Canon EOS 60D, Picture Styles

Picture styles on the 60D will allow you to enhance your images in-camera depending on the type of photo you are taking. The picture style is automatically selected when you are using any of the Basic Zone modes. When using a Creative Zone shooting mode, you decide which style to use.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using picture styles. The first is that when you are shooting in RAW, the picture style doesn’t really “stick.” When previewing your images on the LCD Monitor, you’ll see it applied to the image; but once you bring it into your RAW editing software, you can change it to any of the other styles. Shooting JPEG images or video, however, will permanently embed the picture style to the image or movie and can’t be changed. This is extremely important to keep in mind when using styles such as the Monochrome picture style, since you will be discarding all color from your image.

These styles can be applied in the menu, while shooting in Live View, or while editing your RAW images in-camera. There are six styles to choose from, along with three additional user-defined styles:

  • Standard: This general-purpose style is used to create crisp images with bold, vibrant colors. It is suitable for most scenes.
  • Portrait: This style enhances the colors in skin tone, and is used for a softerlooking image.
  • Landscape: This style enhances blues and greens, two colors that are typically visible in a landscape image.
  • Neutral: This style creates natural colors and subdued images, and it is a good choice if you want to do a lot of editing to your photos on the computer.
  • Faithful: This picture style is similar to the neutral style but creates better color when shooting in daylight-balanced light (color temperature of 5200K). It’s also a good option if you prefer to edit your photos on the computer.
  • Monochrome: This style creates black and white images. It’s important to note that if you use the Monochrome style and shoot in JPEG, you cannot revert the image to color.

SETTING THE PICTURE STYLE IN THE ME

  1. Press the Menu button on the back of the camera, and then use the Multi- Controller to get to the second menu tab.
  2. Using the Quick Control dial, scroll down to the Picture Style menu item. Press the Set button.
  3. Use either the Main dial or the Quick Control dial to scroll through the styles. When you’ve selected the one you want to use, press the Set button.
  4. To edit any of these styles, select the one you want to change, and then press the Info button. To edit a specific setting, select the setting, press Set, and then use the Quick Control dial to make the changes.

SETTING THE PICTURE STYLE WITH LIVE VIEW

SETTING THE PICTURE STYLE WITH LIVE VIEW

  1. Press the Live View shooting button to get into the Live View shooting mode.
  2. With Live View activated, press the Quick Control button on the back of the camera, and then use the Multi- Controller to scroll down to the Picture Style icon. Press Set.
  3. Use the Main dial on the top of the camera to select from among the different base picture style choices (A).
  4. Once you’ve selected a picture style, you can change any of its four parameters by using the Multi-Controller or Quick Control dial to select them (sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color tone), and then use the Main dial to make the changes (B).
  5. Press the Set button to lock in your changes.

 

Canon EOS 60D, In-Camera Image Editing

The 60D has image-editing features that allow you to quickly process images in-camera and save those files as a JPEG on your SD card. This feature is not a replacement for editing images on your computer, but it is a useful and fun way to create quick, ready-to-use images directly from your memory card.

CREATIVE FILTERS

The Creative filters are a fun way to add different effects to your images. The 60D comes with four different filters, each with settings you can change to customize the look of your image. Now, one thing to note is that you are unable to apply these effects to images photographed in the mRAW or sRAW quality settings.

  • Grainy B/W: This will make the image black and white and also add grain to the image. You can control the amount of contrast in the image—the contrast setting in Figure 10.2 was set to “low.”
  • Soft Focus: This adds a classic “soft glow” to an image by adding blur (Figure 10.3). You have control over the amount of blur you would like to add to your image.
  • Toy Camera effect: This effect adds a color cast and also vignettes the corners of the image to make it look as though it was photographed with a toy camera (Figure 10.4).
  • Miniature effect: If you want to mimic the look of a tilt-shift lens, then this is really fun to use. This filter adds contrast and blur to the image to make your scene look like a diorama, and it allows you to select the area of focus. It looks best when applied to photos taken from high up, like from a cliff or balcony (Figure 10.5).
Grainy B/W
FIGURE 10.2 Grainy B/W
Soft Focus
FIGURE 10.3 Soft Focus
Toy Camera effect
FIGURE 10.4 Toy Camera effect
Miniature effect
FIGURE 10.5 Miniature effect

