How to Change the Drive Mode on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

Setting the Drive mode on the Canon Rebel T5 /1200D tells the camera 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. Your camera offers the following Drive mode settings:

  • Single: This setting records a single image each time you press the shutter button. It’s the default setting for all exposure modes except Portrait and Sports.

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  • Continuous: Sometimes known as burst mode, this mode records a continuous series of images as long as you hold down the shutter button. The camera can capture roughly 3 frames per second, but your mileage may vary, for the following reasons:

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    • The number of frames 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, the frame rate slows because the flash needs time to recycle between shots.

    Continuous Drive mode is the default setting for Portrait and Sports modes. Having continuous capture available for portraits may seem odd, but it can actually help you capture the perfect expression on your subject’s face — or, at least, a moment between blinks!

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

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    You can also use the self-timer function to avoid camera shake that can be caused by the mere motion of pressing the shutter button: Put the camera on a tripod and then activate the self-timer function to enable “hands-free” — and therefore motion-free — picture taking.

  • Self-Timer: 2 Second: This mode works just like the regular Self-Timer mode, but the capture happens 2 seconds after you press the shutter button.

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  • Self-Timer: Continuous: With this option, the camera waits 10 seconds after you press the shutter button and then captures a continuous series of images. You can set the camera to record two to ten images per each shutter release.

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A symbol representing the current Drive mode setting appears in the Shooting Settings and Live View displays, as shown in below. The icon appears in a different area depending on your exposure mode; the left screens in the figures in Scene Intelligent Auto, for example, and the right screens show where the icon in the advanced exposure modes. Both figures represent the Single Drive mode.

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How you change the Drive mode depends on whether you’re using Live View or the viewfinder to compose the picture:

  • Press the left cross key (not available in Live View mode). As shown in the figure below, the key is marked by two of the Drive mode icons to help you remember its function. After you press the cross key, you see the settings screen displayed in the figure.

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

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  • Use the Quick Control screen. After pressing the Q button to enter Quick Control mode, select the Drive mode icon, as shown in figure above. (The left screen in the figure shows you where to look on the Shooting Settings screen; the right screen, the Live View display.)

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    You must use this method for Live View shooting; pressing the left cross key performs a focus-related function when Live View is engaged.

When you use the Self-Timer modes for viewfinder photography or shoot in Live View mode, it’s a good idea to use the cover provided on the camera strap to cover the viewfinder. Otherwise, light may seep in through the viewfinder and mess up the camera’s exposure calculations.