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Chapter 3. Setting Up Your Canon EOS Reb... > Setup 1, 2, and 3 Menu Options

Setup 1, 2, and 3 Menu Options

There are three yellow/gold-coded Setup menus where you make adjustments on how your camera behaves during your shooting session, as differentiated from the Shooting menu, which adjusts how the pictures are actually taken. Your choices include:

  • Auto power off

  • File numbering

  • Auto rotate

  • Format

  • LCD auto off

  • Screen color

  • LCD brightness

  • Date/Time

  • Language

  • Video system

  • Sensor cleaning

  • Live View function settings

  • Custom Functions (C.Fn)

  • Clear settings

  • Firmware Ver.

Auto Power Off

This menu entry is the first in the Setup 1 menu (see Figure 3.40). It allows you to determine how long the Rebel T1i remains active before shutting itself off. You can select 30 seconds, 1, 2, 4, 8, or 15 minutes, or Off, which leaves the camera turned on indefinitely—or until 30 minutes have passed. However, even if the camera has shut itself off, if the power switch remains in the On position, you can bring the camera back to life by pressing the shutter button halfway, or the DISP, Playback, or Set buttons.

Figure 3.40. Select an automatic shut-off period to save battery power.

Saving Power with the Rebel T1i

There are three settings and several techniques you can use to help you stretch the longevity of your T1i’s battery. The first setting is the Review Time option described earlier under the Shooting 1 menu. That big 3-inch LCD uses a lot of juice, so reducing the amount of time it is used (either for automatic review or for manually playing back your images) can boost the effectiveness of your battery. Auto Power Off turns off most functions (metering and autofocus shut off by themselves about six seconds after you release the shutter button or take a picture) based on the delay you specify. The third setting is the LCD Brightness adjustment described below. If you’re willing to shade the LCD with your hand, you can often get away with lower brightness settings outdoors, which will further increase the useful life of your battery. The techniques? Use the internal flash as little as possible; no flash at all or fill flash use less power than a full blast. Turn off image stabilization if your lens has that feature and you feel you don’t need it. When transferring pictures from your T1i to your computer, use a card reader instead of the USB cable. Linking your camera to your computer and transferring images using the cable takes longer and uses a lot more power.

File Numbering

The Rebel T1i will automatically apply a file number to each picture you take, using consecutive numbering for all your photos over a long period of time, spanning many different memory cards, starting over from scratch when you insert a new card, or when you manually reset the numbers. Numbers are applied from 0001 to 9999, at which time the camera creates a new folder on the card (100, 101, 102, and so forth), so you can have 0001 to 9999 in folder 100, then numbering will start over in folder 101.

The camera keeps track of the last number used in its internal memory. That can lead to a few quirks you should be aware of. For example, if you insert a memory card that had been used with a different camera, the T1i may start numbering with the next number after the highest number used by the previous camera. (I once had a brand new T1i start numbering files in the 8,000 range.) I’ll explain how this can happen next.

On the surface, the numbering system seems simple enough: In the menu, you can choose Continuous, Automatic Reset, or Manual Reset. Here is how each works:

  • Continuous. If you’re using a blank/reformatted memory card, the T1i will apply a number that is one greater than the number stored in the camera’s internal memory. If the card is not blank and contains images, then the next number will be one greater than the highest number on the card or in internal memory. (In other words, if you want to use continuous file numbering consistently, you must always use a card that is blank or freshly formatted.) Here are some examples.

    • You’ve taken 4,235 shots with the camera, and you insert a blank/reformatted memory card. The next number assigned will be 4,236, based on the value stored in internal memory.

    • You’ve taken 4,235 shots with the camera, and you insert a memory card with a picture numbered 2,728. The next picture will be numbered 4,236.

    • You’ve taken 4,235 shots with the camera, and you insert a memory card with a picture numbered 8,281. The next picture will be numbered 8,282, and that value will be stored in the camera’s menu as the “high” shot number (and will be applied when you next insert a blank card).

  • Automatic Reset. If you’re using a blank/reformatted memory card, the next photo taken will be numbered 0001. If you use a card that is not blank, the next number will be one greater than the highest number found on the memory card. Each time you insert a memory card, the next number will either be 0001 or one higher than the highest already on the card.

  • Manual Reset. The T1i creates a new folder numbered one higher than the last folder created, and restarts the file numbers at 0001. Then, the camera uses the numbering scheme that was previously set, either Continuous or Automatic Reset, each time you subsequently insert a blank or non-blank memory card.

