What camera settings do you set?

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GivenToFly Junior Member • Posts: 48
What camera settings do you set?
1

Hey, all!! I would be interested in knowing what camera settings do you set manually. I'm thinking of this question in terms of two categories. First, which settings do you manually set, while shooting, periodically? I'm randomly defining "periodically" as at least 10% of the time. Obviously, that 10% threshold is meant just as a rough guide; I don't expect anyone to know exactly what percentage of the time do they set shutter speed. So examples of settings that you might set periodically would be aperture, ISO, or shutter speed. Anything else? (If you set picture settings, just saying picture settings in general without naming the specific ones would be very helpful to know.)

The second category of settings would be something you set once and never go to again, or almost never go to again, and typically wouldn't change during actual shooting. So even if you select a setting to auto when you first took the camera out of the box, that would fall into this category. Examples here could be slowest shutter speed or highest ISO.

I'm asking to think through what I need to think about when taking photos (both, settings I might select while shooting, and settings that I might select once and then be done with), so any info you offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested only in stills and not video. It also would be useful to know if you typically shoot in RAW or JPEG. If you only answer to one or the other category, and even if you only answer briefly and not completely (i.e., if you don't reference RAW vs JPEG), that would still be very, very helpful.

I cross-posted this in other forums. I hope that's ok!!

Thank you very much!!!

Erik Baumgartner Senior Member • Posts: 1,420
Re: What camera settings do you set?
1

GivenToFly wrote:

Hey, all!! I would be interested in knowing what camera settings do you set manually. I'm thinking of this question in terms of two categories. First, which settings do you manually set, while shooting, periodically? I'm randomly defining "periodically" as at least 10% of the time. Obviously, that 10% threshold is meant just as a rough guide; I don't expect anyone to know exactly what percentage of the time do they set shutter speed. So examples of settings that you might set periodically would be aperture, ISO, or shutter speed. Anything else? (If you set picture settings, just saying picture settings in general without naming the specific ones would be very helpful to know.)

The second category of settings would be something you set once and never go to again, or almost never go to again, and typically wouldn't change during actual shooting. So even if you select a setting to auto when you first took the camera out of the box, that would fall into this category. Examples here could be slowest shutter speed or highest ISO.

I'm asking to think through what I need to think about when taking photos (both, settings I might select while shooting, and settings that I might select once and then be done with), so any info you offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested only in stills and not video. It also would be useful to know if you typically shoot in RAW or JPEG. If you only answer to one or the other category, and even if you only answer briefly and not completely (i.e., if you don't reference RAW vs JPEG), that would still be very, very helpful.

I cross-posted this in other forums. I hope that's ok!!

Thank you very much!!!

It would help if you gave us some idea of what you will be primarily shooting, there are a million different ways to set things up, and what makes sense and works efficiently for me, might not necessarily make the most sense for you.
Erik

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lensfungus Regular Member • Posts: 148
Re: What camera settings do you set?
1

ISO: 200 if I'm in daylight, otherwise AUTO
Sutter: Auto, unless I want to deliberately blur/freeze action for effect
Aperture: Set depending on what I'm shooting, f8 generally, less in low light, f2 to throw background out of focus
Drive: I have a button assigned for this, generally Single frame, but will occasionally use Continuous (something moving quickly I don't want to miss) or a 2 sec timer (eg if on tripod/rest).
Autofocus: Again, I have a button assigned for this, normally use single-centre-point AFS, but occasionally toggle to face/eye detect.
Focus mode: There's a toggle on my camera - manual for landscape, auto otherwise.
Everything else is set & forget.

Tom Schum
Tom Schum Veteran Member • Posts: 8,885
Re: What camera settings do you set?
3

Here are some comments about my settings, but I would not expect them to all appeal to you, not knowing your preferences.

1. Any touch-screen functionality is turned off.

2. Always save Raw+JPG.

3. SRGB color format (not Adobe).  I experimented with Adobe for a while, and it can be interesting but I've settled on SRGB.

4. Manual focus highlighting color red, strength depends on lens used and can be either low or high. But, I usually use manual non-electronic lenses not made by Fuji. If you use autofocus all the time, you wouldn't care about this.

5. Noise suppression set to minimum (-4 in X-T3). I like clarity and noise doesn't bother me. Noise suppression will reduce clarity at high ISO.

6. I like a little bit of grain in my JPGs, makes me less fanatical about sharpness (or noise, if noise bothers you), and more easily satisfied with my shots as I chimp. This grain disappears when opening raws.

