Nikon D5600 For Dummies book cover

Nikon D5600 For Dummies

By: Julie Adair King Published: 05-01-2017

An easy-to-follow Nikon D5600 photography class—in a book!

Your Nikon D5600 is a powerful tool equipped to take top-notch photos. But unless you know how to use it to its full potential, your professional-grade camera will produce underwhelming amateur-grade photos. And that's where Nikon D5600 For Dummies comes in! Packed with all the expert tips and tricks you need to get your Nikon to live up to its name, this guide shows you how to use it to get truly striking shots—in a flash.

Written by an expert on all things Nikon—and brimming with inspiring full-color photos—the step-by-step instruction offered inside arms shutterbugs of all skill levels with the know-how to turn any scene into a beautiful work of art. Whether you're looking to capture a cozy low-light shot or forever memorialize an awesome action scene, Nikon D5600 For Dummies will take your photography skills to picturesque new heights.

  • Discover all your camera's features and capabilities
  • Get better photos in auto or manual mode
  • Adjust focus on the fly
  • Start speaking photography lingo like a pro

Even Leonardo da Vinci had to learn to work with paints and brushes before he could create the Mona Lisa. Before you let your frustration get the best of you, take heed in the friendly guidance in Nikon D5600 For Dummies.

Articles From Nikon D5600 For Dummies

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Nikon D5600 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 04-20-2022

With the D5600 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 advanced dSLR photography. Although the Nikon D5600 price is reasonable, it doesn’t skimp on power or performance, offering a great set of features to help you take your photography to the next level. And for novices, the camera 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 Restore the Nikon D5600's Default Settings

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

Should you want to return your Nikon D5600 camera to its original, out-of-the-box state, the camera manual contains a complete list of most of the default settings. Look on the pages that introduce each of the menus. You can also partially restore default settings by taking these steps: Reset all Shooting Menu options: Open the Shooting menu and select Reset Shooting Menu. Note that resetting the menu does not affect the Storage Folder option, which is a concern only if you create custom folders. Reset all Custom Setting Menu options: Choose Reset Custom Settings at the top of the Custom Setting menu. Resetting the Custom Setting menu restores the File Number Sequence option to its default, Off, which is most definitely Not a Good Thing. If you restore the menu defaults, be sure that you revisit that option and return it to the On setting. + Restore critical picture-taking settings without affecting all options on the Custom Setting menu: Use the two-button reset method: Press and hold the Menu button and the Info button simultaneously for longer than 2 seconds. (The little green dots near these two buttons are a reminder of this function.) See the camera manual for a list of exactly which settings are restored.

