How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?

Started 5 months ago | Questions
W A Stewart
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How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
5 months ago

Sorry if this has been beaten to death. I am just getting used to my D800E (which not surprisingly really impresses me). My setup currently has the front dial changing the aperture.  In winter - like now - when I use mittens or gloves, or put the camera in and out of a bag - the dial is easy to move unintentionally. Of course I can see this in the viewfinder but it's still a bit unnerving. Of course the advantage of using that dial for aperture is that it's easy to make the changes when you want to. I wouldn't want an awkward approach in order to solve the inadvertent slippage problem.

So I am asking if other users have found a better setup. Thanks very much.

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W Alex Stewart

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T O Shooter
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

W A Stewart wrote:

Sorry if this has been beaten to death. I am just getting used to my D800E (which not surprisingly really impresses me). My setup currently has the front dial changing the aperture. In winter - like now - when I use mittens or gloves, or put the camera in and out of a bag - the dial is easy to move unintentionally. Of course I can see this in the viewfinder but it's still a bit unnerving. Of course the advantage of using that dial for aperture is that it's easy to make the changes when you want to. I wouldn't want an awkward approach in order to solve the inadvertent slippage problem.

So I am asking if other users have found a better setup.

I don't wear mittens! Hope that helps! 

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W Alex Stewart

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ormdig
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

Hi W A, page 126 of your manual tells you how to set the Fn button to select Shutter spd and aperture lock. I use it all the time as I have found myself prone to changing them unknowingly. You'll probably have to take off your mittens for a second to push the Fn button to lock or unlock as it is kind of tight,

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Pete

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InTheMist
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

I wear thin goretex gloves.  Like dress gloves or pilots gloves.

Also, if you look, you'll find gloves where you can bend the tip of the finger back and velcro it in place - exposing only the index fingertip. They used to be called shooters gloves, but now they're marketing them to cell phone touch screens.

http://www.amazon.com/Freehands%C2%AE-Fleece-Gloves-iPhone-Phones/dp/B009AE2OM4

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W A Stewart
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to InTheMist, 5 months ago

Thank you all.  Because the bag itself can cause this - I keep the camera out for long stretches but this is Wisconsin here - I will set the fn button and see how that goes.  Happy imaging!

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W Alex Stewart

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W A Stewart
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to ormdig, 5 months ago

Thanks again Pete. It took a bit to figure out the menu structure as I am not used to it. (I once used several Nikon film cameras but that's no help here!)
I like this approach because it's easy enough to switch back to unlocked, and locked makes sense in most landscape situations - the ones I bought the camera for. Generally I want to maximize dof without running into diffraction softness (somewhere around f/13 it seems so far), and therefore there is seldom a need to change aperture. At least at the times when there is no need - most of the time in good enough light that we don't have to start thinking of the exposure variables as we can stop down, keep ISO low and still get a fast shutter speed when hand holding (I use the one second delay) - it can be easy to forget about aperture as it isn't meant to change. Hope this makes sense. Anyway those are the times it will be good to lock the aperture.

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W Alex Stewart

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ormdig
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

Hi WA, it about drove me nuts until I found the Fn button to lock the shutter and aperture with. I shoot events and sports (indoor and outdoor) so I can use auto ISO in these situations (I don't use it for landscape etc, I want the detail and DR) and set my shutter speed and aperture and forget them. Being able to quickly lock and unlock them is a real boon. If you notice, a little "L" icon shows up in the viewfinder and top LCD next to the numerical values when they are locked. 
 The way I gripe about how cold the winters are in Arkansas I don't think I could handle Wisconsin, mittens or no:-),

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Pete

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Doss
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to ormdig, 5 months ago

Assuming your lens has one: Go old skool and use the aperture ring. You'll free up your right hand for the shutter and find it's easier to dial when wearing gloves.

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olyflyer
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

W A Stewart wrote:

Sorry if this has been beaten to death. I am just getting used to my D800E (which not surprisingly really impresses me). My setup currently has the front dial changing the aperture. In winter - like now - when I use mittens or gloves, or put the camera in and out of a bag - the dial is easy to move unintentionally. Of course I can see this in the viewfinder but it's still a bit unnerving. Of course the advantage of using that dial for aperture is that it's easy to make the changes when you want to. I wouldn't want an awkward approach in order to solve the inadvertent slippage problem.

So I am asking if other users have found a better setup. Thanks very much.

I don't find this a problem. I have the habit of checking immediately after I lift the camera out of the bag and also in each shot. As a matter of fact, I find this better than the use of aperture dials of the film cameras I used. There was no feedback in the VF at all, so to see the actual aperture I had to lower the camera.

My habits got developed during the film era, where I learned that the aperture dial could easily be knocked to the wrong value and because film was expensive, checking everything before shooting was essential for my wallet. "Chimping" was not an option since digital photography was not invented yet, so you could shoot a whole roll of film, or even more, if you were not careful and ignored checking things. "Chimping" could only be done after developing the film, which of course got ruined if the exposure was wrong. Of course, this does not mean that I never made a mistake, but it is true that I never ruined a full roll due to not checking the aperture, shutter speed and the ASA dials.

