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EOS 90D How to Toggle Between Drive Modes


I have searched this forum and the 90d owner's manual to no avail...

Is there a way to assign a button to toggle between two drive modes (single shot and high speed burst)?  Maybe the back AF button for example would be a good candidate for this.

I find myself toggling this constantly while taking photos of my son's sporting events (rowing).

I have been using sports mode but if I can create a custom mode that mimics it and has this functionality, I will do the work!


Product Expert
Product Expert

Hello noleks,

Unfortunately, that is one thing that is not customizable to a single button on the EOS 90D. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.


"I have been using sports mode ..."

I would suggest if you are using Sports mode you aren't getting the best results that are possible with a 90D which is a fantastic camera. However to advise I would need to know more about you gear and how you shoot like form where. Wat lens. Location is the number one main most important thing in sports photography.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Yes I admit I'm still getting used to the camera and admittedly the sports mode is a bit of a crutch right now but I'm getting decent results at least for my requirements.

This weekend I rented a Tamron 100-400 to shoot a crew regatta, where we get a mix of sun and shade over water at 100-500ft I'd say.  The 90d does a wonderful job of capturing the entire stroke of the rowers and there is a minimum blur at T=1/1000.  I have been playing with shutter priority mode and sports mode to see what's different- I can't see a lot but perhaps the sports mode has a little more flexibility to modify the shutter speed to get the best exposure.

The coaches love seeing these full stroke bursts BTW to give feedback to the rowers.  I may have opened up a can of worms on my son Lol.

  • With a little practice, you will be able to trigger single exposures in high speed mode.  I shoot sports with a pair of 1DX III bodies and I leave them set in high speed drive mode (16 FPS) but the overwhelming majority of the images I take at an event are single frames rather than a burst.  It takes just a little practice and then you will quickly master firing single frames when desired rather than a burst.
  • Maybe this is where my years of ham radio experience have come into play.  For sending Morse code, which has characters consisting of a pattern of short dots and long dashes, many of us use electronic keyers which automatically generate a fast string of dots or dashes depending upon which paddle is used.  Sending Morse at 36 words per minute means the dot paddle is generating around 16 dots per second so I am used to getting a single "capture" with a mechanism that generates a string at high speed.
  • For sports, I use manual mode with the shutter speed fixed at least fast enough to freeze motion for that sport and aperture in most cases is wide open (both because many sports are lacking in illumination and because you often desire the shallow depth of field that makes the athlete pop out from the background). Set ISO to auto to let it complete the exposure triangle and if ISO is going too high for the results you need/camera body used then revisit shutter speed and aperture as needed.
  • Allowing assigning custom shooting modes to a configurable button would be a nice firmware upgrade for the 90D.  With my 1DX series bodies I use C1 at many sports events configured with a wider aperture and slower shutter speed to provide roughly the same ISO as the "game" settings which provides a significantly greater depth of field for quick capture of post score celebrations or other times where a group shot is needed.  This is an example of when you instantly need to be able to toggle between two setups.
  • Rodger
EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Yes I agree and I'm getting better at the single shot.  There are times though say when I'm shooting greater distance subjects (as the boats approach for example) that I really only need one and since I am giving folks all my mistakes along with the good shots I'm trying to minimize the total number of shots taken.  This weekend I took almost 700 shots of several boats (there are over 30 heats or starts whether head-to-head or time trials at each regatta)... I'm still learning but this round was 80% less than my second round. 🙂

I suspect you will continue to get better at firing the exact number of shots you need!

As far as sending everyone all of your shots, whether you shoot in jpg or RAW or edit at all (and I STRONGLY advise using RAW since that allows you to make significant adjustments not available with jpg files), the free DPP software from Canon will allow you to quickly look at your images in Quick View mode and select the ones you want to keep.

You can mark the desired photos either with a star rating or a check mark in DPP and the two work a little differently.  If everyone, including you, gets the same set of keepers then the star system works well.  Just scroll through the photos in Quick Check and press the 1 key to mark each one you want to keep.  The star method is hierarchical with a choice of 1 through 5 so it also is useful in creating supersets and subsets.  If you want to create a smaller subset for everyone else, mark those with a 5 star rating and if you want a complete set of keepers in a folder for yourself mark the additional photos for you with a 4 star (or lower numeric rating).  The selection system allows you to select a number plus everything higher so you can do the 5 star group for other parents and the 4 star and above for you.

But my preferred method is using the other DPP annotation/selection system with check marks instead of stars and those allow selection of a specific check mark. 

For example, I always save images in RAW format and I process those through DPP (with a few going to Adobe for additional editing on occasion after DPP does the RAW conversion).  For a few events, I will grab a few photos for the opposing team during post.  So I use a system where I mark primary team photos with a check mark 1 during editing, other team only photos with a 2, and photos that would go to both with a three.

I then batch process from RAW to JPG in groups by selecting each check mark group separately and batching the jpg output into different working folders.  Then it is easy to upload the three groups where they belong with a separate group of images for each team which includes their team specific photos plus those images going to both teams.

This sounds more involved than it is 🙂 

I strongly suggest you shoot in RAW format for best results but even if you only save JPG output, DPP allows you to annotate via star or check mark as quickly as you can look at them.  Then it is a matter of simply selecting the groups via DPP menu in order to copy/move the desired group into its own folder.

At a longer sports event, I may capture in the neighborhood of 1,500 images between three camera bodies.  Using 1DX II and III bodies with L series glass, only a tiny number will not be focused on the athlete(s) of interest and a slightly higher number will be where I missed the key part of a play or there is a composition error in the way the athletes are shown.  So probably there will be over 1,200 "good" images from this event but I will share at most somewhere in the 200-300 range and this number is that high only because I also try to capture every team member who is on the field during that event and for those who typically get little playing time then I will go heavy on them for the game that they do.  I will also have probably 20-30 bench, coach, and other non-sports field photos in the mix. 

At a recent track meet, two Canadian geese did a perfect low altitude flyby directly over the finish line during a 1,600 meter and they made the cut 🙂  As I noted on the link that I shared with the head track coach, "Unfortunately the USAF Thunderbirds were already booked but we were able to get a couple of stand ins to perform a high speed low level pass".


EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


Although Rodger has a scheme that works for him a better, IMHO and the set up most pro sports photographer use is as follows. Use Av mode and set a reasonable aperture perhaps wide open or one stop down. Your 90D will select the faster SS possible for correct exposure. Use Auto ISO and set an upper and lower limit you can live with. Average daylight and use Raw formant, never ever use jpeg. I prefer One shot over Ai-servo and just the center focus point.

For best sports photos you must use a post editor like Photoshop. Not wanting to go that route for whatever reason you can d/l DPP4 from Canon. It is free and is pretty good. Last piece of advise, never show the bad ones! A dozen excellent photos are better than a 1000 bad ones. Besides not to mention the boost to your reputation as a capable photographer.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Thank you both for this advice.  There is a two-day regatta this weekend and somehow my switching to RAW format did not "take" so I took a bunch of JPEG again.  I'm sure that was user error.

Anyway I'm going to try manual mode with RAW format tomorrow and see what happens.  I will install DPP tonight.

I do think that I'm noticing that the AF of the Tamron A035 (100-400mm EF mount) seems to focus a little less sharply than my Canon 55-250mm EFS.  I've Googled this subject after seeing some more blurred images... do you have any experience here?

Please post pictures so we can better assist. So we can see if the blurred images are a result of slow shutter speed or missed focus.


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