Top Deck: Mode Dial (Auto Modes)


Canon® T7i Fast Start


Lesson Info

Top Deck: Mode Dial (Auto Modes)

It's time for the good part. We're gonna get into the camera controls section, and this is where we're gonna figure out what all the buttons and dials do on the camera. So to start with, some basic controls. Obviously, turning the camera off and on, and then it has a third position when you want to shoot movies. So there is On for still photographs, and then On for shooting movies. When you do turn the camera on, the camera is gonna go through its own self-cleaning cycle. It has an image sensor, and a little filter in front that shakes off dust, and it tries to prevent any dust from collecting on the sensor, because that can be a major problem. It shows up as black specks in the final photograph, and so it does a very good job at that. The shutter release, for taking photos, also for waking the camera up, and just getting the camera into a shooting position you might say. The main dial on this camera is on the top of the camera, and we're gonna be using this dial quite a bit for a wide...

variety of control settings. There are four cross keys on the back of the camera that do have specific settings that we'll talk about as we get into the camera, but they're also used for navigation. So when you're in the menu system, and you're trying to go from one page to the next page, or up and down through items on the page, you're going to be going up and down, and so we'll be using those keys quite often when we're in a variety of different types of menus within the camera. In the middle of all those is the Set key and so when you want to enter something that is highlighted, you're gonna use the Set to activate that particular feature, rather than just seeing it highlighted there. So, you want to make sure you hit the Set to make sure that you have entered that as your choice of things to do. Working on the top deck first. We have our shutter release, obviously for taking photos but when you press halfway down, it will activate the metering system. It'll also activate the focusing system, and beyond that, this is something that wakes the camera up, and the camera tends to go to sleep a lot. And that's because it's trying to conserve battery power, and so it goes to sleep as quickly as six seconds, just to turn off the meter from actively metering the light, and then after about a minute it'll really shut down. But to wake the camera up just press halfway down. And if you're ever in a menu and you're just kind of maybe getting a little frustrated, you just want to get out of the menu and you want to get back to shooting, all you have to do is press halfway down on the shutter release, and that's gonna immediately take you back to the shooting mode. Press down all the way to take the photo, and make sure that you just get a good feel for that halfway position, because your finger will be resting in that position quite frequently with this camera. On the top of the camera is the mode dial, and this is one of the most important controls on the camera. It controls how the shutter speeds, the apertures, and sometimes many, many other features are set. So let's take an in depth look at how the mode dial works. First off, there are some auto modes and some manual modes, and you'll find that the camera operates very differently and the buttons, the menu systems are gonna be different depending on which group of modes that you are in. And so we're gonna talk about all of these modes, but just be aware that the camera does operate a little differently when you are in one set versus the other set. We're gonna start off with the simplest mode which is the A plus mode, which is officially known as the Scene Intelligent mode, and the idea with the Scene Intelligent mode is that the camera is automatically going to try to figure out what you are shooting a photo of. Now, as sophisticated and as wonderful of a camera as this is, it's not real smart. It has a hard time identifying what you are shooting, but it can try to identify portraits and sometimes even back lit portraits, close ups, sunset, spotlight, and dark scenes. And so it can do some general awareness of what you're shooting and make some very slight adjustments in how you're shooting. And so, the A plus mode, well for anyone who's taking this class, I'm hoping that you're gonna learn how to work the camera more manually. This is a great mode when you want to hand the camera to a friend or family member to shoot photos, and you don't want them to mess up. You don't want to explain photography and how it works. Just hand them the camera, it's in the simple mode, it'll shoot photos. And so if you ever get really flustered yourself, you could throw it in this mode and just take simple basic photos. But, chances are you're gonna want to get in and get your hands dirty with photography, and then make those adjustments yourself, and there's a lot of child safety locks on when it's in the A plus mode. One of the things that always bothers me is that when it's in the A plus mode, the built in popup flash constantly pops up whenever it thinks there's not enough light. And the camera doesn't quite understand how far flash is going to reach. You could be in a gigantic football stadium and it's kind of dark out, and your flash pops up, and there is no way it's gonna illuminate all the players down on the field. It doesn't understand distance in that regard, and so that's one of the things that's kind of irritating about this mode here. If you are in this mode, one of the buttons that does work is the Q button on the back of the camera. The Q stands for Quick Menu, and this will allow you to get into some of the menu items, but in a very quick and easy manner. Now, on a camera like this and many other cameras of this nature, I think of the controls in three different groups. There are buttons and dials on the outside of the camera. These are things that are generally really important that you want to have direct access to. On the other end of the spectrum there is the menu system, and that is gonna be the second half of this class, and that's where all of the features are. And in between those two we have the Quick Menu which is a shortcut to a few items in the menu that you might want to get to right away. So by pressing the Quick button, we're gonna get in and control the drive mode and the built-in flash, so let's take a look at that on this camera. so I have the camera in