C1 C2 & C3 now can be set to auto update on EOS 5D Mark III

Custom shooting modes C1/C2/C3

Canon introduced the custom shooting modes a while back, but until now they have often been a trap waiting to catch out the photographer on a deadline, with the EOS 5D Mark III this has been changed for the better with the addition of Auto update settings.

What are C1/C2/C3?

The custom shooting modes appear on several cameras and are designed to take a snapshot of the camera configuration and store it for instant recall. Imagine you are a photographer covering a wedding – it happens 🙂 – you are shooting a few pictures outside the church and it’s bright sunlight and you are using your preferred aperture priority mode and ISO 400 to take pictures of the guests gathering before the service. You go in the church to find it’s very dark and light by tungsten lights, you’ll need to change ISO and white balance most likely. Then when the service is over you will go back outside to shoot more pictures in the sunshine.

Using the custom shooting modes you would be able to store your “outside” settings then go in  the church to shoot with a different set of camera settings, but as you leave the church selecting the custom setting would recall the settings you used outside.

C1/C2/C3 – the catch

Prior to the EOS 5D Mark III the custom shooting modes remembered the exact settings you stored. So if you were shooting aperture priority at f/4 then changed to shoot at f/2 for some different shots the custom shooting mode only had the f/4 aperture stored not the last one you were using. If the camera automatically powered off you touch the shutter to wake it and the captured settings are recalled not the ones you might have been using last.

EOS 5D Mark III has an additional Auto update set. menu option that if set to Enable will update the custom shooting mode while you use it. However please note that this is not the default behaviour. With this simple change the C1/C2/C3 custom shooting modes have suddenly become much more useful for me.

For other cameras I often suggest that you set the power off timer to 15 minutes when registering the custom shooting mode, then the camera won’t auto power off and lose your settings as often.

Settings captured by registering custom shooting modes

Registering custom shooting modes stores a huge amount of settings, custom functions, playback functions in addition to simply the shooting mode, ISO, white balance, shutter speed and aperture. For me this means I can set a custom shooting mode for studio shooting use.

If you check the EOS 5D Mark III instruction manual on pages 333 & 334 you will find the information about which settings are stored with the custom shooting modes.

Simplifying studio shooting setup

In the studio I work in manual exposure mode, and I also switch the aperture control to the main dial and the shutter speed to the rear or quick control dial so I can lock the shutter speed to avoid it moving from my cameras sync speed with the studio lights. The combination of locking mode dial and lock for the rear / quick control dial is sure to prevent accidental changes in settings.

With the old cameras I set the camera to never power off to ensure I could keep the settings, with the EOS 5D Mark III I will simply set it to auto update the custom mode settings and it will work even more effectively for me.


About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag