How to Access Your Digital SLR Camera Menu - dummies

By Robert Correll

Getting into your Digital SLR camera’s menu system is as easy as pie. Even if you’ve never used a dSLR before, you will be able to quickly master opening the menu and making changes and choices. Here are some of the basics of accessing and navigating your camera’s menu.

How to open the dSLR menu

To open your dSLR’s menu, look for a button named Menu on the back of the camera. It will (probably) be in one of three places:

  • It may be on the far left, beside the LCD monitor.

  • On the other hand, it might be on the left side, above the LCD monitor and beside the viewfinder.

  • Another common spot is on the right side of the monitor. When the Menu button is on the right, it’s usually low enough that you can press it with your thumb. Regardless, it will be clearly labeled and have one purpose.

Press the Menu button to turn on the menu system. It will appear on the camera’s LCD monitor, and you will be able to see it until the camera turns it off (to save power). If you’re using a Sony dSLR, you can also see the menu through the electronic viewfinder.

How to get around dSLR menus

Working your way around your camera menus is pretty easy. You’ll soon find that you can access any menu item you need with a minimum of fuss. If you fumble at first, keep practicing.

Major options

When you’re working with the menu, keep a few key principles in mind:

  • Navigate: Look at the four arrow buttons or a circular controller. Use the buttons to go up, down, left, and right in menus and settings.


    Not all navigation controllers look identical. Some cameras have separate arrow keys (the Canon EOS Rebel T4i). Most cameras now use a round dial that you can press in any of the four directions. Other cameras, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Sony Alpha A77, have a controller that acts like a little joystick.

    You may also be able to navigate your menu system by spinning a control dial (aka command dial). Navigation controllers are also called by different names: arrow keys, multiselector, four-way controller, quick control dial, arrow pad, and cross keys are other examples.

  • Select: After you get to where you want to be, you have to be able to make choices. Think of it as clicking your mouse. To make a choice, either press a button in the center of the arrow keys or press the round multiselector-type button in the center. Some cameras have you press the right button. You may see OK, Set, AF, or nothing at all.

  • Cancel: Most times, pressing the Menu button lets you cancel what you’re doing. You may also be able to press the shutter release button halfway to kick yourself out of the menu system.

  • Additional controls: You may need to turn other dials or press other buttons to get around and make selections. Check your camera’s manual to see if this is the case. For example, some Canon models use the main dial to move between tabs in the menu system.

How to open the dSLR menu and choose options

Typically, here’s how you get to the menu and make changes:

  1. Press the Menu button.

  2. Go to the menu or tab that contains the setting you want.


  3. Highlight a specific setting.

    You can scroll down (pressed down repeatedly to get past the initial screen) and highlight the Red-Eye Reduction option.

  4. Press the Set or OK button.

    Now you can choose the setting you want. In this case, only two options are available: Disable or Enable.

  5. Highlight a setting.

    The current setting, Disable, is shown in blue. The Enable setting has an arrow beside it.

  6. Press Set or OK to change the setting.

  7. Press the Menu button to exit.