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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.
In addition to still images, you can shoot video with your D800 and not just any kind of video: the combination of a 35-millimeter size sensor and high-quality removable lenses gives you a film look that you simply can't get with a normal video camera. In the rest of this chapter, we're going to look at the D800's video features, starting with how to configure the camera for shooting video. Your D800 can shoot video at full HD quality, but you have a couple options insofar as the type of video it shoots. You might want to take a look at those before you get started, just to know what's available.
Here in the Shooting menu, at the very, very bottom, there is something called Movie Settings. I'm just going to open that up, and I see that I've got a few different things that I can configure here. First is frame size and frame rate. So by default I'm at my full frame size: 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second. I have two other options at that size. I can go to 25 frames per second or 24. Whichever one I choose is probably going to be either my personal taste and they look of one frame rate or over another. Or I might be shooting video with my D800 that needs to be edited with footage from another type of camera that's using a particular frame rate.
From there I can go down to any of these 720 frame sizes, but here I get the additional advantage of having some slow-motion frame rates--50 frames per second and 60 frames a second--so that can be a lot of fun to play with. So I'm going to just stick with my default values here at full frame size and 30 frames per second, and go back out to my Movie Settings menu. I have a choice of two different qualities. These are really just compression settings. I've got high and normal. If you can afford the space, just stick with high quality. It will look better.
Finally, I have some audio configuration I can do. There is a built-in microphone in the D800, and you can see that it's picking up my voice right now and showing me these audio meters. I can, if I want, insert an external microphone. There is a microphone jack over here in the side. And that's not a bad idea, because one, I will probably likely have a better-quality microphone than the one in the camera, but also if I'm handling the camera at all, see, it's picking up all of that noise. Also the focus motors and the lens make noise.
So the built-in microphone is going to give you a pretty dirty sound. I can change the input levels manually if I want, by going here to Manual Sensitivity. And I've got just a single control for making the microphone more sensitive by dialing it up or making it less sensitive by dialing it down. So if you're shooting someone who's talking very loudly, you might want to turn it down there a little bit. This also controls the input sensitivity if I am using an external microphone.
And I can choose if I want to turn the microphone off altogether. If you're recording sound on an external device, you can turn this off, although then you might have trouble syncing. If you are really into silent movies, you've got it made: there is a built-in feature for that. Lastly on this menu, I have Destination. Right now I am set to record to the camera's SD card. If I've got a CompactFlash card in the slot, I could choose that. You might choose to record to SD if you're shooting stills onto the CompactFlash. Then you'll keep your video and your stills separate.
Bear in mind that there are speed requirements for these cards, so you want to be sure that you are using a card that's fast enough to capture video. Once you've got all that set the way that you like--and if you are just starting out, you'll be fine just going with the defaults-- you are ready to activate Movie mode. You use the same control that you used for Live View earlier, but whereas before I was pointed towards the still camera to take still images using Live View, I'm going to switch to the movie camera. Now to turn it on, I just hit the LV button. The mirror flips up, the shutter opens, and I am seeing my scene in Live View.
Your status display looks pretty much like it did before, except you get this little Movie icon here. And now I am ready to focus and start rolling. We're going to talk about focus and exposure in more detail later. I'm just going to do a quick autofocus with my AF button here, and then I'm going to start the recording by pressing the red button up here. That starts it up. That also stops it. So those are the very, very basic controls. As I said, we're going to look in more detail at the specifics of shooting video throughout the rest of this chapter. That said, this is not a detailed DSLR video course. If you'd like to really get into the thick of it and learn all you can, check out Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR.
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