Image Zone (Scene) Modes on the Canon EOS Rebel T7/2000D - dummies

Image Zone (Scene) Modes on the Canon EOS Rebel T7/2000D

By Julie Adair King

In addition to Auto and Auto Flash Off modes, the Canon EOS Rebel T7/2000D offers several Image Zone modes, labeled in the figure. Each mode is designed to make it easy to capture a specific type of scene, which is why such modes are known generically as scene modes.

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These symbols represent other easy-to-use shooting modes.

The following list describes each scene mode. But before you dig in, understand that whether any scene mode can produce the results it promises depends on many factors, including the ambient light and your lens capabilities. In other words, your mileage may vary.

  • Portrait: Select this mode to create the classic portraiture look, with a sharply focused subject and a blurred background, as illustrated. Portrait mode also warms colors (makes them a little more red) and reduces skin texture slightly, the idea being to create a more flattering rendition of your subject.
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Portrait setting produces a softly focused background.
  • Landscape mode: This mode produces traditional landscape characteristics, with sharp focus maintained over a long distance from the camera lens, as shown. (I set focus on the rocks in the foreground for this shot.) Landscape mode also increases contrast and color saturation, with blues and greens appearing especially vibrant. Flash is disabled.
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Landscape mode produces a large zone of sharp focus.
  • Close-up mode: Switching to Close-up mode doesn’t enable you to focus at a closer distance to your subject than normal, as it does on some non-SLR cameras. The close-focusing capabilities of your camera depend entirely on the lens you use. (Your lens manual should specify the minimum focusing distance.)

Instead, Close-up mode, like Portrait mode, is designed to blur background objects so that they don’t compete for attention with your main subject. I used Close-up mode to capture the orchid in the figure, for example. But in Close-up mode, the camera doesn’t play with color, sharpness, or contrast as it does in Portrait and Landscape modes. So in that regard, Close-up mode is the same as Scene Intelligent Auto.

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Close-up mode also produces short depth of field.
  • Sports mode: Sports mode is designed for capturing moving subjects without blur, as in the following figure. Colors, sharpness, and contrast are all standard in Sports mode, with none of the adjustments that occur in Portrait and Landscape modes.
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To capture moving subjects and minimize blur, try Sports mode.

In dim lighting, your subjects may appear blurred even in Sports mode. The problem is that the lack of light requires a slow shutter speed, and you need a fast shutter speed to capture motion without blur. Unfortunately, you can’t add light by using the camera’s built-in flash; it’s disabled in Sports mode.

  • Food mode: The goal of this mode is to tweak color and exposure in a way that makes food more appetizing — at least, in a way that Canon thinks makes food look better to most people. Specifically, if you shoot the picture in incandescent lighting, which emits reddish light, the camera tweaks colors to tone down those warm hues. Exposure is also increased just a hair to make everything a little brighter.
  • Night Portrait: As its name implies, Night Portrait mode is designed to deliver a better-looking portrait at night, which it attempts by combining flash with a slow shutter speed. The longer exposure time enables the camera to rely more on ambient light and less on the flash to expose the picture. The result is a brighter background and softer, more even lighting. If you can keep your subject and the camera perfectly still during the exposure, Night Portrait mode works great. Otherwise, either the subject or the entire picture may blur.

Night Portrait mode also differs from regular Portrait mode in that it renders the scene in the same way as Scene Intelligent Auto in terms of colors, contrast, and sharpness.

Taking pictures in scene modes

The process of taking a picture in one of the scene modes is pretty much the same as for Auto and Flash Off modes. But there are a few variations to understand:

  • Autofocusing in Sports mode: In Sports mode, the camera sets initial focus on the object at the center of the frame when you press the shutter button halfway. However, if the subject moves from that spot, autofocus is adjusted as needed until the time you press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the shot.

This continuous autofocusing is not available if you shoot in Live View mode. So, use the viewfinder when photographing in Sports mode.

  • Autofocusing in other scene modes: Autofocusing behavior depends on whether you use the viewfinder or Live View to shoot the picture:
    • Viewfinder photography: When you press the shutter button halfway, focus is locked. The camera decides which of the nine focus points to use to set the focusing distance (usually choosing the one that falls over the object closest to the lens).
    • Live View photography: By default, the camera uses the AF FlexiZone-Single autofocusing option, which requires you to use the cross keys to position the focus frame over your subject. You can choose either of the two other Live View autofocusing options. Use the Quick Control screen to change the setting.
  • Changing the Drive mode: This setting determines when and how the shutter releases after you press the shutter button. Here are the default settings used for the scene modes:
    • Landscape, Close-up, Food, Night Portrait: The Drive mode is set to Single, which means that you get one frame each time you press the shutter button.
    • Portrait, Sports: The default Drive mode is Continuous, which means that the camera records a series of images in rapid succession as long as you hold down the shutter button.

