How to Use the Shoot by Ambience Mode on Your Canon EOS 80D - dummies

How to Use the Shoot by Ambience Mode on Your Canon EOS 80D

By Julie Adair King, Robert Correll

Your EOS 80D lets you play around a little with color, sharpness, contrast, and exposure in certain scene modes. The Shoot by Ambience mode can be fun for a little experimentation.

The Picture Style feature enables you to choose how the camera “processes” your original picture data when you use one of the JPEG Image Quality settings. You can choose the Landscape Picture Style for bold, sharp colors, for example, or select Portrait to give skin a warm, soft look. (Yes, the camera offers Landscape and Portrait exposure modes and Landscape and Portrait Picture Styles. Not exactly the most straightforward options.)

You can control Picture Styles only in the advanced exposure modes, however — that option is off-limits in the other modes. But as compensation, the scene modes (except HDR Backlight Control) and Creative Auto mode give you Shoot by Ambience, which lets you accomplish results similar to those that you could achieve by using Picture Styles. You also get two Shoot by Ambience settings that enable you to achieve exposure adjustments similar to what you can produce with Exposure Compensation, another feature that’s available only in the advanced exposure modes.

Here’s a description of each Shoot by Ambience setting (note that Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, and Cool are not available when shooting Food or Candlelight scenes):

  • 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 colors and slightly softens focus.
  • Intense: Boosts contrast and color saturation even more than the Vivid setting. Also results in a slightly darker overall exposure.
  • Cool: Adds a cool color cast and slightly darkens the exposure.
  • Brighter: Lightens the photo.
  • Darker: Darkens the photo.
  • Monochrome: Creates a black-and-white photo, with an optional color tint.

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 Shoot by Ambience option, you amp things up another notch.

In addition, you can control the amount of the adjustment through a related setting, Effect. You can choose from three Effect levels — Low, Standard, and Strong; or Low, Medium, and High, depending on the Shoot by Ambience setting. For 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.

Although the color effects are entertaining, you’ll likely get more use out of the Brighter and Darker settings, as they give you a way to overrule the camera’s exposure decisions.

When you’re ready to try the Shoot by Ambience option, here’s the fastest way to adjust the setting:

  1. Display the Quick Settings screen and use the Multi-controller to select the Shoot by Ambience setting.
    Shoot by Ambience Setting
    Select the setting you want to use via the Quick Settings screen.
  2. Rotate the Main dial to cycle through the available settings.
    As soon as you shift from the Standard setting to one of the other settings, the Effect option appears, as shown on the right.
  3. Use the Multi-controller to select the Effect setting and then rotate the Main dial to set the level of the adjustment.
    Or, if you’re using the Monochrome setting, you can choose a regular black-and-white photo, a sepia tone, or a blue-and-white tint.

You also can go the touchscreen route, but things work a little differently (and in fact take a little longer than just using the steps provided here). After you tap the Shoot by Ambience setting, you access a screen showing all the possible options; make your choice and then press the Return arrow to return to the Quick Settings screen. Then tap the Effects option, and tap the vertical bars to adjust the level of the adjustment. Tap the Return arrow again or press the Q button to exit the Quick Settings screen.