The Canon EOS R6 is a professional-grade mirrorless camera with a complex menu system, and numerous buttons and controls. This might make it hard for beginners and enthusiasts to set it up for their particular needs. In this article, I am going to share my recommended camera settings for the EOS R6, which will hopefully make it easy for our readers to get started with this camera.
It is important to point out that while the settings below work great for my needs, there are other ways to set up and configure the camera.
Before going into the camera menu, let’s first get started on the exterior controls. The Canon EOS R6 has a myriad of menu options, but there are some things that you can only control with the external buttons and controls.
Table of Contents
Just like most other Canon DSLRs, the EOS R6 has a very simple and uncluttered front, with a single programmable button that is by default used for exposure preview. The top of the camera, however, has a number of dials and function buttons that make it easy to switch between different camera modes and settings.
Here they are, from left to right:
- Power On / Off Switch: self-explanatory.
- Camera Shooting Mode / PASM Dial: Allows switching between different camera shooting modes. It is the largest dial on the top of the camera (circled in red in the image above). Personally, I use Aperture Priority (Av) mode 90% of the time. Once you get to know the camera better, I would recommend exploring the “C1” – “C3” settings (more on this below under the Setup Menu), because they could save you a lot of time when switching between different shooting environments (say when switching between photographing people and landscapes).
- Shutter Release Button: by default, half-pressing the shutter release activates autofocus, while fully pressing it takes a picture. You can change the behavior to disable autofocus on half-press in order to use back-button focusing (explained further down in the article).
- Multi-Function (M-Fn) Button: this button is used to quickly change important camera settings, such as ISO, drive mode, AF operation, white balance, and exposure compensation (items customizable via menu).
- Vertical Dial: used for changing shutter speed or aperture, depending on which camera mode you are in. Also used for changing specific button and quick menu settings.
- Video Record Button: for starting and stopping movie capture.
- Lock Button: used for locking camera controls (customizable via menu).
- Horizontal Dial: by default, it is used for changing Camera ISO in normal camera modes. Also used for changing specific button and quick menu settings.
The Canon EOS R6 has a number of buttons on the back of the camera that also serve particular needs.
To the left of the viewfinder, you will find two buttons, while to the right of the viewfinder, there are a total of 11 buttons and dials, as explained below:
- Rate Button: used to rank images from 1 to 5 when viewing images.
- Menu Button: used to access the camera menu.
- Joystick: this is what you will be using to move focus points and reset them. The joystick can also be used for navigating the camera menu, as well as navigating through a played-back image while zoomed in.
- AF-ON Button: used to engage autofocus. This is the button you will be pressing if you want to set up back-button focusing.
- AE Lock Button: used to the exposure, which can be useful for keeping the exposure consistent between shots or when shooting panoramas.
- AF Point Button (star icon): used for switching between different autofocus modes, as well as for moving the focus point. By default, the rear rotary dial will move focus points vertically, while the top vertical dial will move focus points horizontally. Since the joystick is so much better for moving focus points, I set up my vertical dial so that it allows quickly moving between autofocus modes, instead of having to press the M-Fn button (explained in the menu section below).
- Magnifying Glass Button (square icon with five dots inside): used for zooming into the image when taking pictures, or when viewing images. I set up mine to zoom to 100% (actual pixels) when I press this button, so that I can instantly see if my captured image is sharp or not. It is also very useful to be able to zoom in to 100% view in the viewfinder when capturing images, to ensure that your subject is in focus.
- “INFO” Button: a very useful button that allows toggling between different information screens when capturing images, or when viewing them.
- “Q” Button: a very handy button for making quick adjustments to the camera settings. It gives you access to ten important camera settings including: autofocus modes, AF operation, image quality, drive mode, metering mode, anti-flicker detection, white balance, picture style, auto lighting optimizer and cropping / aspect ratio. Unfortunately, it is impossible to customize the Q button at this time.
- Large Rotary Dial: by default, this dial is used to adjust exposure compensation when taking pictures. It can also be used to navigate the camera menu, or to adjust the aperture when shooting in manual mode.
- Set Button: primarily used for adjusting camera settings in the menu, but can be customized to perform a specific function when used during shooting.
