Every photographer is familiar with the butterflies one gets post purchasing their new camera. The staggering speed at which the camera industry is flourishing means that you get an updated design with quite a few innovative features by the time you save up for a new camera.
The first step in experimenting with the new features of your beloved device is by setting it up. If you haven’t asked the salesman to set your camera up for you after purchasing it, you would have to do the seemingly tiring task. However, it isn’t as complicated as it seems, and with our guide, you and your new companion would be ready in no time.
Setting up a camera
Step 1: charge your battery.
Have you ever purchased a camera to get fired up to start shooting to realize that your camera is out of power? It is a nuisance. Therefore, the first task after unpacking your camera is to charge the battery. Most photographers keep a pre-charged battery with them if their old power source is compatible with the new device. In other cases, you need a cable to either plug it through the USB port or an external charger altogether. Check your manual to find the respective charging method.
Unfortunately, it takes several moments, i.e., hours, for the positive indicator to blink: the latter feature proves excellent in saving time. After it is fully powered, reinsert your battery or disconnect the cable from your USB port and keep it safe. The original chargers are costly and annoying to replace, so as a keynote, do not lose them.
Step 2: Set the calendar
Setting up the time and date is not mandatory, but we like covering each aspect of the setting up process. Most menus offer this setting as their first option, but others require photographers to scroll deep inside the settings for this option. As mentioned earlier, this isn’t compulsory, but we recommend doing this for better organization in your photo gallery. Imagine scrolling to find a picture you took yesterday in a previous decades section- not the best view.
Step 3: The memory card
The memory card is a part of most camera packages, but some photographers prefer buying one with additional storage. Usually, the compatible cards contain the label of either SDHC or SDXC. Whatever you chose, insert it in the memory card slot that is often located in the bottom plate of your camera. The task is relatively straightforward: insert the card and ensure it stays in place until you lock the slot. If the space does not close with ease, it means that you have inserted the card improperly: take it out and adjust the direction. A rule of thumb is that the cut-cornered side goes inside the slot first, but some cards feature distinct icons or labels to guide the amateur photographers.
Further on, you need to format the memory card. If you inserted the card correctly, your device would open a prompt box to introduce the card and create folders for storing the contents in your gallery. If the prompt box does not show up automatically, either reinsert your card or find the menu’s format option.
Step 4: Get used to the features
After completing the initial procedure, it is time to explore the new features and get used to the distinct layout. Most high-end cameras feature a mode dial with several options labeled with either initials or icons. We recommend you spare some moments and experiment with each mode to avoid embarrassment while shooting your subject. The most comfortable method to work with is Auto or A: you practically let the camera use its default settings to get a decent shot. On the other hand, the P mode grants you a lot more freedom by adjusting the flash and ISO settings.
Furthermore, there are Aperture and Shutter Priority modes for selecting your preferred lens aperture and shutter speed. We recommend using them only if you are aware of these settings to avoid shooting unpleasant images. However, professional photographers love experimenting with these modes because of the vast array of results.
Step 5: How do the images look?
Quite frankly, this step does not belong in the guide of setting up your camera. It is your responsibility to read the reviews of the image quality through the internet before purchasing your camera to avoid any nasty surprises later.
Firstly, search for File Typesetting and choose your default option to store images in: JPEG is the best bet for newbies. However, several options contain the JPEG file type in the title, thus selecting the highest quality. While Canon indicates the image quality using a quadrant and the letter ‘L,’ other devices might use the stars system: 5-stars for ultra-high-definition images.
Apart from JPEG, there is an option of RAW images: for photographers skilled at post-production editing. Moreover, they are heavier than JPEGs and practically useless if you don’t know how to process images. However, the range of flexibility with RAW images is quite impressive and ideal for high-contrast shots.
Step 6: Get used to the system
The final steps include testing your camera’s potential by experimenting with various ISO settings, the auto white balance system, and focusing. ISO range determines the light your camera needs to develop images with the bottom end producing the best results. As you go further up the field, your pictures may portray slight distortion and chromatic noise. According to the cameras, the performance varies: a good quality camera is capable of delivering stunning results at ISO6400.
Secondly, the white balance system is responsible for color reproduction: the Auto mode is ideal for a good color representation. While every camera delivers a satisfactory performance in this department, you may want to experiment with various lighting conditions to find the optimal white balance setting.
Further on, the focusing system is, by far, the most critical element of any camera. Each camera features a different AF system: it is in your best interest to practice shooting numerous images for a realistic estimate of its speed and accuracy to time your shots perfectly. Lastly, use the image stabilization system to test its effectiveness: poor performance may lead to an additional expense of purchasing a tripod or gimbal device.
We hope you found our guide helpful in setting up your new camera. Each camera comes up with a manual that provides detailed instructions on every step for a more straightforward setup.