GEAR TALK: The First 10 Things You Should Do When You Have a New Camera2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Was Santa kind to you? Did he bring you that brand new camera you’ve been drooling over for months? Before you run out and start shooting with it, here are 10 things you should do.
1. Read the Manual
I know I sound like Alex Cooke, supreme commander of the land of no fun, but don’t worry, I’m not saying you should grab that 400-page behemoth and pore over every last detail. Rather, it’s important to remember that today’s cameras are little technological wonders, full of features and quirks. Reading the manual can work to your advantage in two ways. First, it’s likely you’ll find some little feature of the camera that you didn’t even know it had. Second, it helps you get a feel for the quirks and operational tendencies of that specific camera. For example, when I first got my 1D X Mark II, my in-focus rate was much lower than I knew it should have been, so I pulled out the autofocus manual (the AF system on the 1D X is so crazy that it comes wth its own separate manual), and after learning a few things and making some adjustments, my keeper rate went way up. Spend an hour or so at least skimming the manual.
2. Customise the Controls
Most modern cameras have a ton of customisation capabilities, and it’s worth taking the time to set up custom functions with the controls to make your shooting life more enjoyable and efficient. For example, I shoot a lot of classical music, so instead of digging into the menus to turn on the silent shutter, I mapped it to the C2 button on my Sony a7R III. I can also access any AF settings I need without ever jumping into the menus via my custom functions, and that’s crucial to keeping me shooting as quickly as possible and not missing shots.