Auto Rotate

You can turn this feature On or Off. When activated, the Rebel T1i rotates pictures taken in vertical orientation on the LCD screen so you don’t have to turn the camera to view them comfortably. However, this orientation also means that the longest dimension of the image is shown using the shortest dimension of the LCD, so the picture is reduced in size. You have three options, shown in Figure 3.41. The image can be autorotated when viewing in the camera and on your computer screen using your image editing/viewing software. The image can be marked to autorotate only when reviewing your image in your image editor or viewing software. This option allows you to have rotation applied when using your computer, while retaining the ability to maximize the image on your LCD in the camera. The third choice is Off. The image will not be rotated when displayed in the camera or with your computer. Note that if you switch Auto Rotate off, any pictures shot while the feature is disabled will not be automatically rotated when you turn Auto Rotate back on; information embedded in the image file when the photo is taken is used to determine whether autorotation is applied.

Figure 3.41. Choose autorotation both in the camera and on your computer display (top); only on your computer display (middle); or no automatic rotation (bottom).


Use this item to erase everything on your memory card and set up a fresh file system ready for use. When you select Format, you’ll see a display like Figure 3.42, showing the capacity of the card, how much of that space is currently in use, and two choices at the bottom of the screen to Cancel or OK (proceed with the format). A blue-green bar appears on the screen to show the progress of the formatting step. (The optional Low Level format invoked with the Trash button is a slower, but more thorough reformatting that can help restore a memory card that has picked up some bad sectors that aren’t locked out by the normal format step.)

Figure 3.42. You must confirm the format step before the camera will erase a memory card.

LCD Auto Off

The Display Off sensor under the viewfinder eyepiece senses when you have brought the camera to your eye (or when another object approaches the viewfinder) and turns off the Shooting Settings display on the LCD. If you’d like to cancel this behavior and have the LCD display visible at all times (unless you turn it off manually by pressing the DISP button), use this menu option. Selecting Enable activates the auto-off feature. Disable turns it off.

Screen Color

If you find the default color scheme for the Shooting Settings display (black text on white) distracting or hard to read, you can change to one of three alternates: white text on black, white text on dark blue, and black text on tan.

LCD Brightness

This menu option is the first on the second Setup menu tab (see Figure 3.43). Select it to view a thumbnail image accompanied by a grayscale strip, as shown in Figure 3.44. Use the left/right cross keys to adjust the brightness to a comfortable viewing level. Brighter settings use more battery power, but can allow you to view an image on the LCD outdoors in bright sunlight. When you have the brightness you want, press the Set button to lock it in and return to the menu.

Figure 3.43. The Setup 2 menu.

Figure 3.44. Adjust LCD brightness for easier viewing under varying ambient lighting conditions.


Use this option to set the date and time, which will be embedded in the image file along with exposure information and other data. I showed you how to do this in Chapter 1. See Figure 1.10 if you need a refresher.


Choose from 25 languages for menu display, rotating the cross keys until the language you want to select is highlighted. Press the Set button to activate. Your choices include English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Ukrainian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Magyar, Romanian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

If you accidentally set a language you don’t read and find yourself with incomprehensible menus, don’t panic. Just choose the third option from the top of the Setup 2 menu, and select the idioma, sprache, langue, or kieli of your choice.

Video System

This setting controls the output of the T1i through the AV cable when you’re displaying images on an external monitor. You can select either NTSC, used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, many Central, South American, and Caribbean countries, much of Asia, and other countries; or PAL, which is used in the UK, much of Europe, Africa, India, China, and parts of the Middle East.

Viewing on a Television

Canon makes it quite easy to view your images on a standard television screen, and not much more difficult on a high definition television (HDTV). (You have to buy a separate cable for HDTV.) For regular TV, just open the right port cover on the left side of the camera, plug in the cable supplied with the camera into the socket labeled Video, and connect the other end to the yellow VIDEO RCA composite jack on your television or monitor.

For HDTV display, purchase the optional HDMI Cable HTC-100 and connect it to the HDMI OUT terminal just below the standard video terminal on the left side of the camera. Connect the other end to an HDMI input port on your television or monitor (my 42-inch HDTV has three of them; my 26-inch monitor has just two). Then turn on the camera and press the Playback button. The image will appear on the external TV/HDTV/monitor and will not be displayed on the camera’s LCD. HDTV systems automatically show your images at the appropriate resolution for that set.

