Nikon Z6 & Z7 Setup and Configuration


Nikon Z7 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera - Full

As I did for the Nikon D800 and D810 DSLR cameras, I’m posting the settings I’m using for the Nikon Z7 along with a file you can download to use as a starting point for your own settings.  Doing this forces me to go through every setting available on the camera and to understand what it does.  I’m using the official Nikon Z7 Reference Manual (English version, others available) to gain an understanding of the features.  Some will be familiar if you are coming from other Nikon bodies, others are brand new found only in the Z7.  Note that the majority of these settings apply to the Nikon Z6 as well.

Unlike the D800/D810 that used four memory banks that were selectable in the software, the Z7 has three user configurable settings (U1, U2, U3) not unlike a D750 or D7500.  I find this option far superior, personally.  Also, in the D800/D810 I devoted one of the memory banks to a “point & shoot” type setup where the camera did as much of the work as possible.  This was useful for my wife, who doesn’t want to mess with settings.  The Z7 has a fully automatic mode (Auto) selectable via the mode dial which is idea for this type of use.

I have set the three modes on my Z7 to preconfigure the camera into landscape, action, or portrait settings.  Often, I make minor adjustments from the standard settings depending on what is required.  If you want to use my custom settings in your camera, feel free to download my settings file here:

Firmware C: 1.00, LF: 1.00 : Download Nikon Z7 custom settings file 1.00

New firmware: I’ll get to it eventually, sorry :/

I suggest you back up your own settings first (SETUP MENU -> Save/load settings -> save settings, copy the settings file from the media card to your computer). To use my custom settings file, copy it to the root folder of your media card using your computer, insert the media card into your camera and navigate to SETUP MENU -> Save/load settings -> Load settings. This will copy the settings over to your camera.  Once complete, update the copyright and image comment settings to your own.  If you have questions, or a suggestion feel free to leave them in the comments at the bottom of the page, I’ll maintain a change log of any significant changes in my change log and post updated files as new firmware is released.

The settings are all shown below.  Use the search feature at the top of the table if you are looking for a specific setting.



U1 : Landscape

U2 : Action

U3 : Portrait

Dale Chihuly Glass Art : 2013-01-05 : Display 7

Saint Marks Summit Hike - Sept 2016 - Foggy Trees

CFL Football : BC Lions vs Montreal Alouettes : Sept 8 2012 : Felions

Oct 2012 : Mumbai Visit : Well dressed tour guide


Release mode Note 1

As needed

Continuous L (3)

Continuous H (extended)

Continuous L (3)

Monitor Mode ButtonPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinderPrioritize viewfinder
Exposure ModeAs selected by mode dialAperture PriorityShutter PriorityAperture Priority


Playback folderAllAllAllAll
Playback display options"Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview""Highlights" and "Overview"
Image reviewOffOffOffOff
After deleteContinue as beforeContinue as beforeContinue as beforeContinue as before
After burst, showLast image in burstLast image in burstLast image in burstLast image in burst
Rotate tallOffOffOffOff
Slide showAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
RatingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed


Storage folderDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
File namingI set to my initials: MKHMKHMKHMKH
Choose image areaFXFXFXFX
Image qualityRAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)RAW (occasionally I shoot RAW+JPEG)
Image sizeLargeLargeLargeLarge
NEF (RAW) recording

> NEF (RAW) compression

On - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressedOn - Lossless compressed

> NEF (RAW) bit depth

ISO sensitivity settingsManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on sceneManually set depending on scene

> ISO sensitivity

64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)64 (or higher if necessary)

> Auto ISO sensitivity control

As neededAs neededAs neededAs needed

>> Maximum sensitivity

12,800 (higher than this and the files are unusable)




>> Maximum sensitivity with flash





>> Minimum shutter speed

Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)Auto (use fastest, which is 1 / 2x focal length)
White balanceAuto1 (irrelevant if shooting raw but useful to preview photos on the LCD)




Set Picture Control

Auto (Irrelevant if shooting RAW.  The only time I ever change this is to set it to Monochrome to preview in-camera what a B&W image would look like)

Manage Picture ControlI don't use it
Color SpaceAdobeAdobeAdobeAdobe
Active D-LightingOffOffOffOff
Long exposure NROff (turning it on doubles your exposure times as the camera takes a second dark frame exposure to subtract noise)OffOffOff
High ISO NROffOffOffOff
Vignette controlOffOffOffOff
Diffraction compensationOn (I suspect this doesn?t apply to RAW files but until I can confirm I will leave it on)OnOnOn
Auto distortion controlOn (can't turn off with Z-mount lens)OnOnOn
Flicker reduction shootingOffOffOffOn
Flash modeFill flashFill flashFill flashFill flash
Flash compensation0000

Focus mode Note 2


AF-area mode Note3

Wide-area AF (S)Single-point AF - often manual focus override using 100% zoom on the LCDDynamic-area AFAuto-area AF
Vibration reduction

On (Normal)

On (Normal).  Off when on tripod.

