Hello everyone and welcome back to the new post! When you get a new camera, there is always a learning curve to understand what your camera can do, where to start, and it seems that the first few attempts always have some unpleasant surprises in store until you get your settings right. I will help you avoid this, because in this post I will talk about the settings that you should always change or deliberately set on each new camera, rather than relying on factory settings.

One of the most fundamental settings on any camera, and often the first setting in the menu, is shooting in RAW versus JPEG format. These are the two file types that your camera can use. RAW is like a digital negative, a raw and uncompressed version of a photo without any changes. As such, it is often a little dimmer and the files are very large. It is the best choice for image editing and getting the most out of the dynamic range of your photo. JPEGs have made some changes to the camera to make them look nice right from the start. This is the best option if you don’t want to worry about image editing, want a fast workflow and want to share your images quickly and easily on many platforms, such as sending them to your phone and immediately posting them on social media. JPEGs are also compressed, making files only a quarter the size of RAW files, so your memory card can hold more of them and you don’t need as much storage space on your computer.

Remember that if you choose JPEG, the appearance of the photo will be determined by the choice made in the menu of your camera. In canon, it is called Picture Styles, in Nikon, Picture Control, Fujil Film Simulation, and in Sony, Creative Style. Make sure you choose one that flirts with your photography style. Portrait mode gives less focus for softer skin tone, choose Vivid for brighter colors, Sunset mode for beautiful reds and oranges. You can even design your own. Choose what suits you.

If you want to benefit from the benefits of RAW files at a smaller file size, try out compressed RAW. I’ve tried it and it’s great, especially since the file size is half the size of RAW files.

Another fundamental setup in your camera is to tell it how you want autofocus to work. The two main AF modes are single and continuous. In single mode, when you press the focus button halfway down, the camera gains sharpness and locks it at this point, usually with a confirmation beep. This is the best setting if you are shooting inanimate objects or subjects that are not moving. But make sure they don’t move when you choose this setting. This is because if you take several shots in a row, your focus point will not follow your subject as it moves. The first photo may be sharp, but the rest in quick succession shots may not be.

If your subjects are usually moving, the best option is af constantly. This is the case of the AFC Nikon or Sony, the AI Servo in Canon, and on the Fuji camera, switch the focus switch to position C. In this way, your focus point constantly monitors the movement of your subject and moves with him. When you hold down the shutter button, the camera refocuses for each shot, keeping those shots sharp for sports, wildlife, motor sports or air shows, that’s what you want.

If you want to quickly switch between the two when you change subjects, some cameras allow you to program a button to switch between the two.

Some of the features that are really useful, but often not enabled in the default settings, are level and composition grids. The level is just a great feature in any camera for many genres. For photography of landscapes and architecture, this is extremely useful, since in these photographs the imbalance is immediately striking, if you do not do it for artistic purposes. Even I, as a wildlife photographer, am often on the ground crawling to get a low angle, and being halfway turned around when I do, and which direction is up, suddenly becomes difficult. The level allows me to get shots of my subjects, where the horizon is flat behind them.

Composition grids are another tool that helps you frame and compose your shots by displaying useful framing and composition tools on your LCD screen or viewfinder. Most models offer you a rule thirds grid, but some also offer intersecting lines or 6×6 grids. If your photography style requires you to get the composition right already at the time the photo was taken, they can help you by giving you instructions on where to place the important lines and horizons in your photo. For example, for a landscape shot with a beautiful sky, you can decide that the photo consists of two-thirds of the sky and one-third of the Earth, while for a boring sky, the photo may be better at two-thirds of the earth and one-third of the sky. The composition is your choice.

Here is another setting that you should deliberately set, and that is the number of focusing points. Most cameras allow switching between one or more focus points. These points, when placed on top of the target, help the camera focus on that target. If your subjects are easy to follow and you place your focus points or want a lot of accuracy, like placing a focus point over your eye, choose one focus point. If your subjects are constantly in motion, it can sometimes be too difficult to place one focus point on the subject. This is the time when multiple focus points improve the likelihood that one of them will hit your target. Some cameras now have a subject or eye tracking option. This is a great choice if you are shooting portraits, pets, your children playing sports, or wild animals, as often the eye or the subject’s body is the point of focus that you want to see in the photo. Choose this option for these types of photography. Like some of the other options we discussed, you can change it day by day. Find out if your camera allows you to change them using the camera buttons and disks, rather than sobbing in the menu, really speeding up this option.

One of the settings that I rarely find useful to be in the default settings is the ability to rotate images taken in vertical orientation, that is, in portrait mode, so that they remain upright when you turn the camera back to a horizontal position. While this may work for some people, the problem is that the resulting image is tiny back on the LCD, making it really difficult to review your image. You can turn it off so that when you look back at your image on the LCD, it remains the size of an entire LCD. Now you may want it to stay vertical when you turn the camera back to horizontal, and if so, that’s great. I prefer to look at my pictures in full screen vertical. At Canon it is called Auto Rotate, at Nikon it is called Rotate Tall, at Sony it is called Display Rotation and at Fuji it is called Auto Rotate Playback Display.

It’s not difficult: many cameras make all kinds of beeps, especially when focusing is achieved or maybe when the shutter starts. In many cases, this is just a personal preference, but if you are a wild animal photographer, or you take pictures at a chess competition, or you are a photographer at a wedding ceremony, camera beeps can be annoying. Just turn them off in your camera menu.

Another setting for which you want to choose consciously is how many photos you want the camera to take when you press the shutter button: one or more. Most cameras allow you to choose between one frame at a time and a high frame rate, and maybe in the middle of the setup, where it keeps you shooting, but not with too many frames per second. If you want to take pictures intentionally and with intent, rather than taking more photos than you need, choose one frame. If, on the other hand, the probability of getting an excellent frame, an excellent posture, the moment when the ball hits the bat or a unique moment when caught is increased with a high frame rate, set the camera to high-speed frame-taking mode. My camera takes 12 frames per second, and as a wildlife and Wildlife Photographer, it allows me to catch just the right moment or pose, which makes the shot special. But when I’m out shooting night landscapes, all I need is one shot at a time, so I set my camera to single-frame mode.

When you get a new camera or borrow from a friend, one device you need to make is sometimes overlooked and people wonder why the view in the viewfinder isn’t sharp. This is because the cameras have an adjustment in the viewfinder to compensate for our different vision, called diopter correction. Binoculars have it too. This allows you to adjust the viewfinder according to your vision and Best see the image and the settings displayed there. It’s not difficult, just find the diopter correction ring, look into the viewfinder and make adjustments until the image looks sharp. Note that sometimes it can accidentally shift or change, as happens to me when I wear gloves in winter. If your viewfinder starts to lose sharpness, this should be the first thing you check.

One great feature that many people don’t use is the ability of most cameras to allow the user to customize the file names of photos written on the card. On many cameras, you can even set up two profiles if multiple users use the same camera. You can use them later on your computer to identify photos, track who is using which memory card, or even start a new naming convention when you start a new project or trip to help you keep track of which of those photos are for which project. This should be easy with the new camera, as you should ask for it the first time you start it.

Setting the date and time zone should be easy on the new camera, as you should ask for it the first time you turn it on. If you don’t, you can later try to figure out which photos belong to which trip or which project or shoot, and you will have to go through the photos.

Sign in
Cart (0)

No products in the cart. No products in the cart.