Who's Writing Nikon's Technical Guides?

Sometimes I just don't get Nikon. They don't appear to be getting information from the right users, let alone be able to relate it back to other similar users. This has been true in the past, and now we have another example. 

The previous problems had to do with Nikon's Professional Setting Guides as they pertained to sports, all the way back into the DSLR era. There was also a marketing brochure on how mirrorless AF-area modes mapped to DSLR ones. I ended up having to write my own "corrections" to what Nikon put in those documents. 

Now we have a new one to contemplate: Z9/Z8 Professional Setting Guide — Wildlife Edition. After using almost half the pages talking up their lenses, we get to the "nitty gritty"—I'm tempted to write s**** gritty—and boy are most of us working wildlife photographers going to not only ignore Nikon's advice, but we're going to have to now teach people why Nikon's "advice" is mostly wrong.

On page 16, Basic Camera Settings, we start to get our first taste that whoever wrote and edited this document doesn't actually use Nikon gear to take wildlife photos: White balance of Auto. First of all, it almost certainly should be Natural light auto, since very little wildlife photography is done under artificial light. But if it's going to be Auto, which version of that should it be? It's kind of important to get animal colors correct, after all ;~).

Next up we have the recommendation of RAW + JPEG normal. Hmm, are they not aware that there's a perfectly usable JPEG basic image already in the raw file, or that the camera can squirt over a JPEG automatically to SnapBridge if all you want to do is have something to share quickly? Again we're missing useful detail, such as whether that should be optimal quality (star) or size priority (no star). In essence, Nikon is saying here to "just use a slightly better compression if you're going to add a JPEG image." I'd argue that if you're going to go to the trouble of using something other than what's already in the file (again, JPEG basic), you need to swing further. It should probably be RAW + JPEG fine (star), otherwise you're not achieving much. 

Nikon also recommends 3D-tracking. I guess building subject detection into the camera was a waste, eh? Hybrid button focus techniques, which most of us are using in some form or another aren't even mentioned. Oh, but wait, they suggest you use subject detection after all! This gets a little tricky with 3D-tracking, which is why most of us use a Hybrid button method. I suspect they're trying to avoid the multiple subjects problem. But the way the wildlife pros do that is with a custom Wide-area AF box. Later on, Nikon suggests you add AF-area mode > 3D-tracking to a custom button. What? You want me to override 3D-tracking with 3D-tracking?

Next up, we're told to use Auto capture. I guess the new feature gets all the attention, but the guide really should have spending time on suggesting some Pre-release capture uses and issues. I did particularly enjoy the phrase "This allows the photographer to capture the natural expressions of wildlife without having to be present at the shooting location." Got it, Auto capture is necessary to capture "natural expressions," and I don't need to go out in the field any more except to set up the camera once. By the way, Nikon, do you know what happens if you set up an unattended camera in lion territory? 

I'm not going to tear every word to pieces, it's just not worth it. My suggestion is you ignore this new PDF from Nikon. It doesn't teach you anything, it has misguided, misleading, and inconsistent info in it, and I fail to see how it's going to make you a better wildlife photographer. Oh, it's a long way from "technical." 

Looking for other photographic information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | mirrorless: sansmirror.com | general/technique: bythom.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

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