Canon | Mark White | Tyler Stableford`s Custom Functions for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Tyler Stableford’s Custom Functions for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Many people have asked me which settings I use for white balance, color space, video mode, and
custom functions, etc. Here is list of the settings that I ‘customize’ on my Canon EOS 5D Mark
II -- they are simply settings that I find helpful, and are in no way the absolute best method. I
hope that you find them useful!
Raw mode. I prefer to shoot only in Raw, rather than
Raw+Jpeg, as the camera writes files to the
compactflash card faster. Plus, it’s so easy to output a
Jpeg from a Raw file these days.
Be sure to turn “Shoot w/o card’ to OFF -- otherwise
you run the risk of taking photos without a
compactflash card in your camera!
White Balance. When shooting Raw files outdoors,
auto white balance often works just fine as you can
easily adjust the white balance afterward in
Lightroom. However if you are shooting with strobes
or in challenging light conditions, you may want to set
a custom setting.
When shooting jpegs or video, it’s crucial to set a
custom white balance that is as accurate as possible.
Jpegs and video clips are highly compressed files and
don’t allow for dramatic adjustments in color
temperature, so you need to get it right in the camera.
The box on the right shows how I set a custom color
temperature. Take a test shot or use Live View mode
to check your settings, and tailor the settings until the
scene looks right.
You can do further white balancing in the WB Shift/
Bkt pane. Selecting this menu brings up the pane
Here, I don’t use the bracket feature but rather the
White Balance Shift options. If your subject’s face is
showing too much red, try tabbing the cursor to the
left one or two clicks. Take another close-up test
frame or use Live View, and zoom in to see how the
color looks now. Keep experimenting until the scene
looks good.
Color Space. I set the camera to capture in Adobe
RGB as it has a wider color gamut than sRGB, and
as such allows for greater manipulation of the images
with less degradation.
Picture Style. This is a crucial custom setting when
shooting video, as it allows you to reduce contrast in
the clips and to capture a wider range of highlight
and shadow detail. It’s not as important when
shooting Raw files, as Lightroom has calibration
settings you can dial while processing your images;
but nonetheless I suggest setting things properly
My preferred setting is the Neutral picture style, and
then I further customize it as seen in the boxes below.
Remember that these are just my preferences, so
please experiment and find your own if you think a
different setting will work better for your needs.
After selecting Neutral, I go into the detailed settings
and drag Contrast all the way down. I commonly
shoot straight into the sun in the snowy mountains
here in Colorado, so I prefer a very low-contrast
setting to capture the full range of light and shadow -remember you can always boost contrast later, but it’s
nearly impossible to recover clipped highlights or
shadows if you don’t get them in the original file.
The reduced contrast make the image look relatively
flat and dull at first, so I add a touch of extra
saturation, and this seems to help the overall look of
the image.
**See the last page of this PDF to see how to enable
the Neutral Picture Style when developing a Raw
image in Lightroom.
Auto Exposure Bracketing. When shooting outdoors in
changing light conditions, I often bracket my images
2/3 of a stop on either side to make sure I don’t clip the
This screen shows my settings. Be sure to press the Set
button or the bracketing won’t register! Also, you’ll
want to go into the Custom Functions panel and
disable the AEB Auto Cancel feature -- please see the
section on Custom Function 1-4 further down for
Highlight Alert. I like having Highlight Alert enabled;
when reviewing the image on the LCD screen, the
clipped highlights will blink white. I don’t always
attempt to capture all the highlights, but nonetheless I
find it helpful to know what’s being lost.
Histogram. I set my histogram to display in all three
channel of Red, Green and Blue. Skin tones often
appear in the red channel, giving me a more accurate
idea of the exposure on a model’s face.
Auto Power Off. When shooting video and using Live
View to preview a scene, I like to set at least 4 minutes
of time before Live View shuts off. This isn’t as
important for stills, and will drain the camera’s battery
Auto Rotate. I set the camera to rotate images only
when ingested to the computer, and not on the back of
the camera. This way I can view vertical images using
the camera’s full LCD screen for a larger preview.
Video System. NTSC is the preferred system for most
uses in the U.S.A.
Live View/Movie Function Settings. This menu is the
biggie for shooting video. It also controls the Live View
settings, which can be very helpful for honing focus
when shooting stills on a tripod. See the boxes below for
my preferred settings.
This image shows my preferred settings for video and
live view. I like having the grid enabled to help keep
horizons straight.
**Disable Silent Shooting to make sure your camera
operates at full-speed frame rates; when enabled, the
camera doesn’t shoot as fast.
