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In the forest yesterday, I was busy capturing birds in flight (BIF) when suddenly I saw two animals escaping underneath the trees. There was no time to change the settings and I just hit the shutter button. The images came out dark. And few blurred.

In such scenarios, when you have no time change ISO and shutter speed, is there any way to save low-light settings in the camera so that I can switch on it in a click of a button.

Specifically in D5600.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As your camera do not have custom modes use AUTO or P. It take fraction of second to change it. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2023 at 7:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RomeoNinov But 'Auto' may not provide sufficient shutter speed and there is no time to change as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – RKh
    Jun 11, 2023 at 8:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ True. But you can't have everything (or be ready to spend dozens of thousands)... \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2023 at 8:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: What is the difference between "P" mode and "auto mode" on my DSLR? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jun 12, 2023 at 7:19

3 Answers 3

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The best way to accomplish what you want is to set the exposure mode to S (Shutter priority) exposure mode, the shutter speed to the desired setting (i.e. 1/500 sec.), and the ISO to Auto. As long as the light is fairly dim, the camera will first open the aperture to the lens' maximum and then start raising the ISO. This method will only work if you are happy using the lens' maximum aperture.

There is no way on the D5600 to set a minimum shutter speed when in A (Aperture priority) exposure mode. You need a higher tier Nikon camera if you want that ability. If you select Auto ISO and any aperture in A exposure mode, the camera will lower the shutter speed to around 1/focal length before it starts raising the ISO.

Using P (Program) exposure mode will get basically the same results as A mode with the aperture wide open in dim light.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yesterday I was in forest and used the Shutter-Priority with Auto-ISO the entire day. It simply saved lot of bad photos which previously because of ISO I had to edit later. Shutter speed I fixed to 1/1000 and Auto-ISO, helped me keep focus on shooting rather than changing settings. Thanks for the tip. Though, when in late evening, I clicked a bird far up on the tree. I think it used max ISO. Shutter I dropped to 1/320. Lot of noise could be seen. \$\endgroup\$
    – RKh
    Jun 18, 2023 at 3:23
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Full Auto - P [Programmed mode] will always let you capture something but it's not set up for fast action. It's more for 'happy snaps'.

S [Shutter-preferred mode] will let you define shutter speed as an absolute. You have to dial in enough ISO to work in lower light. It will respond by closing down the aperture in bright light.

You could also set auto-ISO, which, within definable bounds, can do some of this for you, before needing to also close down the aperture.
D5600 Reference Manual, page 228

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    \$\begingroup\$ Auto ISO can help a lot in S mode :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2023 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm… yeah. Not something I've ever really played with. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 11, 2023 at 9:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ When I take pictures of moving object I user with with Tv and zone focusing. It is quite helpful for me :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2023 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't really know what Tv is - seems to be a Canon thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 11, 2023 at 9:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Canon Tv = Nikon S. Not sure what exactly mean, probably something like time value \$\endgroup\$ Jun 11, 2023 at 9:39
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For BIF you probably want the lens wide open and a high ISO to get a fast shutter. You can do that in aperture priority mode. The camera will choose the shutter speed to get a proper exposure. When you swing into a dark area the shutter time will get longer. You probably still want the lens wide open and high ISO. You risk blur with the slow shutter, either from camera movement or subject movement, but you will get a properly exposed photo. Depending on how dark the forest is you might prefer even higher ISO but you can't have everything without changing something. I find the new denoise in Lightroom Classic amazing, so higher ISOs may have become acceptable. I haven't tried it much and it takes a long time for each picture.

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