Title page image

Nikon® D5600™ For Dummies®

To view this book's Cheat Sheet, simply go to and search for “Nikon D5600 For Dummies Cheat Sheet” in the Search box.


Nikon. The name has been associated with top-flight photography equipment for generations, and the D5600 only enriches that reputation, offering terrific features for capturing both still photos and high-definition digital movies. But the fun doesn’t stop after the shoot: On top of everything else, the D5600 enables you to transfer photos wirelessly to certain smartphones and tablets so that you can instantly share images online. You can even use your smart device as a wireless remote control.

In fact, the D5600 offers so many features that sorting them all out can be more than a little confusing. And therein lies the point of Nikon D5600 For Dummies: With the help of this book, you can take full advantage of everything the camera has to offer, even if you’re brand new to photography.

About This Book

Unlike many photography books, this one doesn’t require any previous knowledge of photography or digital imaging to make sense of things. In classic For Dummies style, everything is explained in easy-to-understand language, with lots of illustrations to help clear up any confusion.

However, even if you have some photography experience — or quite a bit of experience, for that matter — this book has plenty to offer. I provide detailed information about all the camera’s advanced exposure, focus, and color controls, explaining not just what each feature does but why and how to put it to best use.

In short, what you have in your hands is the paperback version of an in-depth photography workshop tailored specifically to your Nikon picture-taking powerhouse.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized into four parts, each devoted to a different aspect of using your camera. Although chapters flow in a sequence that’s designed to take you from absolute beginner to experienced user, I’ve also made each chapter as self-standing as possible so that you can explore the topics that interest you in any order you please.

Here's a brief preview of what you can find in each part of the book:

  • Part 1: Fast Track to Super Snaps: Part 1 contains two chapters to help you get up and running. Chapter 1 guides you through initial camera setup, shows you how to view and adjust camera settings, and walks you through the steps of taking your first pictures using the Auto exposure mode. Chapter 2 introduces you to other exposure modes and explains basic picture options such as Release mode, Image Size (resolution), and Image Quality (JPEG or Raw). The end of Chapter 2 provides information on using flash.
  • Part 2: Taking Creative Control: Chapters in this part help you unleash the full power of your camera by detailing the advanced shooting modes (P, S, A, and M). Chapter 3 covers the critical topic of exposure; Chapter 4 explains how to manipulate focus; and Chapter 5 discusses color controls. Chapter 6 summarizes techniques explained in earlier chapters, providing a quick-reference guide to the camera settings and shooting strategies that produce the best results for portraits, action shots, landscape scenes, and close-ups. Chapter 7 shifts gears, moving from still photography to HD movie recording.
  • Part 3: After the Shot: Chapter 8 explains picture playback features and how to connect your camera to a TV for large-screen playback. Chapter 9 topics include rating, deleting, and protecting photos, downloading images to your computer, processing Raw files, and resizing pictures for online sharing.
  • Part 4: The Part of Tens: In famous For Dummies tradition, this book concludes with two top-ten lists containing additional bits of information and advice. Chapter 10 details options for customizing your camera. Chapter 11 covers the tools found on the camera's Retouch menu, shows you how to use the Effects exposure mode, and explains a few other features that may come in handy on occasion, such as creating a slide show featuring your best work.
  • Appendix: Intro to Nikon SnapBridge: Nikon SnapBridge is an app you can install on certain Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets. It’s this app that enables you to use the camera’s wireless functions to connect your D5600 to your smart device. After making the connection, you can transfer photos to the device for viewing or easy uploading to social media sites or online photo-storage sites. You also can use the smart device as a wireless remote control. Check out the appendix for an overview of these features.
  • Cheat sheet: When you have a minute or two, visit and enter the name of this book in the search box. You’ll find a link to a cheat sheet, which provides a handy reference to your camera’s buttons, controls, and exposure modes.

