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Beginner Tip: How to Use the Canon Quick Menu to Change Camera Settings

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When it comes to beginner photographers, one of the first major goals is often to get off Auto. Doing so really is an important step to using your camera to the best of its capabilities. However, the concern that I hear most often from beginners in terms of stepping away from auto mode, is that it takes so long to get their shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and focal points set, that sometimes they’ve missed the shot that they were hoping for completely. I understand how frustrating that dynamic can be, and I have one Canon tip to share that may make life a little simpler if you’re just starting out.

Canon EOS cameras have a feature called the EOS Quick Menu. For the vast majority of EOS cameras, you’ll access the Quick Menu or Control Screen by pressing the button on the back of the camera with the letter Q. For a few older EOS cameras, you’ll have to push the button in the center of the multi-controller (that’s the big wheel on the back of your camera to the right of the screen). Once you hit that button, a very handy screen pops up that looks something like this:

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Now, you’ve got many of the most commonly changed settings right at your fingertips. You can change shutter speed, aperture, ISO, metering mode, focal point, file type, and several other features, right from the Quick Menu, without having to scroll through several different menus or adjust settings located in several different places on your camera body. You just use the multi-controller to navigate to the setting that you’d like to change, and then press the SET button to access that setting.

It’s worth noting that your available options will change somewhat depending on which camera mode you’re in. In the above image, the camera is set to manual mode and thus there are high number of settings available to be changed.

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If you switch the camera to Program mode, the option to change shutter speed and aperture vanishes, as those are set automatically by the camera. You still have access to other controls like ISO, file type, metering, and exposure compensation through the Quick Menu in this mode.

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Of course, all of these features can also be accessible via the buttons/dials on the top and side of your camera, or in the standard menu screens. I do think it’s important to learn how to change your settings in those traditional ways, as the Quick Menu may not always be the most effective, or efficient, way to change a particular setting depending on the circumstances. The more you know about your camera, the better you’ll be able to utilize all of its features! That said, it’s never a bad thing to know how to accomplish the same task in more than one way, and the Canon Quick Menu can be a huge help when you’re trying to make changes to your settings in a short amount of time. In my opinion, both shorthand and longhand have their time and place!

If you’re a Canon EOS user, have you found the Quick Menu to be a helpful tool? Are there some settings you still prefer to access and change in other ways? Do you shoot Nikon or another brand of camera – and does it have something similar? Please share in the comments below.

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Meredith Clark is a wife, mother, native Oregonian, complete bookworm, Top Chef lover, and new quilting addict. She can also be found blogging at La Buena Vida and Meredith Clark Photography.

  • surya

    Amasing

  • Topic_goes_here

    I have a Canon EOS SL1 (100D), which features a touch screen. The quick menu is so easy to use. It may be the best thing that Canon has brought to their consumer DSLRs. (Sadly, this may be true, because Canon is not known as an innovator, as many ‘haters’ are quick to point out.)

  • Laura Swan Jinkins

    Even after having my camera for several years, there are still so many things to learn. I plan on putting this to work right away.

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