APPLYING A CREATIVE FILTER TO AN IMAGE

APPLYING A CREATIVE FILTER TO AN IMAGE

  1. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to go to the fifth tab from the left. Scroll down to the Creative Filters option using the Quick Control dial and press Set (A).
  2. Use the Quick Control dial to select an image to edit (your camera will only display compatible images at this point). Press the Set button.
  3. Use the Quick Control dial to select the Creative filter you would like to apply, and then press Set (B).
  4. Use the Quick Control dial to adjust the filter (the options are different for each filter) (C). When you are finished editing, press the Set button. (You can also exit any of the filters at any time by pressing the Menu button to go to the previous screen.)
  5. Select OK on the next screen, and your image is now saved as a JPEG on your memory card. Press OK to confirm, and press the Menu button to exit.

RAW PROCESSING

Along with the Creative filters, you can also do basic adjustments to RAW files on your 60D. This feature is helpful if you need to quickly edit a file and save it as a JPEG, and you don’t have access or time to do so on a computer. Just like with the Creative filters, you cannot process images photographed in the mRAW and sRAW quality settings.

PROCESSING RAW IMAGES WITH THE 60D

PROCESSING RAW IMAGES WITH THE 60D

  1. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to go to the fifth tab from the left. Scroll down to the RAW Image Processing option using the Quick Control dial, and press Set (A).
  2. Use the Quick Control dial to select an image to edit (your camera will only display compatible images at this point). Press the Set button.
  3. Use the Multi-Controller to select an option to edit. Then use the Quick Control dial to make changes.
  4. Continue making changes to each setting as necessary, and when you are finished processing the image, scroll down to the Save option (B). Press Set.
  5. Select OK on the next screen, and your image is now saved as a JPEG on your memory card. Press OK to confirm, and press the Menu button to exit.

RESIZING IMAGES

Sometimes you might want to quickly resize an image, and the 60D has a feature that makes this very easy. You can resize JPEG L/M/S1 and S2 images, but not RAW and JPEG S3 files. This feature is perfect if you edited an image using a Creative filter discussed earlier in this section and need to use the image on the Web or send it as an email attachment.

RESIZING IMAGES ON THE 60D

RESIZING IMAGES ON THE 60D

  1. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to go to the fifth tab from the left. Scroll down to the Resize option using the Quick Control dial and press Set (A).
  2. Use the Quick Control dial to select an image to resize (your camera will only display compatible images at this point). Press the Set button.
  3. Use the Quick Control dial to select the size you would like your image to be, and then press the Set button (B).
  4. Select OK on the next screen, and your image is now saved as a JPEG on your memory card. Press OK to confirm, and press the Menu button to exit.

 

VARI-ANGLE LCD MONITOR

One really cool feature of the 60D is its Vari-angle LCD Monitor (commonly called an “articulating screen”), which can be really handy in certain situations. Benefits of using this feature are very apparent when shooting in Live View or video mode, since you can angle the display so that it’s shaded from the sun. You can also angle the display when you want to lower or raise the camera beyond your field of view by moving the LCD Monitor so that it’s always facing in your direction. You can also swivel the display so that it’s flipped completely around, making it possible to do self-portraits or videos of yourself.

Another nice benefit of the Vari-angle LCD Monitor is that you can turn the display so that it’s flush against the camera, protecting the LCD Monitor from scratches while not in use. This is a good option when packing the camera in a camera bag or while using it in a harsh environment where damage to the monitor can easily occur.

