Playback Menu - Mastering the Nikon COOLPIX A (2014)

Mastering the Nikon COOLPIX A (2014)

Chapter 3. Playback Menu

Beginning with this chapter we will start considering the standard menu system found in the COOLPIX A. Open the standard menus by pressing the Menu button on the back of the camera.

In this chapter we will carefully examine the Playback Menu, which you use to modify how you view and display images on the camera monitor. Figure 3.1 shows an enlarged image of the Playback Menu, which is the first menu in the camera‘s menu system.


Figure 3.1: The Playback Menu

Let’s briefly examine each of the items on the menu, then we’ll take a deeper look at how to best configure each one.

Playback Menu Function List

Delete: Allows you to delete all or selected images from your memory card

Playback folder: Allows you to set which image folders your camera will display if you have multiple folders on the memory card

Playback display options: Controls how many informational screens the camera will display for each image

Image review: Turns the camera’s post-shot automatic image review on or off

Rotate tall: Allows you to choose whether portrait-orientated (vertical) images display in an upright position or lying on their side on the horizontal monitor

Slide show: Allows you to display all the images on your camera’s memory card in a sequential display, like the slide shows of olden days (pre-2002); no projector is required

DPOF print order: Lets you print your images directly from a PictBridge-compatible printer without using a computer, either by using digital print order format (DPOF) directly from a memory card or by connecting a USB cable to the camera

Now, let’s examine each of these settings in detail, with full explanations of how, why, and when to configure each item.

Technical LCD Monitor Information

The COOLPIX A has a monitor with enough resolution and size, and a wide enough viewing angle, to really enjoy using it for previewing images. It has VGA resolution (640 x 480), based on a 921,000 dot liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD).

The bottom line is that this 3-inch screen has amazing clarity for your image previewing needs. You can zoom up to 31x for Large (L) images, 23x for Medium (M) images, and 15x for Small (S) images. That’s zooming in to pixel-peeping levels.

Now, if you want to get technical, here’s the extra geek stuff: Each dot on the monitor has three color segments, like on a computer monitor or TV screen—one each for red, green, and blue (RGB). Since only one color segment at a time is used, the screen does not have 921,000 pixels of resolution. Instead, since each pixel is a blend of the red, green, and blue dots, the monitor is limited to an actual pixel resolution of 307,000 pixels.

In other words, there are 921,000 dots, with each dot divided into three segments. The three segments together equate to one pixel, so the monitor is limited to one-third of 921,000 dots, or 307,000 pixels of image resolution. The VGA standard has 640 x 480 pixels, and since 640 x 480 = 307,200, the monitor on your COOLPIX A basically has VGA resolution.

Delete Function

(User’s Manual, Page 150)

The Delete function allows you to selectively delete individual images from a group of images in a single or multiple folders on your memory card. It also allows you to clear the images in all folders without deleting the folders. This is sort of like formatting a card, but it affects only images. However, note that if you have protected or hidden images, this function will not delete them.

There are three parts to the Delete menus: Selected, Select date, and All. Let’s examine how each option works.



Figure 3.2: Delete menu screens for the Selected option

Figure 3.2 shows the menu screens you’ll use to control the Delete function for selected images.

Notice in figure 3.2, image 3, that there is a list of images, each with a number in its lower-right corner. These numbers run in sequence from 1 to however many images are currently available. The number of images shown will vary according to how you have the Playback folder settings configured (see the next section of this chapter).

If you have Playback folder set to Current (factory default), the camera will display only the images in your current playback folder. If you don’t have Playback folder set to Current but are using All instead, the COOLPIX A will display all the images it can find in all the folders on your memory card.

Here are the steps to delete one or more images:

1. Select the Delete function from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.2, image 1).

2. Choose Selected and scroll to the right (figure 3.2, image 2).

3. Locate the images for deletion with the Rotary multi selector and then press the checkered Playback zoom out/thumbnails button on the rear bottom left of the camera. This button will mark or unmark images for deletion. It toggles a small trash can symbol on and off at the top right of the selected image (figure 3.2, image 3).

4. Select the number of images you want to throw away, and when you have them selected, press the OK button. A screen like figure 3.2, image 4, will appear and ask you to confirm the deletion of the images you have selected.

5. To finish deleting them, select Yes and press the OK button. To cancel, select No and press the OK button, or just press the Menu button (figure 3.2, image 4).

