Understanding the Drive Mode Options on Your Canon EOS Rebel T6/1300D

By Julie Adair King

In total, the T6 offers five Drive mode settings. But you can access all five only if you set the Mode dial to one of the advanced exposure modes (P, Tv, Av, or M). In the other modes, your choices are more limited. The information here describes each Drive mode and detail which ones you can use in each exposure mode.

Single mode

Consider this mode, represented by the single square shown in the margin here, as normal shooting mode: The camera records one frame each time you press the shutter button.

Single mode is the default setting for all exposure modes except Portrait and Sports, which put Single mode off-limits and instead use Continuous mode, explained next. To capture a single frame in either of those two modes, choose one of the Self-Timer Drive mode options, detailed a bit down the road from here.

Continuous (burst) mode

Sometimes known as burst mode, Continuous Drive mode records a series of images as long as you hold down the shutter button. It’s represented by the “multiple frames” symbol shown in the margin. The camera can capture roughly 3 frames per second.

Keep these tips in mind when using Continuous mode:

  • Continuous mode is the default setting for Portrait and Sports modes. Using continuous capture for portraits may seem odd, but it can actually help you capture the perfect expression on your subject’s face — or, at least, a moment between blinks! Be careful about using flash for your portraits, however; not only can it slow the burst rate, but your subject may not react too kindly to multiple blasts of flash at a time.
  • You can’t select Continuous mode in any other scene modes, Auto mode, or Auto Flash Off mode. If you don’t want to shoot Portrait or Sports mode, you must switch to Creative Auto, P, Tv, Av, or M exposure mode to access burst-mode shooting.
  • The number of frames per second depends in part on your shutter speed. At a slow shutter speed, the camera may not be able to reach the maximum frame rate.
  • Using flash slows the frames-per-second rate. The frame rate slows because the flash needs time to recycle between shots.
  • The burst rate is also affected by the Image Quality setting and the speed of the memory card. The Image Quality setting determines the file size of each picture, and the larger the file, the longer the camera needs to record it to the memory card. And the card read-write speed determines how quickly the card can store all that picture data. (For best performance, buy a card that has a SD speed class rating of 10.)
  • Whether focus is adjusted between each frame depends on the AF Operation setting. The short story is that if you rely on autofocusing and set the AF Operation option to AI Servo, focus is adjusted as needed between shots. The same is true when you set the AF Operation option to AI Focus, a mode in which the camera automatically shifts to AI Servo autofocusing if it senses movement in front of the lens.

Either way, AI Servo produces the best focusing performance if your subject is moving toward or away from you, but it can slow the burst rate because of the time the camera takes to adjust focus between frames. For a still subject, set the AF Operation option to One-Shot AF instead. The camera then sets focus only once, using the same focusing distance for all shots in the burst.

You can use One-Shot AF for faster performance when shooting moving subjects, too, as long as the subject isn’t moving closer to or farther from your lens. For example, if you’re photographing a baby that’s sitting in a high chair, the baby may not remain still. But unless it has super baby powers, it will stay about the same distance from the camera. In photo lingo, the subject will remain on the same focal plane throughout your burst of shots. That means that the focusing point established before the burst will work for all the frames.

Self-timer modes

You’re probably familiar with self-timer mode, which delays the shutter release until a few seconds after you press the shutter button. It’s long been the go-to mode when you want to put yourself in the picture, but you can also use the self-timer function to avoid camera shake that can be caused by the mere motion of pressing the shutter button. Put the camera on a tripod and then activate the self-timer function to enable hands-free — and therefore motion-free — picture taking.

Your camera offers three self-timer settings:

  • Self-Timer: 10 Second: Delays the shutter release for 10 seconds.
  • Self-Timer: 2 Second: Available only in P, Tv, Av, and M exposure modes, this setting releases the shutter 2 seconds after you press the shutter button.
  • Self-Timer: Continuous: With this option, the camera waits 10 seconds after you press the shutter button and then captures a continuous series of images. You can set the camera to record two to ten images per each shutter release.

When you use any of the Self-Timer modes, it’s a good idea to use the cover on the viewfinder. Otherwise, light may seep in through the viewfinder and mess up the camera’s exposure calculations. Canon provides a viewfinder cover on the camera strap just for this purpose.

If you have a smartphone or tablet that can run the Canon Camera Connect app, you have another alternative to using self-timer shooting when you want to include yourself in the shot: Use your smart device to trigger the camera’s shutter via a Wi-Fi connection.