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Canon® EOS 7D Mark II For Dummies®

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Introduction

Your Canon EOS 7D Mark II is the latest and greatest digital camera on the market — with a stunning 20.2-megapixel capture, Live View, high-definition video, and much more. But all this technology can be a bit daunting, especially if this is your first real digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. You no longer have modes like Portrait, Sport, Landscape, and so on. You’ve graduated to the big leagues. All you have to do is master the power you hold in your hands.

I’ve been using Canon digital SLRs since the EOS 10D, and I’ve learned a lot about the Canon brand of cameras since then. In addition to the EOS 7D Mark II I’m using to write this book, I also own an EOS 5D MKII and an EOS 7D, which has a lot of the features found on your EOS 7D Mark II. My goal is to show you how to become one with your camera. I don’t get overly technical in this book, even though your camera is very technical. I also do my best to keep it lively. So if you want to master your EOS 7D Mark II, you have the right book in your hands.

About This Book

If you find the buttons and menus on your shiny new EOS 7D Mark II a tad intimidating, this book is for you. In the chapters of this book, I take you from novice point-and-shoot photographer to one who can utilize all the bells and whistles your camera offers. You’ll find information about the camera menus and every button on your camera, as well as when to use them, and what settings to use for specific picture-taking situations. I also introduce you to a program you can use to edit your images to pixel perfection.

Foolish Assumptions

Ah, yes. Assume. When broken down to its lowest common denominator . . . Okay, I won’t go there. But as an author, I have to make some assumptions about you, dear reader. First and foremost, you should now own, or have on order, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II. If you own one of those cute little point-and-shoot Canon cameras, good for you, but this book won’t help you with that camera. You should also have a computer on which to download your images, and preferably a program with which to edit your images. A basic knowledge of photography is also helpful. I know, you probably meet all assumptions. But my editor assumes I’ll put all the pre-requisites in this section in this part of the book.

Conventions Used in This Book

To make life easier, this book has several conventions that are used to identify pertinent information — stuff you should know. So to help you navigate this book easily, I use a few style conventions:

The Long and Winding Road Ahead

I divide this book into three parts, with each devoted to a specific aspect of your camera. The chapters flow logically from one subject to the next, to take you from shooting in Full Auto mode to becoming a seasoned photographer who knows which mode to choose and which settings to use for taking pictures of specific subjects. You can read the book from cover to cover — or, if you need quick information about a specific topic, peruse the Table of Contents or Index until you find the desired topic. Most of the sections in this book don’t require reading additional material.

The following sections offer a brief overview of each part of the book.

Part I: Getting to Know Your Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Part I contains five chapters that help you get up and running with your EOS 7D Mark II:

Part II: Going Beyond Point-and-Shoot Photography

In this part of the book, I cut to the chase and show you how to master the advanced features of your camera.

Part III: The Part of Tens

The book concludes with two top ten lists, written by yours truly, who happens to have a gap between his teeth like David Letterman, who happens to be famous for his top ten lists. The lists are grouped according to subject matter, and a splendid time is guaranteed for all. And tonight Mr. Kite is topping the bill.

Icons and Other Delights

For Dummies books have icons that indicate important bits of information. You can hopscotch from icon to icon and discover a lot. But when in doubt, read the text associated with the icon. In this book, you find the following icons:

You’ll also find icons in the margin that show you the controls and menu tabs on your camera.

Shoot Lots of Pictures and Enjoy!

Your EOS 7D Mark II is a digital photography powerhouse; use it and use it often. The old adage “practice makes perfect” really does apply. The only way to become a better photographer and master your equipment is to apply what you learn from what I show you, and shoot as many pictures as you can. While you’re working your way through this book, keep your camera close at hand. When your significant other pokes his or her head into the room, grab your camera and start practicing your craft. Take one picture, then another, and another, and so on. With practice, you’ll know your camera like the back of your hand. You’ll also know which rules of photography and composition work for you — and you’ll start to develop your own style. For that matter, you’ll probably amaze yourself, too.

