Help me help you top
I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to the D5300 at Adorama or directly to the D5300 at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.
The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.
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How to get to the SETUP Menu
Select the Set Up Menu by pressing MENU, moving to the left and then up or down to select the wrench icon. You'll then see SETUP MENU on the top of the LCD.
What it Sets
This sets the usual housekeeping items like languages, video formats, auto image rotation, the clock and file numbering.
What I Change
This menu contains the secret message mode I use to encode my © and contact information into every file shot with my D5300.
I format my card every time I put it in my D5300. It erases everything and starts on a clean card for the least likelihood of data errors.
You do this by pressing:
MENU > WRENCH > Format memory card > YES > OK.
Reformatting completely renovates the card. Simply erasing all the pictures does not, and leaves potential errors lurking.
Professionals reformat a card each and every time a card is put in the camera. This is because files and folder structures are sometimes messed up or changed when the card is read with a reader, or used in any other camera.
Professionals prefer to be safe rather than sorry. We don't use cards to archive previous photos. One time I kept saving my best shots on a card by simply erasing the rest each time. After a few months I started to get errors. These went away as soon as I reformatted the card.
Monitor Brightness top
I leave mine at 0; it's always perfect. Change it if you like.
Info Display Format top
This lets you change the appearance of the LCD screens in which you make adjustments.
Set it with:
MENU > WRENCH > Info display format > Classic or Graphic.
I use this option because it makes everything the biggest and easiest to see.
Most things are smaller to make room for the goofy moving picture of a diaphragm on the left. Change the aperture and it changes. This is supposed to help new photographers, but it won't.
Choose whichever you prefer: I prefer the classic display.
Auto Info Display top
This is ON by default, and it drives me crazy.
If you don't turn it off, it keeps turning on the INFO screen just about any time the D5300 is on.
To change this, press
MENU > WRENCH > Auto info display > OFF.
Clean Image Sensor top
This lets you tell the D5300 to clean its own sensor, and if you want it to clean itself every time you turn it on or off.
Thankfully I've not had any problems with dust in my D5300.
Lock mirror up for cleaning
This lets you lock-up the mirror and open the shutter to let you try to clean the sensor yourself the hard way.
Don't do this; I send my cameras to Nikon if they ever need a real cleaning. I know people who have destroyed their own $5,000 cameras thinking some magic swabs or pads would let them save paying Nikon $25 to do it properly.
If you must do this, use only a blower bulb and never touch the sensor with anything.
Image Dust Off Ref Photo top
This is used to take a picture of the dust on your sensor. If you pay Nikon another $135 for Nikon Capture software you can use this to erase the dust more easily from your images shot in raw. You people know who you are. I don't do this!
Flicker Reduction top
When set properly to your local power frequency (60 Hz for US and Japan or 50 Hz for Europe), this helps reduce the flickering seen when shooting movies under crappy artificial lighting like fluorescent, mercury or sodium lighting.
You shouldn't need to touch this unless you're traveling. I leave it in AUTO.
Time Zone and Date top
This sets the date, time and time zones.
There is a nice map for finding time zones. Want to reset your D5300 for Fiji or Tonga? Just click. You can swap among time zones or daylight savings time without having to reset the seconds, a boon for me who keeps his D5300 set to the exact second.
This sets English or other languages.
If a "friend" sets your D5300 to a different language as a practical joke, the menu option for "Language" is still marked "Language" even though every other menu option changes, so you can reset your D5300 back to normal.
Auto Image Rotation top
This sets a flag in vertical images which keys most, but not all, software to display the image vertically. Leave this ON, otherwise all your vertical shots will be sideways!
It does not actually rotate the images; it merely sets a flag read by most software. Someday the camera's firmware will work properly and rotate the image itself as does my 2003 Kodak EasyShare CX4310, but no camera does this today.
I rotate the images themselves later in Phase One Media Pro to ensure that they always display properly on everything.
Auto Image Rotation is easy to fool if you're shooting directly up or down. Turn it off if you're photographing your shoes on your feet all day.
Image Comment top
This lets you add a secret text message into every file. Mine is set to © KenRockwell.com with my address and phone number! You see this text looking at the EXIF data with software on a computer.
Nikon offers no real © symbol; you have to use (c) instead.
You set this by pressing:
MENU > WRENCH > Image Comment > Input Comment > (add your message like you did on 1970s video games) > OK. You must hit OK or it will forget everything you just did!
To edit or remove a character, select it or its location in the Input Comment screen by spinning the rear dial. Select a new character by hitting (+), or press the Trash button to delete it.
Hint: pay attention to the screen as you enter your comment. (+) is OK when you're done; if you hit the OK button, it adds another character.
When you get your text message spelled out, go up to Attach Comment and hit OK so a small checkmark shows. If you forget to check Attach it won't attach.
It's great having everything you shoot contain your contact information. It also allows you to prove ownership in a third-world country when catching a thief with your camera. Help the cop go through the menus and read your personal ID information.
This text is added in the file's EXIF data. It doesn't appear in the visible image. I insert my visible © notices with Photoshop.
Location Data (GPS) top
This is where we set the GPS options and whether or not we want the location recorded in the file's data.
Video Mode top
This sets the analog video output's television format.
Use NTSC ("Never The Same Color," 525 lines, 59.94 Hz) in the Americas and Japan, and PAL ("Problems Are Lurking," 625 lines, 50 Hz) in Europe.
There is no SECAM ("System Essentially Contrary to American Method) setting.
This output will always look much worse on a TV or projector than images do on a computer or projected through a computer. Read Why Images Look Awful from the Video Output for more.
For high-quality video output, use the HDMI output.
Output Resolution allows you to fix the output at one resolution. Otherwise, it sets itself automatically by default. I leave it at AUTO.
Device Control allows some pieces of equipment to control one or another remotely.
Remote Control top
Remote Shutter Release sets whether the remote control acts to take a picture, or to start recording a video.
Assign Fn Button sets what the Fn Button does on the remote control.
This is where we set up Wi-Fi, as well as where we turn it off and on.
Conformity Marking top
Hidden here are more logos for standards to which the D5300 is complaint.
As time goes on, cameras get smaller and there are more international requirements, so cameras have to put some of these in the menus instead printed on the bottom of the camera.
Firmware Version top
This lets me confirm if my D5300 is up-to-date with Nikons' free firmware updates.
Mine, as I write this on 03 April 2014, reads C 1.00, L 2.000.
C is the Camera's firmware.
L is Lens correction data for light falloff and distortion correction.
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