The Recommended Settings for the Canon 80D

The Canon 80D has a complex menu that can easily confuse photographers, especially first-time Canon users. In this article, I’ll cover every camera setting on the Canon 80D and explain how to set each one properly. Although these are just my personal recommendations, the settings below are a much better starting point than Canon’s default menu settings. 

Shooting Menu 1

  • Image Quality: RAW (see RAW vs JPEG for why)
  • Image Review: 4 seconds (personal preference)
  • Beep: Disable
  • Release Shutter Without Card: Off
  • Lens Aberration Correction: Off for everything (assuming you are shooting RAW; if shooting JPEG, all On)
  • Flash Control options
    • Flash Firing: Enable (so the flash actually fires when you pop it up)
    • E-TTL II Meter: Evaluative
    • Flash Sync Speed in Av Mode: Auto (don’t use Av mode if you need a more specific flash sync speed; use manual instead)
    • Built-in Flash Settings
      • Flash Mode: E-TTL II
      • Shutter Sync: 2nd Curtain (to capture motion prior to the flash properly)
      • Exposure Compensation: Varies, but leave at 0 by default
      • Wireless func.: Varies depending upon whether or not you are firing an external flash, and how you want it to fire. Aside from “disable,” the first option is a ratio, where your external flash and on-camera flash will fire in tandem at a ratio you choose (like 4:1 or 1:1). The second option means that only your off-camera flash will appear in your photo (though the on-camera flash will trigger it with a pre-flash). The third option means that both flashes will fire, and you can choose their power independently
  • Red-eye Reduc.: Disable (enabling doesn’t help redeye much; post-processing correction is more effective)

Shooting Menu 2

  • Expo.Comp./AEB: Default (you can change exposure compensation via buttons instead. But this is the only place to change bracketing settings, so keep it in mind if that’s something you see yourself changing)
  • ISO speed settings
    • ISO speed: Matches whatever ISO you’ve set via the ISO button on the top of the camera
    • Range for stills: The maximum and minimum ISO that the 80D lets you set. I keep it at the 100-6400 default, since I rarely if ever need to raise it beyond ISO 6400
    • Auto range: This is the range of ISO values the 80D will maintain when you’ve set ISO to Auto. I lean slightly toward changing this to 100-1600, but the default of 100-3200 is fine if you are willing to accept a bit more noise at ISO 3200
    • Min. shutter spd.: This is the longest shutter speed that the 80D will use when you have Auto ISO enabled and you are in a mode where the camera controls your shutter speed (aperture priority or program). I set it to Auto(1) – one click toward the “Faster” side of things – so the longest shutter speed the 80D uses in these cases is about 1 / [2x the equivalent focal length of your lens].
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  • White Balance: Auto, White Priority (accessed by pressing the “Info” button)
  • WB Shift/Bkt: 0,0/+-0
  • Color Space: sRGB if you’re a JPEG shooter; doesn’t affect the photo itself if you’re a RAW shooter, but AdobeRGB for slightly more accurate in-camera histogram

Shooting Menu 3

  • Picture Style: Standard, default values, unless you have a specific reason to change it (doesn’t affect the photo itself if you’re a RAW shooter)
  • Long exp. noise reduction: Off, unless you are taking especially long exposures (20-30 seconds) and you don’t mind waiting twice as long to capture the photo. This one does affect RAW photos (see a list here of which settings do and do not affect RAW photos)
  • High ISO Speed NR: Off (doesn’t affect RAW photos)
  • Highlight tone priority: Off

Shooting Menu 4

  • Anti-flicker shoot.: Disabled, unless you are taking pictures under fluorescent light and getting uneven exposures
  • Mirror Lockup: Disable, although enabled if I’m shooting on a tripod with a 2 second self timer
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2

Shooting Menu 5: Live View Function

  • Live View Shoot: Enabled
  • AF Method: FlexiZoneAF (since the point is the smallest; but face tracking isn’t a bad idea if you’re photographing a moving person with live view autofocus for whatever reason)
  • Touch Shutter: Your call. This one lets you take pictures by touching the LCD. I don’t like touchscreen functions on a camera (although I realize that I’m not typical in that regard) so I disable it.
  • Grid display: Off (personal preference)
  • Exposure simulation: Enable – this option means that your live view image will look as close as possible to your final photo, which is usually ideal, although the second setting (“during depth of field preview”) is what some photographers prefer, since it only enables exposure simulation when you press the depth of field preview button

Shooting Menu 6: Live View Function

  • Silent LV shoot.: Mode 1. This simply makes it quieter to take photos in live view by enabling an electronic shutter to start an exposure (with the mechanical shutter curtain still closing to end the exposure, then opening back up again). There’s no downside or reason to disable it, except that it doesn’t work with certain tilt-shift lenses and extension tubes. Mode 2 is only for special cases; it acts like mode 1, but manages to be even quieter by not re-opening the mechanical shutter curtain until you press the shutter button again (which you can do at a moment where noise is not as much of a problem, presumably). But this means it is impossible to shoot continuously in Mode 2, and the noise differences are minimal
  • Metering timer: 1 minute (personal preference)

Playback Menu 1

  • No settings here to worry about; they’re mainly just ways to edit a photo that you’ve already taken

Playback Menu 2

  • Only “Image Jump w/ Main Dial” matters here, and it’s a personal choice for how you want the 80D’s top dial to work in playback mode. How many photos do you want to jump across each time you scroll the wheel once? I leave it at “Jump 10 Images” so I can go through large volumes of images quickly. I then click the left and right arrows on the direction pad, or scroll the wheel on the back of the camera, when I want to go one-by-one.

