Whenever I buy a new camera, I go through the same series of steps to help make sure that I get continuity with my current cameras and that the new camera is brought to the stable ready to work, in its best possible condition. The list goes something like this…

a. Carefully open the box and check to make sure everything that is supposed to be included with the camera is included. I also inspect the box and its contents for damage at this point.
b. Find a clean, uncluttered, well-lit workspace to spread out the contents of the box. Open everything carefully and check to make sure small parts like LCD covers, caps, etc., aren’t buried behind, underneath or inside.
c. Read the manual. (If I am already shooting the same camera system I will temporarily skip this part but will, as is my habit, read one page from the manual each day to make sure I am current on all the camera’s functions.
d. Check each of the camera’s buttons, switches and dials to make sure they are fully operational.
e. Install the strap – I rarely use the manufacturer’s strap and instead prefer to use one of the KATA camera straps that’s easily removable.
f. Adjust the dioptre to accommodate my near-sidedness.
g. Use the visible dust cleaning system to carefully wipe down the lens mount and the extreme outer chamber. The manufacturing process often leaves minute particles of dust, dirt or even metal shavings in this area.
h. Install a 50mm lens to use when I test out the camera’s initial operation.
i. I charge the camera battery overnight before installing in the camera. Assuming that charge is complete, I install the battery.
j. Making sure the camera is off, I next install the memory card(s).
k. The next step is to power on the camera and format the card(s).
l. Next I check all the basic functions. I start with adjusting shutter speed, aperture, mode, ISO, etc,
m. I make several test exposures, looking at the images in the LCD to see if the camera is performing as expected.
n. I then download test shots to Aperture to check for sharpness, color accuracy and sharpness.
o. Once satisfied the camera is in good order, I turn off the power, record the serial number, fill out and mail in registration cards and store all original packaging materials with the original box and documentation.

Your routine may include fewer or more steps than mine. The details of how you go about unboxing new cameras (or other gear) are less important to me than knowing you have a plan, a checklist and a system to ensure that your new gear provides you with years of good service.

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