42 Steps to the Perfect Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Setup

As has become my routine, I recorded my initial Canon EOS-1D X Mark II configuration process upon receiving the camera. Following are the 42 steps I took to make the out-of-the-box Canon EOS-1D X Mark II ready for my use. I know, 42 is a big number. But, this camera is extremely configurable.
 
  1. Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged Canon LP-E19 (or LP-E4N) 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 eye cup, the neck strap and the Canon Solution Disk (still included in this box). I always take a moment to grip the camera, taking in the new-camera grippyness that is right up there with new car smell.
  3. Find the Canon EOS Solution Disk software (included on a DVD) and install it on your computer. Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility and Lens Registration Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
  4. Attach the neck strap (unless I am planning to use very large lenses)
  5. Record the camera's serial number and ensure that proper insurance coverage is in place.
  6. Important: Turn the vertical grip on (switch near top of vertical grip – why is this off by default?).
  7. Insert the battery (ideally, after charging completes).
  8. Power the camera on.
  9. 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.
  10. Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  11. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness Strength set to "1" (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram on the back of the camera that most-accurately shows me blown highlights and blocked shadows – I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: White balance: AWB-W (Auto: White priority)
  14. 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)
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Img type/size: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "-"
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed Settings: ISO Speed range: L(50)-H3(409600), Auto ISO Speed range: 100-512000
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
  20. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Image review: 4 sec.
  21. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Beep: Disable
  22. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Release without card: Disable/off (I highly recommend this setting change – it should be Canon's default)
  23. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Grid display: 3x3
  24. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
  25. AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus +2 (same reason)
  26. AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (enable the "blinkies", flash portions of image that are overexposed during image review)
  28. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Playback grid: 3x3
  29. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked details)
  30. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): 1X
  31. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the always-largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
  32. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Viewfinder display: Viewfinder level: Show, VF grid display: Enable, Show/hide in viewfinder: Flicker! only
  33. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Info button display options: Electronic level only
  34. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Custom shooting mode (C1-C3): Auto update set: Enable (see also: Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
  35. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Copyright information: Enter author's name: [enter name]
  36. Custom Functions, Tab 3: Restrict shooting modes: Enable all (adds C2 and C3)
  37. Custom Functions, Tab 4: Restrict drive modes: Disable: low speed continuous, Silent HS continuous, Silent LS continuous (I seldom use theses modes)
  38. Custom Functions, Tab 5: Rec card, img size setting: Off (I don't use this button. being able to turn it off prevents inadvertent changes)
  39. Custom Functions, Tab 6: Av setting without lens: On (allows me to prepare the camera for a specific, not-yet-mounted lens)
  40. Custom Functions, Tab 6: Custom Controls: AF-ON: One shot AI Servo; Set: Mag/Reduce; Multicontroller: Direct AF point selection; M-Fn2: One Shot/AI Servo
  41. Custom Functions, Tab 7: Default erase option: [Erase] selected
  42. My Menu: Add the first tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Anti-flicker shoot, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring 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, 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 up-to-date list such as this one is a good idea. Anytime your camera goes in for a service visit, the camera will be returned in a reset-to-factory state (unless you request otherwise). Your list will ensure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service.
 
More Information and To Order Your 1D X Mark II
 
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
 
Posted: 5/16/2016 10:44:05 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Posted to: Canon News
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