Canon D-SLR

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How do I use custom functions?

Learn how to customise your Canon D-SLR s controls to suit your needs

Some photographers love nothing better than tinkering with the menu settings on their cameras. Others would rather leave things just as they are and trust the default factory settings, but theymissing out, as custom functions offer a golden opportunity for you to set up your Canon D-SLR so that it operates intuitively and effectively for the type of photography you do, and exactly the way you like to do it.

Custom functions enable you to do everything from configuring the operation that various control buttons on the camera perform, to improving image quality by smoothing out the noise in pictures taken using long exposures. The exact range of custom functions that are available will depend on which EOS camera youusing. While the entry-level 1100D offers ten custom functions, more advanced bodies offer a staggering degree of customisation, including options for key features such as autofocus and exposure, with the flagship EOS-1D X topping the list with 31 custom settings.

Short and sweet

 Canon D-SLR

The location of the custom functions is consistent across all levels of EOS camera though-select the orange camera icon at the top of the menu screen to enter the custom function menu. Handily, Canon has separated its custom functions into themed groups, and the majority of cameras feature four of these: Group I: Exposure, Group II: Image, Group III: Autofocus/Drive and Group IV:

r Operation/Others. These groups contain a different number of custom functions, dependent on the camera model, each of which gets its own separate ’of options. Itthen a simple process of scrolling through the pages, and making your selection from the options available for a particular custom function.

Because it would be too long-winded to spell out the full details of each option in manuals and magazines every time they are mentioned, a custom function ’has been developed over the years. For instance, function IV: Operation/ Others: 2 Assign SET button: 0’is usually written as C.Fn IV-2-0. This indicates that itgroup IV, custom function 2, and the setting is 0. The default setting for a custom function is usually 0, but each function offers one or more alternative options.

Customise for quality

You donhave to change any of these options, of course-cameras leave the factory in default mode, in which most of the custom functions are disabled, and there s no pressing need to make any changes at all. So why bother? Well, for one thing custom functions can help you seriously improve the quality of your pictures. Using the Mirror Lockup feature thatburied deep in the menu of most cameras, for example, can help you take sharper photos with slower exposures: flash can be set to synchronise at a fixed shutter speed in Aperture Priority mode, preventing you from getting blurred shots in low light; and Highlight Tone Priority can be activated in order to capture more detail in bright areas that might otherwise be overexposed.

Custom functions also enable you to use your camera more quickly so that you can respond to changing conditions, with such tricks as enabling you to rapidly scroll through ISO settings by changing the increments to full stops rather than V3 stops, or enabling you to assign your preferred control to the SET button in the middle of the Quick Control dial.

For the ultimate in convenience, some cameras also give you the chance to save up to three different control setups and custom function arrangements as User Settings , which are indicated by the letter C on the Mode dial. You can save a complete snapshot of the current camera settings here, enabling you to create bespoke setups for different shooting situations and recall them with the turn of the dial. You could save out a number of custom functions to create the perfect action camera (with Expanded ISO and fast AF Point Selection activated, for instance), create another setup optimised for close-ups (with a wide aperture setting to produce a shallow depth of field and blurred backgrounds), and register a third option designed for general photography. The only challenge then comes in remembering which setup yousaved to which Custom User Setting!

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