44 Steps to the Ultimate Canon EOS R8 Setup

The Canon EOS R8 is here, and it is time to set up this camera for use. Following are the 44 steps taken to prepare an out-of-the-box EOS R8.

  1. Record serial number, and add camera to the insurance policy
  2. Open the box, find the battery, place it in the charger, and plug it in.
  3. Consider downloading and installing the latest Canon imaging software to gain support for the latest camera model(s). Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility, and Lens Registration Utility are the options I include in the install.
  4. Insert a memory card (we'll format the card in a later step), insert a charged battery, and power the camera on.
  5. 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.
  6. Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv, or M (some modes may provide only a subset of available menu options) and press the menu button.
  7. Shooting Menu, Tab 1: Image quality: 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 work)
  8. 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)
  9. 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.)
  10. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: Lens Aberration Correction: All options "OFF" (I suggest that most photographers enable Chromatic Aberration correction)
  11. Shooting Menu, Tab 5: High ISO speed NR: Low (noise reduction is destructive to images details, so I prefer to add noise reduction sparingly during post-processing)
  12. 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)
  13. Shooting Menu, Tab 8: Image review: Review duration: 4 sec. (the Viewfinder review option is disabled by default, speeding the shooting process)
  14. 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
  15. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: VF info/toggle setting: Enable 1, 2, and 3 (the default); edit screen 2 to show only: Electronic level; edit screen 3 to show only: Histogram and Electronic level
  16. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Shooting info. disp.: Grid display: 3x3 (sometimes the 3x3 grid is helpful for alignment checking while not complicating the view)
  17. 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)
  18. Shooting Menu, Tab 9: Disp performance: Smooth (select Smooth if shooting fast action and battery life is not a concern, and Power saving otherwise.)
  19. AF Menu, Tab 1: Subject to detect: Select Auto, People, Animals, Vehicles, or No priority as makes sense for your current shooting scenario
  20. AF Menu, Tab 4: Touch & drag AF settings: Touch & drag AF: Enable (allows the thumb drag across the rear LCD to quickly move the AF point while looking through the electronic viewfinder)
  21. AF Menu, Tab 4: Limit AF methods: enable Spot AF, Single Point, and Whole area AF (fewer options means faster changing between these options)
  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 (forces linear MF adjustment)
  25. Playback Menu, Tab 3: Magnification: 10x (allows one button press during playback to zoom deeply into the image)
  26. Playback Menu, Tab 4: Playback information display: 1, 2, and 3 only; change view 2 histogram to RGB (fewer options means faster changing between these options)
  27. Playback Menu, Tab 4: Highlight Alert: Enable (overexposed pixels will blink during image review)
  28. Set-up Menu, Tab 1: Format card (always format a memory card in-camera before using it – all data on the card will be lost)
  29. Set-up 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)
  30. Set-up Menu, Tab 2: Mode guide: Disable (novices may appreciate this feature)
  31. Set-up Menu, Tab 2: Feature guide: Disable (novices may appreciate this feature)
  32. Set-up Menu, Tab 2: Beep: Disable (probably no one wants to hear your camera's beep)
  33. Set-up Menu, Tab 3: Power saving: Screen dimmer: Disable (I found the dimmer to be annoying - the LCD is as useful off as dimmed)
  34. Set-up Menu, Tab 5: Custom shooting mode (C1, C2): Auto update set: Enable (see Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
  35. Set-up Menu, Tab 5: Copyright information: enter as desired
  36. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 1: Bracketing auto cancel: OFF (I want to control when AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) is enabled and disabled)
  37. 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 getting the first frame)
  38. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 3: Customize buttons: Multi-function button: Dial function and press info to set details: Top row: 1. Drive mode, 2. One Shot - Servo, 3. Exp. comp, 4. Off, 5: Off; Bottom row: 1. ISO, 2. AF area, 3. Flash exp. comp, 4. Off, 5: Off
  39. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 3: Customize dials: Control ring: OFF (consider using this dial for a function logical for your needs)
  40. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Default erase option: [Erase] selected (less safe, but one less button press required to delete an image)
  41. Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Retract lens on power off: OFF (prevents a carefully-selected focus distance from resetting when the camera auto powers off)
  42. My Menu: Add My Menu 1; Register the following options: Expo.comp./AEB, Display simulation, Subject to detect, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring the time); reorder menu items as desired
  43. My Menu: Add My Menu 2; Register the following options: Anti-flicker shoot., RAW burst mode, Focus bracketing, Shutter mode, Number of bracketed shots, reorder menu items as desired
  44. 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 optimally for me, you should adjust the camera setup to your needs.

If you can't remember your menu setup parameters, keeping an up-to-date list such as this one is a great idea. Anytime the camera is set to the factory state, such as when serviced or when acquiring an additional camera, you will be ready to create your setup quickly, while ensuring that an important setting is not omitted.

More Information

Canon EOS R8

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Posted: 3/1/2023 8:38:49 AM ET   Posted By: Bryan
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