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Top Of Camera

Lesson 5 from: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Top Of Camera

Next Lesson: Viewfinder Display

Lesson Info

Top Of Camera

Next up we're gonna be looking at the buttons on the top of the camera. Now the way these buttons work is they're kind of a press and turn. So, when you them, you have about six seconds to go ahead and turn the dial, and start activating the change on that particular feature. You don't have to hold the button in, just press it once, it activates the feature, and then you're gonna be turning one of the dials, either the front or the back, in some cases it doesn't really matter, you can turn either one. One of the things I love about the 6D is that the buttons and the LCD are perfectly aligned, and so when you press a button, the feature is basically right there next to it. So, it's really easy to see what button you're activating, and what feature you're changing, and where you are setting it to. The first of these buttons is the Auto Focus operation, and this gonna control the way, that the camera focuses. We have the options of one shot for still subjects, AI focus which stands for ar...

tificial intelligent focus, and then AI for moving subjects. So, for most photography, I think a lot of photographers will leave their camera in the one shot mode. This is where you get single focus, and it's perfect for portrait, landscape photography, and just general photography, it's gonna work out very well. The second type of photography is AI Servo, this is continuous focus this is good for sports photography. Any time you have a subject that's moving towards the camera, away from the camera, you want the camera to be able to track that movement back and forth. This camera does a very good job with that, and so if you do sports photography, AI Servo is usually my first setting, that I'm gonna change, when I go into that type of environment. AI Focus, I'm not as big a fan of, and this where the camera chooses either single focus or continuous focus, depending on what it thinks it sees, at a given moment in time, because some subjects that move sometimes stop, like a basketball player, the camera may choose the wrong mode, and so if you know that photographing an action, I would recommend setting it in AI Servo. If you know you're gonna photograph stationary subjects, I would leave it in the one shot mode, I would generally avoid AI focus, as a side note, when you have the camera in the scene intelligent mode, that's green A plus on the mode dial on top of the camera, the camera is in the AI focus mode. It's just kind of gonna choose for you, and it may choose one or the other, depending on what it sees. You can also have your camera in manual focus, by flipping the switch on the side of the lens into manual focus, in which case, this button would not really operate at that time, and that's something that, for instance I will use in doing landscape photography, where the camera's on a tripod, and the subject's not moving, and I just like to manually focus, and so, for stationary subjects that can be a good system for a lot of photographers. So, that's a very important feature, which is why it's right there on a button, on the top of the camera. Next up is the drive mode, this controls what happens when you press down on the shutter release. There's lot's of different options, let's go through those quickly here. Normally, you normally just need to take one photo, and so the camera would by standard just be in the single shot modes, good for basic photography. There are two different continuous modes. There's a high speed, which will shoot at 6.5 frames per second, and there are some other factors that we'll talk about in menu system, that may affect how fast the camera fires. There is an anti-flicker mode in the camera, and it will slow down a little bit to 5.6 framers per second, and if you are having the camera in the Servo Auto Focus mode, which we we're just talking about, it slows down a little bit to 5.6 as well, if the camera's in the live view mode, it slow down to four frames a second, but if you put it in the high speed continuous, it'll fire as fast as the camera can, in that given mode. If you think that's a little too fast, there is a three frames per second low speed mode, and then we have a silent mode. So, if you are in a theater, if you're around wild animals, or anytime you want to suppress the sound of the camera a little bit, it's not truly silent, but it is quieter, than the camera in its normal mode. There is a single and a continuous option on this. If you wanna fire the camera, without actually touching the camera, there's some options, there's a self timer option, as well as a remote option. So, that you can get in the photograph yourself, or you can be shooting from a tripod, without moving the camera, the Canon RC-6 is an $20 dollar option, that you can get, so you can trigger the camera, from about 10 or 20 feet away, and then there of course, there's a regular, there's a continuous self timer here, which is great for doing group shots. You can have the camera set up to do two to ten shots, after ten seconds, and the reason that you might wanna do that is if you take only one shot, somebody is likely to be blinking, or not ready on that first