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Mode Dial

Lesson 4 from: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

4. Mode Dial

Next Lesson: Top Of Camera

Lesson Info

Mode Dial

On the top left of the camera is the mode dial and this is gonna control the shutter speed, apertures as well as many other potential features on the camera. So let's take a closer look at what's going on with the mode dial. There is a variety of settings on here we're gonna start with the simplest of the operations which is the A plus mode. Canon calls it the Scene Intelligent Mode and they call it this because it can identify different types of scenes that you are pointing the camera at. And so there you can see the list, portrait, close-up, sunset, spotlight, a few other options as far as to what the camera thinks you are taking pictures of. Now, it's not as good as you are at identifying things but it is able to pick up a few of these basic things here and so it is good for very simple photography. To be honest with you my hope is is that if you watch this entire class, you will be armed with way more information and you'll be able to do a much better job than this camera can at th...

e A plus mode and so this is a great mode if you're gonna hand the camera to a friend or family member who doesn't know how to work your camera and you want them to take just simple basic pictures and not mess up all your other settings on the camera, this would be the perfect mode to use for that. One of the problems that serious photographers have with this mode is there are a lot of child safety locks turned on and you can't get to and change a lot of those features that you might wanna be able to get to. There are just a few features that you can get into and the way that you can do this is by pressing the Q button on the back of the camera which stands for quick menu and you can get in and change the drive mode and the AF point selection. And so I wanna go ahead and show you right now what that looks like and how to do that. And so on the back of my camera, actually I'll let you see that I am in the A plus mode up here, and on the back of the camera if I press the Q button over here on the right hand side, I can navigate between the drive mode and the AF point selection. And I will hit the set button to get in here and I can go from single shooting to high speed continuous and the other options, we'll talk more about this drive mode coming up here in a little bit but normally I would leave it in the single shot mode but we can come over here to AF point selection and there is a button on the top of the camera that we'll talk more about but it's right next to the shutter release, it's got this little points next to it, and I'll press this and it will go and cycle through the different focusing options which we will talk more about but basically you can choose a single spot, a group of points, or the entire area on that. I'm gonna leave it with a single point right now, that's good for basic photography right there. So those are the basic things that you can set when you are in the A plus mode. And that's gonna expand as we get to the modes that offer you a little bit more manual control. Next up in complexity is the CA mode. Creative auto mode and so what's happening here is the camera is giving you just a little bit more leeway for creative options in here. So if you go into the quick menu, you'll see that we have additional options that are available for you so let me go ahead and show you what some of those options are available, let me quickly get my camera changed over to the CA mode on the mode dial and when I press the Q button on the back we can go in here to background blur for instance and I can move this over so it's sharper which is gonna be stopping down the aperture or it'll be opening up the aperture but we're not even looking at aperture information here, it's just kind of doing this behind the scenes with an easy interface for somebody who maybe doesn't know a lot about photography. We have the drive mode and the AF point selection which is the same as before. We also have a, kind of a development mode. How your photos are going to look and so this is contrast, color, saturation, things like that, and so we can have slightly different looks for our images. Now normally a serious photographer like myself would do this in a computer where we have really good view of our images after we've already shot them. But if you just wanna kinda tweak them a little bit before you even shoot them so they all come out looking with a similar look on them, you can do so right here and this is gonna be limited though in different modes, right now we are in the CA mode so creative options gives you a few creative options to go with. My guess is that for most people this mode is gonna be a little too simplistic, 'cause there's gonna be a lot of restrictions on the other features that you can get to and so it's just another step in the stage going from fully automatic to fully manual. The next stage is scene mode, and here this is where you can choose different scenes, let's take a look at what those scenes are here, and so I mentioned before that the scene intelligent mode can determine a few scenes, well if you're willing to input this information into the camera, the camera will have even better more accurate information so let me go ahead and show you what that looks like here on the camera. So let me make first of all change it to the scene mode on the top mode dial on the camera so it's in scene mode on the top of the camera. When I press the Q button I can choose the scene and this is actually gonna give you some example photos and what it's doing is it's changing the shutter speed aperture combination, the exposure information, the way the cameras is focusing, development details, and so it's doing a pretty good job here at getting your photos to look as good as they can given that scenario. Having said that, the camera isn't doing anything that you can't do so long as you know what you're doing and you know what to set on the camera. And so there's no special mojo that the camera does to the photo that you can't do yourself and so this is just another step on that route to having, to taking better photographs by giving the camera a little bit more information and so once again if you're gonna hand the camera to a friend and you're