31 Steps to the Perfect Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 Setup

I have the Nikon Z 6 and Nikon Z 7 in my hands and it is time to set up the cameras for use. Following are the 31 steps I took to make an out-of-the-box Nikon Z 6/7 ready for use.

  1. Charge battery
  2. Install neck strap
  3. Mount a lens
  4. Insert charged battery and power on the camera
  5. While looking at an in-focus subject through the viewfinder, adjust the viewfinder diopter until the view is sharp. To do this, pull out on the adjustment knob beside the viewfinder and turn it until the view is sharp. Then press it back in to lock in the setting.
  6. Download and install any Nikon software you want to have available.
  7. Insert memory card
  8. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
  9. Playback Menu: Display Options: Highlights, RGB Histogram
  10. Playback Menu: Image review: On
  11. Photo Shooting Menu: Image Quality: NEF (RAW)
  12. Photo Shooting Menu: Set Picture Control: Neutral with Sharpening = +1, all other parameters set to 0 (this option provides a low contrast view and better shows available dynamic in the histogram)
  13. Photo Shooting Menu: High ISO NR: OFF (Low is also a good option)
  14. Photo Shooting Menu: Vignette control: OFF
  15. Photo Shooting Menu: Diffraction compensation: OFF
  16. Photo Shooting Menu: Auto distortion control: OFF (* I'm not able to turn this setting off with the Z 24-70 f/4 S Lens mounted)
  17. Movie Shooting Menu: Frame size/frame rate: 3840x2160; 30p
  18. Movie Shooting Menu: Set Picture Control: Standard with Sharpening = +2, Mid-range sharpness = +1, Clarity = +1, all other parameters set to 0
  19. Movie Shooting Menu: High ISO NR: Low
  20. Custom Setting Menu: Auto Focus: AF-C priority selection: Focus
  21. Custom Setting Menu: Auto Focus: AF-S priority selection: Focus
  22. Custom Setting Menu: Auto Focus: Store by orientation: Yes
  23. Custom Setting Menu: Shooting/display: Framing grid display: On
  24. Custom Setting Menu: Bracketing/flash: Bracketing order: Under > MTR > over (having my bracketed shots in brightness sequence makes post processing visually easier)
  25. Custom Setting Menu: Controls: Custom control assignment: Sub-selector: Same as multi selector; Sub-selector center: RESET Select center focus point, Fn1 button: AF lock only
  26. Setup Menu: Format memory card
  27. Setup Menu: Time zone and date: <use current>
  28. Setup Menu: Copyright information: <set as desired>, Attach copyright information: selected
  29. Setup Menu: Airplane mode: ON
  30. Setup Menu: Slot empty release lock: Lock (I want the camera to prevent me from taking a picture if a memory card is not installed)
  31. My Menu: Add items: Shooting/display: d4 Exposure delay mode (great for tripod use); Setup menu: Format memory card, Shooting menu: Vibration reduction, Long exposure noise reduction, Flicker reduction, Silent photography, Focus shift shooting
I of course make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.

To copy this configuration would mean that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot - including shooting in RAW-only format (highly recommended). While my setup works great for me, your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup.

If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will likely be returned in a reset-to-factory state (unless you request otherwise). If your camera ever needs reset to factory settings any reason (or you purchase a second model), having your list available means you will be ready to restore your setup quickly while ensuring that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera into service.

More Information

Nikon Z 6 | Nikon Z 7

The Nikon Z 6 is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama | WEX.

Rent the Nikon Z 6 from Lensrentals.

The Nikon Z 7 is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama | WEX.

Rent the Nikon Z 7 from Lensrentals.

Posted: 12/5/2018 10:37:22 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
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