the A plus mode right now, and if I hit the Q button on this, we're gonna have the option of going back and forth between the single, continuous self timer, and the built-in flash, and so I would select which one I want, I would hit the Set button, and now I can go left and right to choose what I want it to do. There's a little bit of information. We'll talk more specifically about this, but clearly there is a self timer here, so if you wanted to put it in the self timer you would hit the Set button and it would be set to the self timer, and we can actually see that right there. Let's go back to the single shot mode. That's where we normally want it for basic shooting. We can see it's in the single shot mode right there. Let's take a quick look in the built-in flash settings. We can have automatic flash, built-in flash on, this would force the flash on even in bright light situations. The auto flash would only fire if it's dark. And then if we want to turn it off, we could turn the flash off as well, and now that flash doesn't pop up even though it's somewhat dark in here. So the quick mode is very limited here. We only have two options. As we work through our different menu settings you'll see that that changes depending on what mode you are in with the mode dial on the top of the camera. Next off is the flash off mode, and so if you are frustrated like I am sometimes with that flash popping up, rather than going into the menu and turning it off, you could just turn the dial to the flash off setting. This would be perfect if you were shooting in a place that didn't allow flash photography. It could be a theater play, it could be a museum, you just want the camera setup in a very simple mode. The camera is still in its Scene Intelligent mode, it's just that the flash will not turn on at this time. You can dive into the quick menu and you can adjust the drive mode for continuous and self timer options as well when you're in here. All right next up is the Creative Auto mode, and this is a safe little playpen where you can have a little bit of creative license, but not too much, just a little bit. The camera is still controlling things so that you are in a very safe environment. You're not gonna be taking poorly exposed photos, but you can go into the Quick Menu here and you can change a few little things on it. Let's take a quick little look on this one, so let me make sure that my camera is in the CA mode right here. And so I'm gonna press down on the Quick Menu here, and if we come down along the bottom, you can see we can change the background blur. We still have our drive and flash modes which is kind of the same as we saw before, but under Background blur, we can have it turned off, or we can choose to blur the background, or have it a little bit more sharp. And for those of you who have a little bit of photography experience, let's take a look at what this actually does. I'm gonna hit Set here, and see if this tells us, so up here it tells us that we're at F11 right now at 1/40th of a second. Let's go ahead and change it to the blurry mode and see where it changes it. And so now, it's changing it to F4, yeah that's definitely less depth of field at 1/60th of a second. And so the camera is going in and making subtle adjustments with the aperture, shutter speed, and even the ISO, so it's controlling everything here. But, if you want to take a blurry background photo with really shallow depth of field, I'm gonna show you how to do that much better with your own manual controls as we get through this class. But this is a very simple way of controlling it here in the Creative Auto mode. My guess is that most of the people who watch this class are not gonna be using this mode. They're just gonna find it too limiting once you know how much you can do on your own. And so it's a good safe place for learning. If you wanted to, say hand this camera to somebody else and have them just experiment and play a little bit, perhaps a young student, this would be a very safe environment for getting a little bit of play, but still getting safe shots. Next up is the beginning of the scene modes, and there's a lot of scene modes on this camera, and what the camera is doing here is you are giving it a little bit of information about what type of photograph you're gonna shoot. In this case, a portrait photograph, and there are all sorts of things a professional portrait photographer would do with their camera when they're starting to shoot, dealing with shutter speed, aperture, and a variety of other settings. And the camera is now, it's not going full scale portrait. What it's doing is it's kind of tending more towards portrait photography. And so, it's not bad for portrait photography, but if you really are into it, you're gonna be able to make all of these settings yourself, and that's one of the important things to know about all of these scene modes that we're about to talk about, is that the camera doesn't have any special mojo that it's doing that you can't do on your own. It's just setting basic settings the same way that you would. But you might want to go a little bit further than the camera does. And so here in the portrait mode, if you go into the Quick Menu, you're gonna be able to change the brightness in this case. And so let me show you on that one, make sure that my camera is in the portrait mode. And I'm gonna hit the Q button on this, and so over here in the brightness mode, now I'm not shooting an actual portrait, we've just got a prop table setup here. I can go into Brightness and just for fun I'm gonna go two clicks down. I'm gonna hit Set, I'm gonna take one photo, and I'm gonna quickly go back into the Quick Menu. I'm gonna set it to zero, we'll do our normal photo here. Doing a little test here, I love doing tests to see how things work. And then we'll go two notches up. Now we could actually go three, but we're just gonna go two notches up, I want to see what it does here. And so we've taken three photos, and now we're gonna review these three photos. Let me get this set so we can see what's going on here. This is the brighter one, this is the normal one, and this is the darker one here, and you can see down here what's going on. The camera has set a minus one and a third exposure compensation. It's changing the aperture, the normal aperture was F5, this one it stopped it down to F8, and for the brighter image it went plus one and a third. It kept the same numbers here, but it did something, I'm