shot, and so when I do group shots, I usually set the camera to shoot three, four, or five images in a continuous mode, so that one of those is definitely gonna be better than the rest, and so, it's a good option for group shots I think. So, lot's of different options on the drive mode, some very useful ones,, figure out which ones work best, for the different types of photography you are going to use. Next up is the ISO button. ISO is controlling the sensitivity of the image sensor on the camera, and a lot of that's gonna play a part into the quality of images that you get. So, let's take a quick look at a test that I ran, of this camera going through the different ISO options, and so, taking a bit, piece the test shot, and blowing it up, so that we can see the quality difference. This camera is very clean to ISO 800, 1600 still looks very, very clean, and so, if you do need to bump it up to 1600 ISO for instance, if you need a faster shutter speed, bumping the ISO option up is a is a necessary task in some cases. As we get to the higher end settings, the highest normal setting on the camera is 25,600, which is getting a little bit on the noisy side, as the camera goes into the high one, and high two settings, which is 51,000 and 102,000, we're definitely getting a lot of noise in there, which is quite common on all cameras, and so, I would really try to keep this camera down at 12, or lower, really depends on what you're doing, what your needs are, you may need to shoot at 100,000, if you are in extremely low light conditions. As always, you try to keep the ISO as low as possible, you're bumping it up, because you often need a faster shutter speed, and so. Try to keep this down at ISO 100, as much of time as you can, if your shutter speeds will allow it. We do also have the option of auto, where the camera will automatically go in, and select the ISO for you. If you want to set the camera to be as simple to use as possible, the auto ISO works fine. For those of you, who really wanna maintain more strict control of all the features of your camera, you're gonna probably wanna dive in to the ISO, and get that set yourself. I usually like leaving it set to ISO 100, and then as I go about from one situation to the next, where I need faster shutter speeds, I will then bump that ISO just as much as I need to, for that particular situation, and then I will reset it back down to 100, next up is our metering mode, we have four different options. So, let's take a look at what's going on here. First up, most popular is the evaluative metering mode. This is has 63 zones, which is using 7,560 different pixels to read your situation, and try to figure out, what the best lighting average is for that particular scene, and so this is good for mixed and general lighting situations, a lot of Canon shooters, that I know of, leave their camera in evaluative metering almost all the time. A more traditional metering system is a partial metering system, where it measures the light in a small area, and so partial metering uses 6.5% of the viewfinder area, and if your subject is mostly in the middle of average brightness, that would be good. If you want a tighter reading, you would go with the spot metering, which can be very good, for very small areas of average brightness, and the age old center weighted average is just kind of a big blob in the middle, that it's measuring, and so, you just have different options, as to the size and scope of area, that the camera is metering, but for people, the evaluative metering system does a really good job in most situations, and with digital, where you can check, and re-shoot a second shot very easily, that's a reason a lot of people leave it evaluative, but I think the second most popular would probably be the Spot Meter, so, that you could just check the lighting in one small central area, if you want to. The final button is a light, so, that you can see in the top LCD what's going on. I'm not gonna go through all the information in the top LCD, it's mostly pretty obvious information, your shutter speed, your aperture information, the settings that we've been going through on these buttons on top of the camera, and so, it turns on a little light, so, that you can see the top of the camera little bit more easily under low light conditions. Out towards the front of the camera by the shutter release is the AF area selection button, and this is for changing the different focusing modes on the camera. Now, there can be a little bit of confusion, because there's another button on the back of the camera for activating the focusing points, and if you wanna change where you are focusing you would press the back button, if you wanna change, which group of points you're using to focus you would press the front button. So, let's talk a little bit more about these different options for focusing. Camera has 45 focusing points, and if you want to activate the system, you can press the button in the back of the camera to activate the system. If you wanna change the modes, you can press the button on the front of the camera, and then if you wanna move it you can turn the dials, or the little joystick in the back of the camera, and so let me show you real quick on my camera, what this is gonna looks like here, and so, let's make sure that I got my camera, and the info, so