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By now you should be comfortable with the idea that different modes leave different decisions up to the camera, allowing you to take more or less control. You've also seen that your camera has a lot of different features that can be turned on or off within any mode. Now, there might be a combination of features that you regularly switch on and off. For these instances, you might want to create a custom mode, which will allow you to immediately activate specific features. The custom modes on your mode dial are these C1, C2, and C3 modes over here.
When I switch to one of those, any settings that I have embedded in that mode automatically take. So by default, these three modes are really just Program mode, they work exactly the way that Program mode does. To get them to do something more useful, I have to configure them. So, let's look at a typical case here. I very often shoot HDR images, High Dynamic Range images, and I need my camera configured a very particular way to do that, so I would like to store all of those settings in a custom mode, because they are kind of spread all over the camera, and they take a while to get set exactly right.
So the first thing I do to build a custom mode is simply set my camera the way that I want it, and I am going to start by switching to Aperture priority mode, because in HDR shooting, I always want control of aperture. So I've got aperture dialed into f/11, which is good; that's where I usually shoot. I tend to also usually work at ISO 100, so I am just going to go ahead and set that. The real critical thing for HDR is I need a bracketed set, so I am going to turn on auto bracketing, which I can get to over here. I use a 3 step, 1 stop bracket; 1 stop between each shot. I will take that, and now I can see that confirmed here.
I also get an auto bracketing light lighting up there. So let's see; I am in auto white balance, I am in an Aperture priority mode at f/11, ISO 100; I am still on large quality JPEG. I would much rather shoot these in RAW, so I'm going to come back over here, and change this to RAW format. I would also like burst mode. I need those three shots to be taken quickly, because I want to minimize movement between frames. So I am going to go here to Drive, and turn on my high speed drive mode. I am not going to use the slower drive mode, because again, I want my frames as close to identical as possible.
So this is looking pretty good. Aperture priority at f/11, ISO 100, auto bracketing, and burst mode, and shooting in RAW format. So I think these are the settings I want for my custom mode. So what I need to do now is tell the camera to register those to a custom mode, and I do that over here in my setup menu, on page 4; Custom shooting mode. So I am going to hit Set, and I want this first menu item: Register settings. I am just going to choose Register settings, and I can pick which mode I want them set to. I am going to choose C1.
So I am going to turn that on; Register camera settings to custom shooting mode C1. OK. There we go! Now let's take a look. I am still in Aperture priority mode. I am going to turn off some of these things that I turned on. I am going to turn off drive mode, I am going to cancel my auto bracket, and actually while I am over here, I will set my image quality back to JPEG, even though actually I am normally a RAW shooter, and I am looking for auto bracketing here; turn that off.
So now when I look at my camera -- I guess Auto ISO would be the last thing -- I am pretty much back to where I normally would be. Watch what happens when I switch to custom mode here. Everything is changed automatically. I've got all the things I had before; auto bracketing, which is confirmed over here, RAW mode, high speed burst; I am at f/11. What you can't see from here is that I'm actually in Aperture priority mode. I can change my aperture here. I can confirm that by hitting the Info button, and you can see that now Custom mode 1 is Aperture priority, rather than Program mode where it was before.
So this is pretty nice. I've got a single dial I can turn that will do all of these complex configurations of my camera. However, I made a mistake when I was configuring this, so I would like to change it here, but before I do that, I want to make sure something is enabled here in my custom mode setup. Going back to my Custom shooting mode page here, and as you see down here, I have Auto update settings. This defaults to being disabled. I have it enabled for Custom mode 1, which is great.
That means, if I change something, it will automatically update the mode, and the mistake that I made here is I configured for full size RAW files. My experience when working with the Mark III or the Mark II is that a full size RAW file is too big for Photoshop's HDR merge feature to accurately align. So I want to change this. I am going to come back here, and change my image quality from RAW to a medium RAW file, which is only 10 megapixels. In my experience, Photoshop does a good job of merging these files.
I am going to take that, and now my custom mode is updated to medium RAW. Let me change out of this, and you can see I am back to JPEG, and now when I change back to C1, I am back to my medium RAW file. You can get a full list of everything that that auto updating updates on page 333 of your manual. Some other things you might use custom modes for; panoramic shooting. If you regularly find that you want a higher ISO, and a particular aperture, or something like that, you can embed those in there.
Three custom modes is a lot of customization power, and if you get these set up right, you can really save yourself a lot of time when you're shooting in the field.
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