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Nikon D3300 Guide
Setup Menu
(wrench icon)
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Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300 and included 18-55mm VR II. enlarge.


April 2014      Nikon D3300 Review    Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lens Reviews

Top of D3300 Guide

D3300 Guide Page Index

How to Set and Use the D3300's Autofocus System


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How to get to the SETUP Menu

Select the Set Up Menu by pressing MENU, moving to the left and then up or down to select the wrench icon. You'll then see SETUP MENU on the top of the LCD.


What it Sets

This sets the usual housekeeping items like languages, video formats, auto image rotation, the clock and file numbering.


What I Change

This menu contains the secret message mode I use to encode my © and contact information into every file shot with my D3300.


Reset setup options

This resets everything below back to defaults, so play all you want since you always can get it back to where you started if you do anything silly.


Format Memory Card

I format my card every time I put it in my D3300. It erases everything and starts on a clean card for the least likelihood of data errors.

You do this by pressing:

MENU > WRENCH > Format memory card > YES > OK.

Reformatting completely renovates the card. Simply erasing all the pictures does not, and leaves potential errors lurking.

Professionals reformat a card each and every time a card is put in the camera. This is because files and folder structures are sometimes messed up or changed when the card is read with a reader, or used in any other camera.

Professionals prefer to be safe rather than sorry. We don't use cards to archive previous photos. One time I kept saving my best shots on a card by simply erasing the rest each time. After a few months I started to get errors. These went away as soon as I reformatted the card.


Monitor Brightness        top

I leave mine at 0; it's always perfect. Change it if you like.


Info Display Format        top

This lets you change the appearance of the LCD screens in which you make adjustments.

Set it with:

MENU > WRENCH > Info display format > Classic or Graphic.



I use this option because it makes everything the biggest and easiest to see.


Graphic (default)

Most things are smaller to make room for the goofy moving picture of a diaphragm on the left. Change the aperture and it changes. This is supposed to help new photographers, but it won't.


Choose whichever you prefer: I prefer the classic display.


Auto Info Display        top

This is ON by default, and it drives me crazy.

If you don't turn it off, it keeps turning on the INFO screen just about any time the D3300 is on.

To change this, press

MENU > WRENCH > Auto info display > OFF.


Clean Image Sensor       top

This lets you tell the D3300 to clean its own sensor, and if you want it to clean itself every time you turn it on or off.

Thankfully I've not had any problems with dust in my D3300.


Lock mirror up for cleaning

This lets you lock-up the mirror and open the shutter to let you try to clean the sensor yourself the hard way.

Don't do this; I send my cameras to Nikon if they ever need a real cleaning. I know people who have destroyed their own $5,000 cameras thinking some magic swabs or pads would let them save paying Nikon $25 to do it properly.

If you must do this, use only a blower bulb and never touch the sensor with anything.


Image Dust Off Ref Photo        top

This is used to take a picture of the dust on your sensor. If you pay Nikon another $135 for Nikon Capture software you can use this to erase the dust more easily from your images shot in raw. You people know who you are. I don't do this!


Flicker Reduction       top

When set properly to your local power frequency (60 Hz for US and Japan or 50 Hz for Europe), this helps reduce the flickering seen when shooting movies under crappy artificial lighting like fluorescent, mercury or sodium lighting.

You shouldn't need to touch this unless you're traveling. I leave it in AUTO.


Time Zone and Date        top

This sets the date, time and time zones.

There is a nice map for finding time zones. Want to reset your D3300 for Fiji or Tonga? Just click. You can swap among time zones or daylight savings time without having to reset the seconds, a boon for me who keeps his D3300 set to the exact second.


Language        top

This sets English or other languages.

If a "friend" sets your D3300 to a different language as a practical joke, the menu option for "Language" is still marked "Language" even though every other menu option changes, so you can reset your D3300 back to normal.


Auto Image Rotation        top

This sets a flag in vertical images which keys most, but not all, software to display the image vertically. Leave this ON, otherwise all your vertical shots will be sideways!

It does not actually rotate the images; it merely sets a flag read by most software. Someday the camera's firmware will work properly and rotate the image itself as does my 2003 Kodak EasyShare CX4310, but no camera does this today.

I rotate the images themselves later in Phase One Media Pro to ensure that they always display properly on everything.

