Canon 80D Top Five Settings to Change

Canon 80D Top Five Settings to Change

In Photography by Jerad HillLeave a Comment

I’m a long time Canon shooter. Even though I recently switched to Sony, I love what Canon has continued to do with the crop sensor cameras. The Canon 20D was my first DSLR camera and I have owned every version of this line since then. The Canon 80D is a fantastic camera, but it does not come set up optimized to produce the best photos, so I make some changes to the camera settings. Here are my top 5 settings to change in the Canon 80D.

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Video Transcript

Welcome to Ditch Auto. My name’s Jerad, and today we’re going to talk about the top five things you should change on your Canon 80D, so let’s get started.

Before we get started, actually, let’s talk about setting the date and time on your camera. If you didn’t do that when you first got it, set the date and time on your camera because photos these days are being posted to everything, and it uses the time and date to order and sort them. You want to make sure that your images have the correct date and time. You can change that in Adobe Lightroom or something like that, but it’s just so much easier to have it done in the camera just by setting the date and time.

When daylight savings comes around, set the time. When you change timezones to go to a different state or whatnot, change the timezone in your camera just so your photos stay consistent with the time. It will save you a lot of time later on I promise.

The first thing that I do is go into my camera, make sure it is in photo mode, and I actually change the size of the image that the camera is capturing. Right now I have my camera set to raw, but by default it comes set to a large JPEG. A large JPEG is fine, it’s a good image, but it’s a compressed image.

By leaving your camera set to JPEG you are allowing your camera to take a JPEG, which does not give you as much flexibility later to edit. A raw file has all the data that was captured with the capabilities of this camera. A JPEG is a image that started out as a great image with all of that data, but then the camera compresses it into a smaller file and calls it a JPEG, which obviously is easier to share and post to the internet and whatnot.

If you are transferring your images from your camera to a smartphone, like you may want to have your camera saving JPEGs because raw files are larger, it’s harder to transmit, but you want a raw file for editing. It gives you much more room in your editing software, whether that’s Lightroom or Photoshop or whatever.

You use the rocker on the top here to change your camera setting. You have no raw, you have large raw, medium, and small raw, so you don’t even have to go with that large 24-megapixel raw file if you don’t want it. You can go with a medium raw, which is still a pretty good size image. It’s definitely going to save you a bit on overhead when it comes to having to store all those images.

I would at least recommend that you do a medium raw file. If not, go with the large raw file, because you never know what you’re going to need your images for. Down the road when we’re all using 8K televisions and stuff like that the resolution required is going to be higher. Having a good resolution image to start with is going to save you down the road.

You can also decide whether you want JPEGs to be saved as well. You can save both at the same time. You can go raw and JPEG, and then you can choose between one of your JPEG settings here to have both images.

Now, saving both raw and JPEG at the same time is going to slow down your camera’s write speed to the card, which means if you’re taking a lot of photos really fast it’s going to fill up the buffer on your camera faster, and especially if you don’t have a really high-speed SD card. It’s going to slow down the process of writing to the SD card, so you may want to consider only choosing one depending on your situation. It can vary.

For me, I usually do shoot raw plus JPEG. It’s an old practice that’s kind of been hard to kick, but I lately have been trying to shoot only raw and not have those JPEG files taking up a bunch of extra space, because I typically don’t need them. I’m just going to go ahead and turn that off. When you’re done, hit set and you’re good to go.

Step two, second thing that I change, is my autofocus settings. Our autofocus settings on the camera, there are two different things that are going to affect the way that your camera autofocuses. If you hit the Q button here you can see AI focus right here is an option that I choose. It by standard comes to one shot. One shot means that when you press down your shutter button a little bit it’s going to achieve focus and then it’s not going to make any changes until you completely let off the button again and then press it down partially again.

That means that if you’re handholding your camera, taking pictures of people or things or whatever that could be moving, or even you could be moving because you’re not a steady tripod, when you press down the shutter a little bit and your camera achieves focus it’s not going to attempt to do anything else until you let off the shutter completely and press it partially down again.

Changing that, so let’s go back into the setting. One shot. Changing that to AI focus means that if … It even tells you right here, if the subjects move auto switches from one shot AF to… What’s nice about this mode is that if something moves your camera’s going to go ahead and continue to focus on that subject and keep it in focus while you have your shutter button pressed down partially.

That’s a great feature because if you’re handholding your camera trying to take pictures of your kids or whatever else, they’re moving, you’re moving too, and you need your camera to be able to react to whatever is going on. Putting it into that AI focus mode gives your camera the ability to make those changes as needed, and it’s definitely a great option.

We have one other focus mode that we’ll take a look at. We’ll tap on our manual zone here. You can see I have manual select zone AF chosen. That’s not what comes by default. What comes by default is auto selection 45 point autofocus.

What that means is that when you have it in this mode your camera is going to evaluate everything that’s within its range and it’s going to decide what to focus on. That typically works pretty good for things that are moving that you really don’t have control over where they’re going to be at in the frame, like fast-moving kids and stuff like that, or taking pictures of sports.

