10 things you must do with your new camera
If you just got a new camera then you are in luck! But when you’re faced with a box full of hardware, cables, and paperwork, where do you start?
Don’t worry, the following guide will help you understand your camera and give you some tips on what to do right away.
This guide also contains links to other buying guides and tutorials that will help you get started, running, and taking great photos, so be sure to explore it fully!
1. Check what’s in the box
Your camera is probably factory sealed so it probably won’t be missing a thing, but it’s good to know what is there and what you’ll need first. You will therefore typically have:
â¢ The camera (duh!). This will have a body cap mounted on the lens mount – don’t lose it because sooner or later you will need it again.
â¢ The lens. If you purchased a DSLR or mirrorless kit camera, the lens will be in the box but not attached to the camera. The lens will have a rear cap – don’t lose it.
â¢ Drums: Sometimes it’s already in the camera, but it’s usually packaged separately in the box.
â¢ Charger / cable: These days, not all cameras come with chargers. Many now charge via USB, so you can just get a USB cable that you need to plug into your own USB charger, or into a laptop or computer.
â¢ Other cables: There may be other cables that you don’t need at the moment, especially if you are using a card reader to transfer images to your computer and not a direct cable connection. Keep them anyway, just in case!
â¢ Memory card? Probably not! Sometimes a retailer will pack a memory card with a new camera, but it will be packaged separately. Usually, with new cameras, you need to provide your own memory card.
â¢ Quick Start Guide: These days, it’s rare to get a full-size printed manual with a camera (they’re usually available online), but there will usually be a quickstart flyer – which will likely tell you a lot about what we’re talking about. are about to say!
2. Charge the battery
It’s a bit obvious but, when you first get a camera, the battery may not be charged at all or only have a little charge, so the first thing to do is charge the battery. while you continue with other things. The battery might be already inserted in the camera, but it usually comes packaged separately and you will need to put it in yourself. It will either be charged in the camera via a USB cable or inserted into a separate charger that comes with the camera.
3. Write down the serial number
It is always a VERY good idea to write down the serial numbers of your camera and lenses and put them in a safe place – storing them as an entry in your mobile phone book is an idea.
This is important for a number of reasons, such as your camera warranty and identifying your camera if the worst should happen and it gets lost or stolen.
The serial number may also be required to download software or other benefits from the camera manufacturer. For example, Canon owners need their serial number to download the free Canon Digital Photo Professional software.
4. Download the manual
Most of us are guilty of pulling a shiny new gadget out of its shiny box and never taking a second look at the manual. Dive into this manufacturer’s guide, however (you don’t have to read it all!), And you’ll often find hidden hidden features that you didn’t know your camera had.
Some of these will be obvious, but spending an hour reading all that your new camera can do won’t just help you master the controls – discovering its less obvious features will make you more adventurous with your photography.
These days you will usually download the manual as a PDF document from the manufacturer’s website, often in the “Support” or “Downloads” section.
5. Format your memory card
If your camera came with a memory card, it will almost certainly be preformatted and ready to use. It is more likely, however, that you will need to use / supply your own memory card, and if it has been used in another camera before, it is a good “idea” to “format” it on your new camera.
Formatting the memory card that you insert into your camera is one of the first things you need to do before anything else. You do not need to do this, but it ensures that the card is optimized to work with the specific camera you’re using – and removes any existing files created by other devices on the card.
However, you’ll also always need more memory, so it’s worth looking for the best memory card – and finding the best memory card reader is a must, too.
6. Start taking pictures!
Obviously you want to check that your new camera is working as it should and what the different controls are doing. Don’t worry about mastering all the features immediately: just set it to “P” or “Auto” mode and start taking pictures.
Go take lots of pictures – of lots of different subjects – even if it’s just around your house. This will help you become familiar with the camera and the controls. As the famous French street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: “Your first 10,000 photos are the worst”, so you might as well get rid of them as soon as you can!
7. Use the histogram
Once you’ve got a few shots under your belt and got a feel for your new camera, you might want to try some more advanced exposure techniques, and for that, knowing how to display the camera really helps. histogram on your camera. This graph is often hidden as a menu option, but learning how to use a histogram is one of the most useful aids available to help you master exposure.
We have plenty of photography advice videos to help you start your photography journey!
8. Go manual
It’s fine to leave your new camera in its fully automatic mode at first, but trying your hand at manual controls will open the door to more creative possibilities. Whether you’re leaning into aperture priority, shutter priority, or opting for full manual mode, you can teach yourself through trial and error and ultimately come out on the other side a better photographer.
And if you want to go really old school, learn to master manual focus to take full control!
9. Get a camera cleaning kit
There is nothing worse than having a dust spot, smudge, or fingerprint on the lens when trying to take a great photo. To remedy this, there are many camera cleaning kits available. While a stain or two may seem insignificant, dirt can be a real camera cleaner, so learning how to clean your camera is essential.
Beyond cleaning the lens, it’s also worth knowing how to clean your camera’s sensor. It is certainly a more advanced procedure, but much cheaper than sending your camera in for repair. So take the time to check out the best camera sensor cleaning kits as well.
10. Get a camera bag
As much as you need to keep your camera clean, you should also seek to protect your camera from the elements in the first place with a decent camera bag. The best camera bag ranges from durability to total weather resistance. Whatever protection you need for your bag, the most important thing is to make sure you have one big enough to hold your camera. and the additional objectives and accessories that you will acquire.
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