Nikon D3300 For Dummies book cover

Nikon D3300 For Dummies

By: Julie Adair King Published: 05-19-2014

Take your best shot with your new Nikon D3300

Congratulations on your new Nikon D3300 DSLR! You probably want to get shooting right away, but first you need to know some basics about the controls and functions. Nikon D3300 For Dummies is your ultimate guide to your new camera, packed with everything you need to know to start taking beautiful photographs right out of the gate. Author Julie Adair King draws on a decade of experience in photography instruction, specifically Nikon and Canon, to walk you through the basics and get you started off on the right foot.

Your new Nikon D3300 offers full control over exposure settings, but it also includes pre-sets and auto mode options for beginners. Nikon D3300 For Dummies guides you through the specifics of each setting, and teaches you how to determine what controls work best in a given situation. Written specifically for the Nikon D3300, the book discusses only the controls and capabilities available on your model, and shows you where to find them and how to use them. Topics include:

  • Shooting in auto mode, playback options, and basic troubleshooting
  • Working with light, focus, and color, and conquering video mode
  • Picture organization, including file transfer and sharing
  • Tips on photo editing and select features

This full-color book includes a variety of photos that demonstrate the effects of different settings, allowing you to develop an eye for matching controls to situations. If you want to get the most out of your new DSLR, Nikon D3300 For Dummies is the best, most complete guide on the market.

Articles From Nikon D3300 For Dummies

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52 results
52 results
Nikon D3300 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-14-2022

With the D3300 camera, Nikon proves once again that you don’t have to give an arm and a leg — or strain your back and neck — to enjoy dSLR photography. The D3300 doesn’t skimp on power or performance, offering a great set of features to help you take your photography to the next level. But for novices, the camera also offers plenty of easy-to-use, automated modes. To help you get started using your camera, here’s a handy reference to your camera’s buttons, dials, and exposure modes.

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How to Create White Balance Presets on the Nikon D3300

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

If none of the standard White Balance on the Nikon D3300 settings does the trick and you don’t want to fool with fine-tuning them, take advantage of the PRE (Preset Manual) feature. This option enables you to base white balance on a direct measurement of the actual lighting conditions or to match white balance to an existing photo. You can store only one preset at a time. For example, if you create a preset based on lighting conditions on Monday and then decide on Tuesday to create a different one based on a photo, the light-based preset goes kaput.

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Match White Balance on the Nikon D3300

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

The Nikon D3300 allows you create a preset white balance based on an existing photo. Two words of caution are appropriate. First, basing white balance on an existing photo works only in strictly controlled lighting situations, where the color temperature of the lights is consistent from day to day. Second, if you previously created a preset using the direct measurement option, you wipe out that preset when you base a preset on an existing photo. With those caveats out of the way, follow these steps to create a preset based on a photo.

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Fine-Tuning White Balance Settings

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

You can fine-tune any White Balance setting on the Nikon D3300 except a custom preset that you create by using the PRE option. Make the adjustment as follows.

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Controls on Your Nikon D3300 Digital Camera

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

If you're not familiar with the Nikon D3300, here's a quick guide to its buttons, dials, and other external controls. The lens shown here is the 18–55mm kit lens; other lenses may have different features.

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How to Adjust Settings via the Nikon D3300 Control Strip

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Found on the lower-left corner of the Nikon D3300 back, the i button activates a control strip that gives you quick access to some critical shooting settings. Here’s how to use the control strip for viewfinder photography: Display the Information screen. You can do so by pressing the Info button. Press thei button. The top part of the display dims, and the two rows of settings at the bottom of the screen — which is collectively referred to as the control strip — become accessible, as shown on the left in the figure. The currently selected setting appears highlighted, and its name is displayed at the bottom of the screen. For example, in the left screen in the figure, the AF-area mode option is selected. Options that are dimmed in the control strip aren’t available in the current exposure mode (Auto, P, Effects, and so on). Press the i button to activate the control strip (left); highlight the option you want to adjust and press OK to display the available settings (right). Use the Multi Selector to highlight the setting you want to change. Press OK. A screen displays the available settings for the option, as shown on the right side of the figure. Use the Multi Selector to highlight the desired option, and press OK. You’re returned to the control strip. You can then adjust another setting, if needed. To exit the control strip, press thei button again. Or just give the shutter button a quick half-press and release it. The Information display returns to its normal appearance. In Live View mode, the control strip appears in the middle of the live preview, but everything else works as just described.

