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228 Pages of guides • 45 mins of video tutorials

Canon

in-depth practical guides

Photographer’s ● Master your Canon DSLR ● Canon School ● Gear tests ● Photo projects ● Pro techniques

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Handbook


CONTENTS

122

10 6

184 Canon Photographer’s Handbook


Camera skills

Essential SLR skills

Master your camera now!

10

Reach the peak

112

Get to grips with Canon lenses

22

Modern family

122

Master your Canon DSLR in 12 hours

34

Life in miniature

134

Canon DSLR sports skills

44

Go wild!

144

Perfect portraits

54

Projects

Canon school

The light fantastic

156

The photographic journey

64

Portrait perfection

160

How to handle your Canon DSLR

70

Play with traffic

162

The importance of aperture

76

Hyperfocally speaking

164

The need for shutter speed

82

Let there be light!

168

Understanding ISO

88

Create brilliant black & white images

172

In-camera metering

94

In-flight entertainment

176

The importance of white balance

100

The art of boudoir

180

Awesome AF points

106

Out of the shadows

184

70

Gear tests EOS 77D

190

EOS 800D

198

EOS 5D Mark IV

202

Superzoom lenses

206

HĂ„HNEL Modis 600RT Wireless Kit

206 Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

218

Photo backpacks

220

Sturdy tripods

222

Download free videos Learn more with our video tutorials

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226


CAMERA SKILLS

Camera skills

1 Get to know your camera

CANON SCHOOL

The first step towards technical and creative prowess is to get to know the basic settings and functions on your camera. You don’t need to know everything, but having an idea of what the buttons and dials are for will not only make you feel more confident, it’ll also mean

01 LCD screen

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

The LCD screen is extremely useful and can be used to compose shots, to review your photos and also to navigate menus and view settings. Many Canon DSLRs now have touchscreen LCDs.

you know how to access different settings as you need them. Canon EOS models are slightly different, and advanced models offer controls that the more basic options don’t, but their layout is extremely similar. So let’s take a look at what you need to know…

02 Dioptric adjustment knob

03 Zoom buttons

If you wear glasses but would prefer not to while shooting, this control can adjust the viewfinder to your vision. Use autofocus to focus on a subject, then rotate the wheel until the subject is sharp in the viewfinder.

These buttons are found next to the LCD screen or above the thumbplate on the back of the camera, depending on the model. They are used to zoom in and out of images during playback and in Live View.

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03

01 07

PROJECTS

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04

04 Menu button

GEAR TESTS

Canon cameras offer a wide range of settings, features and customisation options. Press the Menu button to bring up the main menu options on your rear LCD, then go through sub-menus for the setting you want.

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05 Cross keys/D-pad

Depending on your EOS model, there will either be cross keys or a D-pad. These are used to navigate menus and settings, particularly if your camera doesn’t have a touchscreen LCD. There may also be a thumbwheel.

06 Playback button

Press this button when you want to review the image you just shot on your rear LCD. You can view older images, too, if they’re still on the camera, using the cross keys, D-pad or touchscreen LCD.

06

07 Quick menu

Access your most commonly used settings fast with this control. This option makes changing settings quick and easy, and removes the need to navigate the main menu and through sub-menus.

Canon Photographer’s Handbook


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09

CANON SCHOOL

10

Pressing the shutter button releases the shutter to take a photo. Half-depress the button to the point of resistance to activate autofocus, then fully depress the button to take the photo.

09 Infrared shutter release

In addition to the shutter button, Canon DSLRs can be fired remotely, either with an infrared remote that triggers this sensor on the front of the camera, or via a cable that plugs into a port on the side.

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

08 Shutter button

10 Lens release button

When you attach a lens to a camera, it remains locked in position so it doesn’t fall off. To remove a lens to fit another, you have to press the lens release button and rotate the lens to remove it from the body.

11

Flash button

11 The flash button is used to activate the pop-up flash. While it’s on the top of the body on this camera, on others it can often be found to the left of the viewfinder, just below the flash itself.

Main dial

12 Use this to adjust

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PROJECTS

settings like shutter speed and aperture while you’re shooting. The setting the Main dial affects depends on the mode you’ve chosen on the Mode dial.

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13 Mode dial

Turning the Mode dial allows you to select the shooting mode. These range from fully automatic to semi-automatic, where you take control of 95% of settings, to fully manual, where you control everything. 14

14 Hotshoe

GEAR TESTS

The hotshoe is an attachment that’s used primarily for fitting an external flash to your camera. They can also be used to attach accessories including wireless flash triggers and microphones for video.

Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

CAMERA SKILLS

Camera skills

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PROJECTS

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

CANON SCHOOL

CAMERA SKILLS

canon lens skills

Fisheye lenses

Embrace the extreme distortion created by fisheye lenses and get really striking results

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ike wide-angle lenses, fisheye optics enable you to shoot wide, but the distorted view produced by fisheyes produces much more stylised images. Using a fisheye lens means thinking slightly differently about your shooting technique, because many of the normal rules don’t apply. For instance, you need to be much closer to your subject than with a conventional lens. The distorted image also makes it difficult to use many of the compositional techniques that work perfectly well with any other type of lens. Experiment with different framing techniques. Symmetrical compositions work particularly well, as these shots taken at Brighton seafront illustrate, while portraits can take on a caricature-like quality.

When it comes to framing, you need to get in close to your subject, otherwise everything will appear tiny in the final image. This can feel unnatural because you often need to shoot just inches away from the subject. So even if you’re used to shooting with wide-angle lenses, the best technique is to step right up to your subject, and really embrace the wacky world of fisheye lenses.

“Using a fisheye lens means thinking slightly differently about your shooting technique”

Two fisheye types

There are two main types of fisheye lens: full-frame and circular. A full-frame fisheye produces an image that covers the entire sensor, while a circular fisheye produces a round image in the middle of the sensor with a dark border around it. This effect varies according to the design of the lens and the size of the sensor in your Canon DSLR. A lens that produces full-frame images on an APS-C sensor (eg 750D/T6i) will look different on a full-frame camera (eg EOS 5D Mk IV), so you need to check the coverage for your camera. For example, the Sigma 8mm lens used for the shots on this page produces fully circular images on a full-framer, and images that are between circular and frame-filling on an APS-C DSLR.

GEAR TESTS

Distorted view

Fisheye lenses are also characterised by their distorted view of the world. With most lenses you try to avoid distortion, but with a fisheye lens, distortion is one of the key features of the image. The distortion can range from lines that appear to bend, to entirely circular images.

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Canon Photographer’s Handbook


With a fisheye lens, you’ll need to get really close to your subject. For this image, we were three feet away from the beach huts

CAMERA SKILLS

canon lens skills

CANON SCHOOL

check the frame edges

The extremely wide field of view you get with a fisheye lens means that you can end up with your feet, your shadow or your tripod in the bottom of the shot. This usually looks like a mistake on your part, so always take a quick look at the edges of the frame to make sure you aren’t in the shot!

With such an extreme field of view that includes large areas of sky and foreground, and no chance of using ND grad filters, the results from a fisheye lens often suffer from

before

too much contrast from left to right. The best solution for this is to shoot in Raw format and adjust the exposure in Adobe Camera Raw to ensure that as much highlight and shadow

detail as possible is retained. In extreme conditions you can also try shooting several different exposures and combining them as a composite in Photoshop.

after

PROJECTS

get well-balanced exposures

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

SUPER TIP!

GEAR TESTS

Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

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CAMERA SKILLS CANON SCHOOL

Part 1

The photographic journey From conception to completion, we explain the fundamentals of taking a photograph

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o kick-start this seven-part Canon School course, let’s look at the most fundamental aspect of owning a DSLR – making an exposure. After all, this is what we photographers do time and again. We visualise an image, press the shutter button on our Canon DSLR,

the shutter opens to expose the digital sensor to light, and the image is recorded. It sounds so simple when put like this, but exposure can frequently trip us up, and the more creative we want to get, the more complicated it appears to be. The fact is, if you master a few simple factors with your camera then

what seems unfathomably complex will suddenly appear as clear as spring water. It all revolves around what we’ve called ‘the exposure triangle’ – which includes three main elements: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. We’ll get more into those settings over the page. For now, let’s look at the picture-taking process.

It starts by light entering the camera and registering on the light-sensitive sensor at its heart. It is then stored on a memory card. The digital files are transferred from the card to a computer and finally, we hope, printed to create a wonderful photograph that can be framed and hung on the wall for all to enjoy.

Canon DSLR & lens Each relies on the other: the camera houses the sensor on which the exposure is captured, but the lens is needed to harness the light. By altering the size of the hole through which the light is passing you can change the look of your images by increasing or decreasing areas that appear sharp.

