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Notes on Photography
by Makoto Honda
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Nikon D300 Menu Hierarchy                  Notes on Photography
by Makoto Honda   February 19, 2008   


Delete Can delete one or more, or all, images. I rarely delete on the camera. If I do, I use Delete button.
Playback Folder Specify the folders to play back: ND300, All or Current.
Hide image Mark images you don't want to show to others. I hide nothing!
Display mode Specify what additional info is displayed in playback: Highlights, Focus point, RGB histograms & Data. Then click Done.
Image review If set, the image is displayed on the monitor immediately after shooting. ON or OFF.
After delete After delete, Show next, Show previous or Continue as before. I don't care.
Rotate tall ON or OFF. When enabled, a vertical shot shown upright on display. Need Auto image rotation (Setup Menu) to be on. I keep it on.
Slide show Click Start to do slide show. The frame display interval can be set to 2, 3, 5, or 10 seconds.
Print set (DPOF) Select images to print directly from camera.


Shooting menu bank Choose from A, B, C or D.  A useful feature to save Shooting Menu settings. Click here for detail.
Reset shooting menu Reset all the Shooting Menu settings (of the current bank) to default. (See above.)
Active folder This allows setting of the active folder to store new pictures. Click here for detail.
New folder number Create a new folder (numbered 100 - 999).
Select folder Select a folder to make it active.
File naming In addition to the folder number above, a 3-character alpha/numeric file name can be set. Click here for detail.
Image quality Set to JPEG (fine/normal/basic), TIFF, RAW (NEF), or RAW+JPEG (fine/norm/basic). I use QUAL button + Main command dial.
Image size Set the image pixel count: L (4288x2848, 12.2MP), M (3216x2136, 6.9MP) or S (2144x1424, 3.1MP). This is not a crop; the image size on the sensor remains the same. Can be set using QUAL button + Sub-command dial.
JPEG compression Choose between Size priority and Optimal quality. I take quality over size.
NEF (RAW) recording
Type Choices are: Lossless compressed, Compressed or Uncompressed. I use Lossless compress.
NEF (RAW) bit depth Choose between 12-bit and 14-bit. The 14-bit takes significantly more memory space than 12-bit. I usually use 12-bit.
White balance Set white balance to: AUTO, Incandescent, Daylight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Color temperature or Preset manual. I use WB button. Click here for detail.
Set Picture Control This allows fine-tuning of picture quality. Standard, Neutral, Vivid or Monochrome. Click here for detail.
Manage Picture Control This manages the picture control settings above. Click here for detail.
Color space Set color space used: sRGB or Adobe RGB. Click here for detail.
Active D-Lighting Set the effect of Nikon's Active D-Lighting to High, Normal, Low or Off. I keep it Normal, unless a scene requires High.
Long exposure NR Turn noise reduction feature ON or OFF during a long exposure.
High ISO NR Set the amount of noise reduction to HIGH, NORMAL, LOW or OFF on high ISO setting.
ISO sensitivity settings
ISO setting Can be set in the range of ISO 200-3200 and 100 (LO 1) & 6400 (HI 1). Easier to use ISO button + Main command dial.
ISO sensitivity auto control NO or OFF. If set, ISO setting automatically moves up or down as needed to get a correct exposure. 
Maximum sensitivity Limit the highest ISO to: 400 - 3200, 6400 (HI 1). The lowest is fixed at ISO 200.
Minimum shutter speed Limit the slowest shutter speed to: 1/250 - 1 sec.
Live view This allows the settings for Live View shooting. Click here for detail.
Live view mode Select either Hand-held or Tripod mode.
Release mode Set shooting mode during Live View: S (single frame), CL (continuous low-speed) or CH (continuous high-speed)
Multiple exposure Set to ON to make a multiple-exposure shot. Turn off multi-exposure mode by selecting OFF
Number of shots Specify the number of images to be multi-exposed (2 - 10).
Auto gain ON or OFF. If set, the camera automatically reduces the gain of each image. Keep it on, unless the background is dark.
Interval timer shooting Allow automatic interval shooting. I will try this feature someday....