Sensor Cleaning

One of the Canon EOS Rebel T1i’s best features is the automatic sensor cleaning system that reduces or eliminates the need to clean your camera’s sensor manually using brushes, swabs, or bulb blowers (you’ll find instructions on how to do that in Chapter 9). Canon has applied anti-static coatings to the sensor and other portions of the camera body interior to counter charge build-ups that attract dust. A separate filter over the sensor vibrates ultrasonically each time the T1i is powered on or off, shaking loose any dust, which is captured by a sticky strip beneath the sensor.

Use this menu entry to enable or disable automatic sensor cleaning on power up (select Auto Cleaning to choose power-up cleaning) or to activate automatic cleaning during a shooting session (select Clean Now). You can also choose the Clean Manually option to flip up the mirror and clean the sensor yourself with a blower, brush, or swab, as described in Chapter 9. If the battery level is too low to safely carry out the cleaning operation, the T1i will let you know and refuse to proceed, unless you use the optional AC adapter kit. (See Figure 3.45.)

Figure 3.45. Use this menu choice to activate automatic sensor cleaning or enable/disable it on power up.

Live View Function Settings

Here is where you adjust the Rebel T1i’s Live View functions, which enable you to work with a real-time LCD display as you preview and compose your image. I’m going to provide detailed instructions for using Live View in Chapter 5, as some functions are controlled here, and some are set in the Custom Functions menus (described later in this chapter). You’ll want to review the Live View section of Chapter 5 for detailed information on how to use the four settings you can make from this menu entry.

  • Live View shoot. Enables Live View. Choose Disable to turn the feature off; select Enable and Live View will be activated when you press the Set (Live View) button.

  • Grid Display. Overlays a “rule of thirds” grid on the LCD to help with alignment and composition.

  • Metering Timer. This option turns off the exposure meter after a specified period of time (4, 16, or 30 seconds, plus 1, 10, and 30 minutes) to save power, as Live View can be quite a juice hog when you’re displaying an image on the LCD for more than a few seconds at a time.

  • AF mode. Indicates the autofocus mode used for Live View shooting: Live Mode, Live Mode with face detection activated, and Quick Mode.

Custom Functions I/II/III/IV

Custom Functions, the first choice in the Setup 3 menu (see Figure 3.46), let you customize the behavior of your camera in a variety of different ways, ranging from whether or not the flash fires automatically to the function carried out when the Set button is pressed. If you don’t like the default way the camera carries out a particular task, you just may be able to do something about it. You can find the Custom Functions in their own screen with 13 choices, divided into four groups of settings: Exposure (I, C.Fn 01, 02, and 03); Image (II, C.Fn 04-07); Autofocus/Drive (III C.Fn 08-09); and Operation/Others (IV, C.Fn. 10-13). The Roman numeral divisions within a single screen with a single line of choices seem odd until you realize that other Canon EOS models, from the EOS 40D up, separate each of these groups into separate screens (with larger numbers of options).

Figure 3.46. The Setup 3 menu has three options.

Each of the Custom Functions is set in exactly the same way, so I’m not going to bog you down with a bunch of illustrations showing how to make this setting or that. One quick run-through using Figure 3.47 should be enough. Here are the key parts of the Custom Function screen:

  • Custom Function category. At the top of the Settings screen is a label that tells you which category that screen represents.

  • Current Function name. Use the left/right cross keys to select the function you want to adjust. The name of the function currently selected appears at the top of the screen, and its number is marked with an over score in the row of numbers at the bottom of the screen. You don’t need to memorize the function numbers.

  • Function currently selected. The function number appears in two places. In the upper-right corner you’ll find a box with the current function clearly designated. In the lower half of the screen are two lines of numbers. The top row has numbers from 1 to 13, representing the Custom Function. The second row shows the number of the current setting. If the setting is other than the default value (a zero), it will be colored blue, so you can quickly see which Custom Functions have been modified. The currently selected function will have a gold line above it.

  • Available settings. Within the alternating medium gray/dark gray blocks appear numbered setting options. The current setting is highlighted in blue. You can use the up/down cross keys to scroll to the option you want and then press the Set button to select it; then press the Menu button twice to back out of the Custom Functions menus.

  • Current setting. Underneath each Custom Function is a number from 0 to 5 that represents the current setting for that function.

