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Top of camera controls

On the top of the camera the information LCD (detailed earlier), shutter release and control dial. Behind this is the subject-program button, Pro-auto (reset) button and mode/power dial which is locked when in the OFF position.

Shutter release button

One huge frustration I had with the D7 was with the the operation of the shutter release AFTER taking a shot. Here is the scenario: you half-press the shutter release, the AF system scans and locks, you then fully depress the shutter release and the shot is taken, LCD/EVF goes blank for approximately 0.7 seconds and then the camera either returns to live view or displays an instant playback image (depending on your settings).

At this stage the camera is flushing the image out to the Compact Flash card. The problem occurs at this point, if you press the shutter release too quickly the camera ignores that press, even with your finger fully held down on the shutter release it will simply ignore it. You now have to release and press again. This was both annoying and frustrating, on several occasions when I wished to take a sequence of shots by 'pumping' the shutter release the camera simply wouldn't let me and I had to double-press the shutter release, to get it to fire the shot.

Every other camera I've used / reviewed in the past has at least recognized that you have re-press the shutter release and will take the next shot as soon as it possibly can.

Buttons

Button Description

Digital Subject Program

Pressing this button selects between one of five preset subject exposure programs, each of these programs configures the camera with the optimum settings for a particular subject:

Portrait Uses large apertures to create soft backgrounds (narrow DOF).
Sports Action Engages continuous AF and uses highest possible shutter speed to capture action.
Sunset Uses special exposure mode, small apertures (large DOF) and fixed white balance.
Night Portrait Fixed white balance, allows long exposures in combination with the flash.
Text High contrast for capture of black text on a white background
 
P

Pro-Auto (reset)

Pressing this button causes certain camera settings to return to their default values. This is especially useful for reverting to a 'known set'. Items reset and their reset value in (brackets):

  • Exposure mode (P)
  • Focus Mode (Wide Area Focus)
  • AF Mode (AF Single)
  • AF/MF (AF)
  • Metering (Multi Segment)
  • Exposure compensation (0)
  • Flash compensation (0)
  • Flash metering (ADI flash)
  • White balance (Auto)
  • Drive (Single)
  • Colour saturation (0)
  • Contrast (0)
  • Sharpening (0 - Normal)

Pro-Auto doesn't change ISO sensitivity, flash mode, colour mode, data imprint, LCD information level, image size or image quality settings.

Mode Dial

Position Description
OFF

Power Off

Switched to this position the camera powers off, LCD powers down immediately, if there are any images still in the internal buffer they will continue to be written (flushed) to the CF card. CF activity light will go out once all buffered images are written.

Record

Main shooting mode, switching to this mode from the OFF position powers the camera on, enables the live view (either LCD or EVF) and prepares the camera to shoot. Exposure modes (P / A / S / M) are selected using the exposure mode position on the setting dial (barrel side of camera).

Play

Displays the last image shot (or last image on the CF card), this is displayed on the LCD or EVF depending on the position of the Display mode switch.
Movie record

Shoot movies, press the shutter release to start recording, press again to stop. Movies are recorded in AVI format @ 320 x 240, 12 frames per second for a maximum of 60 seconds. Audio is not recorded.
SETUP Setup mode

Camera displays special camera setup menu used to control global settings such as LCD / EVF brightness, language, date, video output etc. Format CF card is only available in this mode. Described in detail later in this review.
Communications mode

Enables USB communications for direct connectivity to a PC or Mac. Optionally allows the use of CF Modem or CF Cellular Modem.

Small icon on the right hand side in the descriptions above is the indicator used on the LCD / EVF for each mode.


Rear of camera controls

On the rear (right) of the camera are several more controls, most of which are positioned to be within reach of your thumb when gripping the camera with your right hand. I found this part of the camera did have a tendency to get very hot during normal shooting, especially the rear of the body under the pad of your thumb (back of the Compact Flash compartment).

Display Mode switch

Position Description
EVF

Electronic Viewfinder display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the EVF instead of the main LCD.

 A 

Automatic display (Eyepiece sensor)

In the Automatic position the camera will by default display the live view on the rear LCD, when you bring your eye up to the EVF it will automatically switch (thanks to the eyepiece sensor) to the EVF. Via the Setup menu you can configure the eyepiece sensor to operate in as a 'power up' for the EVF, in this mode no display is shown by default on the rear LCD or EVF, instead the EVF will only power-up when you raise your eye to it.

LCD display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the main rear LCD.

i+ Display information

Record mode:
Switch between three levels of overlay information: None, All status and setting information overlay, Only focus bracket shown.

Play mode: Switch between different displays: All status and setting information overlay, No information overlay, Thumbnail view.

Buttons

Button Description
AF/AEL

Auto Focus / Auto Exposure Lock

Trigger Auto Focus / Auto Exposure systems. Depending on the setting of a menu option this button be set to:

AF/AE hold - auto focus and auto exposure are locked for as long as the button is held
AF/AE toggle - auto focus and auto exposure are locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press *
AE hold - only auto exposure is locked for as long as the button is held
AE toggle - only auto exposure is locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press *

MENU

Menu

Pressing this button enters or leaves the mode menu in record or play modes.

4-way controller

Record mode: Press and hold for more than one second to switch from wide-focus mode to spot focus, in spot focus mode the controller can be used to move a small cross-hair (+) around the screen (a 15 x 19 grid) to indicate where you would like to measure autofocus.

Play mode: Press left / right to browse forwards and backwards through images taken, press up for histogram display.

Menus: Navigate through menus, select menu options.
QV / Quick View / Delete

Record mode: Enter a 'mini-play-mode', displays the last image taken, you can scroll between images by pressing the 4-way controller left and right, you can also display a histogram by pushing the 4-way controller up. Pressing the button again with an image displayed gives you the option to delete it. You can not magnify the image in this mode.

Play mode: Delete current image, requires confirmation (4-way controller left, press 4-way controller in).

Magnify / Digital Zoom

Record mode: This button can be set to perform two different tasks, by default it is used to magnify the live view 4x during manual focus to check accuracy of focus. You can program it (through the setup menu) to enable / disable digital zoom.

Play mode: Magnify currently displayed image in steps: x2.0, x2.5, x4.0. Magnified image can be panned using the 4-way controller.

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