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Many of these menu options are often deactivated in anything except the P, S, A and M modes.
How to get to the CUSTOM Menu
Press MENU, click left and then up and down to select the pencil icon (CUSTOM SETTING) menu. You'll see "CUSTOM SETTING MENU" on the top of the LCD monitor.
What it Sets
It sets thing having to do with the camera's own settings, like autofocus.
The D7000 is much better thought out than earlier Nikons, which spread these settings around in three other menus.
What I Change
I change a lot of little details here.
Reset custom settings top
This resets everything below back to factory defaults, so play with these all you want without fear.
If you're in U1 or U2 mode, play with them all you want, and when you return to the U1 or U2 mode, everything resets as it was when you programmed U1 or U2.
a1 AF-C priority selection top
This sets whether the D7000 will take pictures when out-of-focus in the AF-C mode.
By default, the RELEASE selection lets the D7000 make out-of-focus pictures in the AF-C mode.
I prefer my pictures to be in focus, so I set this to FOCUS mode, in which the D7000 only shoots if it's in focus.
The FOCUS selection ensures that all your pictures will be in focus in AF-C mode, but if the subject is moving a lot, the D7000 may run more slowly as it tries to focus properly for each frame.
If you'd prefer the D7000 to run full-speed, even if it's not in focus, choose RELEASE instead. I never use the RELEASE selection; why would I want out-of-focus pictures?
a2 AF-S priority selection top
This sets whether the D7000 will take pictures when out-of-focus in the AF-S mode.
By default in FOCUS mode, it only fires if focus is perfect.
If you just want to the D7000 to shoot, in focus or not, select RELEASE.
a3 Focus Tracking with lock-on top
This alters how long the D7000 waits before trying to refocus on a moving target after the D7000 detects a big jump in distance.
I leave this at its default of 3.
Set to longer will prevent the D7000 from getting lost if a moving target is blocked by a tree or another player, and set to shorter the D7000 will start refocusing faster once it loses a target.
If set to OFF, the D7000 immediately starts refocusing if a target suddenly disappears.
a4 AF point illumination top
This sets when the little points in the viewfinder light up.
I leave it at AUTO.
a5 Focus point wrap-around top
I leave this at OFF.
Set to ON, you can select the left-most AF sensor with one click to the right of the right-most AF sensor.
a6 Number of focus points top
I leave this at 39 points.
Set to 11 points, it allows selection of larger groups of AF sensors with fewer control clicks.
a7 Built-in AF-assist illuminator top
This lets you turn off the annoying AF assist light, but if you do and it's very dark, don't expect the D7000 to be able to focus.
a8 Live view/movie AF top
This selects how you would like the D7000 to autofocus while in Live View, which is also the mode from which movies are shot.
Hint: no matter how I set this, AF is too slow for anything that moves.
AF-F Full-time-servo: The D7000 keeps trying to focus continuously. It rarely works, but lets Nikon's advertising claim that the D7000 has continuous AF in movie mode. It does: the D7000 is constantly searching for focus, and rarely finds it before your subject moves.
AF-S Single-servo: The D7000 focuses until it gets something in focus, and then locks focus.
AF Area Mode
Face priority AF: The D7000 tries to focus on faces.
Wide-area AF: The D7000 tries to focus on anything in a wide central section of the image.
Normal-area AF: The D7000 tries to focus on the selected AF point.
Subject-tracking AF: Forget it. Nikon claims the D7000 will try to focus and track a moving subject, but it just can't work quickly enough.
b1 ISO sensitivity step value top
I leave this at 1/3.
Set to 1/2 and you'll be able to set weird ISOs in half-stop, not the ISO-standard 1/3 stop steps.
b2 EV steps for exposure control top
This sets half- or third-stop steps for setting exposures.
b3 Easy exposure compensation top
I leave this OFF.
Set to either ON option, and you don't have to press the compensation button; just spin the rear dial.
