Nikon D2Xs Modes and Menus

Playback Mode: Accessed by pressing the Playback button, this mode allows you to review captured images, as well as delete or protect them and set them up for printing.

Record Mode: The camera is automatically in Record mode whenever it's powered on (when reviewing images, touching the shutter button immediately readies the camera to shoot a photo). The following exposure modes are available here (accessed by pressing the Mode button and turning the main Command dial):

  • Program AE: Puts the camera in charge of the shutter speed and aperture settings, although you can vary its choices by turning the Command dial. (That is, you can increase or decrease the aperture the camera has chosen, and the camera will vary the shutter speed to maintain the same overall exposure value. Once you've chosen an offset in the aperture/shutter combination, the camera will continue to control the exposure automatically, while maintaining the aperture/shutter bias you've selected.)
  • Aperture Priority: Allows you to set the aperture value while the camera automatically selects the appropriate shutter speed.
  • Shutter Speed Priority: Allows you to set the shutter speed value while the camera automatically selects the appropriate aperture.
  • Manual: Lets you select both the aperture value and shutter speed.

LCD Menu System: The following menus are available in any camera mode, and are called up by pressing the Menu button.

Playback Menu:

  • Delete: Deletes selected images or all images from the memory card.
  • Playback Folder: Designates which folder to review images from.
    • Named Folder(s): If a folder (or multiple folders) has been created, it appears here.
    • All: Reviews all images on the memory card, regardless of folder.
    • Current: Plays back images in the currently-used folder only.
  • Slideshow: Accesses the Slide Show submenu which allows you to view all captured images in a slide show format. Options are:
    • Start: Starts the show.
    • Frame Interval: Sets the time interval between each image (two, three, five, or 10 seconds).
    • Audio Playback: Turns playback of audio clips attached to images in the slideshow on or off. If audio playback is enabled, you can also specify that the frame interval be set to the duration of the audio clip for each image, rather than the specific duration set by the previous menu option.
  • Hide Image: Allows selected images to be hidden or revealed during Playback mode operations.
  • Print Set: Allows images to be set up for printing using the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) standard or directly from the camera to a PictBridge compatible camera. Options are:
    • Select / Set: Selects individual images to be printed from an index display, and marks them for printing. Once selected, you can specify the number of copies.
    • Deselect All: Removes the print mark from all images. You are prompted to reconfirm before the process is completed.
  • Display Mode: Indicates which display modes are available during image playback. Options are Data, Histogram, Highlight, and Focus Area. Options are selected with a checkbox in front of each item.
  • Image Review: Turns instant image review on or off. If on, the camera displays each image post-capture for a few seconds on the LCD monitor.
  • After Delete: Displays a menu for you to choose what the camera should do after deleting an image. Choices are:
    • Show Next: Shows the image taken immediately after the image that was deleted. If the deleted image was the last one taken, the previous image will be displayed.
    • Show Previous: Shows the image taken immediately before the image that was deleted. If the deleted image was the first one taken, the next image will be displayed.
    • Continue as before: If the user was scrolling through images in the order that they were captured, the image taken immediately after the one that was deleted will be displayed. If the user was scrolling through images in reverse order, the image taken immediately before will be displayed. If the deleted image was the last one taken, the previous image will be displayed. If the deleted image was the first one taken, the next image will be displayed.

  • Rotate Tall: Chooses whether photographs taken in "tall" (portrait) orientation are rotated to display right-side-up on the camera's LCD monitor. (Data in the image file is unaffected by this, the images will still appear in landscape format if opened in Photoshop or another third-party imaging program.)

  • Nikon D2Xs full Playback menu layout
    (note, large download for dialup users)

Shooting Menu:

  • Shooting Menu Bank: Lets you select from four banks of shooting menu options, meaning you can create up to four custom user settings. You can also choose to rename a menu bank for easy identification. Menu bank names are alphanumeric, allow upper and lower case characters, and can be up to 20 characters long.
  • Reset Shooting Menu: Resets the currently-selected menu bank settings to the camera's defaults.
  • Active Folder: Selects the folder for storing images. You also have an option to create a new folder. Folder names are in the format "100NCD2H", with the first three digits being selectable anywhere from 100 to 999.
  • File Naming: Lets you change the prefix for filenames from the default "DSC" to any combination of upper-case letters and digits.
  • Image Quality: Offers the following image quality options: NEF (RAW) + JPEG Fine, NEF (RAW) + JPEG Normal, NEF (RAW) + JPEG Basic, NEF (RAW), TIFF (RGB), JPEG Fine, JPEG Normal, and JPEG Basic.
  • Image Size: Specifies the image resolution. In normal mode, images are saved at sizes of 4,288x2,848, 3,216x2,136, or 2,144x1,424 pixels. In High-speed crop mode, the size options change to 3,216x2,136, 2,400x1,600, and 1,064x1,600 pixels.
  • High-speed crop: Selecting ON enables the High-speed crop shooting mode, using only the central 6.8 megapixels of the sensor, increasing the maximum frame rate to 8 fps.
  • JPEG compression: Choose whether to compress JPEG images to a fixed size or to vary file size for better image quality. (The default is fixed file size, which means the image quality will vary with the image content. This is very unusual, I strongly recommend using the Optimal Quality setting instead.)

  • RAW Compression: Determines whether RAW files are compressed when captured. (Default is uncompressed.)
  • White Balance: Adjusts the camera's color balance to match a variety of light sources. Choices are Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, Color Temperature, and Preset (manual setting).
  • Long exp. NR: Controls whether images captured at shutter speeds slower than 1/2 second are processed with Noise Reduction. When enabled, the camera indicates "Job nr" on the displays after taking a long exposure, and remains busy for slightly longer than the length of the original photo (i.e. for a 30 second exposure, there would be a period of a little over 30 seconds after the exposure completed before the camera was ready to take another picture, review the last one, etc.)
  • High ISO NR: Options of On (Normal) (the default), On (High), and Off. Applies noise-reduction processing at ISO settings of 400 and above. Increased noise-reduction processing is applied if On (High) is selected. (This additional noise processing is always applied at ISO settings over 800) Anti-noise processing may increase shot to shot processing time, and/or reduce the memory buffer capacity.
  • ISO: Changes the camera's sensitivity setting, with options of 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, HI-03 (1,000), HI-07 (1,250), HI-1 (1,600) and HI-2 (3,200). HI- settings are only available when the ISO Auto setting in the Custom Settings menu is turned off.
  • Image Sharpening: Controls the level of in-camera sharpening applied to captured images. Options are Auto, Normal, Low, Medium Low, Medium High, High, and None.
  • Tone Compensation: Adjusts the level of contrast to Auto, Normal, Less Contrast, More Contrast, or Custom (lets you load a preset tone curve from a computer using the Nikon Capture software).
  • Color Space: Choose between sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces.

  • Color Mode: Selects color modes I, II, III or Black-and-White. Mode I (the default) is intended for Portrait shots, and mode III mode is for nature or landscape shots. Mode II is intended for images that will be extensively processed or retouched. A departure from earlier Nikon D-series cameras is that Modes I and III may now be chosen for either sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces. (Previously, these color modes were only available in sRGB.) Mode II remains available only when Adobe RGB is set as the current color space. B&W mode is new to the D2Xs, and is only available when the current color space is sRGB.
  • Hue Adjustment: Adjusts the hue of colors in the image from -9 to +9 degrees, in three-degree units.
  • Image Overlay: Lets you create a new image by superimposing two existing RAW-mode images. (A handy feature, when you have to shoot to accommodate a particular layout, leaving space in the photo for titles, text, and graphic overlays.)
  • Multiple Exposure: Lets you combine anywhere from 2-10 shots into a single image. The option for Auto Gain tells the camera to reduce the brightness of images in proportion to the total number of shots you're taking, to keep the final image from looking overexposed.
  • Trim: This new function lets you trim (crop) images, and save the cropped copy separately. Cropped image displays on monitor, and you can scroll with the Multi Selector pad to choose position within larger image. Depending on the size of the crop, copies will be 2540x1920, 1920x1440, 1280x960, 960x720 or 640x480 pixels.
  • Interval Timer Shooting: Activates the Interval shooting mode, letting you set the start and end times for the series, the number of shots, and the interval period. The D2Xs also lets you set it to capture multiple shots after each interval.
  • Non-CPU Lens Data: Lets you set the focal length and maximum aperture of non-CPU lenses, so that they will work with color matrix metering, aperture value display, and balanced fill flash options. Focal length options are three broad ranges of 6-48mmm, 50-180mm, and 200-4000mm. Maximum aperture values range from f/1.2 to f/22, as well as "NA".