7. The film sims and color, shadow, sharpness, and highlight settings affect the way the raw image looks when opened on the computer. I'm still fine tuning my preferences here. Monochrome helps me concentrate on composition, Color helps me when composition is secondary. All a matter of preference though.

8. Focus assist light is always turned off. Too distracting for bystanders.

9. Camera noises such as focus confirmation beeps are all set to minimum volume. My only exception to this is the shutter timer, if I ever need it. Again, done to reduce distraction for bystanders.

10. (not a setting) I try to use the fastest SD card I can easily afford. Smaller storage size is OK. For example I could get speed affordably but not size, so I chose 32GB cards. This is great for shooting, and I usually empty the cards after a session.

11. (not a setting) Batteries last longer if discharged then charged, rather than being topped off every day. So, I carry a spare battery and then charge the depleted one later.

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Tom Schum
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OP GivenToFly Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: What camera settings do you set?

Thanks!!  Street, architecture, landscape, and travel.

SpeedyNeo
SpeedyNeo Regular Member • Posts: 396
Re: What camera settings do you set?

My default settings that I found convenient:

Auto ISO up to 12500 with minimum shutter speed of 125

Exposure compensation button on C mode with front wheel set to change exposure

Classic Chrome film sim

CL @3 fps

AF + MF if in manual

No back button focus except in MF

AE-L set to custom film simulations

AF-L set for AF-L on/off (i.e. not just while pressing)

Can't remember now the rest of Fn buttons

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R_U_Q_R_U
R_U_Q_R_U Contributing Member • Posts: 742
Re: What camera settings do you set?

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Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.

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Len-O Senior Member • Posts: 1,039
Re: What camera settings do you set?

GivenToFly wrote:

Hey, all!! I would be interested in knowing what camera settings do you set manually. I'm thinking of this question in terms of two categories. First, which settings do you manually set, while shooting, periodically? I'm randomly defining "periodically" as at least 10% of the time. Obviously, that 10% threshold is meant just as a rough guide; I don't expect anyone to know exactly what percentage of the time do they set shutter speed. So examples of settings that you might set periodically would be aperture, ISO, or shutter speed. Anything else? (If you set picture settings, just saying picture settings in general without naming the specific ones would be very helpful to know.)

Most of my settings are driven by purpose, subject, location, and lighting. With those in mind ISO, Aperture, shutter speed, and EV are always subject to adjustment.

My basic shooting set up when out in daylight looking for targets of opportunity is to keep things simple:

ISO: One of three Auto ISO settings, but usually 160-1600 Min Shutter Speed Auto.

Aperture: I am usually an Aperture Priority shooter so that is going to be variable.

Shutter Speed: Usually A (Auto), or T when needed for Command Dial adjustment.

EV: Variable, location & lighting environment dependent

Film Sim: Where ever my mood takes me, typically Provia, Acros, C-Chrome, Pro Neg Std, and occasionally I will shoot a sim bracket with three options.

For full manual, everything is up for grabs.

The second category of settings would be something you set once and never go to again, or almost never go to again, and typically wouldn't change during actual shooting. So even if you select a setting to auto when you first took the camera out of the box, that would fall into this category. Examples here could be slowest shutter speed or highest ISO.

The things I set once, and never go to again are RAW+JPEG Fine, L(3:2), my particular Fn button set up, and the custom "My Menu".

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OP GivenToFly Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: What camera settings do you set?
1

Thanks very much everyone, very helpful!!

kierenlon
kierenlon Contributing Member • Posts: 707
Re: What camera settings do you set?

Tom Schum wrote:

11. (not a setting) Batteries last longer if discharged then charged, rather than being topped off every day. So, I carry a spare battery and then charge the depleted one later.

Per use, yes but the overall life cycle and ability to hold maximum charge will degrade.   
That said,   for replaceable batteries,  that is not a concern and I do the same as you.   For non replaceable,  not fully charging / discharging will aid in keeping capacity longer.

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dc_tonk Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: What camera settings do you set?
2

GivenToFly wrote:

Hey, all!! I would be interested in knowing what camera settings do you set manually. I'm thinking of this question in terms of two categories. First, which settings do you manually set, while shooting, periodically? I'm randomly defining "periodically" as at least 10% of the time. Obviously, that 10% threshold is meant just as a rough guide; I don't expect anyone to know exactly what percentage of the time do they set shutter speed. So examples of settings that you might set periodically would be aperture, ISO, or shutter speed. Anything else? (If you set picture settings, just saying picture settings in general without naming the specific ones would be very helpful to know.)

