Every Digital camera has a Menu designed to help you set the camera to enable you to get the best image results from the camera. The settings for focus, shutter speed, aperture and ISO are not the only settings on your camera, there are many other settings available. In this blog I will attempt to guide you on the main menu settings, to help you understand the operation of the camera to enable you to get superb images.

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Many photographers are not fully aware of all the different options available to help enhance their photography. Most digital camera menus are designed under main headings covering the main functions of the digital camera and I will summarize these main functions as follows. Remember that the detailed menu items will vary depending on the brand of camera and the particular camera model you are  using.

All of the menus below are based on the camera I am most used to using and that is the Nikon D810 but most of the other professional and semiprofessional cameras will have similar functionality in their menu structure. Some of the more consumer oriented cameras may have

PLAYBACK DISPLAY MENU OPTIONS

  • Delete – Choice can be made to delete a selected image or all images in the selected folder.
  • Playback Folder – Selects the folder for playback. Images in the current folder or all folders can be selected for playback.
  • Hide Image – This feature  can hide or reveal selected images.
  • Playback Display Options – This selects any additional display information required on playback such as file information, focus point, no additional information, highlights (burnt out areas), RGB histogram, shooting data and location data if GPS information  available.
  • Copy Images – Images can be copied from one memory card to another within the camera by selecting the source card, selecting the source folder, selecting the images, selecting the destination folder and then copying the images.
  • Image Review – This setting chooses whether the images are automatically displayed on the monitor after shooting.
  • After Delete – This selects the situation after an image has been deleted, such as next image displayed, previous image displayed, Continue as before, this selection determines if scrolling to the right the next image is displayed or if scrolling to the left the previous image is displayed.
  • Rotate Tall – Portrait orientation images can be automatically rotated for display on the camera monitor.
  • Slide Show – Creates a slide show of all the images in the current playback folder. A choice can be made of still images, movies or both.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) Print Order – Can arranger for compatible printers to be used for image printing.

SHOOTING MENU – Shooting Menu options will include some or all of the following.

  • Shooting Menu Bank – These banks are used to store particular combinations of frequently used settings and can be named by the user. A selection of new camera settings can be stored in the banks, and these will be remembered even when the camera is turned off, to enable camera settings to be quickly restored by selecting the particular bank.
  • Extended menu Banks – Enables menu banks to be extended to include exposure and flash modes, shutter speed and aperture modes.
  • Storage Folder – Selects the folder on the flash card in which the subsequent images will be stored.
  • File Naming – These are user chosen file name options.
  • Primary Slot Selection – Used to select the slot in which the recording media is to be used.
  • Secondary Slot Function – Secondary Slot can be selected for overflow, backup or for choice of RAW and JPEG for each card slot.
  • JPEG/TIFF Recording – Adjustable size settings will be available for both JPEG and TIFF formats.
  • Image Quality – This can be set for option fro recording RAW, JPEG or TIFF files in various combinations, JPEG in fine normal or basic.
  • JPEG/TIFF Recording – Settings for JPEG and TIFF recording in different sizes large, small and medium and also various compression rtes.
  • RAW Recording – Adjustable compression,bit depth and size  options can  be selected as required.
  • Image Area – Camera may offer crop factors which can be set here.
  • White Balance – White balance is set depending on lighting color temperature.
  • Picture Control – The image recorded picture control can be set to various option such as standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait or landscape.
  • Manage Picture Control – Special settings for Picture Control can be saved for future use.
  • Color Space – The range of colors which are available for reproduction can be selected as sRGB which may be selected for movies and general purpose photographs or Adobe RGB which is used for higher quality printing.
  • Active D-Lighting – Settings for controlling the lighting in the highlights and shadows to give a better contrast range.
  • Vignette Control – Settings to control the amount of vignetting in the image.
  • Auto Distortion Control – Settings to correct distortion due to various lens characteristics.
  • Long Exposure Noise Reduction – Reduces noise on long time exposures.
  • High ISO Noise Reduction – Reduces noise when camera is set to very high ISO settings.
  • ISO Sensitivity  – Camera can be set for Auto ISO selection or various fixed settings for ISO.
  • Multiple Exposure – Selects the number of shots for multiple exposures.
  • Interval Timer Shooting – Settings for automatic shooting at various intervals.
  • Time Lapse Photography – Various settings for long time lapse movies.
  • Movie Settings – Various settings for movie video quality and microphone settings.