Those are things that are going to be challenging where framing up the shot is going to be harder and you really can’t let the camera just be limited. You have to let the camera do what it can do to capture that photo for you.

Now, if you’re shooting portraits or things that are standing still, or even landscapes or something like that, this mode will become problematic because chances are the camera’s going to focus on something that you don’t want it to focus on. That means changing the way that the autofocus works.

It’s nice to have autofocus because manual focus is still a little slow, and then we’re relying heavily on our eye and what we see, and sometimes that could become challenging. What I tend to do is try some of the other settings. We have our manual select large zone, which breaks up our entire … What we see into three parts. You can focus on the right, the middle, or the left.

That allows your camera to at least focus in one quadrant instead of looking everywhere and maybe picking something on the right when you wanted it to be on the left, or vice versa. That definitely is an option. For me, though, I tend to either use on this camera the zone AF or the one point AF.

The zone AF, you can see here on the screen gives us a lot more ability to move around. It’s still a pretty large zone size you can see, like we can move up and down the left quadrant, up and down the center, and then even up and down the right. That makes it a little bit better, but it’s still pretty large zone.

If you’re shooting landscapes or something like that this could work. If you’re shooting portraits and person may be moving a little bit this definitely could work, because at least you could say I’m putting that grid, that box, around a person and where they’re going to be in the camera focus there.

If you really want to take control over where your camera is focusing you can go over to manual selection one point AF. Here you can see we’re moving that point around to each individual point. It’s the smallest zone that we can create, and we can move it around to anywhere we want. If you are really trying to get a good landscape, and you want to focus somewhere specifically, this I probably going to be your best option.

Put your camera on a tripod, set your scene, frame up your shot, move that focus point around to wherever you want. Maybe it’s a tree, so you move that focus point around to the tree. Maybe you’re taking pictures of people and it’s just a single person, and you want to put them more on the left third, left upper third, you want focus to be there. Move that point around. Put it right on their eye, and then that way when you’re taking a picture of them you’re getting focus on this eye instead of on the side of their head or their ear that’s kind of hanging out in the corner of … Whatever.

You’re able to take control of where that focus point’s going to be and you’re going to have a much more consistent experience with getting your captures than as if you’re just pressing down the shutter and the camera’s like, how about here? How about there? How about there? And every time it’s different.

There is a use case for all of these settings. I recommend that you play around with them, that you try them, you see what works best for you, and then you move on.

The third thing that I change is I get rid of the picture style of auto that the camera comes standard. Picture settings, picture styles are effects that are added to your image. Maybe it bumps the contrast, maybe it changes a little bit of things with the color of your photo, and I just don’t like it when the camera does that because though it does typically produce a better photo fresh out of the camera it takes away your ability to edit it later because it’s adding things into the photo that is basically like processing a JPEG.

I go from auto and I go and choose neutral because neutral is going to give me a nice flat image, and then I can go into Lightroom with my image and I could bump contrast, I could change things around the way that I want them to be. I have that room to play in either direction because the file that’s coming out of my camera hasn’t already been kind of crushed in certain ways.

Now, if you don’t want to go to neutral I do just recommend maybe going to standard, getting out of auto because if you’re in auto every time you take a picture it could choose a different profile. As long as you’re in standard you at least know that you’re getting a little bit of contrast, a little bit of adjustment to your image there, but it’s not going crazy.

You can actually change these individually, these picture styles. You can come in and change them and adjust them as needed, but for me I just … I stick with the neutral. I just prefer the neutral. I don’t even come in here and make any other changes. I just want a nice neutral flat image that gives me plenty of room to make changes later.

The fourth thing I do is disable beep in my camera. I don’t like the camera to make its beep every time it achieves focus. It’s annoying, it’s distracting. When a camera beeps people think that it’s time for the picture to be taken, and I usually have my shutter pressed down a little bit, and focus is happening and I’m doing things. I just don’t want the distraction of the camera beeping all the time, so I turn it off.

The only time that I go and turn the beep back on is when I’m using the timer mode in my camera for a self-portrait. A lot of times I’m taking self-portraits of my family and I, so I’ll have the camera up on a tripod. I’ll turn on the timer. Having the beep definitely helps. Of course, the camera has its indicator light on the front as it’s counting down, but the beep … Then it starts beeping faster. It’s a better indicator of when that time is up, so that’s the only time that I turn on beep. Otherwise, I leave it disabled because I think it’s a distraction.

The last thing that I do is I get my camera set up for shooting video. Shooting video, I do a lot of shooting video. These cameras shoot great video, so you need to have your camera ready to go to shoot video.

Now, I’m not going to go crazy into detail about video settings and all that stuff. I’m going to save that for another video that I recommend that you check out. Then, I haven’t even gone into manual that much. Obviously, the whole preface of what I’m here teaching is taking more control of your camera. That means getting out of auto, learning to shoot in manual, and the same goes for shooting video.

