40 Steps to the Perfect Canon EOS R Setup

After opening the Canon EOS R box, it is time to set up the camera for use. Following are the 40 steps I took to make a new EOS R ready for use.

  1. Open the box, find the battery, place it in the charger and plug it in.
  2. While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box.
  3. Download and install the Canon Solution Disk software on your computer to get support for the latest camera(s). 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.
  5. Insert the battery (after charging completes) and power the camera on.
  6. The date, time and time zone setup screen will show at the first startup. Use the rear Cross Keys and Set button to update this information.
  7. Insert a memory card (don't forget to format the card via the tools menu option before taking pictures).
  8. Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv or M (some modes provide only a small subset of available menu options).
  9. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
  10. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: Use top dial to set RAW to "RAW" and Cross Keys to set JPEG to "-" (RAW image files provide the highest quality and are especially valuable for post processing work)
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image review: 4 sec. (or sometimes off to increase shooting speed in the field)
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Release shutter without card: Disable (only in a retail store do you want to press the shutter release without saving the image file)
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 2: Lens Aberration Correction: All options "OFF" (though Chromatic Aberration correction is a good option to leave enabled for most)
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off (I'll make these adjustments in post if needed)
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: White balance: AWB W (White) (I seldom use another white balance setting while shooting, though I often adjust modestly during post processing)
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness = 2 (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.)
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: Long exp. noise reduction: Auto (when active, LENR captures a dark image that is used to correct the long exposure noise in the primary image)
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: High speed NR: Off (or Low) (noise reduction is destructive to images details – I prefer to add noise reduction sparingly during post processing)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 6: High speed display: ON (note that the camera must be set to high speed frame rate to enable this option)
  20. AF Menu, Tab 1: AF frame size: Small (this allows me to precisely select the point of focus – I opt for the larger frame size if contrast is not sufficient (seldom) and Face Tracking with Eye AF is usually optimal for photographing people)
  21. AF Menu, Tab 1: Touch & drag AF settings: Touch & drag AF: Enable (allows a thumb drag across the rear LCD to quickly move the AF point while looking through the electronic viewfinder)
  22. AF Menu, Tab 5: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Pt only (instructs camera to individually save the selected AF points for vertical and horizontal orientation)
  23. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Highlight Alert: Enable (causes overexposed pixels to blink)
  24. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnify (approx.): Actual size (allows one button press during playback to zoom deeply into the image)
  25. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Auto Rotate: On computer (images are properly rotated when viewed on a computer, but are always oriented to fill the LCD when viewed on the camera)
  26. Tools Menu, Tab 3: Beep: Disable (probably no one wants to hear your focus confirmation beep)
  27. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Shooting info. display: Screen info. settings: Enable 1 and 3
  28. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Shooting info. display: VF info/toggle setting: Enable 1 and 3
  29. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Shooting info. display: Grid display: 3x3 (sometimes helpful for alignment checking)
  30. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Shooting info. display: Histogram disp: RGB, Small (I want to see the brightness levels of each channel separately and don't want the graph to take up much space in the display)
  31. Tools Menu, Tab 6: Custom shooting mode (C1, C2): Auto update set: Enable (see Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
  32. Tools Menu, Tab 6: Copyright information: enter as desired
  33. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 1: Bracketing auto cancel: OFF (I want to control when AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) is enabled and disabled)
  34. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 1: Bracketing sequence: -0+ (if images are captured in brightness sequence, they are easier to work with during post processing. Capturing the darkest image first means that I quickly get at least the first frame)
  35. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 3: RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity: Linked to rotation degree (I do not like variable speed AF rings)
  36. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Customize buttons: Up, Down, Left and Right buttons: Direct AF point selection
  37. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Customize M-Fn bar: ISO speed, ISO <, ISO >
  38. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 5: Retract lens on power off: OFF (avoids having a carefully-selected focus distance from resetting when camera auto powers off)
  39. My Menu: Add the first tab; Register the following options for Tab 1: Expo. simulation, Long exposure noise reduction, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring what time it is), Sensor cleaning, Expo.comp./AEB (found back up near the top of the list) (nothing in my My Menu is found on the Quick Control display as those functions are already quickly accessed)
  40. With a lens mounted and a subject focused on, adjust the viewfinder diopter until the scene is sharp
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). If your camera ever needs reset to factory settings for other reasons, you will be ready to restore your setup quickly while ensuring that you do not miss an important setting. Your list will ensure that you do not miss an important setting when putting the camera back into service. And, if you purchase another same or similar camera, you will be able to quickly set it up.

More Information

The Canon EOS R is in stock at B&H | Amazon | Adorama

Posted: 10/8/2018 6:52:18 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
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