Now, let’s consider the Select date function in the Delete setting.

Select Date


Figure 3.3: Delete menu screens for the Select date option

Using the Select date method is simple. When you preview your images for deletion, you won’t be shown a list of images. Instead, the Select date screen (figure 3.3, image 3) will give you a list of dates with a single representative image following each date.

Here are the steps to delete images by using Select date:

1. Select the Delete function from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.3, image 1).

2. Choose Select date and scroll to the right (figure 3.3, image 2).

3. Notice that there’s a check box to the left of each date (figure 3.3, image 3). Check this box by scrolling up or down to the date of your choice with the Rotary multi selector and then scrolling to the right. This checks the check box to give the camera permission to delete all images it finds with this date. If the single representative image next to the date is not sufficient to help you remember which images you took on that date, you can confirm the images you want to delete by viewing them. Press the checkered Playback zoom out/thumbnails button on the rear lower-left corner of the camera, and the COOLPIX A will show you the images with that date. If you want to examine an image more closely, you can use the Playback zoom in button to temporarily zoom in to individual images. When you’re satisfied that none of the images with that date are worth keeping, press the OK button to select all images with this date for deletion, or press the Playback zoom out/thumbnails button to return to the Select date menu without selecting images for deletion.

4. Make sure the date you want to delete is checked, as described earlier, and press the OK button to start the image deletion process (figure 3.3, image 3).

5. A final screen will appear and ask you to confirm your deletion for the last time (figure 3.3, image 4). This screen has a big red exclamation point and asks, Delete all images taken on selected date? If you scroll to Yes and press the OK button, the images will be deleted. Be careful! If you decide not to delete them, just press the MENU button instead.

The final section of the Delete function is All. Let’s examine it.



Figure 3.4: Delete menu screens for the All option

When the Playback folder function (next section) is set to Current, the camera will delete only the images in the current folder named NIKON. However, if the Playback folder function is set to All, it acts like you are formatting a card, but it will delete images (except for protected images), and it will not delete folders. When Playback folder is set to All, using this option is a quick way to format your card and maintain your favorite folder structure.

Here are the steps to delete all images on the card (or in the current folder):

1. Select the Delete function from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.4, image 1).

2. Choose All and scroll to the right (figure 3.4, image 2).

3. Choose Yes from the screen with the big red exclamation point and dire warning of imminent deletion (figure 3.4, image 3). If you have Playback folder set to Current, the camera will delete only the images in the current folder and the warning will ask, All images will be deleted. OK? If you have Playback folder set to All, the warning will ask, All images in all folders will be deleted. OK? (See the next section for information on the Playback folder setting.) Figure 3.4, image 3, shows the word Current, which means the camera will delete images only from the current folder on the memory card. When you select Yes and press the OK button, a final screen with the word Done will popup briefly, informing you that the deed has been accomplished.

Note: You can protect an image from accidental deletion by displaying it on the monitor and pressing the “Protecting photographs from deletion” button, as Nikon calls it in the user’s manual. The button shares functionality with the +/– Exposure compensation button, as shown by the key symbol above the button in figure 3.5, image 1.


Figure 3.5: Protecting an image from accidental deletion

A message that says Image protected will appear briefly on the monitor (figure 3.5, image 2). To remove protection, simply press the +/– Exposure compensation button again while a protected image is displayed. A message that says Protection removed will appear (figure 3.5, image 3). Try it!

When an image is protected and later viewed on the monitor, the small key symbol in figure 3.5, image 1, will appear on the top left side of the image.

Being the paranoid type, I tested this thoroughly and found that the COOLPIX A will not delete protected images with the Delete menu; however, a regular card formatting will delete protected images.

Using the Delete function, unlike formatting a card, will keep any folders you have created. However, if you are a worrier, maybe you should transfer the images off the card before you delete any images.

Settings Recommendation: I don’t often use the All function because I don’t usually create special folders for each type of image. If you maintain a series of folders on your memory card, you may enjoy using the All function. Most of the time I use Selected and remove particular images. Any other time I want to clear my memory card, I use the Format memory card function on the Setup Menu. We’ll discuss formatting the memory card in chapter 5, Setup Menu.

Another way I get rid of images I don’t want is to view them on the monitor by pressing the Playback button and then pressing the Delete button on the bottom right of the camera back (marked by a trash can symbol). You have several ways to delete unwanted images with the COOLPIX A, including by individual date with the Select date option. Choose your favorite method.

