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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.
Your camera needs power and it needs a place to store images. It gets its power usually from a rechargeable battery, and it stores its images on a removable media card. The battery in your D800 can be recharged with the included charger; just snap the battery into the battery cradle and plug it into the wall. When it's charging the light will show red, and when it's fully charged you will see a solid green light. Now, note that this charger will work in other countries as long as you have the appropriate plug adapter.
The charging light will flicker very quickly if you're using the charger outside of its prescribed temperature range, and you'll find those ranges on page 23 of your manual. Now, these batteries are very forgiving in their charging habits; unlike old rechargeables, you don't have to drain them completely before recharging. Don't hesitate to top them off before you go out on a long shooting trip. From time to time, though, it is a good idea to drain the battery completely and then give it a solid charge. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to fully charge the battery at room temperature.
If you store the battery in the camera, it will slowly drain. The camera triples a little bit of power out of the battery, so for long-term storage, it's a good idea to remove the battery. The battery meter on the camera has five different levels. When you get down to a single bar, then you should recharge the battery. If that single bar starts blinking, the camera will cease to shoot. You can see a detailed chart of estimated battery life on page 439 of your manual. Battery life will vary depending on what else you're doing with the camera, so reviewing lots of shots, using lots of lenses equipped with vibration reduction, shooting lots of video, these things will all cause your battery to drain faster.
Over time, your battery will wear out. If you notice that it's dying sooner than it used to, then it is a good chance that it's time to get a new battery. Fortunately, your camera has a built-in facility for judging the battery's capacity, and you can learn about that on page 332 of your manual. Your camera also need some media to store its images on. The D800 has two media slots: one that takes compact flash cards and the second that takes secured digital cards. Which you should use is determined by what types of cards you have, but it's important to note that there are some differences.
To insert the battery into the bottom of the camera, just slide this level forward and the battery door comes open. The battery only fits in the right way, and it's got this little arrow right here to indicate which direction goes in first. So, slip it under that orange thing and push until it clicks, and then you can close the door. To get the battery out, just open the door and pull this orange thing out of the way and the battery pops out. Now I can pull it out, put in another one, or recharge this one and put it back in later.
This is also where you'll attach an AC adapter if you'd rather run off of the wall rather than battery. The card slots are located over here on the right side of the camera, behind this door. To get it open, you just push it outward, and it's spring-loaded so it should just pop open. You can see, you've got two card slots here: the CompactFlash slot and the SD, or Secure Digital slot. CompactFlash cards only go in the right way. You just push them in until they stop and when they do, this button will pop out.
That's actually how you get the card out: you push on it and then you pull the card out. So those go right in there. You of course also have a Secure Digital slot, SD cards. They also only go in the right way. You put the notched edge up and the contacts to the right, and push it until it clicks. There is no release lever; instead, to get an SD card out, you just push on it and it pops out, and then you can pull it out. Notice that SD cards have a little locking switch on them.
If I move that down, the card is now locked, and so I can't write anymore data to it. This is a good way of ensuring that you don't erase a card that you've already shot on. If you're dealing with multiple cards while you're out shooting, just lock each one as you pull it out of the camera and you won't have to worry about trying to figure which ones you've used and which ones you haven't used. I'm going to put that back in there. To close the door, I'm just going to fold it shut and pull it backwards, and now I've got media cards. The CompactFlash slot supports all type 1 and type 3 CF cards, including UDMA cards.
How fast a card you need depends on what you want to do with the card. If you're going to shoot video, then you need a CompactFlash card that can transfer data at either 10 or 30 megabytes per second, depending on which video format you're going to use, and you'll learn more about video formats later. If you want to shoot video to an SD card, then you need a card that can manage at least 6 or 20 megabytes per second, depending on video format. That means you need an SD card that's at least class 6 or better. Now, for stills, there's no minimum speed that you need, but a faster card will have advantages.
When you shoot an image the camera immediately dumps it into an internal buffer to free up the camera for more shooting. The buffer is then dumped to the card as fast as the card will allow. If the buffer fills up completely, then the camera will cease to shoot until some buffer space becomes available. A faster card means that the buffer can clear out faster, which translates into faster shooting times. If you tend to shoot subject matter such as performances or sports where you need to be able to shoot lots of images in quick succession, then a faster card will really pay off.
If you don't tend to shoot lots of pictures in quick succession, then a super speedy card won't be so critical. Faster cards are more expensive, so if you do a little of both types of shooting, then you might want to speedy card for times when you need fast shooting, but invest in less expensive slower cards for your other work. On page 434 of your manual, you'll find a list of Nikon-approved memory cards. Now you can use other brands of cards. These are just ones that Nikon has tested with the D800. When the camera is riding out an image, it will flash the activity light that sits next to the battery door. Don't remove a card while that light is flashing.
In addition to trashing the image, it can actually damage the card, or even your camera. Now the D800 has some cool options for controlling what types of images get stored on each card, and we'll explore those in more detail later.
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