Custom Camera Modes

Posted in Tutorials.

I have a Canon 5D Mark III. If you have a camera other than the 5D Mark III these steps might be slightly different but the idea and basic setup should be fairly close.

Why would we want to use custom modes on a camera?  Do you use a combination of features that you regularly switch on and off. For these instances, you might want to create a custom mode! Doing so will allow you to immediately activate specific features. The custom modes on your mode dial are C1, C2, and C3.

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When switched to one of those, any settings that that have been embedded in that mode automatically take. The 3 custom modes are really just Program mode, they work exactly the way that Program mode does. To get them to do something more useful, we will have to configure them. Let’s look at a typical case here.

Very often we shoot HDR images and I need my camera configured a very particular way to do that, so I would like to store all of those settings in a custom mode, because they are kind of spread all over the camera, and they take a while to get set exactly right.

The first thing to do is build a custom mode. Then set your camera the way that you want it.

Start by switching to Aperture priority mode, because in HDR shooting, you always want control of aperture.

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My recommendation is to set the camera to f/11 with an ISO of 100.

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The real critical thing for HDR is we need a bracketed set, so turn on auto bracketing using 3 steps.

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We can confirm the setting changes by looking at the top of the camera.

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Next I recommend turning on burst mode. We will need those three shots to be taken quickly because we want to minimize movement between frames. Go to Drive, and turn on high speed drive mode.

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What we need to do now is tell the camera to register those to a custom mode, and we do that over here in the setup menu, on page 4; Custom shooting mode.

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Hit Set, and I want this first menu item: Register settings. I am just going to choose Register settings.

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We will pick which mode we want these settings set to. Let’s choose C1.

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There we go! If we change the camera to C1 the camera will now always have those settings set! Three custom modes is a lot of customization power, and if you get these set up right, you can really save yourself a lot of time when you’re shooting in the field.