QUESTION: "I've splurged for two Nikon D7100s so changing lenses isn't such an ongoing problem for my older arthritic hands.
On one camera I typically keep a 35mm prime lens and on the other a 70-200mm zoom. I am a hobbyist who likes to shoot whatever interesting makes an appearance, from a distant mountain range to a bird at the window.
Given this situation, what suggestions would you make as to how I might customize each of the two "user settings" dial positions I have available on the cameras?" – John
ANSWER: I have found that custom user settings can be helpful, but you really have to think through the various shooting situations you commonly find yourself in.
For example, when photographing birds, you might want to vary the AF-Area Mode to an option that allows you to track a moving subject better. You also might want to change your metering mode depending upon your subject. For street and travel photography, I tend to use aperture priority metering. You might prefer a different Picture Control depending upon your subject (e.g. Portrait, Landscape).
Rather than providing you with suggested settings, I will offer you a thought process to help you set up the two custom setting banks on each or your D7100s. First, determine what are the two or three most common shooting situations for each camera. Then think through what camera settings are best for those shooting situations. What settings do you constantly find yourself changing as you encounter different shooting situations?
You might find that two or more of your shooting situations yield similar camera settings, so you can kill two birds with one stone. The list of settings that can be adjusted on your D7100 is quite large, so a good reading of the user's manual is highly recommended. Once you've got your two banks of custom settings for each camera, it's a simple process of entering and saving those user settings to each of the banks (i.e. U1 or U2).
If you're interested in a "soup to nuts" guide to setting up your D7100 for various shooting situations, you could check out the Nikon D7100 Setup Guide pdf file over at the Visa Adventures website. While you may not agree with every suggested setting, it might serve as a starting point for you.