not sure what it did. It didn't change the shutter speed, it didn't change the aperture, and woops wrong picture, and it says it didn't change the ISO. So that doesn't make a lot of sense to me and I'm thinking that it went in and it just lightened this up afterwards on its own. Same way you would maybe go into Photoshop and just brighten an image even though it has all the same numbers here. I think that's kind of interesting. I actually haven't run that test before in this camera, and so it is brightening it up but it wasn't changing any of those particular features on it. So anytime you make a change like this you want to go back and make sure that you reset it back to zero. It's kind of normal settings on that. So if you did want to make it a little bit brighter, a little bit darker, that's how you could do it in the portrait mode. So we're gonna have a number of other modes for different common types of shooting. The next one is landscape photography, where we can also get in and change the drive as well as the brightness. And then we have another one, the tulip is the universal symbol for close-up, and so if you want to do close-up we can get in here with a few little adjustments of course in the Quick Menu as well. Action photography often requires many different settings on the camera, and so we're gonna have faster shutter speeds. We're gonna have a focusing system that is constantly adjusting and changing for the subjects as they get closer and further from you. We'll have a few little adjustments we can make into the Quick Menu as well. Now there is a little bit of a competition between different camera brands and models of camera, and one of the kind of trademark things that people look for when they're buying a camera is, how many scene modes does a camera have? And you're kind of limited by the size of the dial on the camera, because well frankly they could make 100 different scenes if they wanted to on there, but there's just not enough room on the dial. So what Canon has done is they've come up with the next one up here, which is the scene mode, and this is where they've dumped all the extra less popular scene modes, and so we've got group photo, kids, food, candlelight, and so forth. And so here are some other common types of scenarios, and so let's go ahead and take a look on the camera, make sure your camera is in the scene mode. Press down halfway on the shutter release just to make sure the camera has woken up. Hit the Q button and then we can hit Set in here, and you'll actually see sample photos of what they're expecting you might shoot like. And so, the camera is adjusting shutter speeds, apertures, the light reading of the camera, and these are all fine modes to use. As I said before, there's nothing you can't do on your own here, if you know what you're doing, if you know how to set it on the camera. So this is a quick way to get to these things, but we're gonna learn how to do all of these things as we learn how to get the settings set correctly on the camera. If you just want to make a quick adjustment, this is a quick way to get to those scene modes, but I'm hoping that you actually want to get in and control it yourself, because it's actually a lot of fun, because you can get the exact specific settings you want, not just something that's generally kind of close. All right next up is Creative Filters, and so anyone who is into Instagram filters, or Photoshop, who wants to take an image and they want to really do something different with it. This is a way of doing it directly in camera without external software at all. And so there's all sorts of unusual things that you can get in here. Now something to be aware of is that when you are shooting in Raw images, which we'll talk more about, the camera is only gonna record a JPEG image here, and so you don't have full access to the original information. You're ending up with a finished product in this case, and so this is not where you want to leave your camera on a regular basis for most people most of the time. This is where you want to put it for a special or different type of photo. So if you want to look like a grainy black and white film, they've got black and white, and they've got it available in three different flavors you might say, depending on how contrasty you want it. Probably working better with portrait photography is the soft focus option. We have the the fish-eye look here, and so you can actually buy a fish-eye lens that will do this, but if you kind of want to fake it right in camera, you can do that with this sort of filter. A water painting effect, kind of has its own unique look to it. A portrait might look nice in this if you just kind of wanted a different stylized portrait. We have the mimicking of a toy cheap camera which has offbeat colors and a lot of vignetting or darkening of the corners here. We have a miniature effect, which is gonna blur the top and bottom of the frame, which kind of mimics the way a miniature might look. A little bit more effective if you're shooting high up down onto a city is how it's commonly done. There's also a high dynamic range where it tries to lighten up the shadows and control the highlights to get everything within a closer dynamic range, and can be very effective if it's a very contrasty scene. And so there's a number of unusual high dynamic range options that you can get into here. And so all of this is in the Creative Filters that you can get in. Now a lot of these can be actually applied after you have shot a normal photo, and so I'll talk about this in the last section of the class in the playback section. You can shoot a standard photo and then decide afterwards, hey I would like to make a black and white version of this in camera. And you can do that in most all cases, and so this isn't something that you have to do at the time you shoot it. You can do it later.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But trying to understand the manual can be a frustrating experience. Get the most out of your new Canon T7i 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:

  • Learn about the best settings for the new 45-point AF system including several customization options
  • Expanded new video options including "Time Lapse" and "Movie Digital Image Stabilization"
  • 15 custom setting options for personalizing your camera

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 T7i settings to work for your style of photography.


Jeff Sun

sunilkumar Khatri