10 Things your new camera won’t hate about you
Here are a few details you need to tackle when you get that new camera that you might overlook. There is unpacking the box and making certain all the little widgets included were, well included. Sure there is the excited charging of the battery and the tension-filled mounting of the strap. You might even tear at that memory card blister pack with your teeth to get a card loaded in right away. Then it is fire it up and see-if-you-can-take-a-picture time.
Here are few details from my new-camera regiment that are checked before I take the camera in to the field for the first time.
1. I apply some protective film to any LCD surfaces. The camera is it’s cleanest right out of the box. Take a moment to adhere some protective film to the screen and any ancillary displays to protect them from scratches and scuffs.
2. Test fire the camera. Does the flash fire when it is supposed to? Does the camera focus like the manual says it should? Do all the buttons and wheels seem to spin, press and move?
3. Adjust the viewfinder’s diopter, if you have an adjustable viewfinder. Give yourself the ability to see in focus before you get into the field.
4. Shoot a color chart and calibrate your camera with your image editing software. There are many methods for doing this but if you do it right out of the box, you will have that color profile ready for your first batch of pictures.
Before and After Color Calibration on the G10
5. Register your warranty or at least verify the serial number and save the warranty documents in a safe place.
6. If your gear is insured, send a copy of the still-drying receipt to your agent and get your new gear on the policy. Why wait?
7. Test the camera again. Shoot in each mode-with and without flash. View your pictures on the camera and again on the computer monitor. Look for problem areas like sensor dust, malfunctioning pixels or improper focusing.
8 Recharge the battery. All that playing you do when you are learning the camera via the manual will drain you back down. Don’t forget to give yourself a fresh charge before you go out.
9. If possible, plug your computer in and record your name and copyright on the camera’s software so that every picture is labeled as by you. Read about it in a previous article here.
10. Consider your manual. My new Canon G10’s manual is almost as thick as a deck of cards. If you want to carry it with you, it needs to be reduced in size and weight. Is there a quick-start guide you can photocopy to carry with you so you don’t have that thick heavy manual? A diagram of buttons? A hierarchy of menus? Is there a foreign language manual on the backside that you can remove. Sometimes you can save half or two-thirds of the manual weight by removing languages you don’t speak. Tuck the important stuff in your bag and leave the bulk behind. In a few months, you won’t likely need to refer to the manual any longer.
Your camera is now protected, ready and integrated into your color workflow. Now you are ready to go out and shoot some serious photographs.
Rikk Flohr © 2009