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Sony A6000 Fast Start

Lesson 5 of 15

Back Side: Function Button

John Greengo

Sony A6000 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Back Side: Function Button


  Class Trailer
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2 Top Deck: Mode Dial Duration:12:55
3 Top Deck: Other Functions Duration:03:28
4 Back Side Duration:05:18
5 Back Side: Function Button Duration:21:08
6 Back Side Other Functions Duration:05:46
8 Bottom & Card Reader Duration:03:47
9 Front & Lens Duration:07:00
11 Menu Functions: Custom Setup Duration:24:54
13 Menu Functions: Playback Duration:03:32
14 Menu Functions: Setup Duration:10:32
15 Camera Operations Duration:09:46

Lesson Info

Back Side: Function Button

Alright, we have a Function button and this is a button that is gonna be diving into a whole host of features. And so I kinda like to think of the three different levels of controls on the camera. On one level we have buttons and dials on the outside of the camera. If something's really important, there's probably a button and dial to do it on the outside of the camera. And then on the other end of the extreme we have the Menu which is kinda where everything is buried in there, and there's tons of stuff in there but it's kinda hard to get to. So in between these two we have the Function button which is a shortcut to some of the most common Menu functions that you're likely to go to. So let's dive in and talk about some of the Menu functions that we can do in here. So on the Function button you're gonna press the Function button and then you're gonna navigate using that wheel in the back of the camera to go up, down, and left and right. So first off, top left, the Drive Mode. This is wh...

