Banks Versus Overall Settings

For a long time now, Nikon has had a dual personality in its DSLR designs. The "pro" cameras (e.g. D500, D850, D5) use Photo Shooting and Custom Setting banks, the "consumer" cameras (e.g. D7500, D610, D750) use Mode Dial U1 and U2 positions to configure the camera.

Neither is perfect. Indeed, these represent probably the worst part of Nikon's customization system at the moment.

In the pro models, for example, you can assign a button+dial combination to let you quickly change Photo Shooting banks, but not Custom Settings banks. Many of us have things we'd like to change together in both banks, but we can't do that. Plus we only have four choices. 

In the consumer models, you can't set a button to switch between the U1 and U2 positions. Plus you only have two choices.

A lot of folk have proposed elaborate methods to fix these problems. Nope. It doesn't take elaborate methods. Nikon can partially fix both cameras with one very simple change:

  • Allow for named settings files.

Currently, if you use the Save/Load Settings option, you get a file that is named for the camera and with a terrible name (e.g. NCSETUPM.BIN) for the Nikon D850. Just changing that name to D850SET#.BIN, where we have a choice of 10 numbers (0-9) would allow us to store ten different configurations on a card that can be loaded instantly. 

This solution removes the two/four choice limit for all DSLRs. It also makes the setup file's name meaningful. 

Next, we have the banks versus U# issue. 

Let me state right up front that banks are more versatile than the U1, U2 concept, as they have far more ability to discriminate small changes, and they can be configured to a button. 

That said, the U1, U2 concept is a powerful one: change everything quickly from one group of settings to another. 

But that, too, can be easily fixed on the pro cameras:

  • Add a Save to U1, U2, U3 option to the SETUP menu (also needs a Reset U1, U2, U3 option)
  • Add U1, U2, and U3 as options you access with the Mode button 
  • (bonus) Add Custom Settings Banks to customizable button+dial combo

We've seen plenty of folk trying to propose a solution more difficult than it should be. And we've seen Nikon do absolutely nothing to fix these problems this century. 

If Nikon thinks they're going to stay relevant in the next five years and not lose customers, it is things like this that they need to fix. Given Nikon's "we're going to do high-end cameras" commitment, you can't have a high-end camera with an incomplete and non-functional customization set up. 

So. Ball's in your court Nikon. While that firmware team waits for you to figure out what your next camera will actually be, maybe have them rework the D500, D850, and D5 firmware to 2.0 status with these simple changes?

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