Skip to main content

Canon 1DX Mark II Fast Start

Lesson 7 of 31

Exposure Compensation Metering And Flash

John Greengo

Canon 1DX Mark II Fast Start

John Greengo

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

7. Exposure Compensation Metering And Flash


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:12:55
2 Photo Basics Duration:04:03
3 Basic Camera Controls Duration:03:33
4 Exposure Modes Duration:20:29
5 Top Deck Additional Features Duration:05:29
6 Exposure Bracketing Duration:04:14
8 Viewfinder Duration:12:31
9 Live View And Movie Mode Duration:23:52
10 Autofocus Area Duration:10:16
11 Quick Menu Duration:03:48
12 Play Back Duration:06:13
13 Memory Cards Duration:06:33
16 Lenses Duration:07:35
17 Shooting Menu Duration:10:45
18 Lens Aberration Correction Duration:04:31
23 AF Method Shutter And Metering Duration:04:45
24 Movie Menu Duration:11:36
25 AF Menu Duration:23:09
26 Playback Menu Duration:07:43
27 Setup Menu Duration:24:13
28 Custom Functions Menu Part 1 Duration:14:28
29 Custom Functions Menu Part 2 Duration:19:48
30 My Menu Duration:05:04
31 Camera Operation Duration:09:47

Lesson Info

Exposure Compensation Metering And Flash

Alright, the third button controls flash, exposure compensation, and metering. So let's talk about the metering first. So, pressing the metering button, turning the top dial on the camera will allow us to go change through the four different metering option modes on the Canon. So Evaluative is a 216 zone area, it's using actually 360,000 pixels to read the area, and these metering systems are getting smarter and smarter. They've actually been quite good for some time, but this is the most advanced one Canon's ever had, and this is where most photographers that I know leave their camera the whole time to get the best meter reading possible. Now they do have some older and traditional and other metering systems, they have a partial system which is what I like to call a Fat Spot. The traditional Spot Meter which is just 1.5% of the entire area is a very tight meter, which can be very handy if you are wanting to get a meter reading off of a small area that's reflecting light towards you. S...

