Custom modes (C1, C2, C3 on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for example) are ways to register predefined configuration parameters and associate them to a specific camera dial control. This way, complicated & hard to reach menu items can be activated quickly when needed.

This can be used for both photography and video!

Not all Canon cameras have these custom settings on the mode dial – only the ‘pro’ level cameras.

How to set it up

Setting a custom mode is easy: select ALL the desired camera settings, including the custom functions, then go into the menu Camera User Setting, Register then select the dial position you want it to be associated too. From now how, when ever you put the dial on the selected custom mode, all the camera settings are going to be set as those at the time you registered the settings.

Note: if you select a custom mode then apply some changes, these changes will not be registered. They will be lost when the camera powers off which can happen quickly if you set your camera to auto power off after a short period of time. This is contrary to other dial controls where the last setting is kept between on/off.


Photographers have found various uses for this feature, including:

  • giving a quick access to mirror lockup
  • activating the highlight tone priority
  • quickly switching between completely different camera settings to adapt to shooting conditions

As you can see, Custom modes are quite useful, make sure you take a moment to register at least one with your favorite settings.

How do you use Custom Modes?

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