How to Enable Framing Grids on the Nikon Zf

Enabling on the framing grids on the viewfinder or back screen display of the Nikon Zf isn’t as intuitive as it could be. That’s because it’s a two-step process. Here’s how to do it.

Screenshot of menu system for How to Enable Framing Grids on the Nikon Zf
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Filed Under: Mirrorless Cameras
Topics: Nikon, Nikon Zf

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The Nikon Zf has multiple framing grid options, overlays that go over the viewfinder view or the back screen live view. But they’re not enabled by default.

Enabling framing grids on the Nikon Zf is a two-step process. Or more, if you want them available on both the viewfinder and back screen as well as available when shooting photos and video.

So here’s how to do it. The displays when shooting in photo mode and video mode are set independently. I’ll start with the photo mode. 

Enabling the Framing Grid in Nikon Zf Photo Mode

I’ll start with enabling the framing grid when shooting photos. The display when shooting videos is handled separately and has different grid styles available, but it’s fundamentally the same process.

Step 1: Choose Grid Style

First, choose the type of framing grid you want to use from the available options. You can find these under:

Custom Settings Menu > d Shooting/display > d15 Grid type
Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

You’ll find various options there (I’ve got screenshots of them lower down this page). The default setting is 3×3. 

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

Now, you might be forgiven that having selected a grid display, it would, well, display. And this is where the non-intuitive aspect comes in. There’s another step to get it to actually show up on screen (or through the viewfinder). 

Step 2: Enable Grid Display

The next step is to enable the grid display on the display preset you’re using. You can do it separately for the viewfinder and the back screen. I’m doing it for the viewfinder here, but the process is the same for the back display (or monitor, as it’s called in the menu system). 

You can find this setting under: 

Custom Settings Menu > d Shooting/display > d18 Custom viewfinder shooting display

or 

Custom Settings Menu > d Shooting/display > d17 Custom monitor shooting display
Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

When you go into that, you’ll see a screen where you can select which display presets are active when you scroll them using the camera’s DISP button.

Click on the OK button to check or uncheck each preset. Unchecked presets won’t be shown when you cycle through the displays on the back screen or viewfinder. 

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

But what’s not immediately apparent is that you can edit each of these. They could do with right arrows next to them to make it clear that you can drill down further.

Press the right button (the right side of the main control wheel on the back of the camera, just next to the OK button). Then you’ll see another panel that shows the individual display items that are active for that display preset.

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

You’ll notice that the grid is not selected by default. So go down to that and check the box. That will make it show up in the mockup. 

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type

Then hit the menu button to save and back out of that menu item. 

You can enable the framing grid for any presets you want it available in. And you’ll have to do it separately for the back screen (monitor) and viewfinder. What you can’t do, however, is have a different style of framing grid displaying; the grid type setting in step 1 above applies across all instances while within photo mode (you can use a different one in video mode (see below)).

Nikon Zf Grid Types in Photo Mode

The selection of grid types on the Nikon Zf when shooting photos is pretty basic. There are no golden ratio or golden spiral options here, just various combinations of rectangles and squares. 

These are the available options. 

3×3 Grid

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type
Basic 3×3. The screen is divided into simple thirds horizontally and vertically. This is the default selection.

4×4 Grid

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type
Basic 4×4. The screen is divided into simple quarters horizontally and vertically.

5:4 Grid

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type
5:4 ratio outline.

1:1 (Square) Grid

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type
Simple square outline.

16:9 Grid

Screenshot of Nikon Zf menu system for setting grid type
Standard 16:9 aspect ratio that’s standard for video.

Enabling the Framing Grid in Nikon Zf Video Mode

The display when shooting videos is handled separately. It’s basically the same as the photo mode, but the settings are in a different place on the menu, and there are some expanded options for framing grid types that are more relevant to video shooting.

The available grids for video shooting are:

  • 3×3 (default)
  • 4×4
  • 2.35:1
  • 1.85:1
  • 4:3
  • 1:1
  • 90%

To access those options, go to:

Custom Settings Menu > g13 Grid type

and

Custom Settings Menu > g16 Custom viewfinder shooting

or

Custom Settings Menu > g15 Custom monitor shooting display
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David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

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