o if you were doing a portrait photograph and you want to get the light reading off the cheek or the forehead of the person that you're shooting, you could use the spot meter, works very well in that regard. We also have a Center-Weighted meter which is kind of a big, big Fat Spot which is just a big center area with most of the information coming from inside that center-weighted area. But most people use the Evaluative Zone, it does a really good job, it's very intelligent, and it's gonna get you good exposures in most situations, so it's what I would recommend most of the time. Next up is Flash, Exposure Compensation, and for the most part that's not gonna do anything until you have a flash attached to your camera. So that is only good when you do have a flash attached, and it does make that adjustment a little bit easier rather than trying to grab on to the flash and make the adjustments with those buttons. The camera is a little bit easier to get because it's in your hands, but if you do have one of the Canon flashes, you can make those controls directly through it. And the reason that you might want to do that is that the standard TTL Automated Flash system is very good but isn't totally keyed in to skin tones, and will often overpower your subject, and a lot of photographers like to add a little bit of flash to their subject, but not too much which means powering down the TTL flash and setting it to a minus exposure compensation. Now the need to do this will depend on your subject, their skin tones, the background, what other colors and tones are in the photograph, and so in this particular example I think TTL - is giving me the best skin tones on it. And so, being able to make that change is very, very convenient for anyone who is using an attached Canon or compatible flash that it can communicate that information through. Our top LCD has a light that illuminates it, so if you are working in low-light conditions you can just simply hit that light to see what's going on and what your camera settings are. We have three very important buttons over on the right-hand side. And so the White Balance button is gonna control the color of your images. And this is all based off the Kelvin Scale, which goes from red to blue. We'll have three different settings for natural light, we'll have three different settings for artificial light, if you are working under those types of lighting situations you would want to change your White Balance to get the best color to the appropriate setting for the conditions that you are in. There are a few other settings as well, one is a Color Temperature. If you know the Color Temperature you want to have your camera set at, you can set it to that very specific number. If you want, you can also do a Custom Balance, which is where you would shoot a white piece of paper or a neutral gray card and you would calibrate the camera because the camera would be able to analyze the color of that as reflecting off of that subject, and be able to correct for that color in the camera, which can be good for situations where you might go into a room or in an arena that just kind of has slightly funky lighting that doesn't match up with anything else, and you want a camera to figure it out for you. We do also have an Auto White Balance, and this is something that a lot of people use because it is generally very good. It looks at the highlight information and it tries to make sure that it is white, and clean light, you might say. And so, that system works very good. And then finally we have one that is called White Priority, and what the difference between Auto White and White Priority is, the white priority goes to a little bit more extreme, making sure that the light is white. There are tungsten situations that some people like to leave a little bit of warmth in, and so you may want to play around with those two to see which colors you prefer in the Auto White system. So there's a little bit of variance now, and that's kind of a new thing that's with the Canon cameras. The next button is Exposure Compensation, and if you recall, we were just talking about Exposure Compensation a short time ago, and that is with the button on the back of the camera, or with the dial on the back of the camera. Well, the fact of the matter is that sometimes that dial is used for other things in various modes, and so this gives us a way where we can adjust the Exposure Compensation from this button up on the front of the camera. And so its something that some people may not end up using because they don't end up using the camera with those modes, but it is there for that reason. Finally, you'll notice this button has a little dimple on it, it's shaped a little bit differently than the other buttons, and this is so that you can locate it without taking the camera away from your eye. So as you're looking through the viewfinder, if you're good you be able to find this button without pulling the camera away from your face to find that button. You should be able to just feel that little nipple on there and you should be able to access that very quickly. Now this is controlling the information that's being collected by the sensor. And I like to test the cameras to see how good they are, and ISO is gonna give you the best image quality possible, cleanest information. As we go up, what we want to be looking at is how much noise does the camera have. Now depending on your view of your screen, I can look at my big old screen here and I can tell you that it is incredibly clean up through ISO 800. I'm starting to see a little bit of noise at 16 and 2300, it's not that much and I wouldn't hesitate to shoot there if I need to, but I am starting to see a little bit of noise. And as we go up to the extreme, everything in the high settings looks really, really, pretty harsh there. But even up to 25,000 it is relatively clean for what's going on. And so, the lower the setting is definitely gonna give you the better quality, and where you want to draw the limit, well that's gonna depend on what you're shooting and what your personal standards are, how big the photos are gonna be, and how they're gonna be used. But I think you want to keep it as low as possible, everything 6400 and below looks very clean, but I could see even using up to 25 or 51,000, because it's relatively clean. Once again as I say, it depends a little bit on how big your images are gonna be. So you probably want to throw the camera through your own tests to come up with your own conclusions. Now there's gonna be a number of ISO tweaks and adjustments we can make, especially when it comes to the Auto setting. So we do have beyond these standard settings of 100 to 51,000, we have the three high settings, which are pretty low in quality. We do have a low 50 setting, and that is not as good as 100. 100 is the native sensitivity of the particular sensor in this camera, but you can set it at 50 if you are needing longer shutter speeds for some reason, or for another reason where you are just needing to get that ISO even lower. The problem with going down to is that it loses dynamic range compared to ISO 100, and so it's a very clean image, but you lose, you might be losing a little bit of information in your highlights, so I don't recommend using that unless it's kind of an emergency last-ditch step to take. Then below that is the A, or Automated setting, where the camera set the ISO for you. And there are, as I say, a number of Auto-ISO customizations that you can make in shooting menu number two. We will go through that completely in the menu section of the camera. Out towards the front, we have the Multi-Function button. And what this is is a button that is used for a variety of things, something that you can reprogram. We're gonna be using it for changing our focus point selection when we want to change the focusing points, we'll be getting to that very soon, but it's also used for multi-spot metering, and I'm gonna show you that here in just a moment. And we can also use it to do a flash exposure lock. If we have the flash attached, we can press that button, it fires the flash, the camera is then able to read how the light reflects off of the subject, and it will get a slightly better exposure if it does that ahead of time, than it would just shooting a photograph with the flash. And so that's something that we had talked more about in the flash photography class if you want to get into using flash with the camera. But what I wanted to show you was the Multi-Spot Metering and so let's do a little demo here with the camera, and I'm gonna put my camera in the Aperture Priority mode, and let's just set an aperture of 2.8 so we can let in a