  • Option selection. When a function is selected, the currently selected option appears in a highlighted box. As you scroll up and down the option list, the setting in the box changes to indicate an alternate value.

Figure 3.47. Each C.Fn. screen has from two to six settings, represented by the numbers at the bottom of the screen. The currently selected function has a gold line above it.

In the listings that follow, I’m going to depart from the sometimes-cryptic labels Canon assigns to each Custom Function in the menu, and instead categorize them by what they actually do. I’m also going to provide you with a great deal more information on each option and what it means to your photography.

C.Fn I-01: Size of Exposure Adjustments
Exposure level increments

This setting tells the Rebel T1i the size of the “jumps” it should use when making exposure adjustments—either one-third or one-half stop. The increment you specify here applies to f/stops, shutter speeds, EV changes, and autoexposure bracketing.

  • 0: 1/3 stop. Choose this setting when you want the finest increments between shutter speeds and/or f/stops. For example, the T1i will use shutter speeds such as 1/60th, 1/80th, 1/100th, and 1/125th second, and f/stops such as f/5.6, f/6.3, f/7.1, and f/8, giving you (and the autoexposure system) maximum control.

  • 1: 1/2 stop. Use this setting when you want larger and more noticeable changes between increments. The T1i will apply shutter speeds such as 1/60th, 1/125th, 1/250th, and 1/500th second, and f/stops including f/5.6, f/6.7, f/8, f/9.5, and f/11. These coarser adjustments are useful when you want more dramatic changes between different exposures.

C.Fn I-02: Whether ISO 3200 Is Available or Disabled
ISO expansion

Ordinarily, only ISO settings from 100 to 3200 are available (ISO 200-3200 if Highlight tone priority [C.Fn. II-3] is enabled). The ISO Expansion function is disabled by default to prevent you from unintentionally using ISO settings higher than ISO 1600. If you want to use the H1 (ISO 6400) or H2 (ISO 12800) settings, they must be activated using this Custom Function. I’ve found the noise produced at the ISO 6400 setting on my EOS 50D to be quite acceptable under certain situations, and ISO 12800 can be useable. That’s particularly so with images of subjects that have a texture of their own that tends to hide or mask the noise. Figure 3.48 is an example of this type of shot. It was taken indoors at a jellyfish exhibit, with the back illumination so dim and ethereal that I needed a high ISO 6400 setting to provide shutter speed fast enough to freeze the pulsating motion of the creature. Although there is a fair amount of noise in the image, the multicolored speckles are not objectionable.

Figure 3.48. This enlargement shows that noise levels can be acceptable even at ISO 3200.


Be aware that if you’ve activated Highlight Tone Priority (described later), the H1 and H2 settings (and ISO values less than ISO 200) will not be available even if you have enabled ISO expansion.

  • 0:Off. The H1 and H2 (ISO 6400 and 12800) settings are locked out and not available when using the ISO button or menu options.

  • 1: On. The H1 and H2 settings (equivalent to ISO 6400 and ISO 12800) can be selected.

C.Fn I-03: Flash Synchronization Speed When Using Aperture Priority
Flash sync. Speed in Av mode

You’ll find this setting useful when using flash. When you’re set to Aperture Priority mode (Av), you select a fixed f/stop and the Rebel T1i chooses an appropriate shutter speed. That works fine when you’re shooting by available light. However, when you’re using flash, the flash itself provides virtually all of the illumination that makes the main exposure, and the shutter speed determines how much, if any, of the ambient light contributes to a second, non-flash exposure. Indeed, if the camera or subject is moving, you can end up with two distinct exposures in the same frame: the sharply defined flash exposure, and a second, blurry “ghost” picture created by the ambient light.

If you don’t want that second exposure, you should use the highest shutter speed that will synchronize with your flash (that’s 1/200th second with the Rebel T1i). If you do want the ambient light to contribute to the exposure (say, to allow the background to register in night shots, or to use the ghost image as a special effect), use a slower shutter speed. For brighter backgrounds, you’ll need to put the camera on a tripod or other support to avoid the blurry ghosts.

  • 0:Auto. The T1i will vary the shutter speed in Av mode, allowing ambient light to partially illuminate the scene in combination with the flash exposure, as at right in Figure 3.49. Use a tripod, because shutter speeds slower than 1/60th second may be selected.

    Figure 3.49. At left, a 1/200th second shutter speed eliminated ambient light so only the flash illuminated the scene; at right, a 1/60th second shutter speed let the ambient light supplement the electronic flash.

