-- the photography of David Lindes

Canon EOS 30D DSLR Informational Guide

Here is one of my Equipment Information Pages, this time about the Canon EOS 30D DSLR Camera. Please read the introduction at the link above for more information about the format and sources for these documents.


Please pardon the incompleteness of this table. I hope to fill out information for each and every item in this menu over time.

Menu item Options Short Description My own personal recommendations and/or thoughts (when I have an opinion that I think others may find useful)
Quality RAW, or various JPEG options Selects the quality of image recording to make when taking a picture. RAW, in almost all cases
Red-eye On/Off Off, or On Whether or not to use Red-eye reduction technology
Beep On, or Off Whether or not to beep at various times Off, generally
Shoot w/o card On, or Off Whether or not to allow the camera to take a picture when no CF card is inserted I generally leave this on, so that I can take test shots even when I have no card in. If you're apt to forget whether or not you have a card in, though, turning this off can be a great reminder to put the card in.
AEB 0 (off), or +/- values, up to +/- 2 stops Auto Exposure Bracketing. When enabled, take 3 shots at a time, and the camera will automatically change the exposure for two of the shots to be under and over the value currently metered or set Use when needed. Here's some more information.
WB SHIFT/BKT [numeric values] shift and bracketing settings for white balance
Custom WB [none] Selecting this menu item allows you to select an image to be used for setting the white balance of the camera. I'll be writing much more about this at some point. Be sure to set your White Balance mode to Custom to make use of this. Use when needed, or any time you really want to be sure your colors will be accurate.
Color temp. [numeric values 2800K to 10000K in increments of 100K] This sets the color temperature to use in manual-color-temperature mode. Set as approprite for a scene. More information to come.
Color space sRGB or Adobe RGB Set the color space to be used when recording images Adobe RGB
Picture Style Standard, Portrait, ... Set the style with which to capture images. Applies to on-screen viewing and JPEG capture; does not effect RAW images (to the best of my knowledge -- I'm a little unsure of that).
Protect [none] Allows you to partially protect one or more images from deletion
Rotate [none] Allows you to change the recorded orientation of an image
Print Order [none] Allows you to select images and quantities for printing using DPOF-enabled print facilities, and configure the print settings.
Auto play [none] Plays a slide show of all recorded images
Review Time Off, 2 sec., 4 sec., 8 sec., Hold Sets the amount of time that an image just captured will be displayed for review when the shutter is released I generally leave this off most of the time -- it conserves battery, and reduces the likelyhood that I'll look at the screen instead of keeping my eye on what's going on. Sometimes, though, especially when I'm shooting with a remote, I'll turn this on at an amount of time that seems appropriate to the task at hand.
AF points Not display, or Display Configures whether or not to display, when in the info/histogram display mode, the AF point(s) that the camera used for focusing a shot.
Histogram Brightness, or RGB Sets which of two types of histogram to display when viewing an image in the info/histogram mode. I generally keep this in RGB mode, as it gives me information on the color content of the image, thus allowing me additional checks on white balance and/or color content. That said, it also provides somewhat less information per color channel than the Brightness mode displays for luminocity. So especially if you're shooting for black and white, it might make more sense to be in Brightness mode.
Auto power off 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, or 30 min., or Off Sets a timer to automatically turn the camera off if no buttons have been pressed for the configured period of time. I generally set this to 8 minutes -- long enough to not annoy me when I'm engaged actively in a shoot, but short enough that I have some hope of saving my battery if I accidentally leave the screen on. Of course, with the quickness with which the 30D turns back on, one could probably set this to a shorter time with limited annoyance.
Auto Rotate On [camera, display], On [display only], or Off Sets whether and how to use the automatic camera orientation data to rotate images, either on the camera, or on a computer display later I leave this set at On [display only], so that I can use the full real estate of the camera screen for viewing (when rotated, vertical images only get a fraction of the screen), but where it will rotate the images correctly (in most cases) when viewing on a computer later.
LCD brightness 5 values, from dimmer to lighter Sets the brightness of the on-board LCD screen for image display, menus, etc. I generally switch this around depending on my shooting environment, in an attempt to have preview images most closely match what I'll see on the screen later, based on the grey-scale reference swatches displayed. There's something of an art to this, which I hope to write more about one day. (If anyone knows of a good article on this, I'd love to see it.) In general, I usually have the middle setting set.
Date/Time [the current date and time, and display mode.] Allows you to set the current date and time, and the mode in which that information should display. Don't forget to change this if/when your region observes the beginning or end of Daylight Savings Time! You can also set the date and time from your computer, if you hook the camera up directly and use the appropriate software.
File numbering Continuous, Auto reset, and pseudo-mode Manual reset Whether the camera should use ever-increasing image numbers for recording images, or reset back to 1 each time a fresh card is used. The Manual reset function sets the 4-digit part of the overall 7-digit number back to 1 and incriments the 3-digit part, when using Continuous numbering. I personally always use Continuous numbering, and in very rare circumstances when I know I'm doing a shoot for which me or a client is likely to care about numbering, I'll do a Manual reset, so I can start at 1.
Language [15 different language options] Set the language to be used for menus, etc. Use the language you're most comfortable with, of course!
Video system NTSC, or PAL Sets which system to output video for, when a video output connection is made
Communication Print/PC or LAN(WFT-E1) Sets the mode of communication -- either for normal printer or personal computer hookup, or for the optional WFT-E1 Wireless transmitter accessory.
Format [none; confirmation required] Re-formats (upon confirmation) the memory card loaded into the camera Various places (especially camera rental shops) have told me to always use this, in favor of "delete all" or erasing the card on the computer. I don't understand why, but it's relatively painless to do, so until I figure out a good reason not to, that's what I do. It erases everything (even protected pictures, so be careful!), and then sets up the directory structure for you, which is occassionally useful. Note that if you're shooting with "Continuous" file numbering and sharing cards between cameras (especially older cameras, that don't have the 1000-images-per-folder option), your numbering can jump in possibly unexpected ways.
Custom Functions (C. Fn) [19 custom functions] A variety of settings for changing basic behaviors of the camera. I hope to document them all, someday.
Clear settings Clear all camera settings, or all Custom Functions Allows you to re-set settings on the camera. As much as I've tweaked settings, I would generally avoid this menu option. On the other hand, it could be very useful for someone who's just acquired (or rented) a camera used, and isn't familiar with the settings of the previous user. (Of course, if you're borrowing rather than renting a camera, it would be polite to ask the owner before using this.)
Sensor Cleaning [confirmation screen] Puts the camera into a special mode that allows for manual cleaning of the digital sensor. Use with extreme care. Research the options well and be sure you're comfortable with this before proceeding. You can permanently destroy or seriously damage your camera sensor by using this feature. If you don't know what you're doing, or don't trust yourself to get it right, don't do it. Take your camera to a recommended professional technician or the manufacturer for a professional cleaning, instead. Losing the use of your camera through poor use of this functionality would be a serious downer. A perhaps unfortunately-large quantity of information exists about doing sensor cleaning, though, and it can certainly be done with relative safety by a careful and educated user, so feel free to read up about it, and don't feel overly intimidated. It's perfectly fine to clean your own sensor -- you just want to make sure you know what you're doing and that you're doing it properly if and when you do undertake the effort.
Firmware ver [version] [displays current version] Before selecting this option, the current firmware version that the camera is running is displayed. If you select this option, with a CF card with a new firmware on it, then an upgrade can be performed.