The "ON: AUTO reset" option stupid-proofs this so that if you knock the compensation by accident, it resets back to 0 when the meter turns off.
b4 Center-weighted area top
For you tweakers, this lets you set the diameter of the central spot to which the Center-weighted meter is sensitive.
I never touch this.
b5 Fine tune optimal exposure top
Don't touch this!
For tweakers, this lets you shift the precise exposure individually for each of the three meter modes by sixths of a stop.
If yo do this, the camera won't tell you that you've messed with this.
Don't touch this.
c1 Shutter release button AE-L top
If you want the exposure to lock when you half-press the shutter, set this to ON.
I leave it at its default of OFF; I use the AE-L AF-L button when I want locked exposure, and let the shutter button lock only the focus, which it does by default.
c2 Auto meter-off delay top
This is where you may change the amount of time the meter stays on when you've removed your finger.
Making this longer may be more convenient, but also can run down the battery more quickly.
c3 Self-timer top
Here you can change the delay of the self-timer.
Even more fun, you can set it to make up to 9 shots when it does go off. By having it mae a few shots each time it fires, you're much more likely to get a good shot of your group.
c4 Monitor off delay top
Here you may change the amount of time the LCD stays on in each of its five modes.
Making these longer may be more convenient, but also can run down the battery more quickly.
c5 Remote on duration top
When you set the Release mode to the remote-release setting, the D7000 has to stay turned on, waiting for the signal from the remote control.
You can set this to longer times, and likewise, the batteries will run down faster.
If you set the D7000 to expect a signal from the remote control and it sits longer than the number of minutes you've set, the D7000 goes back to sleep.
d1 Beep top
For goodness' sake, please leave this OFF.
Otherwise the D7000 makes all sorts of inappropriate beeps as it functions.
Cameras should be seen and not heard.
d2 Viewfinder grid display top
This activates a grid in the finder.
d3 ISO display top
Show ISO sensitivity
Set this ON, and the ISO (as well as the automatically-set AUTO ISO) will show instead of the frame counter in the finder.
Show ISO/Easy ISO
Set this ON, and you can change the ISO without pressing the ISO button.
Show frame count
"Show frame count" is the default.
The frame count shows in the finder as usual.
d4 Viewfinder warning display top
Leave this ON.
It allows big-boner warnings, like LO BAT and NO CARD to be superimposed on the actual image area in the finder (but not on you photos).
d5 Screen tips top
I leave this ON.
This allows the D7000 to light-up little descriptions of the various settings in the INFO display.
d6 CL mode shooting speed top
This sets 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 FPS for the frame rate of the Continuous Low release mode.
I leave this at 3 FPS.
Continuous High is always 6 FPS.
d7 Max. continuous release top
This lets you set the maximum number of shots you can make in one continuous press in either of the Continuous release modes.
I leave this at 100.
Set it low, and the D7000 will stop shooting in the middle of a burst. I don't know about you, but I let off the shutter button when I want my D7000 to stop.
d8 File Number Sequence top
This lets you ensure that your new pictures don't start from DSC_0001.JPG every time you use a new card. If they did, you'd have hundreds of photos all named DSC_0004.JPG on your computer.
ON (default): FIles keep counting up. Use this.
OFF: Files start at 0001 on each new or reformatted card.
Reset: Starts counting again at the lowest possible number.
d9 Information Display top
This sets when or if the rear LCD changes from gray-on-blue (normal) to blue-on-dark- gray (for night).
d10 LCD illumination top
I leave this OFF.
If set to ON, it lights the green LED behind the top LCD anytime the meter is on.
d11 Exposure delay mode top
For use with very long telephoto lenses on tripods, this delays the shutter from firing until about a second after the mirror has flipped up.
Use this if you're on a tripod with a long (200mm or longer) lens between about 1/60 and 1 second. At faster or slower speeds,or with a shorter lens, it won't matter.
d12 Flash warning top
I leave this ON.
