Saturday, April 3, 2010

Getting right with the basic on Canon EOS Mode Dial

Let us take a brief look at the Canon EOS Mode Dial which provides us those photography functions. The Canon EOS Mode Dial is divided into 3 sections, Full Auto, Basic Zone modes and Creative Zone modes.

The Full Auto mode is the most useful mode of the camera for everyone, young and old. As the name of the mode has already describes its function, Full Auto mode allows the camera to be fully automatic in adjusting everything for you to get a good photograph of your subject. This also means that the camera makes the choice for you. It is certainly not the choice for everyone, especially the professional photographers out there.

Of courses, not every Canon EOS is having the same type of Mode Dial for their DSLR cameras. Generally, the Basic Zone modes have the common descriptive icons that one will find in most digital compact cameras. They comprises of the following modes, Portrait, Landscape, Close-Up, Sport, Night Portrait and No Flash. If the Canon EOS has a video recording capability, the Mode Dial will includes the Video mode as part of the Basic Zone modes.

The Basic Zone modes allow photographers to easily take a better photograph of their subject with ease. The selection of the particular mode allows the camera to automatically adjust the aperture, shutter speed, lighting, contrast, color tone, saturation and ISO to suit the subject. For an example, if you are planning to take a photograph of a moving subject, it will be better to choose the Sport mode as the camera will automatically calibrate and capture a good photograph of the moving subject. Having to describe the Sport mode example, I believe most of you understand what I am talking about by now.

The Creative modes have the most desirable modes for any professional photographers or perfectionist out there. They comprises of P, TV, AV, M and A-DEP. Surely, this is just an abbreviation of the actual name of the mode and most people just get confuse with them. The P mode means Program AE mode, TV mode means Shutter-priority AE mode, AV means Aperture-priority AE mode, M means Manual mode and A-DEP means Auto-Depth of Field priority mode.

P – Program AE mode, “the camera sets the shutter speed and aperture automatically to suit the subject. Unlike Full Auto, in Program AE mode you can manually set the white balance, ISO speed, AF mode, Metering mode, flash firing, etc.”

TV – Shutter-priority AE mode can “either freeze or blur the subject motion. You can freeze the action for sports shots or deliberately blur the motion. In the TV mode, you can select the shutter speed regardless of the brightness level.”

AV – Aperture-priority AE mode “enables you to control the background blur and depth of field. This is useful when you want to blur the background for portraits or keep everything in focus for landscape shots. You can change the aperture regardless of the existing light level.”

M – Manual mode allows you to “set both the shutter speed and aperture manually. You can check the exposure by looking at the exposure level indicator in the viewfinder or take a test shot and view the image on the LCD monitor. Manual exposure prevents the exposure from changing even with slight changes in the composition.

A-DEP – Auto Depth of Field priority mode “is supposed to work by calculating the closest focus point and the farthest focus point, and what depth of field is necessary for that, and then what aperture will get that. It is an automatic mode where you have minimum control over which focus points it's actually using for calculating DOF.”

After understanding all the modes on the Mode Dial, it still requires a lot of practise and familiarisation of all the modes to apply the appropriate mode to the right subject.


Canon. (n.d.). Program AE. Retrieved on April 3, 2010, from

Canon. (n.d.). Aperture-priority AE. Retrieved on April 3, 2010, from

Canon. (n.d.). Shutter-priority AE. Retrieved on April 3, 2010, from

Canon. (n.d.). Manual exposure. Retrieved on April 3, 2010, from

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