VARI-ANGLE LCD MONITOR

Canon EOS 60D, Focusing

Focusing for video is a little bit different than still-image focusing, since you can’t look through the viewfinder to set focus, and all of it is done on the Live View screen. However, some things are the same—just like with still photography, you can either manually focus or autofocus your lens. (It’s important to note, however, that your camera will not autofocus during actual video recording, so any changes you would like to make while shooting must be done manually.)

The 60D makes it easy to autofocus and gives you three different settings to choose from:

  • Live Mode : With Live mode, the image sensor is used to focus. This method can take longer than focusing through the viewfinder (which uses the dedicated AF sensor).
  • Face detection Live mode : This is the same as Live mode focusing, but it detects and focuses human faces.
  • Quick mode : With this setting, the dedicated AF sensor is used to set the focus; however, the Live View image is momentarily interrupted for this to take place. This is the fastest method of focusing when in Live View or video mode.

To use these focusing modes, just point the camera at your subject, use the Multi- Controller to select your focus point, and press the Shutter button down halfway. The focus point will flash green and you’ll hear a beep when the camera finds the focus.

Using autofocus is easy, but if you ask me, the best way to set focus in Live View or video mode is to manually focus the lens. I actually find it to be much quicker and more accurate than relying on the camera’s autofocus. The great thing about setting focus using the LCD Monitor on the back of the camera is the ability to zoom in to your subject. This feature allows you to compose your shot and use the same buttons you would use to preview your images at 100 percent in Playback mode, but in Live View you are viewing the subject that you are about to photograph or record.

MANUALLY FOCUSING YOUR VIDEOS

MANUALLY FOCUSING YOUR VIDEOS

  1. Set the camera to video mode using the Mode dial on the top of the camera.
  2. Use the Multi-Controller to select the area you want to focus on (A). When you have it set, press the Magnify button once to zoom in (B). Pressing it once will magnify your image by a factor of 5 (5x), and pressing it twice will magnify it by a factor of 10 (10x).
  3. Set the focusing switch on your lens to MF, and then turn the front part of the lens until your image is in focus.
  4. Press the Magnify button until the image on the LCD Monitor is back to Normal view.

LIVE VIEW

As you may have already guessed, many of the techniques used in this chapter to set focus and exposure for recording videos can also be applied to shooting still images in Live View mode.

 

Canon 7D, Custom Controls

Setting the 7D’s custom controls, located in the Custom Functions menu tab, is a great way to change the buttons and knobs on your camera to your own specifi cations. You might fi nd that there are some default buttons you don’t use very often while you are shooting. If so, there just might be a different setting for those buttons that would make them more useful for your shooting style.

SETTING THE CUSTOM CONTROLS

SETTING THE CUSTOM CONTROLS

SETTING THE CUSTOM CONTROLS

  1. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to scroll to the Custom Functions tab, and then use the Quick Control dial to highlight the C.Fn IV: Operation/Others item (A). Press the Set button.
  2. Use the Quick Control dial to select C.Fn IV-1 (Custom Controls) (B). Press the Set button.
  3. Next, use the Main dial to highlight the item you woud like to change. For this example I’ll show how to add a function to the Multi-Controller (C).
  4. Press the Set button and use the Main dial to select AF Point Direct Selection (D), and then press the Set button once again. Now I can change the focus point in my viewfi nder while shooting by toggling the Multi-Controller.

You are free to change any of the settings however you like. I recommend scrolling through all of the items to see what they can do. But don’t worry f you get things moved around so much that you can’t remember what you changed the buttons to— you can always set them back to their default settings by pushing the Picture Style Selection button on the back of your camera when you are in the Custom Controls menu screen.

