The Canon EOS R3 mirrorless camera body has been around for some time now. I had not yet posted a blog on the set up of this camera as I had not been able to “play” around enough with it to enable me to settle on a set up that suits my style and type of photography. I had previously posted set ups (for nature photography) for the Canon 1DX mark II and III and also the Canon EOS R5. These blogs have had a big response. I was recently asked if I was going to post something on the R3 which has now prompted me to record the set up that I am using on the R3. The thing I really appreciate with the Canon 1D series and now the R series is the familiarity of the menu set up. If you are used to shooting with a Canon 1DX series camera and/or an R5, then the R3 is not so formidable. Most menu settings are similar or the same, but the R3 has a much more complex autofocus set up, especially with eye control. It did take me a while to try out the various options and get to a point where I am reasonably satisfied with the settings. Again I must stress that these reflect my shooting style and type of photography. Although the R3 is very much an action camera, I do sometimes shoot other types of nature photography with it like landscapes, the night sky and Macro.

The set up that I am posting covers landscape, general nature & wildlife and of course, action wildlife and bird photography. I use the Custom Shooting Modes C1, C2 and C3 for each of these types of photography respectively. I can cycle through Custom Shooting Modes C1, C2 and C3 by pressing the M-Fn button (See Custom Controls C.Fn.6)

The attached links to the PDF are below.   The PDF document is tabulated by C1, C2 and C3 columns and this is done by menu item. I have coloured the menu functions according to the colour on the camera LCD when activating the menu. Menu items that are in light green are included in the customised set up of  “My Menu”. Note that the set up is for Firmware version 1.2.2

Tabulated Canon R3 Settings PDF

Some random comments and other options

1.  The R3 also has an option for Optical Viewfinder exposure simulation. You can activate this in Red #9 called OVF sim. view assist. It does improve the image in the viewfinder by improving the dynamic range, but will not be representative of the actual exposure. Another thing is that the histogram is not shown. Have not been able to find a way to see the histogram. I use that extensively for exposure, particularly in manual mode.

2.   For picture style (Red#4)  I use Standard but increase the contrast by 1. This helps prevent over-exposure of the whites.   

3.   For screen info settings (Red#9) which is in the sub menu of Shooting info. disp. only 3,4 and 6 are activated. This is very much a personal thing. Don’t like too many to have to scroll through.

4.   Lens electronic MF (Purple#6). Handy to have set on “One-shot – enabled”  especially for use with the RF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro lens.

5.   Card recording. Prefer having the camera read to one card until it is full and then automatically change to the other card. As I use a fairly high capacity CF express card, I very rarely need the second card (SD HC). The CF Express card reads faster so good for high speed still shots and 4K video. I use the SD card for something else. (see later). Some prefer to record stills and video on different cards. If the two cards were the same then this would work well. Wish Canon would do that.

6.    The R3 also has the option of shooting at 195fps for a max of 50 images. Push the Drive-AF button and select the “Custom high speed cont.” By pushing the info button you can then set speed and time.

7.   There is another way to set up the autofocusing of your camera by using three button back focus. You can program the AF-ON, the * and the AF point selection buttons to do different things. You can use the AF-ON button for Metering and AF start . The * button for Eye detection AF covering the whole frame and the AF point selection button to start AF with Eye Control. I have found Eye control works well if you have done numerous calibrations and it is a good way to start your initial AF off.  However, I have gone back to my usual settings and have the SET button programmed to switch the Eye control on and off. I also have the M-Fn.2 button set to start and stop tracking. Most options are covered. I also find my usual way more convenient as I do use the camera for a few kinds of shooting. I think if I exclusively did action shooting, then I may go for the three button back focus options.

8.   It is a very good camera for high ISO shooting so I use it for night photography and astro. (lower resolution usually gives less noise). This is where the SD card slot comes in handy.  I have two low capacity SD cards and I record all the settings from the above tabulated settings on one and a set of different settings for night/astro on another. If I am going out to do night photography I just insert the relevant SD card and load those settings on the camera. (Yellow #5).  To get back to my normal settings I just load the settings from the other SD card. Just need to remember to switch off the IS and AF buttons on the lens!

The R3 is a marvellous camera and there are no doubt many ways to set it up.I hope this will help some photographers  – maybe as a starting point. I just wish it also had a 45/50MP sensor and kept all its features – just maybe an R1.