Part I

Getting to Know Your Canon EOS 7D Mark II

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In this part . . .

1

Exploring the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

In This Chapter

arrow Getting familiar with camera controls

arrow Understanding the LCD panel

arrow Decoding and adjusting the viewfinder

arrow Attaching and removing lenses

arrow Using zoom and image stabilization lenses

arrow Changing basic camera settings

arrow Using memory cards

arrow Charging your battery

arrow Cleaning your sensor

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II, which evolved from the Canon EOS 7D that was introduced in late 2009, has all the latest bells and whistles Canon has to offer. It’s a technological marvel that enables you to take great pictures and capture high-definition (HD) video. The camera has a new processor and an advanced, highly customizable 65-point autofocus system that gives you the ability to capture great images in low light and at a blindingly fast speed of up to 10 frames per second, which is ideal for action photography. You can also create HDR (high dynamic range) images and use the new interval timer to create time-lapse movies. And this camera features a viewfinder that shows you 100 percent of what the lens captures: What you see is what you get. A dual-axis level (the equivalent of a spirit level in a tripod) lets you capture pictures with horizon lines that are level. In addition, the camera has built-in GPS, which, when enabled, pinpoints the location where each image was captured and includes GPS data with the image metadata. The camera also has a built-in flash system that can be used wirelessly to control external Canon Speedlites.

Getting familiar with all this new technology can seem daunting even to a seasoned photographer. I was impressed, albeit a tad flummoxed, when I saw the first reviews for the all-singing, all-dancing EOS 7D Mark II. Even though I’m a seasoned Canon digital single-lens reflex (SLR) user — my first digital SLR was the EOS 10D — I still had a bit of a learning curve when I first had the camera in hand, chomping at the bit to create some pictures. But it’s my job to get down to brass tacks with new technology and show you how to master it. The fact that you’re reading this probably means that you want to know how to use all the bells and whistles Canon has built into the EOS 7D Mark II. In this chapter, I familiarize you with the controls, the camera lens, the camera settings, the battery, and the memory cards you use to capture images with the camera.

Getting to Know the Controls

If you’re a longtime Canon user, you know that you can do an awful lot with the camera by using external controls, which saves you from poking around inside pesky menus. The camera controls are easy to reach and give you access to many powerful features. Although you may think it seems like a daunting task to know which button does what, after you use the camera for a while, you’ll automatically know which control gives you your desired result and then reach for it instinctively, without taking your eye from the viewfinder. But first, you need to know what each control does. I explain the controls you find on the outside of the camera in the upcoming sections.

Exploring the top of your camera

The top of the camera, shown in Figure 1-1, is where you find the controls you use most when taking pictures. The top of the camera is where you change settings like ISO (International Organization for Standards) and shutter speed, choose a shooting mode, and press the shutter button to take a picture. You can do lots of other things from the top of the camera, which in my humble opinion, is the most important real estate on the camera, with the possible exception of the lens. I suggest you get to know the controls on the top of your camera intimately, like the back of your hand. Many photographers, including me, make it a point to memorize where the controls are and access them without taking an eye off the viewfinder. Here’s what you find on the top of the camera:

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Figure 1-1: Get to know these controls like the back of your hand.

Exploring the back of your camera

The back of the camera, shown in Figure 1-2, is also an important place. Here you find controls to power up your camera, access the camera menu, and much more. The following is what you find on the back of your EOS 7D Mark II:

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Figure 1-2: Buttons, buttons, and more buttons on the back of the camera.

Exploring the front of your camera

The front of your camera (see Figure 1-3) has a couple controls you can use and other gizmos that the camera uses. Here you’ll find a couple of buttons that you use every day and some that access features you rarely use. The following features are on the front of your camera:

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Figure 1-3: The front of your camera is an ergonomic wonder.

