Displaying the Electronic Level on the LCD Monitor of Canon 7D

Displaying the Electronic Level on the LCD Monitor (Page 48)

The grid and electronic level can be displayed to help keep the camera aimed straight. The grid is displayed in the viewfinder, and the electronic level is displayed on the LCD monitor.

Press the INFO button at the back of the Canon 7D. Keep pressing until the electronic level is displayed.

If the electronic level does not appear, press MENU, use the dial near your index finger to select the 9th option.

Use the rotating wheel (Quick Control Dial) near your thumb to scroll down to “INFO. button display options” and press SET in the middle of the wheel.

Scroll down to “Electronic Level” and press SET. You should see a check mark next to “Electronic Level.”

Scroll down to OK and press SET.

Return to the INFO button and press button until the electronic level is displayed.

Canon 7d electronic level

Displaying the Grid in the Viewfinder of Canon 7D

Displaying the Grid (Page 47)

The grid and electronic level can be displayed to help keep the camera aimed straight. The grid is displayed in the viewfinder, and the electronic level is displayed on the LCD monitor.

Press MENU on back of the Canon 7D button.

Use the Main Dial near your index finger and rotate to the 8th option.

Use the rotating wheel (Quick Control Dial) near your thumb the scroll down to “VF grid display” and press SET in the middle of the round wheel.

Use the Quick Control Dial to select “Enable” and press SET. The grid will be displayed in the viewfinder.

How do I change back to the original Canon 7D settings?

QUESTION: “My friend has been messing around with my Canon 7d and made some changes which I don’t like. How do I change back to the original settings?” – Melanie, Seattle WA

ANSWER: On page 45 and 46 of the Canon 7D manual you will find the instructions for “Reverting the Camera to the Default Settings.”

On the back of the Canon 7D press the Menu button.

Use the “half wheel” (Main Dial) near your index finger and rotate to the 9th option.

Use the rotating wheel (Quick Control Dial) near your thumb to scroll down to “Clear all camera settings” and press SET in the middle of the Dial.

Turn the Quick Control Dial to select OK and then press SET.

Canon 7D "Clear all camera settings"


Clear all camera settings

How to set up the 7D for back-button-only autofocus

Here is a link to a really good discussion about back-button auto focus. The discussion recommends going into the Menu setting to “program” the camera for back-button-only AF.

Take a look at the link here.

If You are Using the Canon 7D to take Video…

…there are a few things you should consider. A few experienced users of the Canon 7D pointed out the following at this forum:

1. While taking video the lens will not focus automatically. MANUAL FOCUS is required.

2. Because manual focus is required the Canon 7D is more suited for “stationary applications, ie on a tripod, slider, dolly, crane, flyer, etc where the camera isnt moving much.”

3. Although autofocus would be convenient, most professionals use manual focus lenses for shooting commercials and movies. However years of practice make it seem easy.

4. If you are not looking for shallow depth of field, use a wide angle lense and a small aperture and you will get acceptably sharp images

Read more at the Canon forum.


How to set the Self-timer on Canon 7D

How to set the Self-timer on Canon 7D (Page 94 of Canon 7D manual)

You can read the Canon 7D online manual here

1. Press the <AF-DRIVE>
2. Look at the LCD panel and turn the Quick Control dial to select the self-timer.
(You have the option to set the self-timer for 2 seconds or 10 seconds.)
3. Look through the viewfinder, focus the subject, then press the shutter button completely.

An easier way to set the self-timer is to use the Quick Control screen:

Press the Q buttom on the top left of the rear of your Canon 7D.

Use the Multi-controller (the joy stick) to toggle to the next to last option: Single shooting

Use the Main dial or Quick Control dial to select Self-timer: 10sec/Remote control or Self-timer: 2sec/Remote control

How to get sharper images

To see photographs of the highest quality, I recommend browsing magazines like National Geographic Traveler, Arizona Highways, National Geographic, CNN Traveller, Audubon, Time, Nature Photographers and Practical Photography. The photographs in these magazines stand out because they have clearly defined subjects, good composition, proper exposure and sharp focus.

If you would like to take photographs of similar quality, it is important to have a clearly defined subject, correct exposure/lighting and a good composition that excludes distractions. However if you accomplished all these and the image is not sharp or out of focus, the resulting photograph is worthless. It is therefore very important to give a lot of time and attention to achieving SHARP FOCUS.

Sharp focus can be achieved by:

  1. Using a “safe” shutter speed when handholding the camera
  2. Using an IS/VR lens to reduce the effect of camera shake
  3. Using a tripod, placing the camera on a steady surface or bracing it against a firm structure
  4. Using a self-timer or shutter release with a tripod

“Safe” shutter speed
If you are using your zoom lens set at 70mm a “safe” shutter speed (for non-IS/VR lens) is 1/150 seconds or faster. A “safe” shutter speed is considered to be 1/2xN second (one over 2 times N) where N is the focal length being used.
For example, if you are shooting a landscape at 28mm (N = 28), the recommended shutter speed is 1/2×28 (1/56) second or faster. 1/60th of a second is good, 1/125th is better and anything faster would be ideal if the lighting conditions allows. The faster the shutter speed the less likely camera shake will affect your photographs.

