Put yourself in charge, turn the dial to M for manual exposure. Select auto ISO and it’s not fully manual anymore!

M – manual exposure

Brian Worley manual with exposure compensation

For shots like this, I usually choose full manual, exact control of shutter speed, aperture and ISO, since I don’t know what colour the car will be. The car colour and the brightness of it’s lights would affect any auto exposure. What I do know is how mid-toned the track will look for a few minutes, so a spot meter reading can help to set my exposure.

I’ve often told workshop attendees that the M stands for “I Made it Myself” mode. You are in charge, determining the settings, and the resulting brightness of your photos. However when you select AUTO ISO, then it’s no longer quite true. You’ve made a new automatic exposure mode where you choose the aperture for depth of field, and the shutter speed to determine how motion is captured.

Normally 100% manual,where you select the ISO value, shutter speed and aperture turns off auto lighting optimiser, as this can change how your shots appear on the LCD, and when you’re in control, you like to see how good you were as well as how much you messed up.

Manual with ISO auto

Brian-Worley_manual with exposure compensation_02

You select the shutter speed and aperture, the camera adjusts the ISO within the range allowed for auto ISO, which is often different to the manually chosen range on modern cameras.

One thing that was missing on early implementations was the possibility to use some exposure compensation. Largely an oversight I think, I mean who would want to use manual with auto ISO? It seems that quite a lot of folks love it.

So how do you change the exposure compensation in manual mode when you are using auto ISO?

Usually you will change it via the quick control screen, press the Q button, select the exposure compensation scale and turn the dial. Touch screen LCDs make this even more simple.

Some of the cameras with customisable buttons can be setup so that you press and hold a button then turn the main dial to change the exposure compensation. Below you can see how to do this step-by-step for four different EOS cameras. EOS 200D, EOS 80D, EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 5D Mark IV. Click on the camera name to jump to the one you need.

 


EOS 200D – using the Q/SET button

Set the mode dial to manual, choose AUTO ISO. It’s easiest to tap the Q on the screen or press the Q/SET button and tap the LCD. However you can use C.FnIV:Operation/Others (9) to assign a new function to the SET button, the fifth option out of seven, is Exposure compensation while the SET button is held and the main dial turned.

A note of caution, configuring the camera in this way means that any other changes you need to do on the camera will have to be done using the Q icon on the LCD screen, since you’ve re-configured the Q/SET button for exposure compensation.

Please note I have my EOS 200D setup for standard menus, not the default guided menus.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
By default you can press the Q button, or tap the onscreen Q icon then select exposure compensation.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
Press MENU and navigate to custom functions.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
Select custom function 9 to assign the SET button. The default is that the SET button displays the quick control screen.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
Press SET, and then scroll down the list of possibilities to find Exposure compensation.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
Press SET to select the item and make sure it’s highlighted in blue.

EOS 200 manual with exposure compensation
Exit the menu, now when you press the SET button you can simultaneously turn the main dial to change exposure compensation.


EOS 80D – using the SET button

Set the mode dial to manual, choose AUTO ISO. You can press the Q button and then navigate round the INFO screen to select and change exposure compensation, then turn the quick control dial on the rear of the camera to change the value. With the custom controls you can reconfigure the SET button for exposure compensation in combination with the main dial.

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
By default you can press the Q button, or tap the onscreen Q icon then select exposure compensation.

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
Press MENU and navigate to custom functions, select C.Fn III Operation/Others

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
Select C.Fn III-4 custom controls

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
Select the SET button.

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
Assign exposure compensation to the SET button.

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
Once done your custom controls looks like this.
I also have back button AF, and AE-lock with hold, configured for this camera, so don’t worry if your settings for the other buttons don’t match mine exactly, only the SET button matters is important.

EOS 80D manual with exposure compensation
When working in manual, press and hold the SET button then turn the main dial to change exposure compensation. When the SET button is pressed there is the small +/- icon next to the exposure compensation scale.


EOS 7D Mark II – using the SET button or AF area selection lever

Set the mode dial to manual, choose AUTO ISO. You can press the Q button and then navigate round the INFO screen to select and change exposure compensation. With the custom controls you can reconfigure either the SET button, or the AF area selection lever for exposure compensation in combination with the main dial.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
By default you can press the Q button, then use the multi-controller (joystick) to select exposure compensation.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
Press MENU and navigate to custom functions in the C.Fn3: Display / operating menu tab.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
Select the SET button to change it’s function.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
There are several possibilities, so select Exposure compensation, then press the SET button to confirm your choice.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
The display will change to show your newly assigned settings.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
As the EOS 7D Mark II has a few more buttons, there is also the choice to use the AF area selection lever for exposure compensation. You can do this, use the SET button as above or even both!

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
Press the AF area selection lever and choose exposure compensation.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
Here you can see that the AF area selection lever is configured for exposure compensation.

EOS 7D Mk2 manual with exposure compensation
Either press and hold the SET button, or pull and hold the AF area selection lever, then turn the main dial to change exposure compensation.


EOS 5D Mark IV – using the SET button or AF area selection button

Set the mode dial to manual, choose AUTO ISO. You can press the Q button and then navigate round the INFO screen to select and change exposure compensation. With the custom controls you can reconfigure either the SET button, or the AF area selection button for exposure compensation in combination with the main dial.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
By default you can press the Q button, then use the multi-controller (joystick) or touch screen to select exposure compensation.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
Press MENU and navigate to custom functions in the C.Fn3: Display / operating menu tab.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
Select the SET button to change it’s function.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
There are several possibilities, select Exposure compensation, then press the SET button to confirm your choice.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
The display will change to show your newly assigned settings.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
As the EOS 5D Mark IV has a few more buttons, there is also the choice to use the AF area selection button for exposure compensation. You can do this, use the SET button as above, or even both!

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
Press the AF area selection lever and choose exposure compensation.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
Here you can see that the AF area selection button is configured for exposure compensation.

EOS 5D Mk4 manual with exposure compensation
Either press and hold the SET button, or pull and hold the AF area selection button, then turn the main dial to change exposure compensation.