In ON, the in-finder flash bolt blinks if your flash didn't have enough power for perfect exposure.
Set to OFF, you'll never know until you look at the photos.
d13 MB-D11 battery type top
If you use the MB-D11 grip, be sure to set this to the kind of battery you're using so the battery meter reads accurately.
d14 Battery Order top
If you use the MB-D11 grip, this sets which batteries are used first.
e1 Flash Sync Speed top
This sets the fastest speed the D7000 will use with flash.
I leave it at its 1/250 default.
Faster sync is usually better, but the 1/320 setting is a bit of a trick.
e2 Flash Shutter Speed top
This sets the slowest shutter speed the D7000 will use with flash in P or A modes.
I leave it at its 1/60 default.
Set it slower, say to 1/8, to let ambient backgrounds fill-in more in dim light, but beware of the potential for motion blur.
e3 Flash control for built-in flash top
This sets what the built-in pop-up flash does.
TTL is normal: the flash works as it should.
MANUAL fixes the flash to one set output. Use this only if you have a fixed setup and need to get just one specific level of flash.
RPT REPEATING FLASH is a trick manual mode for special stop-motion strobe effects.
CMD COMMANDER FLASH is for controlling other flashes wirelessly.
e4 Modeling flash top
TURN THIS OFF!
By a defect in design, it defaults to ON. Left this way, it fires a huge wallop of blinding flash anytime you hit the Preview button, which I often do when looking at the front of the camera while adjusting it.
e5 Auto bracketing set top
This sets which exposures are changed as the camera brackets.
I leave it at AE & Flash, but I don't use bracketing, either.
e6 Bracketing order top
This sets which exposures are made when while bracketing.
f1 Assign Power Switch top
This sets what happens when you flick the power switch to the light bulb position.
I set mine to call up the INFO screen as well as light the top LCD.
More at Power Switch.
f2 Assign OK button top
I leave this at its default of setting the AF sensor back to the center.
f3 Assign Fn button top
Here we chose what our Function button will do.
I set mine to TOP ITEM IN MY MENU, which I explain at the Function Button.
Here are your options:
Preview duplicates the usual function of the Preview button.
Use this if you want depth-of-field preview, but want to use the usual preview button for something else.
FV Lock lets the Fn button pop the flash and lock the flash exposure.
Use this to set and hold a flash exposure if your shot is difficult, say with a small subject off in a corner that needs to be exposed well with flash.
Pop it with the subject in the center, recompose, and shoot.
AE/AF Lock locks both while the Fn button is held.
AE Lock Only
AE Lock only locks exposure while the Fn button is held.
AE Lock (hold)
AE Lock (hold) locks the exposure when the Fn button is tapped, and holds it until you tap it again, or the meter goes to sleep.
AF Lock Only
AF Lock only locks focus while the Fn button is held.
Flash off disables the flash while the Fn button is held.
The flash isn't actually turned off. It stays ready to fire the instant you take your next shot with your finger off the button.
This lets the Fn button set Adaptive Dynamic Range.
Tap the Fn button, and the next shot records in raw, too.
To cancel, press again. It resets itself after you take the picture.
Tap the Fn button, and the D7000 goes directly into that metering mode.
Hold the Fn button and turn the rear dial to turn a viewfinder grid on and off.
Viewfinder virtual horizon
Hold the Fn button, and the bar graph at the bottom of the finder suggests when you're level.
Access top item in MY MENU
I use this.
Tap Fn, and bingo, you're at the top item you've programmed into your MY MENU menu.
1 step spd/aperture
Tap Fn, and now shutter speed and aperture work in full-stops per click.
Choose non-CPU lens number
Presuming you've programmed your manual-focus lenses under Non-CPU lens data at the bottom of the SETUP menu, this lets you select from up to nine lenses by holding the Fn button and spinning the rear dial.
The lens information is shown only on the top LCD, not through the finder as I'd like.