I tend to shoot manual + AF or full manual. My first pass approach is roughly as follows

  1. Set ISO dependent on available light
  2. Set aperture for DoF and available light
  3. Set shutter speed motion for concerns

From there I make adjustments as necessary for exposure keeping in mind the boundaries I don’t want to go beyond (ISO noise, motion / subject blur, DoF / focus).

If using AF I’ll adjust between C and S modes and single point or zone focus area depending on target motion.

When shooting manual, I use strong focus peaking primarily and switch between the other assist modes depending on light and whether or not peaking is useful (needs edges / texture to work well). Split screen view with focus area in the large window.

The second category of settings would be something you set once and never go to again, or almost never go to again, and typically wouldn't change during actual shooting. So even if you select a setting to auto when you first took the camera out of the box, that would fall into this category. Examples here could be slowest shutter speed or highest ISO.

I shoot RAW+JPEG but rarely use the JPEGs, so EC, NR, and those settings rarely get touched. Same with WB - if I need to fix it, I do it in post. This also means that the Q menu rarely gets used as well.

Drive mode is usually on single, and I use spot metering and pretty much never change it.

I'm asking to think through what I need to think about when taking photos (both, settings I might select while shooting, and settings that I might select once and then be done with), so any info you offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm interested only in stills and not video. It also would be useful to know if you typically shoot in RAW or JPEG. If you only answer to one or the other category, and even if you only answer briefly and not completely (i.e., if you don't reference RAW vs JPEG), that would still be very, very helpful.

Composition, composition, composition.

A wonderfully composed, technically iffy photograph will almost without fail be preferable to technically proficient, poorly composed photo.

Everything else is just a footnote to the final product. Solve for composition and that will tell you everything else you need to set.

I cross-posted this in other forums. I hope that's ok!!

Thank you very much!!!

Good luck!

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chaimav Senior Member • Posts: 1,076
Re: What camera settings do you set?
1

kierenlon wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

11. (not a setting) Batteries last longer if discharged then charged, rather than being topped off every day. So, I carry a spare battery and then charge the depleted one later.

Per use, yes but the overall life cycle and ability to hold maximum charge will degrade.
That said, for replaceable batteries, that is not a concern and I do the same as you. For non replaceable, not fully charging / discharging will aid in keeping capacity longer.

This is a modern myth that has carried over from the days of NiCd and NiMh batteries (when it was indeed relevant). Lithium ion batteries do not have any memory effect. Even more so, like kierenlon said, deep discharging lithium ion batteries actually reduces the overall lifespan of them.

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jhorse Veteran Member • Posts: 3,464
Re: What camera settings do you set?

Tom Schum wrote:

Here are some comments about my settings, but I would not expect them to all appeal to you, not knowing your preferences.

1. Any touch-screen functionality is turned off.

2. Always save Raw+JPG.

3. SRGB color format (not Adobe). I experimented with Adobe for a while, and it can be interesting but I've settled on SRGB.

4. Manual focus highlighting color red, strength depends on lens used and can be either low or high. But, I usually use manual non-electronic lenses not made by Fuji. If you use autofocus all the time, you wouldn't care about this.

5. Noise suppression set to minimum (-4 in X-T3). I like clarity and noise doesn't bother me. Noise suppression will reduce clarity at high ISO.

6. I like a little bit of grain in my JPGs, makes me less fanatical about sharpness (or noise, if noise bothers you), and more easily satisfied with my shots as I chimp. This grain disappears when opening raws.

7. The film sims and color, shadow, sharpness, and highlight settings affect the way the raw image looks when opened on the computer. I'm still fine tuning my preferences here. Monochrome helps me concentrate on composition, Color helps me when composition is secondary. All a matter of preference though.

8. Focus assist light is always turned off. Too distracting for bystanders.

9. Camera noises such as focus confirmation beeps are all set to minimum volume. My only exception to this is the shutter timer, if I ever need it. Again, done to reduce distraction for bystanders.

10. (not a setting) I try to use the fastest SD card I can easily afford. Smaller storage size is OK. For example I could get speed affordably but not size, so I chose 32GB cards. This is great for shooting, and I usually empty the cards after a session.

11. (not a setting) Batteries last longer if discharged then charged, rather than being topped off every day. So, I carry a spare battery and then charge the depleted one later.

