Home Donate New Search Gallery How-To Books Links Workshops About Contact
D90 User's Guide:
Custom Setting Menu: Controls
Want free live phone support? In the USA, call (800) NIKON-UX, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
f1 - f7: Controls
How to Get Here
Press MENU, go to the left and select up and down to the pencil icon. You'll then see CUSTOM SETTING MENU on the color LCD. Click down to f CONTROLS and click to the right.
What it Does
Here lie some of the most important tricks I use on my D90. These change what some of the buttons and knobs do.
What I Change
I change a lot of these. Read on.
f1 Light Bulb Switch top
This lets us fire up the big rear LCD to show us all our settings whenever we flick the power switch to the backlight position.
I chose the new option of BOTH.
The default of LCD backlight means the backlight (light bulb) switch lights the top LCD's backlight. Big deal; Nikons have done this the 1990s.
The new option also lights up everything on the glorious 3D rear LCD where I can see it, and shows far more information than the dorky top LCD, which is just a vestige from 1990s film cameras.
This works in concert with the INFO button.
f2 OK Button top
This lets you select what happens when you press the center of the rear thumb selector.
I leave it at RESET, which means it selects the center AF sensor.
f3 Assign FUNC. button top
This selects what the magic Function Button does.
I prefer selecting "Top item in My Menu," which lets me get into the menu system without needing a second hand!
These settings are so helpful I wish I had several FUNC buttons, or the ability to assign these to other buttons I don't use.
Here are what they do:
Pops on a grid on the finder screen to help keep you the camera straight.
AF Area Mode
Lets you select among the AF Area Modes.
Center Focus Point
Lets you choose Normal or Wide for the area seen by the center AF sensor.
Tap the FUNC button, the flash goes off and meters itself - once. Now every succeeding shot needs no preflashes! This means that, so long as your distance stays unchanged, that you'll get instant shutter release, and more importantly, no blinking from the preflashes. This choice fires the preflashes only once, and uses that information for every succeeding shot until you reset it.
It resets itself when the meter turns off, or if you tap the Function Button again.
Doesn't fire the flash so long as you hold the FUNC button.
Goes into Matrix metering.
Goes into CW metering.
Goes into spot metering when held.
Top Item in My Menu
I use this! This is the key to life!
Not only can I get to my very favorite My Menu item, if I click left, I can get to the rest of the menu system, meaning I can shoot with just one hand!
Also records a raw file along with your JPG.
f4 Assign AE-L/AF-L button top
This sets the function of the AE-L/AF-L button on the rear of the D90. It also can be set to many of the same functions as the other buttons.
I set mine to AE lock only. This way I point the camera where I want my exposure, and hold the button until I recompose and make my exposure.
Locks exposure and focus.
AE lock only
AF lock only
AE lock (Hold)
Locks exposure and holds it until the meter turns off or you press AE-L/AF-L again.
Focuses while you press the AE-L/AF-L button.
Tap the AE-L/AF-L button, the flash goes off and meters itself - once. Now every succeeding shot needs no preflashes! This means that, so long as your distance stays unchanged, that you'll get instant shutter release, and more importantly, no blinking from the preflashes. This choice fires the preflashes only once, and uses that information for every succeeding shot until you reset it.
It resets itself when the meter turns off, or if you tap the AE-L/AF-L button again.
f5 Customize command dials top
Menus and playback
Leave this alone so the rear dial scrolls quickly among your shots, and the front dial scrolls among the various data screens.
f6 No memory card? top
By default, the D90 won't shoot without a card.
Don't touch this setting, or you could happily shoot an entire wedding, look at each shot on the LCD in every display mode and zoom setting, and not realize until the end of the day that you had no card in the camera!
If you're a salesman at Best Buy, set this to Enable Release so people can play with the D90 with no memory card, otherwise, don't touch this.
f7 Reverse indicators top
Nikon's exposure meters have always read backwards. More exposure goes to the left, and less exposure goes to the right. Huh?
Nikon's rangefinder cameras of the 1940s had shutter dials and aperture rings which rotated in one direction. No big deal, but when Nikon added meters to cameras in the 1960s, the meters had to read to make sense as you moved the dials, so Nikon's meter needles and bar graphs have always gone in the wrong direction. (The superior vertical bar graphs of the D3, D2 and F6 don't have this problem: up is more.)
Thankfully Nikon has never changed this, since in whatever decade they do, there will be massive confusion among all Nikon users familiar with the (wrong) way it's been forever.
For newcomers, you can use this menu to flip things back to normal, as Canon has done it since their EOS cameras of the 1980s. If you do, more goes to the right.
My D90 User's Guide continues below.
I support my growing family through this website.
This guide is free to read online, but copyrighted and registered. If you haven't helped yet and would like to save or make a printed copy of this article for your camera bag, please send me $5.00 for each complete or partial copy that you print or save, for personal use only. Others charge $29.99 for crappier information, and with your honesty I can continue to offer these guides online for less.
If you bought your D90 by clicking through my links, then you've saved money and also helped me write this guide. Thank you and please enjoy it. It's great people like you, and those who help me otherwise, who allow me to keep adding to this site for everyone's benefit.
The biggest help is to use these links to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Ritz and J&R when you get your goodies. It costs you nothing and is a huge help to me. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.
Thanks for reading!
KNOBS and BUTTONS
SET UP MENU < < NEXT