- Playback Button: used for playing back images.
- Trash Button: used for deleting images during image playback.
Let’s go through the camera Menu settings now.
Here are the settings I use for Camera Menu 1, with explanations:
- Image Quality: RAW – I always recommend shooting in RAW format. As explained in my RAW versus JPEG article, there is a huge difference between RAW and JPEG. With RAW, you also do not have to worry about other camera settings such as picture styles and white balance, because you can modify those in post-processing.
- Cropping/aspect ratio: Full. Only change this setting if you want to shoot in a particular aspect ratio. The EOS R6 provides the following aspect ratios: Full (3:2), 1:1, 4:3 and 16:9. You can also shoot in 1.6x crop mode.
- Expo.comp./AEB: 0 – this is for setting exposure compensation or exposure bracketing. I would not bother with setting exposure compensation through the menu, since you can do it much quicker with the large rotary dial on the back of the camera.
- ISO speed settings:
- ISO speed: I personally like to use the Auto ISO feature, since it works really well for automatically adjusting my shutter speed in different lighting environments.
- ISO speed range: 100-H – this setting affects what you are able to see when changing ISO. I want to keep the entire range for ISO selection, so I leave it at 100-H range.
- Auto range: 100-12800 – now this setting is particularly useful when shooting in “Auto ISO” mode. I am typically not comfortable with noise above ISO 12800 on the EOS R6, so I keep the maximum range limited to 12800.
- Min. shutter spd.: Auto – with the “Auto” setting, the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed of the camera to the reciprocal rule. For steady hands and good posture, this might be sufficient. However, if you have shaky hands, then the default “Auto” setting might not do justice to keep you away from camera shake. If you notice blur in your images, you can move the slider under “Auto” to the right towards “Faster” with the top dial, which will double the shutter speed value.
- HDR PQ Settings: Default. If you are planning to shoot HDR video or stills, you can enable it from here.
- Auto Lighting Optimizer: OFF – ALO settings are only applicable to JPEG images and I usually keep them turned off.
- Highlight tone priority: OFF – unlike Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO), Highlight tone priority affects RAW data since it actually underexposes an image to recover highlights. Unless you shoot JPEG, instead of letting the camera underexpose images with HTP to keep highlight details, I would recommend to properly expose images and even slightly over-expose, then recover the data in post. This technique is known as “exposing to the right” and it gives you better results, especially when dealing with noise.
- Anti-flicker shoot.: Disable – if you shoot in artificial light covering sports or other events, this is a great feature that can really help in obtaining images that are properly exposed top to bottom. As described in our light flickering article, shooting indoors can be quite challenging. Once you turn this feature on, the camera will automatically delay the shutter to match the light frequency.
- External Speedlite control: Only applies when you photograph with flash
- Flash firing: Enable
- E-TTL balance: Standard
- E-TTL II meter.: Eval (FacePrty)
- Contin flash ctrl: E-TTL each shot
- Slow synchro: 1/250-1/60 sec auto
- Flash function settings (only available when external flash unit is mounted)
- Flash C.Fn settings (only available when external flash unit is mounted)
- White balance: AWB – Just like ALO, white balance setting also does not matter, as you can adjust it later in post-processing.
- Custom White Balance – unless you want to set custom white balance with a gray card, skip this setting.
- WB Shift/Bkt.: 0,0/±0 – don’t mess with this unless you know what you are doing.
- Color space: Adobe RGB – although color space does not matter for RAW images, Adobe RGB gives a slightly more accurate histogram to determine the correct exposure (since the camera shows histogram based on camera-rendered JPEG image, even if you shoot exclusively in RAW).
- Picture Style: Standard – does not matter when shooting in RAW. I set mine to “Standard” and use the Standard camera profile in Lightroom for consistency. For more details about this, check out my article “how to get accurate Canon colors“.
- Clarity: 0 – does not matter when shooting in RAW.
- Lens aberration correction: I disable all lens corrections because they only apply to JPEG images. If you are a JPEG shooter, leaving these on will reduce vignetting, chromatic aberration, distortion and diffraction issues in your images.
