Top of Camera Controls
All right, next up, we're gonna be talking about this group of buttons over on the top right-hand side, and if any of you are new to Canon cameras, they have kind of a unique button press. You press the button, and it is active for six seconds. You need to start making a change in that six seconds, or it times out on you. Once you start making a setting, you have another six seconds, and I know a lot of people who are new to Canon cameras, and they'll press a button, and they'll go, let's change the drive mode. Okay, drive's activated. Now I'm gonna turn the dial, and nothing's happening. You took longer than 10 seconds to make that change. And so, you have to be reasonably quick about making those changes. Now, you'll notice that each of these buttons has two settings that correspond to what that button does, and that is because the first setting on the left is controlled with the quick control dial on the back of the camera, and the second setting is controlled by the main dial. So t...
hese buttons are doing double duty. You can change one or the other very, very quickly and easily, and so while there are three main buttons, there's actually six major controls that we're gonna go through right now, starting on the far left. You press the white balance button, you turn the quick control dial on the back of the camera, and that adjusts the different white balance settings. Now, our eyes as humans tend to correct for lighting with different types of, different colors of light, but our camera doesn't know about that and doesn't work in the same way. And so we need to make settings on our white balance to make sure that whites are truly white in the photograph. Now, the most awkward situations are tungsten lighting. Those are the lights that we often have in our homes. Shooting photos, you're gonna get this very orange look. And so the tungsten setting is very different. If you want a white sheet of paper to be white under those situations, you would change it to the tungsten setting. And so, whatever type of lighting you are working with, ideally, you wanna change the white balance to fit that color of light so that you get the best colors possible. There are a couple of other options. One option is color temperature, where you can go in and set the Kelvin temperature exactly whatever it is that you want it to be. If you don't like the fact that 6,000 is where flash is at, you can change it to 6100 or 6200 or or whatever number you want, and so that's a way of manually controlling the white balance. There's a custom mode where you actually do a test shot on a white piece of paper or a white surface, and you correct for the color that's there. You don't know what the correct color is, and you wanna calibrate it off of a piece of paper. I'll show you more about that when we get to that in the menu section. And then there is auto white balance. And there's actually two versions of the auto white balance. There's kind of the traditional one, and there's a new white priority one. And the difference is is in the white priority, it really strongly tries to correct for any sort of color balance. And the fact of the matter is is in a tungsten light situation, our eyes still see a little bit of a warm light. Have you ever seen a light bulb that's classified as warm light, and that's because it's a tungsten light. And we see it as a little bit warm, and we do find that kind of comforting. And so if you like a little bit of that natural warmth, you would leave it in auto white balance. If you said, nope, I'm doing work for the Gap and we're shooting khakis and they're very particular about the browns and the tans, and they have to be exactly the right color, then you would wanna go to the auto white balance white priority, which really straightens everything perfectly straight when it comes to the colors. All right. Same button, but turning the main dial on the camera is gonna control our metering system, and this is the reading the light. So, traditionally, actually, yeah, traditionally, cameras had a center-weighted metering system where they just measured the light in the middle of the frame, and then photographers wanted something more exact, and so they added a partial meter, and then a spot meter, a very, very fine-tuned sharp-edged knife, you might say, as far as when it comes to reading light. But the evaluative metering uses 315 zones. It's a very, very smart metering system, and it can account for areas of lightness and darkness and a lot of contrast, and it gives you a good general representation. About 99% of the Canon shooters that I know of shoot with their cameras in evaluative 99% of the time. There are a few people out there that like to kind of do things in a more manual manner using that spot meter, and so it's a very valuable technique, and it's one that I used a lot more back in the days of film. But the cameras have gotten much more forgiving when it comes to exposure, and the evaluative metering system has improved over the years to where it's pretty rare that you're gonna get a bad exposure with the evaluative metering system. Moving onto our next button, we're gonna talk about the drive with the quick control dial on the back of the camera. And this is what controls what happens when you press all the way down on the shutter release. And so for those of you who don't own the camera yet, we actually have some students here in the class who don't own the camera. They're going to, and there might be some people out there still kind of wondering, what does this sound like? What's this like? And so the single shot mode of course is your standard one shot at a time, and then