-I don’t pay much attention to AF Mode as autofocus
doesn’t work well with the mirror up in Live View; I find
it better to either autofocus with the Live View mirror
down, or focus manually using 5X and 10X
magnification feature while in Live View.
Click on the LV Func Setting to go deeper into this
menu. Here, I select Still + Movie mode. Press the Set
button to go deeper.
Next, in the Screen Settings dialogue, select Movie
Display. This will enable a histogram during live view
Here is a snapshot of the camera’s LCD screen while in
live view mode, with the RGB histogram enabled. Press
the Info button to cycle the histogram etc on and off.
Another important setting in the Live View/Movie
Function Setting pane is the Movie Recording Size,
which selects both movie size and the frame rate. I
commonly choose a 30p frame rate (30 frames per
second) over the 24p frame rate as it allows me to
capture better action clips of skiing etc. However many
people prefer 24p, so check with your client for their
needs first.
Sound Recording. For run-and-gun style shooting
outdoors with a shotgun video microphone attached to
the camera’s hotshoe, I prefer setting sound levels to
Auto. When shooting indoors with controlled sound
levels, it’s better to dial in the sound levels in the Manual
Custom Functions. Below are the settings that I
customize, begging with the Exposure panel.
C.Fn I-3, ISO Expansion. Turn this on to enable
shooting as low as ISO 50 and as high as ISO 25,600.
C.Fn I-4, Bracketing auto cancel. Turn this to Off;
otherwise the camera will cancel bracketing after only
one sequence of three shots.
Next let’s go to the C.Fn.II panel.
C.Fn II-2. I find that Lightroom’s noise-reduction
features are very robust, so I turn down the in-camera
noise reduction to Low.
C.Fn II-3, Highlight Tone Priority. This setting enables
the camera to capture a greater range of detail in
highlights like backlit snow, clouds and water. Turning
this setting on will make ISO 200 the lowest possible
C.Fn II-4, Auto Lighting Optimizer. This setting
essentially brightens the shadows in a scene; it can be
helpful when shooting run-and-gun video without a
lighting crew. Try it at a Low setting and experiment
to see if you like it; it’s a judgement call. This setting
applies only to Jpeg and Video files; it does not affect
Raw files.
I skip the C.Fn III panel as there’s nothing I customize
there, and continue to C.Fn IV.
C.Fn IV-1, Shutter Button and Auto Focus. I select
option 2 which moves autofocus controls to the AFON button rather than the shutter button. This way I
can focus with my thumb on the AF-ON button,
which I find more helpful when tracking a moving
subject in AI Servo autofocus mode.
Here is a snapshot of the various ‘quick-view’ settings
I enable for easy access, using My Menu Settings.
In the My Menu Settings dialogue, you can Register a
range of menu settings for quick access. Click
Register to view the full list and add a setting; click
Delete to remove unneeded settings from the panel.
Speedlites: When you have a Speedlite attached to your
camera (not needed with the 7D as it has a pop-up flash
capable of serving as a wireless transmitter), you can
use this pane to control both your on-camera flash as
well as all wireless flashes.
Click the “External Speedlite Control’ button and then
the ‘Flash Function Settings’ button to access the control
I prefer 2nd curtain shutter sync, it allows me to shoot
at a slow shutter speed and have the flash freeze the
action at the close of the shutter. I use Hi-Speed sync
when shooting above 1/250th of a second, handy for
sports etc.
Wireless Settings will less you control your wireless
flashes right from this pane.
Here you can choose to enable or disable your
‘Master Flash,’ which is your on-camera flash.
Make sure that ‘Wireless func’ above is Enabled
if you want to trigger wireless flashes.
Here you can choose to have all flashes work
together as one TTL unit (A+B+C), or set ratios
of two wireless flash groups (A:B) or three flash
groups (A:B C).
This is what the Wireless Settings panel looks like
when I’m ready to shoot with three wireless flashes
(or three groups of wireless flashes, as you can add
multiple flashes to each group if desired).
Under the Flash Custom Function Settings under ‘External Speedlite Control “(see the image on the previous page), I often disable auto-power-off so the wireless
flashes don’t go to sleep. It can be a hassle to wake them
up, but it runs the batteries down more quickly.
Happy shooting!
Addendum: Using Lightroom to develop Raw files with specific Picture Style settings.
The Picture Style settings you select on the camera don’t automatically apply when processing
Raw files in Lightroom. Here’s how to select the style you want: scroll down to the bottom right
panel in the Develop mode to Camera Calibration, and click the fly-down menu for Profile. I
select Camera Neutral, which replicates the Neutral Picture Style.
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