Auto Image Rotation is easy to fool if you're shooting directly up or down. Turn it off if you're photographing your shoes on your feet all day.


Image Comment       top

This lets you add a secret text message into every file. Mine is set to © KenRockwell.com with my address and phone number! You see this text looking at the EXIF data with software on a computer.

Nikon offers no real © symbol; use (c) instead.

You set this by pressing:

MENU > SETUP (wrench icon) > Image Comment > Input Comment > (add your message like you did on 1970s video games) > (+) (which replaces OK). You must hit (+) or it will forget everything you just did!

To edit or remove a character, select it or its location in the Input Comment screen by spinning the rear dial. Select a new character by hitting (+), or press the Trash button to delete it.

Hint: pay attention to the screen as you enter your comment. (+) is OK when you're done; if you hit the OK button, it adds another character!

When you get your text message spelled out, go up to Attach Comment and click right so a small checkmark shows. If you forget to check Attach it won't attach.

It's great having everything you shoot contain your contact information. It also allows you to prove ownership in a third-world country when catching a thief with your camera. Help the cop go through the menus and read your personal ID information.

This text is added in the file's EXIF data. It doesn't appear in the visible image. I insert my visible © notices with Photoshop.


Auto off timers        top

This lets us change how long the D3300 waits before going back to sleep in its various modes.


Self timer        top

This lets us change how long self timer runs, and what it does when it gets there.

We set the self timer to run with the Advance Mode button.


Remote on duration (ML-L3)        top

This lets us change how long the D3300 will sit and wait for someone to press the optional ML-L3 wireless remote.

We set the self timer to run with the Advance Mode button.


Beep        top

This lets us turn off the stupid beeps. Please do!


Rangefinder        top

This lets us set the viewfinder bar graph as a manual focus aid that moves back and forth during manual focus.


File number sequence        top

Be sure to set this to ON.

In its default of OFF, your files will start at DSC_0001.JPG every time you use or reformat a card. After shooting this way for a while you'll get stuck when you have 412 files all with the same name on your computer, or attempting to put them on the same web page or print order.


Buttons        top

This lets us program what the FN, AE-L/AF-L and shutter buttons do.


Slot empty release lock        top

Set this to LOCK.

If you don't and you forget to have a card inserted, you could shoot for weeks and see images on the LCD and not realize that they're not actually being recorded!


Print Date        top

This lets us set the D3300 to superimpose the day and date directly on top of the visible the image.

It's just like the date imprint feature of 35mm cameras.

I leave this off.

If you use it, you have several options of how you'd like it imprinted.


Storage folder        top

This lets us create new folders on our card, and select into which folder the D3300 records our pictures.

This can be useful for sorting images later if you're shooting several different things on the same card.


Accessory Terminal        top

In MENU > SETUP (wrench icon) > Accessory terminal, we see:


Remote Control

This lets us set the D3300 to record movies or take a picture when you press the wireless remote control.


Location Data

This sets GPS options, if you're using the optional WU-1a GPS.


Video Mode        top

This sets the analog video output's television format.

Use NTSC ("Never The Same Color," 525 lines, 59.94 Hz) in the Americas and Japan, and PAL ("Problems Are Lurking," 625 lines, 50 Hz) in Europe.

There is no SECAM ("System Essentially Contrary to American Method) setting.

This output will always look much worse on a TV or projector than images do on a computer or projected through a computer. Read Why Images Look Awful from the Video Output for more.

For high-quality video output, use the HDMI output.


HDMI        top

Output Resolution allows you to fix the output at one resolution. Otherwise, it sets itself automatically by default. I leave it at AUTO.

Device Control allows some pieces of equipment to control one or another remotely.


Remote Control        top

Remote Shutter Release sets whether the remote control acts to take a picture, or to start recording a video.

Assign Fn Button sets what the Fn Button does on the remote control.


Wireless mobile adapter        top

In MENU > SETUP (wrench icon) > Wireless mobile adapter we can turn the optional WU-1a GPS ON or OFF.


Firmware Version        top

This lets me confirm if my D3300 is up-to-date with Nikons' free firmware updates.

Mine, as I write this on 15 April 2014, reads C 1.00, L 2.002.

C is the Camera's firmware.

L is Lens correction data for light falloff and distortion correction.


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Autofocus System








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