Oct 31, 2018
What's New: Customizing the EOS R
Author: Rudy Winston
Time:

The Canon EOS R is unquestionably the most potentially customizable camera ever from Canon, as of its late 2018 introduction. In this article, we’ll try to give users and those considering this camera an idea of what customization is possible, and how you might use some of the extensive choices to streamline camera control in different situations.

We’ll concentrate on the customization of buttons on the camera. In fact, within the EOS R’s Custom Functions menu, there are separate categories for how you can modify its controls:

Customize buttons
This will be the primary focus of this article

Customize dials
Change the operation of the Main Dial, Quick Control Dial, and Control Ring on Canon's RF lenses (and on the optional Control Ring Lens Mount Adapter EF-EOS R)

Customize M.Fn bar
Here is where you determine functionality for the touch-sensitive Multi-function bar

camera setting screen showing the Customize Buttons option
The EOS R has separate menu categories for customizing different types of controls. In this article, we’ll limit our discussion to customizing buttons, which is highlighted on this menu screenshot from the camera’s 4th Custom Functions menu screen.

Buttons That Can be Customized

Within the Customize buttons category, the EOS R lets users change the function of 14 different camera controls for still-image shooting; if the camera is set to a video recording mode, that drops to 12 different buttons.

We’ll break them into the available buttons located on the top of the camera, and those on its back:

top down photo of the EOS R camera with highlighted buttons
photo of the back of the EOS R camera highlighting buttons on the back

Top of camera:
Shutter button
Movie start button
M.Fn button
LCD panel illumination button
Mode button

Back of camera:
AF-ON button
AE Lock button (with asterisk icon)
AF point button
UP control key
LEFT control key
RIGHT control key
DOWN control key
SET button


Lens AF Stop buttons (on select Canon super-telephoto lenses only)

At the risk of sounding hopelessly obvious, be aware that most buttons we’re going to discuss are labeled on the camera (example — the AF-ON button), and if you customize it to change what it does, the label remains with the factory setting. It’s up to each user to know and understand what any re-mapped buttons will do, after he or she has begun to customize the EOS R camera.

Only one item from the list of customization can be applied to a particular button. You’re free to change to another function for a given button at any time, or return it to its factory-default setting. But you can’t assign several customization functions to one button, beyond what a particular customization option allows.

And, only these buttons can be re-configured. Other buttons on the camera, like the INFO or ERASE buttons, for example, cannot be customized, and you won’t see them available on the Customize Buttons screen.

 

Range of Possibilities

A few general points here, before we dive into the details. First, while the number of potential changes users can apply to most of the buttons are much more extensive than we’ve seen on previous Canon EOS DSLRs, each control has a specific, factory-set list of possible functions you can apply. And, these do vary in some cases, from one control to another. For instance, there are 25 possible choices to modify the rear AF point select button when you shoot still images, but 41 for the adjacent AE Lock button.

Furthermore, it’s not possible (as of late 2018) to add or delete items from the factory-set customization list for each control — if a feature isn’t listed on the menu for customizing a particular button, it can’t be added to that button’s capabilities.

Even with this, the list of possible changes is far more extensive than we’ve seen in previous Canon EOS DSLRs. To take just one example, the AF-ON button on the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X Mark II digital SLR camera gives the user 9 possible ways to customize it; the same AF-ON button on the EOS R provides 41 possible choices.

Close up photo of the AF ON button on the EOS R Camera
The AF-ON button is one example of a control on the EOS R with extensive potential for customization. The camera’s menu lists 41 possible functions you can apply to this button…only one at a time can be applied, but this is a vastly wider range of custom choices than we’ve seen in previous Canon EOS digital SLRs.

And, the EOS R’s customization changes, depending on if the camera is in a still-image shooting mode, or switched over to a video shooting mode. Set to video, you lose the ability to customize the function of the Movie Start button (on top of the camera, with the red dot icon), and the shutter button, via the Customize buttons menu. (However, in a video shooting mode, there are settings in the 4th Set-up Menu screen for Shutter Button function, allowing users to modify how it operates for a half-press and full press during video shooting.)

