Easy Canon Cam (Re) Configuration

Canon configuration made easy
In the meantime I could gain some first practise in using my new Canon VIXIA HF G30 video camera, both above and below the water line. In particular, I've now recognized that I need to configure the G30 considerably different for underwater shooting, compared to normal shooting on safe ground. For instance, the variable speed zoom is very useful, but not under water. It's easy to overshot when zooming under water, as control is difficult using the dive housing's controls.

Unfortunately, the G30 features exactly a single set of configuration settings. Configuring all the many differing settings manually one after another when preparing the cam for shooting just isn't feasible.

Fortunately, there's a solution for this, albeit it looks slightly odd. In the end, history is calling...

Getting small capacity cards is difficult...
...at least I got microSD cards at €3 each.
In a glimpse of understanding, Canon at least equipped the HF G30 firmware with the ability to save and reload the complete camera configuration. It works only with card slot B though, for whatever limited reason the product managers may have.

In real operations, you should never backup your cam configuration on a memory card used for normal shooting. Sooner than later you will loose your configuration data.

The reason is the handling of video memory cards. If there is something my GoPro HD Hero 3 cameras taught me the hard way, it is the format-shot-import cycle. Never delete or change a file and never shoot more footage after altering something on a video memory card. In the end, don't store configuration data on a video memory card.

Unfortunately, the product managers at Canon appear to be really, well, short sighted, but that probably gave us the beautiful 20× zoom of the HF G30. Alas, Canon does a prosumer cam, yet can't imagine that prosumers may be in need of multiple configuration profiles between which they want to switch easily. So much for those professional product managers...

Konfigurationskarten für über und unter Wasser.
Looking through my private electronics museum I couldn't find any suitable small capacity SD or microSD Memory cards. So I visited one of the multiple local electronics shops, fishing for memory cards with as few capacity as possible.

I've found some obscure 2GB Fujitsu SD card on a shelf, without any speed indication. Their labels looked as if made in preschool, computer draw class. 6 Euros ... are you serious? Looking around more I finally digged up two 4GB class 4 microSD cards including SD card adapters. At half the price of the Fujitsu cards.

In the end, I have to use a 4GB memory card to store less than 3kB of configuration data. If only Canon had used XML for storing the configuration, the mismatch between card capacity and configuration file size would have been less dramatic...

I also grabbed a set of self-adhesive SD card labels. In a misguided attempt at art I tried to draw up clearly distinguishable labels. A blue one for the card with the underwater settings. And a red one for the above water configuration card. So that my two new Canon cam configuration cats don't get lost, I got a tiny SD card storage bag that holds up to twelve cards. This way, I can quickly configure my G30 according to what I intend to shoot: fish or men.

Now, I just insert the appropriate cam configuration card into slot B of the G30. Open the [MENU], the go to tab [Tool]. Scroll down considerably until you've reached the setting «Backup Menu Settings B», and select. Then, tap on Load. Done. Your G30 is now set up according to where you will shoot next.

Coming back to this article's intro ... what about History calling? Well, once we had those configuration cats for mechanical looms. Or game save cartridges used with many gaming consoles. Everything returns, it seems.

I hope that this neat little trick males your field shootings more comfortable.