CUSTOM SETTINGS MENU

  • AUTOFOCUS
    • AF-C Priority Selection – When AF-C (continuous servo for moving subjects) is selected then priority can be given to the shutter releasing on pressing the shutter release, pressing the shutter release and the camera being in focus or just the camera being in focus.
    • AF-S Priority Selection – When AF-S (stationary subjects) is selected then priority can be given to the shutter releasing on pressing the shutter release or when the camera is in focus.
    • Focus Tracking With Lock On – This option controls how the camera focus behaves by changing the camera focus when the subject distance from the camera changes by long or shorter distances. For instance following a flying bird will only change distance by short distances gradually.
    • AF Activation – AF activation on is selected when partial press of the shutter button or the AF-ON button is pressed. There is also an option for the AF-ON button only to be pressed to activate focus, this is to ensure that the camera does not refocus when the shutter button is pressed.
    • Focus Point Illumination – This selection is to show the focus point configuration selected by illumination of the focus points. There are three selections, manual focus mode, dynamic area AF display and group area AF illumination.
    • AF Point Illumination – Chooses whether the active focus point is illuminated in red.
    • Focus Point Wrap Around – The focus point can wrap around from one side of the viewfinder to the other side.
    • Number of Focus Points – Selects the number of focus point displayed in the viewfinder.
    • Store By Orientation – Shows the focus points remaining the same if the camera is re-orientated landscape to portrait mode or changing when the camera is re-orientated.
    • Built In AF Assist Illumination – Illuminates the AF assist light in darkish situations.
    • Limit AF Area Mode Selection – Select the AF area modes that can be selected using the AF Mode Button.
    • Auto focus Mode Restrictions – Select the auto focus mode restrictions available. Settings available are AF-S, AF-C or no restrictions.
  • METERING/EXPOSURE
    • ISO Sensitivity Step Value – Selects the ISO steps of 1/3 step, 1/2 step or 1 step.
    • EV Steps For Exposure Control – Selects the step increments when using shutter speed, aperture and bracketing controls in steps of 1/3 step, 1/2 step or 1 step.
    • Exposure/Flash Compensation Step Value – Selects the compensation increments in steps of 1/3 step, 1/2 step or 1 step.
    • Easy Exposure Compensation – Exposure compensation (Auto) set by Command dial  and is reset when the camera is restarted or the standby timer expires, similarly when not on auto but does not reset when camera is restarted. Exposure compensation can also be set by compensation button and command dial.
    • Matrix  Metering – Matrix metering is turned on with face detection.
    • Center Weighted Area – The size of the center weighed area can be selected.
    • Fine Tune Optimal Exposure – Exposure can be fine tuned from the exposure value selected by the camera
  • TIMERS/AE LOCK
    • Shutter Release ButtonAE-L – Select exposure to lock when the shutter release is pressed halfway.
    • Standby Timer – Selects how long the camera continues to meter the exposure. Select short for a long battery life.
    • Self Timer – This sets a delay from when the shutter button is pressed to the shutter operation.
    • Monitor Off Delay – This is the delay before the monitor switches off after shutter operates.
  • SHOOTING DISPLAY
    • Beep – Selects the type of beep (volume and tone) when focus locks.
    • Cl Mode Shooting Speed –  Selects maximum frame advance rate when in Cl mode.
    • Maximum Continuous Release – Maximum number of shots that can be taken in a single burst.
    • Exposure Delay Mode – Gives a few seconds delay after the mirror is raised to help give sharper images.
    • Electronic Front Curtain Shutter – Enables the electronic front curtain to help eliminate blurr.
    • File Number Sequence – Changes the sequence of file numbering and folders on the memory card.
    • Viewfinder Grid Display – Displays gridlines on the cameras viewfinder.
    • ISO display and Adjustment – ISO sensitivity is displayed instead of the number of exposures remaining.
    • Screen Tips – Displays tool tips during viewfinder photography.
    • Information Display – Changes coloring of the lettering on the display to make it clearer to view.
    • LCD Illumination – Controls back lighting of the control panel.
    • MB-D Battery Type – Select the battery type fitted to the external battery pack.
    • Battery Order – Gives priority to the batteries available to the camera.
  • BRACKETING FLASH
    • Flash Sync Speed – FP (Focal Plane) high speed flash sync can be used with capable flash units to enable the photographer to shoot at a faster shutter speed than the cameras normal sync speed.
    • Flash Shutter Speed – This is set to determine the camera shutter speed for normal flash shooting.
    • Flash Control For Built In Flash – Controls the cameras built in flash unit settings.
    • Exposure Compensation For Flash – The camera adjusts the flash level to suit with this setting.
    • Modeling Flash – Modeling flash is used to check the effectiveness of the proposed flash lighting.
    • Auto Bracket Set – Used when flash light bracketing is required.
    • Auto Bracketing (Mode M) – This setting is used when AE & Flash or AE only is selected in the custom setting.
    • Bracketing Order – Used for fine tuning the bracketing with exposure, flash and white balance bracketing.
  • CONTROLS
    • Illumination Switch – The illumination setting on the ON-OFF switch determines which information panels are illuminated.
    • Multi Selector Center Button – Determines the role of the center button on the multi selector.
    • Multi Selector – Operates the restart standby timer.
    • Assign Fn Button – Assigns the desired function to the Fn button.
    • Assign Preview Button – Assigns the role for this button.
    • Assign AE-L/AF-L Button – Assigns the role for this button.
    • Shutter Speed & Aperture Lock – Locks the shutter speed and aperture at the current values.
    • Assign Bracket Button – Assigns the role for this button.
    • Customise Command Dials – Controls the operation of the main and sub command dials.
    • Release Button To Use Dial – Allows for adjustments that are normally made by holding a button and rotating a command dialto be made by rotating the command dial after the button is released. Setting ends when the button is pressed again.
    • Slot Empty Release Lock – Shutter can be released when there is no memory card present.
    • Reverse Indicators – Reverses exposure indicators in the view finder.
    • Assign Movie Record Button – Assigns the role for this button.
    • Live View Button Options – Disables live view button.
    • Assign MB-D12 AF-ON – Used with optional MB-D12 battery pack.
    • AssignRemote (WR) Fn Button – Used with the wireless remote controller.
    • Lens Focus Function Buttons – Chooses the role played by the focus function button found on some lenses.
  • MOVIE
    • Assigm Fn Button – Chooses the role played by the Fn button during movie live view.
    • Assign Preview Button – Chooses the role played by the Pv button during movie live view.
    • AssignAE-l/AF-L Button – Chooses the role played by the AE-L/AF-L button during movie live view.
    • Assign Shutter Button – Chooses the role played by pressing the shutter release button, taking photos or recording movies.

