If you’re new to photography or just bought a new camera, you may need a few tips on how to set up a camera for the first time. Our head of testing Angela Nicholson is on hand with all the information you need.
How to set up a camera: 01 Charge the battery
Unless your camera takes AA batteries, the first thing you’ll have to do after opening the box is charge the battery.
In some cases there will be a battery charger supplied, which needs to have the battery inserted and then be connected to the mains, but some batteries are charged inside the camera via a USB connection.
All the necessary cables should be in the box with your camera.
How to set up a camera: 02 Format the card
Once the camera battery is charged and inserted, pop the memory card in its port. Then turn the camera on, press the menu button and search for the Format option.
When you format a card it deletes all existing images and prepares the card for use by the camera.
If you have used the card before, make sure that you have downloaded and saved any images that you want to keep before formatting it.
How to set up a camera: 03 Image Quality and size – Extra Fine (or Highest JPEG) and Large
You want to get the best images you can from your new camera so set the image size to Large to get the full benefit of all those pixels.
Then set the image quality to the best available option, it’s often called Highest JPEG, Fine JPEG or Extra Fine JPEG.
If your camera also offers the ability to shoot raw files you might want to shoot these at the same time as JPEGs because they contain the most image data.
However, the downside of raw files is that you have to process them and convert them to a universal file format such as TIFF or JPEG before you can share them with friends and family.
Your camera should come with some raw processing software in the box.
If you’re new to photography don’t shoot raw files by themselves because you’ve got enough to deal with, but you may still want to shoot them simultaneously with JPEGs so that you have them when you are a bit more experienced.
10 common camera mistakes every photographer makes
How to use a camera: exposure modes made simple
99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
15 common photography questions from beginners (and how to solve them)