And, in a video shooting mode, the possible functions you can apply to a particular button sometimes change from what’s available in a still-image shooting mode. This is absolutely normal, and not a sign of any malfunction.

 

The Customization Choices, Explained

Again, not every button has every one of the following settings. But here’s a rundown of each camera function that you may encounter, for button customization.

AF-related Button Customization

METERING AND AF START
AF STOP
AE LOCK, AF STOP
AF POINT SELECTION
SET AF POINT TO CENTER
DIRECT AF METHOD SELECTION
ONE SHOT AF < > SERVO AF
TOUCH & DRAG AF
EYE DETECT AF
FOCUS GUIDE

Exposure-related Custom Button Options

METERING START
AE LOCK
AE LOCK (HOLD)
AE LOCK (while button pressed)
AE Lock / Flash Exposure Lock
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION (hold this button, turn Main Dial)
SET ISO SPEED (hold this button, turn Main Dial)
FLASH FUNCTION SETTINGS
FEL (Flash Exposure Lock)

Movie Functions for Customized Buttons

MOVIES
PAUSE MOVIE SERVO AF

Direct Button Controls

MODE
SWITCH TO CUSTOM SHOOTING MODE
DEPTH-OF-FIELD PREVIEW
DIAL FUNCTION SETTINGS
AUTO
ALL AUTO
QUICK CONTROL SCREEN
MENU DISPLAY
OFF

Top LCD Panel Control

INFO / ILLUMINATION
ILLUMINATION / INFO
LCD PANEL ILLUMINATION
LCD PANEL INFORMATION SWITCHING

Viewfinder & LCD Monitor Control

MAXIMIZE SCREEN BRIGHTNESS (temporary)
DISPLAY OFF
SWITCH BETWEEN VIEWFINDER / SCREEN (LCD monitor)
ECO mode
MAGNIFY / REDUCE

Quick Access to Shooting Features

IMAGE QUALITY
ONE-TOUCH IMAGE QUALITY SETTING
ONE-TOUCH IMAGE QUALITY WITH HOLD
PICTURE STYLE
SELECT FOLDER
WI-FI® FUNCTION

Image Playback Features

PROTECT
RATING

Summary

We’ve outlined the tremendous potential for customizing the buttons on the EOS R camera, and hopefully provided some insight into what the different settings would do, and why a user might want to consider applying them to a given button on the camera.

As we said initially, there are separate menus for customizing the dials on the camera (that is, the Main Dial, the Quick Control Dial, and the Control Ring on Canon’s RF lenses and the optional Canon Control Ring Lens Mount Adapter EF-EOS R). And, there’s another separate menu item for setting up and customizing the touch-sensitive Multi-function bar, on the back of the EOS R camera.

There’s a lot here, but as you go through the options, think of things you’d like to be able to simply get to quickly as you shoot video or still images, and whether there’s a button that if customized that way would make your shooting experience smoother and faster. Even if you only end up customizing a button or two, you’ve taken a step toward making the EOS R camera your EOS R.

Presenter,Contributor,Rudy Winston

Rudy Winston

Canon Technical Advisor

 

Rudy Winston has more than 20 years experience with Canon USA's Pro Products team, and has been responsible during that time for training Canon's staff on new products, creating presentations for customers and dealers, numerous writing projects, and providing technical assistance to professional and amateur photographers. Currently, he's a key figure in Canon's growing Education department, and contributes to many of the on-line articles and resources on Canon USA's Digital Learning Center, as well as to Canon's Live Learning events. During his career at Canon, he's had hands-on experience with nearly every Canon EOS camera and lens, and has outstanding working knowledge of everyday use of the EOS system. Rudy has worked in the photography field virtually his entire adult life. Before coming to Canon, he had an extensive career as a freelance photographer, including years of experience shooting professional sports, as well as experience in retail camera sales.
   


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