in the triathlon and you want them to take sports photos of you, put it in the sports mode, it's gonna be pretty simple and do a pretty good job over most things. But once you really get to know the camera, that's what's fun where you get to tailor the camera exactly the way you want it to do and here you're still a bit limited. Next up on the modes is the P mode which stands for program and this is where the camera will automatically set shutter speeds and apertures for you but after that pretty much does nothing. Auto focus and all those other features in the menu system are open for you to change and adjust as you need. Now the program mode works in this manner. It tries to give you a shutter speed that is relatively safe for hand holding. Now where you're gonna see this shutter speed and aperture information, there's a number of different places, but the best place to see it is when you look through the viewfinder, there's gonna be a line of information along the bottom and the first number on the left is gonna be the shutter speed and then the next number is the aperture and that's what the camera is setting for you, the shutter speed and the aperture, there'll be some more information, we'll talk more about that as we get through the class here and one of the neat things about the camera is that if you don't like the shutter speed and aperture that the camera has given you, well, you can turn the main dial on the camera and have a different set of numbers that will also give you the right exposure. So let's do a little test here with my camera, first off I'm gonna change it over into the program mode on the top of the camera. And what I'm gonna do so that you can see what's going on a little bit more easily is, and you can do this yourself, is if you hit the info button a couple of times, you'll pull up this screen where you can see lots of information going on. Press halfway down on the shutter release, the camera wakes up, right now the camera is in auto ISO, we'll talk more about that in a bit, and it's recommending a thirtieth of a second at F4, let me go ahead and zoom in, I'm gonna turn this on the live view for just a moment, I wanna see where I'm pointed the camera at in a proper place here. Go back to this, so we have a sixtieth of a second and F4. As I said before, the camera is trying to give you a sixtieth of a second or better. If I take a photo, let's see what our photo looks like, looks like a pretty good exposure but let's say I don't wanna shoot at F4, I wanna shoot at F11. Well I can start turning the dial on the top of the camera, get F11, the camera has changed the shutter speed appropriately, so that when I take a photo, it's of equal brightness and so if I play back these two images, let's zoom in on this image here a little bit, and pull up some information, and so we can see this image here was F11 at 1/8 of a second and, oh wait, are we still on the same image? Let's get it back to the full image. Which is right here, and the previous image was 1/60 of a second at F4 and it's the same basic exposure, there's an ever so slight difference here but now I'm able to choose different shutter speeds and apertures just by turning this dial up here on the top. Now one thing to note on Canon cameras is they're a little loosey and so in the sense that I have set it at F20, I let the camera sit for just a moment, and then if I go back to touching the camera, it's gonna reset back to its sixtieth of a second at F4. And so if there's a particular setting that you want you have to set it there and shoot your picture within about five seconds because if you wait longer than five, four, three, okay there it is, gone. So it'll disappear and then it resets back to its original generic basic setting. So this is really good for people maybe in travel photography where the standard setting is perfectly fine and just occasionally you wanna change it to something different. But if you're getting engaged in something where you really want particular numbers, you're gonna wanna use something other than the program mode. If you want you can change the exposure compensation by turning the back dial on the camera, so let's take a look at what this is doing, so the camera is setting you up in the program mode to give you a good exposure but if you wanna take a picture that's a little bit darker or quite a bit darker or brighter, you can just turn the back dial to do exposure compensation to get a slightly different brightness on your images. And so this can be very handy in a lot of different situations where the camera's just not giving you the right brightness. So let's go ahead and do a little test here on our camera and so in the camera, we have the camera in the program mode, we're just gonna let it choose whatever shutter speed and aperture you want and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn the back dial so that we're at, let's make this extreme so it's real easy to see, let's go to minus two, I'm gonna take one picture, I'm not even gonna look at it 'cause I wanna take all three pictures right away, we'll do the next one at zero, and then we'll do the next one at plus two, and then what we're gonna do is we're gonna play these images back and we'll go back to our first image here and you can see down here on the bottom of the screen it says minus two, so it's on the dark side, the normal exposure, doesn't have anything, 'cause that's just zero, and then our plus two here is our overexposed and so anytime you wanna change the brightness in a program mode or a semi automatic mode, you'll be able to just turn this dial here. And that's one of the reasons why we have a lock switch on here so that you don't accidentally make changes when you're setting your shutter speeds and apertures it's locked in. But definitely the most important thing to know about this is that this does not reset when you turn the camera off. So when you turn the camera off and you turn it back on, it's still set at plus two and so you gotta remember, gotta have the camera activated, you gotta reset it back to zero and so you normally wanna have it set at zero so some people will then lock it down here so that it can't be changed too easily. Some people like to have access to it so they'll leave it unlocked and then they can just come back here and freely change it. So make sure you master that 'cause that'll be very