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How to Choose a Flash mode on the Nikon D3300

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

The Flash mode on the Nikon D3300 determines how and when the flash fires. The next section introduces the various options; following that, you can find details on how to adjust the setting. Your camera offers the following flash modes, represented in the Information and Live View displays by the symbols you see in the margins here. Auto: The camera decides whether the flash fires. This mode isn't available in the P, S, A, M modes. Flash Off: In Auto exposure mode or the Scene and Effects modes that permit flash, choose this Flash mode to prevent the flash from firing. (In the P, S, A, and M modes, simply close the flash unit if you don't want to use flash.) Fill Flash: You can think of this mode, available in P, S, A, and M modes, as normal flash. You may also hear this mode called force flash because the flash fires no matter the amount of available light. Although most people think of flash as an indoor lighting option, adding flash can improve outdoor photos, too. After all, your main light source — the sun — is overhead, so although the top of the subject may be adequately lit, the front typically needs additional illumination. As an example, this figure shows a floral image taken both with and without a flash. The small pop of light provided by the built-in flash is also beneficial when shooting subjects that happen to be slightly shaded. For outdoor portraits, a flash is even more important to properly illuminate the face. Shooting with flash in bright light involves a couple of complications, however. Adding flash resulted in better illumination and a slight warming effect. Red-Eye Reduction: Red-eye is caused when flash light bounces off a subject’s retinas and is reflected back to the camera lens, making the subjects appear possessed by a demon. This flash mode is designed to reduce the chances of red-eye. When you use Red-Eye Reduction mode, the AF-assist lamp on the front of the camera lights briefly before the flash fires. The subject’s pupils constrict in response to the light, allowing less flash light to enter the eye and cause that glowing red reflection. Be sure to warn your subjects to wait for the flash, or else they may step out of the frame or stop posing after they see the light from the AF-assist lamp. In Auto exposure mode as well as in certain other Scene and Effects modes that permit flash, Red-Eye Reduction flash is just a variation of the regular Auto flash setting. That is, if the camera sees the need for flash, it fires the flash with Red-Eye Reduction engaged. In this case, you see the word Auto next to the red-eye symbol. Additionally, a few Scene modes use a variation of red-eye reduction, combining that feature with a slow shutter speed. This flash mode displays the little eye icon plus the words Auto Slow. It’s important to use a tripod and ask your subject to remain still during the exposure to avoid a blurry picture. Slow-Sync and Rear-Sync: In the flash modes listed so far, the flash and shutter are synchronized so that the flash fires at the exact moment the shutter opens. Technical types call this flash arrangement front-curtain sync, which refers to how the flash is synchronized with the opening of the shutter. Here’s the deal: The camera uses a type of shutter involving two curtains that move across the frame. When you press the shutter button, the first curtain opens, allowing light to strike the image sensor. At the end of the exposure, the second curtain draws across the frame to once again shield the sensor from light. With front-curtain sync, the flash fires when the front curtain opens. Your camera also offers these special sync modes: Slow-Sync: This mode, available only in the P and A exposure modes, also uses front-curtain sync but allows a shutter speed slower than the 1/60 second minimum that’s in force when you use Fill Flash and Red-Eye Reduction flash. Because of the longer exposure, the camera has time to absorb more ambient light, which has two benefits: Background areas that are beyond the reach of the flash appear brighter; and less flash power is needed, resulting in softer lighting. The downside of the slow shutter speed is that any movement of your camera or subject during the exposure can blur the picture, and the slower the shutter speed, the greater the chances of camera or subject motion. A tripod is essential to a good outcome, as are subjects that can hold very, very still. The best practical use for this mode is shooting nighttime still-life subjects like the one you see in this figure. However, if you’re shooting a nighttime portrait and you have a subject that can maintain a motionless pose, Slow-Sync flash can produce softer, more flattering light. Note that even though the official Slow-Sync mode appears only in the P and A exposure modes, you can get the same result in the M and S modes by simply using a slow shutter speed and the normal, Fill Flash mode. In fact, those modes are better when you want the slow-sync look because you can directly control the shutter speed. You can use a shutter speed as slow as 30 seconds when using flash in those modes. (In M mode, you also can set the shutter speed to Bulb or Time, which permit even longer shutter speeds.) Rear-Curtain Sync: In this mode, available only in shutter-priority (S) and manual (M) exposure modes, the flash fires at the end of the exposure, just before the shutter closes. The classic use of this mode is to combine the flash with a slow shutter speed to create trailing-light effects like the one you see in this figure. With Rear-Curtain Sync, the light trails extend behind the moving object (my hand, and the match, in this case), which makes visual sense. If instead you use Slow-Sync flash, the light trails appear in front of the moving object. Here Rear-Curtain Sync Flash mode was used to create this candle-lighting image. Slow-rear: Hey, not confusing enough for you yet? This mode enables you to produce the same motion trail effects as with Rear-Curtain Sync, but in the P and A exposure modes. The camera automatically chooses a slower shutter speed than normal after you set the f-stop, just as with regular Slow-Sync mode. Slow-sync with red-eye reduction: In P and A exposure modes, you can also combine a Slow-Sync flash with the Red-Eye Reduction feature. The symbol that represents this mode is the normal red-eye eyeball combined with the word Slow.

