The Digital Photo Guy

What’s That Q Button?

by on May.29, 2011, under Articles, gear, Monday Morning Tips

Are You Familiar With Your Q Button?

On newer Canon dSLRs, there’s a button on the back, labeled “Q.” Pressing it brings up an editable display on the rear LCD. Nikon labels it’s the button either INFO or “i.” Newer dSLRs from other manufacturers all offer some variation of this control. Until recently, I’d ignored the button because it didn’t fit my workflow. I knew what it did but I never made the effort to retrain myself.

Recently, I began playing with the Q (Quick Control) and found that it has benefit in certain situations. The primary reason for using the Q button is when setting up for a completely different shoot. For example, I grabbed my Canon 7D to photograph a huge dove sitting atop my neighbor’s flag pole. It was so big, I first mistook it for a hawk. The camera was still set up from the day before when I was photographing products in a studio. With a press of the Q button, I could see all the important settings in one place (60D screen used for illustration, right.) Before the Q button, my fingers were trained to automatically run through all the knobs, dials, switches and menus, checking for the correct settings. Now, in one glance, on one screen, I can check all my critical settings. Better still, I can adjust all my important settings with the same three or four controls. This is a huge time savings when I have just moments for a “grab” shot.

So, when do I NOT use the Q button? When I’m in the middle of a series or sequence, I still find it faster and easier to dial in adjustments by watching the display along the bottom of the VF (viewfinder) viewfinder. For example, as I’m shooting a scene, I may decide to add or subtract EC (exposure compensation.) This is much more convenient to do via the back dial and the ELI (exposure level indicator) along the bottom of the VF.

Birds in the News

The hummingbird is back with a new clutch of eggs! Last Thursday, as we were leaving for a quick trip to check on the Arizona house, we noticed the hummingbird is back with a new clutch of eggs. Based on what I’ve read and heard, this new pair of eggs has a better chance. The first pair was quite likely a “dry run,” as it were. I imagine humans wouldn’t be quite so fecund if they had to mate while one was flying upside down!

In Wickenburg, we found a dove sitting on a nest in a backyard light fixture. Since we won’t be returning to Wickenburg until July, the chicks will probably have fledged by then. All in all, it’s been a pretty good last few days.

AOL and Yahoo! E-mail Users

I’m having a terrible time with AOL and Yahoo!. Both e-mail services seem to arbitrarily block my Monday Morning Tips as spam. It doesn’t help that some readers forget they subscribed and mark my e-mails as spam.

To combat this, I’m recommending all readers open a G-Mail or other free e-mail service. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) usually offers multiple e-mail accounts so you can set up a second account for newsletters. For example, Cox allows up to 7 e-mail accounts per account. Check with your ISP for details.

Another idea I’m considering is offering cheap e-mail accounts through my web site. That would give you an e-mail address like “”  If that’s something that might appeal to you, post a comment here.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Wayne Schuman

    Lee, I am from Canada, and on Rogers/Yahoo mail, and Rogers has been tinkering with the e-mail from time to time. But as I recall, they mentioned at one point in time, if having this problem, simply put your return address ( in my address book and it wouldn’t throw it into spam any longer!

    • Lee

      Hi Wayne,
      I don’t recall that I’ve ever had an e-mail bounced by Rogers. I believe the problem is compounded by people who are, shall we say, technically challenged. I’ve had several instances where someone has subscribed but later forgotten they opted in and proceeded to report my e-mails as spam. Thanks for reading my blog.

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