

2. Live View AF points
You can use the multi-selector in Live View to move the square AF point marker anywhere in the frame.

3. Live View zoom in
You can use the zoom button to fine-tune your manual focus. This works best with the camera on a tripod.

4. Shift AE bracketing with EV compensation

100 Nikon DSLR Tips: Shift AE bracketing

Dark backgrounds play havoc with exposure meters. But you can apply negative EV compensation first and then use the auto-exposure bracketing feature to bracket your exposures around your ‘corrected’ exposure to cover all the bases.

5. Manual focus
The camera can still tell you when the subject’s in focus using the Rangefinder feature (in the Setup menu).

6. Centre the AF
If you’re using single-point autofocus, and you’ve moved the point away from the centre, just click OK to revert to the centre AF point.

7. DOF preview
How much depth of field will you have? Press the depth of field preview button (D90 and up) to get an idea. Bear in mind that the viewfinder image will darken.

8. Quiet mode

100 Nikon DSLR Tips: Quiet mode

Nikon’s Q mode disables the camera’s autofocus beep, and delays the mirror return (the noisy part) for as long as you keep the shutter button pressed down.

9. AF lock switch
It can be easy to shift the AF point by mistake, so some Nikon DSLRs (D90 and above) have a focus selector lock on the back to prevent this from happening.

10. Use the Info display
If you’re standing away from the camera, it’s hard to see the status panel – so press the ‘info’ button to show the settings on the LCD display.


99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
Famous Photographers: 100 things we wish we knew starting out
21 photography facts you probably never knew
Camera Angles: 5 ways to add impact with unusual perspectives
10 common landscape photography mistakes every photographer makes

  • MST

    Thanks for the tips, i find them very helpful.

  • Butch casper

    Thanks for the tips aim moving up from d50 to d5300.