One of the features of the newer cameras that I really like is the option to set up a personal menu list of the functions I might want to change during a shoot. The “My Menu” feature offers the equivalent of bookmarks in a browser, yielding a quick shortcut rather than a longer search.
So what items do I have in “my” menu? I have the same choices selected in both my Nikon D4 and my D800E, in the same order:
- Virtual horizon
- Exposure delay mode
- Monitor brightness
- AF activation
- Multiple exposure mode
- Long exposure NR
- AF fine tune
- Lock mirror up for cleaning
The Virtual horizon choice is for the LCD on the back of the camera. I have the function button on both cameras set to display the virtual horizon in the viewfinder.
Exposure delay mode locks the mirror up, and allows me to choose a 3 second delay before the shutter trips.
I use monitor brightness to increase the LCD brightness when I’m working in direct sunlight, making it easier to view the LCD. I much prefer this over using the default “auto brightness” setting.
AF-activation. While I normally use the back AF-ON button, there are a few times I want to have AF activation on the shutter button.
Multiple exposure mode and Long exposure NR are self-explanatory.
AF fine tune and Lock mirror up for cleaning are rarely used, but it’s more convenient for me to have them listed here.
I haven’t used the image crop mode feature on my D4, and don’t see myself ever doing so. The D800E is another story. For landscape work I want the full sensor available, but for wildlife work cropping in-camera (especially the 1.2 crop more) yields plenty of pixels, while reducing file size slightly (which clears the buffer a bit faster). I could have added image area to my menu choices, but there is an easier way. I have custom function F6 set so that the AF-L/AE-L button, when used with the command dial, cycles through the image crop modes. I can change image area without looking away from the viewfinder. In fact, this custom setting allows me to choose which crop modes to include and since I don’t care about the 5:4 crop I have it excluded. Just in passing I also have custom function A5 (AF point illumination) set to “off,” which masks the viewfinder when a crop mode is used. If A5 is “on,” crop lines are added to the finder image, which gets a bit confusing as I have custom function A6 set to show the viewfinder grid display. I do wish the camera allowed me to use both the mask overlay and the AF point illumination.
And one “don’t need a menu at all” feature deserves a special compliment: being able to activate Auto ISO by holding down the ISO button and turning the command dial. Bravo!