  • 1: 1/200-1/60 sec. (auto). The camera will use a shutter speed from 1/200th second (to virtually eliminate ambient light) to 1/60th second (to allow ambient light to illuminate the picture). This compromise allows a slow enough shutter speed to permit ambient light to contribute to the exposure, but blocks the use of shutter speeds slower than 1/60, to minimize the blurriness of the secondary, ambient light exposure.

  • 2: 1/200th sec. (fixed). The camera always uses 1/200th second as its shutter speed in Av mode, reducing the effect of ambient light and, probably, rendering the background dark.

C.Fn II-04: Reducing Noise Effects at Shutter Speeds of One Second or Longer
Long exposure noise reduction

Visual noise is that graininess that shows up as multicolored specks in images, and this setting helps you manage it. In some ways, noise is like the excessive grain found in some high-speed photographic films. However, while photographic grain is sometimes used as a special effect, it’s rarely desirable in a digital photograph.

The visual noise-producing process is something like listening to a CD in your car, and then rolling down all the windows. You’re adding sonic noise to the audio signal, and while increasing the CD player’s volume may help a bit, you’re still contending with an unfavorable signal to noise ratio that probably mutes tones (especially higher treble notes) that you really want to hear.

The same thing happens when the analog signal is amplified: You’re increasing the image information in the signal, but boosting the background fuzziness at the same time. Tune in a very faint or distant AM radio station on your car stereo. Then turn up the volume. After a certain point, turning up the volume further no longer helps you hear better. There’s a similar point of diminishing returns for digital sensor ISO increases and signal amplification as well.

These processes create several different kinds of noise. Noise can be produced from high ISO settings. As the captured information is amplified to produce higher ISO sensitivities, some random noise in the signal is amplified along with the photon information. Increasing the ISO setting of your camera raises the threshold of sensitivity so that fewer and fewer photons are needed to register as an exposed pixel. Yet, that also increases the chances of one of those phantom photons being counted among the real-life light particles, too.

Fortunately, the Rebel T1i’s sensor and its digital processing chip are optimized to produce the low noise levels, so ratings as high as ISO 800 can be used routinely (although there will be some noise, of course), and even ISO 1600 can generate good results.

A second way noise is created is through longer exposures. Extended exposure times allow more photons to reach the sensor, but increase the likelihood that some photo-sites will react randomly even though not struck by a particle of light. Moreover, as the sensor remains switched on for the longer exposure, it heats, and this heat can be mistakenly recorded as if it were a barrage of photons. This Custom Function can be used to tailor the amount of noise-canceling performed by the digital signal processor.

  • 0: Off. Disables long exposure noise reduction. Use this setting when you want the maximum amount of detail present in your photograph, even though higher noise levels will result. This setting also eliminates the extra time needed to take a picture caused by the noise reduction process. If you plan to use only lower ISO settings (thereby reducing the noise caused by ISO amplification), the noise levels produced by longer exposures may be acceptable. For example, you might be shooting a river spilling over rocks at ISO 100 with the camera mounted on a tripod, using a neutral density filter and long exposure to cause the pounding water to blur slightly, as shown in Figure 3.50. To maximize detail in the non-moving portions of your photos, you can switch off long exposure noise reduction.

    Figure 3.50. When lower ISO settings are used, as in this 30-second exposure of the Virgin River in Zion National Park (made through a neutral density filter), long exposure noise reduction might not be needed.

  • 1: Auto. The Rebel T1i examines your photo taken with an exposure of one second or longer, and if long exposure noise is detected, a second, blank exposure is made and compared to the first image. Noise found in the “dark frame” image is subtracted from your original picture, and only the noise-corrected image is saved to your memory card. Because the noise-reduction process effectively doubles the time required to take a picture, this is a good setting to use when you want to avoid this delay when possible, but still have noise reduction applied when appropriate.

  • 2: On. When this setting is activated, the T1i applies dark frame subtraction to all exposures longer than one second. You might want to use this option when you’re working with high ISO settings (which will already have noise boosted a bit) and want to make sure that any additional noise from long exposures is eliminated, too. Noise reduction will be applied to some exposures that would not have caused it to kick in using the Auto setting.


While the “dark frame” is being exposed, the LCD screen will be blank during Live View mode, and the number of shots you can take in Continuous shooting mode will be reduced. White balance bracketing is disabled during this process.

