Hands on EOS lbox

When you look at the dashboard of your car, you have a quick overview of how the car is working – your speed, how much petrol you have, engine temperature and revs.

Your Canon EOS camera has a dashboard too. It's called the Quick Control screen – Q screen for short.

Canon EOS Q screenThe Q screen in its current format first appeared in 2008, on the EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II models. It was activated by pushing the Multi controller straight in. In 2009 a dedicated Q button appeared, for quick access to the Q screen. This screen is now found on every single model within the EOS range.

All of the settings that you use on a regular basis can be set from this one interface.

Therefore, learning to navigate and change settings on the Q screen is absolutely vital to using your EOS effectively and efficiently. And, because this screen is also identical on all Canon EOS cameras, if you buy a new camera then it's instantly recognisable and usable.



Check the dashboard

Just as you would check your fuel, your oil and your type pressure before setting out for the day in your car, make sure you check your camera settings.

When you go to shoot with your camera for the first time that day, pause and look at the Q screen for a few seconds and ask yourself if everything is set as it should be. Were you shooting action or stills last time? Had you shot some black-and-white images using the Monochrome Picture Style? Did the lighting conditions mean that you'd used a white balance override?

A few seconds checking your settings can save hours of post-production work or, worse still, a missed opportunity or wasted shoot entirely.

Here's a short article from EOS magazine, explaining what all of the icons mean.


How to use the Q screen

As most models today featured touch controls, you simply activate the screen by pressing the Q on-screen – or the Q button – this will highlight one of the boxes on-screen and then you tap the item you want. This takes you into a more detailed screen where you select the setting you want.

If your camera does not feature touch control, then the navigation is still very simple. Press the Q button on the rear of the camera and then use either the Multi controller or the Cross keys to navigate to the item that you want. Press the SET button to enter the more detailed menu, and then select the item that you want. Depending on your camera model, the navigation will be either using the Main dial on the top of the camera, the Quick control dial or the Cross keys, Having selected the item that you want simply press the SET button to apply the feature.

Many of the EOS models in the range still feature in the old method of setting things with buttons on the top of the camera. On the most advanced models these have multiple functions. One of the functions is set with the Main dial, the other with the Quick control dial. The problem with these multifunction buttons is if the wrong dial is turned the wrong function will be set, which can go unnoticed and cause all sort of problems with images.