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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 my list of standard picture controls here I have a Monochrome option. This creates a black-and-white version of your image when you shoot. All you get out of it is a black-and-white. The original color is discarded. I have some opinions about the Monochrome picture control here. First, let's take a look at what you can do with it. I can open it up here and dial in sharpening values, contrast values, brightness, or apply filter and toning. Filter--you see I have got yellow, orange, red, and green. These simulate shooting black-and- white film with a specific-colored filter, so if you're used to working that way, you can simulate that right here in camera.
The thing about black-and-white shooting is that a big part of your creative process is determining how you want specific controls translated into specific shades of gray. So having the camera do that for you through a default recipe, even if you're dialing in some filters, doesn't give you near the level of control that you get using black-and-white conversion software on your computer. So by doing us in camera you're giving up a tremendous amount of black-and-white potential. Also, you are losing your original color image, so you don't have the option later to go to your computer and do a black-and-white conversion on your own.
If you do need to work in black and white on you camera, either because you are not comfortable previsualizing a scene in black and white and so you'd like to actually see it on the back of the camera or you've got a workflow where you need to turn images around very quickly, I think there's still a better way to do it then to use picture control, and that's to go ahead and shoot in color and then use the Retouch menu here to dial in a monochrome effect. Because when you do this, it will create a copy of your original image and do a black-and-white conversion on it. That leaves you with the color image if you want to go home later and using your image editing software, turn it into a really refined black and white.
If you'd like to know more about shooting and editing in black and white check out my Foundations of Photography: Black and White course. If you like to learn more about specifically working with black-and-white conversion in Nikon's own Capture NX software, check out my Capture NX2 Essential Training course.
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