The Fn button becomes a PLAY button.
This is handy: you now can shoot and play with one hand.
Start movie recording
This doesn't make shooting movies as easy as it sounds. You still have to be in Live View before this will work.
f4 Assign Preview button top
This lets us program the Preview button to do what we like.
I leave it alone so it remains as the Preview button.
You may select from the same options as the Function button.
f5 Assign AE-L/AF-L button top
The AE-L/AF-L button is on the top right of the back of the camera.
I set mine to AE lock only, using the shutter button to lock focus.
The functions to which this button may be programmed are a subset of those I've explained at the Function button, with one additional option of AF ON. AF ON turns the AE-L/AF-L button into a button that starts autofocus all by itself.
f6 Customize command dials top
Here we can customize the functions of our two command dials.
Reverse dial rotation
This makes each dial respond in reverse from what we expect.
This setting is used if you select f9 Reverse indicators below.
This swaps the functions between the the front and rear dials.
I leave this alone. It lets you control aperture from the aperture ring of non-G lenses instead of from the D7000's command dial.
Normally, the D7000 sets the lens' aperture with its front dial.
Many traditional AF lenses have an additional aperture ring with which one may also set the aperture, if one sets this to "Aperture Ring." In this case, "Aperture Ring" reads as OFF in the menu.
Manual-focus lenses always use their aperture rings, regardless of this setting.
G lenses are always set from the camera, regardless of this setting.
Menus and playback
I leave this ON, in which case one may navigate the menus and flip among images and alternate displays not only with the up/down/left/fight control , but also with the front and rear dial.
"ON image review excluded" lets them control things, except during image review. You might want to chose this because otherwise you may be turning dials expecting to adjust your next shot, and instead the D7000 is still fiddling with the playback pf the previous image. Left in ON as I leave it, I need to remember to tap the shutter to get the D7000 back into shooting mode for my dials to take effect in setting my next shot.
Turning it OFF makes the D7000 ignore the command dials in the menus and while playing back.
f7 Release button to use dial top
I leave this OFF.
If set ON, you may make all the various camera adjustments that require holding a button simply by tapping the button just once, then spinning the dials.
If you do this, the camera stops responding to the setting when you either tap the button again, or tap the shutter.
f8 Slot empty release lock top
Set it to LOCK. This prevents us from taking pictures with no card in the camera.
The default of OK allows you to shoot an entire vacation with no card, and not realize it until you press the Play button and discover that you never recorded anything.
This mode is only here so that Wal-Mart can put cameras out on display and have them work with no card; you would never want to set your camera to OK.
f9 Reverse indicators top
This lets you make the in-finder bar graph read correctly.
Nikons' bar graphs and even mechanical in-finder meters have always read backwards since they were created in the 1960s! On every Nikon ever made, minus goes to the right, and positive goes to the left.
This is because the Nikon F and all of Nikon's SLR system was designed as a simple extrapolation from Nikon's rangefinder cameras, which were designed in the 1940s, when very few people even owned a light meter.
The shutter dials and aperture rings of Nikon's newest cameras still turn in the same direction as they did on Nikon's very first cameras of the 1940s.
When Nikon introduced in-camera light meters in the 1960s, the needles were designed to go in the logical direction as you turned the rings and dials: positive went to the left.
Even after Nikon did away with shutter dials and aperture rings on their cheaper cameras in the 1990s and 2000s, the bar graphs still go the wrong way.
Now that your D7000 has no shutter dial and your G lenses have no aperture ring, you can set this straight once and for all.
Even if you flip the bar graph, the command dials of the D7000 still work in the same directions as Nikon's 1940s cameras, unless you also set f6 Customize command dials: Reverse dial rotation to ensure the bar graphs follow the dials.
Hey, you asked.
f10 Assign MB-D11 AEL/AFL button top
This lets us program the function of the AE-L/AF-L button on the MB-D11 grip.
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