Recovering Deleted Images

If you accidentally delete an image or a group of images, or even if you format the entire memory card and then realize with great pain that you didn’t really mean to, all is not lost. Immediately remove the card from your camera and do not use it until you run image recovery software on the card. Deleting or formatting doesn’t permanently remove the images from the card. It merely marks them as deleted and removes the references to them from the memory card’s file allocation table (FAT). The images are still there and can usually be recovered as long as you don’t write any new data to the card before you try to recover them.

It’s wise to have a good image recovery program on your computer at all times. Many of the better brands of memory cards include recovery software either on the card itself or on a separate CD that comes packaged with the card. Make sure you install the software on your computer before you format the brand-new memory card!

My favorite image recovery software is File Recover by PC Tools ( I’ve used it several times to recover lost files from damaged memory cards, and it works very well. It will also recover other standard file types, such as MP3 files, on any hard drive or memory card in your computer.

Playback Folder

(User’s Manual, Page 173)

The Playback folder setting allows your camera to display images during preview and slide shows. You can have the camera display images only in the current image folder that was created by the COOLPIX A, in the current image folder that was created by another Nikon camera, or in all folders on the memory card.

If you regularly use your memory card in multiple cameras, as I do, and sometimes forget to transfer images, adjusting the playback folder is a good idea. I use a Nikon D800, D600, and D7100 on a fairly regular basis. Often I grab a memory card out of one of the cameras and stick it in another one for a few shots. If I’m not careful, I’ll later transfer the images from one camera and forget that the memory card has more folders created by the other camera. It’s usually only after I have formatted the memory card that I remember the other images. The COOLPIX A comes to my rescue with its Playback folder > All function.

First, let’s look at the screens to select which Playback folder you want to use.


Figure 3.6: Selecting a Playback folder source

Use the following steps to select the folder, or folders, your camera will display images from:

1. Select Playback folder from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.6, image 1).

2. Choose Current or All and press the OK button (figure 3.6, image 2). I selected All.

Now, let’s examine how the Playback folder function works by considering the two selections.


This is the most limited playback mode. Images in whatever playback folder your camera is currently using will be displayed during playback, whether the images were created by the COOLPIX A or another Nikon camera. No other images in any other folders will be displayed. If Current is selected, the Playback Menu will display the word NIKON after Playback folder.


When you select All, your COOLPIX A will obligingly show you every image it can find in all folders on the memory card that were created by any Nikon camera. This flexible setting has saved me several times when I remembered to check my camera for images before I formatted a card because I could see that I had other images on the card besides COOLPIX A images.

Most cameras create their own unique folders on the memory card, and they do not normally report that the folders are there, except by showing a reduced image capacity. The COOLPIX A intelligently displays its own images and other Nikon-created images on the card. If you select All, the Playback Menu will display the word ALL after Playback folder.

Settings Recommendation: Using Current makes it possible for you to lose images. If you don’t have other Nikon cameras, this may not be a critical issue. But if you do have other Nikon cameras, you might use the same memory card in all of them.

If there’s an image on my memory card, I want to see it. Until I started using the All setting, I sometimes formatted memory cards with forgotten images on them. The images can often be recovered with file recovery software, but sometimes a few of them can’t. From my pain comes a strong recommendation: use All!

Playback Display Options

(User’s Manual, Page 173)

The Playback display options selection allows you to customize how the COOLPIX A displays several histogram and data screens for each image. You get to those screens by displaying an image on the monitor and scrolling up or down with the Rotary multi selector.

When you want to see a lot of detailed information about each image, you can select it here. Or, if you would rather take a minimalist approach to image information, simply turn off some of the screens. The None screen is the ultimate minimalist screen because it displays nothing except the image itself with no information overlays.

If you turn off certain screens, the camera still records the information for each image, such as lens used, shutter speed, and aperture. However, with no data screens selected, you’ll see only two screens when you scroll up or down. One screen is the main image view, and the other is a summary screen with a luminance histogram and basic shooting information. These two screens are the basic image display screens, and you cannot disable them.

You get to the additional screens by using the Rotary multi selector to scroll vertically. I leave my camera set so I can scroll through my images by pressing left or right on the Rotary multi selector. Then I can scroll through the data screens by pressing the Rotary multi selector up or down.

