My friend and fellow photographer Glyn Dewis put a post up on his blog with the same title as this one. It’s a good post and Glyn gets the message across with a solution to the sausage fingers for the Nikon D3 users, but what about the Canon folk? Here’s my approach to solving the same problem of ‘Sausage Finger Syndrome’ for a variety of Canon users.
First thing I noticed in Glyn’s post was that he has the shutter speed on the back wheel of his Nikon and aperture on the front dial in manual mode. Canon and Nikon take different approaches to many things, the default behaviour of a Canon DSLR in manual mode is to have the shutter speed on the front dial and the aperture on the back. Also the Canon cameras have a lock for the rear control dial. Guess what? There are ways to change this on some models and hence lock the shutter speed for manual mode shooting with a flash like Glyn describes for his ‘other brand of camera’.
EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV
If you have one of these pro bodies then you have choices as to how to set your camera to avoid sausage finger syndrome, I suggest using custom function C.Fn IV-5 set to 1 to swap the operation of the Tv and Av dials so that the shutter speed is on the rear dial, now simply switching the three position power switch to the middle position will lock the rear dial and hence the shutter speed.
Get in to the depths of the EOS-1D model custom functions and you can find C.Fn I-12 lets you limit the range of shutter speeds you can choose on the camera. Yes you can set the upper limit to 1/250s so now the camera will only let you select up to 1/250s maximum shutter speed. The downside of this approach is that the limit on shutter speed applies in other modes like Tv, Av and P. EOS-1D cameras can store and recall their entire custom function set, there are three memories for custom functions. You could have one of your sets of custom functions with the shutter speed limit set, just recall the set before the shoot with flash in manual. Then go back to your regular set by recalling them from one of the other stored sets.
Using the Custom controls feature on the EOS 7D or C.Fn IV-1 has the same effect as with the EOS-1D models. You can decide to put the shutter speed on the rear control dial and the aperture on the front dial when in manual exposure. Again the camera has a switch to lock the rear dial and so sausage finger syndrome is avoided again.
EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 60D and others
Sorry but you get to enjoy sausage finger syndrome! Of course the lock is there to avoid the rear control dial giving your camera spurious sausage finger inputs, but only your selected aperture can be protected in manual mode. However I find that with shutter speed on the front dial by default I’m less likely to encounter the sausage finger syndrome in the first place.
For the older models, it generally follows the same as above, you can configure the dials in an EOS-1D model using a mixture of the personal and custom functions like you can now do with the EOS-1D Mark IV, but for all the rest i’m sorry but you can’t.