If low light prevents you from using a high shutter speed and a tripod is not convenient, change to a higher ISO whenever possible.

IS/VR Lens
Canon uses the designation IS to refer to its Image Stabilizer lens while Nikon uses VR to refer to its Vibration Reduction lens. These lenses have built-in systems that help reduce the effects of camera shake. When used properly they are effective in producing sharp images.

Pentax and Sony have anti-shake compensation systems built into some of their camera bodies. Addressing the problem of camera shake and blurry photographs, Sony has this to say: “…While the ultimate solution for camera shake is a tripod, there are many casual shooting situations where a tripod simply isn’t an option. For this reason, selected DSLR lenses are equipped with optical image stabilization. These stabilized lenses incorporate motion sensors to detect camera shake. They then compensate with a motor-driven lens element that moves in an equal-but-opposite way. While this approach does work, it adds sensors, motors and cost to the lenses that have this feature. And it limits the feature only to those few, specially-equipped lenses. A better option is a DSLR camera that builds image stabilization into the camera body itself. In this way, the benefits of image stabilization are available to all system lenses – at no additional lens cost.”

Tripod or steady support
The use of a tripod can assure you the sharpest possible image. However tripods come in different types, designs and weight limitations. When choosing a tripod take into consideration the weight of your camera and lenses, the maximum and minimum height the tripod reaches, the weight of the tripod and the type of heads it can support. A search online for “choosing a tripod” will point you to many sources of valuable information on tripods.

In lieu of a tripod a steady surface can be used to reduce camera shake. For example the roof of your car can provide a stable platform for your camera. Pressing the camera body against a post or tree can also help steady your camera for sharper focus.

Self-timer or Shutter Release
Professionals sometimes use the camera’s delayed timer or a shutter release cable when using a tripod, to ensure an absolute sharp photo. The timer on some Canon cameras can be set to release the shutter 2 or 10 seconds after the shutter button is pressed. This compensates for any slight camera shake that may occur when the shutter button is pressed by the finger.

Using the Quick Control Screen on the Canon 7D

One great feature I enjoy using on my Canon EOS 7D is the Quick Control Screen. The benefits of this screen is described by Canon as:

1. The ability to review major camera settings on one large, easy-to-see screen.

2. The ability to perform a variety of common camera settings and image adjustments on a single screen, without having to sort through multiple menus or press multiple buttons.

To use the Quick Control feature on the 7D follow these steps:

1.  Press the [Q] button found at the top left corner on the back of the camera. The Quick Control screen will appear.

2. Use the [Multi-controller] to navigate to and highlight the feature you want to change. Once the setting is highlighted, use either the front or rear control dial to change the setting.

I find this feature to be very convenient and consider it a time-saver because in a few seconds I can change Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, AF Mode, AF Point, Metering Pattern, White Balance, Exposure Compensation, Picture Style, File Size and Type, Custom Controls and Drive Mode.

I often use it to change ISO value, AF Point and to change from RAW to MRAW. Once you have tried it you most likely will be hooked on it.

Information about the Quick Control button and screen is provided on pages 38 and 39 of the instruction manual.

What is your workflow when handling 7D files?

I started using an SLR camera when 35mm film was “king.” My fist 35mm camera was a simple Minolta 3xi. A few years later I moved up to the Minolta 700 si then crossed over to Canon with the EOS 3 about 5 years ago.

At that time all I had to do was make sure I got the exposure right, then send a roll of 36 Fuji Sensia or Velvia to the lab when I was done. I used a Nikon scanner to adjust the image a bit but generally I did very little post processing.

Now that I shoot with a digital SLR, post processing is a part of the new digital age. Frankly I hate it. One reason is the time it takes to do post processing.

At  my favorite photo forum POTN, a very interesting discussion recently started that asked photographers about the steps they take during post processing.

Follow the discussion here to see if there is a more efficient way of handling post processing. You may save time doing it differently.



Err code on my Canon 7D

Today while photographing a library from a nearby garage, I got the dreaded err code with a suggestion on the LCD screen that I should remove and reinstall the battery. I removed the battery, reinstalled it and got the same code. After 3 tries my camera worked fine for the rest of the shoot.

About 3 days earlier, my camera was completely dead when I turned it on. The battery seemed like it was completely drained. I recharged it. But the recharge time was shorter than normal so I assumed the battery was not fully discharged when I first noticed that the camera would not turn on. I wonder if the battery is failing after one year of minimal use or is there a problem with the contacts?

I will continue to monitor the issue. I am also considering buying a second battery. Today’s price is $65.99 at B&H and $59.99 at Amazon.