- Peripheral illum corr: Off
- Distortion correction: Off
- Digital Lens Optimizer: Off
- Chromatic aberr corr: Off
- Diffraction correction: Off
- Long exp. noise reduction: Auto – will reduce noise when doing long exposure photography.
- High ISO speed NR: OFF – another one I leave off, as it only affects JPEG images.
- Dust Delete Data – this is used for removing dust in images if you have dust particles on the image sensor. I never use this feature, since I prefer cleaning the camera sensor instead.
- Multiple exposure: Disable – this is used for creative photography when stacking photos on top of each other.
- HDR Mode: Off – only relevant when shooting in JPEG and wanting to make HDR images.
- Focus bracketing: Disable – use this menu setting to perform focus stacking.
- Interval timer: Disable – built-in intervalometer for shooting timelapse sequences.
- Bulb timer: Disable – disabled in all normal modes, so you can only activate it when you select “B” from the PASM dial. With the bulb timer feature, you can set exposure lengths longer than 30 seconds. This is particularly useful when doing long exposure photography and when working with neutral density filters.
- Shutter mode: Elec. 1st-curtain – allows changing the shutter mode.
- Release shutter without card: OFF – you do not want the camera to fire without a memory card, in case you forget to insert one.
- IS (Image Stabilizer) mode: allows turning in-body image stabilization on or off. If your lens has a Stabilizer switch, the menu item disappears.
- Touch Shutter: Disable – allows touching the rear LCD to take a picture.
- Image review: 2 sec, disable. After you take an image, it will be shown on the rear LCD for 2 seconds. I disable viewfinder review, so that I can continue shooting without any distractions.
- High speed display: when shooting in high speed drive mode and continuous / Servo AF operation, you can enable this feature to make the viewfinder more responsive when photographing fast-moving subjects.
- Metering timer: 4 sec – I prefer using a shorter value to preserve the battery.
- Expo. simulation: Enable – by default, the camera LCD / EVF will simulate how bright or dark the image will look when captured. If you disable this, the LCD / EVF will always be boosted.
- Shooting info. disp.: used to increase and decrease the amount of information when pressing the INFO button:
- Screen info. settings: 1, 3 and 4 are enabled. I disable 2 and 5 to reduce the clutter.
- VF info/toggle settings: 1 and 3 are enabled.
- VF vertical display: On
- Grid display: 3×3
- Histogram disp: RGB
- Focus distance disp: In MF mode
- VF display format: Display 1
- Disp. performance: Power saving. I recommend changing to Smooth when shooting fast action.
- Movie rec quality: 4K 23.98P
- Sound recording: Manual
- Movie ISO speed settings: 12800
- Auto slow shutter: Enable
- Shutter btn function for movies: Meter + Servo AF
- AF operation: SERVO AF – allows switching between One-Shot AF and Servo AF.
- AF method: Face AF + Tracking – allows switching between different autofocus modes.
- Subject to detect: People – switch to Animals when photographing animals.
- Eye detection: Enable, self-explanatory.
- Continuous AF: Disable. Enabling this will automatically engage autofocus when the subject moves. I prefer engaging autofocus with a button, so I leave this disabled to preserve battery life.
- Movie Servo AF: Enable. For movies, I don’t mind the camera automatically refocusing when the subject moves.
- Touch & drag AF settings: a very cool feature that allows you to use the rear LCD to move the focus point when looking through the EVF. I leave this enabled, with relative positioning method and right active touch area.
- MF peaking settings: default, used for focus peaking when shooting in manual focus. If you want to enable focus peaking, make sure to set the right level and color.
- Focus guide: On – shows a focus guide when focusing manually.
- AF-assist beam firing: On – allow the use of the AF assist beam in front of the camera when shooting in low light situations.
Here, you will find 4 Cases or “templates” to use in different situations. These cases are basically four different combinations of two settings: “Tracking sensitivity” and “Acceleration/deceleration tracking”:
- Case 1: Versatile multi purpose setting – works great for everyday shooting.
- Case 2: Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles – if you need to actively track a subject like a bird while ignoring trees and other objects in the scene.
- Case 3: Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points – if there are many birds in the frame and you want to focus on the closest one.
