Recapping Basic Picture Settings

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Your subject, creative goals, and lighting conditions determine which settings you should use for some picture-taking options, such as aperture and shutter speed. I offer my take on those options throughout this chapter. But for a few basic options, I recommend the same settings for almost every shooting scenario. Table 7-1 lists these options as well as how you access them; Figure 7-1 offers a reminder of the buttons that are referenced in the table.

Drive mode

AF Point Selection

Drive mode

AF Point Selection

Picture Style

Metering mode AF Mode White Balance

Figure 7-1: You can access several critical settings with a press of a single button.

Metering mode AF Mode White Balance

Picture Style

Figure 7-1: You can access several critical settings with a press of a single button.

Other chapters detail all these settings, but here's a quick reminder of how each one affects your image:

Table 7-1

All-Purpose Picture-Taking Settings


Recommended Setting

Access via Menu/Button

Image Quality

Large/Fine (JPEG), Medium/Fine (JPEG), or Raw (CR2)

Shooting Menu 1

White Balance1


Bottom cross key


100 or 200

Top cross key

AF mode2

AI Focus

Right cross key

Drive mode

Action photos: Continuous; all others: Single

Drive Mode button

AF Point Selection2


AF Point Selection button



Left cross key

Picture Style1


Shooting Menu 2 or Set button

'Adjustable only in P, Tv, Av, M, and A-DEP exposure modes. 2 Adjustable only in P, Tv, Av, and M exposure modes.

'Adjustable only in P, Tv, Av, M, and A-DEP exposure modes. 2 Adjustable only in P, Tv, Av, and M exposure modes.

il Quality: This setting, introduced in Chapter 3, determines the file format and resolution of picture file the camera creates. For best quality and the largest possible print size, choose Large/Fine or Raw (CR2). Keep in mind that you must process Raw files in a raw converter; Chapter 8 explains that issue. For everyday images that you don't plan to print large or crop, Medium/Fine is also a good choice and creates smaller files than the other two settings.

I White Balance: White balance compensates for the color casts produced by different light sources. Auto white balance (AWB) mode usually does the trick unless you're dealing with multiple light sources; in that case, you may need to switch to manual white balance control. Chapter 6 tells you how. You can control this setting only in the advanced exposure modes.

I ISO: This setting determines the light sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. Increasing the ISO value can create noise defects, so stick with the lowest setting possible given the available light. You can't select ISO in the fully automatic exposure modes; the camera sets the value between 100 and 400 for you. Chapter 5 details ISO.

1 AF (autofocus) mode: Chapter 6 details this option, which affects the autofocus system. In the AI Focus mode, the camera chooses the best autofocus mode based on whether it thinks you're shooting a still or moving subject. (The AI stands for artificial intelligence.) In most cases, this setting works well. You can control this option only in P, Tv, Av, and M exposure modes.

1 Drive mode: This setting enables you to shift from Single mode, in which you record one image each time you press the shutter button, to Continuous mode, in which the camera continues to capture images as long as you hold down the shutter button. The third Drive mode option puts the camera into self-timer or remote-control mode.

Single mode is the best choice in most cases, but Continuous can come in handy for action shots, as covered later in this chapter. Chapter 2 explains all the Drive mode settings. Note that you can select self-timer mode in all exposure modes, but you can select either Continuous or Single only in the advanced exposure modes. In the fully automatic modes, the camera chooses either Single or Continuous for you.

1 AF Point Selection: This control enables you to choose from two auto-focusing setups when you shoot in the P, Tv, Av, or M exposure mode. In Automatic AF Point Selection mode, all nine of the camera's autofocus points are active, and the camera typically locks focus on the point that covers the nearest object or person. In Manual AF Point Selection mode, you can specify which of the nine autofocus points you want the camera to use when establishing focus. The camera always uses the automatic option when you shoot in the fully automatic exposure modes or A-DEP mode.

1 Metering mode: This option determines what part of the frame the camera analyzes when calculating exposure. Evaluative metering takes the whole frame into account, which produces good results for most scenes. See Chapter 5 for the scoop on the other two options, Partial and Center-Weighted Average metering, which are selectable only when you shoot in the advanced exposure modes. All fully automatic modes use Evaluative metering.

1 Picture Style: When you shoot in the advanced exposure modes, you can manipulate color, sharpness, and contrast by selecting from one of six preset Picture Style settings or by defining your own custom style. In the fully automatic modes, the camera selects the Picture Style for you based on which mode you're using. For example, in Portrait exposure mode, the camera selects the Portrait Picture Style setting. See Chapter 6 for a review of all the Picture Style controls.

As indicated in the table, you can adjust only the Quality and Drive mode settings when you shoot in the fully automatic modes. And in the A-DEP mode, you can't adjust the AF Point Selection or AF mode settings. If you want to tweak all these settings, you must set the camera Mode dial to P, Tv, Av, or M.

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