All the scene modes enable you to switch to the normal Self-Timer mode, which delays the shutter release for 10 seconds after you press the shutter button. You also can choose the continuous Self-Timer mode, which also has a 10-second delay but enables you to capture up to nine frames each time you press the shutter button. The 2-second Self-Timer mode is off-limits.

The fastest way to adjust the Drive mode setting during viewfinder photography is to press the left cross key, but you can also adjust it via the Quick Control screen. (You must use the Quick Control method in Live View mode.)

  • Using flash: Flash is disabled in Landscape and Sports modes. In Food mode, flash is turned off by default, but you can enable it via the Quick Control screen. (Note that using flash in Food mode may eliminate the color and brightness adjustments that normally happen in that mode.)

In Portrait, Close-up, and Night Portrait modes, flash is set to automatic firing; the camera raises and fires the built-in flash when the ambient light is insufficient to expose the picture. For modes that allow flash, you can turn on Red-Eye Reduction via Shooting Menu 1.

Modifying scene mode results

When you rely on the scene modes, you don’t have much control over the final look of your picture. But you can make small adjustments to color, sharpness, contrast, and exposure.

Taking a look at the Ambience option

In all the scene modes, you can modify the results of your next shot via the Ambience setting. First, here’s a look at what the various Ambience options accomplish:

  • Standard: Consider this the “off” setting. When you select this option, the camera makes no adjustment to the characteristics normally produced by your selected scene mode.
  • Vivid: Increases contrast, color saturation, and sharpness.
  • Soft: Creates the appearance of slightly softer focus.
  • Warm: Warms (adds a reddish-orange color cast) and softens.
  • Intense: Boosts contrast and saturation (color intensity) even more than the Vivid setting.
  • Cool: Adds a cool (blue) color cast.
  • Brighter: Lightens the photo.
  • Darker: Darkens the photo.
  • Monochrome: Creates a black-and-white photo, with an optional color tint.

Unfortunately, only one setting can be in force at a time. You can’t ask for both a more vivid photo and a warmer photo, for example.

Also note that all adjustments are applied in addition to whatever adjustments occur by virtue of your selected scene mode. For example, Landscape mode already produces slightly sharper, more vivid colors than normal. If you add the Vivid ambience option, you amp things up another notch.

You can control the amount of the adjustment, however, through a related setting, Effect. You can choose from three Effect levels. The level name and its effect depend on the adjustment you choose. Most Effects have Low, Standard, and Strong settings. Darker and Lighter have Low, Medium, and High settings. In the case of the Monochrome setting, the Effect setting enables you to switch from a black-and-white image to a monochrome image with a warm (sepia) or cool (blue) tint.

As a quick example of the results you can achieve, This figure shows the same subject shot at four Ambience settings. I took all pictures in the Landscape scene mode. For the three variations — Vivid, Warm, and Intense — I applied the maximum level of adjustment, setting the Effect option to Strong.

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To create these variations, I used the Ambience setting.

If you’re more concerned with exposure than color, check out the Brighter and Darker settings, which give you a way to overrule the camera’s exposure decisions. For example, in the left image here, the exposure of the background was fine, but the flower was overexposed. So, I set the Ambience option to Darker, set the Effect option to Medium, and shot the flower again.

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If the initial exposure leaves your subject too bright, choose the Darker setting and reshoot.

Eliminating color casts

Normally, the camera renders colors accurately through its automatic white-balancing system, which compensates for any color added to a scene by the light source. For example, incandescent lights infuse a scene with a warm tint, which is neutralized by the white-balancing system.

When a scene is lit by two or more light sources, though, the camera can get confused, creating a photo that has an unnatural color tint. In that event, you may be able to fix things through the following options:

  • Light/Scene Type: Available in Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Close-up scene modes, this option enables you to tell the camera to compensate for a particular light source or, for outdoor shots, the lighting conditions. Your choices include Default (no adjustment), Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, and Sunset. For Portrait, Sports, and Close-up modes, you also can choose Fluorescent Light and Tungsten Light (select this setting for incandescent bulbs as well as tungsten bulbs).
  • Color Tone (Food mode only): When you use the Food scene mode, you lose access to the Light/Scene Type option. In its place, you get a Color Tone slider that enables you to make colors warmer (more red) or cooler (more blue).

