Shooting in Effects Mode on Your Nikon D3400 - dummies

Shooting in Effects Mode on Your Nikon D3400

By Julie Adair King

When you set the Mode dial to Effects, as shown here, you can apply special effects as the Nikon D3400 camera writes the picture to the memory card.

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Effects mode lets you apply special effects to movies and still photos.

Shooting in Effects mode brings up another problem: To create the effects, the camera puts most picture-taking controls, such as White Balance and Metering mode, off limits. Additionally, you can capture the image only in the JPEG format for all Effects modes except Silhouette, High Key, and Low Key. The Raw and Raw+JPEG Image Quality settings are disabled for all other effects. If you select Raw or Raw+JPEG before choosing an Effects mode that doesn’t support Raw, the Image Quality setting is automatically changed to Fine.

However, Effects mode does offer some artistic filters not available on the Retouch menu. In addition, it enables you to add most effects to movies, which isn’t possible on the Retouch menu.

As soon as you set the Mode dial to Effects, an icon representing the selected effect appears in the upper-left corner of the Information display, as shown on the left. Rotate the Command dial to cycle through the available effects, as shown on the right.

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Rotate the Command dial to cycle through the effects.

Although the camera displays a thumbnail to indicate the result of each effect, you don’t have to rely on that artwork: Instead, set the camera to Live View mode. The monitor then shows a live preview of each effect as you select it. You also need to use Live View mode to access the options that are available for some effects.

To shift to Live View mode, press the Live View (LV) button on the back of the camera. Rotate the Command dial to scroll through the various effects, just as you do when not in Live View mode.

After selecting an effect, you can exit Live View to take the picture using the viewfinder if you prefer. Or, to record a movie, remain in Live View mode and just press the red Movie-Record button to start and stop recording.

Effects mode offers the following choices:

  • Night Vision: Use this setting in low-light situations to produce a grainy, black-and-white image that resembles what you see with night-vision goggles. The following figure has an example. To achieve the grainy effect, the camera uses a high ISO Sensitivity setting — that high ISO produces noise, which results in the grainy look. How high the ISO climbs and, thus, how much noise becomes visible, depends on the ambient light.
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The Night Vision effect creates an exceptionally noisy black-and-white image.
  • Super Vivid: Hey, will you look at that: a setting whose name tells you just what that setting will do. Super Vivid amps up color saturation and contrast for, er, super vivid pictures.
  • Pop: If Super Vivid is too much excitement for you, try this setting, which increases only color saturation, making colors “pop.”
  • Photo Illustration: This setting creates a look similar to the one produced by the Photo Illustration option on the Retouch menu. Objects are rendered as simple shapes with strong outlines and a limited color palette. (In techie terms, pixels are run through a posterization filter, which reduces a range of colors to a single hue.) In Live View mode, you can adjust the effect by pressing OK and then pressing the Multi Selector right or left to change the size of the object outlines. Press OK again after you set this value. The camera will use the same value the next time you shoot using the Photo Illustration effect.

In this mode, you must focus manually when shooting movies. Additionally, movies that you record in Photo Illustration mode not only have the color posterization applied, but the frames are created in a way that causes the movie to look more like a slide show than a video.

For still photography, the maximum number of frames per second you can capture in the Continuous Release mode is reduced.

  • Toy Camera Effect: This mode creates a photo or movie that looks like it was shot by a toy camera — specifically, the type of toy camera that produces images that have a vignette effect (corners of the scene appear darker than the rest of the image).

In Live View mode, you can adjust the effect by pressing OK to access two options: Vividness, which affects color intensity; and Vignetting, which controls the amount of vignetting. After dialing in the settings you want to use, press OK to exit the setup screen.

  • Miniature Effect: This one is also a duplicate of an option on the Retouch menu. The filter works by blurring all but a small portion of the scene.
  • Selective Color: Use this effect to create an image in which all but one to three colors are desaturated, just as when you use the Selective Color option on the Retouch menu.
  • Silhouette: Choosing this setting ensures that backlit subjects will be captured as dark silhouettes against a bright background, as shown. To help ensure that the subject is dark, flash is disabled.
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The Silhouette effect purposely underexposes backlit subjects.
  • High Key: A high key photo is dominated by white or very light areas, such as a white china cup resting on a white doily in front of a sunny window. This setting is designed to produce a good exposure for this type of scene, which the camera otherwise tends to underexpose in response to all the high brightness values. Flash is disabled.

How does the name relate to the characteristics of the picture? Well, photographers refer to the dominant tones — or brightness values — as the key tones. In most photos, the midtones, or areas of medium brightness, are the key tones. In a high key image, the majority of tones are at the high end of the brightness scale.

  • Low Key: The opposite of a high key photo, a low key photo is dominated by shadows. Use this mode to prevent the camera from brightening the scene too much and thereby losing the dark and dramatic nature of the image. Flash is disabled.

For Effects modes that allow flash, you can select from a few different flash modes, such as Auto flash, Flash Off, and Red-Eye Reduction flash. Which flash modes are available varies depending on the Effects mode.

To change the Flash mode, hold down the Flash button while rotating the Command dial.