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How to Set the Flash mode on the Nikon D3300

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You can view the current Flash mode in the Information and Live View displays on your Nikon D3300, as shown in the figure. (In Live View mode, press the Info button to cycle through the various data-display modes to get to the one shown in the figure.) The symbol shown in the figures represents the Auto flash mode. An icon representing the Flash mode appears in the displays. In the viewfinder as well as in the lower-right corner of the Live View display, you see a single lightning bolt. This symbol simply tells you that the flash is ready to fire. (You can’t view the Flash mode in the viewfinder.) As for the TTL symbol, highlighted on the left in the figure, it represents the current setting of the Flash Cntrl for Built-in Flash option on the Shooting menu. TTL, which stands for through the lens, represents the normal flash metering operation: The camera measures the light coming through the lens and sets the flash output accordingly. Your other option is to set the flash output manually. If you take that route, the letter M appears in place of TTL. To change the Flash mode, you can go one of two ways: Flash button + Command dial: As soon as you press the button, the Flash mode option in the Information display becomes selected, as shown in the figure. The same thing happens in the Live View display, but the related symbol is at the top of the screen. Either way, keep the Flash button pressed while rotating the Command dial to cycle through the available Flash modes. The fastest way to change the Flash mode is to hold down the Flash button and rotate the Command dial. i button: Press the button to activate the control strip in the Information and Live View displays. Highlight the Flash mode option, and press OK to display a screen listing the mode settings, as shown in the figure. Remember that the available Flash modes depend on the exposure mode; the figure shows modes available in the P (programmed autoexposure) mode.

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How to Set the Nikon D3300’s Release Mode

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

By using the Nikon D3300’s Release mode setting, you tell the camera whether to capture a single image each time you press the shutter button; to record a burst of photos as long as you hold down the shutter button; or to use Self-Timer mode, which delays the image capture until a few seconds after you press the shutter button. You also get two options related to wireless remote control shooting and Quiet Shutter mode, which dampens the normal shutter-release sounds. Why Release mode? It’s short for shutter-release mode. Pressing the shutter button tells the camera to release the shutter — an internal light-control mechanism — so that light can strike the image sensor and expose the image. Your choice of Release mode determines when and how that action occurs. On the Information screen and Live View display, the current Release mode is indicated by the icons labeled in the figure. Note that the Live View screen in the figure shows the default data-display mode; if your screen shows a different assortment of data, press the Info button to cycle through the available display modes. This S represents the Single Frame Release mode, which produces one picture for each press of the shutter button. To adjust the Release mode setting, press the Release mode button, labeled in the figure, to display the selection screen shown on the monitor in the figure. Use the Multi Selector to highlight the setting you want to use and then press OK. The Release Mode button offers the fastest access to the setting.

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How to Use the Nikon D3300 Guided Menus

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Pressing the Nikon D3300 Menu button gives you access to a slew of options in addition to those you control via the external buttons and dials. But what type of menu screens you see depends on the setting of the Mode dial: Guide: Pressing the Menu button brings up the first screen of the guided menus, which provide a simple, walk-me-through-it approach to using the camera. All other settings: Pressing the Menu button brings up the normal, text-based menus. The guided menus work much like interactive menus you encounter in other areas of your life — on cellphones, bank machines, grocery-store self-checkout kiosks, and the like — except that instead of pressing buttons on the screen, you use the Multi Selector and OK button to make your menu selections. And thankfully, your camera also doesn’t nag you to hurry up and “please place the item in the bagging area!” every 3 seconds. To explore the guided menu feature, set the Mode dial to Guide, as shown in the figure. You see the initial guided menu screen, shown on the left in the figure. Using the Multi Selector, highlight one of these options: Shoot: Select this icon to access screens that walk you through the process of choosing basic picture-taking settings and shooting pictures. View/Delete: Select this category to access picture-playback functions and erase pictures from your memory card. Retouch: This choice takes you to the built-in photo editing functions, such as red-eye removal and cropping. Set Up: Choose this icon to access camera setup options — things like setting the date and time, adjusting monitor brightness, and so on. After choosing an option, press OK to display the first screen associated with that category. For example, if you choose Set Up, you see the screen shown on the right in the figure. From there, use the Multi Selector to choose a task and press OK to move on to the next screen. Just keep highlighting your choice and pressing OK to make your way through the menus. To return to the preceding screen, press the Multi Selector left (the Back symbol at the bottom of the screen reminds you of this trick). First, you can’t access all your camera’s features through the guided menus. Second, some choices Nikon made for the arrangement of the guided menus set you up for confusion down the line. For example, the Image Size and Image Quality options, which control resolution and file type, are found in the Set Up section of the guided menus but live on the Shooting menu in the regular menus. So if you get used to selecting those options in one place when you use guided menus, you have to learn a whole new organization when you move on to the regular menus. Additionally, when you adjust certain settings, including Image Size and Image Quality, your changes apply only in Guide mode. So when you return to another shooting mode, you have to adjust those settings again.

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