Custom setting bank Choose the current bank to use (A, B, C or D). Click here for detail.
Reset custom settings Reset custom settings (of the currently selected bank) to the default settings. (See above).

a  Autofocus

a1  AF-C priority selection This specifies how the shutter is released during AF continuous-shoot operation. Release (shutter clicks anytime), Release+Focus (try to focus) or Focus (must be in focus to release shutter).
a2  AF-S priority selection This specifies how the shutter is released during AF single-shoot operation. The shutter clicks anytime (Release) or only if the picture is in focus (Focus).
a3  Dynamic AF area Four modes are offered: 9 points, 21 points, 51 points or 51 points with 3D-tracking. Click here for detail.
a4  Focus tracking with lock-on This determines how long AF should wait before refocusing. Long, Normal, Short or Off. Useful feature when an object is briefly passing through the view. If set to Off, AF starts refocusing immediately. I set to Normal, usually.
a5  AF activation How to activate AF: Shutter/AF-ON (by either shutter or AF-ON button) or AF-ON only (disable shutter AF).
a6  AF point illumination The focus point momentarily illuminates in viewfinder:  AUTO, ON (always) or OFF (never).
a7  Focus point wrap-around ON or OFF. If set, manual focus point selection (with multi-selector) wraps around up/down or left/right.
a8  AF point selection During manual focus point selection, you can choose from all 51 points, or from 11 points for quick selection.
a9  Built-in AF-assist illumination ON or OFF. If set, the camera's assist-light comes on if too dark to focus.
a10  AF-ON for MB-D10 Select the function of AF-ON botton on MB-D10.

b  Metering / Exposure

b1* ISO sensitivity step value ISO can be set by an increment of 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV or 1 EV. I use 1 EV 'cause it's quicker to change ISO.
b2  EV steps for exposure control Exposure (shutter & aperture) can be set by an increment of 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV or 1 EV. I use 1/2 EV.
b3  Exp comp / fine tune Exposure compensation can be done by an increment of 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV or 1 EV. I use 1/3 EV for flexibility.
b4  Easy exposure compensation On (auto reset), On or Off. Click here for detail.
b5  Center-weighted area The diameter in the center-weighted exposure mode can be set to: 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 13mm, or Average.
b6  Fine tune optimal exposure Exposure compensation can be set (in the range of EV +1 to -1, with EV 1/6 increment) for each exposure modes: 
Matrix metering EV compensation: -1 to +1.
Center-weighted metering EV compensation: -1 to +1.
Spot metering EV compensation: -1 to +1.

c  Timers / AE lock

c1  Shutter-release button AE-L ON or OFF. If set, shutter-release button locks AE (auto-exposure) also. I keep it off.
c2  Auto meter-off delay Camera-top LCD display gets turned off after 4, 6, 8, 16, 30sec, 1, 5, 10min, or never (No limit).
c3  Self-timer delay Self-timer duration gets set to 2sec, 5sec, 10sec or 20sec. Mirror does not flip until shutter release time.
c4* Monitor off delay Monitor (on camera back) gets turned off after 10sec, 20sec, 1min, 5min or 10min.

d  Shooting / Display

d1* Beep Set beep volume to High, Low or Off. I keep it low.
d2  Viewfinder grid display Grid display can be set ON or OFF. I like it on.
d3  Viewfinder warning display Warning display can be set ON or OFF. I need a warning!
d4  CL mode shooting speed Low continuous-shoot speed (CL) can be set to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 frames-per-second. I keep it 3 fps.
d5  Max continuous release Maximum number of continuous shots can be set to any number in 1-100 shots. I keep it max 100.
d6  File number sequence ON, OFF or RESET. If on, the number continues from where it is left off. If off, start from 0001. Click here for detail.
d7  Shooting info display Display option of Shooting info on the back monitor. AUTO or MANUAL (either dark letters on white background or opposite).
d8  LCD illumination ON or OFF. Can be set by turning the camera on/off lever.
d9  Exposure delay mode ON or OFF. If on, shutter is released one second after mirror flip to kill vibration. Useful for vibration-critical shots.
d10  MB-D10 battery type Specify battery type when using MB-D10. I do not use one.
d11  Battery order Specify which battery to use first: MB-D10 batteries or D300 camera battery.