Icons and Other Stuff to Note

If this isn’t your first For Dummies book, you may be familiar with the large, round icons that decorate its margins. If not, here’s your very own icon-decoder ring:

tip The Tip icon flags information that will save you time, effort, money, or some other valuable resource, including your sanity. Tips also point out techniques that help you get the best results from specific camera features.

warning When you see this icon, look alive. It indicates a potential danger zone that can result in much wailing and teeth-gnashing if ignored. In other words, this is stuff that you really don’t want to learn the hard way.

technicalstuff Lots of information in this book is of a technical nature — digital photography is a technical animal, after all. But when I present a detail that is useful mainly for impressing your tech-geek friends, I mark it with this icon.

remember I apply this icon either to introduce information that is especially worth storing in your brain’s long-term memory or to remind you of a fact that may have been displaced from that memory by another pressing fact.

Additionally, replicas of some of your camera’s buttons and onscreen graphics appear in the margins and in some tables. I include these images to provide quick reminders of the appearance of the button or option being discussed.

Where to Go from Here

To wrap up this preamble, I want to stress that if you initially think that digital photography is too confusing or too technical for you, you’re in very good company. Everyone finds this stuff mind-boggling at first. So take it slowly, experimenting with just one or two new camera settings or techniques at first. Then every time you go on a photo outing, make it a point to add one or two more shooting skills to your repertoire.

I know it’s hard to believe when you’re just starting out, but it really won’t be long before everything starts to come together. With some time, patience, and practice, you’ll soon wield your camera like a pro, dialing in the necessary settings to capture your creative vision almost instinctively.

So without further ado, I invite you to grab your camera, a cup of whatever it is you prefer to sip while you read, and start exploring the rest of this book. Your D5600 is the perfect partner for your photographic journey, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to act as your tour guide.


Intro to Nikon SnapBridge

Your D5600 enables you to connect your camera wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet. After establishing the connection, you can upload photos to the device and use the device as a wireless remote control.

To enjoy these features, you must install the Nikon SnapBridge app on your smart device. The app is free, but is available only for devices that run recent versions of the Android OS (operating system) or Apple iOS. Visit Google Play for Android apps; go the App Store for iOS apps. The current OS requirements appear on the download page for that app.

Your smart device also must offer Bluetooth low-energy (BLE), a special Bluetooth feature that minimizes the battery power required to handle wireless data transmission. (Look for Bluetooth version 4.0 or later.)

I can’t provide detailed instructions for using SnapBridge because things vary depending on your device and its operating system. In addition, when Nikon issues updates to the app — which it is likely to do as it introduces new cameras that offer SnapBridge support — some aspects of the app itself may change. As I write this, the most current versions of the SnapBridge app are for Android and Version 1.2.0 for iOS.

That said, this appendix provides you with some general guidance. For additional help, including video tutorials that explain various setup steps and features, point your web browser to

What Can I Do with SnapBridge?

Here are just some of the functions that you can enjoy after making the wireless connection between your camera and the SnapBridge app:

Setting Up the Camera for SnapBridge

You'll find all camera settings related to using SnapBridge on the Setup menu. I highlighted the options in Figure A-1.


FIGURE A-1: These Setup menu options provide ways to customize the camera’s interaction with your device.

Here’s what each option does:

  • Location Data: Choose this option and then set the Download from Smart Device option to On if you want SnapBridge to tag photos with your current location — that is, the current location of your phone or tablet. (The app uses the location-data service of your smart device.) After you connect the camera to the smart device, location data is then added to any pictures you take in the next 2 hours.
  • Airplane Mode: Set this option to On to disable wireless transmission from the camera, as you might when, say, on an airplane. The feature is disabled by default.

    If you use Eye-Fi memory cards, turning on Airplane mode also shuts down wireless transmission from the cards.

  • Connect to Smart Device: Choose this setting to start the process of connecting your camera to your phone or tablet. I offer assistance with that task later in the next section.
  • Send to Smart Device (Auto): Select On if you want the camera to automatically send all new photos you shoot to your smart device. Turn the feature off if you prefer to select specific pictures to send to the device.

    If you choose the second option, you can tag pictures in two ways:

    • Open the Playback menu and choose Select to Send to Smart Device. On the next screen, choose Select Images to view photo thumbnails, as shown on the left in Figure A-2. Use the Multi Selector to move the selection box over a photo you want to transfer and then press the Zoom Out button to apply the Send to Smart Device tag, labeled in the figure. To remove the tag, press the button again. For a quick way to remove the tag from a batch of selected photos, exit the screen (tap the exit arrow in the upper-right corner of the screen) to return to the initial Select to Send to Smart Device screen. On that screen, choose Deselect All.

