More helpful menu settings

In class, we covered the basic menu settings so we are ready to shoot in manual mode with back-button focus.

However, a few issues popped up, so I will try to address some of them here.

Display/Meter shutoff

First, a lot of us had to keep re-activating our camera’s displays and meter because the default shutoff/sleep time is set at about 30 seconds. As you discovered, this is an annoyance. You can change the amount of time the display/meter stays active. I recommend you do this so your camera’s display/meter doesn’t keep shutting down while you’re shooting. 5-10 minutes is a pretty good range before your camera goes to sleep.

On the Canon T3:

Navigate to the Setup menu 1 (first yellow menu). Find “Auto power off.” The default is 30 seconds. Change it to 8 minutes.

On the Canon T6i:

Setup Menu 2 (Yellow)/Auto power off/Choose 8 minutes

On the Nikon D3300 (and similar Nikons)

Setup Menu/Auto off timers/choose option “E: Long”/Ok

On Nikons, always remember to press “Ok” to save your changes.

Picture Style/Control

Note: this is why one student’s images and displays were in black and white!

There are menu items on both Canons and Nikons where you can set the look and style of your images. Folks who shoot video like to play around with these, but most are not suited for photojournalism. When you check out a camera, take a look at this menu item and always choose “Standard” or “Neutral.” Personally, I prefer neutral so the camera doesn’t change the contrast or the color saturation of the scene I am photographing.

T3 & T6i

Record Menu 2 (red)/Picture Style/choose Standard or Neutral


Shooting menu/Set Picture Control/choose Standard or Neutral/Ok

Problems with setting ISO

The Canon cameras have some menu settings that can interfere with setting your ISO manually. If you had problems, see if any of these fix the problem …

DISABLE “Highlight Tone Priority!” If turned on, this setting will not allow you to access the full range of ISO settings in Manual mode.

On T3: 

Setup Menu 3/Custom Functions/C.Fn. II-5 Highlight Tone Priority/Choose “-0: Disable”

On T6i

Setup Menu 4/Custom Functions/C.Fn. II:Image/C.Fn-3 Highlight Tone Priority/Choose “-0: Disable”

On the T6i, enable ISO expansion. If this is not enabled, you will not be able to access the full range of ISO speeds your camera is capable of. Word of warning! The highest ISO setting on most cameras produces poor image quality. For assignments in this class, you should avoid shooting at this highest setting (ISO 25,000). However, there are times when you simply need it to get the shot. You want to have the option. 

Setup Menu 3/Custom Functions/C.Fn-2 ISO Expansion/1: On

Nikon-specific settings

Make sure Auto ISO is turned OFF! If it is turned on, it will override your manual ISO settings.

Shooting menu/ISO sensitivity settings/Auto ISO/Off

Image quality settings: on Nikons, there are actually two menu settings you need to be aware of.

Shooting menu/Image Quality/JPEG/FINE

Shooting menu/Image size/Large

These are just a few things that came up. Let me know if you experience any other issues.