Playback Menu 3

  • Highlight alert: Enable (lets you press the “INFO” button a few times when you review a photo and see any overexposed highlights blinking black and white)
  • AF Point Disp: Disable (personal preference, since it’s not information I particularly care about; see which focus point you’ve used)
  • Playback grid: Off
  • Histogram disp: RGB (more data)
  • Ctrl over HDMI: Enable when you plan to review photos directly from the 80D on a TV screen or other HDMI medium; disable otherwise

Set Up Menu 1

  • Auto Rotate: On, Computer only (avoiding the “On, Camera and Computer” option, since it will make the photos too narrow on your camera and complicate taking vertical pictures on a tripod)
  • Wireless communication settings: All disabled unless you’re actively using them, due to potential battery life concerns

Set Up Menu 2

  • Auto Power Off: 1 minute (another personal preference; how long do you want the monitor to wait without action before turning off?)
  • LCD Brightness: Centered on 4
  • LCD Off/On Btn: Remains on (you can always turn the LCD display off by pressing the “INFO” button. Also, the “Shutter btn” menu option can get a bit annoying, since it only turns off the LCD info when you’re actively half-pressing the shutter button)
  • Viewfinder Display: Hide all (personal preference)

Set Up Menu 3

  • Video System: For NTSC
  • Feature Guide: Disable (though it can help if you’re just learning the 80D)
  • Touch Control: Personally, I prefer “Disable” because I don’t like using camera touchscreens, but most photographers will prefer “Standard”
  • INFO button display options: Enabled for electronic level and shooting functions (personal preference)
  • INFO button LV display options
    • Live view info switch setting: Enabled on 1, 3, and 4 (personal preference, but I like the ability to see a live histogram and an electronic level, as well as less cluttered options as well
    • Histogram disp
      • Brightness/RGB: RGB
      • Display Size: Large

Set Up Menu 4

  • Multi function lock: I never use the locking switch on the 80D or any other camera, but if you do, this one is completely personal preference. I enable all four options so that I am more likely to realize it if I accidentally turn on the locking switch!

Custom Functions

  • C.Fn I: Exposure
    • Exposure Level Increments: 1/3 stop (personal preference)
    • ISO speed setting increments: 1/3 stop (personal preference)
    • Exposure bracketing auto cancel: Enable (this resets your bracketing when you turn off the camera, which is generally useful when you put away the camera; but this also is a personal preference if you frequently turn on and off the camera and prefer your use of bracketing to be saved)
    • Exposure bracketing sequence: 0, -, + (personal preference for the order you want your metered exposure, underexposed, and overexposed image while bracketing)
    • Number of bracketed shots: 3 shots (varies by photo and personal preference)
    • Exposure safety shift: Disable (I don’t want the camera overriding my manual settings)

My Menu

  • A good place to group together all the menu settings you plan to change frequently, such as Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), ISO Auto, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, and Custom Functions

Movie Mode Settings (Same Menu Categories, but New Options)

The Canon 80D is arranged so that you see a different menu depending upon whether you are shooting photos or videos, which you change by flipping between photo and movie mode on the back of the 80D.  Below, I will cover the menu settings that are most important while shooting video.

Shooting Menu 4, Movie Settings

  • Movie Servo AF: Disable (This is video autofocus, and it usually is preferable to disable unless you are filming a subject with difficult movement to track manually. It’s worth pointing out that the 80D’s video autofocus is among the best you’ll find in any DSLR, so feel free to leave this enabled if you need it.)
  • AF method: FlexiZoneAF, or Face + Tracking if you’re filming a person’s face
  • Movie rec quality
    • MOV/Mp4: Either is fine and produces equally good image quality. The differences are too technical to be worth covering here (feel free to look this up online), although I prefer MOV because I’m a Mac user
    • Movie rec. size: FHD 29.97P Standard, unless your output requirements specify 23.98 FPS. Use FHD 59.94P if you need slow motion.
  • Digital Zoom: Disable
  • Sound Recording: Auto (this only controls the in-camera microphone regardless)
    • Wind Filter: Auto
    • Attenuator: Disable

Shooting Menu 5, Movie Settings

  • Metering Timer: 1 minute, but this is a personal preference
  • Grid display: Off, also a personal preference
  • Shutter Button Function: Up to you, but I like the last option: Half-Press for Metering Only, Fully-Press for Start/Stop Mov Rec (which starts filming when you press the shutter button in movie mode)


I hope that the recommended camera settings in this article will help you select the best possible menu options for your Canon 80D! Again, the specific suggestions above are simply what work for me, and your own needs may be different (which is why so many settings exist in the first place) – but these options should be a good starting point.