the continuous high mode is roughly about seven frames a second. And I need to get a faster shutter speed. It's not gonna work if you have too slow a shutter speed. And I don't care that these are dark exposures, but seven frames a second (shutter clicks rapidly) is like that. We also have a normal motor drive, which, (shutter clicks steadily) about three frames a second. So for some people, that eight or seven frames a second is so fast, every time they press down the shutter release, they get two shots. Now, one of my favorite modes for doing travel photography is the silent mode. Now, the silent mode is not truly silent. It's just a little bit more quiet. And so actually, we can see my settings right back here. So the silent mode, what it does is it slows the mirror movement down. And so rather than coming up as quickly as it can, it goes up a little bit more slowly, so that noise is dampened a little bit, and back to single. (shutter clicks steadily) Now, I would normally turn the beep off, and we'll get to that in a moment. So we also have a continuous silent. (shutter clicks steadily) A little bit less noise. So for anybody shooting in a theater or a wedding situation, wildlife, any place where you're just trying to be a little bit more discreet, I think it's a good call. We also have a self timer, 10-second self timer where you can use a remote as well as a two-second self timer, which is my favorite cheat when I'm using a tripod and I don't want to touch the camera. Hands are off the camera, and it shoots without any vibrations. And so I use that, and I'm glad that that's right next to the end so I can get to it in one click from where I leave it, as do most photographers, in the single shooting mode, most of the time. All right, same button, but turning the main dial of the camera changes the focusing mode. We have three different modes here: one shot, AI focus, and AI servo. So let's take a closer look at this. When you press down halfway and activate the focusing system, the standard focusing system is called one-shot, which mean the camera will focus until it achieves a good, solid subject with contrast in which to lock onto, and then it stops, which allows you or reframe the composition if possible, but then you can shoot your photo. The other completely different option is AI servo, which is for subjects that are constantly moving. And so for action, sports photography, you wanna have it in AI servo. Generally when I go out to shoot sports, the first change I make on my camera is to get that focus into the continuous mode so that it can track that action, coming towards you and away from you and moving around. Now, there is one in between, AI standing for artificial intelligent focus, that will try to detect. Let me say that again. It will try to detect whether your subject is moving or not moving and set the camera either in one shot or in AI servo. Now, just kind of as a note that's I think kind of interesting, if you were to buy the Canon 1D X Mark II, which is double the price of this camera, you do not get AI focus on that camera, because professionals who buy that camera would never use that feature. This feature is a danger. I think it's a hazard to your photography. I do not recommend using it, and that is because the camera tries, but is often unpredictable in what it's going to do. And I think for us as photographers, it's pretty easy to make a decision. Is my subject moving, or is it not moving? It's one of those two choices, and as we get towards the end of the class, I'm going to talk about button customization. And one of the great things on this camera is that you can have two autofocus buttons, one that does one shot, and one that does AI servo. So you can have both at your fingertips ready to go. You just choose, not moving, moving, and your camera works perfectly for both of 'em. But I would generally avoid AI focus. When you have your camera in the A Plus, the scene intelligent mode, your camera is in AI focus. For the person who doesn't know anything about photography and they don't know whether it's a cyclist coming down the street or a tree, the camera might be able to figure that out and help them out. Now, as we get into the menu section, there are a ton of different ways that you can tweak the autofocus. And it's gonna get very nitty gritty, and for anyone who focuses action, this camera has a lot of different ways to customize and tweak your camera to fit the types and styles of things that you are shooting. And so there is a lot to talk about when it comes to customizing the autofocus. This is just the big, main control, and there's lots more things to get into. So we have lots to cover further on into this class. Next button. First option is flash exposure control, and this does nothing on your camera until you have a flash attached to it. You do not have a built-in flash on this camera, and so if you do mount one on and it is electrically connected and it communicates properly, which means all the Canon TTL flashes, you're gonna be able to go in and control the power of flash from the camera. The normal TTL, through the lens, flash, is oftentimes for people photography a little too much. A lot of you are familiar with the Department of Motor Vehicles flash output when you get your picture taken. It's good for identification, but as far as a flattering photo, it's a little bit on the harsh side. And so this allows us to tone that flash down to a more natural look. Now, how much should you tone it down? One stop, two stops? It really depends on the subject, the colors, the brightnesses in that photograph, the background. And so getting that skin tone correct is gonna