- Case 4: For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly – when camera to subject distance changes fast, such as a bird flying towards you.
- Auto: Tracking automatically adapts to subject movement.
Although these cases can be very useful in different situations, I found Case 1 and “Auto” to work best as the default setting.
The nice thing about the above cases, is that you can actually fine-tune each one of them to suit your needs by modifying the two setting parameters.
- Lens electronic MF: One-Shot->enabled – enables using the manual focus ring after focus is already obtained.
- One-Shot AF release prior.: Focus priority – do not allow the camera to fire if the focus is not achieved in One-Shot mode.
- Switching tracked subjects: Enable (slow). Tracks the subject, but if the subject leaves the frame or the camera can no longer track for some reason, it will slowly switch to another subject.
- Lens drive when AF impossible: ON (Continue focus search) – if focus cannot be achieved, the camera can continue searching or stop. I prefer to let the camera continue to search.
- Limit AF methods: if you don’t want to go through all the AF methods, you can disable some of them here.
- AF method selection control: Main Dial – as explained above, I prefer to use the vertical dial on the top of the camera to switch between different AF methods instead of pressing the M-Fn button.
- Orientation linked AF point: Separate AF pts: Pt only – this setting remembers what focus point I set when shooting vertical vs horizontal images. I set mine to only remember the focus point.
- Initial Servo AF pt for Face Tracking: AUTO.
- Focus ring rotation: Normal.
- RF lens MF focus ring sensitivity: Varies with rotation speed.
- Multi-controller sensitivity – AF pt select: 0 – controls the sensitivity of the joystick.
Playback menus are used for altering images after they are captured. I normally do not mess with these and leave the settings in Playback Menu 1, 2 and 3 at default. The only settings I change are in Playback Menu 4 and 5. First, I make sure that “Magnification (apx)” is set to “Actual size”, so that I am looking at 100% view when I view images and press the magnification glass button on the back of the camera. And second, I change “Image jump with rotary dial” to “Display images one by one”. This way, whether I turn the top or the rear dials, both will display images one by one without skipping.
The playback menu 5 has some important settings that I often use:
- Playback information display: I remove the clutter I don’t want to see when toggling through information on images. I have 1, 2 and 3 checked and the rest is unchecked.
- Highlight alert: Enable – this will show the “blinkies” when there is overexposure / loss of highlight data.
- AF point disp. Enable – when displaying images, I want to see where the focus point was.
- Playback grid: Off – it is nice to see a grid in the viewfinder when capturing an image, but I don’t want to see it when playing back an image.
- Movie play count: Rec time.
- HDMI HDR output: Off.
Network 1 and 2
This section is used for managing WiFi / Bluetooth connections. I don’t really use this feature, so I have “Airplane mode” turned On to preserve battery life.
- Record func+card/folder sel.:
- Stills / Movie separate: Disable.
- Stills Rec options: Auto switch card – once the first card fills up, it will overflow to the second one.
- Movie Rec options: Standard.
- Stills Record/play: 1 – you can select which card to start recording images first.
- Movie Record/play: 1 – same for movies.
- Folder: 100CANON – you can use an existing folder or create a new one where photos will be stored.
- File numbering: Continuous – I want the camera to increment file numbers even if I change the memory card.
- File name: 1S9A_ – you can set how you want files to be named.
- Format card – used for formatting the inserted memory card(s).
- Auto rotate: On (middle setting) – rotating vertical images in landscape view makes them appear much smaller. I prefer the camera to write the orientation to images, but not actually rotate them when displaying.
- Add movie rotate info: Disable.
- Date/Time/Zone: make sure to keep the date and time zone settings accurate.
- Language: English.
- Video system: For NTSC.
- Help text size: Small.
- Beep: Disable – leave this disabled, since the camera will beep every time the camera focuses, which is annoying.
- Headphone volume: 8.
- Power saving: 1 min, 1 min, 3 min.
- Eco mode: Off – darkens the LCD after 2 seconds to preserve battery life.
- Screen/viewfinder display: Auto2.
- Screen brightness: 4 – middle selection is good, although you might want to increase or decrease brightness depending on shooting conditions.
- Viewfinder brightness: 3 – same, adjust as necessary.