Nikon D2Xs full Shooting menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Custom Settings Menu:
Each option accesses a sub-menu of color-coded and numbered options pertaining to a specific subject. The initial screen (shown at right) provides an index into the various groups of sub-menus. Once you're into the second level of the menu system though, you can scroll smoothly through all the entries, regardless of what group they belong to. The color-coding seen in the index screen carries through to the various individual options, making it easy to know where you are in the menu structure at all times. In the description of the various functions below, I've inserted a screen shot corresponding to each of the major menu sections.

  • Bank Select: Custom settings can be stored in any of four different banks, this option selects the bank for which Custom Settings are to be adjusted.
  • Menu Reset: Resets the Custom Settings in the current bank.

  • Autofocus:
    • a1 - AF-C Mode Priority: In AF-C mode, give priority to Release Button or Focus. Designates whether photos can be taken whenever the Shutter button is pressed (Release Priority) or when the image is in focus (Focus setting).
    • a2 - AF-S Mode Priority: Similar to above but in AF-S mode, gives priority to Release Button or Focus.
    • a3 - Group Dynamic AF: Controls how focus areas are grouped. Options are Pattern 1 or 2, Pattern 1 providing slightly looser/larger clusters of AF points.
    • a4 - Lock-On: (A very welcome feature for sports shooters!) The D2Xs has Long, Normal, Short and Off settings, to tune how long the camera will wait before adjusting the focus if the subject distance changes by a large amount very abruptly. This will prevent the camera from losing focus lock when something briefly passes between you and the subject. When set to Off, the camera will immediately shift focus, regardless of how abrupt the change in subject distance is.
    • a5 - AF Activation: Controls whether both the Shutter and AF-On buttons determine focus, or only the AF-On buttons determine focus.
    • a6 - Focus Area Illumination: Controls when the focus areas are illuminated in Manual and Continuous AF modes. The When Selected option determines how long the active focus frame is displayed when selected (either 0.2 or 1 second).
    • a7 - Focus Area: Designates whether the focus area display wraps or not during manual selection.
    • a8 - Vertical AF-On: Assigns specific functions to the vertical AF-On button. Choices are: AF-On + Focus Area (default), AF-On, AE/AF-L + Focus Area, AE/AF-L, or Focus Area only.

  • Metering / Exposure:
    • b1 - ISO Auto: Activates the Auto ISO option, which disables the HI- ISO boost modes. If the camera can't achieve proper exposure at the ISO you've selected, it will automatically shift it within the range of 100-800.
    • b2 - ISO Step Value: Designates the step size of the ISO setting, with choices of one-third, one-half, or one EV unit.
    • b3 - EV Step: Assigns the EV step size for shutter speed, aperture, and bracketing. Options are one-third, one-half, or one EV unit.
    • b4 - Exposure Compensation EV: As with the above settings, controls the step size for Exposure Compensation. Choices are one-third, one-half, or one EV unit.
    • b5 - Exposure Compensation: Controls whether the EV button is needed to set the exposure compensation. If set to Off, the exposure can be adjusted simply by turning the Command dial.
    • b6 - Center Weight: Specifies the diameter of the metering area for Center-Weighted metering mode. Choices are 6mm, 8mm (the default), 10mm, 13mm, or Average.
    • b7 - Fine Tune Exposure: An interesting feature. If you find yourself disagreeing with the D2Xs' exposure system on a consistent basis, you can tweak it here, offsetting the camera's metering system from its factory setting by +/- 1 EV, in 1/6 EV steps. A different Fine Tuning setting can be made for each Custom Settings bank. NOTE: This changes the default behavior of the exposure metering system, when adjusted via this control, no +/- indication appears on the camera's top-panel exposure readout or in the viewfinder display.

