2012-11-15

Configuring your 'My Menu' facility


The increasing sophistication and controls found on modern DSLR’s often results in a multitude of different menus available to the end user. More often than not, only 30% of this functionality is actually used. The amount of control and the subsequent number of options displayed when entering the menu console often results in confusion. I remember that when I first changed from Canon to Nikon I was quite bemused to find such a complicated arrangement of menu and sub-menu options.


By default Nikon tend to use a menu structure which can be best described as that of a Russian doll principle or a menu within a menu. Although Canon employs a more logical structure they tend to increase the number of menus available with each and every new model produced. This is particularly evident with the recently introduced Canon 7D which has no less than nine separate menus.

There is however a simple solution to this problem, in hindsight both Canon and Nikon provide the facility for the user to create an individual menu based on their most commonly accessed settings; this facility is otherwise known as the My Menu facility.

Canon DSLR’s
Modern Canon DSLR models allow for the user to program up to six individual controls to the My Menu, this programmable menu can be found by navigating to the end of menu tabs and is displayed via the green star icon. Once configured for the users’ preference it is automatically displayed when the menu button is depressed. There is also a facility in which the camera reverts to this home position if additional menus are accessed and the camera is switched off. The My Menu facility was first introduced on the Canon 40D.

My Menu available on the following EOS models 
  • EOS 450D 
  • EOS1000D 
  • EOS 1100D 
  • EOS 500D 
  • EOS 550D 
  • EOS 600D 
  • EOS 650D 
  • EOS 40D 
  • EOS 50D 
  • EOS 60D 
  • EOS 7D 
  • EOS 5D MkII 
  • EOS 5DMKIII 
  • EOS 1D MkIII 
  • EOS 1D MkIV 
  • EOS 1DS MkIII 
  • EOS I-DX 
  • Canon Powershot G10 (compact camera) 
  • Canon Powershot G11 (compact camera) 
  • Canon Powershot G12 
  • Canon Powershot G15 
  • Canon Powershot G1X 
Navigation of the menu tabs on the Canon EOS 500D can be seen in Fig 1.0 shown below (CLICK image for larger view)

The procedure required for configuring the My Menu facility on the Canon EOS 5000D is shown below in Figure 1.1. (CLICK image for larger view)
(Please note the process shown has been has been shortened in length)

Recommended settings to add to the Canon My Menu facility
  • Quality 
  • Picture Style 
  • Format 
  • LCD Brightness (This is not shown in Fig 1.2) 
  • Battery Info (relevant to the 7D, 5D MkII , 60D & 1D MkIII, MkIV & 1DS Mk III models only)
Nikon DSLR’s

All of Nikon’s current range of DSLR cameras utilizes the same fixed number of menus. (6 in total). Unlike the system employed by Canon in which new features are added to an additional menu tab, Nikon include the additional features within a sub menu (hence the Russian doll association mentioned earlier).This system ensures consistency throughout the range and is the main reason why the menu layout has changed little from the Nikon D70.

Unlike Canon there is no limit to the number of controls that can be added to Nikon’s My Menu facility although the only control that cannot be added is the format facility; this has to be accessed with either a physical two button process or from the SETUP menu.

A slight quirk of the Nikon system is that by default the provision to program the My Menu facility is not apparent, although the facility is found on the last menu in the list by the camera out of the box is set to display the recent settings. My Menu has to be accessed by selecting the Choose tab followed by My Menu. Unlike the Canon models there is no provision to program the camera to return to the My Menu control should the user wish to browse the additional menus.

My Menu facility is found on the following Nikon models
  • Nikon D5000 
  • Nikon 51000 
  • Nikon 52100 
  • Nikon D80 
  • Nikon D90 
  • Nikon D7000 
  • Nikon D200 
  • Nikon D300 
  • Nikon D300S 
  • Nikon D600 
  • Nikon D700 
  • Nikon D800 /800E 
  • Nikon D2X 
  • Nikon D3 
  • Nikon D3S 
  • Nikon D3S 
  • Nikon D4 

Other models in the range such as the D40, D40X, D60 and D3000 have an improvised My Menu in which it is possible to exclude controls that are not used from being displayed.

Recommended settings to add to the Nikon My Menu facility 
  • Image Quality 
  • a1 – AF Area (Nikon D5000, D80, D90 only) 
  • ISO sensitivity settings 
  • LCD Brightness 
  • Battery info 
  • d2- Viewfinder grid display 
Note: Before attempting to add any of the settings as recommended above it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the menu structure of the camera and importantly where these settings can be found. As a guide the above settings can be found in the following menus:
  • Image Quality – SHOOTING MENU (2nd Menu from the top) 
  • a1 – AF Area (Nikon D5000, D80, D90 only) – CUSTOM SETTING MENU (3rd Menu) 
  • ISO sensitivity settings – SHOOTING MENU LCD Brightness 
  • Battery info – SETUP MENU (4th Menu) 
  • d2- Viewfinder grid display – CUSTOM SETTING MENU (3rd Menu)
Anthony Sinfield
School of Photography Training Manager

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