The following are the photo information choices in the Playback display options menu:

• None (image only)

• Highlights

• RGB histogram

• Shooting data

• Overview

When you modify these selections, be sure to scroll up to Done and press the OK button to save your settings (figure 3.7, image 2).


Figure 3.7: Selecting Playback display options photo information

Use the following steps to enable or disable any of the five Playback display options screens:

1. Select Playback display options from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.7, image 1).

2. Choose any of the five available screens by highlighting an option with the Rotary multi selector and scrolling to the right to put a check mark in the box for that item (figure 3.7, image 2).

3. After you have check marks in all the boxes for the screens you want to use, scroll up to Done and press the OK button to save your selections.

Now, let’s look at what each of these selections accomplishes.

None (Image Only)

This setting, which is enabled in figure 3.8, image 1, is designed to give you a somewhat larger view of the current image. It uses the majority of the available monitor space to display the image (figure 3.8, image 2).

There are no text overlays, just the image by itself. This is a good selection for when you want to more easily evaluate an image and zoom in to look at details.


Figure 3.8: Enabling the None (image only) display

Since only the image itself is displayed, it is easier to scroll around in it when you use the camera’s two zoom buttons (Playback zoom in button and Playback zoom out/thumbnails button).


If you put a check mark next to the Highlights selection, as shown in figure 3.9, image 1, you will turn on what I call the blink mode. When you have Highlights enabled and you see a blinking white and black area in an image on the monitor, it means that particular area of the image has turned completely white and lost all detail, or it has blown out (become too bright).


Figure 3.9: Enabling the Highlights display (blinks white to black and repeats)

Of course, it is difficult to display a blinking image in a book, so figure 3.9, images 2 and 3, represent the white and black blinks, respectively. You can see the overexposed background at the red arrows in the images. Use exposure compensation or manually control the camera to contain the exposure within the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor.


Figure 3.10: Histogram is clipped on the highlight side

If you examine the histogram on the Overview screen for the example image, you will note that some areas of the image are overexposed (figure 3.10). You can see that the luminance histogram is just beginning to be cut off, or clipped, on the right side. The background of this image is somewhat overexposed.

Current software cannot usually recover much, if any, image data from the blown-out sections. The exposure has exceeded the brightness range of the sensor and has become completely overexposed in the blinking area. We will discuss how to deal with images that have light ranges exceeding the sensor’s recording capacity in chapter 9, Metering, Exposure Modes, and Histogram.

Highlights mode conveniently warns you when you have surpassed what the sensor can capture and lets you know that portions of the image are overexposed.

Note: You should learn to use the histogram on your camera! It is as important as the exposure meter because it tells you when you have over- or underexposed part or all of your images. If you faithfully evaluate your images with the histogram immediately after you take them, you will be able to judge when they are correctly exposed, and you’ll come away with the best exposures you have ever made.

In the next section we will consider how to enable and use the histogram screens on your camera.

RGB Histogram

A histogram is a digital readout that shows the range of light and color in an image. If there is too much contrast, the histogram will be cut off. The right side of the histogram window represents brightness, and the left side represents darkness. We’ll examine the histogram in great detail later. For now, let’s take a quick look at the screen that will be available when you turn this feature on.


Figure 3.11: Enabling the RGB histogram display

I like this feature because it allows me to view not just a basic luminance (brightness) histogram, like the Overview screen in figure 3.10, but all three color (chrominance) histograms—red, green, and blue (RGB)—and a luminance histogram on one screen (figure 3.11, image 2). The COOLPIX A stacks the four histograms on the right side of the screen, with the luminance histogram (white) on top and the RGB histograms below.

It is quite useful to see each color channel in its own histogram since it is possible to under- or overexpose only one color channel. For instance, the blue channel in figure 3.11, image 2, is slightly clipped on the left—the darkness side—which means the blue has some darker areas. The red and green channels seem perfectly exposed, well within the range of the camera’s light capturing capability.

The white luminance histogram is weighted for the way our eyes see color, with 59 percent green, 30 percent red, and 11 percent blue. Therefore, the luminance and green histograms are often quite similar.

Shooting Data

This setting will give you up to four additional image data screens to scroll through; each contains quite a bit of detail (metadata) about the image. These screens overlay a dim version of the picture they represent.


