Nikon D7000 – Quick Tips

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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?

More infos:

Study page 246 in the D7000 user’s manual.

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.

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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. ;-)

More infos:

Study page 77 in the D7000 user’s manual.

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.

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Tip #3: Semi-autobracketing

More infos:

Study pages 75/76 in the D7000 user’s manual.

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.

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Tip #4: Autoexposure and Autofocus Lock

More infos:

Study page 97, page 106 and page 232 in the D7000 user’s manual

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.

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More tips to come soon…

 

44 Responses to Nikon D7000 – Quick Tips

  1. As a photographer who shoots many different types of subject, I can attest to how important this is! The first time I used my d7000 for a sports event with my 70-200 zoom I discovered that it was back focusing. With fast motion coming straight at me while shooting wide open at 2.8 the result were a disaster. (by my standards)Now I test every camera and lens combo prior to using them on an assignment.

    Dominic Urbano
    Fallen Leaf Imgaging
    http://www.fallenleafimaging.com

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Dominic,

      yes, especially with a shallow DoF, fine-tuning may become critical. At f/2.8 and below, even a slight front or back focus can ruin your shot (e.g. ears in focus instead of the eyes in a portrait).

  2. Great advice! I didn’t know about the autofocus fine-tuning possibilities. I’ll have to check it out soon. Here are my favourite features:

    http://shutterexperiments.com/2011/04/03/nikon-d7000-features-overview-2/

  3. Chad says:

    I just bought a D7000 a couple weeks ago, upgraded from a D80 and what a world of a difference.

    My question is about the Tip #3: Semi-autobracketing e.g.

    I understand how to set U1 & U2 preference up but I’m not understanding (+2EV and -4EV) I know my bracket set has 3 options +2F, -2F, 3F.. Im used to shooting in 3F always for my brackets. Explain to me in more detail about how you are using U1 and U2 to get 6 shots?? if you shoot U1 +2F that is two shots, and U2 -2F that is two shots equaling out to 4 different exposures only??

    Thanks
    Chad

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Chad,

      for each of the user settings, I shoot a full 3-shot AEB series. Each of the two series has a different center EV. E.g. I set the exposure compensation for U1 to +2EV and shoot an AEB series with 1EV steps (+3, +2, +1). The exposure compensation for U2 is set to -1EV, resulting in (0, -1, -2). That’s 6 shots covering +3EV to -2EV.

      I hope this example explains it a bit better.

      Cheers
      Klaus

  4. Chad says:

    Ok I think Im getting there, for U1 & U2 brackets are set at 3F 2.0

    U1 hit exposure compensation button to +2
    U2 hit exposure compensation button to -1

    I think that is what you are telling me. My old D80 just set bracketing to 3F 2.0, setting exposure compensation is new to me for bracketing.

    Chad

  5. gael says:

    Thank you for sharing Klaus (Tips3 be going to serve me a lot) Your work is a continual source of inspiration for me as I learn my way through photography. Greeting from France !

  6. Simon says:

    Hi,

    I also have the D7000 and the Nikkor 10-24mm lens.

    Did you do any fine tuning of the focusing for this pair ? If so, could you share the parameters you went with

    Thanks

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Simon,

      I actually did not use the fine-tuning feature for the 10-24 lens. But I would also not recommend using anybody elses values. The right parameters heavily depend on the specific copy you have. There are tutorials on the web about how to tell if you have front or back focus and on how to adjust the camera.

      Cheers

  7. Rodrigo Gazmuri says:

    I own a Nikon 7000. Recently I engaged in flying bird photos with the Nikon 70-200 2,8 lens in AF-C. I got some pics in which the focus points were red watching them in Aperture despite these focus points were over areas completely blurred. Any ideas why?
    i would have expected no red (in focus) focus points if the subject was blurred.
    Thanks
    Rodrigo

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Rodrigo,

      that’s tough to say. Flying birds are a real challenge, even if you are using AF-C. It’s probably not the fault of your camera. Things change so rapidly that your camera may not be able to follow in time. That is a subject that usually requires a lot of attempts before you get a sharp photo. So, my advice is: Be patient and take a lot of shots.

      I hope that helps!

