How to Use the Back-of-the-body Controls for the Canon Rebel T5/1200D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

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Buttons with a white icon perform shooting mode functions; buttons with blue icons are used in playback. Some buttons sport dual colors, meaning that they come into play for both functions.

In this article, buttons are referred to by the first label you see in the following list (and in Figure above) to simplify things. For example, the AF Point Selection/Magnify button is referred to as the AF Point Selection button. Again, though, the margin icons help you know exactly which button you’re to press.

With that preamble out of the way, it’s time to explore the camera back, starting at the top-right corner and working westward:

  • AF Point Selection/Magnify button: In certain shooting modes, you press this button to specify which autofocus points you want the camera to use when establishing focus. In Playback mode, you use this button to magnify the image display (thus the plus sign in the button’s magnifying glass icon).

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  • AE Lock/FE Lock/Index/Reduce button: During shooting, press this button to lock autoexposure (AE) settings and to lock flash exposure (FE).

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    This button also serves two image-viewing functions: It switches the display to Index mode, enabling you to see multiple image thumbnails at once, and it reduces the magnification of images when displayed one at a time.

  • Live View/Movie-record button: Press this button to shift to Live View mode, which enables you to compose your pictures using the monitor instead of the viewfinder. When shooting movies, you press the button to start and stop recording. (You must first set the Mode dial to the Movie position.)

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    After you shift to Live View or Movie mode, certain buttons perform different functions than they do for viewfinder photography.

  • Exposure Compensation/Aperture/Delete button: When you shoot in the M (manual) exposure mode, press this button and rotate the Main dial to choose the aperture setting, also known as the f-stop. In the other advanced exposure modes (P, Tv, and Av), you instead use the button and dial to apply Exposure Compensation, a feature that enables you to adjust the exposure.

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    During playback, press this button to erase pictures — thus the blue trash-can symbol, the universal sign for “dump it.”

  • Q (Quick Control) button: Press this button to display the Quick Control screen, which gives you one way to adjust picture settings.

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  • Disp button: In Live View, Movie, and Playback modes, pressing this button changes the picture-display style. When menus are displayed, pressing the button brings up the Camera Settings display.

  • Set button and cross keys: The Figure above points out the Set button and the four surrounding buttons, known as cross keys. These buttons team up to perform several functions, including choosing options from the camera menus. You use the cross keys to navigate through menus and then press the Set button to select a specific menu setting.

    “Press the left cross key” means to press the one to the left of the Set button, “press the right cross key” means to press the one to the right of the Set button, and so on.

    During viewfinder photography — that is, you’re using the viewfinder and not the monitor to frame your shots — the cross keys also have individual responsibilities, which are indicated by their labels:

    • Press the up cross key to change the ISO setting. This exposure-related control determines how sensitive the camera is to light. (If nothing happens when you press this cross key or any other buttons, give the shutter button a half-press and release it to wake up the camera.)

    • Press the right cross key to adjust the AF mode. This option controls one aspect of the camera’s autofocus behavior.

    • Press the left cross key to change the Drive mode. The Drive mode settings enable you to switch the camera from single-frame shooting to continuous capture or self-timer/remote-control shooting.

    • Press the down cross key to change the White Balance setting. The White Balance control enables you to ensure that colors are rendered accurately.

    For Live View and Movie shooting, the cross keys perform actions related to autofocusing.

  • Playback button: Press this button to switch the camera into picture-review mode.

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  • Menu button: Press this button to access the camera menus.

  • Memory card access light: This light glows while the camera is recording data to the memory card. Don’t power off the camera while the light is lit, or you may damage the card or camera.