Nikon Z's U1,2,3 Setting and MASP

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Nov 3, 2018
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As amply demonstrated by the Boeing 737 tragedy, software design is an extremely complex undertaking. But today, our society cannot operate without computers. And the Z7's menu structures and other settings are very complex. Do you remember the good old days when all you had to do is set the lens aperture and the shutter speed on your Nikon F?

After testing the Z7's U123 user setting paradigm, I feel that putting the U123 and MASP modes in the same mode dial is a questionable design decision. Because while in the U123 mode, you cannot change your MASP mode; you are stuck with what is set in the U123. (You can change the shutter speed because the shutter speed is using the front dial.)

My simple suggestion to Nikon is this: While in one of the U123 modes, allow the user to change the MASP exposure mode by providing a software menu M/A/S/P on the panel. This mode selection should be effective only until the user exits that U mode by turning the dial. (If this MASP menu is added in the next software release, I would immediately put it in my "i" menu for easy access!)
 
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Jan 13, 2006
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Walter Rowe
I take the simple approach. There are so many settings. I use very few of them. I almost always use Aperture Priority mode, auto white balance, manually set ISO, and Standard picture mode, and I use exposure compensation / flash compensation as needed.
  • Depending on the situation I may adjust the contrast in Picture Mode.
  • For macro or long exposure shots I will use exposure delay.
  • For portraits where I too want to be in the picture I will use self-timer.
I don't think I use much else. I mainly shoot portraits, outdoors/nature, and travel.

I am curious now to hear what others do use, when, and how often.
 

Butlerkid

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Once at a shooting site, I set up for the subjects at that site.

Birds/wildlife: Manual, Auto ISO, group or single point focus
Travel/landscapes/architecture: Aperture priority, ISO 64 or lowest ISO for lighting conditions, exposure delay or release for long exposures, single point focus or focus peaking in LV

I use exposure compensation as necessary to fine tune exposure.
 
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Obviously, there are myriad ways User-customizable sets can be used, but I don't usually rely on them. But there is one exception, which I'll share since it might be somewhat useful to others who use back button focus with shutter release button AF disabled:

I have found it very valuable to customize U1 to have "normal" shutter release button behavior along with other "safe" settings. This way, before handing the camera to someone unfamiliar with it, a quick twist of the mode dial to U1 gives them a fighting chance at getting a usable shot.
 
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Nov 3, 2018
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That's exactly the U1 setting is intended to be used. And "birdy" shoot and "travel" shoot, I think, are good candidates for user settings as well...
 
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Aug 15, 2007
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Obviously, there are myriad ways User-customizable sets can be used, but I don't usually rely on them. But there is one exception, which I'll share since it might be somewhat useful to others who use back button focus with shutter release button AF disabled:

I have found it very valuable to customize U1 to have "normal" shutter release button behavior along with other "safe" settings. This way, before handing the camera to someone unfamiliar with it, a quick twist of the mode dial to U1 gives them a fighting chance at getting a usable shot.
This is a brilliant idea. I get tons of shots of my family on vacation, but setting up a shot with me in it is a huge pain in the rear with a tripod. Sometimes it's nice to hand off the camera to a fellow traveler to be in a photo. This is where mirrorless really shines. You can set the camera to touch focus and shutter release, and it's just as easy to use the camera LCD as an iPhone.
 
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Feb 11, 2006
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Riverside, CA
I never used the custom settings on any of my bodies. I doubt I'll use the U settings. I find the presence of a dial like that on a pro Body annoying.

95% of the time I’m in aperture priority mode, manual ISO, using compensation as needed.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
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2,875
Location
UK
I don't think that there is a right/wrong/best way to use U1/2/3 but I have used them almost exclusively on my recent D600,D7200,D750 and now Z6 bodies.

The fact that they have given us 3 User settings in the Z6 sort of confirms what I have thought - that previous bodies were short by at least one U slot.

U1 is set up pretty much standard i.e. "aperture priority mode, manual ISO".

U2 is set for Manual Mode and Auto ISO.

U3 is set up for immediate Bracketing - 3 exposures one step apart. It would have been nice to have been able to include Release Mode in the Saved Settings but there is plenty of time to correct that mistake with a firmware update. Nikon - are you listening?

You can save a separate set of iMenu items for each of U1/2/3 albeit that changes made in U1, for instance, carry over to U2 and U3. I also like the fact that I can save my desired Shutter Speed and/or Aperture/ISO for the prevailing conditions at the beginning of a session/event and return to those settings after a Power Off and restart.

DG
 
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As amply demonstrated by the Boeing 737 tragedy, software design is an extremely complex undertaking. But today, our society cannot operate without computers. And the Z7's menu structures and other settings are very complex. Do you remember the good old days when all you had to do is set the lens aperture and the shutter speed on your Nikon F?

After testing the Z7's U123 user setting paradigm, I feel that putting the U123 and MASP modes in the same mode dial is a questionable design decision. Because while in the U123 mode, you cannot change your MASP mode; you are stuck with what is set in the U123. (You can change the shutter speed because the shutter speed is using the front dial.)

My simple suggestion to Nikon is this: While in one of the U123 modes, allow the user to change the MASP exposure mode by providing a software menu M/A/S/P on the panel. This mode selection should be effective only until the user exits that U mode by turning the dial. (If this MASP menu is added in the next software release, I would immediately put it in my "i" menu for easy access!)
This is a reason why I appreciate the dials on the Df and the functionality of the Fuji camera bodies.

I'd rather Nikon provide what they did with the Z camera user preset dials as you can use them if you wish or not. I honestly have never really used the presets on any camera, although I understand why others would love to have them.
 
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