C.Fn II-05: Eliminating Noise Caused by Higher ISO Sensitivities
High ISO speed noise reduct’n

This setting applies noise reduction that is especially useful for pictures taken at high ISO sensitivity settings. The default is 0 (Standard noise reduction), but you can specify 1 (low) or 2 (strong) noise reduction, or disable noise reduction entirely. At lower ISO values, noise reduction improves the appearance of shadow areas without affecting highlights; at higher ISO settings, noise reduction is applied to the entire photo. Note that when the 2: Strong option is selected, the maximum number of continuous shots that can be taken will decrease significantly, because of the additional processing time for the images.

  • 0: Standard. At lower ISO values, noise reduction is applied primarily to shadow areas; at higher ISO settings, noise reduction affects the entire image.

  • 1: Low. A smaller amount of noise reduction is used. This will increase the grainy appearance, but preserve more fine image detail.

  • 2: Strong. More aggressive noise reduction is used, at the cost of some image detail, adding a “mushy” appearance that may be noticeable and objectionable.

  • 3. Disable. No additional noise reduction will be applied.

C.Fn II-06: Improving Detail in Highlights
Highlight Tone priority

This setting concentrates the available tones in an image from the middle grays up to the brightest highlights, in effect expanding the dynamic range of the image at the expense of shadow detail. You’d want to activate this option when shooting subjects in which there is lots of important detail in the highlights, and less detail in shadow areas. Highlight tones will be preserved, while shadows will be allowed to go dark more readily (and may exhibit an increase in noise levels). Bright beach or snow scenes, especially those with few shadows (think high noon, when the shadows are smaller) can benefit from using Highlight Tone priority.

  • 0: Disable. The Rebel T1i’s normal dynamic range is applied.

  • 1: Enable. Highlight areas are given expanded tonal values, while the tones available for shadow areas are reduced. The ISO 100 sensitivity setting is disabled and only ISO 200-ISO 1600 are available. You can tell that this restriction is in effect by checking the final zero in the ISO speed displayed in the viewfinder and in the Shooting Information display for a particular image—the zero will be rendered in a smaller size.

C.Fn II-07: Fixing Dark, Low Contrast Images.
Auto lighting optimizer

This setting automatically provides a partial fix for images that are too dark or flat (low in contrast) by boosting the brightness and contrast as required. The feature is used automatically in Basic Zone modes, but can be activated here for Creative Zone modes, Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority modes (but not Manual mode).

  • 0: Standard. Adjusts brightness and contrast of dark, flat images.

  • 1: Low. Adjusts brightness and contrast of dark, flat images.

  • 2: Strong. Adjusts brightness and contrast of dark, flat images.

  • 3: Disable. No adjustments are applied.

C.Fn III-08: Activation of the Autofocus Assist Lamp
Activation of Autofocus Assist Beam

This setting determines when the AF assist lamp in the camera or an external flash is activated to emit a pulse of light prior to the main exposure that helps provide enough contrast for the Rebel T1i to focus on a subject.

  • 0: Emits. The AF assist light is emitted by the camera’s built-in flash whenever light levels are too low for accurate focusing using the ambient light.

  • 1: Does not emit. The AF assist illumination is disabled. You might want to use this setting when shooting at concerts, weddings, or darkened locations where the light might prove distracting or discourteous.

  • 2: Only external flash emits. The built-in AF assist light is disabled, but if a Canon EX dedicated flash unit is attached to the camera, its AF assist feature (a flash pulse) will be used when needed. Because the flash unit’s AF assist is more powerful, you’ll find this option useful when you’re using flash and are photographing objects in dim light that are more than a few feet away from the camera (and thus not likely to be illuminated usefully by the Rebel T1i’s built-in light source). Note that if AF-assist beam firing is disabled within the flash unit’s own Custom Functions, this setting will not override that.

C.Fn III-09: Whether It Is Possible to Lock Up the Viewing Mirror Prior to an Exposure
Mirror lockup

The Mirror lockup function determines whether the reflex viewing mirror will be flipped up out of the way in advance of taking a picture, thereby eliminating any residual blurring effects caused by the minuscule amount of camera shake that can be produced if (as is the case normally) the mirror is automatically flipped up an instant before the actual exposure. When shooting telephoto pictures with a very long lens, or close-up photography at extreme magnifications, even this tiny amount of vibration can have an impact.

