How to Manipulate Movie Exposure on Your Nikon D5500 - dummies

How to Manipulate Movie Exposure on Your Nikon D5500

By Julie Adair King

Normally, the Nikon D5500 automatically adjusts exposure during movie recording. Exposure is calculated using Matrix (whole frame) metering, regardless of which Metering mode setting is selected. But in a few exposure modes, you can adjust exposure by changing the following settings:

  • Shutter speed and ISO: Both options are set by the camera by default. But if you enable the Manual Movie Settings option on the Movie Settings menu, you can control both settings. This path is one for experienced videographers, however. If you fit that category, here are a few things you need to know:

    Enable this option to take control over movie exposure.
    Enable this option to take control over movie exposure.
    • Exposure mode: You must set the Mode dial to M (manual exposure), and you must set the aperture (f‐stop setting) as well as the shutter speed and ISO to dial in the correct exposure.

      To set the f‐stop in M mode while the Manual Movie Settings option is enabled, you must exit Live View mode. Then adjust the aperture via the onscreen controls (start by tapping the arrow box under the aperture symbol). You also can just press the Exposure Compensation button while rotating the Command dial to set shutter speed. Rotate the Live View switch to return to Live View mode.

    • Shutter speed: You can select shutter speeds as high as 1/4000 second. The slowest shutter speed depends on your chosen frame rate. For 24p, 25p, and 30p, you can drop as low as 1/30 second; for 50p, 1/50 second; and for 60p, 1/60 second.

      To set the shutter speed in M mode, you can use the touchscreen controls (start by tapping the shutter speed box) or by rotating the Command dial. (Remember that which frame rates are available depends on whether the Video Mode option on the Setup menu is set to NTSC or PAL.)

      If you choose a shutter speed outside the stated ranges, the camera slaps your hand and chooses the closest in‐range setting automatically.

    • ISO: You can set the ISO value as low as 100 or as high as 25600. Note that Auto ISO Sensitivity control doesn’t work when the Manual Movie Settings option is enabled; the camera sticks with your selected setting regardless of whether you enable Auto ISO — and, more importantly, regardless of whether your selected setting produces an under- or overexposed movie.

      To adjust ISO quickly, press the Fn button while rotating the Command dial. You can also select the ISO value via the ISO Sensitivity settings option on the Shooting menu or by using the Live View control strip

  • Aperture (fstop): You can adjust the f‐stop before (but not during) recording if you set the Mode dial to A (aperture‐priority autoexposure) or M (manual exposure). This option enables you to control depth of field in your movies.

    In A mode, rotate the Command dial or use the touchscreen to change the f‐stop (just tap the f‐stop value at the bottom of the display to access the setting). Again, in M mode, first exit Live View mode and then press and hold the Exposure Compensation button while rotating the dial; rotate the Live View switch again to return to the movie screen.

    In either case, remember that the live preview doesn’t indicate the depth of field that your f‐stop setting will produce — the camera can’t provide this feedback because the aperture doesn’t actually open to your selected setting until you start recording.

  • Exposure Compensation: Exposure Compensation enables you to override the camera’s autoexposure decisions, asking for a brighter or darker picture. You can apply this adjustment for movies when you use the following exposure modes: P, S, A, or M; any Scene mode; or the Night Vision Effects mode. However, you’re limited to an adjustment range of EV +3.0 to –3.0 rather than the usual five steps that are possible during normal photography. Note that the display shows the plus/minus symbol only when Exposure Compensation is in force.

    To adjust the setting, use the control strip. In any exposure mode except M, you also can press and hold the Exposure Compensation button while rotating the Command dial. (That button/dial combo adjusts the aperture when you use the M exposure mode.)

    You can apply Exposure Compensation for movie shooting when you use certain exposure modes.
    You can apply Exposure Compensation for movie shooting when you use certain exposure modes.

    Just to head off any possible confusion: For viewfinder photography, Exposure Compensation isn’t needed in M exposure mode; if you want a brighter or darker exposure, you just change the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO Sensitivity settings. But because the camera doesn’t give you control over shutter speed or ISO during movie recording — unless you enable Manual Movie Settings — you need some way to tell the camera that you want a brighter or darker picture in M mode, and Exposure Compensation is it.

  • Autoexposure lock: In any exposure mode except Auto or Auto Flash Off, you can lock exposure at the current settings by pressing and holding the AE‐L/AF‐L button.