SPT (Sport)

On (Normal)

Auto bracketingOffIf needed (AE bracketing, 3-5 shots, increment 2)OffOff
Multiple exposureOffOffOffOff
Interval timer shootingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Time-lapse movieAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Focus shift shootingAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
Silent photographyAs needed (note that turning this feature on disables some other features such as flicker reduction, EFC and changes frame ratesAs needed


As needed


File naming Note5

I set to my initials: MKHMKHMKHMKH
Choose image areaFXFXFXFX
Frame size/frame rate2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)2160p30 (4K 30fps)
Movie qualityHighHighHighHigh
Movie file typeMOVMOVMOVMOV
ISO sensitivity settingsDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
White balanceAuto1Auto1Auto1Auto1
Set Picture ControlAutoAutoAutoAuto
Manage Picture ControlUnused
Active D-LightingNormalNormalNormalNormal
High ISO NRNormalNormalNormalNormal
Vignette controlNormalNormalNormalNormal
Diffraction compensationOnOnOnOn
Auto distortion controlOnOnOnOn
Flicker reductionAutoAutoAutoAuto
Focus modeFull-time AFFull-time AFFull-time AFFull-time AF
AF-area modeAuto-area AFAuto-area AFAuto-area AFAuto-area AF
Vibration reductionOnOnOnOn
Electronic VROffOffOffOff
Microphone sensitivityAutoAutoAutoAuto
Frequency responseWideWideWideWide
Wind noise reductionOffOffOffOff
Headphone volume15151515


a Autofocus
a1 AF-C priority selectionFocusFocusReleaseFocus
a2 AF-S priority selectionFocusFocusFocusFocus
a3 Focus tracking with lock-on1252
a4 Auto-area AF face detectionOnOnOnOn
a5 Focus points usedAllAll1/2 Every other pointAll
a6 Store points by orientationOffOffOffOff
a7 AF activationAF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Enable)AF-ON only (Out-of-focus release: Disable)
a8 Limit AF-area mode selectionAll checkedAll checkedAll checkedAll checked
a9 Focus point wrap-aroundWrapWrapWrapWrap
a10 Focus point options

> Manual focus mode


> Dynamic-area AF assist

a11 Low-light AFOnOnOnOn
a12 Built-in AF-assist illuminatorOffOffOffOff
b Metering/exposure
b1 EV steps for exposure cntrl1/3 step1/3 step1/3 step1/3 step
b2 Easy exposure compensationOffOffOffOff
b3 Center-weighted area12mm12mm12mm12mm
b4 Fine-tune optimal exposureDefaultDefaultDefaultDefault
c1 Shutter-release button AE-LOffOffOffOff
c2 Self-timerAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
c3 Power off delay

> Playback


> Menus


> Image review


> Standby timer

d Shooting/display
d1 CL mode shooting speed3333
d2 Max. continuous release200200200200
d3 Sync. Release mode optionsSyncSyncSyncSync
d4 Exposure delay modeOff


d5 Shutter typeAutoElectronic front-curtain shutterMechanical shutterAuto
d6 Limit selectable image areaAll checkedAll checkedAll checkedAll checked
d7 File number sequence OnOnOnOn
d8 Apply settings to live viewAs neededAs neededAs neededAs needed
d9 Framing grid displayOffOnOffOff
d10 Peaking highlightsAs neededOnOffOn

> Peaking level

As needed2 (standard)Off3 (high sensitivity)

> Peaking highlight color





d11 View all in continuous modeOnOnOnOn
e Bracketing/flash
e1 Flash sync speed1/200s1/200s1/200s1/200s
e2 Flash shutter speed1/60s1/60s1/60s1/60s
e3 Exposure comp. for flashEntire frameEntire frameEntire frameEntire frame
e4 Auto flash ISO sensitivity controlSubject and backgroundSubject and backgroundSubject and backgroundSubject and background
e6 Auto bracketing (mode M)Flash/speedFlash/speedFlash/speedFlash/speed
e5 Modelling flashOnOnOnOn
e7 Bracketing orderUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > overUnder > MTR > over
f Controls
f1 Customize i menu