I use gloves, but I find the D800 dials very comfortable and don't find locking the dials necessary, quite the opposite, I'd find that very irritating since it would need a push plus rotation every time I'd change the aperture, which is quite often.

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W A Stewart
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to olyflyer, 5 months ago

Thanks again. I used to own quite a lot of Nikkors with aperture rings - starting way back with a 35mm f/1.8 rangefinder lens (for an S3 that I had as a teenager). But I sold some and gave the rest to an inner city high school of the arts. I also wonder how well they would do on a D800/800E.

In any event it seems to me that there are times when it is best to have the aperture locked - with landscapes there's no huge rush - and other times when it's best to leave it unlocked. I am glad to have the option.  (The other cameras I use are Olympus OMDs, which have strengths for other uses, like working with people, or more magnified images needing as much dof as possible. They have their own peculiarities but accidentally changing the aperture isn't one of them.)

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W Alex Stewart

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Art Jacks
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

Would it be very inconvenient to turn the camera off between shots if there was a large time gap before shooting opportunities ?

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jean bernier
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In the studio, a locking feature is a must...
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

or any similar situation where the light will stay the same, the exposure is set optimally, and the camera is handled a lot, vertical and horizontals, in a busy shooting situation.   I used to tape down the aperture ring in the film days just to be sure, as a 1/3 difference in aperture could be problematic with transparencies, 2/3 looked bad and one stop was a disaster.  I often taped down apertures on Nikons as well as on Hasselblads.

The D2 and D3 serie cameras had a dedicated, quick access  Lock button on the left hand top.  This disappeared with the D4, and the function is now only accessible through menus, or you have to dedicate one of the programmable buttons  to Lock function.

BTW, I usually do lock the shutter as well in those situations , and with studio flash, proper shutter sync must be maintained:  you can't afford to knock the shutter from 1/250th to 1/320th can you ?

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tomnorth
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

I also use the function button to lock aperture and/or shutter speed. I also moved aperture to the back control wheel.  Because I am a back-button focuser, that was more natural for me.

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wasserball
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

Head down to walmart and get the smallest and cheapest knit glove that will fit you. I found mine in the children section, cost about $1 each pair.  Buy several pair. They don't last very long as my fingers punch holes at the tips. But, I have a better feel for the camera than using the larger oversized gloves.

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W A Stewart
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Thanks - many useful replies despite my original wording
In reply to wasserball, 5 months ago

I realized after sending my post that my question could easily have seemed bizarrely simple: if you have a D800/E surely you know how to set the aperture. Fortunately for me people realized that this wasn't my question, which was a question about setup.

Incidentally I just returned from what may be the last snow shoe of the year, using very thin gloves but also locking the aperture. This way I only need to keep an eye on the shutter speed to see if I need to raise it (for sharpness). And I did unlock and lock a few times, finding this to be pretty quick. On my copy the function button isn't stiff, as it happens. (It's a factory refurbished one, which I am hoping means it's out of any bugs - seems to be so far.)

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W Alex Stewart

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Janoch
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

W A Stewart wrote:

Sorry if this has been beaten to death. I am just getting used to my D800E (which not surprisingly really impresses me). My setup currently has the front dial changing the aperture. In winter - like now - when I use mittens or gloves, or put the camera in and out of a bag - the dial is easy to move unintentionally. Of course I can see this in the viewfinder but it's still a bit unnerving. Of course the advantage of using that dial for aperture is that it's easy to make the changes when you want to. I wouldn't want an awkward approach in order to solve the inadvertent slippage problem.

So I am asking if other users have found a better setup. Thanks very much.

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W Alex Stewart

I have no problems using gloves, but that doesn't help you!

Perhaps the locks can help? For aperture lock and shutterspeed lock see p. 126 in user manual...

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ormdig
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Re: Thanks - many useful replies despite my original wording
In reply to W A Stewart, 5 months ago

W A Stewart wrote:

And I did unlock and lock a few times, finding this to be pretty quick. On my copy the function button isn't stiff, as it happens. (It's a factory refurbished one, which I am hoping means it's out of any bugs - seems to be so far.)

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W Alex Stewart

Hi W A, if you are referring to my statement that "it is kind of tight" I realized after I posted that it might seem to mean that the button was stiff. What I meant was that the button being between the hand grip and the lens mount, wearing mittens or gloves might make it a tight squeeze to get your finger in there to push it,

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Pete

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W A Stewart
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Re: Thanks - many useful replies despite my original wording
In reply to ormdig, 5 months ago

Oh - right - that's true. I did have very thin gloves or no gloves today - a bit above freezing. You're right though, that mitts would be tricky.

Incidentally, it's easy to do most things with the camera in mitts, with the right sort of mitts. Mine are hunters' mitts, in Wisconsin-tasteful cammo. Fits with my blaze orange hat (in order than the hunters know I'm not a squirrel).

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W Alex Stewart

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W A Stewart
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Re: How do you set the aperture on a D800 or D800E?
In reply to Janoch, 5 months ago

Yes, thanks, that's the direction I've taken.

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W Alex Stewart

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