It was like Christmas in July when the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 arrived in the same box.
While these two cameras (and most others) come preconfigured for immediate and easy use, serious photographers need to set the camera up for the way they work.
Following are the 42 steps I took to make an out-of-the-box R5 and R6 ready for use.
- Open the box, find the battery, place it in the charger, and plug it in.
- While the battery is charging, unpack the other items you want from the box.
- Not required, but consider downloading and installing the latest Canon imaging software
to get support for the latest camera model(s).
Canon Digital Photo Pro (DPP), EOS Utility, and Lens Registration Utility are the options I manually include in the install.
- Attach the neck strap (if using).
- Insert a memory card (we'll format the card in a later step), insert a charged battery, and power the camera on.
- 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.
- Set the camera's mode to Av, Tv, or M (some modes may provide only a subset of available menu options).
- Scroll through all of the menu tabs to configure the camera as follows:
- 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)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: White balance: AWB W (White) (I seldom use another white balance setting while shooting, though I often adjust white balance modestly during post-processing)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: 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.)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 3: Lens Aberration Correction: All options "OFF" (I suggest that most photographers enable Chromatic Aberration correction)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 4: High ISO speed NR: Off (or Low) (noise reduction is destructive to images details — I prefer to add noise reduction sparingly during post-processing)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 6: Release shutter without card: OFF (only in a retail store would you want to press the shutter release without saving the image file)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 7: Image review: Review duration: 4 sec. (the Viewfinder review option is disabled by default, speeding the shooting process)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 7: 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
- Shooting Menu, Tab 7: 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
- Shooting Menu, Tab 7: Shooting info. disp.: Grid display: 3x3 (sometimes the 3x3 grid is helpful for alignment checking while not complicating the view)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 7: 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)
- Shooting Menu, Tab 8: Disp performance: * select Smooth if shooting fast action and battery life is not a concern. Select Power saving otherwise.
- AF Menu, Tab 1: Subject to detect: Select People, Animals, or No priority as makes sense for your current shooting scenario
- AF Menu, Tab 1: 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)
- 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)
- AF Menu, Tab 4: Limit AF methods: enable Face+Tracking, Spot AF, and Single Point
- AF Menu, Tab 5: RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity: Linked to rotation degree
- Playback Menu, Tab 4: Magnify (apx): 10x (allows one button press during playback to zoom deeply into the image)
- Playback Menu, Tab 5: Playback information display: 1, 2, and 3 only; change view 2 histogram to RGB
- Playback Menu, Tab 5: Highlight Alert: Enable (overexposed pixels will blink during image review)
- Tools Menu, Tab 1: Format card (always format a memory card in-camera before using it — all data on the card will be lost)
- 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)
- Tools Menu, Tab 2: Beep: Disable (probably no one wants to hear your camera's beep)
- Tools Menu, Tab 5: Custom shooting mode (C1, C2, C3): Auto update set: Enable (see Configuring Custom Shooting Modes)
- Tools Menu, Tab 6: Copyright information: enter as desired
- Custom Functions Menu, Tab 1: Bracketing auto cancel: OFF (I want to control when AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) is enabled and disabled)
- 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)
- Custom Functions Menu, Tab 3: Customize buttons: AF point button: Direct AF method selection; Set: Magnify; Multicontrollers: Direct AF point selection; Multi-function button: Dial function and press info to set details: turn off ISO (it is readily available on the dial), turn off white balance, turn off flash exposure compensation, enable exposure compensation, turn off AF method
- Custom Functions Menu, Tab 3: Customize dials: Control ring: OFF (consider using this dial for a function logical for your needs)
- Custom Functions Menu, Tab 4: Default erase option: [Erase] selected (less safe, but one less button press required to delete an image)
- 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)
- My Menu: Add My Menu 1; Register the following options: Expo.comp./AEB, IS (Image Stabilizer) mode, Expo. simulation, Subject to detect, Format card, Date/Time/Zone (great for monitoring the time); reorder menu items as desired
- My Menu: Add My Menu 2; Register the following options: Anti-flicker shoot., Focus bracketing, Shutter mode, Disp. performance, Focus mode, Number of bracketed shots, reorder menu items as desired
- 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 similar to how I shoot — including 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 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, you will be ready to restore your setup quickly while ensuring that you do not miss an important setting.
If you purchase another same or similar camera, you will be able to set it up quickly.
Canon EOS R5 | Canon EOS R6
Order the Canon EOS R5 from:
| Amazon USA
w/ RF 24-105 L: B&H
| Amazon USA
Rent the Canon EOS R5 from
Order the Canon EOS R6 from:
| Amazon USA
w/ RF 24-105 STM: B&H
| Amazon USA
w/ RF 24-105 L: B&H
| Amazon USA
Rent the Canon EOS R6 from