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How do I lock the self timer & activate an onscreen grid?

edited March 2012 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
I was talking with a fellow D5100 owner over on my Facebook page and he was wondering how to lock the self timer and also how to activate a grid in Live View. I thought it would be beneficial to share our conversation with all of you...

Lawrence's Question: I have a Nikon D5100. Over the years I have found that it is just as simple to use the camera self timer rather then depend on a cable or remote (which always seems to get lost or misplaced). I always set my self timer on 2 seconds for tripod use in low light, landscape etc. The problem with the D5100 (otherwise a great camera) is that each time I use the self timer, the camera defaults back to continuous or single frame and I have to reset to the self timer before the next exposure. I have not figured out how to lock the self timer option so that I do not have to go through the process each time. I generally shoot vivid in program or aperture priority. Also, I am now shooting a lot of interiors. I would prefer to have a grid in live view, but have been unable to find any where in the menu for a grid. This makes no sense, especially with an articulating LCD.

Moose's Answer: You can activate the onscreen grid when in Live View mode by pressing the (info) button. As for the self timer, I ran into the same issue with it resetting back to Single capture mode. You do have the option to bypass the menus by clicking the Fn button on the front of your D5100 to activate the self timer instantly each time you want to use it.


  • edited March 2016
    First, as a new member, thank you for this helpful and informative website and forum, Moose.
    I recently purchased a used D5100. It's been a long time since last owning a Nikon back in college days in the early 70's, and while the basics remained constant, so much has changed with digital. I also have been searching for a way to make the self timer option a default or temporary default. Although I am awestruck over the technology of this new to me camera, I thought not having the option to select a time release as a default setting was a major oversight. I thought I must be missing something even after reading through the on-line manual at Nikon. I did find that it is possible to set how many photos, up to 9, that will be taken at a self timer setting but then discovered that they fire consecutively with a single press of the shutter button. The button on the side of the lens also confused me as I thought it would immediately set me at the self timer option I had selected but couldn't get it to work until I figured out that after pushing and holding that button I must then turn the wheel two clicks. Anyway, after searching your forum I finally found this helpful thread on page 12 that let me know I'm not missing something, it's just not there.
    All that being said, I am thrilled with my new camera. Thanks again.

  • edited March 2016
    It's interesting that you can use the Fn button for self timer on the D5100. You can't on the D3200. I probably would not anyway, because I always use manual ISO and would miss that option for that one button, but I agree that not having a quick way to put on the self timer or to hold the setting is too bad.

    I would note that on the D7xxx series, the shutter mode is accessed through a selector under the mode dial, making self timer use easy and persistent. But (Nikon engineering is a mystery sometimes) where the lowly D3200 gives remote operation as one of the shutter modes you can get with the shutter mode button, the D7100 does not include remote in the shutter modes; you must go to the menu to set that.

    It seems as if Nikon designers do not talk to each other. Each group comes up with a pretty good design, but if you shuttle between them you must be technically bilingual. My wife has a D7100, and when she asks how to do something, even something simple, it is done differently. Not only are menus different and orders different, but similar buttons have slightly different functions, and are located in different places on the camera.
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