Memory card The memory card is your digital film – and the bridge between camera and computer. All current entry and enthusiast-level Canon DSLRs take SD cards, though the 7D Mk II, 5D Mk IV and 5DS are also compatible with CompactFlash cards. However, the EOS 1D X takes CompactFlash only.

Computer Raw files are like digital negatives that first need processing, but the computer replaces the darkroom. You can use Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, or opt for Raw software such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw that’s part of Photoshop CC/Elements.

Printers Replacing the high-street lab, online print companies are relatively cheap and easy to use for everything from a basic print to a cushion, or you can opt to print at home on a bespoke photo printer. Canon’s PIXMA range of printers produce superb results, as do brands like printer-specialist Epson.

GEAR TESTS

PROJECTS

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

CANONSCHOOL

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Canon Photographer’s Handbook


Basic & Creative Zone

Understanding the Mode dial

CAMERA SKILLS

All About EXPOSURE

Why moving from Basic Zone into Creative Zone will improve your photography

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your only control is switching to each mode in the first place; after this the camera takes over, so what it decides is the ‘correct’ combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO is what you get. Switch to Sports mode, for example, and the camera judges the lighting conditions and comes up with an ‘appropriate’ fast shutter

speed for a moving subject, possibly pushing ISO higher to achieve it. It will also set the camera’s AF mode to AI Servo, Drive mode to Continuous shooting, and make all AF points active, all of which help get a sharp shot of a moving subject. So why would you want to work any other way? Well, your camera will have done an okay

job in getting an acceptable shot. But you could undoubtedly do better working in one of the semi-auto or full manual exposure modes, otherwise known as the Creative Zone…

Take total control of your camera by selecting a semi-automatic – or full manual – exposure mode Creative zone modes (M, Av, Tv and P) not only enable you to take partial or total control of the exposure, dialing in the shutter speed and/or aperture you desire, but also aspects such as ISO, Drive and AF settings, unavailable in Basic Zone modes. They’re available on every EOS (on more advanced models, they’re the only modes available). Here’s an outline of the Creative Zone modes…

Manual (M)

In manual mode you physically set both the shutter speed and aperture. If you get either wrong it will adversely affect your exposure, so this is a setting to use only when you are 100% comfortable with how exposure works.

Aperture Priority (Av)

You choose the aperture and your DSLR selects the shutter speed. Av mode is good when you want to contro l depth of field, but watch the resultant shutter speed – you may need to increa se ISO to boost this to avoid blurred shots.

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

Creative Zone

CANON SCHOOL

n the top of your EOS (unless you own a 1D X) is the Mode dial. This circular wheel gives you access to all the camera’s exposure modes. The automatic exposure modes are found in the ‘Basic Zone’, and are represented by pictorial symbols – a mountain for Landscape mode, a face for Portrait mode and so on. But

Shutter priority (Tv)

SCN

PROJECTS

You select the shutter speed and the camera attempts to set an aperture for a correct exposure. But look out for a ‘blinking’ aperture number – this means the exposure is beyond the aperture range, meaning under- or overexposed shots.

Prograamsets(Pbo)th aperture and

Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

OFF

GEAR TESTS

ange The camer r, you can ch e v e w o H . d e e or shutter sp ider aperture t w a r o f e r u s the expo example, bu r o f , d e e p s r e faster shutt e changed in unison. You ar s odes. both setting and focus m O S I e g n a h can also c

ON

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CAMERA SKILLS CANON SCHOOL ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS PROJECTS

CANONSCHOOL Part 6

In-camera metering How your DSLR interprets reflected light

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etering is the way in which you and your Canon DSLR decide on what the exposure should be for the image you want to capture. Taking a reading of the light reflecting from a subject enables you and/or the camera to calculate a combination of shutter speed, aperture and ISO that will, hopefully, produce a correctly exposed image. All Canon DSLRs have a sophisticated metering system, and different metering modes enable the camera to read the light in a way that suits both the subject and the result you want to achieve. But metering can never be 100% accurate, as the quality of the light, and the way it’s reflected, differs from scene to scene. It’s the word ‘reflective’, that’s important. Light is

said to be ‘incident’ light if it’s falling directly onto a subject. So your light source – typically the sun, although it could also be flash or studio lighting, is incident light, and this light can be read by an off-camera light meter. When incident light hits a subject and bounces off it, it becomes reflected light – and it’s this light that’s used by the camera to calculate exposure. The metering system does this by assuming the world is a midtone grey, or at least that it has the same reflectance of 12-18% grey. Of course this isn’t the case, which is why metering doesn’t always work perfectly; different objects reflect light in different ways, and this is when your camera can give you an incorrect exposure, underexposing or overexposing an image or parts of an image.

