I’ve been asked to share my Canon EOS 5Ds R camera settings a number of times, so this is just a quick post to share a list of the main changes I make. There are other changes, but I feel these are the ones that are important to my shooting as a mainly landscape and wildlife photographer.
I’ve used the menu name from the camera for reference. For example, the first item is SHOOT2 which is the second of the menus with the Camera icon, on the far left.
I’ve also added my reason for selecting this setting in parenthesis after each setting.
Color space = Adobe RGB
(This gives the JPEG preview created a wider color space, and affects the histogram slightly, but because I shoot raw, it doesn’t make a difference for my final image)
Grid display = 3×3+diag
(I like to have these lines visible to help me with composition and to keep horizons straight when I’m hand-holding the camera.)
Case 2, but set Tracking sensitivity to -2, Accel./decel. tracking to 1 and AF pt auto switching to 0.
(I’ve found these to be the best settings to track wildlife and birds in flight, even against a contrasty background. If you don’t shoot these subjects, you’ll need to find your own best settings.)
AI Servo 1st image priority = Focus (far right)
AI Servo 2nd image priority = Focus (far right)
(Setting both of these to Focus can slow focusing down slightly, but I don’t want a photo that isn’t in focus anyway, so I’d rather take a frame-rate hit than get a bunch of out of focus images.)
One-Shot AF release priority = Focus
(Same reason as above.)
VF display illumination = Auto
While in the screen where you select Auto, hit the Q button and select Illuminated
(This makes the focus points display when focus is achieved.)
Highlight alert = Enable
(Displaying blown out highlights helps you to prevent, well, er, blown out highlights.)
Histogram dis = RGB
(I use a technique called Expose to the Right or ETTR, so I look at the histogram to check that the image information is almost touching the right side of the histogram, but the single Brightness histogram can be misleading, because it’s an average of all three colors. I turn on the RGB histogram and ensure that the right-most color is almost touching the right shoulder.)
Viewfinder display = Electronic level = Show, Grid display = Show, Show/hide in viewfinder = Everything on
The main thing here is having the Electronic level always displaying in the viewfinder. I just like to get my images level. Everything else is optional, but I turn it all on.)
Safety shit = OFF
(I don’t want the camera doing anything automatic. I just don’t.)
Multi function lock = Everything on
(I use this so that I can flick the Lock switch on the back of the camera, and it will lock my dials, so I can’t accidentally change my shutter speed or aperture, especially when I’m using a Black Rapid strap, with the camera dangling upside down. You have to disengage the Lock switch to make any changes, but I find this less annoying than finding I’m accidentally changed my shutter speed from 1/1000 to 1/15 and all of my images are supernova.)
Custom Controls = I set these up as in the following image…
(Again, this is totally up to you, but I like these settings. One of the main ones is setting the SET button to magnifying the image. Canon cameras used to have Zoom buttons easily accessible with your thumb, but since they removed these buttons, I use the SET button as you see below. Note too that I set the shutter button to only meter, and not activate the autofocus. I focus only with the back focus button. If you don’t use this technique, and don’t want to try it, I don’t recommend changing this.)
I also add the following items to My Menu. The main takeaway here is adding the Tracking sensitivity, Accel./decel. tracking and AF pt auto switching settings to this menu. This gives me easy access to these settings to tweak them as necessary for fast paces AI Servo shooting.
Note that many of these settings are available on earlier 5D cameras and many other Canon cameras.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.