Top of camera controls (left)

The exposure mode dial is located on the camera's top left. Unlike less expensive Canon DSLRs it does not feature the 'Basic mode' automated scene modes and offers exactly the same modes as the EOS 5D Mark II. This includes the fully automatic 'green' mode and the Creative Auto (CA) mode which offers a simplified interface that allows the user to set the exposure in terms of the image results they want, rather than in terms of exposure parameters. Other than this, the EOS 7D offers the traditional program, semi-automatic and completely manual P, Tv, Av and M modes plus three custom set modes. The power switch is, like on the smaller EOS 500D, located just underneath the mode dial.

Automated modes

Icon Basic zone mode AF
mode
Drive
mode
Flash
mode
Picture Style
Fully Automatic Exposure

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

Camera allows adjustment of aperture and exposure compensation, via a simplified graphic.
AI Focus • Single
• Self-Timer
• Auto
• Red-eye
Standard

Full Auto allows only the use of certain settings, some parameters are fixed, only have limited options available or disappear completely.

Fixed settings

Fixed or limited settings

Unavailable settings
Metering mode (Evaluative) Drive mode Custom functions
Color space (sRGB)   AE lock
Flash compensation (0 EV)   Bracketing
Exposure compensation (0 EV)    
ISO sensitivity (Auto)    
White balance (Auto)    
Focus point selection (Auto)    
AF mode (19 point Auto)    
Picture Style (Standard)    

In the automated modes, the camera will indicate that blur may occur because of slow shutter speeds, it does so by blinking the shutter speed on the LCD panel and viewfinder status bar.

Advanced exposure modes

The five exposure modes that include the ones most familiar to the camera's prosumer / professional audience. All menu functions and camera settings are available in these modes and can be used in any combination. In manual exposure modes (Tv, Av, M) you control the shutter speed with the main dial (top) and aperture with the quick control dial (rear), you can reverse the operational direction of these dials with C.Fn IV-1 (Custom Controls).

Icon
Description

Program Auto Exposure (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. Program AE is flexible which means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps depending on C.Fn I-1) by turning the main dial. Example:
       
 • 1/30 F2.8 (metered)
 • 1/20 F3.2 (turn left one click)
 • 1/15 F4.0 (turn left another click) etc.

Shutter Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, turn the main dial to select different shutter speeds. A half-press of the shutter release causes the camera's exposure system to calculate the aperture, if it's outside of the camera's exposure range the aperture will blink. You can select shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8000 sec in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps depending on C.Fn I-1.

Aperture Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed for the exposure (depending on metered value; metering mode, ISO). Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, turn the main dial to select different apertures. A half-press of the shutter release causes the camera's exposure system to calculate the shutter speed, if it's outside of the camera's exposure range the shutter speed will blink. The range of apertures available will depend on the lens used but 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps can be selected via C.Fn I-1.

Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Top dial selects shutter speed, rear dial selects aperture (this can be reversed in C.Fn IV-1). Half-press the shutter release and the meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 3EV an arrow will appear at the end of either the '+' or '-' scale.
Bulb exposure

In this mode the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the shutter release button, use either dial to select aperture.

Top of camera controls (right)

On the top right of the camera you'll find the status panel LCD, directly above this are four buttons; LCD back light and three control buttons (see below). In front of these is the main dial and shutter release button plus a new addition - the Multi-Function button (which occupies the same position as the Flash Exposure Lock button on 1D-series bodies, but is customizable). Along the rear 'under your thumb' you can see the AF-ON, AE-Lock and focus point selection buttons. Again, this layout is, apart from the Multi-function button, identical to the 5D Mark II.

Top panel buttons

The table below shows the relationship between each of the top panel settings buttons and the parameters changed by either turning the main dial (top) or quick control dial (rear).

Button Main dial
Quick control dial

Metering mode

 • Evaluative
 • Partial (9.4% of frame)
 • Spot (2.3% of frame)
 • Center Weighted Average

White balance

 • Auto
 • Daylight
 • Shade
 • Cloudy
 • Tungsten
 • Fluorescent
 • Flash
 • Custom
 • Kelvin temperature (2500 - 10000 K)

Auto focus mode

 • One Shot (focus lock on half-press)
 • AI Focus (locks but monitors movement)
 • AI Servo (continuous predictive focus)

AI Focus mode initially locks just like One Shot mode but monitors the focused subject, if the subject moves it will automatically switch to an AI Servo operation.

Drive mode

 • Single shot
 • Continuous
 • Self-Timer 10 sec (IR mode)
 • Self-Timer 2 sec (IR mode)

You can optionally combine self-timer with mirror lockup (to reduce mirror induced vibration) via C.Fn III-6.

ISO sensitivity *

 • Auto
 • 100
 • 200
 • 400
 • 800
 • 1600
 • 3200
 • 6400
 • H (12800) (enabled via C.Fn I-3)
Flash compensation

 • +/-2 EV
 • 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps (C.Fn I-1)
 • FE lock
 • AE lock
 • One-touch RAW+JPEG
 • VF electronic level
 

Button Operation
 • FE lock
 • AE lock
 • One-touch RAW+JPEG
 • VF electronic level

* Shown in 1-stop steps, 1/3-stop ISO steps can be selected via C.Fn I-2.

Under your thumb buttons (Shooting mode)

Button
Operation
Auto focus start

The AF-ON button allows you to trigger auto focus independently of the shutter release 'half-press'. Note that you can re-program the exact function of the AF-ON button or move the function to another button via C.Fn IV-1.
AE / FE Lock

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. When an external flash is mounted, press to trigger flash exposure lock (via a pre-flash). Like most other controls this button's function can be customized via C.Fn IV-1.

AF point selection button

Press to choose a single AF point, turn the main dial to select an AF point in the horizontal direction or the quick control dial to select vertically. Alternatively you can also use the multi-controller to select a point directly (press the selector for the center point).

You can also change the AF area selection mode by pressing this button and then pressing the M-Fn button to cycle through the available modes. By default these are single-point AF, Zone AF, and 19-point AF. This can be changed via C.Fn III-6.

Under your thumb buttons (Play mode)

Button
Operation
Thumbnail index / reduce

If in single view play mode, pressing this button will switch to a 2x2 thumbnail index, press again for a 3x3 index. If already magnified pressing this button reduces magnification level.
Enlarge

Press to magnify the current image, there are fifteen steps up to a maximum magnification of 10x. Once magnified you can use the multi-controller to move around the image.