lot of light here. But what I need to do now is I'm gonna change it over to the Spot Meter. So I'm gonna press this button on the top and I'm gonna change it over to our Spot Metering System. And so now as I point the camera around, you're gonna see the shutter speed jump around quite a bit because it's looking at a particular area and reading that light in that small area. If I press the M Function button on the top of the camera, and so lets see I'm over here and I'm at a 500th of a second, I'm gonna press the M Function button, you'll notice there's a little dot over here on the right-hand side. And as I look around and I point it at something a little bit darker, let's find something just a little bit darker right, where's our two stops, right about here, stop and three-quarters darker, I'm gonna press the spot metering button again and it's adjusted and it set an average between those two areas. And so if I have a highlighted subject and a shadow subject, I can kind of do a reading from one and the other, and the camera will average it out. Now if I want to do a third reading, let's see if I can, see I let it go, I let it go for too long and it reset, so I'm gonna try this again. So there is my bright subject, where's the dark subject, right down here, there's our dark subject, I'm gonna point it over here, and it's continuing to average all of this out, and so I can shoot a photo and it's taken four readings and it's gonna average those four areas and this is the exposure that it comes up with. And so it's an interesting way of more manual exposure reading and taking that and adjusting according to your needs. And so depending on how bright and dark your subjects are, it can be an interesting way, there's a lot of landscape photographers, they would take a reading of the sky, and then they'd take a reading of the shadows on the ground, and then the tree, and the rock over there, and they would get kind of an in-between setting for all of it. And so it's a unique feature that's not on a lot of the other lower-end Canon cameras but it's a great feature and some people find it very, very helpful in achieving the perfect exposure for a situation. So if you want to get in and customize that button, there's gonna be a whole section on the Custom Functions page six in the Operations of the camera where you can go in and you can choose that button to do something else. Now, Canon does limit you on the total number of options, you can't have that just do anything. There's gonna be a list of options and you can choose among those options as to what you want to do. Alright, we have a Hot Shoe on the camera, and one of the things to notice about the Hot Shoe is there's little, kind of a plastic ridge around it and that's to help keep it weather-sealed when you have one of the Canon flashes attached to it. So, for anyone who hasn't used that much flash, the first thing to know is that it has limited distance. It's not gonna illuminate the mountains in the background, but for those subjects in the foreground it can do a pretty good job. And so it is a great tool to have when photographing people because we often want to see people's faces very clearly and this is gonna fill in those shadows, give a highlight to the eyes, and can help out quite a bit even on bright sunny days where those people's faces are in the shadows and we can't see them quite as easily. And so, using flash is something that comes along with a lot of people photography. Now the camera has a number of different flash modes, when you have an appropriate flash hooked up to it. These are some of the different things that it can do: they have Red-eye Reduction, which help reduces the red eye by having pre-flash, reduce the size of the pupil, Slow Sync will be using slower shutter speeds so that you can blur the background and still see it; can be kind of fun in a lot of different situations. Fill Flash is forcing the flash to fire even when it doesn't think it needs it, it thinks there's enough light out there. For subjects that are moving the 2nd Curtain Sync can be a lot of fun because it synchronizes the flash with the second curtain, the closing curtain, rather than the opening curtain of the shutter. There is a Multi-Flash mode, where the camera's flash, or the flash will fire a number of times, you select the exact number and the frequency and the rate of it while the shutter is open for a fairly long shutter, and so the example you see on screen is about a two-second exposure with the flash firing about six times per second. And then there is a wireless off-camera option, where you can buy multiple Canon flashes and have them communicate with each other. So you can set a couple off to one side, another one off to the back, you can have a back hair light if you want and you can create a very sophisticated setup well beyond what we have time to talk about in this class, but there is a lot of different things that you can do. And to control these features, there is gonna be a whole flash menu in the camera about controlling those extra features when you have those flash units hooked up. Now something to know about the Flash Sync on this camera, the Flash Sync is 1/250 of a second. If you are using a Canon flash, you can fire it at 1/250 of a second or lower. And if you're in the studio though and you're using studio strobes, there are some different rules that apply, so I wanted to run a few tests. So obviously if you shoot at 1/320 of a second, the problem here is that the shutter is still in the way while the flash is firing and so you're gonna end up with a problem image like that. Now in the studio, even at 1/250, because studio strobes generally are not as fast of firing as the speed lights that you attach to the camera, you're gonna end up with an image that is darker on the bottom of the image even though the camera is set to sync at 1/250. And so you're still gonna see this problem at 200, and I can still see it at 1/60, but it seems to disappear completely at 1/25 of a second. Now these numbers may vary according to the studio strobes that you are using but most people working in the studio are shooting either at 1/60 or 1/25 of a second depending on what sort of system they have out there, but once again, you're gonna want to do a few tests in your studio with your studio strobes to see what kind of synchronization speed is not getting any darkness there in the bottom of the screen, and so shoot something with a white background and take a close look at it, do a little test like this, shooting at different shutter speeds and find out which one works best for your studio strobes. Chances are its gonna be 1/25 or lower. For the on-camera flashes, Canon makes a number of different flashes. You could get the 270 if you just needed the absolute smallest flash, the 320 is kind of interesting, it's got a little light but it's still kind of a low-end flash for this type of camera. A flash that I recommend for a lot of people is the 430, it's a good intermediate flash. My bet is, is if you're buying the top-of-the-line Camera, you're probably buying the top-of-the-line flash, which is the 600EX-RT II, and this one has radio triggering so it can communicate with other 600EXs, which can be very interesting. It can be a little expensive wanting to get a full studio set up with these 600s, and so this is a great system for being very portable and working out in the field. The 600 is nice because it is more powerful than the other flashes so that when you're firing group shots, like if you're working a wedding or something, the recycle time is reasonably pretty quick on that. With any flash its always a good idea if you can to try to get that flash off the camera. And if you want to keep it in a full TTL communication, you're gonna need something like the OC-E3, which is an Off Camera Shoe Cord, which allows the communication to continue between the camera and the flash, allows you to put the camera on a bracket for instance, so that you can shoot horizontal or vertical, keeping the lens directly below the flash for consistent lighting. So those are some of the flash accessories that you might be interested in attaching on to the Hot Shoe. Little indicator over there on to the side is the focal plane, and that's just a little note to let you know where the sensor is. In some rare cases, sometimes in some cinephotography needs with lenses with some scientific purposes with the camera, you might need to measure where the sensor is, little indicator to let you know where that is.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Canon 1Dx Mark II camera with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features. 