Figure 3.12: Enabling the Shooting data display

The Shooting data screens, which are enabled in figure 3.12, image 1, are displayed in the following order and include the indicated information:

Figure 3.12, image 2

• Light meter in use (Matrix, Spot, or Averaging), shutter speed, and aperture

• Exposure (shooting) mode (P, S, A, M) and ISO sensitivity

• Exposure compensation value and exposure tuning (if used)

• Focal length

• Lens

• Focus mode (AF) and vibration reduction (VR) settings

• Flash type (Built-in or optional external Speedlight)

• Sync mode (e.g., Auto, Slow sync, Red-eye reduction, Fill flash)

• Flash control and compensation (e.g., M:TTL +0.7)

Figure 3.12, image 3

• White balance (e.g., mode, fine tuning, PRE)

• Color space (sRGB or Adobe RGB)

• Picture Control (e.g., Neutral, Standard, Vivid)

• Quick adjust, Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, and Hue

Figure 3.12, image 4

• Noise reduction (i.e., High ISO NR and Long exposure NR)

• Active D-Lighting (Off, Low, Normal, High, Extra high, Auto)

• Retouch history (e.g., D-Lighting, Warm filter, Trim)

• Image Comment (you can add up to 36 characters)


The Overview screen, which is selected in figure 3.13, image 1, is a very useful condensation of the most important shooting information (figure 3.13, image 2). Additionally, it shows a thumbnail of the image and a luminance histogram.


Figure 3.13: Enabling the Overview display

The Overview screen contains the following information (figure 3.13, image 2):

• Image number, total images, and camera type

• Meter, Exposure mode, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and lens

• Exposure compensation, Flash compensation, and Image comment

• White balance, WB fine tune, PRE, Color space, Picture Control

• Folder name, image file name, and Image quality

• Date, time, and Image size

Note: If you take a picture with a GPS unit (such as the Nikon GP-1) attached and active on your COOLPIX A, an additional screen will be available—even if you have not selected other Shooting data screens.


Figure 3.14: The GPS display

Figure 3.14 shows the GPS screen, which displays Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, and Time (UTC). The GPS screen is not controlled by the Playback display options setting. It will appear if a GPS unit was mounted when you took a picture. It will not appear if a GPS unit was not active.

Those are a lot of screens to scroll through, but they provide a great deal of information about the image. Look how far we’ve come from the days when cameras wrote date information on the lower-right corner of the image (permanently marking it) or between the frames on pro-level cameras.

Basic Display Screen


Figure 3.15: The basic display screen is always available

The basic display screen (figure 3.15) cannot be disabled. It is the primary screen that displays basic shooting information, including the following:

• Image number and total images (301/750)

• Folder name (101NIKON)

• Image file name (DSC_0337.JPG)

• Date and time the image was taken (06/25/2013 16:49:58)

• Image quality and size (FINE, L–4928x3264)

Including the basic display screen, there are eight screens just brimming with data on the COOLPIX A—plus a ninth screen if a GPS unit is mounted.

Settings Recommendation: I always leave the Highlights and RGB histogram displays turned on because I want to confirm that I’m not accidentally blowing out important sections of my images. The Highlights blink mode warns me when my images have overexposed areas and allow me to adjust my exposure and reshoot the image. The RGB histogram allows me to see all the color channels in case one of them is clipped on the light or dark sides. It also allows me to see how well my exposure is balanced for light and dark. The Shooting data screens are not very important to me because I use the Overview screen with only the most important exposure information displayed. Also, if I enable the Shooting data screens, I have to scroll through three more screens to get to the Overview screen.

Image Review

(User’s Manual, Page 173)

Image review does exactly what it says: it displays an image you’ve just taken on the monitor. With this function turned On, you’ll see each picture you take just after you take it. You can review the image for quality and usefulness.

With Image review set to Off, you won’t see each picture unless you press the Playback button after you take it, which saves battery life. However, the battery is reasonably long lived because the COOLPIX A does not use a lot of power. If you prefer to review each image after you take it, set this feature to On.

There are two Image review settings, as shown in figure 3.16:

• On displays the picture on the monitor after each shutter release

• Off causes the monitor to stay off when you take pictures


Figure 3.16: Enabling Image review

Here are the steps to choose an Image review setting:

1. Choose Image review from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.16, image 1).

2. Select On or Off from the Image review screen (figure 3.16, image 2).

3. Press the OK button to save the setting.

Most people turn this feature on right away. Otherwise the only way to view an image after you take it is to press the Playback button.

