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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D800 digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.
Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.
Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.
Basic maintenance of your camera is pretty intuitive: don't drop it; don't bang it into things. If you want to clean it, use a dry cloth. If you're going to store the camera for a while, be sure to take the battery out it. You've already seen a little bit about how the camera cleans its own sensor, but there are some other built-in sensor-cleaning options. In the Setup menu you'll see an item called Clean image sensor. If you open that up, you have a couple of options. First, you can say Clean now. That will actually send the camera into its cleaning cycle, wherein it will shake the filter that's in front of the image sensor to shake off any dust.
I can also from this menu control whether or not the camera cleans its sensor when it is powered up and down. So if I go in here, I have the option to say Clean at startup, Clean at shutdown, or the default value, which is both, or I can turn it off altogether. Because the cleaning is interruptible--that is, because once it's started, I can just half- press the Shutter button to immediately go into shooting--there is really no reason to turn it off, and the cleaning feature does do a good job of keeping dust off the sensor. You could argue that this uses up a little more battery power, but it's so negligible that I really can't see any reason not to simply leave it on Clean at startup/shutdown.
As good as the built-in cleaning feature is, there will still be times when you get dust on your sensor. When that happens, you'll need to manually clean the sensor. And to do that you'll use the Lock mirror up for cleaning command. Now, cleaning your sensor is a fairly involved process that involves very specific cleaning implements. You can learn more about those in my Foundations of Photography: Lenses course, and I would definitely recommend at least reading the manual about cleaning before you do any attempt at all at cleaning your own sensor. But you can see a detailed walkthrough of how to clean your sensor in my Lenses course.
What you don't ever want to do is blow compressed air into the inside of your camera. Let me just tell you that right now. Just don't do that. As much as you may think that's a good idea, it's not. There is another way of dealing with dust on your sensor. If you're out in the field and you're reviewing some images and you see that they have some dust on them and you're not really in a position to clean your sensor, you can take a Dust Off reference photo. What this does is take a picture of just the dust on your sensor. Later, using Nikon's Capture NX image processing software, you can have the dust automatically removed from your image by blending-- the software will automatically blend this dust-off reference photo with your final image.
So to do this I come into the Image Dust Off reference photo item. I have the option to clean the sensor first or to simply start. I point the camera at a blank white subject of some kind--a white wall, a piece of paper-- and then I start the process. It will then record the Dust Off reference (ref) photo on my storage card. Later, Capture NX can grab that dust-off photo and use it to clean your images. While the camera's built-in sensor cleaning is very good, the best way to keep your sensor clean is through prevention.
When you take caps of the ends of your lenses, don't just stick them in your pocket, get them all covered with lint, and then put them back on the lenses. That's an easy way to transfer all that lint directly to your camera. When you're changing lenses, be sure to keep the camera sheltered, ideally pointed down if it's very windy out. If you can work to make sure that the camera is not getting into a bad dust environment, then you should be able to keep your sensor pretty clean.
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