 

Canon 7D, Focusing

Focusing for video is a little bit different than still-image focusing since you can’t look through the viewfi nder to set focus, and all of it is done on the Live View screen. However, some things are the same—just like with still photography, you can either manually focus or autofocus your lens. The 7D makes it easy to autofocus and gives you three different settings to choose from (Figure 9.10):

The 7D offers three autofocus modes for video recording.
FIGURE 9.10 The 7D offers three autofocus modes for video recording.
  • Live mode: With Live mode, the image sensor is used to focus. This method can take longer than focusing through the viewfi nder (which uses the dedicated AF sensor).
  • Face detection Live mode: This is the same as Live mode focusing, but it detects and focuses human faces.
  • Quick mode: With this setting, the dedicated AF sensor is used to set the focus; however, the Live View image is momentarily interrupted for this to take place. This is the fastest method of focusing when in Live View or video mode.

To use these focusing modes, just point the camera at your subject, use the Multi-Controller to select your focus point, and press the shutter down halfway. The focus point will fl ash green and you’ll hear a beep when the camera fi nds the focus.

Using autofocus is easy, but if you ask me, the best way to set focus in Live View or video mode is to manually focus the lens. I actually fi nd it to be much quicker and more accurate than relying on the camera’s autofocus. The great thing about setting focus using the LCD Monitor on the back of the camera is the ability to zoom in to your subject. This feature allows you to compose your shot and use the same buttons you would use to preview your images at 100 percent in Playback mode, but in Live View you are viewing the subject that you are about to photograph or record.

MANUALLY FOCUSING YOUR VIDEOS

MANUALLY FOCUSING YOUR VIDEOS

  1. Set the camera to video mode using the Movie shooting switch.
  2. Use the Multi-Controller to select the area you want to focus on (A). When you have it set, press the Magnify button once to zoom in (B). Pressing it once will magnify your image by a factor of 5 (5x) and pressing it twice will magnify it by a factor of 10 (10x).
  3. Set the focusing switch on your lens to MF, and then turn the front part of the lens until your image is in focus.
  4. Press the Magnify button until the image on the LCD Monitor is back to Normal view.

LIVE VIEW

As you may have already guessed, many of the techniques used in this chapter to set focus and exposure for recording videos can also be applied to shooting still images in Live View mode.

Canon EOS 60D, Compensating for the Flash Exposure

Sometimes your flash will be too bright or too dark for your subject. While the E-TTL system is highly advanced and will get the flash’s output close to where it should be, it doesn’t always know what you want the image to look like.

Like exposure compensation, flash compensation allows you to dial in a change in the flash output in increments of 1/3 of a stop. You will probably use this most often to tone down the effects of your flash, especially when you are using the flash as a subtle fill light.

USING THE FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION FEATURE TO CHANGE THE FLASH OUTPUT

USING THE FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION FEATURE TO CHANGE THE FLASH OUTPUT

  1. Press the Q button on the back of the camera to bring up the Quick Control screen.
  2. Use the Multi-Controller to select the Flash Exposure Comp. options box (A).
  3. Using the Quick Control dial, scroll right (to increase) or left (to decrease) the flash output. You can also press the Set button to bring you to a dedicated screen and increase or decrease the flash output from there (B).
  4. The Flash Exposure Compensation feature does not reset itself when the camera is turned off, so whatever compensation you have set will remain in effect until you change it. Your only clue to knowing that the flash output is changed will be the presence of the Flash Exposure Compensation symbol in the viewfinder. It will disappear when there is zero compensation set.

Canon 7D, Compensating for the Flash Exposure

Sometimes your fl ash will be too bright or too dark for your subject. While the E-TTL system is highly advanced and will get the fl ash’s output close to where it should be, it doesn’t always know what you want the image to look like.

CHANGING SETTINGS USING THE QUICK CONTROL DIAL

CHANGING SETTINGS USING THE QUICK CONTROL DIAL

You can change the Flash Exposure Compensation, along with several other settings, by using the Quick Control button on the back of your camera. Just press the Q and use the Multi-Controller to scroll to the setting you want to change, in this case the Flash Exposure Compensation (A). You can adjust your settings directly from the main screen using either the Quick Control dial or the Main dial, or you can press Set to see a detailed view of each item and adjust your settings from there (B).