      Cheers
      Klaus

      • Jim Davis says:

        I Just came across your site, Interesting information that I have not thought of. I have a response to Rodrigo Gazmuri about shooting flying birds and he may have already discovered this as well you need to change the AF area Mode to “3D – Tracking”. Once you set the focus point on the subject it will automatically update the focal point as the birds or any moving subject moves through the picture. Hope this helps

        • farbspiel says:

          Hi Jim,

          thanks for the good tip. I did not try that yet as I don’t do a lot of action and sports photography. But I will try it on my little daughter when she starts running around the house. :)

          Cheers
          Klaus

  8. Jim Davis says:

    Klaus,

    Let me know how it goes I am still learning the d7000 myself, Recently upgraded from the d50, I just been reading about this setting in the manual when I saw your post here. I have to shoot a parade this coming weekend so I’ll definitely be working on the 3d tracking.

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Jim,

      I will try to keep you posted. But my daughter has a few more months before she starts walking (let alone running). So, I will have some time to practice using the 3D-Tracking feature. ;)

      Regards,
      Klaus

  9. Rodrigo Gazmuri says:

    Thanks for the tip. I waas shooting birds with a pro and he told me not to use the 3D Tracking since it is best to use the 9 or 21 points.
    I will hace to try again. What bothers me is why in Aperture (post processing software) the areas appear in focus when really they are not.

    Cheers !

  10. NANDKUMAR KARLE says:

    i want to learn photography.

  11. Jim Davis says:

    Another thing you can use for moving targets is change the AF area mode to Subject Tracking AF = Appears as a circle with a set of cross hairs – place the focus point on the subject and press OK

  12. rocky dela pena says:

    hi. i just brought my new Nikon d7000 2 weeks ago with the 500mm 1.8d. im confuse to AE/AF LOCK..i read the manual and do some research aslo..but still im a bit confuse.i understand that if i set my ae/af button to focus and exposure lock,then my subject is person so naturally i will focus on the eyes if i pressed the ae/af botton my focus and exposure will lock right..if i recompose the the shot and move my camera does this affect my focus point??bec i notice and tried that if i do that the eyes which is in focus is not sharp..

  13. grin says:

    TUTORIAL AF FINE TUNING

    Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog

    Jeffrey’s Autofocus Test Chart/AF FINE TUNING

    GOODLUCK………

  14. jose says:

    I bought my D7K about 2 months ago switching from sony. I notice that my focus with a 35mm lens was really bad, impossible to adjust with the fine focus. I use the warranty and they fixed it, now with my 35mm i tuned it to -12 with perfect focus, BUT when I use a zoom 55-200 or 18-105 and the 2s timer just before it takes the picture I notice that the image moves up in the viewfinder resulting in a tiny blurry effect in the picture, that does´t happen when I shoot in normal or with the 35mm lens. Can you take a look, is a common issue or just me.

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Jose,

      what you are experiencing may be related to the VR (Vibration Reduction) system. The system will cause the “shifting up” effect, and if mounted to a tripod, it may actually cause blur. In the newer versions, they should have fixed that, but maybe it happens in your case. So, I would guess that this is the problem rather than any focus issue.

      Try turning off VR when you shoot from a tripod.

      I hope this helps you resolve the problem.

      Cheers
      Klaus

  15. Don Rosenthal says:

    I just purchased the D7000. My son asked me to take some action shots of him playing soccer (33 years old). I tried different settings, however after each initial shot, the shutter button would freeze not allowing me to take other shots? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Don,

      one reason that I could think of is that you have the dial that’s below the mode dial set to anything that is neither CH or CL. Set it to CH to get high-speed continuous shooting. Another thing that causes burst mode to stall is when your camera tries to focus and does not find anything to focus on. There is a menu option telling your camera not to take a shot when it has not acquired a proper focus, and it is set to “on” by default. Try to focus before the shot and then turn the AF off. That may work. But make sure you reactivate AF afterwards. Otherwise you may come back home with a bunch of out-of-focus photos.

      I hope these tips help you solve your problem.

  16. Jim Davis says:

    Hi Don
    I believe the problem you are having may not be the camera but your memory card. If you shoot in burst mode, after approx. 7-8 shots the camera has to down load from the memory to the memory the card, Try going to a larger card try a 32 gig class 10 card, That writes at least 30meg and reads at 80. The specs are listed on the cards packaging. that should help with some of the problems your are having with your camera freezing up. I had the same problem shooting a rodeo and it never dawned on me that it was the sd card and not the camera. Your down load time to your computer should be faster as well with the new card

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Jim,

      thanks for helping out here. The memory card can cause a serious slow-down after some shots, but the photos go into the internal buffer anyway. You can shoot maybe a dozen photos in burst mode before the memory card comes into play. I suspect that that is not the reason for the camera stopping after one shot.