require a little bit of adjustment, and they've added this into the camera 'cause they know a lot of people are gonna be using built-in flash, and rather than taking your hands off the camera and going up to the flash to make these adjustments, you can now make it very easily with your fingertips right there in the camera. And so, if you don't have a camera or a flash mounted on your camera, this portion of the camera's not doing anything. It's just kind of laying, laying and waiting there for you to attach a flash to it. The other half of this button is changing the ISO, which is the sensitivity of the sensor. So the base sensitivity of this camera is ISO 100. You can lower it down to 50. I don't recommend it unless you absolutely need to have it. You're getting less dynamic range when you go down to 50. So you wanna keep it at 100 as much as you can. You bump it up when you need faster shutter speeds. It goes up to 25,000, and then you can go into the menu system, and you can expand that up to 100,000, and I always like to run my cameras through a little test to see how good they are. And so let's take a look at an example of this camera at all the different ISO settings, from a low of 50, and my guess is that you're not gonna notice any difference at home, just because of the relatively small size of the screens and the fact that this camera is really clean up to 1600. Now, in my mind, when it comes to ISO, you should remember three numbers. The first number is, where is your setting the best at? That's ISO 100. Absolute factual information right there. The next number, which is gonna be a little mushy, depending on who you are, is where you start to notice a falloff, and you start noticing noise. And this is a bit of a personal opinion. And for me, it's gonna be around 3200. I really don't wanna go there, but it's pretty good. And the third number you wanna know is when you have jumped the shark, you have gone too far, all right, and for me, the H1 and the H2 settings are jumping the shark. They've gone too far, okay? I could see using 25,000. I think 12,800 is another, that might be my jumping the shark limit right there, and I'm not, but everyone's gonna have their own different limitations. And the fact of the matter is, the lower number is always better than a higher number, with the exception of 50. And so that's my results, and generally, my things that I've said that on pretty much all cameras is the top two settings are always garbage, and I think they're pretty poor, and you would only need or want to go to them in extreme situations. So that is the ISO setting. Next up, you have a little light button which illuminates the top LCD panel. I'm not gonna go through all the things that you see in the LCD. You'll see that in the viewfinder, and it's mostly pretty obvious, features that are turned on and their current settings on the camera. The multi-function button is, well, when you press it right now with nothing else going on, it does absolutely nothing. We will be using this once we get into the focusing system. So there's gonna be a separate button that we activate the focusing, and then we'll be changing the focusing system with this. But, being a multi-function button means that we get to dive into the menu system in the custom function settings, and we can choose for this button to do something different when you're not using it for autofocus area selection. And so it can still be used for autofocus area selection when you've activated that, but if you find something else valuable here, you can add it to this. One of my favorite ones is what I call cycle key functions. So the white balance, metering, drive, autofocus, flash exposure compensation, ISO can all be activated by that single button and pressing it three times to cycle through those three different controls. And so as I say, I want you to customize your camera, figure out what works for you, find out the shortcut that you want. The camera does not have a lot of function buttons. There are a number of other cameras on the market that have more function buttons. So there's a number of ways to customize the camera, but there's not a lot of blank buttons that you just get to customize doing whatever you want. And this is one of the few in there. It's a relatively limited list of items that you get to go in there and adjust, so pick the best one and go with that. We have the hot shoe on the top of the camera for of course mounting flashes. One of the things you'll notice is that there is kind of a rubber seal around the edge of it so that it has a tight weather sealing when you do mount flash on your camera. When you get into flash, one of the first things that you learn is that flash, no matter what flash unit you have, has a limited distance. The penguins in front of you, that's covered. The mountains in the background, not gonna be illuminated by flash. And so great for subjects, especially portraits that are close by, adding a little highlight to the eyes, filling in the shadows, something I really like to use when I'm doing portrait photography in many, many cases. Even on bright, sunny days where you get those very harsh shadows, the flash will fill in those shadows so that you can see the face much more easily. And so if you are into portrait photography, you're gonna wanna look at lighting. I love natural light and that's how I shoot most of the time, but for portraits, it's nice to have a little bit of extra light, and this is the help that really can make your photos a little bit better in many cases. Now, there are a number of different modes that you can get into in changing the flash, as far as making it fire any