important in a lot of different types of photography. Next up is the time value mode and this is where you get to change shutter speeds and the camera will figure out the other part of the equation with apertures and potentially with ISOs if that's set in automatic. So shutter speeds are obviously important for stopping action, if you have any sort of fast action you need a fast shutter speed, eagle coming into the river, you might need 1/1000 of a second. You might want to use a slow shutter speed to blur the action in some cases that can be an artistic choice that you make like a one second exposure. And so this is very easily done simply by turning the top dial of the camera but do be aware of anything that's blinking at you. So let's go ahead and take a look on the back of my camera here. Let me change it to the time value mode so we are in time value mode now and by turning the top dial of the camera, we can select different shutter speeds, so if I wanna shoot let's say at an eighth of a second, I can go ahead and shoot that photo and we get a decent exposed photo here. Now if I take my shutter speeds and I go too fast, it's possible that I may end up with a shutter speed so fast the camera is saying I don't have an aperture wide enough to really make this work at F and now I can still shoot a photo, it's not gonna prevent me, but what's gonna happen is the photo is gonna clearly come out very, very dark there and so it's underexposed because the camera didn't have a wide enough aperture and even in the auto ISO, it didn't have a number high enough that it could go to to compensate for that really fast shutter speed. So if you do wanna use the time value mode, just make sure nothing is blinking at you. If nothing's blinking, then the camera's gonna be able to make up for the other factors that are going into the exposure. This can be a good mode for any sort of photography where you are needing a very specific shutter speed but there's a changing light. Bird photographers who might photograph birds in bright sun, and then as they fly and land on the twig of a tree in the shade might like this mode with auto ISO so that the camera will automatically adjust those shutter speeds or the rest of the exposure and they're able to choose the exact shutter speeds they want. I tend not to use time value too much but I do find it very valuable in special circumstances and so do be careful with that mode with anything that is blinking at you especially that aperture 'cause that means your aperture is not letting in enough light. Next up is the aperture value mode and this is actually one of my favorite modes here. Aperture value mode allows you to change the aperture by turning the top dial on the camera, if you wanna change the exposure compensation, that's always available with the back button just like it was in time value and the program mode. The apertures will control the amount of light coming through the lens and how much depth of field you will have. If you want a lot of depth of field, F22 will allow things in the foreground to the background to be in focus, now this is also affected by how close you are to your subject, and what lens you're using, so this is just a small part of this equation. If you do wanna shoot with shallow depth of field, on a lens that goes down to 1.4 is really good for that so you can have your subject in focus and everything else out of focus in that case. And so aperture value is kinda nice, let me show you on that one, let's go ahead and get the camera flipped over into aperture value mode. So there we are, we are in the AV mode now and so now I have direct control over the aperture. And there's a relatively limited range of aperture so if we're on this lens we can go from F4, which I will shoot a photo at and we get a decent exposure. And the correct shutter speed is around a sixtieth of a second, if I want to shoot at F22, I can do that as well, and the camera's currently in the auto ISO mode but there are lots of different shutter speeds that the camera can use in here so you are unlikely to get any unusable settings in the aperture priority mode where you're choosing the F stop. And so that makes this mode a very safe and easy mode to use. This is my favorite travel mode where I don't know what my next picture is gonna be and so I'll typically set it somewhere around maybe 5. and if I need something a little faster if my lens has it I'll go there, if I need more depth of field I usually have just a little bit of time to dial in a few times down to go down to F8, 11, or 16, or something like that. So I think the aperture priority mode is a really good mode, I know it's a very popular mode among a lot of photographers. Next up is full manual, and this is where you get to set shutter speeds and apertures yourself, you'll be able to see this in the viewfinder, there'll be a light meter that you'll be able to work with, we'll do that in just a second. The reason I like manual, number one, is for tricky lighting. Anytime the camera might not get the correct exposure because things aren't of average brightness, this is a great time for using manual and setting these controls yourself. Another good time for manual exposure is when you wanna get consistent results when the lighting is consistent. And so if you have the same lighting on your subject, you'll need the same shutter speeds and apertures for the most part and so if you wanna get very consistent results with different framing composition and positions, manual exposure works really really well for that. So in order to work with manual exposure you'll need to work with a light meter and then changing your shutter speeds on the top of the camera, and the aperture on the back of the camera. So let's go ahead and take a look on my camera and let's make sure our camera's in the manual exposure mode, so we're in full manual now, and if I wanna get the correct exposure I'm gonna choose shutter speeds on top, apertures in back, need to choose one first, let's say I wanna shoot at F11, well I'm gonna turn the back dial til it gets to F11. Now where should my shutter speed go? Well this is where I need to look at my light meter. You'll see one like this in the viewfinder, there's also one on the top of the camera. And so I'll press down halfway on the shutter release, and well I do have the camera in auto ISO which I am gonna change out of just a moment just to make this a bit more realistic, so if I've chosen F11 and I currently at 1/5 of a second I am underexposed by three stops or maybe more. And so I'm gonna start changing my shutter speed now til its little mark gets right below the zero. And I can take a photo right here, now this is a 1.6 second exposure, that's what the 1"6 means so I'm gonna be very careful about how I take this picture. 