Hi, these almost exactly mirror my settings too (for XT3 and XE3). I would only add a 12th: I have set up the Q Menu with the items and positioning as I like them on the grid. I have set the 7 Custom settings and named them C1: General, C2: Landscape, C3: Soft, C4: Portrait, C5: Sport, C6: High Contrast, and C7: B&W with the various settings in the grid adjusted accordingly.  The XT3 and XE3 set to almost the same grid (there are minor differences due to spec differences).

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jjz2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,393
Re: What camera settings do you set?

I don't have any real settings I kind of judge the scene and primarily shoot aperture priority. ISO I keep low as possible. I often tweak exposure compensation, too.

The nice thing with mirrorless is that you can see the scene in camera, so you don't have to be some elite exposure triangle master calculating everything in your head all the time.

Sometimes I will shoot fully manual, like the other day out I needed to shoot at dusk out of a moving car so hiked up the shutter speed to 1/500s... this is the one I'd touch the least.

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Tom Schum
Tom Schum Veteran Member • Posts: 8,885
Re: What camera settings do you set?

chaimav wrote:

kierenlon wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

11. (not a setting) Batteries last longer if discharged then charged, rather than being topped off every day. So, I carry a spare battery and then charge the depleted one later.

Per use, yes but the overall life cycle and ability to hold maximum charge will degrade.
That said, for replaceable batteries, that is not a concern and I do the same as you. For non replaceable, not fully charging / discharging will aid in keeping capacity longer.

This is a modern myth that has carried over from the days of NiCd and NiMh batteries (when it was indeed relevant). Lithium ion batteries do not have any memory effect. Even more so, like kierenlon said, deep discharging lithium ion batteries actually reduces the overall lifespan of them.

Here is some reference information:

https://www.newark.com/pdfs/techarticles/tektronix/LIBMG.pdf

This document indicates that full charge and discharge provides a battery lifetime about the same as partial (topping off after every use). From the linked article, "The typical estimated life of a Lithium-Ion battery is about two to three years or 300 to 500 charge cycles, whichever occurs first. One charge cycle is a period of use from fully charged, to fully discharged, and fully recharged again. Use a two to three year life expectancy for batteries that do not run through complete charge cycles."

Here is another link:

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

Since there are so many articles available on the internet, it is difficult to see a consensus on how to keep them viable for the greatest amount of time,  so please make your own conclusions.

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Tom Schum
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notdarkyet
notdarkyet Regular Member • Posts: 280
Re: What camera settings do you set?

We R_U_Q_R_U wrote:

Thank you for posting this video! I love Mullins photography and so great to know that he and other photographers shoot mainly in Auto! Many of us are not so quick on our feet to be able to adjust settings constantly. Thanks again!

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Charlie

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Steven Seven
Steven Seven Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: What camera settings do you set?

Permanent

  • JPEG+RAW to different SD cards.
  • Manual shutter + manual aperture with auto-ISO. This has been a revelation to me. Only works well on lenses with a dedicated aperture ring, i.e. you're adjusting aperture and shutter at the same time while framing.
  • ACROS simulation with +2 warm toning. Yes, all my JPEGs are always B&W because none of the RAW converters I tried can deliver 100% identical photos to in-camera JPEG engine. Yes, even CaptureOne.
  • Spot single-shot auto-focus
  • All-frame intelligent metering

Periodic

These periodic settings are grouped into presets that I jump between using the Q button:

  • ASTIA or VELVIA picture style.
  • ACROS picture style with automatic DR priority. This enables killer B&W photos in high-contrast situations.

These settings are switched separately:

  • Zone metering for high-contrast scenes where I deliberately don't care about parts of the image being too dark.
  • Bracketing, especially picture style bracketing for situations when I know that I won't want to deal with the RAW conversion.

Other

I started experimenting with "Auto PC Save" feature. I've set up a Windows VM which is running on my Synology NAS 24/7 and it has Fuji's uploader, so when I'm taking photos in my house, they will later show up on a shared folder on my network. This removes the need to mess with SD cards, and it's a much nicer way to quickly get JPEGs on my phone.

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David Garth
David Garth Regular Member • Posts: 424
Re: What camera settings do you set?
1

This is like asking “how fast should I drive” when you get a new car. Or better yet, “which way should I steer ?

The reasons there are manual settings is so photographers who want to can respond to the millions of difference photographic situations. There is no “magic bullet “ setting combination.

Start shooting and  experimenting. Learn!

David Garth

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