      Alternatively, put the camera in Playback mode, display a photo you want to tag for transfer, press the i button, and choose Select to Send to Smart Device/Deselect, as shown on the right in Figure A-2. The transfer symbol appears on the photo. To remove it, repeat the process.

      Either way, the next time you initiate a transfer of photos to your smart device, only selected photos are sent.

  • Bluetooth: Choose this option to turn Bluetooth functionality on or off, to see a list of devices currently paired with the camera, and to choose whether you want the connection to remain on even after you turn off the camera. (By default, transmission of photos does take place when the camera is off or has gone into sleep mode.)

FIGURE A-2: Choose Select to Send to Smart Device from the Playback menu to tag multiple images for transfer (left); in Playback mode, press the i button and choose the same option to tag only the currently displayed photo (right).

Connecting to Your Smart Device

Before you start the process of connecting your camera to your smartphone or tablet, here are some tips for making sure things go as smoothly as possible:

With those preliminaries out of the way, here are the basic steps to connect your camera to your smartphone or tablet:

  1. Open the camera’s Setup menu and choose Connect to Smart Device.

    You see a welcome screen; press OK. You then see a message explaining that if your device offers NFC wireless connection, you can just touch the device to the NFC symbol on the right side of the camera. It’s the gray N printed near the HDMI port cover. (Check the device’s instruction manual for information about enabling and using its NFC functions.)

    No NFC? Press OK again to display the screen shown in Figure A-3.

  2. Open SnapBridge on your device.

    The first time you take these steps, the screen looks similar to what you see in Figures A-4 (iOS version) and A-5 (Android version). The Connect tab should be selected; if not, tap the Connect icon, labeled in both figures.

  3. Tap the plus sign (iOS) or the exclamation point (Android), labeled in Figures A-4 and A-5.

    The device searches for your camera; if it detects the camera’s signal, the camera name appears on the screen. When prompted, tap the camera name. Then give the device a few minutes to display the Select an Accessory menu. Tap the camera name when it appears. (It may take a little while for the name to appear, too.)

  4. When the Bluetooth Pairing Request appears on your device, tap Pair and then press OK on the camera.

FIGURE A-3: When you see this screen, open the SnapBridge app on your smart device.


FIGURE A-4: On an Apple iOS device, tap the Connect icon at the bottom of the screen to access options for connecting your camera.


FIGURE A-5: Here you see the Android version of the Connect screen. The Connect icon (and other tab icons) appear at the top of the screen.

The devices should now be connected. If this is the first time you’ve connected them, the camera will present two more screens, one asking whether you want to download location data from the smart device and one asking whether you want to sync the camera clock with the one on the smart device. After you make your choices (which you can adjust later if needed), you’re returned to the initial Connect screen.

Taking a Look at SnapBridge Functions

SnapBridge features are organized into four tabs, which I describe briefly in the following sections. To switch between the tabs on an iOS device, tap the icons at the bottom of the screen (Connect, Gallery, Camera, and Other). On an Android device, the icons are near the top of the screen.

Connect tab

In addition to using this screen to establish the connection to the camera, you can set a few important options related to image transfers. When the Auto Link option is enabled, as it is by default, choose Auto Download to access the following settings:

  • Auto download: Turn the option on if you want photos to be transferred automatically whenever you connect the camera to your device.
  • Choose download size: You can specify whether you want to transfer photos from the camera at their original size or a more online-friendly, 2MP copy.
  • Nikon Image Space: You also can enable or disable automatic upload to your Nikon Image Space account on this screen.

If auto download is enabled, the device starts transferring photos immediately, either copying all photos on your memory card or those you selected by tagging them in the camera. However, this is not your only avenue to downloading images to the device; you also can select photos to transfer via the Camera tab, explained a block or two from here.

Gallery tab

Tap the Gallery icon to view thumbnails of images you’ve transferred to your device. You can view photos stored on your device as well as those you transferred from the camera. Use the standard tablet and smartphone picture-viewing gestures — swipe to scroll through your photos, pinch out to magnify the display, and pinch in to reduce the display size.

