I’ve been happily shooting thousands of photos with my Nikon D90 D-SLR for just over two months now.
Since I’m a compulsive researcher and ADD list maker I’ve done extensive research on all those little settings which are available in camera and I figured I might just share the result of my detailed study and how I’ve setup my D90 for daily use (basically all my default settings).
Firstly I should say that I primarily shoot in Aperture priority mode – basically because I like to be able to control my depth of field (or rather the lack of it) – possibly because I’m mostly taking shots of people, portraits or things.
On the whole RAW vs JPEG debate:
- I initially started with RAW+JPEG
- I found that when I shot in RAW+JPEG I really much preferred the look of the out of camera JPEGs when compared to the RAWs – basically because the RAWs were unprocessed and they looked flat and dull
- I switched to just JPEG (Large/Fine) because I really didn’t want to bother with the hassle of post processing my images – I basically just wanted to get them right straight out of the camera (which I still basically do)
- Once I figured out I could setup Lightroom to import both the RAWs and JPEGs as side by side images (Preference: Treat JPEG files next to RAW files as separate photos) I switched back to RAW+JPEG for a while and could really see the difference between the RAWs and camera processed JPEGs
- I finally figured out how to use Lightroom properly to automatically apply the Nikon Standard Camera Calibration profile to the RAWs on image import I’m basically happy again so I’ve now switched to shooting RAW only
- I believe if you really want your RAW’s to look just like your out of camera JPEGs the only option you have is to use Nikons Capture NX2 software – but since that really isn’t in my workflow and I mentioned I kinda don’t want to really bother with any convoluted post processing this fell by the wayside for me
So now I basically just import all the RAWs straight into Lightroom and about the only post processing I do to some of my favourite images is see if any of the other profiled white balances look better and sometimes I might crop the image and finally I might click Auto Tone to see if I like that better.
So on to the D90 camera settings I use…
Display mode: Highlights
Custom Picture Control: Standard+Sharp5 < -- this only applies when I shot JPEG anyway - which I basically don't do anymore Image Quality: Fine RAW (RAW+JPEG Fine) ISO: ISO 200, Auto ISO, Max 3200, Min Shutter 1/30 (1/60) Active D-Lighting: Off (Auto) High ISO NR: Norm (Off?) Movie Settings: 720p Custom Settings Menu: a1 AF Area Mode: Auto (default) (, Single Point (control with thumb pad), 3D Tracking (sports)) a5 Focus point wrap around: On a7 Live View Autofocus: Face Priority c1 Shutter Release Exposure Locking: Off (default) c2 Meter Off Delay: 8s c3 Self Timer Delay Setting: 2s c4 Monitor Off Delay: 20s, 1m, 20s, 10s d1 Beep: Off d3 ISO Display: ISO d6 CL Mode Shooting Speed: 3 fps (default) d7 File Number Sequence: On e1 Flash Shutter Speed: 1/30s e2 Flash cntrl for built-in flash: Commander mode: TTL < -- I only did this since I purchased my SB-600 flash which supports wireless mode e5 Auto FP: On f1 Illumination Switch: Both f3 Assign FUNC Button: Top Item in My Menu f4 Assign AE-L/AF-L: AE Lock (Hold) f7 Reverse the Manual Metering Bar: -O+ Setup Menu: Image Comment: ... Setup MyMenu: a1 AF-area mode e2 Flash cntrl for built-in flash Active D-Lighting ISO sensitivity auto control ISO sensitivity e4 Auto bracketing set Battery info Set Picture Control