you can see what's going on, and so, if I wanna press the top button, I can cycle through the different options. I'll explain what these are here in my next slide on the Keynote, but if I said ya know what I want one single point, but I don't want it in the middle, I can then start moving this around left, right, up and down. I can use the dials as well, or I can use the little joystick here in the middle, and so, normally if I said, ya know what, I just wanna move the focusing point, I would press the button in the back of the camera, and then move it off to the side. If I said no, I don't want a single point, I want a group of points, I would press the button in front of the camera, and maybe I want a group of them, and yes you can move those groups around from side to side, and so there's a slight overlap, a slight difference between the way those two buttons work. Alright, so let's take a look at the different focusing areas, and what they are best for. Spot AF is pin point precision. If you wanna be very, very precise, the camera is gonna look at a very small area. I don't use this one very often, because it is sometimes so small, there's no detail or sharpness or contrast or texture in that very, very tiny area, and so this one is gonna be used with very careful holding of the camera. I tend to prefer 1-Point, which is just one basic box, for focusing on, and this tends to work very easily and simply for most people. So, if you wanna be very accurate, and precise about it, the 1-Point AF is usually gonna be sufficient for that. If something's moving around a little bit more erratically, a group of points is gonna be easier to keep on your subject as they're moving around, and so, I really like the nine points, the Zone AF, when a subject is moving around. Now, if it's more erratic, you might need a bigger area, and this is where the Large Zone AF works, and you can choose the left, the right, or the middle grouping for this. You can also choose all 45 points, and this is where is looks at all 45 points, and it's gonna choose whatever is closest to the camera, and that may or may not be the way you wanna take your photograph, and that's why we have all these different options for choosing a smaller group of them, and so, only when I am the most desperate for the camera to have some information to grab onto, perhaps a bird in flight would be a good time to use all 45 points, because that bird's really moving around randomly, and it's kind of hard to track their movements. When in the camera is in the auto plus scene intelligent mode, it is in the 45-Point AF. So, it's using whatever is closest to the camera, which for basic photography is probably fine, it's just that when you wanna get a little bit more creative, and have more control, it's a little too general. Let me tell you a little bit about how these 45 points are working on the camera. So, it's a relatively advanced system from Canon, and so all 45 of these are what are known as f/5.6 Cross-type AF points, that means that they will work in cross type function, which means they're looking for vertical and horizontal lines, or I should say either one. So, they're gonna work on vertical lines, they're gonna work on horizontal lines, very well, they're very sensitive to different types of contrast, and they will work with all lenses, that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster, and to the best of my knowledge, checking my brain right now, all Canon autofocus lenses, all Canon current lenses have an aperture of 5.6 or faster. So, put any Canon lens on here, and all these points are gonna work in a cross type focusing, where they wouldn't work is if you were to stick on, let's say an f/4 lens, and then a doubler, which effectively drops the aperture down to f/8, and so, it's the final effect of aperture. It's not just the aperture of the lens, but whatever aperture it is of the system that's mounted on the camera, and so there's a 500 and a 600 millimeter f/4, you could put a doubler on that, they become f/8 lenses, you're then not going to get great autofocus performance from the camera, and so they will work with f/8 with some lenses. It's something that you'll have to test a little bit in which to see. So, the center point on the camera is also known as an f/2.8 high precision dual cross AF point. This means that is you have a lens, that has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, like the 24 to 72.8, the 70 to 200 2.8, many of the different primes, like a 50 millimeter 1.4, there is a dual sensor, which means it's looking not only for vertical, horizontal, but lines in an X fashion as well, and so it's even more sensitive to picking up light, and it is a high precision sensor. So, it's gonna bring even better focus in, which is exactly when you need it is with these lenses that are faster, that have a shallower depth of field, and so yo do get an extra level of performance, with a 2.8 lens, and finally that center point is good for focusing down to EV -3, which basically means it does very well under very low light conditions. There are a couple of cameras on the market that'll go to EV -4, but very few, so, you could say this is one of the best low light focusing cameras available on the market today. So, once again, you can press that front button, to change to focusing area, you