I was not in the habit of sharing my camera setup steps when initially receiving the Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera, but by request, I'm sharing them with you now.
Here are the 37 steps to how I setup my Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
- Open the box, find the battery and charger and plug it in. If you have another charged LP-E6/LP-E6N battery available, you can continue to the battery-required steps without a wait. Or, the supplied battery may have enough charge to take you through these steps if you can't wait.
- 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.
- Download and install the latest Canon EOS Solution Disk software on your computer 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.
- Attach the neck strap.
- Insert a sufficiently charged battery.
- Power the camera on.
- 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.
- Insert one (or two) memory card(s) (format them via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
- Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv or M (some modes provide only a small subset of available menu options).
- Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the cameras as follows:
- Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Rear Control dial to set JPEG to "-"
- Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec.
- Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Beep: Disable
- Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release without card: Disable/off (I highly recommend this setting)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Lens aberration correction: All disabled (though I suggest leaving CA correction enabled for most uses - all can be applied to a RAW file in DPP)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 2: ISO Speed Settings: ISO Speed range: L(50)-H1(51200), Auto ISO Speed range: 100-25600
- Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Disabled
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: 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 on the camera LCD.
I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Long exposure noise reduction: I usually have this option set to "Auto", but my choice varies for the situation.
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: High ISO speed noise reduction: Off (noise reduction is destructive to image details - I prefer to add NR sparingly in post)
- AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 1st image priority: Focus priority (I want the images in focus more than I want the time-priority capture)
- AF Menu, Tab 2: AI Servo 2nd image priority: Focus priority +2 (same reason)
- AF Menu, Tab 3: One-Shot AF release priority: Focus priority (same reason)
- AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Area + pt
- Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight alert: Enable (flash portions of images that are overexposed)
- Playback Menu, Tab 3: Histogram disp: RGB (I want to monitor all three color channels for blown or blocked pixels)
- Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification (apx): Actual size (from selected AF point)
- Setup Menu, Tab 1: Auto rotate: On/Computer only (this provides the largest playback image size on the camera LCD)
- Setup Menu, Tab 2: VF grid display: Enable
- Setup Menu, Tab 3: Info button display options: Electronic level only
- Setup Menu, Tab 4: Custom shooting mode (C1-C3): Auto update set: Enable (see also: Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
- Setup Menu, Tab 4: Copyright information: Type name as desired
- Custom Functions, Tab 1: Bracketing auto cancel: [Off] selected
- Custom Functions, Tab 2: Custom Controls: Set: Playback; Multicontroller: Direct AF point selection; Default erase option: [Erase] selected
- Custom Functions, Tab 3: Default erase option: [Erase] selected
- My Menu: Register the following options: Long exposure noise reduction, Mirror lockup, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring what time it is), Sensor cleaning, Expo.comp./AEB
- Mount a lens, focus on a subject and adjust the viewfinder diopter (if necessary)
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.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III