  17. Jim Davis says:

    You may be right, but that tends to be my problems shooting in burst mode but I have from time to time found that the camera will lock up if its having any difficulty focusing correctly on to a subject. You may want to check you settings if you are set on AFC, AFS or AFA and the # of focus points being used. its easy to accidently change from one mode to the other if your not paying attention.

  18. Cathy says:

    I have a D7000 and recently shot photos indoors. I am usually a natural light girl, but it was raining outside. Anyway, the family photos were not only slightly fuzzy, but they were orange in color. Using the flash did not help either. It took forever to correct (or I should say make presentable) using Lightroom 5 and Adobe CS5 photoshops, but my reasoning is there has got to be a better way. I used a 50mm lense, shooting manual. Any suggestions? I literally had to fight with my own camera…lol. Thanks.

  19. saumya says:

    Hi I jus bought d7k wid 18-105mm …der’s some kinda red blocks on the screen when i click..Can u plz help me to understand dis.Thanks!

  20. luke says:

    Re: fine tuning auto-focus – if you are out of focus at, say, 70mm, will you be out of focus the same amount at all focal lengths?

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Luke,

      if your camera/lens combination has a back or front focus problem, you can fix it with this method. If the lens has different focus issues at different focal lengths, I would suggest that you hand it to the manufacturer to get it properly calibrated. The fine-tuning in the camera cannot fix every focus problem you may find.

      Cheers
      Klaus

  21. Luke says:

    Klaus -
    My Q was hypothetical: if one wants to find out if a zoom is forward or back focusing, must one check at different focal lengths. Or once for the entire zoom range?

    Thx
    Luke

  22. Toni says:

    I have a Nikon d7000..still in the learning process..I have a wedding coming up that will have disco lighting..please help.. what settings and lenses are best for this lighting?

    • Wayne says:

      Toni,

      When I have taken shots at wedding evening do’s that have disco lights etc. I have dialled down my flash output and varied my shutter speed firing the flash at either end of the exposure. This tends to give you nice colours from the lights but also freezes your subjects at the point of the flash firing… Try experimenting with the inevitable children that run around as soon as the music starts…!

      Good Luck :)

      flash783

  23. saumya says:

    hi , I wish to put a copy right wid my signature on my pictures clicked by nikon d 7000…I have downloaded a image editor software GIMP..Can anybody please help as I am unable to find correct options?
    Thanks
    Saumya

  24. Tamara says:

    I have had me D7000 a while now and I am having issues getting focused shots with ample light while shooting my sons night football games under the stadium lights. I know it can be tricky- any tips? I am shooting with my Nikon 70-200 vr 1

  25. Chewy says:

    I own a D7000 and I would like to take photos of group inside my house. Should I buy 24-70mm f/2.8 lens? Pls advise. Tks.

  26. Juner21 says:

    I have been shooting with the d7000 for about 6 months
    I get great crisp close up shots but if I try to get a shot of a full length person it become very blurred can’t figure out why ?!

  27. Elise Arbon says:

    I think i may have accidentally pressed something i shouldn’t have on my camera and now i cannot take photos, or change the focus of the photos.
    I need this fixed as i have a photography assignment due in 2 weeks.
    It would be great if you could help with this situation.
    Thanks :)

    • farbspiel says:

      Hi Elise,

      unfortunately, your description is way too generic for me to be able to offer any help. There are about a thousand things you may have done that prevent your camera from functioning the way you expect it.

      Now, you’re not going to like this, but here is my suggestion: Before your assignment, you should read your camera’s manual thoroughly. Understand what all the functions are and what all the buttons mean. If it’s a paid assignment, this is even more important as it may save you from making costly mistakes.

      Take at least one afternoon, sit down with you manual and the camera and go through the manual from page 1 to the end. You do not need to read every word, but try to understand what your camera can do and how to make it do the different things.

      If your problem still persists, let me know and describe it in more detail. I will try to help.

      Cheers
      Klaus

      • Ian Rowland says:

        Elise
        To hopefully solve your problem, I would recommend initiating a reset; refer to your D7K manual, pages 151, 202 & 207.
        Good luck
        IanR

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