Moose's Cheat Cards for the Nikon D3100

edited June 2013 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
Woohoo! The wait is finally over...I'm proud to finally announce (after many months) my 1st ever Cheat Cards for the Nikon D3100.

Nikon D3100 Cheat Sheets for Beginners

If you've ever been in a situation and wondered which settings to use with your camera, these nifty little cheat sheets will tell you exactly which settings I would start with.

My settings are specific to the Nikon D3100 and select Nikon lenses. This allows me to provide very detailed settings which will improve your odds of capturing a keeper.

Sound good? Click here for more info.

For this first pack, I created 17 Cheat Cards specifically for the D3100 and the Nikon 18-55mm kit lens combo. In the next few weeks, I'll be rolling out additional packs for other popular Nikon lenses mounted to the D3100.

In case you're wondering, these Cheat Cards can be printed at home or viewed digitally on an iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire or desktop computer. If you have more questions, check out the F.A.Q.

The funds I earn go directly to supporting my young family (wife & baby boy). Thanks for your love and support!


  • edited June 2013
    Just bought the cheat cards. Will there be free future updates? :)
  • @soweic - Yes, of course. If I add more cheat cards for this particular pack (D3100 + 18-55mm lens combo) you'll get them for free. :)
  • edited July 2013
    Loving the cheat cards, thank you so much! Looking forward to cheat cards for the other popular lenses (55-300mm and 35mm f/1.8G) as you mentioned. In the meantime, just wondering, do the settings vary a lot for the 55-300mm? Thanks again!
  • @AnnieG - Awesome! Yep, I'm working on Cheat Cards for those two lens combos you mentioned (55-300mm and the 35mm f/1.8G). I should have them out in the next couple weeks.

    The settings will vary between the 18-55mm and the 55-300mm. Mainly because of the maximum aperture and focal length differences between the two lenses.

    In addition to the settings, there will be certain shooting situations that are added or removed. For example, the 55-300mm pack will have a Cheat Card for Wildlife and Sports photography, both of which aren't available with the 18-55mm pack.

    Thanks again for your support and happy shooting! :)
  • edited July 2013
    Moose, thank you so very much for these cheat sheet cards. As a beginner with a full-time job and a 1+ hour commute twice per day I learn how to change one setting only to forget how to change it by the next weekend when I have time to go out again. I've seen cheat sheets before "use bulb mode for fireworks". Wow, great, but how did I get it into bulb mode again? By the time I figure it out again, the time has passed and the show is over. That's why these cards are so useful; they actually tell me how to change the aperture, etc. They are specific to my camera. Moose, these are the best cheat sheets on the market and easily worth double what you charge. Thanks so much for taking the time to create them for us.
  • edited July 2013
    Just got the cards. Great idea and fine production! One question, coming from a novice. It seems most of the "normal" setting your go to is A mode, while I have seen some other tip sites suggest P mode. Any reason why? I used P mode on my old D40 a lot, so I'm not use to using A mode. I want to learn so overall it is cool with me, just wondering.
  • edited July 2013
    @Pat50 - You're so kind! I really appreciate people like you who take time out of their day to leave such wonderful comments. It really validates all of my hard work to provide something like this. I'm glad you're enjoying the cards...all the best and happy shooting! :)
  • Howdy @Littlesigh - Thanks for the kind words!

    Program mode (P on the mode dial) is basically a "jazzed" up Auto mode. It's primary function is to automatically evaluate the situation and get a proper exposure. It allows you to do a few other things, but it's mostly for simple snapshots.

    However, if you'd like to add a little more 'pop' and creative control to your images, it's best to shoot in Aperture priority when shooting motionless subjects and Shutter priority for subjects that move.

    Aperture priority lets you control the aperture, which controls the depth of field. The depth of field is how much of the scene is in focus. So for a portrait, ideally you want your subject in focus and everything else blurred to make them stand out from the background (low f-number). Likewise if you're capturing a landscape, you would want everything in focus (high f-number).

    Shutter priority lets you control the shutter speed, which controls the ability to freeze a fast moving subject (fast shutter speed) or capture the movement of a subject (slow shutter speed). So for a photo of your dog running around outside, you would want a fast shutter speed. If the shutter speed is too slow, the camera won't be able to freeze the movements of your dog which results in a blurry shot.

