Set Picture Control

Nikon D7000 shooting menu Set Picture ControlExplanation: Here you can change settings for the internal processing of picture data from the image sensor into final JPG files.

The handling works as follows:

1. You have to start with an existing „configuration“, i.e. a set of settings that Nikon has predefined for a certain look of the final image.
You have a choice between::

  • Standard: Nikon‘s default for a neutral picture as the standard for most shooting situations.
  • Neutral: A processing with slightly less sharpening, contrast improvement and saturation; for those who do these steps on their own later on
  • Vivid: Higher color saturation, sharpening and contrast
  • Monochrome: Converts into black and white
  • Portrait: Very similar to „neutral“, slightly less sharpening, contrast and color saturation than „standard“
  • Landscape: Higher contrast than „standard“

2. You can modify a configuration by placing the yellow selection mark on it and use the multi selector to the right (the command dials cannot be used here).

The „Quick adjust“ increases or decreases all settings in the direction of the intended picture style and is available for all configurations except „neutral“.

Alternatively you can select and change all detail settings individually:

  • Sharpening: Increases contrasts at edges which improves the perceived sharpness
  • Contrast: Increases or decreases the contrast between light and dark areas
  • Brightness: Lightening or Darkening of the whole picture
  • Saturation: Changes color saturation for more intense or fainter colors
  • Hue: Changes the overall color tone in a slightly complicated manner

… and two which are available only for the configuration „monochrome“:

  • Filter effects: Simulates the effect of color filters as they are used in black and white photography to adjust contrast
  • Toning: Allows you to choose another dominating color tone than black and white

3. Additionally you can create your own configurations by copying, modifying and renaming an existing one.
To do so you need the next menu option Manage Picture Control.

When you change a configuration in the Picture Control and do a Reset
your last chosen configuration will stay selected but any changes in it will be reset.

Tips: An important menu with visible impact on your photos! Only those who shoot in RAW format only and create JPG files on their own in the computer can ignore it.
The „best“ settings are a matter of your personal preferences, in this menu everyone has to find his or her best settings by experience.

On the other hand all of these settings can also be changed afterwards in image processing on the computer, you really have to get them right in the camera if you want to have the best possible results straight out of your D7000.

Some tips from my own experience:

  • The configuration „neutral“ is very similar to „standard“ with slightly less contrast and saturation, the difference is really small.
  • The sharpening chosen by Nikon is rather weak, I prefer a higher value of 5 or 6.
    When looking at your images in the proper magnification (100% zoom on the computer monitor) you will see clearer edges.
  • „Vivid“ has visibly more intense color and more contrast. That can improve your image but also be too much of a good thing if you have already high contrast (e.g. direct sunlight) and make your picture look unnatural.
  • I would not set contrast and brightness here and switch on the Active D-Lighting.
  • Regarding the setting „hue“: Ignore this setting, it is only a slight shift in color for which I do not see any practical relevance.

Result: All the above has brought me to the following settings that I use myself:

  • One own configuration, created with the next menu option Manage Picture Control, called „standard+sharper“ which is a copy of the configuration „standard“ with sharpening increased to 6.
  • Another configuration called „sharp+vivid“ which is the same as before plus a saturation increased by two steps.
  • I use the first one most of the time and switch to the second one occasionally.

Last but not least: Do not overestimate the importance of this menu, most important is still a good subject, light, exposure and
white balance for cooler or wamer color rendition. After all that the „Picture Control“ is for the final touch.