How To Configure The “Oh Shit” Button On The Canon R3
Regardless of what camera you are using, things can unfold in just a fraction of a second in motorsport. So being able to react and adjust to the action happening out on track as you see it is essential for motorsport photographers.
For those of you using the Canon R3, one of the tools that we have at your disposal to be able to adjust to these split-second changes is to configure a Register/Recall Shooting Function button on your camera. Colloquially known as the “Oh Shit” button, due to the nature of the words that usually come to mind just before you press it.
What is the Register/Recall Shooting Function button?
Canon’s Register/Recall Shooting Function button on the R3 is a custom function button that can be configured with specific shooting settings, overwriting whatever settings you are using at the time.
Typically configured in place of the AE Lock button, the Register/Recall Shooting Function button allows you to quickly change to a predetermined configuration of settings by simply holding this button should something unexpected play out in front of you.
Why use the Register/Recall Shooting Function button?
If you’ve been shooting motorsport long enough you’ll know that crashes are almost always unexpected. But they do happen, you are usually panning. Having a Register/Recall Shooting Function button (or “Oh Shit” button) configured will allow you to rapidly adjust to whatever may play out in front of you during an on-track session.
This is an extremely handy tool to make sure you always get the shot, no how or what happens out on track.
How do I use the Register/Recall Shooting Function button?
I have mine Register/Recall Shooting Function button (or “Oh Shit” button) configured to switch the camera to Tv mode with a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th (up to 1/2000th) with everything else in full auto.
That way, it doesn’t matter how arty I am trying to be at the time, the camera will automatically choose the right settings (or close enough to them) to capture the unexpected action playing out in front of me. Then I can adjust the images, as I see fit, once I get them on the computer.
This covers me regardless of whether I’m doing super slow panning shots, or playing with shadows or high-key overexposed shots right before the incident plays out in front of me.
How to configure the Register/Recall Shooting Function button on the Canon R3
To set up the Register/Recall Shooting Function button on the Canon R3, you need to adjust the button configuration slightly. It’s a very similar process to the Canon 1DX, but with some subtle differences that you need to look out for.
Within the menu, you need to navigate to the Custom Functions menu (the brown/orange one signified by the camera with the lines underneath) and look for the Custom Buttons options.
Once you are in the Custom Buttons menu, the display will walk you through what the buttons are on your particular camera and how they are configured. To configure the Register/Recall Shooting Function button, we need to change one of them.
Most motorsport photographers tend to use the AE Lock (Auto Exposure Lock) signified by the * (asterisk) because we don’t tend to use that function. As such on the Canon R3 you might need to scroll through the buttons for a little while to find it.
We want to do is go into the AE Lock configuration by pressing the Set button and then, by using the camera wheel scroll down until you get to the Register/Recall Shooting Function, signified by the camera icon with an arrow pointing to and away from it. Again, it’s buried in the vast array of options available, so you will need to scroll for a little bit to find it.
The next step is to press the Info button to configure the recall settings you would like to use.
By using this setting you can overwrite all of the settings you have configured, from simple shutter speed, ISO and aperture, to how exposure and autofocus are configured, so you will see a lot of options.
The more confident you are with how you use your camera, the more of these settings you can play with. My suggestion is the following:
- Shooting Mode – Tv
- Shutter Speed – 1/2000
- ISO Speed – Auto
- Metering Mode – Evaluative metering
- Exposure Comp – 0
- White Balance – AWB
- AF Area Selection Mode – Expand AF Area
- Subject Tracking – Off
- Subject To Detect – Off
- Eye Detection – Off
This will allow your Canon R3 to do all of the calculations in getting a balanced exposure for the unexpected action playing out in front of you and you can just focus on capturing it.
Switching the AF mode also has two benefits. Firstly it’ll give you are more broad setting to allow you to quickly grab onto the subject/subjects of the incident. But it also gives you a quick visual while reference while looking down the barrel that you’ve pressed the Register/Recall Shooting Function button. Handy if you are also using Back Button Focus and you accidentally brush the wrong button.
I’ve also found that, while subject tracking is very good on the Canon R3, being able to control your focus point with the autofocus override settings while an incident is playing out in front of you will give you the best, most controllable results. That way subject tracking doesn’t grab another car (not involved in the incident) and focus on it at any point.
To lock in the settings, press the Menu button. Then press the Set button to change the AE Lock to the Register/Recall Shooting Function button instead.
You should notice the icon in the Custom Controls menu should now have changed to represent the Register/Recall Shooting Function button.
To confirm the settings have been correctly configured, set up your camera with a slow shutter speed (and any other settings you might want to use) and then press and hold the AE Lock/* button to see the settings change either on the top screen or in the viewfinder.
Tips for using the Register/Recall Shooting Function button
Just keep in mind that the settings from the Register/Recall Shooting Function button are only applied while the button is held down. By releasing the button, you’ll quickly revert to your original settings and camera configuration.
The Register/Recall Shooting Function button on the Canon R3 is a valuable tool in allowing you to rapidly adjust to whatever may play out in front of you while capturing the action trackside.
As we all know motorsport is often unpredictable, which is part of its appeal, so being able to call upon a specific set of settings in a simple press of a button is essential for all motorsport photographers.
Have a go at setting up the Register/Recall Shooting Function button on your Canon R3 to take advantage of this the next time you are trackside. And remember to experiment with different settings so that you can find the optimal configuration that suits your shooting style and preferences.
I've been working as a motorsport photographer in Australia since 2012, building up my business InSyde Media. I am very fortunate that I have been able to work at all sorts of motorsport events including Supercars, F1 and WRC all over Australia and New Zealand. Also, check out my personal website where I document my travels and a few other things.
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