Basic Settings

At first glance it might seem trivial but it is important to set certain settings on a digital camera or to check that they have been set.

Initially, you should start by setting language, date and time on the camera's menu display. When a photo is captured, date and time are automatically saved as EXIF information on the image file. EXIF information also includes information about the camera's manufacturer, model, exposure time, diaphragm and focal length. This simplifies the task of sorting through digital photos. The data can be retrieved using various types of photo management software or windows explorer. It can be a valuable tool when it comes to managing your own photos but can also be useful when it comes to planning new images (e.g. what time was the sunset?). If the camera has a viewfinder with a dioptric correction, the dioptric correction should be adjusted to photographer's visual acuity/capacity (focus the camera while in autofocus mode and adjust the dioptric correction until the image is sharp through the viewfinder).

  • Language
  • Date and time
  • Dioptrics
  • Shooting mode

The following camera settings should always checked when the camera is not set to fully automatic mode, i.e. if these settings can be changed in fully automatic mode and may have been changed.

  • ISO rate
  • Focusing modes
  • Image size
  • Image quality
  • File format (RAW, TIFF, JPG)

If you take photographs using the file formats TIFF or JPG, you should check settings such as white balance, colour saturation, contrast and sharpness as well. While these settings are usually reversible in RAW format, these settings cannot be changed in JPG and TIFF format without sacrificing quality.

The auto function is usually the best choice for white balance, especially if subjects and lighting situations are subject to change, as the chances are high that you will forget to reset the white balance.

Take care not to set the sharpness level too high. These settings in JPG and TIFF format can also hardly be reversed. The sharpness should be adjusted to the output format. It is then easier to edit and in the right hands, the original files can also be reversed.

The same applies to the settings for colour saturation and contrast.

Further information on individual camera modes and the settings mentioned above can be found in the following articles.