Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring the viewfinder display, part of Shooting with the Nikon D800.
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As we've discussed, one of the great advantages of an SLR is that you actually look through the same lens that exposes the image sensor. This gives you a very accurate viewfinder and allows you to have a very bright clear viewfinder. The viewfinder eyepiece is surrounded by a cover, and it happens to be removable, which allows you easier access for cleaning, and gives you the option to swap in other covers and accessories. To remove it, you close the viewfinder here, with this lever, and then you just unscrew it. It's rubberized so you can get a good grip on it, and it's got pretty deep thread, so it might take a moment to get it all the way off.
So now I can clean both sides of these, or if I want, I can put on a different viewfinder cover. I can get some that have more magnification. I could put on a right angle viewfinder. It can be useful if you shoot a macro or up a lot; if you're an astral photographer, that can be really handy. To get it back on, you need to be careful, because the threads are pretty small. It can be difficult to get them started. So what I would recommend is turn the camera up on end like this, and then you can really just set it on there flat. And once it takes-- if you can get it to take--you can see, this is a very easy process. There we go.
Then I can just screw it back down and then open the cover there. Next to the viewfinder is the diopter control. If you wear glasses, you might be able to adjust the diopter to compensate for your prescription, which will allow you to shoot without your glasses. Now I say "might" because if your eyes are bad enough then you won't to be able to adjust it far enough to correct back to full sharpness in the viewfinder. Notice that you can't turn it on its own. It's actually locked, so to turn it, you need to pull it out and then you can adjust it back and forth when you're done, push it back and the lock, this will keep you from accidentally bumping it.
When you look through the viewfinder, you'll see focusing indicators superimposed over your image. These indicators light up when you autofocus to indicate where the auto focus mechanism has chosen to focus. Below the viewfinder are lots of status readouts. Now I'm going to walk through all of these for you. Don't worry about remembering all of them yet, because we'll be revisiting them as we look at each relevant feature. So from left to right, you'll find the focus indicators. The metering mode readout is next, followed by the auto exposure Lock indicator, and the flash value lock icon.
Next is the shutter speed lock icon, which sits right above the flash sync indicator. Shutter speed is next, and this readout does double duty as a focus mode readout when you're changing the focus mode on the camera. The aperture lock indicator is next, which sits right above the aperture stop indicator. The aperture readout is next, followed by the exposure display, and directly above that is the shooting mode indicator. Next, comes the flash compensation indicator, which is just above the battery meter.
The exposure level indicator serves a few functions. In most modes, it shows the amount of exposure compensation that you have dialed in. Each dot represents one stop, and by default the lines between are each a third of a stop. Positive exposure compensation is to the right; negative is to the left. Note that you can actually dial in more than two stops of exposure compensation. When you do, the compensation indicator will scroll off the scale, and a little arrow will appear to indicate that your competition has gone beyond two stops. As you change exposure compensation, the shutter speed and aperture displays will update to indicate the new exposure values that your exposure compensation has defined.
Next, you'll find the auto ISO indicator and then the ISO readout, which is also used to show preset white balance, ADL bracketing, and auto focus area mode. If you're coming directly to the digital world from film, you may wonder why you would care to have a constant display of ISO, but remember, with a digital camera, you can change ISO on every shot, making it a third exposure parameter that you have control over. Next is a counter that shows the number of exposures remaining. When you're shooting, this will switch to showing the number of shots remaining in the camera's buffer.
The buffer can hold more JPEGs than RAWs, so the maximum number will vary depending on which format you're using. This readout is also used to show how much exposure or flash compensation that you dialed in when you're changing either of those functions. Next there is this K, which appears anytime you got more than a thousand exposures remaining on your card. And finally, there's this little lightening bolt which indicates that the flash is ready. Now again, don't worry about remembering all of the stuff right now. Exposure settings are the critical readouts that you need to understand right away. The other status options will become obvious as you activate those specific features.
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.
- 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