also have the back button, that you can just activate the focusing area, so, that you can move the focusing point around. The Hot Shoe on the camera is for mounting flashes, and other devices. If you do want to add a flash to the camera, the camera does not have a built in flash, and so, Canon makes a number of different flashes. If you just need a little kicker flasher, small one, the 270EX II will be fine, the 320 is interesting, because it has a video light on it. I think a lot of people, who have this camera would probably be interested in the 430 EX III flash. This is gonna be a good intermediate level flash, it allows you to bounce the light upwards. It's got a diffuser on it. It's got a focusing AF system on it to help you in low light focusing. It's got enough power for pretty good general situations. If you're gonna be shooting this in a professional manner, you're gonna be shooting weddings or corporate events, things like that, then you may wanna get the 600 AX RT, there is a radio triggering option on that one, and I guess you do have the radio triggering option on the 430 as well, but you're able to place the flash further away, cause it has more power. It also can fire much more quickly, the 600, than the other flashes, just because it has more power. If you do want to get great flash photography, one of the most important tips is getting the flash off the camera. Now, if you take the flash off the camera, it needs to be able to communicate, if you wanna keep things nice and easy. In that case, Canon does make the OC-E Off Camera Shoe Cord 3, and this will allow you to get the camera, and flash about hand held distance, maybe three feet apart, or you could put it on a bracket system for instance, and so, very good for portrait photography, also good for macro photography, just getting that flash off the camera, but still being able to have everything to communicate very, very easily between the two. So, over on the right hand side, there is a little focal plan indicator. It's unlikely that you'll ever need this, but this is where the sensor is in the camera, and sometimes for flash photography, for focusing, for cinematography, you need to measure the distance between your subject, and the exact sensor, and if you ever needed to do that, that is where you could it, right there. We're gonna take a couple of questions, which I have right here in front of me. Joey M. writes, would like your opinion on all these focus point being clustered in the middle like this, is there an issue with that? I, myself, as well as others have an issue with that. Well, in an ideal world, we would all have a frame, which has focusing points to the very edges all over the place. Currently, there is no camera on the marker, that has that. This one does have em, kind of, tight in the middle, and lot of open space on the side, and so, it depends on what you're doing, and where you come from. My first camera had one focusing point in the middle, and so this is incredible since then, but that was thirty years ago. So, yes, if you want to focus way off to the side, this camera does not have focusing points way off to the side, they are tightly packed, they are relatively in the middle of the camera, that will strongly affect anyone, who does a lot of serious sports photography, where they are photographing subjects, that very far off to the edge, for people doing portrait photography, those focusing points on the edge, which are cross type focusing points, good with all the Canon lenses, are usually far enough, now if you wanna be really extreme in your compositions, they may not be far enough, and the next level camera up from Canon, which is the Canon which is the Canon 5D Mark IIII goes out a little bit further, not a ton further, but a little bit further, and so, it's gonna affect some people in some types of photography. Yes, of course, it'd be better to have a wider range than that, but Canon has to make different products at different price range, with different collection of features and quality in there, and so, it's one way to get people to jump up to the 5D Mark IIII, and so, at some point in time, we're likely to see a 6D Mark III, and I would bet good money, that they're gonna have a little bit more on those focusing points. Myself, I only use those wider focusing points, usually in action photography, where I am trying to do something, where I'm, keeping a little bit more compositional control of the subject. So, that's what I think about that. Next up, from Martin 76, is there any link between focus points and exposure metering, in other words, does the camera place some extra emphasis on metering right at the active AF point? Answer, no, there are a number of cameras, it's a very small number, that link the focusing point to the metering point. Notably, some of the very, very top end cameras. I know Canon's 1DX Mark II will do it, this one does not do that, and so it's always measuring, if you're using the spot, or the center weighted, or the partial spot, that's doing it directly in the middle of the frame, despite the fact that you may be choosing the focusing point off to the side, and so, nope it does not do that, thank you very much for those questions.

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.

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