Monday, October 26, 2009

DSLR Settings - Where to Start

Unfortunately there is no such thing as "the right settings" that will be perfect in every situation.  (Hopefully, if you've been following this blog for a while, you realize this by now.)  However, it is helpful for most people (including me) to at least have a standard starting point.  If you always start from the same point, then it's easier to know what you need to change when something is wrong.  Plus, if your starting point is good, then fewer adjustments will be required (theoretically.)
A few weeks ago I described how to use the info display on a Nikon D40.  So here is a list of my "starting point" settings for each of the options on this screen.  In brackets I will explain any variations for other camera makes or models:

  • Image Quality - Norm 
  • Image Size - Large 
  • White Balance - I always adjust WB to the situation, but if I had to name a starting point, it would be AUTO
  • ISO - 200 [use the base ISO for your camera (the lowest number)]
  • Shooting Mode - Continuous
  • Focus Mode - AF-S
  • AF-area mode - Single Area (the single set of brackets)
  • Metering - Matrix (the top choice)
  • Flash Compensation - 0
  • Exposure Compensation -    -.3 [0 on most cameras]
  • Flash Mode - standard (not red-eye-reduction, slow, or rear)