Camera tab

Through this tab, you can access two features:

  • Use the device as a camera remote control. This feature applies to still photography only and works via a Wi-Fi connection. Before making that connection, set the camera to P, S, A, or M exposure mode and select the picture settings you want to use. Then return to the SnapBridge screen and choose Remove Photography, as shown on the left in Figure A-6. When the app finds your camera, it prompts you to open your device’s Wi-Fi settings and select the camera as your Wi-Fi source. You need to enter the camera’s network password: NIKOND5600. (Be patient; the connection process can take a while.)

    remember When the connection is made, you see the screen shown on the right in the figure with a live view of the scene in front of the camera lens. You also see some shooting data, such as the shutter speed and f-stop. A focus box appears on the preview; tap your subject to place the focus box over it and set focus. The focus box turns green when focus is achieved.

    To take a picture, press the shutter-button icon, labeled in the figure. The picture is saved to the SnapBridge gallery. A thumbnail of the photo appears under the live preview. Tap the thumbnail to see the images at a larger size and access icons that enable you to share or delete the image.

    warning Don’t turn the camera off or choose another tab in the SnapBridge app between shots; either action breaks the Wi-Fi link and you have to go through the connection process all over again.

  • Download selected pictures from the camera memory card. If you didn’t set up automatic download and you didn’t tag pictures in the camera for transfer, choose the Download Selected Pictures option (left screen in Figure A-6). You see thumbnails of your pictures. Tap Select and then tap each image or movie file you want to transfer. Next, choose the download size (either original resolution or 2MB) and then OK.

    You can transfer movie files only via a Wi-Fi connection. If the camera isn’t connected to the device via Wi-Fi, movie files won’t appear in the list of files you can transfer.


FIGURE A-6: Choose Remote Photography from the Camera tab (left) to display a live preview (right). Tap the shutter button icon to take a picture.

Other tab

Tap this icon, found just to the right of the camera icon on the SnapBridge home page, to display the screen shown in Figure A-7. The two most useful features you can access via this screen are the following:

  • Add Credits: Choose this option to access the features that enable you to embed copyright data and other information into your picture files.
  • Info/Settings: Tap this option and then tap Instructions to launch the web browser on your device and access the SnapBridge Help site.

FIGURE A-7: Tap the Other icon to access a variety of features, including a tutorial for using the app.

Because the Help site information is very thorough, I won’t waste any more space in this book explaining the myriad SnapBridge features. I offer just one more word of advice: In my experience, the camera-connection process isn’t always reliable, and it’s difficult to sort out where the issue lies. My best advice is to uninstall the app, reinstall it, and start fresh. If you previously connected but can’t seem to reconnect, another fix that sometimes works is to visit your device’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection settings, locate the camera name, and then choose Forget This Device.

remember While you’re online, also visit and enter the title of this book in the Search box. The search results should include a link to download a copy of the Cheat Sheet created for this book. The Cheat Sheet offers a guide to your camera’s external features as well as to some important picture-taking settings.

Part 1

Fast Track to Super Snaps


Familiarize yourself with the basics of using your camera, from attaching lenses to navigating menus.

Get step-by-step help with shooting your first pictures in Auto mode.

Find out how to select the exposure mode, Release mode, Image Size (resolution), and Image Quality (JPEG or Raw file type).

Discover options available for flash photography.

Chapter 1

First Steps, First Shots


check Preparing the camera for its first outing

check Getting acquainted with the touchscreen and other camera features

check Viewing and adjusting camera settings

check Setting a few basic preferences

check Taking a picture in Auto mode

Shooting for the first time with a camera as sophisticated as the Nikon D5600 can produce a blend of excitement and anxiety. On one hand, you can't wait to start using your new equipment, but on the other, you're a little intimidated by all its buttons, dials, and menu options.

Well, fear not: This chapter provides the information you need to start getting comfortable with your D5600. The first section walks you through initial camera setup; following that, you can discover how to view and adjust picture settings and get my take on additional setup options. At the end of the chapter, I explain how to take pictures using Auto mode, which offers point-and-shoot simplicity until you're ready for more advanced options.

