Canon D30 Tips (Last Updated March 21, 2002)

Since getting my D30 last December, I've come across a number of different tips, and somewhat obscure information, that have made a huge difference in getting better quality and more consistent results in my shooting. The purpose of this page is to put in one place these little pieces of data that are scattered all around the internet. The most recent tips are added to the bottom of the numerically itemized list.

Some of these are obvious, some are rather obscure, but all have helped me quite a bit. They are listed not in any order of importance, but just as they've occurred to me. As the list grows, I might need to organize it better or differently, but this will suffice for starters.

Essentially none of these are my own discovery, and I've attributed the source where possible. I consider this to be an open list, so if any of you D30 users have suggestions for items to add, please email me, so we can make this list as complete as possible.

Many of the initial comments I've received have dealt more with general digital imaging issues, especially how to properly edit pictures in PhotoShop or other editor. I am definitely not a PhotoShop "Guru" and there is an abundance of information on this subject elsewhere on the web. Rather than trying to duplicate what's readily available elsewhere, I think it would be more appropriate to include a list of Links here to try and give people a running start in this area. If you know of some good sites, please send them to me and I'll include as many as seems reasonable to be helpful, and not overwhelm with too many choices.

  1. Review Menu Setting to include Histogram Display: The Review Menu option includes "Off" "On" and "On(Info)". With the third option selected, immediately after each shot, for whatever Review Time you have set, the LCD shows a thumbnail of the picture just taken, but includes the Histogram display, including the "blinking" areas showing where highlights have been blown out. Getting this type of immediate feedback enables you to quickly make any adjustments and get the exposure you're looking for.
  2. CustomFunction 12 set to change ISO: The ability to change ISO on the fly is a huge advantage of shooting digital, and setting CF12 to 2 makes this function instantly accessible. You just hit the "set" button, and can then rotate either the Main Dial or Quick Control Dial to change ISO.
  3. False Camera Lockup: If you have the Battery Grip (BG-ED3) attached and turned on, if its Main Dial is "inbetween clicks," this effectively prevents any of the main camera controls from operating. Just rotate this dial so it's in a normal click position to immediately fix this problem.
  4. Effectively Eliminate Shutter Lag Part 1: After one or more shots are taken, if you keep the shutter button half-depressed, rather than fully releasing it, you will be able to immediately take additional shots without any pause (other than if your buffer is completely full from previous shooting). If you do fully release it, the camera puts transferring the buffer data to the CF card as the priority, and there will be a lag when you try to shoot again if it hasn't finished storing all the images.
  5. Effectively Eliminate Shutter Lag Part 2: If you set CustomFunction 2=3, and have the AF set to AI Servo, you'll be able to shoot at will, with no waiting for focus lock. Further information on the features associated with CF2 are discussed by Chuck Westfall of Canon here.
  6. Blue Cast with AutoWhiteBalance in Outdoor Shots: I discovered early on that when the camera is set to AWB, and you're taking pictures outdoors, a large percentage of the images will suffer from a slight blue cast. To fix it, go to Curves or Levels, choose the Blue Channel, and tweak according to the needs of that image. Many people probably don't realize it's there until they see the improvement when it's fixed.
  7. Images are "Soft" coming out of the Camera: Canon seems to have made a design decision here, where in-camera sharpening is much less agressive than what's done in many/most other digital cameras. As a result, people are initially disappointed with what the D30 produces. But once they understand Canon's strategy, and learn a little about Unsharp Mask, it's seen that D30 images sharpen just beautifully. I'll soon be providing more information on sharpening techniques.
  8. Recover "blown" highlights (Added Aug. 3, 2001): Fred Miranda has come up with a PhotoShop 'action' that will enable D30 users to recover a fair amount of detail in areas previously thought to be totally over-exposed. This involves using both a regular conversion from Raw, combined with a 2nd "Linear" conversion. Click here to go to this page at Fred's site.
  9. Regain AutoFocus with use of TeleConverters (Added Aug. 3, 2001): When various teleconverters (1.4x, 2x) are used, minimum aperture drops by either 1 or 2 stops. If this gets below f/5.6, the D30 will no longer be able to AutoFocus. It has recently been suggested that if you apply a little tape to three of the eletrical contacts, you will prevent the D30 from "knowing" that the aperture is now smaller than f/5.6, and it will continue to at least try to AutoFocus. If you're shooting in fairly bright light, it may still function fairly well, but certainly not as well as with a larger aperture. No problems have been reported, but this is not a Canon-recommended or approved procedure. Click here to review the thread at Phil Askey's forum which discusses this. Click here to see a picture of which contacts to tape, at Fred Miranda's site.
  10. Use of Focus Confirmation with Manual Focus mode (Added Aug. 3, 2001): If you've got your lens set to MF to focus manually for whatever reason, when AF is engaged (either via half-shutter press, or * button when AF is assigned there), the confirming focus dot will light when optimal focus is present at whatever focus point you've selected. If you're shooting in very low-light or low-contrast conditions, the dot won't easily light and confirm (since AF is difficult under these conditions), but when shooting macro, studio portraits, or in other situations where you prefer Manual Focus, this can be helpful.
  11. CMOS Cleaning (Added Aug. 11, 2001): Inevitably, dust will settle on the CMOS sensor and cleaning will be necessary. Problems become most apparent when shooting at small apertures (typically f/16, f/22, f/32). Many have found Canon's recommended method of using a non-pressurized blower without any physical contact with a brush, swab, etc. to be inadequate. The only other "official" Canon option is to send it in for servicing, but even there some have reported the problem either not fixed or worsened after Canon servicing. The following threads at DP Review and Rob Galbraith's D30 Forum provide additional information for those interested, but are not being endorsed or recommended as only Canon can do this: DP Review Thread, Galbraith Thread # 1, Galbraith Thread # 2, Galbraith Thread # 3.
  12. Download Canon D30 Manuals (Added Aug. 11, 2001): This can come in handy, so just go here and you can right-click and download the D30 Hardware and/or Software Manuals in Adobe PDF Format (as well as manuals for other Canon digital cameras).
  13. Shoot Macro with Canon 100-400 plus Extension Tubes or Canon 500D Closeup Lens (Added Aug. 19, 2001): Working distance is a common problem with macro photography, as many subjects won't let you get close enough with a 100 mm macro lens to get the shot you're looking for. The long focal length of the 100-400 zoom can be very helpful here, but the MFD (minimum focusing distance) for this lens is 69" which isn't quite close enough. This can be addressed by adding varying lengths of Extension Tubes (I use the 3-tube set made by Kenko). Magnification up to about 0.5 can be achieved. The following table shows the approximate new MFD's with varying amounts of extension:


    MFD (from end of lens)

    MFD (from sensor plane)

    20 mm



    36 mm



    68 mm


    Finally, Ben Miller has done some excellent work using the Canon 500D Closeup Lens with the 100-400 lens. This combination is able to achieve magnification of about 0.8, with a working distance of 27" from the sensor plane. The focusing range is quite narrow (about 27" to 33"), but the magnification is high. For more information on this, along with some spectacular samples, click here.
  14. What parameter settings should I use?: (Updated Oct. 10, 2001): There's no right or wrong here, but it's a frequently asked question. My personal preference is to use Low Contrast and Low Sharpening to provide maximum flexibility when post-processing the shot and High Saturation, as color shifts seem less problematic when decreasing than when increasing saturation. The D30 must be connected (via the USB cable) to your computer to upload your Parameter selections, using either ZoomBrowser or the TWAIN driver. Once uploaded, you must then select the Parameter Set you want to use in the D30's menu system. In addition, there is an excllent discussion of this topic in a thread at Rob Galbraith's D30 forum - click here to read what's there.
  15. Use the 550EX's Red Focus Assist light without a flash or pre-flash: (Added Dec. 9, 2001): The trick is setting the 550EX to "TTL" mode rather than "ETTL" mode. This is done via CF3 on the flash - press the LCD Lighting button, hold it for a few seconds, and the CF symbol will come up. Click on SEL/SET until CF3 comes up (it actually looks like CF30 since "0" is the default value). When CF3 shows up, press "+" and the value will change to 1. Hit the display button again. "TTL" now shows up as the mode. Make sure CF5 on the camera is set to 0, turning on the Focus Assist light. The FA light will now function normally. But since the D30 doesn't "do" TTL, when you hit the shutter button, there's no flash, no pre-flash, etc. People with the 550EX can now use its Focus Assist light, and not disturb subjects with either a flash or even a pre-flash. I just tried it out and it works like a charm. I credit Mark Morgan and Mike Kuder who tracked down this trick on the newsgroup. Note: this tip only works in the "creative zone" modes of shooting, and not the "easy shooting" modes. Further you must have the center focus point selected (thanks to Phil Wigglesworth for tracking this down).
  16. Prevent Battery Drain when your D30 is turned 'off': (Added Dec. 22, 2001): Dan Foody and Allen Pacheco (at Phil Askey's DPReview site) tracked down a sporadic occurrence many D30 users have seen, where after a few days of non-use, they turn their camera on only to find the battery (or batteries if the Battery Grip is in use) completely dead. I've encountered this myself on several occasions. It turns out that if a lens is removed while the camera is off, in many cases when another lens is then put on, the camera then puts a 28mA continous drain on the batteries - and this is with the camera switch turned off. To prevent this, they recommend that after a lens is changed on a D30 which has been turned off, that it be briefly turned on and then off again once the new lens has been attached. You can read the complete thread at Askey's site here.
  17. Flash Photography with EOS Cameras: (Added Jan. 20, 2002): while this is not D30-specific, this webpage (NK Guy is the author) contains just about everything you ever wanted to know about flash photography in Canon EOS cameras. It's fairly lengthy, and I've not reproduced it here, but here is the link.
  18. Sigma EF500 Flash Users: Red Focus Assist Light without flash or pre-flash: (Added March 21, 2002): Yatin Chachad has come up with a solution to this problem, so Sigma users can get this same function as 550EX users in the tip above. This is a direct quote from Yatin's post at DPReview: "Mount the Flash onto the camera. Turn camera and Flash on. Keep pressing the [Mode] Button until you get to the manual ISO setting. Wait. Here is the catch. The mode on the camera has to be set to FULL MANUAL ONLY for it to work. Half press the shutter button, and hey presto, the red light comes on. Instant focus!!! Meter manually, and fire away. No flash will come on. Enjoy Photo. It does not work well in other modes, because the camera messes up the shutter speed or the aperture in all other modes."

Additional Tips and Information on the D30 can be found on the following pages on this site:

Chuck Westfall Tips: Chuck Westfall is the manager of the Camera Divison Technical Information Dept of Canon U.S.A. He has participated on occasion at Rob Galbraith's D30 Forum, and has provided some extremely valuable information and insight into D30 related issues. This page summarizes what he had to say there, along with links to the original discussions.

Canon Letter to D30/Flash Users: This page contains the contents of a letter from Canon, which was included when some users had returnedtheir equipment to check flash metering calibration due to apparent problems with Underexposure. It provides considerable detail on how to use the various features on the D30 to get consistent, accurate exposures when using Canon's E-TTL flashes.

IS and Tripod Use (Added Jan. 12, 2002): Questions frequently come up about whether or not the Image Stabilization (IS) available on many Canon lenses should be turned on or off when used on a tripod. This section provides information and details on this topic.

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