  • Timers / AE&AF Lock:
    • c1 - AE Lock: Controls whether exposure is locked by a press of the AE-L/AF-L button or by either the AE-L/AF-L or Shutter buttons.
    • c2 - AE-L/AF-L: Controls the function of the AE-L/AF-L button. Options are AE/AF Lock, AE Lock Only, AE Lock Hold/Reset (locks when button is pressed and remains locked until pressed again), AE Lock Hold, or AF Lock.
    • c3 - Auto Meter Off: Sets the amount of time that the exposure information is displayed in the control panel on top of the camera. Choices are 4, 6 (default), 8, or 16 seconds, or No Limit.
    • c4 - Self-Timer: Sets the self-timer countdown time to 2, 5, 10 (default), or 20 seconds.
    • c5 - Monitor Off: Controls how long the LCD monitor remains active when no operations are being performed. Options are 10 or 20 seconds (the default), or 1, 5, or 10 minutes.

  • Shooting / Display:
    • d1 - Shooting Speed: Controls the shooting speed for Low-Speed Continuous Shooting mode. Choices are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 frames per second.
    • d2 - C-Mode Max Shots: Determines the maximum number of shots in a single burst in either Continuous Shooting modes. Regardless of this setting, the maximum number of shots in a burst can't exceed the following numbers:
      • NEF (RAW) + JPEG: 16 shots (28 in High Speed Crop mode)
      • NEF (RAW): 17 shots (29 in High Speed Crop mode)
      • TIFF (RGB): 16 shots (28 in High Speed Crop mode)
      • JPEG: 22 shots (35 in High Speed Crop mode)
    • d3 - Exposure Delay Mode: If set to On, this delays the shutter release until 0.4 seconds after the Shutter button is pressed. If Off, shutter opens when the Shutter button is pressed. (Potentially handy for situations like microscope photography, where you'd like to allow a fraction of a second for any camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button to die down before the exposure itself.)
    • d4 - File Number Sequence: If set to Off, file number starts over at 0001 whenever a card is formatted, new folder created, or a new memory card is inserted. If On, file numbering continues from card to card. The Reset option resets file numbering with each new card, but adds a "1" to the largest number in the folder.
    • d5 - Control Panel / Finder: Controls the level of information displayed in the rear control panel and viewfinder displays. For the rear panel, you can choose either to display ISO sensitivity at all times, or only while the ISO button is pressed (at other times the number of exposures remaining would be shown). For the viewfinder display, you can choose to show either the frame count, or the number of exposures remaining.
    • d6 - Illumination: Controls whether the data readout illumination activates with a press of any control button, or just with the Illumination option of the Power switch.

  • Bracketing / Flash:
    • e1 - Flash Sync Speed: Controls the flash sync speed setting, from 1/250 to 1/60. Also enables auto FP high-speed sync with the SB-800 Speedlight, using the "1/250 (auto FP)" setting.
    • e2 - Flash Shutter Speed: Sets the slowest shutter speed possible when using a flash in Program AE or Aperture Priority modes. Options range from 1/60 to 30 seconds. In Shutter Priority and Manual modes, shutter speeds with flash can be as slow as 30 seconds regardless of this setting.
    • e3 - AA Flash Mode: Controls whether the flash level is automatically adjusted for aperture when an external exposure meter is used with an SB-80DX or SB-28DX Speedlight.
    • e4 - Modeling Flash: Specifies whether an SB-800 Speedlight emits a modeling flash when the Depth of Field Preview button is pressed.
    • e5 - Auto Bracket Set: Controls what settings are affected by bracketing mode. Choices are AE & Flash Level, AE Only, Flash Only, or White Balance.
    • e6 - Manual Mode Bracketing: If AE & Flash or AE Only modes are selected above, this option controls what settings are adjusted in bracketing mode. Choices are Flash / Speed, Flash / Speed / Aperture, Flash / Aperture, and Flash Only.
    • e7 - Auto Bracketing Order: Determines the order of images taken in Auto Bracketing mode. Either Metered/Under/Over or Under/Metered/Over.
    • e8 - Auto Bracketing Selection: Controls how the bracketing mode is selected, either Manual or Preset. Manual indicates that pressing the Bracket button and rotating the Command dial selects the number of shots, and turning the Sub-Command dial sets the bracketing increment. Preset indicates that pressing the Bracket button and turning the Command dial turns the mode on and off, and rotating the Sub-Command dial sets both the number of shots and the bracketing increment.

