Ken Rockwell pages on Nikon D700, D300 and Sony PCM-M10 Review
Posted by Jeroen Pluimers on 2012/04/30
If you love photography, be sure to read Ken Rockwell’s website. It is filled with useful information on photography and audio ranging from generic tips on making better pictures to specialized tips for many brands of equipment.
Since I use a Nikon D700 and D300, these are the most important for me, with a few quotes:
ADR visibly improves my biggest complaint against digital cameras. This feature automatically identifies highlight areas that will be lost, and does its best to bring them under control. It works, and it works automatically.
By setting the Custom Setting Menu a3 (Dynamic AF Area) to 51 Points (3D Tracking) in AF-C and the Crosshair mode, your manually-chosen AF point will magically move all around the frame tracking your subject! You’ll see it move all around, and it really works. This only works in the Crosshair and AF-C mode; it doesn’t move around in the Big White Rectangle, Tit or AF-S modes.
This tracking mode gives us another way to shoot if you don’t want to select a single AF sensor near your subject. If you prefer, you can autofocus with the center sensor, and in this 51-point 3D tracking mode, keep your finger on the shutter and the AF area will move all by itself, tracking the subject as you recompose!
This is the rotary switch wrapped around the AE-L AF-L button, just to the right of the finder window.
It has three positions: Spot, the dot on the left, Matrix, the rectangle in the middle, and Center Weighted, the circle on the right.
I always use Matrix, the center rectangle. Matrix is a magic system which really figures out what you’re shooting, even if it’s very dark or very bright and white, and just gives the correct exposure.
The innovative part is if you hit the INFO button twice. Now you can set anything you read along the two lines at the bottom with just one hand.
Here lie some of the most important tricks I use on my D700. These change what some of the buttons and knobs do.
Easy to set the rear LCD to show what’s going on, either with the dedicated rear INFO button, or better, by setting a Custom Function (CSM f1) to make the INFO panel appear on the back simply by rotating the power-switch to the illuminator setting.
February 2012: The D700 has been replaced by the far superior Nikon D800. Consider the rest of this review only for historical reference. DO NOT BUY A NEW D700.
White Balance settings are significantly expanded. The gray-card (PRESet) settings can accommodate a crazy-wide range of light sources. For the first time I can get neutral colors under HPS (light orange) streetlights and in dim indoor home and restaurant lighting!
This review consists of dozens of pages about the D300. This page is just the introduction and summary of what’s really important.
I always shoot with ADR at NORMAL on the D3 and D300, or AUTO on the D700 and D90. This eliminates the ability to control the brightness (gamma) and contrast settings, since they are optimized automatically by the ADR system.
I set the sharpening to 5.
For photos of things, I usually start at VIVID and crank the saturation all the way up to +3. This gives me the psychedelic look I love.
For Accurate Product Colors in the Studio
I use STANDARD.
I prefer sharpenng set to 5.
I honestly have no idea if Nikon’s ADR can work with studio strobes, so I turn it off and set contrast down to -1.
For photos of people, I use NEUTRAL and set the saturation to +1. I prefer sharpenng set to 5.
STANDARD is less wild then VIVID, and NEUTRAL has even lower contrast.
You may prefer STANDARD and +1 or +2 Saturation.
Play with this: we all will prefer something different.
This page will cover all the little details which are most relevant to people who already own a D300.
Oh, and totally unrelated, but this might come in handy one day:
The pocketable Sony PCM-M10’s technical performance and build quality are significantly better then the more expensive Zoom H4n and the dinky Tascam DR-08.