Note: You can control how long each image is displayed on the monitor by adjusting Setup Menu > Image review time. You can adjust the Image review time to display pictures from 1 second to 1 minute.

Settings Recommendation: Since the battery lasts a long time, I leave Image review set to On. I am an unashamed chimper (see sidebar, Are You a Chimper Too?) and always examine each image, if there’s time. Photography is enjoyable, and one of the good things is the satisfaction you feel when you capture a really nice image. However, if you are shooting a sports event and are blasting through hundreds of shots per hour, there’s not much time to view each image. It all boils down to how you shoot. If you aren’t inclined to view your images as you take them, it may be a good idea to set Image review to Off to save battery life and time.

Are You a Chimper Too?

Chimping means reviewing images on the monitor after each shot. I guess people think you look like a monkey if you review each image. Well, I do it anyway! Saying “oo, oo, oo, ah, ah, ah” really fast when you’re looking at an image and are happy with it may make you sound like a monkey. That’s chimping with style, and it’s why the term was coined.

Rotate Tall

(User’s Manual, Page 174)

Rotate tall affects how the camera displays vertical images on the monitor. When you shoot a portrait-oriented (vertical) image, with the camera turned sideways, the image can be viewed as a horizontal image lying on its side or as a smaller, upright (tall) image on the horizontal monitor.

If you view the image immediately after you take it, the camera’s software assumes you are still holding the camera in the rotated position, and the image will be displayed correctly for that angle. Later, if you are reviewing the image with the camera’s playback functionality and have Rotate tall set to On, the image will be displayed as an upright, vertical image that is smaller so it will fit on the horizontal monitor. You can zoom in to see sharpness detail, if needed.

If you would rather have the camera leave the image lying on its side in a horizontal view, forcing you to turn the camera 90 degrees to view it, choose Off.

The following two settings are available on the Rotate tall menu (figure 3.17):

On: When you take a vertical image, the camera will rotate it so you don’t have to turn your camera to view it naturally during playback. This resizes the view so a vertical image fits in the horizontal frame of the monitor. The image will be a bit smaller than normal. When you first view the image after you take it, the camera does not rotate it because it assumes you are still holding the camera in a vertical orientation. It also senses which end of the camera is up—whether the Shutter-release button is up or down—and displays the image accordingly.

Off: Vertical images are left in a horizontal direction, lying on their side; turn the camera to view the images in the same orientation as when they were taken. This provides a slightly larger view of a portrait-oriented image.


Figure 3.17: Playback Menu, Rotate tall

Here are the steps to choose a Rotate tall setting:

1. Choose Rotate tall from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.17, image 1).

2. Select On or Off from the Rotate tall screen (figure 3.17, image 2).

3. Press the OK button to finish.

Settings Recommendation: I leave Rotate tall set to On so I can view a portrait-oriented image in its natural, vertical orientation without turning my camera. Be sure you understand the relationship between this function and Auto image rotation, which stores orientation data with the picture. I always set Rotate tall and Setup Menu > Auto image rotation to On. Those settings let me view images in the correct orientation on my monitor and computer screen.

Rotate Tall versus Auto Image Rotation

There is another function that affects how image rotation works. It’s called Auto image rotation, under the Setup Menu. We’ll discuss that function in chapter 5. Auto image rotation causes the camera to record the angle at which you are holding it as part of the image metadata. Auto image rotation should be set to On so an image will report how it should be displayed on the monitor and your computer. Rotate tall and Auto image rotation work together to display your image in the correct orientation. Rotate tall gives you the choice of how the image is viewed based on the orientation information it finds in the image metadata. Auto image rotation causes the camera to store how the image was taken so it will know whether the image has a vertical or horizontal orientation. It can then report this information to the Rotate tall function.

Slide Show

(User’s Manual, Page 174)

With the COOLPIX A’s big 3.0-inch high-resolution monitor, viewing a slide show of your images on the back of the camera is a satisfying viewing experience for one or two people.

If the monitor is not large enough, you can connect the camera to a high-definition television (HDTV) and do a slide show for an even larger group. Connecting to an HDTV requires the separate purchase of an HDMI (type a) to mini-HDMI (type c) cable. When you are ready for your slide show, you can control how long each image is displayed with the Frame interval setting. First, let’s see how to start a Slide show (following the camera’s menu order), and then we’ll see how to change the Frame interval setting.


