Setting up the D5300

Setting up a DSLR for astrophotography essentially means turning off approximately every feature that most users of these cameras are so excited to have.

Anything that alters or processes the image, anything that displays images (chance of ruining shots or dark-adjusted vision), anything that beeps, sings or dances etc.

This includes autofocus as most DSLRs just aren’t going to be able to focus on a star in most conditions.

Caveat: This does assume you are going to use a tool like Backyard EOS/Nikon or Astrophotography tool to control the camera.

I haven’t taken the D5300 out yet, partly as I just received it, and partly because it’s cloudy and rainy (so much for summer in Seattle) so the below may not be an exhaustive list of what needs to be configured

The first thing I notice is the D5300 has an infinite number of menus compared to the many things that were controllable via a physical button on the D300 but somehow I will struggle on.

Menu: Setup Menu

Auto info displayOff
Timezone and dateYour timezone and date!
Auto image rotationOff
Location DataI left it off. Enable if you like I guess!
WifiI left it off so as not to make things more complex

Menu: Custom Setting Menu

I will only document the settings that I have that are different from the defaults. First, I did a “Reset custom settings” to clear things out

Autofocus (a)(a3) Built-in AF-assist illuminatorOff
(a4) RangefinderOff
Timers / AE Lock (c)(c2) Auto-off timersShort(*)
Shooting / display (d)(d1) BeepOff
(d4) File Number sequenceOnContinues the file numbering sequence if a new folder or card is inserted instead of going back to 001. Numbering resets at 999 regardless
(d5) Exposure delay modeOnHopefully reduces vibrations from opening the shutter

(*) – Items I am not yet quite sure about

Menu: Shooting Menu

I will only document the settings that I have that are different from the defaults. First, I did a “Reset custom settings” to clear things out

Image QualityRAW
NEF (RAW) recording14-bitWe aren’t shooting fast so higher seems like it would be better here
White balanceDirect sunlight
Set Picture ControlNeutral
Active D-lightingOff
High ISO NROff
ISO Sensitivity200(*) This is what was recommended from some number-analysts on Cloudy Nights. Will revise after I get to shoot

Menu: Playback Menu

Image reviewOff

As I said, I have not yet tried these out but that’s my starting plan and I will adjust from here.

If you have any other tips or tricks on D5300 setup, please leave a comment and let me know!

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