CHANGING SETTINGS USING THE QUICK CONTROL DIAL

Like exposure compensation, fl ash compensation allows you to dial in a change in the fl ash output in increments of 1/3 of a stop. You will probably use this most often to tone down the effects of your fl ash, especially when you are using the fl ash as a subtle fi ll light.

USING THE FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION FEATURE TO CHANGE THE FLASH OUTPUT

  1. Press the ISO/Flash Exposure Compensation button to get to the compensation setup mode.
  2. Look at the top LCD Panel (or in the viewfi nder) and spin the Quick Control dial to change the output of the fl ash. Turning clockwise towards the plus-sign side of the scale adds exposure (more fl ash power), and turning counterclockwise toward the minus sign reduces exposure (less fl ash power). Note that turning the Main dial will result in a change of ISO, so be sure to use the Quick Control dial.
  3. Press the Shutter button halfway to return to shooting mode, and then take the picture.
  4. Review your image to see if more or less fl ash compensation is required, and repeat these steps as necessary.
  5. The Flash Exposure Compensation feature does not reset itself when the camera is turned off, so whatever compensation you have set will remain in effect until you change it. Your only clue to knowing that the fl ash output is changed will be the presence of the Flash Exposure Compensation symbol in the viewfi nder. It will disappear when there is zero compensation set.

 

Canon EOS 60D, A Sense of Motion

When photographing a moving subject, you might not always want to freeze everything in its tracks—sometimes you’ll want to convey to the viewer the sense of movement in the image. Two techniques you can use to achieve this effect are panning and motion blur.

PANNING

One of the most common ways to portray motion in an image is by panning. Panning is the process of using a slower-than-usual shutter speed while following your subject across the frame, moving your camera along with it. This technique adds motion blur to the background. The key here is a slow shutter speed, but the exact shutter speed you use depends on the speed of the subject. Choose a shutter speed that is slow enough to capture motion in the background but fast enough to allow you to capture your subject with little or no blur. You also want to follow through with your camera until you are sure that your shutter is closed and you’ve completed the shot. You can further maintain the sharpness of the subject by using a flash source (such as the built-in flash on your 60D) to freeze the subject (Figure 6.12).

Using a separate light source can help to prevent blurring your panning subject. In this photo, I used an off-camera strobe to keep the biker tack-sharp.
FIGURE 6.12 Using a separate light source can help to prevent blurring your panning subject. In this photo, I used an off-camera strobe to keep the biker tack-sharp.

Panning photography often involves a lot of trial and error until you get the perfect combination of shutter speed and camera movement. The beauty of digital photography is that we get instant feedback and can keep tweaking our settings until we have them set just right for the image we want to create.

MOTION BLUR

Another way to let the viewer in on the feel of the action is to include some blur in the image. This blur is less refined than it is in a panning shot, and there’s no specific or correct composition, colors, or way to move your camera to get a desirable effect. Sometimes you might even achieve this effect by mistake. In Figure 6.13, I was attempting to create some panning shots while photographing a scrimmage of local roller derby players. During the shot a few of the players fell down, which added a lot of blur within the photo that I wasn’t expecting. The shot I ended up with was very colorful and creative and turned out to be my favorite image of the day.

Adding blur to your images can be a fun and creative way to imply a sense of motion in the scene.
FIGURE 6.13 Adding blur to your images can be a fun and creative way to imply a sense of motion in the scene.

As with a panning shot, there is no set shutter speed and aperture combo that you can use every time for this effect. It may take a lot of trial and error to get the outcome you want, but in my opinion, that challenge makes it all the more fun and is a great reason to give it a try.

ZOOM IN TO BE SURE

When reviewing your shots on the LCD Monitor, don’t be fooled by the display. The smaller your image is, the sharper it will look. To ensure that you are getting sharp, blur-free images, make sure that you zoom in on your LCD Monitor.

