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Nikon D90 Camera: Using the Features on Your Camera

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 6/12/2011

You must know how to use your camera before you can take amazing photographs. The Nikon D90 is relatively easy to operate, but you still need to know about the different features. This digital camera tutorial helps you with this task.

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    Nikon D90: Budget Camera

    The Nikon D90 camera is a mid-range DSLR camera. It costs about $900, but it actually outperforms its more expensive cousin, the $1,800 D300. The camera is also stylish and fits well in your palm.

    Before you can start shooting pictures with it, you have to know how to use the Nikon D90 camera. This can be a daunting task if you’ve never owned a DSLR or a Nikon camera.

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    LCD Screen

    The first thing that you’ll notice is the large 3-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera. This LCD screen has a resolution of 640 x 480. LCD screens are really good for previewing images. What they are not good for is taking photographs. What you see on the screen is not typically Nikon D90 what your viewfinder has. Always take images with your viewfinder, and then pull up your images on the LCD screen.

    To view your image after you take it, press the Play button, which is located to the left of the LCD screen in the top corner. When you press the Play button, you normally see the image with some information about the settings with which the image was taken. For example, you’ll see the ISO, F stop and the white balance setting.

    You are also shown the histogram information for the photograph. The histogram is a graph that shows you the distribution of shadows and highlights. You can use histograms to adjust the exposure of your camera so that the image looks more natural. An under-exposed image has a lot of pixel with values near or at zero. An overexposed image has a lot of pixels with a value over 255.

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    On the back of the camera, you’ll also notice a magnifying glass with a plus and minus. If you press play, and press the plus button, you can zoom into the images that you just took. This helps you determine whether or not you need to take another shot.

    The zoom out button allows you to see more images on a single screen. This button also allows you to adjust your ISO. For example, if you are in a museum where you cannot use the flash, you can increase the ISO to 800 or 1600. This allows the camera to use as much available light to illuminate the image.

    Another button the rear of the camera is the Trash button. If you took an image that you don’t want to keep, you can use this button to delete the image without actually going into the Menu.

    You do, however, need to use your menu as much as possible. Within the Shooting Menu, you can adjust the Image Quality, Image Size, ISO and Active D-Lighting. into the Menu.

    You do, however, need to use your menu as much as possible. Within the Shooting Menu, you can adjust the Image Quality, Image Size, ISO and Active D-Lighting. The Active D-Lighting or Adaptive Dynamic Range setting allows you to compensate for areas that are either too bright or too dark.

    You also have your Settings Menu, Recent Settings and Playback Menu. Nikon’s also come with an on-camera Retouch Menu. This allows you add effects to your images, including converting them to black and white. You can fix red eye issues or trim off unwanted sections of your image.

    You scan through your Menu options and images using the up, down, right and left arrows. When you want to adjust a setting, press OK, which is located in the middle of these arrows. Make your change, and press OK again to return back to the main menu.

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    The Nikon D90 camera comes with Live View and Live View Focus. The Live View mode automatically detects a single face and the Live View Focus mode detects up to five faces at once. You also have an AE-L and AF-L lock button. These buttons auto lock your exposure and focus. So, if you want all of the shots to have the same focus or exposure, hold down this button while you are taking the photograph.

    All of your major automatic settings are located on the dial at the top of the camera. These include Portrait, Auto, No-Flash and Action modes. You also have Manual modes if you would like to experiment with manually adjusting the shutter speed, aperture and program.

    At the top of your camera, you can add an external flash. You can change out your lens by pressing the button near the lens and rotating the lens clockwise.

    These are some of the basic steps that you need to know if you want to know how to use a Nikon D90 camera. For advanced settings, read your manual.

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