Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting using scene modes, part of Up and Running with the Nikon D600 and D610.
- If you'd like to strike a balance between Auto and more advanced modes, your camera offers 19 different creative photography, or scene modes. Each mode influences the camera's decision making process, making it optimize for certain shooting situations. Make sure the dial is set to Scene mode. Then, press the Info button to see which scene mode is active. To choose another scene, just rotate the main command dial. Scene modes don't really unlock any special features. Rather, they're more like recipes.
They make it easier by choosing the right menu options, shutter speed, aperture, ISO and flash performance. Keep in mind that most scene modes will force you to shoot as a JPEG file. JPEGs are heavily compressed images that permanently apply settings to the file. You won't be able to use RAW when using a scene mode, which can be very limiting. RAW files contain a lot more information for editing, using software on a computer. Use scene modes as a way to build confidence with your camera, or if you quickly need to capture a picture, and don't really have time to dial in the right settings.
For example, let's choose the Portrait scene mode. The camera is going to enhance the color for skin tones. It'll also tend to use a wider aperture for shallower depth of field. This'll help blur out the background, and really bring attention to the subject. If we switch the camera into Landscape mode, the camera will favor settings optimized for these types of shots. The camera will use smaller apertures for deeper depth of field, options like the flash and auto focus light, are also disabled as they're not needed.
The 19 different modes are pretty self-explanatory. They're named for the situation in which you'll shoot. For example, use the Night mode when shooting at night, to get the right balance of settings for lower light. The only two that might seem a bit unfamiliar to you, are Low key for shooting a very dark scene, and High key for shooting a bright background. You'll find a detailed description for each of these in your camera manual if you'd like to learn more. Remember, scene modes are JPEG only. What you see is what you get.
Now, you can always adjust these settings like aperture and ISO on your own, to really recreate the same look with much more control and the ability to capture a RAW file, but until you get to that point of being comfortable with manually dialing in settings, you can take advantage of scene modes so you don't miss an important shot. Scene modes are great to build confidence, but eventually, you're going to want to grow beyond them, and learn how to manually control your camera.
Want to get up and running even faster? Check out the "Quick Start" chapter to learn how to use your D600 or D610 straight out of the box.
- Powering up and shooting with the scene modes
- Reviewing the lens controls
- Changing image format and size
- Adjusting ISO and exposure compensations
- Using Flexible Program mode
- Shooting in continuous low-speed, high-speed, and quiet-shutter-release modes
- Switching between metering modes
- Shooting with flash
- Shooting video