How to Activate Auto Bracketing on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

Many photographers activate Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) to ensure that at least one shot of a subject is properly exposed. They shoot the same subject multiple times, slightly varying the exposure settings for each image. When you enable this feature, your only job is to press the shutter button to record the shots; the camera automatically adjusts the exposure settings between each image.

To activate Automatic Exposure Bracketing using the Shooting Menu 2 on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D, use the following steps.

1Display Shooting Menu 2 and highlight Expo Comp./AEB.

This is a two step process: go to Menu 2 and select AEB as shown in the screen below.

2Press Set.

What appears is the same dual-natured screen that appears when you apply exposure compensation. In M mode, exposure compensation isn’t relevant — if you want a brighter image, you just adjust the f-stop, shutter speed, or ISO. So the Exposure Compensation controls are dimmed on the AEB screen if the Mode dial is set to M.

3Rotate the Main dial to establish the amount of exposure change you want between images.

What you see onscreen after you rotate the dial depends on your exposure mode:

  • M mode: The screen changes to look similar to the one on the left in the figure below with only the AEB setting active. On the little meter, each whole number represents one stop of exposure shift. The little red lines under the meter show you the amount of shift that will occur in your bracketed series of shots.

    For example, the settings in the figure below represent the maximum two stops of adjustment. No matter what the settings, the first image is captured at the actual exposure settings; the second, at settings that produce a darker image; and the third, at settings that produce a brighter photo.

  • P, Tv, or Av modes: For these modes, both the Exposure Compensation and AEB features are enabled. And the meter expands, as shown on the right in the figure above, to represent the total 4-stop adjustment you can make in bracketed shots if you also enable the maximum amount of exposure compensation.

    Where does the 4-stop thing come from? Well, you’re still limited to adjusting exposure a total of two stops between bracketed shots, but if you turn on the Exposure Compensation feature and set that value to +5.0 and then set the bracketed amount to +2.0, your brightest shot in the bracketed series is captured at +7.0. Your darkest shot is captured at +3.0.

    Keep rotating the dial until you get the exposure indicators to reflect the amount of adjustment you want between each bracketed shot. (If you want to adjust the Exposure Compensation setting, press the right/left cross keys.)

4Press Set located on the right screen.

AEB is now enabled. To remind you of that fact, the exposure meter in the Shooting Settings display and on Shooting Menu 2 shows the three exposure indicators to represent the exposure shift you established, as shown in the figure below. You see the same markers on the viewfinder meter as well as on the meter that appears at the bottom of the screen in Live View mode.

The three bars under the meter remind you that Automatic Exposure Bracketing is enabled.

For viewfinder photography, you can also enable AEB through the Quick Control screen. After highlighting the exposure meter, press Set to display a screen that works just like the one you get through the menu. Again, rotate the Main dial to set the bracketing amount and then press Set to wrap things up.

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To turn off Automatic Exposure Bracketing, just change the AEB setting back to 0.

AEB is also turned off when you power down the camera, enable the flash, replace the camera battery, or replace the memory card. You also can’t use the feature in manual exposure (M) mode if you set the shutter speed to the Bulb option. (At that setting, the camera keeps the shutter open as long as you press the shutter button.)