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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.
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.
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