time, using slow shutter speeds, syncing the curtain with the second, the trailing curtain rather than the front, and then doing some special effect modes like the multi-flash where it fires a number of times in one shot, and then you can use a collection of Canon flashes and have them triggering wirelessly. And so you can get into some very fancy setups with multiple lights, all being triggered simultaneously and being powered just the way that you want them to. And so there is a bit of what I like to call a rabbit hole in the shooting menu where we get into the controls of the flash, and there's kind of menus within menus within menus. And we will be going through that in the menu section of the class. Now, for those of you who are using the camera in a studio or hooking this camera up through the PC socket and you have more powerful strobes, there is something to take note of. The sync speed on this camera is 1/200 of a second, and with any Canon flash, you can safely shoot up to 1/200 of a second. If you go faster than that, the shutter is in the way when you're taking a photo. So you can force the camera to shoot at 1/ of a second, and that's what it's gonna look like. And so 1/250, we still have that curtain in the way. Theoretically, 1/200 is fine, but with studio flashes, as you look at these images, 1/200 is still a little bit dark on the bottom. Some people might see, depending on the flashes they have, a little bit of darkness and unevenness in the brightness at 1/160 of a second. So if you're working in the studio, most studio photographers are gonna be at 1/125 of a second, or slower. So somewhere in that 1/160 to 1/125 range. It's gonna depend on the power of your flashes. If you have very powerful flashes, they tend to stay on a little bit longer, and it might interfere with where those shutter curtains are. And so it's better just to be a little bit slower. Even though theoretically, it works at 1/200, go down to 1/125 if you're on a non-Canon studio-style flash on this camera. With Canon flashes, if you just wanted the smallest, simplest light for just a little bit of hint in extra light, you could look at the 270. The next one up has a bounce capability, a little bit more power, and a hot light for video. Although it's not really that powerful of a hot light, it's something. If you were doing flash photography a little bit here and there, I would probably look at the 430. It's a good intermediate level flash. It gives you some reasonable power and some good features. If you're doing this on a professional basis and you need more power, you need faster recycling time, you need some of the special effects features that you have, you'll be looking at the 600 RT in that case. That's their top-of-the-line flash. With anybody who gets into flash, one of the accessories that I think is an almost must for anybody is the off shoe cord, which allows you to get the flash about arm's length from the camera, either for macro photography or attaching it onto a bracket so that you can have that bracket rotate vertically, keeping the lens below the flash so you have a consistent look between horizontal and vertical images. And so that's something that I would recommend with any of those flashes at all to improve the look of your images, 'cause getting the flash away from the camera is one of the keys to improving flash photography. A few other little tidbits on the top of the camera. We have our focal plane indicator. It's unlikely that you're gonna need to use this. This is indicating exactly where the sensor is in the camera, and occasionally in macro photography, with some cinema lenses, if you're doing movies with the camera, you need to measure the distance from your subject to where the sensor is on the camera. And it's just kind of a, it's a geeky thing to know about on your camera. All right, so that runs us through the first portion of our camera controls. This is gonna be a good time for me to check in with Kenna and students and questions, and what can we answer.
So, Cherie Photo had asked, why can't we always use the silent shutter? Is there any performance difference?
So, there is no technical problem using the silent shutter. It's where I leave my camera when I'm traveling virtually 100% of the time. The difference is is that you cannot get seven frames per second shooting in the silent mode. It's limited to about three frames per second. And so it doesn't cause any damage or problem with the camera at all. It's perfectly fine, and I could see a lot of people just leaving it there. And, you know, recently, there was a video of the President of the United States in a meeting, and the person who recorded the video had a camera right next to where all of the other cameras were. And basically, all you could hear is shutters firing. You could barely hear what the president was saying. And there was, they were actually joking about it where I was watching this. They were like, can't they make cameras a little bit quieter? And I think it's not gonna be that much longer into the future that there may be places like the White House, and then it will extend out from there, where they don't allow shutter sounds. And so if we can all just stay ahead of the curve and be nice and quiet and not cause a lot of ruckus, you know, like, if you go into a museum, and they don't mind you taking photos, it's better just to be quiet for everyone else around us. And so, yeah, I encourage you to use that.
Great. Go ahead, Peggy.
You were talking about the different focusing, and to use AI servo for a moving object. Well, I do a lot of aerial photography, and I'm moving. Does AI servo help you at all in that situation?
