How to Use the Topside Controls on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D Camera - dummies

How to Use the Topside Controls on the Canon Rebel T5/1200D Camera

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

The topside controls of the Canon Rebel T5/1200D allow you to operate this camera with ease and will increase your proficiency as a photographer.

The items of note here are:

  • On/Off switch: Note that even when the switch is in the On position, the camera automatically goes to sleep after 30 seconds of inactivity to save battery power. You can adjust this timing via the Auto Power Off option on Setup Menu 1.

  • Red-eye reduction/Self-timer lamp: When you set your flash to Red-Eye Reduction mode, this lamp emits a brief burst of light prior to the real flash — the idea being that your subjects’ pupils will constrict in response to the light, thus lessening the chances of red-eye..

  • Mode dial: Rotate this dial to select an exposure mode, which determines whether the camera operates in fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manual exposure mode when you take still pictures. To shift to Movie mode, rotate the dial so that it aligns with the movie camera icon.

  • Viewfinder adjustment dial: Use this dial to adjust the viewfinder focus to your eyesight.


  • Main dial: You use this dial when selecting many camera settings. In fact, this dial plays such an important role that you’d think it might have a more auspicious name, but Main dial it is.

  • Shutter button: You no doubt already understand the function of this button, too. But you may not realize that when you use autofocus and autoexposure, you need to use a two-stage process.

  • First, press the shutter button halfway, pause to let the camera set focus and exposure, and then press the rest of the way to capture the image. The beep you may hear is the camera telling you it was able to focus and is ready to take the photo.

  • Flash button: Press this button to raise the built-in flash in the advanced exposure modes (P, Tv, Av, and M).

  • Flash hot shoe: This is the connection for attaching an external flash and other accessories such as flash adapters, bubble levels, flash brackets, off-camera flash cords, and the GP-E2 GPS Receiver.

  • Speaker: When you play a movie that contains audio, the sound comes wafting through these little holes.

  • Focal plane indicator: Should you need to know the exact distance between your subject and the camera, use the focal plane indicator shown above. This mark indicates the plane at which light coming through the lens is focused onto the camera’s image sensor. Basing your measurement on this mark produces a more accurate camera-to-subject distance than using the end of the lens.