Nikon D3s manual video control explained again

Just got that - related to my previous D3s manual video control post. Not sure if the Electronic Analog Exposure display is already available in the D3s (click on image for larger view).


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  • Andrew


    • Not Andrew

      First post at last then?

      • Andrew


  • Martin

    How to zoom with a prime lens explained.

    • WoutK89

      What have you been smoking, I want in 😛
      Or are you referring to moving your feet?

  • low

    d3s rulz

  • What is the source of this graphic you’ve posted? It appears to be from Nikon, but it’s a mess. The grammar is butchered, the layout is poor, and the messaging is all over the place. Still, the news is great.

    The theory that Nikon didn’t mean to release this feature yet, (and made an oversight when shipping the final production cameras) seems all the more likely in my mind after seeing this. It seems like they’re thrashing to get this “surprise news” out, whereby the surprise would be as much for them as for us.

    Alternatively, I suppose they could have been trying to keep the manual control feature under the radar until they released firmware updates for all past Video capable DSLR’s (or some other “event” down the road).

    Either way, this seems odd, and a bit “last-minute-rush” compared to most of Nikons undertakings.

    Am I the only one who sees this?

    • Ron, I am not sure where this came from – it was sent anonymously and the original screenshot was posted on one of the photo sharing sites. It is interesting that the date on top is December 11th – maybe they are working on an official presentation of this feature. I could be also that manual control is not fully implemented and the last portion will be delivered with a firmware update and then officially announced.

      • I hope so. Your assessment sounds about right. Here’s to hoping it reaches more than just the D3s.

  • NikoDoby

    Future iterations of DSLR video will have better control and easy of use.

  • Son of FE

    All this confusion simply amplifies the fact that it is tough to make DSLRs be simple to use video cameras. Maybe the next set of manual video instructions will include the following:
    “When pressing buttons a,b,c,d, and e, make sure that one is standing on one leg facing north under the light of a full moon while also waving a dead chicken over one’s head.”

    Or maybe it’s like what was previously mentioned. The feature is “hidden” because it was not intended to be used (yet).

    We’ll see.

    • It’s weird that Nikon didn’t publicise the full manual option – as that is the first thing that people looking to use DSLRs for commercial video / film making applications look for. Pretty much the only reason to use DSLRs for video is to take advantage of the sensor size and range of fast 35mm optics to get narrow DOF for the “film look”.

      Using the D3s alongside the Canon 5D2 to shoot video for documentary/commercial work the main issue I can see with the D3s footage is the compression in some situations is much more noticeable than the Canon. Sure the Nikon doesn’t have variable frame rates for slow motion etc (although neither does the 5D2 at the moment) and doesn’t shoot 1080P. But with the full manual controls it can still produce some nice footage – you just need to keep an eye on the compression in some shots.

      In many ways I prefer using the Nikon – I find the layout simpler and more intuitive. Now that I can also have full manual with a simple press of the ‘OK’ button I am looking forward to using the D3s for video a bit more than I originally thought I would.

      I’ve just posted a quick test of the manual settings on on Vimeo –

      • pher

        Pavement xo

  • Dylan

    Thanks Admin for posting this!

  • Bob

    any chance the D300s does this too?

    • no, I’ve tried it – unless it is hidden somewhere else

      • I did the above on mine and nothing happened, then I pressed the release half way (then let go) and I was able to adjust the settings manually. It also let me play with the settings when I pressed the release halfway before starting movie mode. I didn’t notice anything happening when I turned the wheels when I was shooting or in playback. I haven’t played with movie mode till just now and have no real interest in it, but someone here might want to take a look again. To me it is just a glitch where you are adjusting the numbers on the screen but nothing is really happening.

        Might be worth a shot…

        • Its pretty simple -as it says in the manual in Tripod mode you can set the aperture – but camera sets auto exposure by adjusting shutter and/or ISO. You can adjust the shutter and/or ISO but the exposure on the Liveview stays the same – you can’t under or over expose as such. The ‘secret mode’ – not mentioned in the printed manual -involves pressing ‘OK’ and you can adjust any of the three settings and over/under expose however you want. This is important in video as you often want a set aperture for DOF but also want a set shutter (180 degree shutter – or twice the frame rate). This is easier to achieve if you can control everything and fine tune with either ISO – or ND filters if it is too bright and you still want narrow DOF.