Figure 3.18: Image playback, Slide show

As shown in figure 3.18, the easiest way to start a Slide show is to simply select the Playback Menu > Slide show setting, scroll to the right, and select Start. The slide show will commence immediately with a default display time of 2 seconds (2s) per image.

If you want to allow a little more time for each image to display, you’ll need to change the Frame interval (display time) to a value of 3s, 5s, or 10s.


Figure 3.19: Image playback, Slide show Frame interval

Figure 3.19 shows the screens you use to change the Frame interval. Your choices are as follows:

2s: 2 seconds

3s: 3 seconds

5s: 5 seconds

10s: 10 seconds

After you change the interval, start the slide show by repeating the steps discussed with figure 3.18. The slide show will now run at the new speed.

Settings Recommendation: I usually set the Frame interval to 3s. If the images are especially beautiful, I might set it to 5s. I’ve found that 2s is not quite enough, and 5s or 10s may be too long. I wish there were a 4-second setting, but 3s seems to work well most of the time.

There are several options that affect how the images are displayed during the slide show. None of them show up in the camera menus; they are available only through the camera controls:

Skip back/skip ahead: During the slide show, you can go back to the previous image to see it again by simply pressing left on the Rotary multi selector. You can also see the next image with no delay by pressing right on the Rotary multi selector. This is a quick way to skip images or review previous images without stopping the slide show.

View additional photo information: While the slide show is running, you can press up or down on the Rotary multi selector to view the additional data screens. Whether you press up or down depends on how you have the Playback display options configured for Highlights, RGB histogram, and Shooting data (see the section called Playback Display Options earlier in this chapter). If any of these screens are available, they can be used during the slide show.

Pause slide show: During the slide show, you may want to Pause, change the Frame interval, or even Exit the slide show. If you press the OK button, the slide show is suspended and you are presented with the Pause screen, as shown in figure 3.20.


Figure 3.20: Image playback, Slide show Pause and Restart

Using the screens shown in figure 3.20, you can select any of the following options:

Restart: Selecting OK or scrolling to the right with the Rotary multi selector continues the slide show from the image following the last one that was viewed.

Frame interval: Scrolling to the right with the Rotary multi selector takes you to the screen that allows you to change the display time to one of four values. You can choose 2s, 3s, 5s, or 10s. After you choose the new Frame interval, you’ll have to select Restart to continue the slide show where you left off.

Exit: This does what it says—it exits the slide show.

Exiting a Slide Show

There are several other ways to exit a Slide show:

Exit to the Playback Menu: If you want to quickly exit the slide show, simply press the Menu button and you’ll jump directly back to the Playback Menu.

Exit to playback mode: By pressing the Playback button (right arrow key with a rectangle around it, on the top rear left of the camera), you’ll stop the slide show and change to a normal full-frame or thumbnail view of the last image seen in the slide show. This exits the slide show on the last image viewed.

Exit to shooting mode: Pressing the Shutter-release button halfway stops the slide show. The camera is now in shooting mode and is ready to take pictures.

These days, instead of hauling out a slide projector and a box of slides, you can just plug your COOLPIX A into the closest high-definition (HD) device, such as an HDTV. The camera has a cool HDMI port on its side, under a small door. We’ll talk more about HDMI in a later chapter.

DPOF Print Order

(User’s Manual, Page 166)

At first I thought it was odd that Nikon put image printing functions in the Playback Menu. Then I realized that printing is a permanent form of image playback. You play (print) the images to your printer and then view them without a camera or a computer. What a concept!

DPOF print order allows you to create a print order on a memory card and plug that card into a compatible inkjet printer, or superstore kiosk printer, and print JPEG images. The function does not work with RAW images (see sidebar). Let’s see how it works.

In-Camera Printing: Not for RAW Images

If you are a RAW shooter, the in-camera printing process won’t benefit you unless you use the Retouch Menu to create JPEGs on your memory card. Not all printers can handle printing RAW files, so Nikon chose to limit DPOF printing from the COOLPIX A to JPEG files.

DPOF Printing

This function is designed to create a print order on your memory card. Later you can use this print order to print directly from the memory card by inserting it into a DPOF-compatible printer. You can print to any device that supports DPOF. All you have to do is insert the memory card, select print on the printer, and wait for your pictures to print. This is not a difficult process, and it is quite fun and satisfying.

