HOW TO... shoot in HEIF format on Canon cameras

How to shoot in HEIF format on Canon cameras
Tutorial

Canon introduced HEIF as an image format on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and it’s also featured on the new mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS R6 and EOS R5, but what is HEIF format and how do you access it?

What is HEIF image format?

HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image Format. It’s actually been around on iPhones since 2017 and it’s designed to enable higher-quality images to be saved with a smaller size than Jpegs.

With the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, for example, HEIF images have 10-bit colour instead of the 8-bit of Jpegs. That can result in better tonal gradations and more natural-looking images.

How to set HEIF on a Canon camera

If you have a Canon EOS R6, R5 or EOS-1D X Mark III, you may have headed to the image quality and file format settings expecting to see HEIF listed but been disappointed. That’s because there are a couple of other settings that you need to select before it becomes accessible. Here’s what you need to do to shoot HEIF images.

01 Set the shutter mode to Mechanical

Canon HEIF

HEIF images can only be shot when the mechanical shutter is in use, not the electronic shutter. To switch from electronic to mechanical shutter, press the menu button and head to tab 6 of the first section of the menu and make the change.

02 Activate HDR PQ Shooting

Now press the menu button again and head to tab 4 of the first section, you’re looking for the HDR PQ settings. Set HDR Shooting HDR PQ to ON.

Canon HEIF

03 Set HEIF

How to shoot in HEIF format on Canon cameras

HEIF image format is now available as an option in the image quality section of the menu. As with Jpegs, you can select the size of HEIF image that you want to record and shoot them with or without simultaneous raw files.

04 Use Highlight Priority Tone

Canon recommends that Highlight tone priority is activated when you’re shooting HEIF images. This enabled via the second tab of the first section of the camera’s menu. It can be set to one fo two levels, D+ or D+2. We tend to use D+.

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