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Part I: Getting Started with Your Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Part I: Getting Started with Your Canon EOS 5D Mark II

This first part of the book, consisting of just three short chapters, is designed to familiarize you with the basics of your Canon EOS 5D Mark II as quickly as possible, even though I have no doubt that you’ve already been out shooting a few hundred (or thousand) photographs with your pride and joy.

After all, inserting a memory card, mounting a lens, stuffing a charged battery into the base, and removing the lens cap to fire off a shot or two isn’t rocket science. Even the rawest neophyte can rotate the Mode Dial (located at top left on the camera body) to select the P (Programmed auto) mode. Point the 5D Mark II at something interesting and press the shutter release. Presto! A pretty good picture will pop up on the color LCD on the back of the camera. It’s easy!

But in digital photography, there is such a thing as too easy. If you bought a 5D Mark II, you certainly had no intention of using the camera as a point-and-shoot snapshooter. After all, the 5D Mark II is a tool suitable for the most advanced photographic pursuits, with an extensive array of customization possibilities. As such, you don’t want the camera’s operation to be brainless; you want access to the advanced features to be easy.

You get that easy access with the Canon 5D Mark II. However, you’ll still need to take the time to learn how to use these features, and I’m going to provide everything you need to know in these first three chapters to begin shooting:

  • Chapter 1: This is a “Meet Your 5D Mark II” introduction, where you’ll find information about what came in the box with your camera and, more importantly, what didn’t come with the camera that you seriously should consider adding to your arsenal. I’ll also cover some things you might not have known about charging the 5D Mark II’s battery, choosing a memory card, setting the time and date, and a few other preflight tasks. This is basic stuff, and if you’re a Canon veteran you can skim over it quickly. A lot of this first chapter is intended for EOS newbies, and even if you personally don’t find it essential, you’ll probably agree that there was some point during your photographic development (so to speak) that you would have wished this information was spelled out for you. There’s no extra charge!

  • Chapter 2: Here, you’ll find a Quick Start aimed at those who may not be old hands with Canon cameras having this level of sophistication. The 5D Mark II has some interesting features, including full HDTV movie-making, and an advanced autofocus system (which deserves an entire chapter of its own later in this book). But even with all the goodies to play with and learning curve still to climb, you’ll find that Chapter 2 will get you shooting quickly with a minimum of fuss.

  • Chapter 3: This is a Streetsmart Roadmap to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Confused by the tiny little diagrams and multiple cross-references for each and every control that send you scurrying around looking for information you know is buried somewhere in the small and inadequate manual stuffed in the box? This chapter uses multiple large full-color pictures that show every dial, knob, and button, and explain the basics of using each in clear, easy-to-understand language. I’ll give you the basics up front, and, even if I have to send you deeper into the book for a full discussion of a complex topic, you’ll have what you need to use a control right away.

Keep in mind that the reason chapters were invented is that it’s impossible to say everything there is about a topic at once, without loading down readers who just want the basics with extraneous detail. So, you don’t need to expect exhaustive discussions of each and every feature in this first Part of the book. These three chapters will tell you want you need to know to get started, and I’ll provide references to later chapters in the book with plenty of details and advice.

So, once you’ve finished (or skimmed through) these three chapters, you’ll be ready for Part II, which explains how to use the most important basic features, such as the 5D Mark II’s exposure controls, nifty autofocus system, and the related tools that put Live View and movie-making tools at your fingertips. Then, you can visit Part III, the advanced tools section, which explains all the dozens of set-up options that can be used to modify the capabilities you’ve learned to use so far, how to choose and use lenses, and introduces the EOS 5D Mark II’s built-in flash and external flash capabilities. I’ll wind up this book with Part IV, which covers image software, printing, and transfer options and includes some troubleshooting that may help you when good cameras (or film cards) go bad.


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