When you use DPOF you do not have to connect the camera to anything. Simply inserting a memory card that contains a digital print order into a DPOF-compatible printer will cause the printer to detect the order and offer to print it. Each DPOF printer’s method of doing this varies, of course. However, the entire process is automated, so you don’t have to do much more than select the number of prints and whether you want a border. The following steps will allow you to create and print a digital print order on a DPOF-compatible printer.


Figure 3.21: DPOF print order

1. Select DPOF print order from the Playback Menu and scroll to the right (figure 3.21). You will then see the screen in figure 3.22, image 1.


Figure 3.22: Removing the print marking from all images

2. If you don’t have any existing digital print orders on the memory card, please skip this step and go directly to step 3. If you have an existing print order that you no longer want, choose Deselect all? and scroll to the right (figure 3.22, image 1). The next screen will ask you, Remove print marking from all images? Yes/No. Choose Yes and press the OK button (figure 3.22, image 2). If there are previously marked images, a message that says Markings removed from all images will flash on the screen (figure 3.22, image 3), then the Playback Menu will reappear. Otherwise no message will appear and the camera will return to the Playback Menu.


Figure 3.23: Choosing images and number of prints

3. Since you’re going to create a new print order and save it to the memory card, choose Select/set from the DPOF print order screen, then scroll to the right (figure 3.23, image 1).

4. Now you’ll see the Select/set thumbnail list with all the JPEG images on your memory card (figure 3.23, image 2). With the Rotary multi selector, select the images you want to print. After you have highlighted an image, hold down the checkered Playback zoom out/thumbnails button and scroll up with the Rotary multi selector. Each upward or downward press of the Rotary multi selector changes the number of prints ordered for that particular image (figure 3.23, image 2, red arrow). You can select from 1 to 99 prints for each image you highlight. I chose five prints for the image with the red arrow, which is displayed beside a printer symbol. After you have selected which images to print and how many copies you want, press the OK button.

5. The next screen allows you to add shooting data or date imprints to each image in the print order (figure 3.23, image 3):

Print shooting data prints the shutter speed and aperture on each print in the order

Print date prints the date the picture was taken on each print in the order

Put check marks in the boxes next to these selections by highlighting the option you want and scrolling to the right with the Rotary multi selector. When you have completed your choices, scroll up to Done and press the OK button (figure 3.23, image 3). Be careful with this setting because the data will be printed on the front of the image. I leave these two selections unchecked when I print.

6. Finally, you will be presented with a screen telling you that the print order is complete (figure 3.23, image 4).

At this point your print order has been saved to the memory card. You’ll need to remove the memory card from the camera and insert it into the card slot of a DPOF-compatible printer or kiosk.

Single DPOF Print Order Only

I have not found a way to create more than one print order on a single memory card. An existing order can be edited with the DPOF print order > Select/set function, or it can be removed with the DPOF print order > Deselect all? function. If you use a computer to look at a memory card that contains a print order, you’ll see a folder named MISC. It will contain a file named AUTPRINT.MRK. That file is the digital print order.

PictBridge Printing

Another way to print images without using a computer is to attach your camera’s USB cable to a PictBridge-compatible printer to print JPEG files (not RAW files). Most advanced amateur and professional users of the COOLPIX A will want to post-process their images in computer software (like Lightroom, Aperture, Nikon Capture NX 2, or Photoshop) before printing, so this functionality is not used as often as other functions. However, it can be useful for someone who would rather simply take pictures and print them at home with little or no post-processing.

Since these seldom-used functions require multiple pages to describe, involve an external device connection, and many people do not use them, I have relegated the PictBridge printing information to a detailed document called PictBridge Printing with the Nikon COOLPIX A and included it in the downloadable resources at the following websites:

Author’s Conclusions

Wow! The Nikon COOLPIX A sure has a lot of playback screens and menus. I remember the old days when if you wanted to see your images, you’d have to find the old shoe box full of pictures or open an album and flip pages. Sometimes I miss photo albums. You know what? I’m going to run down to the superstore right now and buy several albums. Then I’ll have some images printed and put them in the albums. Better yet, I think I’ll go buy a DPOF-compatible printer so I can print my own images for the albums.

Now, let’s move on to the next menu system in the camera, the Shooting Menu. This is one of the most important menus because it affects how the camera is configured to shoot pictures. Learn the Shooting Menu’s settings well!