One obvious advancement with modern cameras is the ability to customize the camera to your shooting habits. Anyone remember the venerable Nikon F4? Not a lot to change on that flagship camera, just load it up with Fuji Velvia and start shooting. Nowadays photographers are holding a computer in the their hands, with a lens attached! One feature that modern cameras have are shortcut menus, My Menus and Shooting Banks. These are all ways to save and access your most used settings while shooting.
For Nikon, the I Menu is key. With a dedicated button on the back, just hit the button and access 12 different settings. What settings you set up depends on what you use the most. Obvious choices like white balance, auto focus mode, silent mode and vibration reduction make a lot of sense. I really like to have Group Flash Options and Multiple Exposure on my I Menu since I use these regularly. Choose your most used settings for those 12 options.
Next up is My Menu, located as the last choice on the Z9 menu at the bottom. Why use My Menu instead of the I Menu? Because you can choose up to 20 different options, and you have more assignable settings available that might not show up for the I Menu. I have things like Starlight View, Clean Image Sensor, Reformat Card and Warm Display Colors set in my My Menu. You could add a lot more. For me this menu isn’t as quickly accessed as hitting the I button on the camera back to activate the I Menu. But it is nice to add things to this menu that are found deep in the Custom Settings Menu or aren’t available in the I Menu.
And then there are Shooting Banks. These banks allow you to save a certain set of shooting settings for different types of photography. You might set Shooting Bank A for Landscape Photography, Shooting Bank B for Wildlife Photography, and Shooting Bank C for Night Photography. On other Nikon cameras like the Z6 and Z7 these are labeled U1, U2 and U3. You can’t rename them, but they work similar. With the Z9 any changes you do while in a Shooting Bank will be saved for the next time you return to that bank.
Some photographers really enjoy shooting banks, others don’t use them. Bottom line is do what works for you. I constantly use the I Menu, occasionally use My Menu, and never use the shooting banks. I just set my camera to the settings I need depending on the situation. I don’t find myself switching frequently during a shoot, more like I am photographing wildlife all day, then maybe shoot a sunset for 45 minutes at the end of the day, and then do some star photography after dinner. Switch a few settings or switch to a different Shooting Bank, you decide. If you forget which settings work best in certain situations then shooting banks might be a good thing to use.
Photography is always a combination of technical expertise mixed with creative vision. Don’t let worrying about the camera settings curb your creative vision. Learn your camera, know the settings you need to know, and most importantly go out and shoot. Think less, feel more.