42 Steps to the Ultimate Canon EOS R3 Setup

The Canon EOS R3 arrived and needed set up for use. Following are the steps I took to make an out-of-the-box R3 ready for use (subject to change as I acclimate to the camera).

  1. Open the box, record the serial number and add the camera to your insurance policy (you're covered, right?)
  2. find the battery, place it in the charger, and plug it in.
  3. While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box.
  4. Not required, but consider downloading and installing the latest Canon imaging software to ensure support for your camera model. Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP) and EOS Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
  5. Insert a memory card (we'll format the card in a later step), insert a charged battery, and power the camera on.
  6. The date, time, and time zone setup screen will show at the first startup. Use the rear control dial and set button to update this information.
  7. Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
  8. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Img type/size: Use the top control dial to set RAW to "RAW", and use the rear control dial to set JPEG to "-" (RAW image files provide the highest quality and are especially valuable for post-processing)
  9. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: White balance: AWB W (White) (I seldom use another white balance setting while shooting, though I often adjust white balance modestly during post-processing)
  10. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Picture Style: Neutral with Sharpness = 1 (Note: the low contrast "Neutral" picture style provides a histogram that best shows the available dynamic range. I usually change the Picture Style to "Standard" in DPP after capture.)
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 4: Lens Aberration Correction: All options "OFF" (Includes Peripheral illumination correction, Distortion correction, Digital lens optimizer, Chromatic aberration correction, and Diffraction correction. I suggest that most photographers enable Chromatic Aberration correction)
  12. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: High ISO speed NR: Low (or Off) (noise reduction is destructive to images details - I prefer to add noise reduction sparingly during post-processing)
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 7: Release shutter without card: OFF (only in a retail store would you want to press the shutter release without saving the image file)
  14. Shooting Menu, Tab 8: Image review: Review duration: 4 sec. (the Viewfinder review option is disabled by default, speeding the shooting process)
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: Screen info. settings: Enable 1, 2, 3, and 4; edit screen 2 to show only: Basic shooting info and Electronic level; edit screen 3 to show only: Basic shooting info, Histogram, and Electronic level
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: VF info/toggle setting: Enable 1, 2, and 3 (default); edit screen 2 to show only: Electronic level; edit screen 3 to show only: Histogram and Electronic level
  17. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: Grid display: 3x3 (sometimes the 3x3 grid is helpful for alignment checking while not complicating the view)
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: Histogram disp: RGB, Small (show the brightness levels of each channel separately and do not let the graph to take up much space in the display as it can affect the perceived composition)
  19. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Disp performance: select Smooth if shooting fast action and battery life is not a concern. Select Power saving otherwise.
  20. AF Menu, Tab 1: Subject to detect: Select People, Animals, Vehicles, or None as makes sense for your current shooting scenario
  21. AF Menu, Tab 4: Limit AF Areas: Enable Spot AF, 1-point AF, Flexible Zone AF 1, and Whole area AF (along with any others you plan to use)
  22. AF Menu, Tab 4: Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Pt only (instructs the camera to individually save the selected AF points for vertical and horizontal orientation)
  23. AF Menu, Tab 5: MF peaking settings: On
  24. AF Menu, Tab 6: RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity: Linked to rotation degree
  25. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification: 10x; Maintain position: Enable (allows one button press during playback to zoom deeply into the image and maintains the position within the image when changing images)
  26. Playback Menu, Tab 5: Playback information display: 1, 2, and 3 only; change view 2 histogram to RGB
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 5: Highlight Alert: Enable (overexposed and nearly overexposed pixels will blink during image review)
  28. Networking Menu, Tab 1: Airplane mode: On
  29. Tools Menu, Tab 1: Format card (always format a memory card in-camera before using it — all data on the card will be lost)
  30. 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)
  31. Tools Menu, Tab 2: Beep: Disable (probably no one wants to hear your camera's beep)
  32. Tools Menu, Tab 4: Eye control: calibrate (follow instructions to set up this feature)
  33. Tools Menu, Tab 5: Custom shooting mode (C1, C2, C3): Auto update set: Enable (see Configuring Custom Shooting Modes); To use C2 and C3, this setting is required: Custom Functions Menu, Tab 2: Restrict metering modes: Enable C1 and C2
  34. Tools Menu, Tab 5: Copyright information: enter as desired
  35. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 1: Bracketing auto cancel: OFF (I want to control when AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) is enabled and disabled)
  36. 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 quickly securing the first frame)
  37. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Customize buttons: Multi-function button: C (toggles between custom mode 1, 2, and 3 and the previously selected mode and settings); Smart controller: Direct AF point selection; AF point button: Direct AF method selection;
  38. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 6: Default erase option: [Erase] selected (less safe, but one less step press required to delete an image)
  39. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 7: Retract lens on power off: OFF (prevents a carefully-selected focus distance from resetting when the camera auto powers off)
  40. My Menu: Add My Menu 1; Register the following options: Expo.comp./AEB, IS (Image Stabilizer) mode, Display (exposure) simulation, Subject to detect, Subject tracking, Format card; reorder menu items as desired
  41. My Menu: Add My Menu 2; Register the following options:, Date/Time/Zone (primarily for monitoring the time), Anti-flicker shooting, Focus bracketing, Shutter mode, Disp. performance, Number of bracketed shots; reorder menu items as desired
  42. With a lens mounted and a subject focused on, adjust the viewfinder diopter until the scene is sharp

I make additional menu and other setting changes based on current shooting scenarios, but this list covers my initial camera setup process.

To copy this configuration means you intend to shoot as I do - including in RAW-only format. While this setup works great for me, you should adjust your setup as needed.

If you can't remember your menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a great idea. Anytime your camera is reset to factory state for some reason, such as when being serviced or when acquiring an additonal camera, you will be ready to create your setup quickly while ensuring that an important setting is not omitted. If you purchase another same or similar camera, you will be able to set it up quickly. Consider saving the camera settings to a card (Tools menu, tab 5, Save/load cam settings on card) for an easy restore.

More Information

Canon EOS R3

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Posted: 11/10/2021 8:21:19 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
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