Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nikon d300s Movie mode and settings

I decided to do something silly, and downloaded the manual for the D300s.

Having read through just the part for Movie starting at page 57, I think I've already learned a few important things.

I'm planning to shoot from a tripod with a long lens, so I have the camera setup in tripod mode for movies... (A couple things are different in handheld mode.)

Here are my the highlight as I see them so far. I will add to this post as I learn new things.

1) play button (hold) plus the up and down on the multiselector to adjust the screen brightness (not the exposure!)

2) play button (hold) plus the left button on the multiselector switches to adjusting the audio level/mode.

3) When in A or M mode, the current value for aperture will be the setting for aperture during movie capture. Shutter values will be set automatically.

4) When in other modes (S or P) the camera selects both aperture and shutter values will be set automatically by the camera.

5) I'm not sure about ISO in movie mode because I didn't find that section for movies in the manual yet, but I suspect it automatically switches to auto-iso, otherwise in low light it could never to 24fps since it would need to be at a minumum of 1/24th shutter speed.

6) To adjust exposure compensation for movies, use the exposure compensation setting, the same one used for still images! Someone told me about adjusting exposure by the method in above #1, but that's just the screen brightness as far as I can tell. Actual adjustment of brightness and darkness of is set the same as for photos. This is much better than what I initially thought, because it makes the exposure adjustment 'sticky' so that it survives clips, and changing modes in and out of live view / movie mode.

7) There is autofocus in movie mode, but you HAVE to use the AF-ON button while in tripod mode. I had been trying to use the shutter button, and didn't have any luck, because that doesn't work. (In handheld mode it appears the shutter button engages autofocus in live view prior to starting to record.) The way I was doing it was to focus in still image mode first, then switch to live view and then start recording.

This new information to me makes a lot of sense. I was shooting snow geese at sunrise and kept mistakenly trying to adjust the exposure but in fact I wasn't. When I got home and reviewed the movies they all seemed too bright, and I thought I had adjusted things properly...

I've only had the camera a few weeks, and I think I've only shot in manual mode for still images, and had not adjust the EV comp.