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Unknown icon on screen

edited July 2016 Posted in » Nikon D5200 Forum
Recently I purchased a D5200 and I'm enjoying it a great deal. Learning the ins and outs will be a process, and hopefully this forum will aid my progress. One thing that is puzzling me is that I cannot figure out what a certain icon refers to. I am speaking of the symbol at Shooting Menu/Set Picture Control/detail settings ie. Sharpness, contrast, etc. The icon is at the very top right hand corner of the camera screen and is the shape of two small 'waist up' human figures with a letter next to it. I have seen the letter depicted as an "A", but on my camera it is an "N". I have looked at the manual symbol list several times, searched the web, etc., but have had no luck determining what it means.

If anyone out there can shed some light on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


  • edited July 2016
    I believe what you're seeing is the icon for "active D-lighting".

    On the D3200 there are no options for this, and it's either on or off, and the two little figures are accompanied by a simple "ON", but on some other models, you can choose degrees of active D-lighting, and among them are "A" for automatic, and "N" for normal.

    In the manuals for both the D3200 and the D7100, the index listing of icons omits this one, and my guess is that it's the same for the D5200. I think they just plumb forgot! The picture of the display shows it and identifies it in the D3200 manual, but in the D7100 manual, though it's shown, it's not identified either!

    You should find the options in the Active D-Lighting menu setting, and explanations of the different options in the instructions for that function.

    In case you're not familiar with this, it is a Nikon proprietary scheme that increases dynamic range slightly, mostly by opening up dark shadow areas, but also by very slightly reducing exposure and filling in highlights. It can be very helpful, but if you're shooting Raw files, some non-Nikon software may not treat it right. Nikon's own software will, but many programs also can apply most of the same remedy in post processing. If you are shooting JPG, the D-lighting will be applied to the JPG and JPG files will be read more or less the same by all programs.

    I find active D-lighting often makes for shadows that are gray and muddy when I'd rather have the deep contrast, so I leave it off and apply it or a similar effect in post when needed. I am not a big fan of high dynamic range either, but your mileage may vary. When you do need it, it can extract information you'd otherwise get only by spoiling the exposure.
  • edited July 2016
    Thanks Bruto, your explanation is spot on! Perhaps Nikon omitted it from some manuals simply to see if we were paying attention (kidding). I've changed my setting from N to A and will see how the images look, however, I take your point regarding gray and muddy shadows.
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