Why Save Your Camera Settings?
An often overlooked but extremely handy thing to do is to make a backup of your camera’s settings. Not only is this a great facility for those who have two or more identical cameras (assuming you want them to have the same settings,) but it can save a whole lot of time if you need to reset the camera because of a glitch etc. Doing this also means you can record settings, then reload the camera setting for different shooting environments.
Unfortunately, this facility is (on the whole) only available on the flagship cameras of Nikon and Canon. With Canon you can only backup settings on the 1D series, but if you are using Nikon it is on all the pro bodies including many of the un-gripped ones.
Backing Up Settings
Backing up your settings records the camera’s customisable settings. That includes shooting functions, menu functions, custom functions, and some other settings as well. These are saved to the card as a camera settings file. When this file is loaded to the camera, the saved camera settings will be applied. However, it is worth noting that these settings files can only be transferred from camera to camera of the same model due to not all cameras sharing the same menus and features!
This facility is quick and easy to use, with the user required to navigate to the ‘Save Settings to Card’ (Canon) ‘Save/Load Settings’ (Nikon.) When restoration is required it is just a matter of loading the card containing this back up file, then loading the file from the card in the same menu you backed the settings up. The respective setting menus can be found in the ‘Spanner Menu’ area of your camera.
On Nikon the settings are recorded in a ‘BIN’ file, and in Canon they are recorded in a ‘CSD’ file. You can also re-name the files if you are using Canon, useful if you are saving different settings for different shooting environments.
• You can only have up to a certain number of saved setting files on each card, but the number is camera specific and far too long to list in this blog.
• If the firmware versions are different between the one for saving and the other for loading the camera settings, you may not be able to load the camera settings file.
We strongly suggest backing up your cameras settings before sending you camera away for a service. From experience, many repair and service centres don’t backup camera settings, and often reset the camera before posting back to the photographer. It must be said that we, by default, produce a backup of the camera setting before instigating any changes.
We also advise that once you have created a backup file, ensure that you test it. We recently had a case where the file was created, but it could not be reloaded as the file was corrupt – see below.