How to Use the Auto or Flash Off Mode on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D - dummies

How to Use the Auto or Flash Off Mode on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

The following steps show you how to take a picture using the Auto or Flash Off mode on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D, relying on the default camera settings and autofocusing. If your lens doesn’t autofocus with the T5/1200D, ignore the focusing instructions and focus manually.

  1. Set the Mode dial to Auto, as shown in figure below.

    Or, for flash-free photography, select the Flash Off mode.


  2. Set the lens focusing method to autofocusing.

    On the 18–55mm kit lens, set the switch to AF.

  3. Looking through the viewfinder, frame the image so that your subject appears under an autofocus point.

    The autofocus points are those nine rectangles clustered in the center of the viewfinder, as shown in the figure below.


    Framing your subject so that it falls under the center autofocus point typically produces the fastest and most accurate autofocusing. (In this case, one of the Correll family cats, Skittles, consented to sit still for a moment and help Robert illustrate the autofocus points.)

  4. Press and hold the shutter button halfway down.

    The camera’s autofocus and autoexposure meters begin to do their thing. In Auto exposure mode, the flash pops up if the camera thinks additional light is needed to expose the subject. Additionally, the flash may emit an AF-assist beam, a few rapid pulses of light designed to help the autofocusing mechanism find its target. (The AF stands for autofocus.)

    When the camera establishes focus, one or more of the autofocus points blink red to indicate which areas of the frame are in focus. For example, in the figure below, four points over Skittles are lit, showing that everything under those points (his neck, shoulder, front leg, and hip) is in focus.

    In most cases, you also hear a tiny beep, and the focus indicator in the viewfinder lights. Focus is locked as long as you keep the shutter button halfway down.


    If the camera senses motion, however, you may hear a series of small beeps, and the focus lamp may not light. Both signals mean that the camera switched to an autofocusing option that enables it to adjust focus as necessary up to the time you take the picture. For this feature to work, you need to keep the subject framed within the area covered by the autofocus points.

  5. Press the shutter button the rest of the way down to record the image.

    When the recording process is finished, the picture appears briefly on the camera monitor. If the picture doesn’t appear or you want to take a longer look at the image, which covers picture playback.

We need to add just a few more pointers:

  • Exposure: After the camera meters exposure, it displays its chosen exposure settings at the bottom of the viewfinder. If that value blinks, the camera needs to use a slow shutter speed (long exposure time) to expose the picture. Because any movement of the camera or subject can blur the picture at a slow shutter speed, use a tripod and tell your subject to remain as still as possible.

  • Also turn on Image Stabilization, if your lens offers that feature, to help compensate for slight camera movement. (On the kit lens, set the Stabilizer switch to the On position.)

    Additionally, dim lighting may force the camera to use a high ISO setting, which increases the camera’s sensitivity to light. Unfortunately, a high ISO can create noise, a defect that makes your picture look grainy.

  • Drive mode: By default, the camera uses the Single mode, which means you get one picture for each press of the shutter button.

  • Flash: The built-in flash has a relatively short reach, so if the flash fires but your picture is still too dark, move closer to the subject.

    In Full Auto mode, you can set the flash to the Red-Eye Reduction mode using Shooting Menu 1.

  • Autofocusing: If the camera can’t establish focus, you may be too close to your subject. Additionally, some scenes simply confuse autofocusing systems — water, highly reflective objects, and subjects behind fences are some problematic subjects.