Adjusting the Ambience and Light/Scene Type settings

The options described determine your final photo colors and exposure when you shoot in the scene modes. So, being able to preview the possible combinations of settings without having to take a bunch of shots to experiment would be great, yes?

Luckily, you can enjoy that advantage in Live View mode. As you vary the available settings, the Live View display updates to show you how the subject will be rendered. (Note that the Live View preview isn’t always 100-percent accurate, especially in terms of image brightness, but it’s fairly close.) After you choose the settings you want to use, you can exit Live View mode and take the picture using the viewfinder if you want.

The following steps provide an overview of this process. Note that when you shoot in a scene mode that offers both Ambience and Lighting/Scene Type adjustments (that is, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Close-up modes), Canon recommends that you tackle the Lighting/Scene type setting first, so that’s the approach I take in the steps.

1. Set the Mode dial to Close-up mode.

More about how things work in the other scene modes later; for now, stick with Close-up.

2. Press the Live View button to shift to Live View mode.

3. Press the Q button to shift to the Quick Control display.

4. Select the Light or Scene Type option, as shown on the left in the figure.

Remember that this setting is available only in Close-up, Portrait, Sports, and Landscape modes. Assuming that you’re using one of those modes, the name of the current setting is shown on the left side of the screen. For example, in the first screen, the Default setting is selected. The text at the bottom of the screen reminds you that you’re adjusting the light/scene type setting.

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This control enables you to adjust the Lighting or Scene Type setting.

5. Rotate the Main dial to cycle through the settings.

Depending on the lighting conditions, you may not see significant changes for some settings. In the example, the Default setting added a slight warm color cast, which I eliminated by shifting to the Tungsten Light option. If your subject is lit by multiple light sources, choose the most prominent one or just keep experimenting until colors look the most accurate.

6. Press the up or down cross key to select the Ambience option, labeled here.

By default, the Standard setting is used.

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After highlighting the Ambience option, rotate the Main dial to change the setting and display the Effect control.

7. Rotate the Main dial to change the setting.

As soon as you rotate the dial, you see the impact of the newly selected ambience setting on the scene. For example, on the left side of the figure, the preview shows the result of changing from the Standard setting to the Vivid setting. In addition, the Effect setting, which determines the level at which the adjustment is applied, becomes available. I labeled this option on the right side.

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Use the Quick Control screen to access the Ambience setting, too.

8. Use the cross keys to select the Effect setting and rotate the Main dial or press the left/right cross keys to set the level of the adjustment.

The Effect display indicates the adjustment level. For example, in the left screen, the Effect level is Standard; on the right, I raised the setting to Strong (three notches).

9. Exit the Quick Control screen by pressing the Q button.

You’re now ready to take the picture. Again, you can exit Live View mode if you prefer; the settings you just dialed in stay in force for both Live View and viewfinder shooting until you change them.

Now for the promised details about adjusting these settings in modes other than Close-up:

  • Portrait, Landscape, and Sports: Things work just as they do for Close-up mode (described in the preceding steps). However, Landscape does not offer the Fluorescent and Tungsten options for the Lighting or Scene Type setting.
  • Night Portrait and Food: You lose access to the Lighting or Scene Type option. In Food mode, however, you can adjust colors through the Color Tone option. Use the cross keys to select that option and then press the right and left cross keys or rotate the Main dial to move the slider toward the blue or red side of the color bar, depending on whether you want colors cooler or warmer.

If you already know what settings you want to use, you can get the job done more quickly by staying out of Live View mode and just using the Quick Control screen to adjust the options. The left screen here shows you where to look for the Ambience and Lighting or Scene Type options. Again, the latter is not available in Night Portrait mode, and in Food mode, it’s replaced by the Color Tone option, shown on the right in the figure.

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When you’re not using Live View, the selected scene-mode adjustments appear as shown here.

For the Ambience and Lighting or Scene Type options, you also can highlight the option on the Quick Control screen and then press Set to display a list of all the available settings. After highlighting the setting you want to use, press Set to return to the Quick Control screen.