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Top of camera controls

The controls on the top of the EOS 450D are identical to the EOS 400D except for the welcome addition of an ISO button. One other design change is the angle of the shutter release button which is now tilted more towards 45 degrees (the 400D's button was flatter), behind this is the main dial, to the left the exposure mode dial and power switch and finally two buttons 'under your thumb' are AE lock and AF point selection.

Basic zone exposure modes

Full Auto and the six scene exposure modes are collectively referred to as the 'Basic Zone', in this 'Zone' certain settings are either fixed, restricted or unavailable, as shown in this table. Restricted / variable settings are detailed in the second table. In the basic zone the camera will indicate that blur may occur because of slow shutter speeds, it does so by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD and viewfinder status bar.

Fixed settings

Fixed or restricted settings

Unavailable settings
Metering mode (Evaluative) AF mode Custom functions
Color space (sRGB) Drive mode AE lock
Flash compensation (0 EV) Flash mode Bracketing
Exposure compensation (0 EV) Picture Style RAW image format
ISO sensitivity (Auto)    
White balance (Auto)    
AF point selection (Auto)    
Auto Lighting Optimizer    

Limited variable settings in Basic zone

Icon Basic zone mode AF
Picture Style
Fully Automatic Exposure

Camera has complete control over exposure, point-and-shoot operation.
AI Focus • Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye

Apertures are kept as large as possible (small F number) to produce a shallow Depth of Field (blurred background).
One Shot • Continuous
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye

Apertures as small as possible (large F numbers) for the largest depth of field.
One Shot • Single
• Self-Timer
• Off Landscape
Close-up (Macro)

Aperture is kept to a medium setting to ensure the subject DOF is deep enough but the background is blurred.
One Shot • Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye

Shutter speed is kept as high as possible to ensure capture of fast moving objects.
AI Servo • Continuous
• Self-Timer
• Off Standard
Night Scene

Allows for slow shutter speeds combined with flash to illuminate foreground and background.
One Shot • Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye
Flash off

Disables internal and external flash for taking automatic slow exposures.
AI Focus • Single
• Self-Timer
• Off Standard

Creative zone exposure modes

The five exposure modes will be more familiar to (and preferred) by most prosumer / professionals. All menu functions and camera settings are available in these modes and can be used in any combination.


Program Auto (flexible)

Very similar to Auto exposure but you have access to all the normal manual controls, can set the ISO, exposure compensation, use AE lock, bracketing etc. The Program AE is flexible which means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures by turning the main dial. Example:
 • 1/125 sec, F9 (turn left one click)
 • 1/160 sec, F8.0 (turn left one click)
 • 1/200 sec, F7.1 (metered)
 • 1/250 sec, F6.3 (turn right one click)
 • 1/320 sec, F5.6 (turn right one click)

Shutter-Priority Auto

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the main dial to select shutter speed in the range of 30 to 1/4000 sec (in 0.3 or 0.5 EV exposure steps depending on C.Fn 1).

Aperture-Priority Auto

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the main dial to select aperture (in 0.3or 0.5 EV exposure steps depending on C.Fn 1). The exact range of apertures will depend on the lens used.

Manual Exposure

In this mode you define the exposure by selecting the aperture and the shutter speed manually. Turn the main dial to select shutter speed, hold the Av/exposure compensation button and turn the main dial to select aperture. If you change the exposure the meter graphic on the viewfinder status bar and LCD will reflect the exposure level compared to the metered exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will blink either + or -.

Automatic Depth-Of-Field

This mode, common on Canon SLRs, automatically controls the depth of field to ensure that the subjects covered by all of the focusing points, from those close to the camera to those far away from the camera remain sharply defined (are within the depth of field). Note that AF point selection is set at 'Auto'.

Shooting mode buttons

AE/FE Lock / AF in Live View

Press to trigger automatic exposure and lock the exposure for the next shot. Hold the button to lock the exposure for more than one shot. The exact function of this button can be set via C.Fn 10 (see below). In Live View this button is used to trigger auto focus.

AF point selection button

Press to choose change AF point selection, press the SET button to switch between automatic or manual point selection, use the cursor buttons or main dial to select the point in manual mode.

Play mode buttons

Thumbnail index / reduce magnification

If in single view play mode, pressing this button will switch to a 2 x 2 thumbnail index and once more for a 3 x 3 index. If already magnified it will step back in magnification levels once.


Press to magnify the current image, there are fifteen steps up to a maximum magnification of 10x. Use the cursor buttons to scroll around the image while magnified. It is possible to browse images while maintaining magnification by simply turning the main dial.

Shutter button / AE lock button action (custom function 10)

Sports photographers prefer to use setting 1 or 3 where you can control when the camera AF executes, a simple press of your thumb will start AF, then you can fire off as many shots as you like (more quickly obviously) without the camera refocusing.

Custom Function 10
Shutter button half-press AE Lock button
AE lock, AF lock AE lock
AE lock (shutter release priority) AF lock
AE (shutter release priority) AF lock
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