How to set up your Canon 6D

If you want complete control of your Canon 6D you should read the entire manual and test those settings with thousands of pictures.

Or use this as a start and tweak from there.

This is part of a shooting technique that uses Manual Mode, and metering mode Spot, back button focus, and selective creative zone for controlling luminance level for creative tone effect. The techniques used to explain these settings are under the Learning Photography sections.

"Dogwoods" Summerville, SC 2013

“Dogwoods” Summerville, SC 2013

Tab for tab Menu Settings

Camera 1

  • RAW only based on this article.
  • Beep disabled Quiet as possible. Green light in viewfinder provides focus lock feedback. See manual page

Camera 2

  • Lens and chromatic aberration correction enabled Lightroom does this for RAW. This feature for JPEGs in case I don’t process files.
  • Mirror lockup See Favorites

Camera 3

  • ISO Make sure you set a minimum to 50 and maximum to H2. Other setting are immaterial since I don’t leave ISO in auto.
  • Auto lighting Disabled in Manual mode. I’m always in manual mode.
  • White balance If you don’t want to post process or you only shoot one picture per setting then choose AWB. Mine is always set though to Choose Cloud, Tungsten or Flash. See my article on why.
  • WB Shift When shooting RAW this feature will always be pointless.
  • Color Space When shooting RAW this feature will always be pointless. If I’m in JPEG I would normally be shooting a thousand image time-lapse. This means the final product will be a movie for computer display in which case sRGB makes sense.

Camera 4

  • Picture style Neutral. Let programs like Lightroom do your sharpening etc…
  • Long exp noise reduction I’m not a big nighttime photographer so I keep this control off camera and in Lightroom.

Display 1

  • Live View shoot Enabled. This occasionally is an effective shooting technique. It can be helpful for focus when on a tripod and the subject isn’t moving.
  • AF method FlexiZoneAF. Keep in mind this setting is only applicable when using Live view mode to shoot stills. Read manual page if this is something you find your self doing often.
  • Grid display 3×3+diag. I honestly just want to play with the extra diagonal lines.

Display 2

  • Metering timer 16 sec. When you half press the shutter in movie mode or live view mode the metering Exposure Mark will show for 16 seconds. (credit-Michele Anne)

I haven’t done the research on Silent level, share if you have some insights.

Play 1

All these setting seem immaterial to me. Playing with the RAW image processing feature would be very helpful to see which setting are choosing after when shooting RAW. For these setting, if you intend to post process your images, it’s best to leave all the camera modifying functions off.

Play 2

Image jump to 100. I find this a huge time saver. The normal wheel of selector gets you through single pictures. Zoom out to skip a few at a time. If you really want to get through a lot having this set to 100 is useful.

Play 3

  • Highlight alert Enabled. Since it’s using a Jpeg based preview keep in mind this hi light may be in error. I’ve recorded more than a stop of difference between the back of the camera histogram and the histogram of the actual RAW. So in other words it may give you a highlight warning when in actuality you have another stop of room before losing details in the highlights.
  • AF point disp Based on my AF technique it’s important for me to keep this on so I can see which I choose.
  • Histogram disp RGB. This is important to see which color is closer to losing information. Even though it’s based on a Jpeg preview it can tell you that a part of the background that is part of your story is losing information. Let’s say you nail the red flowers exposure but the green leaves lost a lot of detail. Using RGB histogram shows you this. Luminance could leave you guessing.

Wrench 1

Nothing special.

Wrench 2

*Date/Time Sync this down to the second to every other device you have. It makes editing and slide show creation extremely joyful. * GPS Enabled. This gem of the 6D took me seconds to set up. I don’t have a way to find it immediately useful. I think looking back years from now I think this will be one of my favorite features. Once I have thousands of pictures taken with the 6D it will allow me to find certain jobs easier. Perhaps I’ll review the last time I shot at that same location before I go out on a shoot.

Wrench 3

  • WiFi Enabled. My iPad and iPhone were set up in a few minutes. I can now control and trigger my camera from either device. I can see my images on either device about a second after I shoot them. This lets me check focus to a degree never before realized. I also plan to heavily use this for client feedback, aiding client posing and interaction with younger iPhone savvy subjects.

Wrench 4

*Custom shooting C1, C2 C1- I spin through here to make sure my camera is set up exactly how i like it. make a table?? AI-Servo Drive-Fast/Silent ISO–200 Metering-Spot Shutter speed–200 Aperture–8.0 WB- Cloud AF-Man set to center point. Works in tandem with how my Custom Controls are set up below. Center focus point on 6D is cross point, with F/2.8 lens has high precision vertical, and best of all is earth shattering 4 stops low light sensitive. Image- largest RAW Custom Controls- see image Half-press shutter release- Only starts AE. This works in tandem with my spot metering technique. AF-ON- starts AF. It’s the only then that can adjust focus on my camera, Unless I manual adjust lens.

C2- I set it here when I’ve set up my exposure the way I want it based on this article but I need to hand the camera to someone else. It’s the best setting to help them get focus, which is all I need them to do.

AF-Auto Camera will decide what subject is and try to get it in focus.


  • C.Fn I:Exposure I left one through 6 at 0. It’s important to have the stops of aperture, shutter speed and Iso all the same. So if you have the exposure correct but want to adjust one of the three you can count the clicks. Then you adjust the other by the same number of clicks.
  • C.Fn II:Autofocus I left all at 0 except 6 is at 1. I’m training myself to watch the green dot in my viewfinder as an indication I need to change how I’m getting my focus. I wrote this article about how to help the AF when it’s having problems.
  • C.Fn III:Operations Described under C1 above.


These are the settings I change. I want them all available for me here. I leave the menu set to the favorites tab so these are as accessible as possible.

  • Mirror lockup This is an important feature when you have a special case for getting sharp focus. Macro work is a good example. I use it also when I’m near the edge of the shutter speed focal length rule or for long exposures on a tripod. See my article on getting focus.
  • Image quality When I shoot time lapses or stop motion I set this to Medium Jpeg. This saves me a lot of time and still leaves me room to crop or to have near near 4k quality movies.
  • Silent LV shoot I don’t have much experience with this feature. It’s here to remind me to adjust it and see what difference it makes.
  • Movie rec size when shooting movies it’s important to have the right feel of a 24fps or be able to slow down a slo mo by capturing 60fps.
  • Custom shooting modes This gives me quick access to resolving the C1 and C2 as I tweak them. I expect to take this off eventually.
  • WiFi When WiFi is on movie mode is disabled. I expect to be switching this off and on as I go between movie and stills.

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  1. my ownership of my Canon 6D was short lived, but I loved it. thanks for liking my article too 🙂


  2. […] For tips on how to set up your Canon 6D check this out! […]


  3. · · Reply

    Very extensive and awesome article, plenty of usefull tips!

    Unfortunatelly the link to your “AF technique” (highlighted on orange, on the Play 3 review section) seems to be broken. It points to: http://users/TreenMedia/Dropbox/Blogging/Canon%206d%20settings.txt but nothing loads…

    Thanks anyway for sharing 🙂


    1. Thanks for the compliment and the catch. I fixed it.


      1. Thanks! very usefull also.


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