If you have an dSLR you’ve probably got a dial that lists all the different modes that your camera can work in. This will include 3 modes; C1, C2 and C3. Some smaller cameras only have C1.
Well, these are not set to anything when you get your camera out of the packaging for the first time. In fact they don’t really do much until you start to explore why they are there in the first place. These 3 modes are actually empty. They are there for you to store your own settings so that you can quickly switch into them by assigning them to one of the C modes.
Bells should be ringing in your ears now and you can probably see the usefulness in these custom modes already. If you are like me and you tend to take photos of anything and everything you’ll probably have some settings that you return to again and again for certain situations.
For example, you might want auto bracketing turned on for landscape photography. You might want to set a minimum shutter speed for wedding photography with an automatic ISO. You might want to have some custom flash settings saved for use when you’re doing off camera flash work. The great thing about your camera is that you can have these settings saved to one of the custom functions ready for use the next time you need them.
I’ve started to use them a lot. I’ve got one Custom function set to minimum shutter speed of 1/60 and an auto ISO setting for weddings and events. For landscape I’ve used my second Custom function to store auto bracketing settings as well as fixed ISO of 100 and an aperture of f10. My third one is set for strobe work.
Making use of the Custom functions can be a huge timesaver, particularly when you know you’ve got some settings to fall back on when you feel things are moving faster than you can work with. Also, when the weather has been as cold as it’s been lately, knowing that you can turn a dial instead of fiddling about with buttons in freezing temperatures can be such a boon!
I bet there’s been times when you’ve gone out shooting only to later realise that you’ve been firing away completely oblivious to the fact that you’re in ISO800 or higher. Imagine all those unnecessarily noisy images. You could convert to black and white to give that grainy film look but then why be forced into that position in the first place. If you have all your settings saved in a Custom function you KNOW that the settings are going to be correct or at the very least close to what you need meaning that you don’t need to spend much refining them to your particular situation.