Tag Archives: controls

Testing the Nikon D4: Backwards Thinking?

A Brief Journey Into Madness

I’m still extremely pleased with my Nikon D4, but for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on (pun intended), I was having brain-lock in the field using EV compensation. It seemed like every time I went to dial in (-) EV, I was dialing in (+) EV. Surely, it must have been my imagination, as I’ve been using Nikon DSLRs for years and most of the ergonomics are hard-wired into my brain. I figured I was just nuts (a reasonable assumption, just ask my wife).

Am I nuts?

Upon checking my D300s and D700 bodies, I noticed that the meter display in the top LCD has (+) on the left and (-) on the right. If I use EV compensation, rotating the Main Command Dial to the right dials in -EV and rotating it to the left dialed in +EV. This all makes sense; you turn the wheel in the direction of the desired compensation. Back to the D4. It was totally backwards. (+) on the right, and (-) on the left. If I wanted to dial in EV compensation, I had to turn the Main Command dial in the direction opposite the indicator in the LCD and viewfinder. Backwards!

Default Meter view on the Nikon D4
Default Meter view on the Nikon D700

RTFM!

I then dug out the manuals (sometimes, even seasoned photographers need to RTFM), and sure enough, the default settings for the D4 are completely opposite those of the D3s, D300s, and D700. Fortunately, there is a solution that doesn’t involve re-training my feeble mind.

Custom Settings to the Rescue

With all high-end Nikon DSLRs, you have the ability to go into the custom settings and change the behavior of the dials and displays to suit your liking. Never before, however, have I needed to change the controls to get me back to what is standard with other Nikon DSLRs, but at least this is an easy fix.

Step 1: Set Custom Setting f13 (Reverse Indicators) to put the meter back the way I’m used to seeing it: (+) on the Left, and (-) on the Right. This gets the display right, but the EV compensation dial is still backwards in that you rotate the dial in the opposite direction of the meter.

Step 2: Set Custom Setting f10 (Customize Command Dials) to reverse the rotation for Exposure Compensation. Now, when I turn the dial in the direction of the (-) sign, I get -EV, and vice-versa.

Whew!

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