Tim Boyer Photography

Small Groups, Cool Birds, Fun Locations

How to set up your Canon 7D Mark II For Bird Photography Part 1

The Canon 7D Mark IITim Boyer
Female Mallard ISO 800
Female Mallard ISO 800

This is part one of at least a three part series. This is the basic menu settings and which ones to turn on, off or how to set them. Part 2 will cover all the remaining camera settings, and then Part 3 will cover Auto Focusing.

Part 1 Menu Settings

We’ll go through the menu functions of the camera, so you're set up for bird photography. I'm assuming that you've followed the Quick Reference Guide and you've charged up your battery, and you're ready to go.

Turing the camera on and Press the Menu button.

SHOOTING MENU

(The Red Menu or the Camera Icon on the left side of the menu bar on the LCD.) There are six sub-menus we’ll talk about each one and changes we need to make.

Image Quality

Select Image Quality by pressing the Set button, located in the center of the Quick Dial on the back of the camera. This will bring up RAW and JPEG settings. Use the Main Dial with your index finger, and move it to the right until the RAW is highlighted in the red box then press Set. Adobe does not support the camera RAW format of the new Canon 7D Mark II yet. So to see your images you’ll have to use the Canon Utilities and software that came with your camera.

Image Review

Press the Set button and with a Quick Dial scroll down to four seconds. The reason I use four seconds is that the image will flash up on the screen and allows me to quickly check the exposure and the composition without using too much battery life. Choose 8 seconds if you’d like more time.

Beep

Push the Set button and scroll down to disable. If you leave this Enabled, when you’re in One Shot Mode, the camera will beep when it acquires focus. I find that this noise often scares birds, or makes them go into an unnatural looking alert posture.

Release shutter without card

Disable, you don’t want to take pictures unless there’s a card in your camera.

There are no other changes on this menu, use the Main Dial with the index finger moved to the right to go to the second Shooting Menu screen.

Common Merganser female, ISO 2000, 1/640 of a second, f/8 Canon 7D Mark II, 100 to 400 mm zoom lens, 1.4 Extender.
Common Merganser female, ISO 2000, 1/640 of a second, f/8 Canon 7D Mark II, 100 to 400 mm zoom lens, 1.4 Extender.

ISO Setting

Select White Balance by pushing the Set Button in the middle of the Quick Dial. Scroll down to ISO Settings hit the Set button. Then scroll down to ISO speed range and set it to 100 to 16,000. Hit Set, scroll through and then hit OK. Then push the Menu button to get back to Shooting Menu, screen 2.

White Balance

Press the Set button in the middle of the Quick Dial, then use the Quick Dial to scroll over to the Cloudy setting and then press Set. I set my camera to Cloudy White Balance so that my images appear a little warmer. I do this because I used to shoot Kodak VS and Fuji Velvia slide films – these were very warm films, and I liked the way these films looked, and I still like my pictures that way. If you don’t like the warm tones, then leave White Balance to Auto. It’s a personal preference.

Color Space

Press the Set button scroll down with the quick dial to Adobe RGB press set the Menu button to go back to the Shooting Menu, screen two.

Use the Main Dial to go to the third Shooting Menu screen. It starts with Picture Style. We aren’t making any changes here so use the Main Dial one more time to go to the Shooting Menu, screen four.

Red-eye reduction

Push the Set button; scroll down to Enable, and then push the Set button again. Scroll down to Enable and press the Set button again.

There are no other changes on this fourth screen, so use the Main Dial to move to the Shooting Menu, the fifth screen that starts with Live View Shooting.

There’s only two change on this screen, scroll down to go Continuous Autofocusing, press the Set button, then scroll down to Enable, press Set again to select this option.

Grid Display

I chose to leave this off; I don’t use the grid as much as I use the Focusing Points in the viewfinder to keep things level etc. I like a clear, uncluttered viewfinder.

