How to Change the Drive Mode on the Canon EOS 60D - dummies

How to Change the Drive Mode on the Canon EOS 60D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

In Drive mode, you tell the Canon 60D what to do when you press the shutter button: Record a single frame or a series of frames, or record one or more shots after a short delay.

Your camera offers the following Drive mode settings, which are represented by the symbols you see in the margin:

  • Single: This setting, which is the default for Creative Auto and all fully automatic modes except Portrait and Sports, records a single image each time you press the shutter button. In other words, this is normal photography mode.

  • Continuous: Sometimes known as burst mode, this mode records a continuous series of images as long as you hold down the shutter button. You can choose from two burst-mode settings:

    • High-speed continuous: At this setting, the camera can capture a maximum of about 5.3 frames per second (fps).

    • Low-speed continuous: This setting drops the maximum capture rate to about 3 fps.

    Why would you want to capture fewer than the maximum number of shots? Well, frankly, unless you’re shooting something that’s moving at a really, really fast pace, not too much is going to change between frames when you shoot at 5-plus fps. So when you set the burst rate that high, you typically just wind up with lots of shots that show the exact same thing, wasting space on your memory card.

    A couple of other continuous-mode pointers:

    • The actual number of frames you can record per second depends in part on your shutter speed. At a slow shutter speed, the camera may not be able to reach the maximum frame rate.

    • Some other functions can slow down the continuous capture rate. For example, when you use flash or enable the High ISO Noise Reduction feature, you typically can’t achieve the highest burst rate. The speed of your memory card also plays a role in how fast the camera can capture images. In other words, consider 5.3 shots per second a best-case scenario.

  • 10-Second Self-Timer/Remote Control: Want to put yourself in the picture? Select this mode, depress the shutter button, and run into the frame. You have about 10 seconds to get yourself in place and pose before the image is recorded.

  • 2-Second Self-Timer/Remote Control: This mode works just like the regular Self-Timer/Remote Control mode, but the capture happens just two seconds after you fully press the shutter button. Unfortunately, this mode isn’t available to you in the fully automatic exposure modes or Creative Auto mode; you can choose this option only in certain Creative Zone modes (P, Tv, Av, M, or C).

To check the current Drive mode, display the Shooting Settings screen.


If you want to use a different mode, you have two options:

  • The Drive button: The easiest way to change Drive mode is to press the Drive button on the top of the camera. The available modes are displayed on the LCD monitor on the back of the camera. Scroll through the options by using the Main dial, the Quick Control dial, or the multicontroller. Press the Drive button or Set to return the monitor to its previous state.

  • The Quick Control screen: First, display the Shooting Settings screen; press the Info button a few times to scroll through the other displays and get to the Shooting Settings screen. Now press the Quick Control button to shift to Quick Control mode and use the multicontroller to 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 options.


    Alternatively, highlight the Drive mode icon and then press the Set button. You then see a screen showing all the possible settings. Press right or left on the multicontroller or rotate the Main dial to highlight your Drive mode of choice. Finally, press the Set button to lock in the setting.

    Again, you can access all five Drive mode options only in the advanced exposure modes (P, Tv, Av, M, and C). In all other modes, your choices are more limited.

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.