Nikon D7000 – Quick Tips

On this page, you will find a list of Quick Tips about mastering the D7000 camera from Nikon. This semi-pro camera has some advanced features that you could only find in more advanced pro cameras before. Roughly every week, I will provide a new tip on one of these features. I will not go into extensively detailed descriptions of each individual tip. Instead, I will provide a direct link to the specific page of the English user’s manual where the respective feature is described. Just click on the link provided in one of the ‘More infos’ boxes and you will be taken directly to that page. It could not be any easier, folks!

Tip #1: Fine-tuning the Autofocus

Did you know that your D7000 lets you fine-tune the focus system to individual lenses? This is a feature that is normally only seen in cameras at the pro level.

Why would you want to fine-tune the focus, and what the heck does that mean?

Good question! No lens is perfect. In many cases, a lens projects the in-focus plane of the image slightly in front of behind the sensor plane even when you have focused. This is what people call front or back focus. The result is that the element that is supposed to be in focus in your image is slightly blurred. With many cameras, there is nothing you can do about this. With the D7000 (and other semi-pro and professional cameras), you can cure this by using the AF Fine Tunefeature. So, if you feel that your images are not as sharp as they should be, you should check if there is front or back focus problem, and then you should fine-tune the focus accordingly. But you should use this feature with care! Otherwise, you may make things worse.

Tip #2: Stealth Mode

Did you know that your D7000 has a stealth mode? Yes, that’s right! Your D7000 turns you into a 007 – at least in terms of photography. ;-)

If you turn the mode dial to “Q” (note the similarity to Bond’s “Q”), your camera will produce notably less noise (in terms of sound, that is). This comes in handy if, for example, you are shooting in a church for a wedding. In “Q” mode, the D7000 stretches all the things over a slightly longer period of time that happen when you press the shutter release button. Additionally, the mirror does not come down again until you take your finger off the button again. The price you pay is, of course, a slightly longer shutter lag. Obviously, it can also not be combined with continuous shooting mode.

Tip #3: Semi-autobracketing

Are you shooting HDR images with your D7000, and have you been cursing about Nikon for not having extended the range of the auto exposure bracketing (AEB) function (limited to 3 shots with +-2EV)?

There is a simple workaround for this that I call semi-autobracketing. It works great when you are shooting hand-held and you rely on auto exposure bracketing. Simply use the user settings to extend the dynamic range:

  1. Make your composition, and configure your camera for the shot
  2. Then save this setting with two different exposure compensation settings (e.g. +2EV and -4EV) in User Setting 1 and 2.
  3. Now put the camera in User Setting 1 (using the mode dial), and take the first 3-shot AEB series.
  4. Switch the mode dial to setting 2 with your left hand without lifting the camera off your eye. Try not to move the camera!
  5. Take the second AEB series.

This way, you can take 6 different exposures of the same scene and extend your dynamic range greatly.

Tip #4: Autoexposure and Autofocus Lock

Did you know that you can easily lock your autofocus and your autoexposure to help your camera in difficult shooting situations?

With the AE-L/AF-L button to the right of the view finder, you can override the automatic focus and exposure system of your camera very easily. This comes in handy for instance if you shoot in difficult light. In situations with low contrast or very low light, the autofocus sometimes has difficulties in finding the focus. Here is what you can do then:

  1. Set the AE-L/AF-L button to AF-lock only in the menu (menu function f5).
  2. Simply select an object that is in better light and approximately at the same distance from the camera.
  3. Press the shutter release button half-way through to focus.
  4. Press and hold the AE-L/AF-L button.
  5. Point your camera at your subject.
  6. Press the shutter release to take the shot.

Your camera will use the exact same setting it chose before you pressed the AE-L/AF-L button. As another example: If you are shooting a panorama or vertorama hand-held, you want each section of the panorama to have the same focus and the same exposure. In this case, you can do the following:

  1. Set the AE-L/AF-L button to AE/AF-lock in the menu (menu function f5). This will let the button lock both, the focus and the exposure when pressed.
  2. Point your camera at the main subject in your panorama (the one you want to be in focus and well-exposed).
  3. Press the shutter release button half-way through to focus.
  4. Press and hold the AE-L/AF-L button.
  5. Point your camera at the first section of your panorama.
  6. Press the shutter release to take the shot for the first section.
  7. Pan through all the sections of your panorama and take the shots while holding the AE-L / AF-L button all the time.

This will give you consistent focus and exposure throughout your panorama and make the stitching and post-processing much easier.

More tips to come soon…