To zoom in on your images, press the Playback button located on the back of the camera, and then press the Magnify button to zoom (Figure 6.14). Continue pressing the Magnify button to increase the zoom ratio.

You can also use the Multi-Controller to check focus and scroll around to different areas of the frame while zoomed in.

To zoom out, simply press the Reduce button (the magnifying glass with the minus sign on it) or press the Playback button again.

The Magnify button is a useful tool to check for proper focus while reviewing your images.
FIGURE 6.14 The Magnify button is a useful tool to check for proper focus while reviewing your images.

 

Canon 7D, A Sense of Motion

When photographing a moving subject you might not always want to freeze everything in its tracks—sometimes you’ll want to convey to the viewer the sense of movement in the image. Two techniques you can use to achieve this effect are panning and motion blur.

PANNING

One of the most common ways to portray motion in an image is by panning. Panning is the process of using a slower-than-usual shutter speed while following your subject across the frame, moving your camera along with it. This technique adds motion blur to the background. The key here is a slow shutter speed, but the exact shutter speed you use depends on the speed of the subject. Choose a shutter speed that is slow enough to capture motion in the background but fast enough to allow you to capture your subject with little or no blur. You also want to follow through with your camera until you are sure that your shutter is closed and you’ve completed the shot. You can further maintain the sharpness of the subject by using a fl ash source (such as the built-in fl ash on your 7D) to freeze the subject (Figure 6.14).

Using a separate light source can help to prevent blurring your panning subject—in this photo I used an off-camera strobe to keep the biker tack-sharp.
FIGURE 6.14 Using a separate light source can help to prevent blurring your panning subject—in this photo I used an off-camera strobe to keep the biker tack-sharp.

Panning photography often involves a lot of trial and error until you get the perfect combination of shutter speed and camera movement. The beauty of digital photography is that we get instant feedback and can keep tweaking our settings until we have them set just right for the image we want to create.

MOTION BLUR

Another way to let the viewer in on the feel of the action is to include some blur in the image. This blur is less refi ned than it is in a panning shot and there’s no specifi c or correct composition, colors, or way to move your camera to get a desirable effect. Sometimes you might even achieve this effect by mistake. In Figure 6.15, I was attempting to create some panning shots while photographing a scrimmage of local roller derby players. During the shot a few of the players fell down, which added a lot of blur within the photo that I wasn’t expecting. The shot I ended up with was very colorful and creative and turned out to be my favorite image of the day.

Adding blur to your images can be a fun and creative way to imply a sense of motion in the scene.
FIGURE 6.15 Adding blur to your images can be a fun and creative way to imply a sense of motion in the scene.

ZOOM IN TO BE SURE

When reviewing your shots on the LCD Monitor, don’t be fooled by the display. The smaller your image is, the sharper it will look. To ensure that you are getting sharp, blur-free images, make sure that you zoom in on your LCD Monitor.

To zoom in on your images, press the Playback button located below the rear LCD Monitor and then press the Magnify button to zoom (Figure 6.16). Continue pressing the Magnify button to increase the zoom ratio.

You can also use the Multi-Controller to check focus and scroll around to different areas of the frame while zoomed in.

To zoom back out, simply press the Reduce button (the magnifying glass with the minus sign on it) or press the Playback button again.

The Magnify button is a useful tool to check for proper focus while reviewing your images.
FIGURE 6.16 The Magnify button is a useful tool to check for proper focus while reviewing your images.

As with a panning shot, there is no set shutter speed and aperture combo that you can use every time for this effect. It may take a lot of trial and error to get the outcome you want, but in my opinion, that challenge makes it all the more fun and is a great reason to give it a try.

 

 

Canon 7D, Setting Up Your Camera for Continuous Shooting and Autofocus

In order to photograph fast-moving subjects, get several shots at a time, and stay focused on the subject through the entire process, you’ll need to make a few changes to your camera settings. The 7D makes the process simple, but it can be a bit confusing when you fi rst start to work with it. Here, I briefl y explain each of the three areas that are addressed in this section: drive modes, AF (autofocus) modes, and AF areas.

