Fine tuning your camera #photography

In previous posts, I have mainly covered different apertures, ISO setting and shutter speeds but if you want great shots you have to dig deeper into your camera menus.

Indoor I have a Nikon D3200 which is a popular and relatively inexpensive DSLR and so I have been looking at more advanced settings for fine tuning the camera.


On the rear of the D3200, there is an [i] button that gives you information but it also allows you do all the basic settings when you’re shooting. There is also a thumb wheel for setting the aperture or shutter speed. The MENU button gives you lots of settings you don’t need to change so often but before you start a shoot you can look at those settings and change them depending on the conditions. The icon for the shooting menu looks like a camera and you should first look at  Active D-Lighting. This is useful when the sun is really bright and you have those really dark shadows and a big contrast between light and dark. Turn on Active D-Lighting to get more detail in your shot. Auto distortion control is self-explanatory but you can experiment with that. It helps prevent distortion on the edge of the frame.

Set Picture Control

Set picture control allows you to choose SD (standard), NL (neutral), VI (vivid) MC (monochrome), PT (portrait) or LS (landscape). Try choosing landscape but instead of pressing OK click the rocker switch to the right and there you can make all those fine adjustments that you see in today’s picture. You can also do fine adjustments for the other settings try it on portrait too. You might want more contrast for landscapes and less for portraits.

White balance

Setting your white balance is a similar procedure and it allows you to change the colour balance on most settings except for fluorescent. Try clicking the rocker switch to the right on fluorescent and it gives you a menu to choose the type of fluorescent light. Unless you are really familiar with the different types you might have to guess the setting and take a shot and see if the colour looks right. I did that a few days ago and I had chosen the wrong one. I then chose the cool white (4) and that was the right setting.

Fine tuning

The rest of the settings on that shooting menu you are probably familiar with if you’re owned the camera for some time. The other important one is the reset them all button at the top. When you fine tune your settings the camera remembers those settings until you reset them or change them. So if your fluorescent setting is for cool light (4) you need to check that next time you shoot in fluorescent light.

The D3200 is a relatively cheap camera but using these fine tuning setting it can produce quite good pictures.

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