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The Nikon D5600 Setup Menu

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

The following options live on the Setup menu of your Nikon D5600 camera, which is the one marked with the wrench icon. The menu, which appears here, is a three-page affair (only Page 1 is visible in the figure). Drag up and down the touchscreen or use the Multi Selector to scroll through the menu and access these settings: Beep Options: By default, your camera beeps after certain operations, such as after it sets focus when you shoot in autofocus mode. When the touchscreen is enabled, you also hear a little "boop" every time you tap a screen item. If you need the camera to shut up, silence it via the Beep Options menu item. You get two sound controls: For the Beep On/Off option, select Off (Touch Controls Only) to silence just touchscreen sounds; choose Off to disable the beep for all operations. The Pitch option lets you set the volume to High or Low. Monitor Brightness: This option makes the display brighter or darker. But if you take this step, what you see on the monitor may not be an accurate rendition of the picture exposure. Clean Image Sensor: By default, an internal sensor-cleaning mechanism runs every time you turn the camera on or off. You also can perform a cleaning at any time by selecting this option and choosing Clean Now. (Nikon recommends that you set the camera upright, on a solid surface, when you perform the cleaning.) Don't try to perform the cleaning several times in a row — if you do, the camera temporarily disables the function to protect itself. The Clean At Startup/Shutdown option enables you to specify whether you want the camera to change from the default setting to clean only at startup, only at shutdown, or never. Lock Mirror Up for Cleaning: This option relates to cleaning the camera's image sensor; it moves the camera's internal mirror out of the way to allow access to the sensor. You can easily damage the camera if you don't know what you're doing. Instead, take the camera to a good camera store or repair shop for cleaning. Slot Empty Release Lock: This feature determines whether the camera lets you take a picture when no memory card is installed. If you set it to Enable Release, you can take a temporary picture that appears briefly on the monitor with the word Demo but isn't recorded anywhere. The feature is provided mainly for use in camera stores, enabling salespeople to demonstrate the camera without having to keep a memory card installed. • Airplane Mode: Your camera offers two forms of wireless connectivity: regular Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When these options are enabled, you can upload pictures wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet, as well as use your smart device as a wireless remote control. To take advantage of these features, you must install the Nikon SnapBridge app (it's free). Take a moment to check the Airplane Mode option, found on the third page of the Setup menu. Like the Airplane Mode on a smartphone or tablet, this setting shuts down the camera's wireless transmissions, which your flight crew will politely ask you to do before takeoff. Even when you're not in an environment that prohibits wireless signals, enabling Airplane Mode saves battery power. (The default setting is Off.) An airplane symbol appears on the Information display and Live View screen when Airplane Mode is on. Conformity Marking: When you select the option, you see logos indicating the camera conforms with certain camera-industry standards. Firmware Version: Select this option to view which version of the camera firmware, or internal software, your camera runs. You see the firmware items C and L. Keeping your camera firmware up to date is important, so visit the Nikon website regularly to find out whether your camera sports the latest version. You can find detailed instructions at the site on how to download and install any firmware updates. If you use an Apple iOS device to run the camera's wireless functions, the update from 1.00 to 1.01 is a must. The update fixes issues that caused problems when using those functions on devices running certain versions of the iOS.

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Adjust Settings on the Nikon D5600 via the Control Strip

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

The Information display on the Nikon D5600 isn't just for checking current picture-taking settings; it also gives you quick access to some of the most critical of those settings. Specifically, you can adjust the options that appear on the two rows of data near the bottom of the screen — known as the control strip. Here's how it works for viewfinder photography: Display the Information screen by pressing the Info button or pressing the shutter button halfway and releasing it. Press the i button or tap the i symbol on the screen, labeled on the left. The top part of the display dims, and the control strip becomes accessible, as shown on the right. The currently selected setting appears highlighted, and its name is displayed above the control strip. For example, in the figure, the Image Quality option is selected. Select the option that you want to change. Either tap the option or use the Multi Selector to highlight it and then press OK. Either way, the next screen displays available settings. Adjust the setting as desired. Again, you can tap the setting or use the Multi Selector to highlight it and then press OK. The camera returns you to the initial control strip screen. You can then adjust another setting, if needed. To exit the control strip, press the i button or tap the strip’s exit symbol, labeled on the right. You also can just give the shutter button a quick half-press and release it to exit the control strip. During Live View shooting, things work the same way, but the touchscreen’s i symbol appears halfway down the right side of the screen. If you don’t see the symbol, you may need to press the Info button to change the type of data displayed on the Live View display. Of course, you must also enable the Touch Controls option on the Setup menu to use the touchscreen for viewfinder or Live View photography.