  • Controls:
    • f1 - Center Button: Determines what functions are available by pressing the center of the Five-Way Arrow pad. Options are divided into Shooting Mode and Playback Mode groups. In Shooting Mode, choices are Center AF Area, Illuminate AF Area, and Not Used. In Playback mode, options are Thumbnail On/Off, Histogram On/Off, and Zoom On/Off.
    • f2 - Multi-Selector: Controls the function of the Five-Way Arrow pad in Shooting mode. Options are Do Nothing, Reset Monitor Off Delay, and Initiate Auto Focus.
    • f3 - PhotoInfo/Playback: Controls the role of the Five-Way Arrow pad in Playback mode. Off sets the left and right keys to scroll through information screens, while the up and down arrows scroll through captured images. On sets the keys in the reverse.
    • f4 - Function Button: Assigns functions to the Function button. Choices are FV Lock, FV Lock/Lens Data, AE-L/AF-L, One Step Speed / Aperture, Same as AE-L, AF-L, Flash Off, Bracketing Burst, Matrix Metering, Center-Weighted Metering, Spot Metering, and High-speed crop.
    • f5 - Command Dials: Selects the direction and functions of the command dials.
    • f6 - Buttons and Dials: Determines whether changes that require a control button and command dial are made while holding the button down and turning the dial, or with a press of the button followed (within 20 seconds) by a turn of the dial.
    • f7 - No CF Card?: Specifies whether the shutter can be released without a CF card.

Nikon D2Xs full Custom menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Setup Menu:

  • Format: Formats the memory card, erasing all images on the card, even write-protected ones.
  • LCD Brightness: Controls the brightness of the LCD display, with 5 steps (-2 to +2) available.
  • Mirror Lock-Up: Locks the mirror in the up position so that the CCD can be cleaned (only available when the camera is on AC power).
  • Video Mode: Sets the Video Out signal timing to PAL or NTSC.
  • World Time: Sets the camera¬ís internal calendar and clock, and lets you select the time zone you're in and whether Daylight saving time is in force or not.
  • Language: Sets the LCD menu language to one of ten languages.
  • Image Comment: Lets you add a small comment (up to 36 alphanumeric characters max.) to accompany images as they are captured.
  • Auto image rotation: Enables or disables the D2Xs' orientation sensor. When enabled, a tag is recorded in the file header that allows Nikon View and Nikon Capture to automatically display images in their correct orientations.

  • Recent Settings: Another new feature to the D2Xs, this feature lets you maintain a list of the eight most recent settings. Options are Lock menu, or Delete recent settings.
  • Voice Memo: Determines whether Voice Memo recording automatically starts after each image, or only when the Voice Memo button is pressed.
  • Voice Memo Overwrite: When enabled, lets you record a voice memo in shooting mode, even if a voice memo already exists for the current image.
  • Voice Memo Button: Designates whether the Voice Memo button must be held down during recording, or pressed once to start and again to stop.
  • Audio Output: Determines whether audio plays through the camera's speaker, or via an A/V connection to a television set. If the internal speaker is selected, you can also set the speaker volume here. You can also turn this function off.
  • USB: Chooses either Mass Storage Class or PTP-compliant USB. (Use PTP-compliant for connecting to a PictBridge-compliant printer or to the optional WT-2A WiFi transmitter.)
  • Dust Off Ref Photo: If activated, this option acquires data for the Image Dust Off function in Nikon Capture software, which removes distracting dust from images.
  • Battery Info: Displays the battery information for the EN-EL4a rechargeable battery. Shows charge remaining, number of shots captured since the battery was charged, an estimate of remaining life (charge/discharge cycles) for the battery, and whether or not "calibration" (a full discharge/charge cycle in the external MH-21 battery charger) is required.

  • Wireless LAN: Sets up the camera to work with the optional wireless transmitter accessory, for wireless transmission of files to a computer. (Menu option only enabled with a wireless LAN adapter is connected.)
  • Image Authentication: Selecting "On" for this new option embeds image authentication information into the image files, allowing alterations to the image to be detected using Nikon's optional image authentication software.
  • Save/Load settings: Yet another new feature allows all settings except date, time and monitor brightness to be saved or restored to/from a memory card.
  • Firmware Version: (This menu item is just off the end of the menu screen shown above. I chose not to include another screen shot just for the sake of this one item...) Displays the firmware version of the camera.

Nikon D2Xs full Setup menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Recent Settings Menu:

Another enhancement to the D2Xs, this new menu allows the user to view and modify (if enabled in the Setup Menu), the eight most recent setting changes made, without navigating to back to the original menu(s).


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