You’ll want to make this adjustment immediately prior to needing the mirror lockup function, because once it’s been enabled, the mirror always flips up, and picture taking becomes a two-press operation. That is, you press the shutter release once to lock exposure and focus, and to swing the mirror out of the way. Your viewfinder goes blank (of course, the mirror’s blocking it). Press the shutter release a second time to actually take the picture. Because the goal of mirror lockup is to produce the sharpest picture possible, and because of the viewfinder blackout, you can see that the camera should be mounted on a tripod prior to taking the picture, and, to avoid accidentally shaking the camera yourself, using an off-camera shutter release mechanism is a good idea.

  • 0: Disable. Mirror lockup is not possible.

  • 1: Enable. Mirror lockup is activated and will be used for every shot until disabled.

Canon lists some important warnings and techniques related to using mirror lockup in the Rebel T1i manual, and I want to emphasize them here and add a few of my own, even if it means a bit of duplication. Better safe than sorry!

  • Don’t use ML for sensor cleaning. Though locked up, the mirror will flip down again automatically after 30 seconds, which you don’t want to happen while you’re poking around the sensor with a brush, swab, or air jet. There’s a separate menu item—sensor cleaning—for sensor housekeeping. You can find more about this topic in Chapter 9.

  • Avoid long exposure to extra-bright scenes. The shutter curtain, normally shielded from incoming light by the mirror, is fully exposed to the light being focused on the focal plane by the lens mounted on the T1i. When the mirror is locked up, you certainly don’t want to point the camera at the sun, and even beach or snow scenes may be unsafe if the shutter curtain is exposed to their illumination for long periods. (This advice also applies to Live View, of course, because the sensor is similarly exposed while you’re previewing the image on the LCD.)

  • ML can’t be used in continuous shooting modes. The Rebel T1i will use Single Shot mode for mirror lockup exposures, regardless of the sequence mode you’ve selected.

  • Use self-timer to eliminate second button press. If you’ve activated the self-timer, the mirror will flip up when you press the shutter button down all the way, and then the picture will be taken two seconds later. This technique can help reduce camera shake further if you don’t have a remote release available and have to use a finger to press the shutter button. You can also use the Remote Controller RC-1 or RC-5. Set the RC-1 to a two-second delay. With the RC-5, press the transmit button to lock up the mirror; the shot will be taken automatically two seconds later.

C.Fn IV-10: What Happens When You Partially Depress the Shutter Release/Press the AE Lock Button
Shutter button/AE Lock button (*)

This setting controls the behavior of the shutter release and the AE Lock button (*) when you are using Creative Zone exposure modes. With Basic Zone modes, the Rebel T1i always behaves as if it has been set to Option 0, described below. Options 1, 2, and 3 are designed to work with AI Servo mode, which locks focus as it is activated, but refocuses if the subject begins to move. The options allow you to control exactly when focus and exposure are locked when using AI Servo mode.

In the option list, the first action in the pair represents what happens when you press the shutter release; the second action says what happens when the AE Lock button is pressed.

  • 0: AF/AE lock. With this option, pressing the shutter release halfway locks in focus; pressing the * button locks exposure. Use this when you want to control each of these actions separately.

  • 1: AE lock/AF. Pressing the shutter release halfway locks exposure; pressing the * button locks autofocus. This setting swaps the action of the two buttons compared to the default 0 option.

  • 2: AF/AF lock, no AE lock. Pressing the AE lock button interrupts the autofocus and locks focus in AI Servo mode. Exposure is not locked at all until the actual moment of exposure when you press the shutter release all the way. This mode is handy when moving objects may pass in front of the camera (say, a tight end crosses your field of view as you focus on the quarterback) and you want to be able to avoid change of focus. Note that you can’t lock in exposure using this option.

  • 3: AE/AF, no AE lock. Pressing the shutter release halfway locks in autofocus, except in AI Servo mode, in which you can use the * button to start or stop autofocus. Exposure is always determined at the moment the picture is taken, and cannot be locked.

C.Fn IV-11: Using the Set Button as a Function Key
Assign SET button

You already know that the Set button is used to select a choice or option when navigating the menus. However, when you’re taking photos, it has no function at all. You can easily remedy that with this setting. This setting allows you to assign one of five different actions to the Set key. Because the button is within easy reach of your right thumb, that makes it quite convenient for accessing a frequently used function. When this Custom Function is set to 5, the Set button has no additional function during shooting mode (except to activate Live View when it is turned on), and options 0 through 4 assign an action to the button during shooting.