Okay, interesting situation. And so AI servo is for when the subject and the camera, the distance between 'em is changing. And so like if you're in a car and you're rapidly getting closer to something, then you would need that. Now, if you're in a plane and you're flying and hovering over the ground, you know, not hovering, but you're flying evenly over the ground, you don't really need it for that, 'cause your distance is not changing. So only when your subject is getting closer to the camera and moving, when that distance is changing quickly. That's when it's important.
And so, John from Eva Baker Photo, she shoots primarily with little children. Is that where you would use that, AI servo versus one shot?
Well, I thought little children sit quietly in chairs with their hands folded and they don't move. Am I wrong? Did I... Okay, so yes. And so if kids are playing around, there's a good chance that you're gonna wanna have the camera in that tracking mode. You don't wanna leave it there. One of the questions that people have is why can't I just leave it there all the time? And you can. The problem is is that the camera is constantly adjusting, and that adjusting while you're shooting a picture may cause it to be a little out of focus. And so, if your subject is not moving, it's better to lock it in so that your lens is not moving in that manner.
When you're reviewing an image on the back of a camera, does that accurately represent exposure, or does the camera do some kind of correction?
Okay, so we will be talking more about playback coming up, but in that particular case, when you shoot a raw photo, it's showing you a .jpeg preview on the back of the camera. And so it's a close approximation, but it's not 100% accurate. I know when I'm out shooting, every once in a while, I'll see that the highlights have gotten a little bit too much, and I'll shoot another exposure a little bit down just to be on the safe side. But generally, when I go back, I was totally fine. The camera is kind of showing you a general view of what you're gonna get. But if you shoot raw, you're gonna get a little bit more on the dark side and on the bright side. And so you don't need to be too hypersensitive about, oh, I'm losing one percent of my image there. You're probably gonna be fine.
Okay, maybe we can squeeze in a couple more quickly.
Yeah, I think that we can do.
Great. Yurko Reggiatta said, what is wrong with ISO 50? Can you tell us again why you wouldn't use that?
So, ISO 100 is the base sensitivity. It's where the sensor was designed for its optimum performance. And so when you shoot at 50, what happens is that you're giving that sensor twice as much light than it really wants or needs. And in order to deal with it, and I can't go into the technical, because I don't know all the technical of why, but you end up with less dynamic range, and your image doesn't have as much contrast. It's a little bit flatter. It can't handle the bright highlights and the deep, dark shadows quite as well as ISO 100. So, there's less dynamic range. And in some cases, that's not gonna matter. And so every once in a while, I'm shooting a waterfall, and I'm at a half second, but I really want one second, 'cause that would make all the difference in the world to me. Well, then I would dial it down to 50, I'd go from a half second to one second, and I'm getting the same exposure, and as long as I don't have crazy highlights or crazy shadows on my waterfall, I can then use ISO 50, and it's gonna work perfectly fine. But it's handling, it's capturing less dynamic range. So that's why we don't wanna use it on a regular or standard basis.
All right, maybe one more. For extended battery life expectancy, the manual suggests not keeping the battery, sorry, not keeping the battery in the camera and not keeping the battery fully charged. Does that make a lot of difference?
Not keeping the battery fully charged. Now, that one's a new one for me. I don't know about that. If I was gonna store my camera for a week or a month, I'd have no problem just leaving the battery in it. If I was gonna not use the camera for a year, and that's just really disappointing to think about, (class laughs) okay, I'm going to jail for one year, and I can't shoot photos. They don't let me take a camera to prison. I could see taking the battery out of any sort of electronics, because it could be a bad battery and it starts, if you've ever seen a bad battery, they start expanding, and like, the AAs, they'll start leaking. I've never seen that with one of these batteries here. And so, it's unlikely in any normal situation, but if you were gonna store your camera for years without use, yeah, take the battery out.
Sure. Okay, can I show you a tip? Okay, so look at the back of my battery here. You see the green piece of tape and the red piece of tape? And so the batteries have this little orange cover. I don't have one with me, because I don't have another battery out here, but there's a little window which allows you to see whether it's good or bad. And so I'll flip it. When it's red it's bad, and green, it's good, 'cause green is good, 'cause green go, 'cause Greengo. (class laughs) Okay, that's my little goofy thing. But you have to be careful about putting too many tapes and stickers on batteries, 'cause they can heat up, and that can cause a problem too. But depending on how much video you shoot, it's not advisable to put a lot of stickers on your batteries.