e  Bracketing / Flash

e1  Flash sync speed Set flash sync speed: 1/320 (AutoFP), 1/250 (AutoFP), 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80 0r 1/60 second.
e2  Flash shutter speed Set the slowest shutter speed with flash: 1/60, 1/30. 1/15, ... 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, ... 30 seconds.
e3  Flash control for built-in flash TTL, Manual, Repeating flash or Commander mode.
e4  Modeling flash When too dark for AF, use modeling light: ON or OFF.
e5* Auto bracketing set Set one of four bracketing options: AE & Flash, AE Only, Flash Only or White Balance.
e6  Auto bracketing (Mode M) Flash/speed, Flash/speed/aperture, Flash/aperture or Flash only.
e7  Bracketing order MTR > Under > Over or Under > MTR > Over.

f  Controls

f1 Multi-selector center button This determines the multi-selector's center button function when pressed under each of the following modes:
Shooting mode Select center focus point (default), Highlight active focus point or No function assigned.
Playback mode Toggle thumbnail & full frame (default), View histograms, Zoom in or Choose folder.
f2 Multi-selector ON (Reset meter-off delay) or OFF (Do nothing). If set to on, multi-selector click will turn on exposure meter if it was off. I like it.
f3 Photo info playback Playback with Multi-selector displaying Info (up-down) & images (left-right). Click ON (swap) or OFF (keep it as is).
f4 Assign FUNC button Default is Auto bracketing for dial (no setting for press only). Click here for detail.
f5 Assign preview button Default is Preview (no setting for dials). Click here for detail.
f6 Assign AE-L/AF-L button Default is AE-L/AF-L (lock both AE & AF). Click here for detail.
f7 Customize command dials
Reverse rotation ON or OFF. If on, the rotation direction of both Main & Sub command dials is reversed. I am ok with default.
Change main / sub ON or OFF. If on, Main & Sub command dials control Aperture & Shutter speed, respectively. I like default better.
Aperture setting ON (Aperture ring) or OFF (Sub-command dial). If on, only the lens aperture ring can be used to adjust aperture. Keep it off.
Menus and playback ON or OFF. Keep this turkey off. Setting this messes up all command dial & multi-selector functions I painstakingly memorized.
f8 Release button to use dial ON or OFF. If on, you need not hold a button (ISO, WB, QUAL MODE & EXP) during adjustment by a command dial. I hate this. Keep it off.
f9 No memory card If camera has no memory card, LOCK disallows shutter release while OK allows it. I definitely LOCK!
f10 Reverse indicators Flip exposure indicator display from [++ o --] to [-- o ++].


Format memory card Format CF card. I do this by camera buttons (MODE + DELETE).
LCD brightness Monitor brightness can be set from -3 to +3.
Clean image sensor
Clean now Dust off the lowpass filter (new feature). A good idea to do this once in a while.
Clean at startup / shutdown time Can set to do this automatically. I do not use this.
Lock mirror-up for cleaning This is used when you want to clean the sensor yourself.
Video mode Set to NTSC or PAL when connected to a video device.
HDMI Set resolution when connected via HDMI cable. AUTO, 480p, 576p, 720p or 1080i.
World time Set time and date/time format.
Language Language selection.
Image comment Can add comment to each photo.
Auto image rotation ON or OFF. If set, a vertical shot is remembered. Rotate Tall (Playback Menu) uses this info. I keep it on.
USB Set USB connection option for PC connection.
Dust off ref photo Use this to take a reference "dusty" photo to be used in Capture NX software.
Battery info Display battery info.
Wireless transmitter I do not have one.
Image authentication If set to ON, Image Authentication info is embedded in the image file, to be detected by Nikon Image Authentication software.
Save / load settings This saves selected settings to the memory card.
GPS Setting for GPS device.
Non-CPU lens data Can set Lens number, Focal length (mm) and Maximum aperture for each non-CPU lens. Click here for detail.
AF fine tune Can fine-tune AF operation by preset manual override. Have not tried yet.
Firmware version View the current version of the firmware being used. A or B.

RETOUCH MENU        I usually do not post-manipulate pictures in the camera.

Red-eye correction  
Filter effects  
Color balance  
Image overlay  


Add items This allows you to add any menu items you frequently use to My Menu for easy access. Very convenient!
Remove items Delete any item already in My Menu.
Rank items Change the order of items in My Menu.


Shooting Menu Bank   Custom Setting Bank   Picture Control   Dynamic AF Area / Summary   Live View   Folder & File Naming   White Balance    Programmable Buttons    Non-CPU Lens    Easy Exposure Compensation

WHAT IS * .......



Copyright 2001-2018 Makoto Honda. All Rights Reserved.                                                                    since June 2001