DRIVE MODES

The 7D’s drive mode determines how quickly each photo is taken and how many photos it will take continuously. The drive modes available on your camera include the following:

  • Single shooting: With this setting you will take only one photo each time you press and hold the Shutter button.
  • High-speed continuous shooting: When you press and hold the Shutter button, your camera will continuously take photos very quickly until you release the Shutter button, up to 8 frames per second.
  • Low-speed continuous shooting: When you press and hold the Shutter button, your camera will continuously take photos at a slower pace until you release the Shutter button, up to 3 frames per second. You can also easily take just one shot by quickly pressing and releasing the shutter.
  • 10-sec self-timer: Self-timer mode: the camera waits 10 seconds to take a photo once the Shutter button is pressed.
  • 2-sec self-timer: Self-timer mode: the camera waits 2 seconds to take a photo once the Shutter button is pressed.

For action and sports photography, the best option is High-speed continuous shooting. In this mode you will take several consecutive photos very quickly and are more likely to capture a good image of your fast-moving subject. Keep in mind that taking this many images at a time will fi ll up your memory card much more quickly than taking just one image at a time. The speed of your CF (Compact Flash) card also limits how many images you can take in a row.

Within your camera is a buffer, a feature that processes the image data before it can be written to the CF card. When you take a photo, you’ll see a red light on the back of your camera (the Card Busy indicator)—you usually won’t notice anything is happening because the buffer is big enough to hold data from several photos at a time. When you take a lot of photos in a row with the High-speed continuous drive mode, the buffer fi lls up more quickly—if it completely fi lls up while you are shooting, your camera will “freeze” momentarily while the images are written to the card. If you have a fast memory card, such as a UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access), you can often avoid this problem.

One way to stay on top of this while you are shooting is to look inside the viewfi nder—in the lower-right corner you’ll see a number. This number tells you how many photos you can take before the buffer is full (Figure 6.7). In general, it’s a good idea to do short bursts of photos instead of holding the Shutter button down for several seconds. This will help keep the buffer cleared, and the card won’t fi ll up as quickly.

The number on the far-right side of the viewfi nder shows you how many shots you have left (max bursts) before the buffer is full.
FIGURE 6.7 The number on the far-right side of the viewfi nder shows you how many shots you have left (max bursts) before the buffer is full.

USE THE CONTINUOUS MODE TO CAPTURE EXPRESSIONS

Using a fast shutter speed is not just for fast-moving subjects, but also for catching the ever-changing expressions of people, especially small children. This image (Figure 6.8) shows how an expression can go from happy to sad in a matter of seconds. Taking several consecutive shots allowed me to capture each moment as it happened without missing a thing.

This baby changed her expression from a smile to a frown in less than 10 seconds—I was able to capture this change by taking several consecutive photographs.
FIGURE 6.8 This baby changed her expression from a smile to a frown in less than 10 seconds—I was able to capture this change by taking several consecutive photographs.

SELECTING AND SHOOTING IN HIGH-SPEED CONTINUOUS DRIVE MODE

  1. Press the AF • DRIVE button on the top of the camera.
  2. Use your thumb to rotate the Quick Control dial until you see the drive setting that shows an “H.”
  3. Locate and focus on your subject in the viewfi nder, and then press and hold the Shutter button to take several continuous images.

FOCUS MODES

Now that your drive setting is ready to go, let’s move on to focusing. The 7D allows you to shoot in three different modes: One Shot, AI Focus, and AI Servo (AI stands for Artifi cial Intelligence). The One Shot mode is designed for photographing stationary objects, or subjects that don’t move around very much—this setting is typically not very useful with action photography. You will be photographing subjects that move often and quickly, so you’ll need a focus mode that can keep up with them. The AI Servo mode will probably be your best bet. This setting will continue to fi nd focus when you have your Shutter button pressed halfway, allowing you to keep the focus on your moving target.