          If you’re not interested in shallow DOF and using manual settings then a DSLR is a bad choice for shooting video – as that is the main advantage of using them! If you want everything in focus (and easy to use auto stuff ) then just use a camcorder – that’s what you get with small chips no matter what iris you set.

          • I bought it for still photos, not for making movies so I really don’t care about the rolling shutter problem, no manual settings and lack of 1080p. I’m sure it will work just fine if I come across some cops giving a beatdown or something.

    • Ole M Helgesen

      At least you can use the quick exposure compensation, but I don’t know what it is adjusting, probably ISO only. This is using the secondary command wheel, if enabled in the custom settings.
      You can also adjust shutter/aperture combo with the primary command wheel, but it seems to have no effect when filming though.
      And using any of the command wheels give nasty clicking sounds with the built in mic.

  • This is no rumor

    dislike the post

    • in my books if it is not officially announced by Nikon, it’s a rumor

      • I love the post, and would love it regardless the source (official vs. unofficial) of the news. Thanks, Admin!

  • F-stop

    just tried it on my 300s and setting can be changed…need to do more test with moving objects to tell if the shutter is actually changing…..this could be fun..

    • Ole M Helgesen

      See my comment above. You can adjust brightness with quick exposure control, but so far it seems you cannot change the aperture or shutter in auto modes when filming has started. It changes all right, but seems to have no effect.

  • pher

    nubz – were you refering to the d3s or d300s?

    F-stop – Could you be a litte more specific, please? You were able to change your shutter speed? I find it kind of hard to believe no one has found this out on the d300s yet. The 8fps trick I can kind of understand, but not undocumented manual operation.

    • It is on my D300s. I can turn the front and rear control wheels as well as change ISO while recording and those settings change at the bottom of the live view display. The only problem is that nothing is actually changing in the video from what I can see. Also as it was stated by others, it ads a pleasant clicking sound on the onboard mike too.

  • When we will get new FW for D90 and D300s? Or i can buy new Nikon DSLR but whit FULL MANUAL video, 1080p or 1080i, and 24,30 and 60FPS option. I have big collection of Nikon lenses but if this FV or V-DSLR will not come out soone i will sell my big collection and buy canon. Nikon Whyyyyyyy…….!!!!!!!

    • low

      just buy canon now, why are you waiting for?????????????????????????????????????

  • Johnny

    Can I do this on my D90?

  • pher

    zibi – you’re asking a question no one knows the answer to. All we know is that there is supposed to be firmware updates/news this month… or soon. They have an entire division devoted to FW updates now.

    Johnny – You can’t do this w/ your D90, but there are a couple of tricks/hacks. One is using your exposure lock, and another is using an older manual lens to stop down your aperture ring, enter video mode, and then adjust it after to get correct exposure. You can also use variable ND filters to adjust for exposure. It’s the closest thing you can get to manual for now.

  • Anonymous

    This graphic is fake.

    “Large depth of fiend achieved only with a large image sensor”

    If you thought that was right, Nikon wouldn’t give you a job, would they?

    If you missed the mistake, read it again before you flame.

    • That’s one of the first things that tipped me off that this was at minimum a hack job by Nikon. It looks like something that was created in Japan by the anime loving type, and then hurriedly translated into English and pushed out. Then again, you may be right that this is a fake.

      I still think the simple answer could be that Nikon is thrashing after discovering that manual control wasn’t wiped from the camera before shipping. They now realize that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak.

  • Evan Johnson

    Just tried this on my D3s. I hope everyone is happy to know that i have FULL control over Shutter Speed, Aperture, And ISO, so long as i keep the shutter speed above the 1/25 limit, otherwise it just pumps up the ISO. This feature still seems a little bit raw to me, however anyone here can email me at if they have any questions or would like to see sample video’s.

  • Is the 1080p or 1080i, and 24,30 and 60FPS option a hardware or firmware issue? Can we expect a firmware update making this possible or need the camera be updated? I am in ordering the D3s soon.

  • bwolf

    I’m sorry but manual video does not work on the D3S that I borrowed from Nikon Austria. It’s true that I can change ISO, aperture and shutter… but it does not have any impact on the video itself. Also, while shooting scrolling through the info-menues won’t give me any live histogram. Thing that frustrates me the most is that even the AE-L button doesn’t seem to work – meaning it’s even more automatic than the D90/D5000/D300S. Still, video quality itself is quite impressive – especially in low light.

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