ere we can choose what happens when we press down on the shutter release. The common setting is gonna be Single Shooting but we can set it to Continuous for sports and action, we have Self-Timer modes with various different timers. If you see an arrow pointing to the right or to the left, that means there's more features that you can get to by going left and right on the control wheel on the back of the camera. Kind of at the tail end of this list you'll see a number of bracketing modes and this is where the camera will shoot a series of photos, bracketing something. Often times it's the exposure, sometimes it's the white balance or some other feature of the camera. So let's talk about bracketing for just a moment. Bracketing with the exposure is the most common scenario where you shoot a photograph and you want a lighter version, and a darker version right at the same time. And so when you get into this you're gonna get a little symbol that looks a little like this, and it's telling you that the bracketing is turned on. You'll have the choice of doing either single shot or continuous shooting; I like continuous that way the shots can be taken as rapidly as possible. You'll have a number of exposures and that number will range between three and five, and so it somewhat limited in this range but that should cover most peoples needs. And then on the other side you're gonna get the exposure increment; how big a difference is it from shot to shot? And that will vary anywhere from one third of an EV up to three EV, and this is something that you would likely use in the Aperture, Shutter Priority Modes, or the Full Program Mode. And so this is something that say a landscape photographer might use under a tricky lighting situation. You'll probably gonna want a camera on a tripod and you're gonna wanna be shooting a subject that is not moving around because when you shoot several photographs, you want all the subject in the exact same spot if possible. And so that is Exposure Bracketing but there are other types of bracketing that you can do as well but they all work in a similar style. And so that's the Drive Mode. Next up is flash control and so even though the flash is up, if you pop it up, you can turn the flash off. You can do Autoflash where it will only fire in dark situations. My favorite is Fill-Flash where the flash will fire no matter how bright it is because I think some of the best times to use flash is on a fairly bright sunny day where you're doing fill-in flash on a portrait of a person to fill in the shadows underneath the hat perhaps, or just filling in light on the face. We also have kind of a couple of special modes which is the slow flash and the Rear Curtain Sync for using under low lighting situations, where you still wanna capture some of the ambient light. And then there is also a Wireless option where you can use the camera wirelessly with remote flashes. And so Autoflash flashes whenever it needs it, Fill-flash fires whenever it's up, Slow Sync is using slower shutter speeds, Rear Sync is synchronizing the flash with the second shutter curtain, and Wireless option you're gonna need more flashes from Sony in order to make that work so you can trigger flashes off camera for much better studio-quality lighting from this camera. Now, the top shutter speed is gonna be one, one sixtieth of a second and so your camera will not allow you to set a faster shutter speed because that is the top shutter speed the camera can handle with flash units. So lot's of different flash options in there. We'll see more of this when we get into the Menu system. A little tweak on the flash is the power of the flash. Often times these cameras fire with what they think is an appropriate amount of flash, but it actually ends up being a little too heavy-handed. And so one of the things I highly recommend for anyone that who uses flash, especially for portrait photography, is to power the flash down a little bit so that it's not overpowering your subject. And so in this case I think the TTL-1 option where it's powering the flash down by one stop of light, has a more natural skin tone than the full automated TTL flash system. And this will depend on what the person is wearing and the background as well. And so in this case I think TTL-2 looks more natural in the skin tones. And so this is something that you can kinda season to taste according to what works with you, but most photographers I know have usually dialed their cameras down anywhere from a third of a stop, to one and a third stops. And that's Flash Compensation. Next up is the Focus Mode and this is controlling how the camera is focusing, and there's a number of options in here. AF-S Single-shot is where it's going to focus on a single subject when you press halfway down, and this is great for the majority of the types of shots that most of us are shooting. Press halfway down, your subjects not moving, it focuses, it locks in and it stops. A continuous situation is a sports or action situation so if you're gonna be photographing action, sports, a subject that is moving, you would wanna put it into the AF-C Mode. There is a AF-A Mode where the camera will automatically go back and forth and choose between the two of them, whatever it thinks is appropriate, but I find that sometimes it doesn't always do what you're expecting it to do, so I think choosing either S or C depending on the situation, is probably the better option. Now the other options in here are Manual Focus where you get to just manually focus yourself, and DMF which is where you get to focus after the camera has already focused, and so I wanna do a little demo on how that would work. So let's go ahead and wake my camera up from sleeping. I'm gonna go ahead and hit the Function button to go in and get her over to the Autofocus mode, press this little center button, and I'm gonna go down to DMF. And so I'm gonna first zoom in on my little studio shot over here and on the side of this particular lens, which let me just turn it on the side here, this is the basic kit lens with this camera and this is a very small retractable lens. Now the downside to this lens is that it is so small we only have one ring on it, and this ring right now - let me turn it back so you can see what's going on - this ring controls the zooming. But there's another little lever on the side of it - let me flip it around here to the side - so you can there's a ring, but there's also a lever which electronically controls the zoom. And so that's gonna give us a little bit smoother of a zoom lens. Let's zoom in and out; there's out, we'll zoom in. So, remember our camera and let me go back here and show you, is in the DMF mode right now, so what's gonna happen is the camera's gonna