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Enabling and Using the Nikon D5600 Touchscreen

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

If you've used a smartphone, tablet, or other touchscreen device, working with the camera's touchscreen will feel familiar. Just as with those devices, you communicate with the camera via these gestures, which are specific ways to touch the screen: Tap: Tap a finger lightly on the screen. Drag (or swipe): Drag your finger up, down, right, or left across the screen. Flick: Drag a finger quickly across the screen. Pinch in/pinch out: Pinching enables you to quickly adjust the magnification of an image during picture playback. To magnify the image, pinch out. That is, place your thumb and your pointer finger in the center of the screen and then drag both fingers outward to the edges of the screen. To zoom out, pinch in, dragging your thumb and finger from the outer edge of the screen toward the center. By default, the touchscreen is enabled for both shooting and playback. But you can disable it entirely or use it just for playback if you wish. The following steps walk you through the process of adjusting this option and give you some practice in using the touchscreen: Press the Menu button to display the camera menus. Sadly, there's no touchscreen control that takes you to the menus. Tap the Setup menu icon (wrench symbol) to select that menu, as shown on the left. Tap the Touch Controls option, highlighted in the figure. You see the screen shown on the right. To turn the touchscreen off for shooting functions but leave it enabled for playback, tap Playback Only. To disable the touchscreen altogether, tap Disable. On many screens, an exit arrow appears in the top-right corner of the screen. Tap this arrow to exit the screen. On some screens, you must tap an OK symbol or take some other action to lock in your changes before exiting the screen. If you choose Playback Only or Disable, you can't use the touchscreen to revert to the original, Enable, setting. Instead, you must use the Multi Selector and OK button to do the job. A couple final tips about the touchscreen: On the Information and Live View displays, a white border around a symbol indicates that you can tap that symbol to access the setting. For example, the border around the i symbol in the lower-right corner tells you that you can tap that area to perform the same action as pressing the i button. • For viewfinder photography, you can tap your thumb anywhere on the right half of the screen to perform a specific function. Nikon refers to this feature as the Touch Function. When the Touch Function feature is enabled, you see the FN symbol at the top of the Information display, labeled here. By default, the Touch Function is set to display an alignment grid in the viewfinder. Try it: With your eye to the viewfinder, tap your right thumb on the right half of the screen. The grid should appear in the viewfinder. Tap again to hide the grid. If you swing the monitor out to the left side of the camera, you can tap anywhere on the monitor to take advantage of the Touch Function. You still must have your eye to the viewfinder to make this feature work, however; it doesn't work for Live View photography or movie shooting. Don't need a viewfinder grid? Use the Assign Touch Fn option on the Custom Setting menu to make the camera perform a different task when you tap. If you set the option to None, the Touch Function symbol disappears from the Information display. During Live View shooting, you can tap the screen to set focus and take a picture. You also can tell the camera to set focus only when you tap. • Don't apply a screen protector. Applying a screen protector can actually damage the monitor and make it less responsive to your touch. One final bit of touchscreen advice: If you're wearing the camera on a neck strap and the touchscreen is enabled, it's possible to inadvertently "tap" a touchscreen symbol with your chest and not notice it. By default, the touchscreen emits a sound when you tap a symbol, but in a noisy environment, it's easy to miss that audio warning. The only solutions are to turn the camera off between shots, disable the touchscreen, or rotate the monitor to the closed (face in) position.

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The Hidden Connections on the Nikon D5600

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

Open the covers on the left and right sides of the Nikon D5600 camera, and you will see several hidden connections ports. The following connection ports are labeled in this image: Accessory terminal: This terminal accepts the following accessories: Nikon MC-DC2 remote shutter-release cable; WR-1 and WR-R10 wireless remote controllers; and GP-1/GP-1A GPS units. I don't cover these accessories, but the manual that comes with each device can get you up and running. Microphone jack: If you're not happy with the audio quality provided by the internal microphone, you can plug in an external microphone, such as the Nikon ME-1 mic. The jack accepts a 3.5mm plug. USB port: Through this port, you can connect your camera to your computer via USB connection for picture downloading. However, Nikon doesn't supply the necessary USB cable (Nikon UC-E20). You can buy one for about $12, but before you go to that expense, check out Chapter 9 for details about downloading through a memory-card reader. HDMI port: You use this port, found on the right side of the camera, to connect your camera to a high-definition TV, but you need to buy an HDMI cable to do so. Look for a cable that has a Type C connector on one end (this end goes into the camera) and a regular, Type A connector on the other end. Just below the HMDI port is a door that leads to the memory-card slot. If you turn the camera over, you find a tripod socket, which enables you to mount the camera on a tripod that uses a 1/4-inch screw, plus the battery chamber. In case you're wondering, the two symbols above the left port door are there simply to remind you of two of the camera's wireless connection technologies: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. On the right side of the camera, the N symbol (shown in the outset on the right side) reminds you that the D5600 also offers Near Field Communication (NFC), a feature that enables you to link two NFC devices by placing them next to each other.

