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Cheat sheet settings for 18-55mm lens

edited November 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I don't have a great deal of experience with photography other than set it on auto point and shoot; hence the purchase of the cheat sheets. I thought I would try the nature and architectural settings yesterday while I had some spare time. I found when I had all the recommended settings the camera would not select Auto ISO. The camera gives the message "this option is not available at current settings or in the cameras current state" when the settings are displayed on the LCD screen the letters ISO-A and ? are flashing. Am I doing something wrong or is the normal?


  • edited November 2014
    There is a confusion in the way things are labeled in this camera. There are actually two entirely different "auto ISO" arrangements.

    In Auto mode, you have no ISO input at all.

    In all other modes EXCEPT P,S,A and M, the ISO choices include all the ISO speeds, plus "auto" on the dial you use to choose ISO. If you set a specific ISO, it will use only that. If you set "auto", it will choose its own. The default is "auto".

    IN P,S,A, and M, there is no "auto" option among the speeds. Instead, there is a menu setting, whereby you can turn "auto" ISO on or off. It is a different setup here. In this option, you set your own starting ISO speed using the dial. If your shutter speed goes too low, the camera will boost the ISO automatically by as many steps as the meter demands. Included in the menu settings are options for choosing a limit to how high the auto ISO goes, and a shutter speed at which the change occurs. The default for this is also "auto". If you manually set ISO at 100, the camera will always start at the lowest possible ISO and boost only by as much as needed. However, you should note that the shutter speed of 1/30 is rather conservative if you are using a VR lens, and you might consider lowering it if you have a steady hand. Just to add to the confusion, in the shutter speed options there appears another use of the word "auto". In this case it simply means that the camera will select a speed equivalent to 1/30, but varied somewhat depending on what lens it senses you have on.

    You will not know what ISO setting the camera has chosen for the shot unless you read the EXIF information for the file afterwards. The display does not show it, since it is calculated on the fly as you shoot.

    Whenever you select an ISO manually in P,S,A and M modes, all the other scenic modes revert to "auto".

    Whenever you select an ISO manually in one of the scenic modes, the setting is carried over to all other modes (including P,S,A and M) if the ISO in question is within your menu-set maximum.

    If you set a maximum ISO for the auto setting in the menu, you will not be able to select any higher ISO manually. The display lies about this, and a high ISO shown on the display will not be used for the shot if it is above the max you set in the menu.

    When your ISO is set to "auto" in the menu, the criteria for changing ISO will vary according to the mode you're in. In P and A modes, the ISO will be raised if the shutter speed goes below the set speed. In S mode, the ISO will be boosted if the aperture needed goes beyond what the lens can deliver. In M mode, the ISO will be boosted if the exposure chosen is lower than the meter calls for.

    The instructions for the camera are not very good on this. I hope I have explained what is needed, but will be glad to go on if need be.
  • edited November 2014
    Sorry above post is so long, but it's hard to be concise.

    In short, though, if your display currently says "ISA-A" and "?" your camera is set for auto ISO in P,S,A and M modes already, and the camera will raise ISO as needed from whatever you have it set for. For now, at least, you can set it to ISO 100 and the camera will take over when it needs to. The "?" tells you that there is a message to read, and you can read it by pushing the second button up on the left. It is probably telling you that lighting is poor and a flash is recommended. Ignore the message if it contradicts the cheat sheet.

    By the way, the instruction book that comes with a D3200 is incomplete. The more complete one is on the CD, in the form of a PDF file you can load into your computer. I recommend you do that. ISO instructions are still pretty iffy, but there is more info in that version, and it's very handy to have it on the computer.
  • edited November 2014
    Thanks for the info, I need to get out and practice more. I have to admit the results I got from the cheat sheet were certainly better than the Auto setting. Really enjoying this camera. I have downloaded the Nikon manual viewer to my phone and then downloaded the D3200 manual; works well. With that and the cheat sheets handy at all times I'm hoping I can solve any problems I come across. This forum is great, being camera specific as well.
    Cheers from sunny Angaston, South Australia
  • Hey @valleyam - @bruto is spot on. In order to enable Auto ISO, you have to jump into the menu and turn it on. If you navigate to the very last cheat card, you'll see a step-by-step for enabling Auto ISO. Keep practicing...if you run into any issues or have questions along the way, you know there will be people here to help. All the best!
  • edited December 2014
    I just bought a D3200 and the 18-55mm cheat sheets. I'm trying to photograph an object using the "Food & Products (Low Light)" settings. As a previous poster mentioned, I'm not able to select Auto ISO (it's grayed out). Also, with these settings, the object is blurry and I can't get it to focus. I also should add that I can't use the Aperture-Priority Auto setting. It gives the "lens not attached" error, which says that non-CPU lenses can be used in manual mode only. I tried switching it to Manual, but still can't get the object in focus.

    Any advice? Thanks!
  • edited December 2014
    @ridejunkie, first of all, your 18-55mm should work in all modes. If you are getting an error message, something is wrong either with the lens, the camera or the mounting. You should not get any error message, and you should be able to see and hear the AF working. Take the lens off, make sure the contacts are clean, and try remounting it. It sounds as if your focus is also not working correctly. You need to get this straightened out first. If your equipment is not working right, obviously all bets are off.

    Make sure that the little dot near the top of the lens lines up with the dot on the camera, and turn the lens counterclockwise until you hear an audible click.

    Once the lens is on, make sure its switch is set to AF. Once it's on AF, do not try to manually focus it at all. This lens will not override AF when it is set on, and you will break it if you try. Make sure AF is also on in the camera, though unless someone else has been fussing with it, this is unlikely. Make sure it's on just in case.

    If you want to focus manually, you need only turn off AF on the lens itself, not in the camera. Once again, be sure you do this. If you force it it will damage the lens.

    To select Auto ISO in the P,S,A and M modes, you must go to the menu when the camera is set in one of those modes. Settings not available in your current mode are grayed out even in the menu. You must go to the menu when the camera is in P,S,A or M mode, to the "ISO Sensitivity Settings" item, open it, and set "Auto ISO Sensitivity Control" to Auto.
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