focus - see that little green box, that means it's focused - but if I don't like that focus I can come over to the focusing ring and it automatically zooms in, and I can adjust focus to exactly where I think it should be. And so let me get my camera pointed just a little bit differently, and so I'm gonna press, whoops I pressed too hard, halfway down and now I'm gonna turn the focusing ring, and I could say you know I want that object in the foreground in focus, not the camera in the background. And so I can be very, very fussy with things, but it does require two fingers; one on the shutter release (camera beeps) and then one turning the focusing ring which will automatically zoom it in. And so that's the DMF Focus. It's not something for everybody but for people who like to have a manual override, it's a relatively quick override cause the camera's in autofocus so you don't need to change anything, but if you don't like it, you can go in and touch it up, and then press all the way down and take your photo. So those are the different focusing modes; very important features. Alright next up, Focus Area. This is where we get to choose which area our camera's gonna focus in so let's take a closer look at this, and so your camera has 25 different contrast points which are very good with accuracy, are very, very accurate and they are gonna get you extremely sharp focusing. But the camera also has and this is one of the big benefits of this particular camera, is 179 Phase Detection autofocus points and these are different types of sensors which make it very, very fast in its focusing, and so the camera is both very fast and very accurate over a very wide ranging area, and that coverage area is 92% of the entire scene. So the basic options that we have is we have the Wide, Zone, Center, and Flexible Spot. So first off, the Wide area is just kinda the whole area that you're looking at, the whole 92% of the area, and the camera will just choose whatever boxes it sees in focus, and if they're in focus, they'll have green boxes that will highlight themselves so that's where the camera is focusing on. Next up is a Zone area and this is where we can choose very generalized zones, kinda left, middle, right, group of three boxes that we can move around, and this is very good I think for sports and action photography. Next up is a Center area which is just the center of the frame and this is the one I would most unrecommend if possible, if that's a word. This is the one I wouldn't use at all because the next one is a Flexible Spot and who wouldn't like flexibility in where they focus? And so here you have the option of a small box, a medium box, or a large box, and you can choose whatever works for for whatever you're doing, and then you can move this box anywhere in the frame that you want. I tend to kinda like the medium size box. Tends to be good for a wide variety of situations and then you can use the control pad in the back of the camera to move it around wherever you want. When it does become in focus by pressing halfway down on the shutter release, you will get that little chirp chirp until we turn that off in the menu system, but it will give you a little green bracket which means that you are in focus. Now you may also see some other indicators as far as a green dot outside the area telling you that it's in focus, if it's blinking that means something isn't working; anything that blinks is generally a warning light of some way. Now the camera can also track subjects that are moving and it will tell you about this focusing accuracy or you know, if it's tracking the subject by these different indicators in the viewfinder. And so just be aware of those little lights that are turning on and off; they all have some sort of meaning. And so the focusing area, very important, and as I say I do like that medium size, Flexible Spot that you can move around anywhere on the frame. Exposure Compensation. This is basic brightness and darkness of your image. If you take a photograph of a subject and you said you know, I think it would be better a little bit darker, you can simply dial in a minus number; one, two, or three. If you want it brighter, go to the plus side- one, two, or three - and you can do this in one third stop increments. Now be aware that once you have it set in here, it's gonna kinda be set there for until you change it back to zero. So this is something you would normally want to leave on zero and only change on an as needed basis. Alright next up, this is just simply showing what shooting mode you have selected on the top of the camera, and so this isn't something that you can change here, it's just a bit of information of where the top of the dial is set. So the Creative Style, the best analogy is if you remember the days of film where we had Fuji and Kodak film, and they had kind of a different look to'em, well you can create that look in camera choosing these different options on here. So we have different modes for Portrait and Landscape, and a wide variety of other different situations that you can go in and you can tweak if you want, and there's a lot of different ways that you can select these things and play with them. For the most part, I leave the camera in the Standard Mode and I just kinda let it be there because I just, I would prefer to play around after the game rather than trying to figure out things while I'm out in the field. And so play around as you want with these but I think in the long run, you'll probably be happy just leaving it on Standard and getting very clean shots out of the camera, and tweaking them later on in the computer. Okay next one is kind of an unusual one, it's the DRO/HDR Mode, so Dynamic Range Optimizer and High Dynamic Range. So one of the first things that we're gonna talk about when we get into the Menu system is shooting RAW or JPEG. Now those of you who shoot RAW you're getting the full true image off the sensor and there's a number of image manipulation settings in this camera that will have no affect on the RAW, and here are a couple of'em. If you choose JPEGs, this will have an impact on your images so let's talk about what these two different modes do. So the Dynamic Range Optimizer is a single capture which means it fires the shutter once, takes a photograph, and then using software it's trying to lighten up the shadows, and so you can see in this example here, the shadows as we go from the RAW to the DRO Level 1, two, up to five, you'll see that the shadows become much more easy to see. And so if you wanna see in the shadows, you could dial in a DRO level of five and it's gonna brighten up all the shadows which is really good in some photographic situations, but definitely not all situations. And so I