Preparing the Camera for Initial Use

After unpacking your camera, you have to assemble a few parts. In addition to the camera body and the supplied battery (be sure to charge it before the first use), you need a lens and a memory card. Later sections in this chapter provide details about working with lenses and memory cards, but here's what you need to know up front:

With camera, lens, battery, and card within reach, take these steps:

  1. Turn the camera off.
  2. Install the battery into the compartment on the bottom of the camera.
  3. Attach a lens.

    First, remove the caps that cover the front of the camera and the back of the lens. Then align the mounting index (white dot) on the lens with the one on the camera body, as shown in Figure 1-1. After placing the lens on the camera mount, rotate the lens toward the shutter-button side of the camera. You should feel a solid click as the lens locks into place.

  4. Insert a memory card.

    Open the card-slot cover on the right side of the camera and orient the card as shown in Figure 1-2 (the label faces the back of the camera). Push the card gently into the slot and close the cover. The memory-card access light, labeled in the figure, illuminates briefly to let you know that the camera recognizes the card.

  5. Rotate the monitor to the desired viewing position.

    When you first take the camera out of its box, the monitor is positioned with the screen facing inward, protecting it from scratches and smudges. Gently lift the right side of the monitor up and away from the camera back. You can then rotate the monitor to move it into the traditional position on the camera back, as shown on the left in Figure 1-3, or swing the monitor out to get a different viewing angle, as shown on the right.

  6. Turn on the camera.
  7. Set the language, time zone, and date.

    When you power up the camera for the first time, you can't do anything until you take this step.

    tip The easiest way to adjust the settings is to use the touchscreen, which is enabled by default. To select an option or display a menu of settings, just tap it on the screen, just as you do with any touchscreen device. If you see an OK symbol in the lower-right corner of the screen, tap it to finalize your selection and return to the previous screen. To exit a screen without making changes, tap the exit arrow shown in the upper-right corner of the screen.

    If you prefer, you also can use the Multi Selector and OK button, labeled in Figure 1-3, to navigate menus. You can find more details about using the touchscreen and other ways to adjust settings later in this chapter.

  8. Adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight.

    warning This step is critical; if you don't set the viewfinder to your eyesight, subjects that appear out of focus in the viewfinder might actually be in focus, and vice versa. If you wear glasses while shooting, adjust the viewfinder with your glasses on.

    You set viewfinder focus by rotating the adjustment dial labeled in Figure 1-4. After taking off the lens cap and making sure that the camera is turned on, look through the viewfinder and press the shutter button halfway. In dim lighting, the flash may pop up. Ignore it for now and concentrate on the row of data that appears at the bottom of the viewfinder screen. Rotate the dial until that data appears sharpest. The markings in the center of the viewfinder, which relate to autofocusing, also become more or less sharp. Ignore the scene you see through the lens; that won't change because you're not actually focusing the camera. When you finish, press down on the flash unit to close it if necessary.

  9. If using a retractable lens, unlock and extend the lens.

    The lens barrels of AF-P kit lenses, as well as some AF-S lenses, extend and retract. When you’re not shooting, you can retract the lens so that it takes up less space in your camera bag. But before you can take a picture or even access most camera menu items, you must unlock and extend the lens. A message appears on the monitor to remind you of this step.

    remember To extend the lens, press the lens lock button, highlighted in Figure 1-5, while rotating the lens barrel toward the shutter-button side of the camera. To retract the lens, press the button while rotating the lens in the other direction.


FIGURE 1-1: Align the white dot on the lens with the one on the camera body.


FIGURE 1-2: Insert the memory card with the label facing the back of the camera.


FIGURE 1-3: Here are just two possible monitor positions.


FIGURE 1-4: Rotate this dial to set the viewfinder focus for your eyesight.


FIGURE 1-5: If using a retractable lens, press the lens lock button while rotating the lens barrel to extend and retract the lens.

That's all there is to it — your camera is now ready to go. From here, my recommendation is that you keep reading this chapter to familiarize yourself with the main camera features and basic operation. But if you're anxious to take a picture right away, skip to the last section of the chapter, which guides you through the basic process. Just promise that at some point, you'll read the pages in between, because they do contain important information.