10 Camera Settings You Should Always Think About Changing

Modern cameras are remarkably capable machines, and with all those capabilities come a veritable plethora of options, features, and customizations, and it's well worth taking the time to explore them to customize your camera and make it work better for your personal shooting style and needs. This excellent video discusses 10 settings you should consider changing on your camera.

Coming to you from Tony and Chelsea Northrup, this great video discusses 10 camera settings you should consider changing to improve your workflow and image quality. Of the tips, I think taking the time to customize your buttons and create a custom menu is imperative. Whenever you have to take your eye from the viewfinder and dive deep into the menu system of your camera, it interrupts your creative process by distracting you from the task at hand, and it can also cause you to miss a shot if you're not quick enough. I absolutely love how I have set up the custom buttons on my cameras, and I can do 99% of my shooting without ever entering the menu, which makes me much quicker and more able to focus on whatever it is I'm photographing. Check out the video above for all the helpful tips. 

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12 Comments

Did he say I should put the camera in JPG mode? How about that the ISO does not matter? Did he cover those issues? He is not someone I would trust for adjusting camera settings.

He said he set the camera to RAW unless there are two card slots, then he sets the (often slower) second card to write to JPG for speed and review in the field on mobile devices.

Matt Williams's picture

He definitely has questionable (or outright wrong) opinions about things but nah, here he's totally reasonable. Some of the things he suggests may not be for everyone, like back button focusing. But they aren't wrong. He suggests RAW to one card and JPEG to the other if the other is a slower speed slot. I shoot RAW + JPEG to both cards because I don't shoot fast enough for it to matter. But, he's not wrong. Just depends on whether JPEG is a sufficient back up for you or not.

I wouldn't trust him with anything having to do with a camera.

Rob Davis's picture

Please don’t make me look at Fred Armisen‘s cousin from Florida anymore.

It's a good quick-start list of initial move-in customizations I'd recommend to anyone new to contemporary digital cameras. Well done.

Kirk Darling's picture

Can't shoot without a memory card? Since I've been taking pictures, fifty years now, I've always spent time "dry firing"--learning the camera, training muscle memory--when sitting around doing nothing much else. I could put in a card for that...but why? Who is going to ignore that big "no card" sign in the viewfinder for a real shoot? That would imply someone who is not looking at the image before shooting very well at all.

I use C1 C2 C3 for fast settings recall C1 is Aperture Priority, auto iso, one shot focus, single shot, C2 is Shutter Speed Priority, Auto iso, AI servo, High speed drive, C3 Manual, 200 ISO, one shot focus, single shot.
C1 is for slow low light performance, C2 is high movement performance and C3 is for flash work.
I also turn off metering modes, drive modes and capture modes like bulb and P mode

Robert Nurse's picture

For me, Back-button and Continuous AF are a must!

I like to spot, lock and recompose. I work on Canon 1d x and mk2 and I pretty sure eye tracking focus would drive me nuts. we all work differently and I use the AF button on the back to briefly swap focusing modes. Most of the time I cant stand AI servo, but it has its uses

Oh boy, Sony has a complex menu system... it's not complex but bullsh.... And using the so important 2nd memory card on a sony slows down the camera significantly. As long as Sony keeps the 2nd slot for using there museum Memory Stick compatible the 2nd slot is just useless.

5:55 - Who deletes pictures in-camera? Seems like a great way to end up with a corrupted card. Other than that I do almost everything the same as the video.
- I always disable the annoying beep, nobody else needs to hear when I lock focus, plus I can see that in the viewfinder anyway.
- Back-button-focus is always on for me as well, started using it with the Canon 30D and I've been in back-button-focus mode ever since.
- I always shoot raw+JPEG and with dual card slots I always record both raw+JPEG to both cards. Why rely on JPEG images as a backup for raw images when you can record raw images to both cards anyway? If I want to get a JPEG to my phone in the field it's easier to transfer the image wirelessly.
- ISO expansion is always turned on for me as well, never know when you'll need ISO 50, but I never use auto-ISO.
- Single-point AF is a must for me as well and I alternate between continuous (servo) and single shot AF modes.
- I always prevent the camera from shooting without a memory card. I think the only reason to use this is if you're shooting tethered and you really trust your cable & computer.
- It's 2019 and I'm still shooting 1080p video because I don't shoot a ton of video, nor do I want to deal with the overhead of 4k video so I set my video to 1080p 24fps.
- Customized menus are the BEST! I don't want to dive through menus for things that I use often so the customized menu is where my camera lives.
Things I want to access easily:
"HIGHLIGHT ALERT" - want to be able to quickly turn on/off
"CUSTOM WHITE BALANCE"
"FORMAT CARD"
"CUSTOM SHOOTING MODES (C1-C3)"
Those are my top four items and I have a separate tab for video-related functions.