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Features on the Front-Left of the Nikon D5600 Camera

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

The front-left side of the Nikon D5600 camera has several controls that you can use. Note that the hidden connections like the microphone jacks are on the other side. The following image shows the front-left side that sports some cool features: Flash button: In some exposure modes, pressing this button raises the built-in flash. In other modes, the camera controls whether flash is enabled. By holding the Flash button down and rotating the Command dial, you can adjust the Flash mode (Fill Flash, Red-Eye Reduction, and so on). In some exposure modes, you also can adjust the flash power by pressing the button while simultaneously pressing the Exposure Compensation button and rotating the Command dial. The little +/– symbol that appears below the Flash button — the same symbol that's on the Exposure Compensation button — is a reminder of the button's role in flash-power adjustment. Function (Fn) button: By default, this button gives you quick access to the ISO setting, which controls the camera's sensitivity to light. If you don't adjust that setting often, you can use the button to perform a variety of other operations. Lens-release button: Press this button to disengage the lens from the camera's lens mount so you can remove the lens. (If you're using a retractable lens, collapse the lens first.) Release Mode button: Press this button to display a screen where you can select the shutter-release mode. By default, the option is set to Single Frame, which results in one picture each time you press the shutter button.

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The Nikon D5600's External Back-of-the-Body Controls

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

On the back of the Nikon D5600 camera, shown in the following figure, you can find quite a few features, including: Menu button, viewfinder adjustment dial, and the Playback button to just mention a few. Here's a more complete list: Menu button: Press this button to access menus of camera options. Viewfinder adjustment dial: Rotate this dial to adjust the viewfinder focus to your eyesight. Eye sensor: This window senses when you put your eye to the viewfinder and, in response, turns off the monitor to save battery power. Not working? Open the Setup menu and check the status of the item named Info Display Auto Off. The option should be set to On, as it is by default. If that's not the issue, you may simply need to press your eye closer to the viewfinder. Also, when you wear glasses, sometimes the sensor can't detect your eye. You do have the option of pressing the Info button, labeled in the figure, to turn the monitor on and off. Info button: When using the viewfinder to compose photos, press this button to display the Information screen, which shows key camera settings and various bits of information, such as the battery status. To turn off the screen, press Info again. You also can display the screen by pressing the shutter button halfway and releasing it. In Live View mode, pressing the Info button changes the type and amount of data that appears on the preview. AE-L/AF-L button: During shooting, pressing this button initiates autoexposure lock (AE-L) and autofocus lock (AF-L). In playback mode, pressing the button locks the picture file — hence the little key symbol that appears near the button — so that it isn't erased if you use the picture-delete functions. (The picture is erased if you format the memory card, however.) Playback button: Press this button to switch the camera to picture-review mode. Chapter 8 details playback features. i button: During shooting, pressing this button activates a control strip that enables quick access to certain picture settings. Press i again to exit the control strip. In Playback mode, pressing the button brings up a small menu that enables you to rate photos, edit them using the Retouch menu features, and tag them for later wireless transmission to a smartphone or tablet. Multi Selector/OK button: This dual-natured control plays a role in many camera functions. You press the outer edges of the Multi Selector left, right, up, or down to navigate camera menus and access certain other options. At the center of the control is the OK button, which you press to finalize a menu selection or another camera adjustment. Delete button: Sporting a trash can icon, the universal symbol for delete, this button enables you to erase pictures from your memory card. Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons: These buttons have several purposes, depending on what camera function you're using: Picture playback: In still-photo playback mode, pressing the Zoom In button magnifies the image; pressing Zoom Out reduces the magnification. After you display a photo at its normal magnification, you can press Zoom Out repeatedly to shift to thumbnails view, which displays multiple image previews at a time, and then to Calendar view, which simplifies the job of tracking down all pictures taken on a certain date. Pressing Zoom In cycles the display in the other direction. Movie playback: Press Zoom In to increase audio volume; press Zoom Out to lower it. Live View mode: Pressing the Zoom In button magnifies the live preview so you can check focus more closely. Pressing Zoom Out reduces the magnification amount. Additionally, if you see a question mark symbol on a menu screen or other display, pressing the Zoom Out button displays a Help screen that contains information about the feature you're using. (Note the question mark symbol beneath the button.) Both buttons also come into play when you use certain other camera features, such as applying changes from the Retouch menu.

