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Shooting with the Nikon D800

Focusing and working with exposure


From:

Shooting with the Nikon D800

with Ben Long

Video: Focusing and working with exposure

You have already seen the basic status display that comes up when I switch into Live View movie shooting, but the D800 can show me some other things. If I press the Info button, I get this nice grid display, which can help me figure out if I have actually got the camera level. If I press it again, I get a histogram display, which can be critical for getting correct exposure, as we'll see in a moment. If I press it again, I get a flight simulator. Oh wait, no, no! This is the level, which you saw earlier. This allows me another way of making sure that I've got everything tilted and leveled properly.
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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Shooting with the Nikon D800
5h 4m Beginner Nov 08, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • What is a DSLR?
  • Attaching lenses
  • Powering up and down
  • Formatting the media card
  • Holding the camera
  • Shooting in the Auto and Program modes
  • Changing the ISO
  • Controlling autofocus and white balance
  • Using a self-timer
  • Working with the exposure control options
  • Activating Live View
  • Shooting video
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear
Software:
D800
Author:
Ben Long

Focusing and working with exposure

You have already seen the basic status display that comes up when I switch into Live View movie shooting, but the D800 can show me some other things. If I press the Info button, I get this nice grid display, which can help me figure out if I have actually got the camera level. If I press it again, I get a histogram display, which can be critical for getting correct exposure, as we'll see in a moment. If I press it again, I get a flight simulator. Oh wait, no, no! This is the level, which you saw earlier. This allows me another way of making sure that I've got everything tilted and leveled properly.

Another press brings me to here which gets me and live audio meter and control of many of the same features that we saw in Live View. So this should all be very familiar to if you've been working with Live View. Obviously, the difference is I now have an audio meter. I can change audio level in real time using the same mechanism that I used in Live View for changing screen brightness. If I press the Zoom Out button and hold it and use the left and right buttons to switch between screen brightness and audio level, I can then use the up and down buttons to change the sensitivity of my microphone.

So you're probably not going to want to do that in the middle of a shoot, but it's a quick way to adjust input levels without having to leave Live View and go back into the menuing system. Finally, another press of the Info button takes me back to the clear screen. So let's think about autofocus and exposure now. Autofocus works just the way it does in normal Live View. I have a single focus point that I can drive around the screen with my multiselector. Once I've got it on my subject, I can either half-press the Shutter button or press the AF on button and the camera will go through its process of focusing.

Obviously, I also have the option for manual focusing just like I did in Live View, and as I had in Live View, in Movie mode I have the ability to zoom in and check focus. Now let's think about exposure. I am in Program mode right now, and the camera has metered the scene and decided on a 50th of a second at 6.3. Shutter speed, though, when shooting video is pretty critical. Ideally, you want your shutter speed to be double your frame rate.

As you saw earlier, we set our frame rate to 30 frames per second, so I would like my shutter speed to be a 60th of a second. Now, normally, I could program-shift my way to it here in Program mode, but that doesn't work in Movie mode. In fact, the only way I can get control of shutter speed in Movie mode is to go into Manual Exposure mode. So I am going to dial that up right now. I am going to switch this over to M, and it's gone to the settings that I used last time I was in M. So I'm already at a 60th of a second, and it's going to the last aperture, I used which was at 5.

Now my screen is looking a little dark here. I don't actually get a meter to work with. And I probably don't want to trust my simple view of the LCD screen here, because as you have already seen, we brightened the screen up to make it more visible, so we have no idea what brightness on the screen actually represents. But you already saw that with just a couple of presses of Info button, I can get myself a histogram. And here I can see that, yeah, I am way down on my brightness. So I have got two options for controlling that: I can change my shutter speed or my aperture. But we have party decided that shutter speed needs to be a 60th of a second.

So I am going to go in here and change my aperture. That's the wrong one. I am going to open up my aperture to get some more brightness in here. If you're not clear on histograms and how they work, check out my Foundations of Photography: Exposure course. Everything you learn in there about histograms actually applies to exactly what we are doing right now. This is a live histogram of course. As the scene changes the histogram updates. So I put my hand in front of here, you can see that my histogram changes to reflect those tones. So that's looking pretty good to me. I am going to leave that about right there, and I am going to get my histogram out of the way, just so I can see things, and double-check my focus. My box here has gone red, so that's indicating that it's changed its mind about focus.

So I am going to put that there. I am going to start my projector here and actually shoot a little bit of video for this. So I press my tally button here to start rolling video. You can see I get a countdown here showing remaining space on the card. So if I start getting near the edge there, I know I can bail out. I can also, if I want, store markers in the video that allow me to zip really quickly to those points when I am playing it back. To do that I simply press the Depth of Field Preview button just like I would do to preview depth of field, and that stores a marker.

You saw a flash there. Every time I press it another marker is stored, and I can use those later when I'm playing back my video. I am going to stop rolling here and I am going to shut down my projector. I can also shoot stills while I am recording video. But it's important to know that if I should a still, it actually interrupts video recording. So that's probably not the best way to go, unless you want to shoot a still at the very end. Now, to get the exposure where I wanted it, I had to open my aperture a long way.

That's going to greatly reduce my depth of field. If I wanted to preserve deeper depth of field, I would need to close my aperture down, but as I do that, my frame gets darker. But of course I have another exposure parameter, which is ISO, which I can also change when I'm in manual mode. So I'm going to just bring my histogram back up here, hit my ISO button, and dial my ISO back up using my main dial until I get an exposure that I like. Up here around ISO 400 I am really not worried about noise.

I am not even worried about noise in the darker shadow areas, because the D800 has such a great noise response in low light. So that's looking pretty good. I can now shoot this video and have deeper depth of field. Now, though I have only got the one focus point--you've seen that I can drive it around-- I do have another focus option though. If I drop over here, you can see that I am in Single Servo Autofocus mode right now. If I change that to Full-Time Autofocus Servo, now the camera is going to try to continuously track autofocus as the scene changes.

So watch what happens if I put my hand in front of my focus point there. The camera is trying to refocus on it. There you go. Now, as I move my hand away, it goes back to tracking focus on the camera. So this works a lot like a video camera that you might have used that's trying to autofocus all the time. That said, it's a noisy focus, it's a slow focus, and you don't really know what direction it's going to go first to achieve its focus. So your new thing in the image that is trying to focus on may go widely out of focus before it comes back into focus.

This is maybe okay for shooting home movies and things like that. For serious production work, you're probably going to want to stay in Single Servo Autofocus and just be very, very careful about pulling focus either manually or setting up your shots around your focus needs.

There are currently no FAQs about Shooting with the Nikon D800.

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