How to Use the Auto Lighting Optimizer on Your Canon EOS 6D

By Doug Sahlin

If you capture your Canon EOS 6D images in JPEG mode, you can invoke the Auto Lighting Optimizer that gives you better-looking images when you’re shooting in dark conditions. Instead of getting a shot with too much contrast, you end up with a brighter shot. This option may add digital noise to the image. Digital noise comes in two flavors:

  • Color: Shows up as specks of color.

  • Luminance: Shows up as random gray clumps.

Digital noise is most prevalent in areas of solid color, such as the dark shadow areas in your image. If you shoot images in the RAW format, you can adjust image brightness after you download images to your computer with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. When you use one of the Basic Zone shooting modes, this option is set to Standard. To enable the Auto Lighting Optimizer:

  1. Press the Menu button.

    The previously used menu displays.

  2. Use the Multi-controller button to navigate to the Shooting Settings 3 tab.

  3. Use the Multi-controller or the Quick Control dial to highlight Auto Lighting Optimizer and then press Set.

    The Auto Lighting Optimizer menu displays.


  4. Use the Multi-controller or the Quick Control dial to highlight one of the following options:

    • Standard: The default option adjusts the lighting to create a picture that brightens backlit subjects.

    • Low: This option adds a minimal amount of brightness to a backlit subject.

    • High: This option adds a considerable amount of brightness to a backlit subject.

    • Disable: Brightness and contrast are not corrected when photographing backlit subjects.

    When you pause the Quick Control dial over an option, it turns blue and the name displays above the icons.

  5. Press Info to disable this option when you photograph using M or B modes.

    When you photograph in M or B modes, you control the exposure and normally won’t need to use the Auto Lighting Optimizer.

  6. Press Set.

    The change is applied, and you return to the Shooting Settings 3 tab.

  7. Press the Shutter button halfway to return to take pictures.

    The Auto Lighting Optimizer setting you choose remains in effect until you select a different option. In some cases, digital noise may be apparent when the Auto Lighting Optimizer is used.

This menu command is disabled when you use multiple exposure shooting or HDR shooting. When HDR or multiple-exposure shooting is cancelled, the Auto Lighting Optimizer returns to the default Standard setting.