Toggle your camera here into video mode and you’re going to see your screen come on. Go to menu, and then toggle to your fourth screen here. You’re going to see some options. Now, under movie record quality we have some options. The camera by default is going to be an MP4. You also have a MOV file. There really isn’t a lot of difference these days between the two other than the fact that the camera gives you a lot more options when you’re in MP4 than when you’re in MOV.

MOV, it just gives you … Let’s just take a look. It gives you a full HD option for 30 frames and a full HD option for 24 frames. Even though it says 29-9-7 and 23-9-8, most of us round up to 24 or 30. We’ll probably leave our camera in MP4 mode, and then we can choose our size of image.

You have [FHD 00:13:41], which is full HD, and then regular HD, which is actually 720P, which by today’s standards most of the things that we’re viewing content on, 720 is just too small of an image. There’s really no need to shoot anything in 720 these days. I prefer to stay in HD.

You have frame rates of 60 frames, 30, and 24 frames per second. Basically what that means is how many frames are being squished into one second of footage. The only reason you would want to shoot with a higher frame rate is if you wanted that … More of that data to work with.

Mainly people use that for slowing down footage for slow motion scenes, so if you’re shooting at 30 frames per second, and your project that you’re editing is 30 frames per second, you just don’t have any room to stretch.

If you are shooting at 60 frames per second, and your project has 30 frames per second, you have double of the space. You can slow that down 100% and still have nice, crisp footage. I definitely recommend shooting at either 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second, depending on what you plan to do with your footage.

You can always compress 60 frames per second down to 30 frames, but you can’t very easily go from 30 frames up to 60 without having problems, so I recommend shooting at a frame rate that is acceptable based on what you think you’re going to be doing with the footage. For me, that means 60 frames per second because I may want to do some slow motion with some of my footage.

Sound recording. I definitely get it out of auto and go into manual. Not because that makes things any easier, it definitely makes them harder, but when you’re shooting audio, when you’re recording audio in auto mode, when things are silent or a person stops speaking for a second the audio levels of your camera will boost in order to try and find something appropriate to capture.

You get a lot of noise and background buzz, and just random stuff that happens there. It makes it much harder for you to edit your footage later because your audio levels are all over the place. I recommend getting used to coming in and setting your recording, your audio recording levels, manually.

Now, let’s go back to our video screen here. There’s a quicker way to access those. Simply hit the Q and then tap here on audio recording level. You can see that we have a bar here showing us our levels, and we can make adjustments on the fly right here very easily without having to go through manual settings or menu settings and all that stuff. It’s pretty simple.

The last thing is understanding the difference in how shutter speed works when you’re shooting video. You definitely want to usually match your shutter speed with your frames per second, so because I’m shooting 60 frames per second I’ll shoot at a 60 with my shutter speed. If you’re shooting 30 frames per second, you can go down to 30. If you’re shooting … If you’re wanting 60 frames per second and you go down to 30 you’re not going to get that 60 frames per second. You’re going to get 30 frames per second because your shutter speed has to match or exceed what your frames per second that you’re trying to capture is.

Then, your aperture and your ISO, those are things that you’re going to have to learn how to adjust in manual mode. Of course you can always go and leave your camera in auto, but your video is going to be a little bit flatter, it’s going to look more like it came from a phone or a GoPro than from a nice camera like this, so I definitely recommend that you learn how to use manual mode not only in shooting photo but video.

Lastly, a bonus tip, always format your cards inside your camera. Don’t even really delete photos. Things a lot of people do is go and delete photos in their camera. It’s too easy to accidentally delete everything. Save that for your computer.

When you’re bringing everything into Lightroom or whatever software you’re using then you can delete everything once you have your photos moved from your camera to your computer, but always format your card in the camera. Don’t format it on your computer, don’t format it in another camera. Format it on the camera that you’re going to be using because something could change, something could be different, and it can cause issues down the road. It doesn’t always, but it can, and formatting the card inside the camera is the best option. Just make sure that you have that card backed up first before you go and format it or you’re going to run into data loss problems.

That’s going to do it for this video. Thank you so much for watching it. I highly recommend that you take our free course called Ditch Auto, which is going to help you unlock the true potential of your camera. If you’re still shooting in auto mode or some variation of auto mode I recommend taking this course.

We also have a full-fledged course on the 80D coming. That’s why this camera is sitting here, because I want to produce a course on this fantastic little camera, teach you everything that there is to know about it when you’re shooting photo and video, so make sure to stay tuned for that.

Then, I also briefly mentioned SD cards earlier in the description of this video. There are a couple of SD card recommendations on SD cards that are fast enough to keep up with the power that this camera has so that you don’t run into any issues with your photos not writing fast enough for how fast you’re taking photos and stuff like that.

Subscribe to our channel. If you like this video, please click the like, the thumbs up button, share it with a friend who might have an Canon 80D. We’d appreciate it, and thanks so much for checking out this video. We hope to see you back here soon.

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