With the main dial button Main Dial wheel scroll to the sixth menu, we make no changes there. With the Main Dial move it to the right to get to the next Menu.

Autofocus (AF) Menu

The AF Menu is fuchsia colored and, well it says “AF”.

Autofocus menu, for now, we’ll leave this on Case 1. In part 3 of this How To Set Up Your Canon 7D Mark II For Bird Photography, I’ll spend a lot of time on the Auto Focus Modes and these Case Options.

Main Dial click to move past the second and third AF Menu screens there are no changes to these two now.

Scroll to the fourth AF Menu screen, it should be the Lens Drive when AF impossible. Leave this ON.

Scroll down to Selectable AF point I have all 65 points selected as the default.

Use the Main Dial to go to the fifth screen for the AF Menu; there are no changes at this point. There are no other changes on this menu, leave the defaults activated.

Use the Main Dial to move to the next menu, the Playback Menu

Commom Merganser, male. ISO 2000, f/8, 1640 of a second, Canon 7D Mark II, 100 to 400 mm zoom, 1.4 Extender. Auto focus with central sensor only.
Commom Merganser, male. ISO 2000, f/8, 1640 of a second, Canon 7D Mark II, 100 to 400 mm zoom, 1.4 Extender. Auto focus with central sensor only.

Playback Menu

The Playback Menu which is the arrow pointing left to the right it's the blue menu system. We don't make any changes on those until we get to the third screen and it says Highlight Alert.

Highlight Alert We want to Enable Highlight Alert. This gives us the “blinkies” on the LCD when part of the image is over exposed.   Press set scroll down to enable press that again you want that enabled autofocus point that's the only change their click the Main Dial over to the right which is the Setup Menus.

Ring-billed Gull. ISO 1250, 1/1600 at f/8. Canon 7D Mark II with the 100 to 400 mm zoom,
Ring-billed Gull. ISO 1250, 1/1600 at f/8. Canon 7D Mark II with the 100 to 400 mm zoom,

Setup Menu

These are the Wrench icon and are in gold.

On the first screen scroll down and change the File numbering, set it to Continuous.

Auto Rotate This should be set to ON for both the camera and the computer, you should see both icons.

Move to the next Setup Menu screen number 2, by using the Main Dial wheel.

Auto Power Off

Set the Auto Power Off to 30 minutes. This leaves the camera on, for 30 minutes, so you’re ready for any action and don’t have to power up just as the birds fly by.

LCD Brightness leave on auto

Date/Time/Zone press Set you can scroll through and choose the month, the day, the year and then the time. Scroll through and then you can pick your time zone. Which you should also change if you travel to a different one so your camera records the correct times the image was made.

Language I guess the default English works.

Viewfinder Display I don’t make any changes here, I like an uncluttered viewfinder, so I keep things to a minimum.

Use the Main Dial to scroll to the third Setup Menu. Third setup menu starts with video system I don't make any changes on this screen.

Use the Main Dial to get to the fourth screen, scroll down to Copyright Information.

Press the Set button scroll down one more time you can enter your name in the Author's Name area. The “Q” button allows you to move between the letter selection box and the entering box to came corrections etc. Once you have entered your name press the Menu button, then use the Quick Dial to move to “OK,” then press the Set button.

Scroll down to Enter Copyright Details

Enter data the same way as above, if you want to. I prefer to have Lightroom 5 put in my copyright information when I import the images, rather then have my camera do this.

Mallard ISO 800
Mallard ISO 800

Custom Function Menu

Use the Main Dial and scroll over to the Custom FunctionsMenu with the orange set of menus and that's a little camera with that looks like exposure bracketing symbols underneath of it.

No changes on any of these five screens.

You’ve finished setting up the Menu selections on the Canon 7D Mark II. I’ll have Part 2 the remaining camera setting out soon. Then I’ll do Part 3 the Auto Focusing options with the Canon 7D Mark II.

Enjoy!

Thanks

Tim