    Hopefully all of that makes sense...happy shooting! :)

  • Moose,
    Great explanation! Thanks.
  • edited July 2013
    Quote: shoot in Aperture priority when shooting motionless subjects and Shutter priority for subjects that move.

    Moose, that is the greatest. It's simple and it makes sense, and it will be easy to remember it that way. Thanks so much for the answer and to Littlesigh for that great question. This is one great forum. I just know I'll learn a lot.
  • edited July 2013
    Moose, I saw somewhere where you were talking about a possible discount on future sets of cards for people who have already purchased a set. Personally I have the 55-300mm and would welcome a set on that lens, as well as a set on the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens. One question, is there any chance the cards can be printed in black type on white or lighter colored backgrounds to make it a little easier to read? The info on the cards is so valuable I'll take them any way I can get them, but an easier-to-read format/color would be welcome. Thanks again for all your hard work putting them together.
  • edited July 2013
    Just curious. I went back and looked at the advert on the website and it shows a set of white cards with black type, but when I downloaded mine they came out with white type on a black background, making it a little harder to read. Any idea why that would have happened? Not that I am complaining, far from it. The info on the cards, especially the two cards that tell me how to change the aperture and shutter and turn the flash on/off are so valuable that any presentation, is great. Just wondering why that happened and if there is any way to change it so I can re-print them as white cards with black type?
  • @Pat50 - Thanks for your kind words! Regarding your questions...

    1. I definitely want to do the discount for people who have purchased cheat cards in the past, however I'm not sure my shopping cart service (specifically PayPal) will allow me to do so. I'm still looking into it.

    2. Yes, I'm working on a pack for the 55-300mm VR. If I get enough requests for the Tamron 90mm f/2.8, I'll be happy to put a pack together.

    3. Regarding your layout issue (white type on black background)...I'm guessing it has something to do with the app or program you're using to open the cheat cards. Do you happen to know which program you're using? Is it happening on your mobile device or on your computer? For a quicker response, you can go ahead and email me directly at:

    All the best! :)
  • edited August 2013
    Moose, what about the 55-200mm VR lens?
  • @jadedewet - I'm very close to finishing up a pack for the D3100 and 55-200mm. My wife and I had our second son in July, so I'm just now getting back into the swing of things. Should be out very soon. :)
  • edited October 2013
    I have tried all of these settings and haven't gotten pretty results at all, especially for the group photo card. I was shooting in daylight and it looked like it was 9pm in my photos. What am I doing wrong here? I'm using the kit lens, should I be using a different lens for these cheat cards?
  • Hey @jsheedick - It's possible you many not have all the settings correctly dialed in. If you can send me an example (email to support @ or post somewhere online (flickr, facebook, google+) and provide a link, I'd be happy to take a look at the image and it's metadata to see what's going on. All the best!
  • edited November 2013
    Hey Moose, thank you for your Cheat Cards. I just bought them, yet I have a little question which may sound silly. I was looking for the settings Portrait - Low Lights. You said on the lens, turn VR on. Since my lens is not VR, I skipped it. You also said to set the AF-Area Mode to Single-Point AF & Focus Mode to AF-S, but I don't know where those settings are or how to change them.
    I have been searching for google to find my answer, yet I failed because there wasn't any guide to find those settings. I have seen people say the Nikon D3100 doesn't include AF-S because of some technique thing?? I am pretty much confused, can you help?
    My lens is Af-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G.
  • Hey @heroinchains - There are no silly questions around these parts. :) I'll do my best to answer everything...

    1. If you purchased the Nikon D3100 kit brand new, it comes with a 18-55mm VR lens. If you bought your camera used, chances are the original owner gave you an older 18-55mm lens without VR. If you don't have it, it's not the end of the world. You can still get capture great portraits.

    2. As for the focus modes/settings, you can find all of the instructions on the very last cheat card. It's a quick reference that tells you how to activate and enable certain functions. You'll also see page numbers next to each bullet point that reference the user manual if you need more information.

    3. The D3100 is equipped with AF-S and AF-C. You'll need to make sure the A/M switch on your lens is in the 'A' position, otherwise you won't be able to access those functions.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me directly at support "at" All the best!
  • edited November 2013
    Just got the 18-55mm VR Cheat Cards and would be interested in those Cheat Cards for the 55-200mm VR lens as well.
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