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|| News Item: Posted 2006-11-16

Be careful what you ask for, you might already have it!
By Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Bob Deutsch in Sydney.
A while back I was lamenting not having a button on the Canon Mark II that would instantly allow switching from one exposure set to another. Think about it… there are many situations where you would want this… football or baseball with one side of the field in sun… shooting photos of players in a dark dugout and immediately switching to the bright field, or shooting pans and blurs of a pitcher and a second later there is a second base play or a great dive…all shot at a 15th of a second. Ask Bert about shooting a speed skating pileup at a 30th at the Olympics! If only there was a button to set a different exposure as needed.

I was standing with Chris Lee of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the World Series last month saying that exact thing, only to have him tell me that this already exists, and has since the first 1d. No way, I know this camera and it does not exist! Well, he pushes a button and viola, 125th @2.8 pops up instead of 500th@2.8.

So here's the scoop on the "Chris Lee Button":
You enable Personal Function#6 first by connecting the camera to a computer via Firewire, using Canon "Camera Window" software (for the Mark II N) or "Eos Viewer Utility" for the earlier Mark II.

After enabling the PF#6 option, go to the Personal Functions screen on the camera menu and turn it on.

The screen says:
"Register: Press (and hold) the "+/-" (exposure compensation on top of camera) button, then press "X/WB" button (assist/white balance button… third from right on back/top, next to back focus button).

Select: Press "X/WB" button (the same assist/WB button as above)"

If done correctly, a small black square pops up on the upper right of the LCD screen on the camera top when registering the exposure.

That's it… you are ready to go.

You set the "secondary" exposure first (like 1/30th @11), then press and hold the "+/-" button followed by the "X/WB" button. Let go, and then change to 1/500th@2.8 for example. Then, when needed, press just the "X/WB" button and the exposure will change to the 30th@11, and, here's the fun, it also auto focuses from that same button, so you don't have to press both that button and the back button auto focus! Works like a charm…

Now, some notes:
First you cannot set the ISO this way, so you must make do with Shutter/Aperture only.

Second, if you have Custom Function #11 set to "2", as I normally do, you have to set the registered exposure a bit differently: You first press and hold the "AF Point Selection/Magnify" button (first from right, next to back button AF button), then press the same "X" (assist/WB) button as above.

Also, CF#18 must be on "0" to register an exposure.

There may be other combinations of CF's one might have set that can affect the ability to use this feature, so some experimentation is needed in those cases.

But… for me, the ability to instantly switch shutter and/or aperture and focus all on one button, and go back after release, is wonderful.

Thanks Chris!

(Robert Deutsch is a staff photographer with USA TODAY and a regular contributor to Sports Shooter. You can check out his work at his member page: .)

Related Links:
Deutsch's member page

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