Canon EOS R settings I use


Published on November 16, 2019, last updated April 24, 2020

Recently I bought Canon EOS R. It is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, relatively inexpensive, and most importantly it gives you access to the new wonderful RF glass.

In this post I will explain the tweaks I made to the default configuration. I’m not going to explain each and every thing you can change, there are already posts like that and the official manual. Instead I’ll focus on how to make the camera easier and quicker to operate—so that you won’t miss a good shot. If I don’t mention a setting it means that the default is OK.

Press the Menu button to access the settings.

Still photo shooting

This is the red menu with little camera icon.

  • Image quality (page 1). I set it to RAW. RAW files contain raw data from the sensor. It allows you to get better results during post-production phase than with JPEG which is a lossy, compressed image format. JPEG files can be obtained from RAW files during development of digital negatives which is something you probably will be doing anyway if you’ve bought this sort of camera. I see no point in duplicating information by shooting in both RAW and JPEG. There is no added safety either because both types of files are stored on the same card.

  • Image review (page 1). I turn it off. Why? With mirrorless camera you get pretty good idea of what you’re going to get when you press the shooting button. Reviewing your shots is a waste of time which may be very valuable in certain situations. Instead, just shoot and concentrate on what you’re doing in real time. When it’s over you can check the results. Bad shots will be bad, good shots will be good, regardless of the time when you check them, but you’ll have more material to choose from! It’s OK to have review enabled if you’re shooting something that is not moving and where you can’t really miss a moment.

  • ISO speed settings (page 3). In the ISO speed range sub-menu, it’s a good idea to decrease the lower limit for ISO to 50 (marked as L) instead of the default 100. Many people do not know that it is possible to unlock lower ISO or their cameras. Sometimes it is handy to be able to use 50 when there is too much light.


This is the purple menu with the two letters AF. There are a few settings here that you will want to tweak depending on situation but you can do it by pressing M-Fn button or Q set button, so I’ll skip them here.

  • Touch & drag AF settings (page 1). Enable touch & drag AF. It’s hard to imagine not being able to move the AF area while looking through the view finder, but it’s disabled by default! Positioning method should be relative, active touch area should be right. This way you can move the AF area using your right thumb while looking through the view finder.

  • Focus guide (page 2). This gives you a visual indication of your focusing accuracy in manual mode. Can be useful sometimes, although if you’re focusing manually it’s probably because the camera is having problems with autofocusing in a particular situation, and so the focus guide feature will also have the same problem.


This is the yellow menu with wrench icon.

  • Beep (page 3). A matter of taste, but I disable it because it is obvious to me when the camera focuses. I don’t like to go around beeping all the time and distracting people (who I may want to shoot!).

Custom functions

This is the orange menu with camera icon with some sort of meter underneath.

  • Customize buttons (page 4). There is a mismatch between position of buttons and their function. Some pretty handy buttons are hard to press without looking.

    • The AF-ON button does exactly the same thing as half-pressed shooting button, and yet it occupies a very ergonomic spot. I use it to set AF point to center, because I often move AF point temporarily and always want to restore it later when I’m done with the scene.

    • AE lock button is close to AF-ON and also is pretty easy to reach without looking. I use it for depth of field preview. By default you see the depth of field with wide open aperture—it does not adjust in real time as you change your aperture value to let the camera auto-focus better in low light and have better image in the view finder. Depth of field preview is a useful function which is not assigned to any button by default.

    • AF point button is also in the same region. I use it to switch between one-shoot AF and servo AF.

  • Customize dials (page 4). The two standard dials are OK, except the so-called Quick control dial (closer to you) is harder to rotate and by default it controls aperture which is the setting that I tweak most often. This is why I set the control ring on the lens to control aperture as well. You could think that duplicating functions like this is wasteful, but things you do often should be very easy and quick (the lens’ ring being the easiest thing to rotate IMO). Also, there is very limited choice with regard to Quick control dial alternative functions so I just keep it as is.

  • Customize M-Fn bar (page 4). M-Fn bar is useful, but it doesn’t do anything by default. I set it to control AF modes. I disable the safety lock, because unlocking it takes time. If I accidentally touch it, it’s not the end of the world, I can bring it back quickly.


There are many more settings to tweak in certain situations, but these I find essential for quick operation at all times. Happy shooting!