SETUP MENU

  • Format Memory Card – Formats the memory card. Recommended to be done on a regular basis in the camera.
  • Monitor Brightness – Changes the brightness of the monitor.
  • Monitor Color Balance – Changes the color balance of the monitor.
  • Clean Image Sensor – Conducts automation cleaning of the cameras sensor.
  • Lock Mirror Up For Cleaning – Locks up the mirror for cleaning of the sensor
  • Image Dust Off ref Photo – Assists in the removal of dust from subsequent images when dust is present on the sensor.
  • Flicker Reduction – Reduces flicker and banding with certain light sources.
  • Time Zone And Date – Sets the time for particular location.
  • Language – Choice of menu language.
  • Auto Image Rotation – Selects automatic rotation of images if the camera orientation is changed.
  • Battery Information – Displays the current status of the cameras battery.
  • Image Comment – Adds a comments to a new image.
  • Copyright Information – Displays the entered copyright information within each image.
  • Save/Load Settings – This enables the camera settings to be saved stored and used between other cameras.
  • Virtual Horizon – displays the roll and pitch information on the cameras display.
  • Non-CPU Lens Data – Enables the lens type to be stored in the camera EXIF for any non CPU lenses used on the camera.
  • AF Fine Tune – Capability to fine tune the focusing for different lenses.
  • HDMI – Enables viewing of images externally using the HDMI interface.
  • Location Data – GPS location data recorded in the EXIF when the cameras is used with a GPS unit.
  • Network – Needs to be set when using the camera with a UT-1 communication unit.
  • Eye-Fi upload –  needs to be set when using third party Eye-Fi cards.
  • Firmware Version – Displays the cameras firmware version.

RETOUCH MENU

  • D-Lighting – D-Lighting brightens shadows. Improves dynamic range.
  • Red Eye Correction – Reduces red eyes.
  • Trim – Displays and selects a crop in the image.
  • Monochrome – Converts the image to monochrome.
  • Filter Effects – Chooses a selection of many filters skylight, warm filter, red intensifier, green intensifier, blue intensifier, cross screen and soft filter.
  • Color Balance – Modifies the image color balance.
  • Image Overlay – Combines two images  and saves it as a separate image.
  • RAW Processing – RAW processing creates JPEG images from the RAW image file.
  • Resize – Resizes the selected image.
  • Quick Retouch – Creates copies of images with enhanced saturation and contrast using D-lighting.
  • Straighten – The images can be rotated to straighten it in the view finder.
  • Distortion Control – Creates copies of images with reduced adjusted distortion.
  • Fish eye – Creates copies of images that appear to be taken with a fish eye lens.
  • Color Outline – Creates an outline copy of an existing image and saves it.
  • Color Sketch – Creates a sketched form of a previously taken image and saves it.
  • Perspective Control – Adjusts the image to reduce any perspective distortion.
  • Miniature Effect – Creates a copy of the image which represents a diorama. Best with images taken from a high view point.
  • Selective Color – Creates a copy in which selected hues (colors) appear.
  • Edit Movie – Facilitates basic editing of taken movies.

MY MENU

  • Add Items – Specific user menu items can be added to facilitate faster operation of menu items.
  • Remove Items – Specific user menu items can be deleted to facilitate faster operation of menu items.
  • Rank Items – Specific user menu items can be ranked according to the user required priority.
  • Choose Tab – Recent settings can be labeled with tabs to enable quick reference.

As you can see from the above menu settings there are really a host of different settings to understand all of the functionality options of digital cameras. The above information is of one particular camera but for most professional type cameras, similar options to those illustrated above will be available. Many of the items are self explanatory but then again some are quite complex to understand and may need reference to the camera User Manual.

If you  need any camera gear similar to what I use I recommend you try B&H on the link below for your purchases.

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