SELECTING AND SHOOTING IN AI SERVO FOCUS MODE

  1. Press the AF • DRIVE button on the top of the camera.
  2. Use your index fi nger to rotate the Main dial until AI SERVO appears in the top LCD Panel.
  3. Locate your subject in the viewfi nder, then press and hold the Shutter button halfway to activate the focus mechanism. You’ll notice that with this mode you won’t hear a beep when the camera fi nds focus.
  4. The camera will maintain focus on your subject as long as the subject remains within one of the focus points in the viewfi nder, or until you take a picture.

The AI Focus mode is another setting that can be useful when you have a subject that is stationary at fi rst but then starts to move—it’s the “best of both worlds” when it comes to focusing on your subject. Imagine that you are photographing a runner about to sprint in a race—you want to focus on the person’s eyes as they take the “ready” position and don’t want your camera to change focus. But just as the runner starts running down the track, the camera will kick into AI Servo mode to track and focus on the runner as they are moving.

You should note that holding down the Shutter button for long periods of time will quickly drain your battery because the camera is constantly focusing on the subject. You can also activate the focus by pressing the AF-ON button on the back of the camera (Figure 6.9). This is a great way to get used to the focusing system without worrying about taking unwanted pictures.

The AF-ON button will activate the autofocusing system in your 7D without your having to use the Shutter button. Note that this button will not work when shooting in one of the fully-automatic modes.
FIGURE 6.9 The AF-ON button will activate the autofocusing system in your 7D without your having to use the Shutter button. Note that this button will not work when shooting in one of the fully-automatic modes.

FOCUS AREAS

The third setting that is extremely important in action photography is the area of focus within the frame.

  • Single-Point AF: You choose from one of the 19 focus points within the viewfi nder.
  • Zone AF: You pick a general area within the viewfi nder where you want the camera to maintain its focus.
  • Auto Select: With this option, the camera selects one of the 19 focus points for you.

My advice is to use Zone AF when photographing action shots. You will want to follow along with your moving subject, but you won’t always have a specifi c focus point like you would with the Single-Point AF and a non-moving subject. For example, if you know that you will be following a person riding a motocross bike and they will always be centered in the frame, set the focus point somewhere in the middle (Figure 6.10). As long as you keep the subject centered, the camera will use that area to fi nd the best point of focus. There are fi ve areas that you can use: left, right, top, bottom, and middle. The one you use will depend on the subject you are photographing and the composition you are trying to achieve.

When you set your focus to the center area in Zone AF, your camera will look for areas within the nine center AF points to focus on.
FIGURE 6.10 When you set your focus to the center area in Zone AF, your camera will look for areas within the nine center AF points to focus on.

SETTING THE FOCUS MODE TO ZONE AF

  1. Press the AF Point Selection button on the back of the camera.
  2. Press the Multi-function button (M-Fn) on the top of the camera next to the Shutter button until you reach the Zone AF setting (you will see a cluster of focus points grouped in one area of the viewfi nder).
  3. Rotate either the Main dial or the Quick Control dial to change the focus area (you can also use the Multi-Controller on the back of the camera to toggle from one area to the next).
  4. Now point your camera at your subject and press the Shutter button halfway to set focus. You’ll see the camera fi nding the focus point(s) somewhere within the area you just chose in the above steps.

Another option is to use the Auto Select focus mode. I tend to stay away from settings in which the camera decides everything, and in this case the camera has full control over where the focus is set, but sometimes this mode can be useful (Figure 6.11). Just try to use this mode sparingly and only in situations when it’s very unlikely that the camera will fi nd the wrong area of focus.

For this image, the guitar player was jumping up from a trampoline and I wasn’t able to anticipate where the focus would be, so using the Auto Select focus mode was a good choice.
FIGURE 6.11 For this image, the guitar player was jumping up from a trampoline and I wasn’t able to anticipate where the focus would be, so using the Auto Select focus mode was a good choice.