One thing to keep in mind when redefining the behavior of controls (including other controls that can be modified within the Custom Functions menus) is that any non-standard customization you do will definitely be confusing to others who use your camera, and may even confuse you if you’ve forgotten that you’ve changed a control from its default function.

  • 0: Quick Control Screen. This is the default during shooting. Activates the Quick Control screen. Press the cross keys to choose the function to adjust, then rotate the Main dial to change the setting.

  • 1: Image quality. Pressing the Set button produces the Shooting 1 menu’s Quality menu screen on the color LCD. You can cycle among the various quality options with the up/down and left/right cross keys. Press Set again to lock in your choice.

  • 2: Flash exposure comp. The Set button summons the Flash Exposure Compensation screen. Use the left/right cross keys to adjust flash exposure plus or minus two stops. If you’re using an external flash unit, its internal flash exposure compensation settings override those set from the camera. Press Set to confirm your choice.

  • 3: LCD monitor On/Off. Assigns to the Set button the same functions as the DISP button. Because the Set button can be accessed with the thumb, you may find it easier to use when turning the LCD monitor on or off.

  • 4: Menu display. Pressing Set produces the T1i’s Menu screen on the LCD, with the last menu entry you used highlighted. Press Set again to work with that menu normally, or press the Menu button to cancel and back out of the menus. This setting duplicates the Menu button’s function, but some find it easier to locate the Set button with their thumb.

  • 5: Disable. When chosen, nothing happens when you press the Set button while shooting.

C.Fn IV-12: LCD Display When Power On
LCD display when power on

Controls the behavior of the LCD when the Rebel T1i is switched on. There are two options:

  • 0: Display. When the T1i is powered on, the Shooting Settings screen will be shown. You can turn this screen on and off by pressing the DISP button. Use this option if you always want the settings screen to be displayed when the camera is turned on.

  • 1: Retain power OFF status. When the Rebel T1i is turned on, the LCD monitor will display the Shooting Settings screen if it was turned on when the camera was last powered down. If the screen had been turned off (by pressing the DISP button), it will not be displayed when the T1i is next powered up. Use this option if you frequently turn off the settings screen, and want the camera to “remember” whether the screen was on display when the T1i was last powered down.

C.Fn IV-13: Activating Data Verification Feature
Add original decision data

The Rebel T1i has a special feature that allows determining whether a specific image has been modified using a special Canon Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3. The Data Verification Kit DVK-E2 is a nifty $650 add-on which consists of a data security card and a dedicated USB card reader-writer and verification software that must be used with a computer to verify an image. The Add Original Decision Data function determines whether the information needed to verify an image is included in the image file. Data verification is especially useful for law enforcement, legal, and scientific purposes, but not required for everyday shooting (which is why the feature is turned off by default).

  • 0: Off. Data verification information is not added to the image file.

  • 1: On. Data verification information is included in the image file.

Clear Settings

This menu choice resets all the settings to their default values. You can choose Clear All Camera Settings, Clear All Custom Func. (C.Fn.), or Delete Copyright Information. When you choose Clear All Camera Settings, regardless of how you’ve set up your Rebel T1i, it will be adjusted for One Shot AF mode, automatic AF point selection, Evaluative metering, JPEG Fine Large image quality, automatic ISO, sRGB color mode, automatic white balance, and Standard Picture Style. Any changes you’ve made to exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, and white balance will be canceled, and any bracketing for exposure or white balance nullified. Custom white balances and Dust Delete Data will be erased.

The Clear All Custom Func. (C.Fn.) choice can be used to clear all camera Custom Functions. Press the Set button, then rotate the left/right cross keys to either Cancel or OK. Press the Set button to confirm. All Custom Functions will be reset to their default 0 values.

Copyright information can be embedded in your camera using the Canon EOS Utility (see Figure 3.51). If you’ve added that information to your T1i, it will be included in the Exif information stored with each image that you take. If you decide you no longer want to include this information in your image files, you can use the Delete Copyright Information choice to remove it from your camera. If you haven’t uploaded a copyright string to your camera with the EOS Utility, this menu choice will be grayed out and unavailable.

Figure 3.51. Copyright information can be uploaded to your camera with the EOS Utility.

Firmware Version

You can see the current firmware release in use in the menu listing. If you want to update to a new firmware version, insert a memory card containing the binary file, and press the Set button to begin the process. You can read more about firmware updates in Chapter 9.

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