tend to leave this turned off cause this is something that you can do if you have a computer and the right software to work with. If you have to do it in camera, it can be done. Now, very similar to this is High Dynamic Range and it's basically doing the same thing. The difference is in this case is it's using a multi-shot technique where it shoots multiple exposures at different exposures, then combines them into one photograph, doing what most would argue a better job than the previous example of the DRO system. But you gotta have your camera on a tripod, you gotta have a subject that's not moving in order for this to work, and you can see as you increase the HDR level, you're increasing the brightness in the shadow. So they're both designed to do the same thing but they have different systems of doing it. The DRO is doing it mostly off of software, the HDR is doing it off of a multi-shot technique, and both of these once again are only working on JPEG images. They are having no affect on RAW images that you are shooting. Okay next up is our White Balance. So this is the color that we are recording and so the camera is always trying to record the best color possible. Oh very shy system here - there's our White Balance - and so we can choose Daylight, Cloudy, and there's a lot of different colored situations that we would be shooting under. Daylight for instance is a little bit different than a cloudy day. And so we can set this if it's not quite right, we have a number of different fluorescent settings because fluorescent lights are a little bit different. The most different that we normally encounter is our tungsten lights that we have a lot of times in our homes. There are a few more options for getting the correct color. We have a Color Temperature Filter where we can actually set the exact kelvin temperature. If you know that it needs to be at 6,000 degrees Kelvin which is how we label these terms in here, you can actually set it specifically so when you get into the Menu system. We have a Custom setting where you would shoot a white piece of paper and the camera would figure out what color light source is illuminating it, and then correct for it. And then finally we have an Auto White Balance option and this is where the camera will look at the highlight information and try to figure out what color is the light source, and it will correct for it. Now, I personally shoot in RAW for most of my photos and if you shoot in RAW on this camera or in any camera, you can correct for color later on without damaging the photograph. If you shoot in JPEGs, you have to be a little bit more aware of the white balance because that's not as flexible in changing it later on, and so if you shoot JPEGs, you can start with Auto White Balance but if you're not getting the right colors, feel free to jump into this setting here and adjust it to the appropriate setting that works for your environment. Alright next up is our Metering Mode and this is how our camera reads light, and so we have three different options here. The Multi-Pattern meeting - ah, easy for me to say - Multi-Pattern Metering uses 12 hundred different segments, compares and contrasts them, and comes up with one very final conclusion that is generally quite accurate, but we also do have a Center-Weighted and Spot Metering which can be used in special situations. But for the most part I can highly recommend the Multi-Pattern Metering, it's gonna be good for virtually everything that most people are going to encounter, and so very, very good system there; leave it in the Multi setting. And then finally we have our ISO setting and so ISO is the sensitivity of our sensor, and the best quality images will be captured at ISO as far as the cleanliness, and lack of noise in the sensor. As you adjust the sensitivity up, you're generally doing so because you need a faster shutter speed and are lower light conditions in many cases, and your camera may encounter some noise at a certain point once it gets up to a high enough level for instance, ISO 16 hundred and up is where you're gonna start noticing it's not as clean, and as smooth as possible, and so if you can leave the camera at ISO 100, that would be great to do so. The reality of most situations is that you're gonna need to bump up to ISO 200 and 400, and 800, depending on the light levels. We do also have an Auto ISO and that is where the camera will automatically go in and figure things out for you on its own, and for somebody who's a novice at the camera that would be an easy way to just get out the door, shooting proper exposed photographs, but for anyone who really wants to take control of their photography, they're gonna wanna take control of the ISO and set it appropriately for each of the shots that they make. So that is our Function button which has a lot of different features in it, and one of my favorite things is that you can customize which features are in here, and where they are located so if you wanna move'em around, if you wanna add in new features that are not already here, you could choose whatever's important to you and put'em in here. And so this is something that you can customize in the Setup Menu and we'll talk more about this when we go through the Menu system here on page six of the Custom Setup Menu.

Class Description

Dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Sony A6000 with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features. Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential.

In this fast start, you’ll learn:

  • How to use the autofocus system
  • How to use and customize the menus
  • How to use the A6000’s video capabilities

This fast start includes a complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the A6000’s settings to work for your style of photography.  



You've invested in the Sony A6000 so let John help you discover and understand all it can do with his terrific video class. I'm a visual learner so this was perfect for me. I printed his class materials for easy reference. Thanks to John I'm a beginner with the confidence to go out and play with my new camera!

Debbie Walker

MERCY!!! this was excellent for me!! I am not familar with cameras so this definitely helped me understand better how to use my Sony A6000; I was honestly ready to give up!!! Great explanations ! well worth the time!!!


I learned more during this class than I did in 4 months of owning the camera ! Finally able to use the focus options properly, including my favorite; Back Button Focus. John is a fantastic teacher, I enjoy all of his classes and his excellent teaching style. Watched all 3 hours of this class in one evening. From now on I will always purchase his classes when I get a new camera. 2 thumbs up !