- Screen/viewfinder color tone: 2 – unless you want to tweak the output of the screen, you should keep it at default.
- Fine-tune VF color tone: keep at default.
- UI magnification: Disable.
- HDMI resolution: Auto.
- Touch control: Standard.
- Multi function lock – allows selecting controls that are deactivated when the lock button is pressed on the top of the camera. By default, both control dials and lens control ring are deactivated, but you can also pick other controls like the main dial, joystick and touch control.
- Shutter at shutdown: Closed – will close the shutter of the camera to keep dust away from the sensor when swapping lenses.
- Sensor cleaning:
- Auto cleaning: At pwr off – the camera will shake off dust when turned off.
- Clean now – to clean the sensor now.
- Clean manually – this is different than the above options, since it is used for manually cleaning the sensor. The shutter will open up and the sensor will lock up in place.
- Reset camera: allows resetting the camera to factory defaults. You can reset either basic settings, or all other settings.
- Custom shooting mode (C1-C3) – there are three setting banks on the shooting mode dial. Once you set appropriate settings for a given scenario, you can save them in these three modes.
- Register settings – this will allow saving your current settings to C1, C2 or C3 shooting mode. Once saved, all you have to do is switch to the appropriate mode from the PASM dial and the settings will be retrieved. I had mine set to three different scenarios – one for sports/wildlife, one for landscapes, and one for people. For C1 (sports/wildlife), I have Auto ISO turned on, camera mode set to Aperture Priority, Drive set to Continuous High, AF mode set to Servo, AF point selection set to Expand AF Area: Around (8 points around the center). For C2 (landscapes), I have Auto ISO turned off, ISO 100, camera mode set to Aperture Priority, Drive set to 2 Sec Timer, AF mode set to One Shot, AF point selection set to Spot AF. For C3 (people), I keep Auto ISO on, camera mode set to Aperture Priority (Av), Drive set to Single Shooting, AF mode set to Servo, AF point selection set to Face + Tracking. In addition, I have “Eye detection” turned on and “Subject to detect” set to “People”.
- Clear settings – used to clear the above-mentioned modes and revert to defaults.
- Auto update set.: Disable – I do not want the camera to automatically save adjustments in C1-C3 modes. This way, if I change a setting, it is only a temporary change. If I need to make a permanent change, I go to “Register settings” menu above and re-save.
- Battery info.: Shows battery level and life.
- Copyright information – I always put my name and copyright details when I first set up the camera.
- Manual/software URL: if you scan the code, it will take you to the online version of the EOS R6 manual.
- Certification Logo Display – displays certification logos.
- Firmware – displays current camera and lens firmware versions.
Custom Functions 1
Custom Functions menu is used to fine-tune the many parameters of the camera. Some of them are very important and should not be messed with, while others make it easier to use the camera. Let’s go through each one of them, one by one.
- Exposure level increments: 1/3 stop – this will allow adjusting the exposure in 1/3 or 1/2 increments. I prefer 1/3 increments.
- ISO speed setting increments: 1/3 stop – same here for ISO.
- Speed from metering/ISO Auto: Auto – after the metering timer ends in Auto ISO mode, you can either restore the ISO setting, or retain it.
- Bracketing auto cancel: On – if you turn bracketing on, the setting will not be permanent – it will turn itself off when you turn off the camera.
- Bracketing sequence: -, 0, + – I prefer bracketing in this order.
- Number of bracketed shots: 3 shots – depends on how you bracket. I usually go between 3 and 5 shots.
- Safety shift: OFF – used when the camera maxes out in Aperture Priority (Av) or Shutter Priority (Tv) modes. For example, if the exposure is too bright and the camera is also maxed out at 1/8000 shutter speed, with this setting turned on the camera will stop down the aperture to balance out the exposure.
Custom Functions 2
- Same expo. for new aperture: OFF – used for automatic adjustment of exposure when changing lenses, attaching teleconverters or using a lens with variable aperture. I don’t care about this, so I leave it turned off.
- AE lock meter. mode after focus: you can specify if you want the camera to lock exposure once the subject is in focus for different metering modes. Keep this at default.
- Set shutter speed range: 30″, 8000 – leave at default.