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The Nikon D5600's External Topside Controls

Article / Updated 10-26-2017

Scattered across your camera's exterior are numerous features that you use to change picture-taking settings, review your photos, and perform various other operations. Your virtual tour begins with the bird's-eye view shown here. There are a number of features of note here: Shutter button/power switch: Okay, I'm pretty sure you already figured out this combo button. But you may not be aware that you need to press the shutter button in two stages: Press and hold the button halfway and wait for the camera to initiate exposure metering and, if you're using autofocusing, to set the focusing distance. Then press the button the rest of the way to take the picture. Mode dial: With this dial, you choose the exposure mode, which determines which picture-taking settings you can control. You get a number of automatic, beginner modes as well as four advanced modes (P, S, A, and M). Effects mode enables you to apply special effects as an image or movie is captured; the Scene setting accesses automatic modes designed for specific types of shots (portraits, landscapes, and so on). Command dial: After you activate certain camera features, you rotate this dial, labeled in the figure, to select a setting. For example, to choose a shutter speed when shooting in shutter-priority (S) mode, you rotate the Command dial. Exposure Compensation button: The main use of this button is to apply Exposure Compensation, which enables you to tweak autoexposure results when using some exposure modes. Hold the button down while rotating the Command dial to adjust the setting. Live View switch: Rotate this switch to turn Live View on and off. In Live View mode, the scene in front of the lens appears on the monitor, and you can't see anything through the viewfinder. You then can compose a photo using the monitor. For movie recording, you must use Live View; you can't shoot a movie using the viewfinder. The last section of this chapter introduces you to Live View photography. Record button: After shifting to Live View mode, press this button to start recording a movie. Press it again to stop recording. AF-assist light: In dim lighting, this light turns on briefly to help the camera locate your focusing target. The light also comes on when you use red-eye reduction flash and the Self-Timer shutter-release mode. Flash hot shoe: Hot shoe is photography-speak for a terminal that enables you to connect an external flash. On the D5600, the hot shoe also serves as a mount for the optional Nikon ME-1 and ME-W1 stereo microphones. Microphone: If you don't attach an external microphone, movie audio is recorded using the camera's built-in microphone. Speaker: When you play a movie, sound comes out of these holes. • Focal plane indicator: If you need to know the exact distance between your subject and the camera, as you might if you need to photograph objects for scientific or legal documentation, the focal plane indicator is key. The mark indicates the plane at which light coming through the lens is focused onto the camera's image sensor. Basing your measurement on this mark produces a more accurate camera-to-subject distance than using the end of the lens or another external point on the camera body as your reference point.

