The Magic Buttons of Happiness

I hang around several photography forums, and at least once a week there is a thread from a camera owner who is getting ready to pull a lot of hair out in frustration with their DSLR. SOMETHING isn’t working right, and they can’t figure out why they aren’t getting the expected results. Often the person has recently acquired a used camera and is worried that they got ripped off.  It isn’t unusual for someone who has had their camera a while and has enabled some setting and forgotten, and thinks something is broken.

In the increasingly chippy (i.e. rude) world of the internet, this often sparks firefights.  People defend the camera.  People tell the owner that their technique needs to improve.  They’ll say it must be the lens.  Sometimes they’ll poke at the autofocus or other settings, which is a start down the right road.

The problem is that modern Digital SLR cameras are incredibly complex, and there are many metering, autofocus and other settings that can make the camera behave very differently than you expect if some setting is activated and then forgotten.  If you just purchased a used camera it is even worse – you have no idea what settings the previous owner used.

Fortunately for Nikon shooters there is a really easy way to reset almost any Nikon DSLR camera to default settings:  find the two green buttons on the camera and hold them both down for two seconds.  Done.  Now virtually everything not in the “custom” menu will now be set to the factory default…

…and very possibly the problems just disappeared too!  🙂

If you don’t see two green buttons, or want more details, see Nikon’s support site for this topic.  If it doesn’t work, you have other things to think about, but this is always a good first thing to try if you just can’t figure out what else is wrong.

It doesn’t appear that Canon has something quite this easy.  It looks like you have to go into the menus to accomplish the same thing.  If you’re a Canon shooter and I’m wrong, please let me know and I’ll update this post.

Net: If you buy a used camera, the first thing you should do is a full reset, and Nikon makes it easy.  If it seems like your camera has lost its mind, reset it before you lose yours. 🙂