- Set aperture range: 1.0, 91 – leave at default.
Custom Functions 3
- Dial direction during Tv/Av: Normal – I leave this at normal, but if you want to flip the direction of dials, you can set it to “Reverse direction”.
- Control ring rotation: same, you can either keep it at normal or reverse the direction.
- Customize buttons: this is one of the most important menus in the camera, as it allows customizing function button behavior. Let’s go through each one:
- Shutter butt. half-press: Metering and AF start – if you want to switch to back-button focusing, then change this to either “Metering start” or “AE lock”. I keep mine at AE lock to only lock the exposure when I half-press the shutter release. To focus, use the AF-ON button on the back of the camera.
- Movie shooting button: I don’t like that the EOS R6 will automatically start shooting video when the movie shooting button is pressed, which sometimes happens by accident. Since the button will work when you set the top PASM dial to movie shooting mode anyway, I change the default behavior of this button to give me something more usable for stills shooting. I set mine to “One-Shot AF – Servo AF”, which makes the button very useful for quickly switching between single and servo autofocus.
- AF-ON button: Metering and AF start – I want to use the rear AF-ON button to focus, so I keep it at this setting.
- AE Lock button: AE lock/FE lock – you can change the behavior of the AE Lock (Asterisk) button as well. I prefer keeping the default, as it works great for locking exposure when shooting panoramas.
- AF point button: AF point selection – I keep this at default.
- DOF preview button: depth-of-field preview – I don’t particularly use this feature, so I changed mine to “Switch to registered AF func.” With this setting, you can instantly switch to the desired AF method, tracking sensitivity and speed by simply holding the button, which is pretty sweet.
- Lens AF stop button: AF stop – controls the behavior of the lens AF stop button.
- Multi-function button (M-Fn): Dial function settings (default) – this is to quickly access key camera settings, such as ISO, drive mode, AF mode, etc.
- Set button: Set AF point to center – resets the autofocus point to the center.
- Multi-controllers: Direct AF point selection – to use the joystick for moving the focus points.
- Movie Side / Right Side: I keep all the settings at their defaults for movie shooting, with the exception of DOF Preview Button, which I set to display the Zebra pattern.
- Customize dials:
- Main Dial: Shutter speed setting in M mode – you can control the behavior of the vertical dial on the top of the camera in Manual mode to either change the Shutter speed (default) or Aperture.
- Quick Control Dial 2: Set ISO speed – this controls the top horizontal dial, which is by default used to adjust camera ISO.
- Quick Control Dial 1: Aperture setting in M mode – the large rotary dial on the back is used to adjust lens aperture by default, but you can change the behavior here.
- Control ring: Exposure comp. (hold meter. btn) – you can customize the default behavior of the control ring on the lens.
- Clear customized settings: this clears the above customizations to defaults.
Custom Functions 4
- Add cropping information: Off – if you choose a crop mode and you want that crop information to be displayed in live view and recorded into image metadata, you can choose the different options from here.
- Audio compression: On – turns audio compression on and off.
- Default Erase option: [Erase] selected – I like having the default “Erase” option so that I don’t have to toggle from “Cancel” to “Erase” each time I want to delete an image.
- Release shutter w/o lens: Off – the camera will not allow you to take a picture if a lens is not attached.
- Retract lens on power off: On – only works on some lenses that can automatically retract.
- Add IPTC information: Off – you can add IPTC information to each image metadata, but in order to do that, you have to connect the camera to a computer and register IPTC information.
Custom Functions 5
- Clear all Custom Func. (C.Fn) – just like the title says, you can use this option to clear all custom functions and revert to default settings.
The “My Menu” section of the menu allows you to copy any of the menu settings into this area for quick access. Personally, I like having some of the camera features here, such as “Focus bracketing”, “Interval timer”, “Bulb timer”, “Shutter mode”, “Subject to detect” and “Eye detection”, as I access these settings quite a bit. Feel free to add / remove settings that you use the most.
I hope you found this article useful. Once again, these are settings that work for me and they might not necessarily suit your needs. It is best that you explore your camera and learn about each setting as much as you can in order to take advantage of all the available features and customizations!