‘Incident’ light falls on your subject

‘Reflective’ light bounces off your subject and is read by your Canon DSLR’s metering system

GEAR TESTS

Why different scenes can confuse the meter these TWO images have been converted to greyscale to give you an idea of what the camera’s meter is reading. There are no large areas of brightness or darkness in the tree image, so a midtone grey metering won’t trouble any of the metering modes and will give a fairly accurate exposure. The gondolas image is different. There are large areas of

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shade in the foreground, plus a large, bright sky. Not only is this likely to fool the meter; the scene may also fall outside the camera’s exposure latitude. For example, a 6D has one of the best exposure latitudes of any DSLR, but it can still only cope with approximately 11 stops of light before either underexposing or overexposing parts of a scene. Canon Photographer’s Handbook


master metering

Av F

F8.0

200

AWB

ONE SHOT

Metering modes

ISO

L 537

Q

WB SET

AF

CAMERA SKILLS

SUbJECT HERE

Learn the four different metering modes in most Canon DSLRs model standing in the shade. Each image was taken at the same focal length, at f/2.8. Each metering situation is different and therefore it’s impossible to say which mode is best, but as you can see from these examples there’s little to choose between Partial

Evaluative

Partial

Spot

Centre-weighted average

Evaluative does a good job, although it’s biased towards the zone where the AF point is, as the meter assumes this is the most important part of the scene. It has come up with a ‘best of all worlds’ exposure: the model’s face is only slightly underexposed, and the bright foliage is toned down.

As the meter reading is taken entirely from the face area in this shot, the exposure is very much biased towards the skin – exactly what we’d want in a portrait. However, this also means that the background remains bright, although it’s certainly not overexposed in this area.

As Spot metering only takes a reading from a tiny area of the face in the middle of the frame it produces an image that’s slightly underexposed, with detail lost in the shadows of the hair. But it’s not far off, and Spot is a good option if you want to be precise about the area you meter from.

Centre-weighted average has given us a halfway house between the exposures achieved with Spot and Partial, which isn’t surprising when you look at the area it’s metered from. The resulting exposure is very good in this case, with a lighter face and some hair detail preserved.

Spot metering linked to AF, and the AF point positioned on the boy’s darker top, the resulting exposure is better balanced, with more detail visible in the subject.

GEAR TESTS

Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

Linked to AF

PROJECTS

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your metering bets it’s a sensible option to choose.

Evaluative

Meter from an AF point ou can link Spot metering to a single or group of moveable AF points if you have Canon’s current top of the range pro camera, the 1D X, or any of the earlier 1-series cameras. But while this sounds like a great idea in principle, unless you’re careful your exposures can be way off the mark. Whether you’re selecting just one AF point or a group, the metering is still only taken from a 3% area of

and Centre-weighted average for this scene, although none of the modes has completely let the side down. Evaluative has done a pretty good job too, which supports the notion that when you want to hedge

the frame, so where F8.0 200 Av you’re metering F AWB from is critical. If WB ONE SHOT L SET AF the point you need 537 to focus on is very dark, for example, you could end up images show. The with a slower shutter speed darker image was than you want, and an taken with overexposed image. Conversely, if the area your AF Evaluative metering, and although the camera point hits is very bright, the has attempted to balance the rest of the image will be too scene, the tricky backlighting dark. However, this option can isn’t helping. However, with prove useful, as these two

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

used when you take a picture in any of your camera’s auto shooting modes. It takes a series of light readings from different points within the frame and averages them out. To show you how the four modes work here are a series of portraits, all taken with the

CANON SCHOOL

our Canon camera typically has four metering modes: Evaluative, Spot, Centreweighted average and Partial (the 1200D doesn’t have Spot mode). The default metering mode is Evaluative, and this ‘catch-all’ mode is

Y

ISO

Q

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CAMERA SKILLS CANON SCHOOL

EOS 77D

190

EOS 800D

198

EOS 5D Mark IV

202

Superzoom lenses

206

HÄHNEL Modis 600RT Wireless Kit

218

Photo backpacks

220

Sturdy tripods

222

190

GEAR TESTS

PROJECTS

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

GearTest

188

Canon Photographer’s Handbook


CAMERA SKILLS

206

CANON SCHOOL

ESSENTIAL SLR SKILLS

PROJECTS

GEAR TESTS

189

Canon Photographer’s Handbook 

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