7 advanced ways to get more from your Canon camera

1. Increase your burst shooting with smaller Raw sizes

Canon’s single- and double-digit EOS DSLRs offer small raw (S-RAW) and medium raw (M-RAW) formats alongside the standard option, and it’s worth considering the types of situations where these may be a more suitable choice.

While both come at the expense of pixel count, it’s very likely that a proportion of the images you shoot in a Raw format do not need to be shot at the camera’s highest resolution, and you’ll fit more on your memory card by selecting one of these too.

Not only that, but switching to a smaller option may improve your burst depth too, so it’s worth considering if you regularly shoot any kind of action.

You’ll be able to check by how much this is the case by looking at the figure in parenthesis as you select different raw options, or alternatively in the lower right-hand corner of the viewfinder/top-plate LCD when shooting.

2. Understand the Auto Lighting Optimizer

Ever captured an image to find the main subject a little darker than you expected? This is often the case when shooting against darker backgrounds – and Canon has a quick fix in the form of its Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO).

ALO is available in almost all of Canon’s current interchangeable-lens cameras and it’s available in three strengths.

It works by selectively brightening shadows and taming highlights so that you end up with good exposure across different parts of the scene, and it’s particularly useful when your scene has a high contrast or when shooting against backlighting.

It’s a useful alternative to exposure compensation as it only affects the areas it deems necessary of adjustment, rather than affecting exposure across the while image (which, in a backlit situation, may force highlight detail to be lost). You can also use this in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software if you forget to turn it on in camera.

3. Make use of Canon’s Infobank

Don’t know which colour space you should be using? Or what the difference is between lossy and lossless compression?

Whether you want to learn about a specific function or swot up on techy concepts to get the most out of your shooting and processing, you’d advised to head over to the Infobank on Canon’s European website.

A fantastic resource for photographers, Infobank explains many key terms in a thorough but easy to understand manner, with before and after shots and animated diagrams to help you understand everything more easily.

A significant proportion of the resource is also dedicated to lenses, from basic concepts to breaking down all the suffixes in the names of lenses, so it’s well worth a look while considering a new optic.

4. Save battery life with the Eco mode

The Eco mode has been a feature in Canon’s PowerShot and IXUS compact cameras for the last few years, and it’s worth enabling if you only have one battery for your camera.

When this is turned on, it saves battery life by darkening the screen after two seconds of not being used and turns the screen off after ten seconds of inactivity.

Furthermore, if you go for three whole minutes without anything happening, it will even turn the camera off.

5. Activate Flicker detection under fluorescent light

Photographers who work under fluorescent lighting may have witnessed the odd frame sporting an odd exposure despite lighting conditions staying the same, with no obvious explanation. This, according to Canon, is often down to the flickering of fluorescent light, which isn’t visible to the naked eye but can cause problems with metering.

The company’s solution is Flicker detection, which was first included in the EOS 7D Mark II but was subsequently incorporated into DSLRs released since, such as the EOS 5DS and EOS 750D.

This works by analysing when peak illumination occurs and only taking the image at that point, delaying the shutter very slightly if required.

It flashes a warning in the viewfinder when flicker is detected and can be used in both single-shot or burst-shooting modes, so even if you’re capturing a long burst of images it will help ensure exposure stays consistent throughout.

6. Know which formatting mode to use

Canon offers two types of card formatting on many of its cameras: standard formatting and Low level formatting. Most people will probably use the former option most of the time as it’s set as the default setting, but when should you opt for Low level formatting instead?

Canon recommends Low level formatting when the card seems to be recording information slowly, or when images take a while to show up on the screen, or even when you get a card error message.

As it essentially wipes the card more thoroughly than the standard method it takes a little longer than the default option, but Canon cites this as a good choice when you don’t want information to be retrievable by standard means, such as if you decide to sell your card.

Of course, there’s always a chance someone could still retrieve information however the card is formatted, so if you want to be completely sure, it’s best to destroy the card.

7. Forgot to turn on your Lens aberration correction? Don’t worry…

Lens aberration correction, which has featured in Canon’s DSLRs since 2009, aims to fix two optical issues: peripheral illumination (vignetting) and chromatic aberration.

So long as the camera has the information of that lens stored in its firmware, it can instantly apply these corrections whenever you take a shot, tailoring them for the aperture and focal length you use.

It’s useful to keep this on for the sake of instantly usable images, but you may forget to enable one or both of these corrections, such as when using a new lens.

Don’t worry – if you use Canon’s Digital Professional Photo software program for editing, you can instantly enable these corrections when it comes to processing.

Of course, such corrections are also possible with other programs such as DxO Optics Pro and Adobe’s Lightroom and Camera Raw, so long as they have the profiles for that particular lens you should use these to shave time off your processing.