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Preparing the Nikon D5600 Camera for Initial Use

Article / Updated 10-23-2017

After unpacking your Nikon D5600 camera, you have to assemble a few parts. In addition to the camera body and the supplied battery (be sure to charge it before the first use), you need a lens and a memory card. Here's what you need to know up front: Lens: You can mount a wide range of lenses on your D5600, but some aren't compatible with all camera features. For example, to enjoy autofocusing, you need an AF-P or AF-S lens. (The 18–55mm lens featured in this book and sold in a kit with the D5600 body is an AF-P lens.) The camera's instruction manual offers details about lens compatibility. (The full manual is available online at the Nikon Download Center.) The AF in AF-S and AF-P stands for autofocus. The S in AF-S stands for a silent wave focusing motor; the P refers to an autofocusing technology known as a "stepping motor." Both are designed to deliver faster and quieter autofocusing. How you implement autofocusing differs between the two types, however. SD (Secure Digital) memory card: Your camera accepts only this type of card. Most SD cards carry the designation SDHC (for High Capacity) or SDXC (for eXtended Capacity), depending on how many gigabytes (GB) of data they hold. SDHC cards hold from 4GB to 32GB of data; the SDXC moniker is assigned to cards with capacities greater than 32GB. With camera, lens, battery, and card within reach, take these steps: Turn the camera off. Install the battery into the compartment on the bottom of the camera. Attach a lens. First, remove the caps that cover the front of the camera and the back of the lens. Then align the mounting index (white dot) on the lens with the one on the camera body, as shown here. After placing the lens on the camera mount, rotate the lens toward the shutter-button side of the camera. You should feel a solid click as the lens locks into place. Insert a memory card. Open the card-slot cover on the right side of the camera and orient the card as shown (the label faces the back of the camera). Push the card gently into the slot and close the cover. The memory-card access light, labeled in the figure, illuminates briefly to let you know that the camera recognizes the card. Rotate the monitor to the desired viewing position. When you first take the camera out of its box, the monitor is positioned with the screen facing inward, protecting it from scratches and smudges. Gently lift the right side of the monitor up and away from the camera back. You can then rotate the monitor to move it into the traditional position on the camera back, as shown on the left, or swing the monitor out to get a different viewing angle, as shown on the right. Turn on the camera. Set the language, time zone, and date. When you power up the camera for the first time, you can't do anything until you take this step. The easiest way to adjust the settings is to use the touchscreen, which is enabled by default. To select an option or display a menu of settings, just tap it on the screen, just as you do with any touchscreen device. If you see an OK symbol in the lower-right corner of the screen, tap it to finalize your selection and return to the previous screen. To exit a screen without making changes, tap the exit arrow shown in the upper-right corner of the screen. If you prefer, you also can use the Multi Selector and OK button to navigate menus. Adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight. This step is critical; if you don't set the viewfinder to your eyesight, subjects that appear out of focus in the viewfinder might actually be in focus, and vice versa. If you wear glasses while shooting, adjust the viewfinder with your glasses on. You set viewfinder focus by rotating the adjustment dial. After taking off the lens cap and making sure that the camera is turned on, look through the viewfinder and press the shutter button halfway. In dim lighting, the flash may pop up. Ignore it for now and concentrate on the row of data that appears at the bottom of the viewfinder screen. Rotate the dial until that data appears sharpest. The markings in the center of the viewfinder, which relate to autofocusing, also become more or less sharp. Ignore the scene you see through the lens; that won't change because you're not actually focusing the camera. When you finish, press down on the flash unit to close it if necessary. If using a retractable lens, unlock and extend the lens. The lens barrels of AF-P kit lenses, as well as some AF-S lenses, extend and retract. When you're not shooting, you can retract the lens so that it takes up less space in your camera bag. But before you can take a picture or even access most camera menu items, you must unlock and extend the lens. A message appears on the monitor to remind you of this step. To extend the lens, press the lens lock button, highlighted here, while rotating the lens barrel toward the shutter-button side of the camera. To retract the lens, press the button while rotating the lens in the other direction. That's all there is to it — your camera is now ready to go.

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