Prepare Your Nikon D3300 for Initial Use

By Julie Adair King

After unpacking your new Nikon D3300, 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 D3300, but some aren’t compatible with all camera features. For example, to enjoy autofocusing, you need an AF-S or AF-I lens. (The 18–55mm lens sold in a kit with the D3300 body is an AF-S lens.) Your camera manual offers details about lens compatibility.

    The AF in AF-S stands for autofocus, and the S stands for silent wave, a Nikon autofocus technology. AF-I lenses are older, professional-grade (expensive) lenses that are no longer made but may be available on the secondhand market.

  • 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:

  1. Turn off the camera.

  2. Install the battery into the compartment on the bottom of the camera.

  3. 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 in the figure. 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.

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  4. Insert a memory card.

    Open the card-slot cover on the right side of the camera and orient the card, as shown in the figure. (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.

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  5. Turn on the camera.

  6. Set the camera language, time zone, date, and time.

    When you power up the camera for the first time, the monitor displays a message asking you to select the menu language and set the time zone, date, and time. Navigate the screens and adjust the settings by using the Multi Selector and the OK button (refer to the figure):

    • Press the edge of the Multi Selector up and down to move the highlight cursor vertically; press right/left to travel horizontally. Press OK or press the Multi Selector right to reveal options related to the highlighted setting.

    • When a value box is highlighted, press the Multi Selector up/down to change the value. Press left/right to jump to the next value box.

    • After making your selections on a screen, press OK.

    The date/time information is included as metadata (hidden data) in the picture file. You can view metadata in some playback display modes and in certain photo programs, including Nikon ViewNX 2.

  7. If using the 18–55mm kit lens, unlock and extend the lens.

    The kit lens sold with the D3300 is a pancake lens, which means that when you’re not shooting, you can retract the lens barrel so that the camera takes up less space in your camera bag. Before you can take a picture, you must unlock and extend the lens. (This applies to any retractable lens, not just the kit lens.) the figure shows the lens in its retracted (left image) and extended (right image) positions.

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    To extend the lens, press the lens lock button, highlighted in the figure, 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.

  8. Adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight.

    Tucked behind the right side of the rubber eyepiece that surrounds the viewfinder is a dial that enables you to adjust the viewfinder focus to accommodate your eyesight. The dial is highlighted in the figure.

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    This step is critical: If you don’t adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight, subjects may appear sharp in the viewfinder when they aren’t actually in focus, and vice versa.

    To set the viewfinder focus, remove the lens cap, look through the viewfinder, and then press the shutter button halfway to display data at the bottom of the viewfinder. (In dim lighting, the flash may pop up; ignore it for now and close the unit after you adjust the viewfinder.)

    Now rotate the dial until the data appears sharpest. The markings in the center of the viewfinder, which relate to autofocusing, also become more or less sharp.