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Setting Up Your Canon EOS 40D

The Canon EOS 40D is undoubtedly the most customizable, tweakable, fine-tunable camera Canon has offered non-professional users. In fact, this versatility has made the 40D surprisingly popular among professional photographers as well. If your camera doesn't behave in exactly the way you'd like, chances are you can make a small change in the shooting, playback, setup, and custom menus that will tailor the 40D to your needs. In fact, if you don't like the menus you can create your own using the clever My Menu system.

This chapter will help you sort out the settings you can make to customize how your Canon EOS 40D uses its features, shoots photos, displays images, and processes the pictures after they've been taken. As I've mentioned before, this book isn't intended to replace the manual you received with your 40D, nor have I any interest in rehashing its contents. You'll still find the original manual useful as a standby reference that lists every possible option in exhaustive (if mind-numbing) detail—without really telling you how to use those options to take better pictures. There is, however, some unavoidable duplication between the Canon manual and this chapter, because I'm going to explain the key menu choices and the options you may have in using them. You should find, though, that this chapter gives you the information you need in a much more helpful format, with plenty of detail on why you should make some settings that are particularly cryptic.

I'm not going to waste a lot of space on some of the more obvious menu choices. For example, you can probably figure out that the Beep option in Shooting Menu 1 deals with the solid-state beeper in your camera that sounds off during various activities (such as the self-timer countdown). You can certainly decipher the import of the two options available for the Beep entry (On and Off). In this chapter, I'll devote no more than a sentence or two to the blatantly obvious settings and concentrate on the more confusing aspects of 40D setup, such as automatic exposure bracketing. I'll start off with an overview of using the 40D's menus themselves.

Anatomy of the EOS 40D's Menus

If you used a Canon EOS 30D before you purchased your EOS 40D, you're in for a pleasant surprise from a menu perspective. The time-consuming scrolling through one endless menu (aided by Jump button leaps to the beginning of each menu section) is gone. The EOS 40D has been brought up to date with nine individually tabbed menus, each with a single screen of options (so you won't need to scroll within a menu to see all the entries). The new menus are much cleaner, too, lacking the color-keyed icons, Jump button reminder, scroll bar with position indicator, and surrounding menu border.

With the revamped system, just press the Menu button, spin the Main Dial to highlight the menu tab you want to access (or press the Jump button to hop from tab to tab), and then scroll up and down within a menu with the Quick Control Dial. What could be easier? Canon's "pro" cameras have had this type of menu system for some time, and even the entry-level Digital Rebels have had tabbed menus. Be thankful that Canon's experiment with a single continuous menu has been dumped.

Tapping the Menu button brings up a typical menu like the one shown in Figure 3.1. (If the camera goes to "sleep" while you're reviewing a menu, you may need to wake it up again by tapping the shutter release button.) There are nine menu tabs: Shooting 1, Shooting 2, Playback 1, Playback 2, Set-Up 1, Set-Up 2, SetUp 3, Custom, and My Menu. The tabs are color coded: red for Shooting menus, blue for Playback menus, yellow for Set-up menus, orange for the Custom menu, and green for the My Menu tab. The currently selected menu's icon is white within a white border, on a background corresponding to its color code. All the inactive menus are grayed out and the icon and their borders are color coded.

Here are the things to watch for as you navigate the menus:

■ Menu tabs. In the top row of the menu screen, the menu that is currently active will be highlighted as described earlier. One, two, or three dots in the tab lets you know if you are in, say Set-Up 1, Set-Up 2, or Set-Up 3. Just remember that the two red camera icons stand for shooting options; the two blue right-pointing triangles represent playback options; the three yellow wrench/hammer icons stand for set-up options; the orange camera denotes Custom Functions; and the green star stands for personalized menus defined for the star of the show—you.

■ Selected menu item. The currently selected menu item will have a black background and will be surrounded by a box the same hue as its color code.

■ Other menu choices. The other menu items visible on the screen will have a medium or dark gray background (alternating).

■ Current setting. The current settings for visible menu items are shown in the right-hand column, until one menu item is selected (by pressing the Set key or multi-controller). At that point all the settings vanish from the screen except for those dealing with the active menu choice.

Inactive menus

Figure 3.1

The EOS 40D's menus are arranged in a series of nine tabs.

menu

Figure 3.1

The EOS 40D's menus are arranged in a series of nine tabs.

menu item

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Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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