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

f2 Custom control assignment Note 4

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

f3 OK button

> Shooting mode


> Playback mode

Zoom on/offZoom on/offZoom on/offZoom on/off
f4 Shutter spd & aperture lock

> Shutter speed lock


> Aperture lock

f5 Customize command dials

> Reverse rotation


> Change main/sub


> Menus and playback

On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)On (image review excluded)

> Sub-dial frame advance

f6 Release button to use dialOffOffOffOff
f7 Reverse indicators- 0 +- 0 +- 0 +- 0 +
g Movie
g1 Customize i menu

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

Personal preference

g2 Custom control assignmentPersonal preferencePersonal preferencePersonal preferencePersonal preference
g3 OK buttonResetResetResetReset
g4 AF speed2 (Always)2 (Always)2 (Always)2 (Always)
g5 AF tracking sensitivity3333
g6 Hightlight displayOffOffOffOff


Format memory cardAs needed
Save user settingsAs needed
LanguageAs needed
Time zone and dateAs needed
Monitor brightness0
Monitor color balanceDefault
Viewfinder brightnessAuto
Viewfinder color balanceDefault
Control panel brightnessAuto
Limit monitor mode selectionAll checked
Information display B (dark on light)
AF fine-tuneAs needed
Non-CPU lens dataAs needed
Clean image sensorClean at shutdown
Image Dust Off ref photoAs needed
Image CommentOff
Copyright informationSet your name/site here
Beep optionsOff
Touch controlsOn (default)
Location dataBoth on
Wireless remote (WR) optionsDefault
Assign remote (WR) Fn buttonOff
Airplane modeAs needed
Connect to smart deviceAs needed
Connect to PCAs needed
Wireless transmitter (WT-7)As needed
Conformity markingAs needed
Battery infoAs needed
Slot emptry release lockLock
Save/load settingsAs needed
Reset all settingsAs needed
Firmware versionAs needed

RETOUCH MENU (I don't use it)


d4 Exposure delay mode
d5 Shutter type
Vibration reduction
Silent photography
Apply settings to live view
Format memory card

Note 1: Release mode

The User Settings (U1/U2/U3) do not retain the release mode settings.  If you switch user modes you need to remember to switch the release mode (single, continuous, etc.)

Note 2: Focus Mode

I use the ‘AF-ON’ or ‘back button autofocus’ technique (for lack of a better term) to focus my camera. You will see that in my settings, I primarily use AF-C as the default focus mode when I use the camera. With the AF-ON technique, you decouple the focusing of the camera from the shutter press. The nice thing is that you can have both continuous, static autofocus, and manual focus modes all at the same time. Focus and recompose is also easier as you don’t have to keep the shutter half-pressed, just release the AF-ON button and the camera stops focusing. It works very well, but takes a bit of getting used to. This technique works on both Nikon and Canon cameras (likely other brands as well but I haven’t checked into it).

Note 3: AF-area Mode

This will be subject to change after more testing. I’m not yet sure how well the Z7 tracks faces in the Auto-area AF mode.

Note 4: Custom control assignment (f2)

  • Fn1 button : Zoom on/off -> Low magnification (50%).  Allows me to zoom in 50% to check for critical focus.
  • Fn2 button : My Menu – quick access to my most commonly used settings (see above for what I keep in the menu).
  • AF-On : AF-On
  • Sub-selector : Focus point selection
  • Sub-selector center : Spot metering (useful for a quick metering override if I’m in matrix and it’s not exposing the scene properly.
  • Movie record button : Auto bracketing.  Unlike the D800/D810 I’m used to, the Z7 does not have a dedicated bracket button so I reassigned the movie record button which is otherwise useless in photo mode.
  • Lens Fn button : Spot metering.  I sometimes shoot birds and a dark bird in a bright scene often gets exposed incorrectly.  Spot metering lets me get exposure on the bird, not the scene.
  • Lens control ring : Focus (M/A).  Manual focus override, same as most lenses.

Note 5: Movie Shooting Menu/Settings

Despite having the option to shoot video with my cameras, I very rarely do. Please don’t consider my video settings optimal, I almost never need them.

Nikon Z7 Setup - Change Log

2019-12-15Added c2 Self-timer to "My Menu" for quick access.
2019-12-15Update d5 Shutter type to use the auto shutter type feature.
2019-12-15Fix AF area mode in U1 - removed pinpoint as it only works with AF-S which I never use.
2019-12-15Update lens Fn button. Now have a lens that has this button (Nikkor 500mm f/5.6PF) so using it for spot metering for tricky subjects.
2019-12-15Change Fn1 buttom from DoF preview to zoom in to 50% magnification
2018-10-10Initial publication