Firmware updates and camera settings



Continuing with requested photography posts, I’m onto camera settings.  I started my photography hobby with the Canon Rebel XSi, jumped into the 5D Mark II, and upgraded two years ago to the Canon 5D Mark III which has been rocking my world.  While the 5D Mark II certainly changed my photography game from hobbyist to pro, I never truly loved the Mark II with its focal issues.  The Mark III is superior in every way.

To broaden this post, I’ll talk about a few things that can relate to you no matter what camera you use, while also touching upon my personal favorites and settings using the Mark III. Right now there are some amazing deals and packages if you want to upgrade to the Mark III, this one is my favorite, and it’s about $1,000 cheaper than what I paid for the body alone when it first came out.

Firmware Update

Check for Firmware update on Canon site here (Mark III, 7D).

How to update firmware on your camera:

  • Go to the site
  • select your camera model
  • Select Drivers and Software
  • Download it onto a compact flash card
  • Insert the card into your camera
  • Go to settings to find the Firmware version you have and click it to update

Why should you update your firmware?  

New features (sometimes) or bug fixes.  This is the same as if you were running your iPhone or Mac on old software.  When I updated the firmware I didn’t notice any of my custom settings change.

My camera settings

Here’s a screenshot of my custom controls.

This is on the 5D Mark III so some features may not be available.  My favorite features are the silent shooting mode and the two cards.

  • beep – off  // just like texting on your phone, you don’t need to hear every button pushed or focus locking.
  • release shutter without card – off  // incase I forget to insert a card, I don’t want to continue.
  • img type/size – RAW on compact flash card (main card);  S1 on SD card (backup card)  //  I use the SD card for smaller files for my clients – this is for corporate sessions where I want to give them small size so they can go through and select their edited choices.
  • silent LV shoot – mode 1 // I used to envy the sound of Nikon’s shutter. Now Canon makes it pretty, as long as you are using a good lens, of course.
  • file name  DEP_  // It’s nice to label your images, you can do a lengthier one but this works fine for me.
  • LCD brightness – manual ; 6 // I don’t like when my screen goes dim so I decided to control.
  • copyright information  Diana Elizabeth Photography, // I’m not sure if this works as well as the copyright you can insert in Lightroom, but I have it on there just in case.

Backbutton Focus

I also do back button focus setting to ensure my shots are locked in focus – this is absolutely important and I cannot imagine not controlling my focus.  In fact, because I know how to use my camera and settings well, I know that when I review a shot and it’s not in focus, something is off.

I had that occur while on assignment and it ended up being my lens which went so bad that it ended up needing to be sent to Canon for repairs (no explanation, I assume it was due to travel pressures).  You should know your skills and equipment so well that simply by previewing it you know it’s not user error, it’s equipment error.


I hope that helps explain firmware and why I have the settings I do.  Do you have any favorite settings or new features you love with your camera model?

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.



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