Changing the Drive Mode on a Canon EOS Rebel T3 Series Camera

Setting the Drive mode tells the Canon Rebel T3 or T3i what to do when you press the shutter button: Record a single frame, record a series of frames, or record one or more shots after a short delay. To change the Drive mode, you have two options:

  • Press the left cross key. Notice that the key is marked by three little Drive mode icons to help you remember its function. After you press the cross key, you see the screen shown on the right in the following figure. Highlight your choice and press Set.

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    For the Self-Timer: Continuous mode, press the up or down cross key to set the number of continuous shots you want the camera to capture.

  • Use the Quick Control screen. You also can adjust the Drive mode via the Quick Control screen. After you highlight the Drive mode icon, the name of the current setting appears at the bottom of the screen. Rotate the Main dial to cycle through the available Drive mode settings.

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Whichever route you go to change the Drive mode, remember these key points:

  • To access all Drive modes, you must use the P, Tv, Av, M, or A-DEP exposure mode. In Creative Auto mode on the T3i, you lose the 2-second self-timer option. And in all the other exposure modes, you get only the default Drive mode — either Single or Continuous — plus the 10-second and continuous self-timer options.

  • Check the Drive mode before each shoot. Your selected Drive mode remains in force until you change it or switch to an exposure mode for which the selected Drive mode isn’t available. So put this setting on the list of options to review every time you set out with your camera.

  • Cover the viewfinder for self-timer or remote shooting. Any time you take a picture without your eye to the viewfinder, light can seep in through the viewfinder and mess with exposure metering. For that reason, Canon includes a little viewfinder cover on the camera strap.

  • To cancel self-timer shooting after the countdown starts, press the Drive mode button (left cross key). If the camera takes the shot long before you remember this trick, that's why the camera has an Erase button.

  • Consider using Mirror Lock-Up for long exposures with the T3i. Although using the self-timer or remote-control Drive modes to shoot “hands-free” ensures that the action of pressing the shutter button doesn’t shake the camera enough to blur the photo, you can add another layer of security by enabling Mirror Lock-Up.

    Here’s the deal: The camera’s optical assembly includes a little mirror whose job it is to reflect the scene coming through the lens onto the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror moves out of the optical path so that the scene can be recorded by the image sensor.

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