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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
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The new Nikon D5000 is simply an incredible little camera! It has most of the
features found in its predecessor, the advanced Nikon D90, yet in a smaller, more
portable body. Its small size belies its
flexibility and image quality. Compared to
the similarly sized Nikon D60, the D5000
is strikingly more powerful and feature
rich.
It shares a 12.2-megapixel sensor with
the Nikon D90 and pro-level Nikon D300.
You’ll take some of the best pictures of
your life with this powerful little camera.
In fact, using it, you can create images
with the quality and size needed for
things like stock photography (micro and
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traditional) and print sales. You may not
be interested in earning money with your
camera, but it feels good to know you
could if you wanted to.
If you simply want to make beautiful
images, the D5000 will give you enough
control to create fine art photographs.
If you’re at a party and just want to take
great pictures without thinking about
camera settings, the D5000’s green AUTO
mode will take control so you can just
point and shoot. If you know nothing
about cameras, the D5000 offers 19 scene
modes that give you creative control
under different shooting conditions without making other camera adjustments.
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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
Can you see why I say this camera is
incredible? It will take full automatic
control of the picture process when you
ask it to or give you complete manual
control when you need it. If you want to
control only some of the camera’s functions while you learn other functions, it
will allow you to do that too. In short, you
now have amazing flexibility in a small
and easy-to-carry package.
The Nikon D5000 may be the first
digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera
you’ve purchased. You may have been
using a point-and-shoot (P&S) camera
but found that your passion for photography exceeded its capability. With a
DSLR, you can change lenses for greater
image control. You look through the viewfinder or use Live View with the rear LCD
and actually view through the lens your
camera uses to take the picture. You can
configure the camera to work in different ways, using different color styles,
image formats, and exposure types. You
have different types of exposure meters
and a powerful feature called the histogram. Using a DSLR gives you much more
control over how an image is created.
Digital Sensor Basics, or Why Does a
DSLR Make Better Images?
The sensor size in your D5000 provides
potential image quality unobtainable by
even the best of the P&S cameras. Many
do not realize why a DSLR can make such
high-quality images in comparison. Let
me explain.
All digital cameras have an imaging
sensor that uses very tiny light-gathering
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points called pixels—an abbreviation of
picture elements. Your D5000 has almost
12.3 million pixels on its sensor in an
array 4,288 pixels wide and 2,848 pixels
tall (4,288 x 2,848 = 12,212,224 pixels,
or just over 12.2 megapixels). To be accurate, I’ll refer to the megapixel rating of
the D5000 as 12.2 usable megapixels.
A point-and-shoot camera has a digital imaging sensor about the size of
your little fingernail. Imagine cramming
millions of pixels into a space the size of
your little fingernail, like the P&S cameras have done. Those pixels are so small
that they’re not very light sensitive. For
a P&S camera to make a good picture,
especially in lower light levels, the power
gain must be turned up on the pixels. That
boosts the signal but also increases noise,
thereby degrading the image.
On the other hand, the Nikon D5000
has an imaging sensor about the size of a
postage stamp—15.8 x 23.6 mm in size.
That’s a big difference! Its pixels are much
larger than a P&S’s and can gather light
much more efficiently. The image quality
from your new DSLR is sharper and has
better color, contrast, and dynamic range
and its photos can be enlarged more effectively and with higher quality. You’ll be
amazed at the difference and so will your
friends and family.
So you can get the best use out of your
much more complex DSLR camera, let’s
examine some of the most important
settings to confirm and configure for first
use of the camera.
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Charging the Battery
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First Use of the Nikon D5000
Charging the Battery
In this section, I’ll help you set up your
camera for first-time use. There are important functions scattered all through
the various menus of the camera that
you’ll need to examine and set. Even if
you’ve been using your D5000 for a while,
please read this section because you
might have overlooked some things that
will benefit your use of the camera.
Some of the settings we’ll look at in
this chapter are already preconfigured
the way I suggest you set them. Nikon
uses many of these settings as factory
defaults. However, I wanted to cover
these areas for two reasons:
• You may have purchased a preowned
D5000, and some of these items may
have been changed from the default
settings and may not be configured for
your style of shooting.
• I want you to become familiar with
where these settings are. They are important, and you may decide to change
them as you shoot different types of
images.
If you’re like me, you’ll open the box, put
the lens on your camera, insert a battery,
and take your first picture. Wouldn’t it be
a better idea to wait an hour to charge the
battery and only then take the first picture? Sure it would, but I’ve never done
that, and I bet you haven’t either. Nikon
knows this and they don’t send out new
cameras with dead batteries.
Most of the time the battery is not
fully charged, but it has enough charge
to set the time and date and then to take
and review a few pictures. Think about
it. How do you test a brand-new battery?
You charge it and see if it will hold a
charge. Nikon doesn’t send batteries that
are untested, so most of the time, you can
play with your camera for at least a few
minutes before charging the battery. I’ve
purchased nearly every DSLR Nikon has
made since 2002, and not one of them
has come in with a dead battery.
When my D5000 arrived, the battery
was about 65 percent charged. I played
with the camera for an hour or two before
I charged the battery. However, let me
mention one important thing. If you plug
in the battery and it is very low, such as
below 25 percent, it might be a good idea
to go ahead and charge it before shooting
and reviewing too many pictures. Maybe
you can get the time and date set and
test the camera a time or two, but go no
further with a seriously low battery.
The D5000 uses a lithium-ion (Li-ion)
battery pack. While this type of battery
doesn’t develop the memory effects of the
old nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries from
We’ll look at two methods to configure
the initial settings. First we’ll consider
how to use the regular menu system
to modify settings. Then, for several
commonly changed settings, we’ll look
at how to use the Information edit screen
for quick reconfiguration. But first, let’s
take care of the most important starting
point… you need power for this electronic
device.
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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
years past, there can be a problem if you
let them get too low. A li-ion battery should
never be used to complete exhaustion. The
battery can develop metal shunts internally if you run it completely down, and
that will cause it to short out and stop
working. When your camera’s li-ion battery
gets down to the 25 percent level, please
recharge it. I don’t let mine go below 50
percent for any extended use.
That said, the optimum situation
would be to restrain yourself from turning on the camera until after the battery
is charged. That’ll give you some time to
read the section of this book on initial
camera setup and check out the Nikon
D5000 User’s Manual.
Initial Camera Setup
Let’s look at the most important functions for initial configuration. In this
chapter I’ll just point you to the critical
and most-used functions. Use the other
chapters in the book to read about the advanced configuration of these and many
other items.
I’ll start with the absolutely necessary
items and then advance through the various menus, touching on features that, in
my opinion, you should learn for the best
initial imaging experience with the D5000.
There are seven menus systems in the
D5000 that you’ll have to deal with over
time. Figure 1 shows a view of the four
menus that affect initial camera setup:
the Playback Menu, Shooting Menu, Custom
Setting Menu, and Setup Menu.
Nikon D5000 front view
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Initial Camera Setup
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Figure 1 – The four critical camera configuration menus
As we go through the chapters of this
book, we’ll be peering deeply into these
four menus for camera configuration and
three other menus for in-camera image
configuration and convenience items.
First, we’ll consider the two bottomline Setup Menu items that must be
configured even before any pictures are
taken.
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Setup Menu – World time
When you open the box with a new
D5000, insert the battery and turn it on,
you will be prompted to set the time zone
and date before you do anything else with
the camera. Let’s look at this in detail.
There are several functions to set
under the Time zone and the Date and time
sections of the Setup Menu:
• Time zone
• Date and time
• Date format
• Daylight saving time
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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
Figure 2 – Time zone screens
Figure 2A – Date and time screens
Time zone – Figure 2 shows the Time zone
configuration screens. The screen used to
set the zone uses a world map interface
to select the area of the world in which
you are using the camera. To set the time
zone, follow these steps:
1. Press the MENU button and scroll to
the Setup Menu.
2. Select Time zone and date, and then
scroll to the right.
3. Select Time zone, and then scroll to the
right.
4. Use the Multi Selector to scroll left or
right until your time zone is under the
yellow vertical bar in the center of the
world map screen (see figure 2).
5. Once your time zone is selected, press
the OK button to save the setting.
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Date and time – Figure 2A shows the
three Date and time configuration
screens. The final screen in the series allows you to select the year, month, and
day (Y, M, D) and the hour, minute, and
second (H, M, S):
1. Press the MENU button and scroll to
the Setup Menu.
2. Select Time zone and date, and then
scroll to the right.
3. Select Date and time, and then scroll to
the right.
4. Using the Multi Selector, scroll left or
right until you have selected the value
you want to change. Then scroll up or
down to actually change the value.
5. First set the year (Y) by scrolling up
or down to the correct year, and then
scroll to the right.
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Initial Camera Setup
6. Next set the month (M) and scroll to
the right.
7. Now set the day (D) and scroll to the
right. The yellow box will drop down to
the next line. The date showing in figure 2A is July 1, 2009.
8. Now scroll up or down to select the
correct 24-hour time. If you are not
familiar with a 24-hour military-style
clock, see the 24-Hour Time Equivalents chart. As an example, if it is
2:39 p.m. where you are, the 24-hour
equivalent time is 14:39. You should
set the hour to 14, scroll to the right,
and set the minute (M) to 39. I usually
just scroll on past the seconds (S) setting, but you can set it too if you want
to synchronize your camera’s time with
an external source for accuracy. Figure
2A shows 56 seconds in the second
field.