About the multi-function lock

The EOS 7D Mark II has lots of dials and buttons, and then more buttons and levers and switches, oh my. There are times when you don’t want to inadvertently change a setting when shooting. All of the buttons on the body of this camera were discussed at the start of the chapter when I discussed the front, back, and top of the camera. Some of the buttons and sliders cannot be accidentally engaged, because you have to move a finger from the standard shooting position. The buttons that can be accessed easily are positioned so that you can quickly access them while shooting. However, there are times when you’ve got everything just the way you want it for the subject you’re photographing and accidentally bumping a button and thereby changing a setting could have disastrous results, especially when you’re photographing something that will never be repeated. Fortunately, the engineers at Canon considered this eventuality and added the multi-function lock to the camera.

The multi-function lock switch is located below the Quick Control dial, and is used to lock and unlock the Quick Control dial. Slide the switch to the right to lock the Quick Control dial. Slide the switch to the left to release the lock and return functionality to the Quick Control dial.

You can also use the multi-function lock switch to lock the Main dial, the multi-controller, and the AF Area Selection lever by navigating to the Custom Function C.Fn3, and choosing the controls you want to lock with the multi-function lock under the Multi-Function Lock menu item. (For more information on Custom Functions, see Chapter 6.)

Deciphering the LCD Panel

The LCD panel on the top of the camera displays a lot of information, such as the shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed setting, white balance, metering mode, and more. Figure 1-4 shows all the possible options that can appear on the LCD panel. However, you’ll never see this much information when you take a picture. I show you the type of information you can expect to see on the LCD panel during specific picture-taking scenarios I discuss throughout this book. Here’s a road map for the information you’ll find on the LCD panel:

You see examples of different scenarios on the LCD panel throughout this book as I discuss various picture-taking situations.

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Figure 1-4: You find lots of useful information on the LCD panel.

Decoding Viewfinder Information

The viewfinder, or information central as I like to call it, is another place you find a plethora of information. In the viewfinder, you see the image as it will be captured by your camera (see Figure 1-5). Your EOS 7D Mark II has a viewfinder that enables you to see 100 percent of what you’ll capture, a feature that was introduced on this camera’s predecessor, the EOS 7D. Use the viewfinder to compose your picture and view camera settings while you change them.

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Figure 1-5: The viewfinder displays lots of useful information.

Figure 1-5 shows all the possible icons that can be displayed while taking a picture and displays all the autofocus points — you never see this much information displayed while taking a picture. (I show you different viewfinder scenarios when I discuss different picture-taking scenarios throughout the book.) When you peer into the viewfinder, you find the current shooting settings, icons for battery status, shots remaining, and much more. By default, all of the icons shown in Figure 1-5 are not visible until you use a menu command to display or hide information in the viewfinder. Here’s the information displayed in your viewfinder (icons that can only be displayed by using a menu command are listed with an O for optional in parentheses):

In my estimation, the viewfinder is the place to compose your images. If you use the command to display optional information in the viewfinder, it’s information overload, which diverts your attention from the task at hand, composing the image. The LCD monitor is the place to go when you need information such as the shooting mode, drive mode, and so on. If you’d like to experiment with the optional viewfinder displays, you can enable them using the Viewfinder Display command, which you find on the Set Up2 menu (part of the Set Up tab). For more information on using menu commands, see Chapter 2.

Adjusting Viewfinder Clarity

If you wear glasses, or if your vision’s not perfect, you can adjust the viewfinder clarity, which makes it easier to compose your images and focus manually. After all, if what you see in the viewfinder isn’t what you get, you won’t be a happy camper. To adjust viewfinder clarity:

  1. Attach a lens to the camera.
  2. Look into the viewfinder and turn the dioptric adjustment knob (see Figure 1-6) left or right until the autofocus points look sharp and clear.

    If the knob is hard to turn, remove the eyepiece cup.

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Figure 1-6: A clear viewfinder. All the better to see you with, my dear.