1.6 seconds. Here's our photo, and it looks a little on the bright side and that is because we have a black background and that's kinda fooling the camera's light meter and so what I need to do is I need to make this picture a little bit darker than what the camera thinks is average. And if I like my aperture at F11, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna turn my dial so that it's a little on the dark side, so we're gonna go down to minus one and see if that looks a little bit more natural there. And so if we compare this picture here to the previous one, yeah this one's a little too bright, those flowers don't look too good there. And so little bit darker is where this picture needs to be and so this is a good example of a tricky lighting situation. The lighting in here is actually fantastic but it's the subject is a little bit darker and so that's caused it to be a tricky exposure situation for the camera. So I like using manual when I wanna get consistent results over and over again and so anytime I'm shooting something for a long period of time or for many shots I try to get myself into a manual mode so that I'm getting consistent shots that meet the exact needs that I have for that shot. Next up is bulb which is an extension of the manual mode, this is a long shutter speed basically. This is as long as you want to leave your finger down on the shutter release and so this is good for night time photography, you can do star photography, light painting photography, lot of fun stuff at night where you might wanna leave it open for say two minutes as I did here in Rome. And so in this case what you're gonna be doing is you're gonna be pressing down on the shutter release and holding down for as long as you want the shutter open and so this is a press and hold technique and it's gonna stay open as long as you're holding down. Now that is honestly a terrible way to take a photograph because if your finger is on the camera it's gonna be moving the camera and this is where you will probably want to have one of the different cable releases I'll talk about as we go through the class, this is one of the nicer ones here, the TC-80N3, you can do that on a remote camera, that way you're not actually touching the camera, moving it, potentially causing blur on your photographs and so very much a specialty mode here in the bulb mode. Now one of the nice things is that this camera now has a menu, a menu item in there where you can tell the camera how long you want the bulb to stay on so you don't have to have that TC-80N3. You can actually input that information and we'll see that when we get into shooting menu number four, the bulb timer, you can set in 34 seconds, two minutes, five minutes, a half an hour, lot of different times that you could set in there, so lot of different ways to operate the bulb mode but it definitely is not your everyday average mode for most photographers. Finally we have C1 and C2, this is custom one and custom two mode. What happens here is that you can tell the camera how you want it to be set up for two set settings that the camera will memorize. A good example for this might be a landscape photographer who also does bird photography. Landscape photography requires certain shutter speeds, apertures, and various other settings in the camera but when you do bird photography, fast action, lots of auto focus, completely different settings. You could have C1 set up for one style, C2 set up for another style and by simply quickly turning the dial back and forth between the two the camera will automatically go in and change what could be a dozen or more features in the camera and so it's a very quick way to get to your favorite settings for a particular style of photography. Now the way that you get it stored in there is first up just set the camera up however you want. Put it in manual, aperture value, time value, program mode, go through, set up all of the other features on the camera, and then you dive into the menu under setup number five custom shooting mode C1 C and there'll be an option for registering those under C1 or C2. We'll talk more about it when we get to the menu system, you can also delete and clear those out and so there's a few other settings in there but if you do something on a regular basis and you wanna quickly change the camera over to that system, C1 and C2 is a great way for quickly addressing those needs without having to go through and change all those other modes at the same time. So we have a lot of useful modes, I would imagine that most people who own this camera are not gonna use all the modes. Most photographers only use two or three modes on a regular basis. But they're there, they're there for your use, figure out which ones work for you, and go from there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Canon EOS 6D Mark II - Recommended Settings
Keynote Part 1
Keynote Part 2
Keynote Part 3
Keynote Part 4

Ratings and Reviews

Warren Gedye

John, this is my second class of yours I'm taking on Creative Live. You are a very unique and articulate instructor. Your knowledge, understanding and experience in all matters photography is astounding! You have certainly fine tuned the knack in imparting your deep knowledge in such a palatable way! Your slides are magnificent, simple and concise and caters directly to your audience. I can only imagine the hours upon hours of time spent making these valuable slides. I look forward to many more of your courses!

a Creativelive Student

Always enjoy all of John's classes, but especially this one since I've decided to upgrade from my previous 6D. Awesome camera and this one is so much quieter than the older one. Thank you for explaining things in terms and ways that are easy to understand!

Tim Rogers

Thanks for a very useful course John. Not to get out and enjoy the new toy. Wish I had done the similar course for my previous camera (60D); will be recommending it to the person I am giving the camera to.

Student Work