9. When you have set the correct date
and time, press the OK button to save
the settings.
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24 Hour Time Equivalents
For your convenience, here is a listing of
the 24-hour time equivalents:
A.M. Settings:
12:00 a.m. = 00:00 (midnight)
01:00 a.m. = 01:00
02:00 a.m. = 02:00
03:00 a.m. = 03:00
04:00 a.m. = 04:00
05:00 a.m. = 05:00
06:00 a.m. = 06:00
07:00 a.m. = 07:00
08:00 a.m. = 08:00
09:00 a.m. = 09:00
10:00 a.m. = 10:00
11:00 a.m. = 11:00
P.M. Settings:
12:00 p.m. = 12:00 (noon)
01:00 p.m. = 13:00
02:00 p.m. = 14:00
03:00 p.m. = 15:00
04:00 p.m. = 16:00
05:00 p.m. = 17:00
06:00 p.m. = 18:00
07:00 p.m. = 19:00
08:00 p.m. = 20:00
09:00 p.m. = 21:00
10:00 p.m. = 22:00
11:00 p.m. = 23:00
Interestingly, there is no 24:00 time
(midnight). After 23:59 comes 00:00.
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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
Figure 2B – Date format screens
Figure 2C – Daylight saving time screens
Date format – The D5000 gives you three
ways to format the date (see figure 2B):
• Y/M/D = Year/Month/Day
(2010/12/31)
• M/D/Y = Month/Day/Year
(12/31/2010)
• D/M/Y = Day/Month/Year
(31/12/2010)
D5000 owners in the United States will
probably use the second setting, which
matches the Month/Day/Year format
so familiar to Americans (for example,
12/31/2010). People in other areas of
the world can select their favorite date
format.
To select the date format of your
choice, do the following:
• Press the MENU button and scroll to
the Setup Menu.
• Select Time zone and date, and then
scroll to the right.
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• Select Date format, and then scroll to
the right.
• Choose the format you like best from
the three available formats by scrolling
up or down.
• Press the OK button.
Daylight saving time – Many areas of
the United States observe daylight saving
time. In the springtime, many American
residents set their clocks forward by one
hour on a specified day each year. Then
in the fall they set it back, leading to
the clever saying, “spring forward or fall
back.”
To enable automatic Daylight saving
time, follow these steps (see figure 2C):
1. Press the MENU button and scroll to
the Setup Menu.
2. Select Time zone and date, and then
scroll to the right.
3. Select Daylight saving time, and then
scroll to the right.
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Initial Camera Setup
4. Select On or Off from the menu by
scrolling up or down.
5. Press the OK button.
If you turned daylight saving time to
On, your D5000 will now automatically
“spring forward and fall back,” adjusting your time forward by one hour in the
spring and back one hour in the fall of the
year.
Recommendation
If you live in an area that observes daylight saving time, it’s a good idea to set
your camera to make this adjustment automatically. I always leave my camera set
to On. Why not let the camera remember
to change this value twice per year?
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Next, you’ll learn how to format an SD
memory card in your camera so that it’s
ready to take pictures. It’s important that
you format the card in your new camera
before using it so it’s customized to your
particular camera.
Setup Menu – Format Memory Card
While you’re in the Setup Menu, please
notice the location of the memory card
formatter. As mentioned previously,
when you insert a card into a new camera
for the first time, it’s a good idea to format the card with that camera. This will
match the card to the camera and give you
greater image storage reliability in the
long run.
Nikon D5000 back view
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Nikon D5000 Initial Configuration
Figure 3 – Format memory card screens
Here are the four steps to format a
memory card using the menus (see figure 3):
1. Press the MENU button and scroll to
the Setup Menu.
2. Select Format memory card, and then
scroll to the right.
3. Select Yes from the screen with the big
red exclamation mark and the words
All images on memory card will be deleted. OK?
4. Press the OK button.
Once you press the OK button, you’ll
see two screens in quick succession. One
says Formatting memory card, and the next
says Formatting complete. Then the camera
switches back to the Setup Menu’s first
screen. The card is formatted, and you can
take lots of pictures.
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Where to Format the Memory Card
It is always a good idea to format the memory card in your camera and not with your
computer (and ONLY when it has no images on it!). I once had an expensive 16 GB
memory card fail after I formatted it in my
computer. The camera would not recognize
it afterward, nor would it format it. I had
to send the card back to the manufacturer,
who replaced it for me, fortunately. Since
then, I have always formatted the card in
the camera after I’ve transferred all the
images to my computer. Better safe than
sorry.
Now, let’s move to the Shooting Menu
for several important configuration
changes.
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