30 Steps to the Perfect Canon EOS 7D Mark II Setup

My Canon EOS 7D Mark II arrived this week – WOO HOO! I will have lots of information to share about this camera in the very near future, but I kept notes as I unpacked and configured the "Baby 1D X" to the perfect (for me) setup. Following are the 30 (OK, there were initially 30, but I've tweaked the list slightly) steps I take to make an out-of-the-box 7D II ready for use.
 
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged battery available, you can continue to the battery-required steps without a wait.
  2. While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box. For me, this is primarily the camera, the neck strap and the Canon Solution Disk.
  3. Install Canon Solution Disk software to get support for the latest camera(s). Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility, Photostitch and Lens Registration Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
  4. Attach the neck strap.
  5. Insert the battery (after charging completes).
  6. Power the camera on.
  7. The date and time setup screen will show at startup the first time. Use the Rear Control dial and the Set button to update this information. The GPS feature, if enabled, should take care of precise date/time maintenance going forward.
  8. Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  9. Set the camera's mode to one other than fully auto (the GreenSquare+ mode only provides a small subset of available menu options), C1, C2 or C3 (Custom modes do not retain settings for use in other modes).
  10. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "–"
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Beep: Disable
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Disable/off
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses – all can be applied in DPP)
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed range: 100-H2(51200)
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Picture Style: Neutral with sharpness set to "1" (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows on the camera LCD. I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  20. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
  21. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Anti-flicker shoot: Enable
  22. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
  23. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus (same reason)
  24. AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
  25. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (flash portions of images that are overexposed)
  26. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
  28. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): 1X
  29. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  30. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Enable
  31. Custom Functions, Tab 3: Custom Controls: Set: Playback; Multicontroller: Direct AF point selection; AF area select lever: Direct AF area selection
  32. Custom Functions, Tab 4: Default erase option: [Erase] selected
  33. My Menu: Add tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for determining what time it is), Sensor cleaning
I of course make other menu and setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.
 
To copy this configuration would mean that you intend to shoot similar to how I shoot – including shooting in RAW-only format. While my setup works great for me (and Sean's setup is nearly identical), your best use of this list may be for tweaking your own setup.
 
If you can't remember your own menu setup parameters, keeping an update-to-date list such as this is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state. Your list will ensure that you do not miss an important setting while putting the camera back into service.
 
B&H has the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens in stock and I expect the body-only version to be available soon (preorder for earliest delivery).
Posted: 11/5/2014 8:51:05 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Posted to: Canon News
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