How to set up a Canon EOS R system camera for the first time

If you have just bought a Canon EOS R camera and are wondering how to start the journey, we can help! Whether you have a genuine Canon EOS R, EOS RP, EOS R6 or EOS R5, the camera setup procedure is basically the same.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the first basic settings you’ll apply so you can get started recording quickly. We used the EOS RP for this guide, but you should be able to follow any Canon EOS R system camera you own.

Image file formats and quality

There are two main options when it comes to image quality: JPEG and RAW. JPEGs are ‘finished’ images that you can share and print directly from the camera. RAW files, as the name suggests, contain raw data recorded by the sensor and need to be processed to create an image – but that means you can change some parameters later, including white balance and image style.

The image (and histogram) you see when you view a RAW file on the camera is actually a JPEG preview, based on the camera settings at the time it was taken. The RAW file contains more information in the shadow and highlights, so you have more room to discover details that in JPEG may appear lost in those areas.

The number of images and movies you can place on the card will depend on the file format and image quality (you will see the card capacity change as you change the settings). You can also record both RAW and JPEG at the same time, but this will consume memory capacity. Increasing the ISO will also reduce the number of files you can save.

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