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential. In this fast start class, you’ll learn:

  • How to use the new 61 point AF system
  • How to understand and use the autofocus system for great photos
  • How to incorporate video into your shooting using the 4K advanced video capabilities.
John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. This Fast Start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Canon 1Dx Mark II's settings to work for your style of photography.


Joe Berkeley

I quite enjoyed John's course on the 1DX mark ii. To be frank, I should have taken it 122,000 shots ago when I bought the camera. I learned quite a bit. There were only a few occasions when I thought my cranium could explode. But I walked away from the course with some great tips and in the grand scheme of things, the money I invest in education is always more valuable than the latest and greatest camera strap, lens, or bag. It will probably take a few months for all of the information to sink in but I'm feeling good about what I learned and the price I paid for it. All in all, a good value.

Fred Innamorato

John does a great job as usual. He provides so many visual aides and demonstrations which really helps you understand how to operate and set up your camera. His step by step explanation of the entire menu and each tab is excellent. In addition to his many photography tips and instructions. What an excellent class and a great value for all the detailed instructions provided. Much better than the manual you get in the box. Plus you get to watch this as many times as needed. I highly recommend this course and all of John's other classes.

Ian Sherratt

Great video. Loved the clear explanations, great views and mixture of video and slides. I’ve read a lot of manuals and books on settings and use of various Canon cameras but this is the first time I’ve really understood the full range of functions.