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Sony A6000 Fast Start

Lesson 10 of 15

Menu Functions: Overview/Camera Settings

John Greengo

Sony A6000 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

10. Menu Functions: Overview/Camera Settings


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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

Menu Functions: Overview/Camera Settings

Alright folks well it is time to dive into the menu. As we go into the menu, kind of think of the items in the menu in three different categories. One it's the most common category which is things that don't matter to your photography and that's actually probably more than half of the items in here just aren't gonna matter whether you set it one way or the other. Now there's another big chunk of 'em that you're gonna want to get set right the first time out of the gate, and then you'll probably never need to come back to them. And then there's a small collection of features that you're gonna want to come back to on a regular basis to turn one way or the other, depending on what you're doing in your photography. But we want to make sure that our cameras are set up right so we're just gonna basically go through this from top to bottom, and go through it relatively quickly and make sure that are cameras are set up and talk about why we'd make different settings on the camera. So, first of...

f we're gonna be hitting the menu button, and the menu is broken up into fairly logical tabs into where the information is stored. Camera settings, custom settings. There's kind of a couple particular small ones for wireless settings and applications. We'll talk more of those when we get there. One entirely for playback and another one just for kind of the setup of the camera. Once you get into these tabs you're gonna be going up, down, left and right to navigate your way around the different options. Occasionally, you will see these symbols beside the feature and this indicates that a feature is exclusively for still image photography, or for exclusively movie image photography. Now something that I still haven't been able to figure out is occasionally I'll see a feature in there that only applies to movie but does not have this movie symbol for it. And the same thing with the still images so I can't completely wrap my head around the symbols because they make sense for all the ones that are there but it seems like there should be more of 'em in there. But in any case, that's what I know about 'em so far. Alright. So what we're gonna do is turn on our menu systems and work on the left tab which is camera settings starting on the top which is the image size. This is a 24 megapixel camera. You can also shoot it at 12 or six, and so most of the time you're gonna leave it at 24 I would imagine. And if you have a special situation where you know you don't need as much information, you can scale it back if necessary. Next up is the aspect ratio, and so this camera uses a 3:2 aspect ratio sensor and so that is what makes sense to keep it on, but if you did want to shoot movies, or not movies but still images with the movie aspect ratio of 16:9 you could. But you you can always crop a 3:2 later on. So that's where you would definitely want to keep this one. Next up is our quality which is related to the image size but slightly different. This is where we get to choose whether we're shooting JPEG or RAW or both at the same time. And so, for the most serious photographers you're gonna shoot RAW so that you can get all the information off the sensor and you will work with it later in post production software. If you want to shoot JPEG you can shoot fine or standard. Fine is a higher quality lower compression file size, and that's what I would recommend for a more basic shooter of the camera. You can also shoot RAW and JPEG where you get two files for every picture you take, but that's gonna kinda clog up your system. If you have a RAW, you probably don't need a JPEG unless you need a JPEG right away. So I would say that for very special situations where you need a RAW in the long run, and a very quick JPEG to start off with right now. Now as we go through this, on screen in the keynote that I'm giving and in the handout on the right hand side of the menu, you'll notice my recommendations kinda in gray. And these are for the general photographer who might have this camera. For the slightly more advanced photographer I would recommend settings in red, and so in this case I'm recommending RAW for the little bit more advanced photographer that has a computer that will be working with their images with software, and for the basic user fine quality JPEG will still get you very good quality images. Okay. Next up, we dealt with this at the beginning of the class when we were playing around with panorama options. We have panorama size and then if we go down one more we have panorama direction. So we have a few different options here whether we're shooting wide or super wide and which direction we're holding the camera in order to pan from one direction to the other and so whatever choices you find here. I kinda like shooting standard. The wide panorama is about 180 degrees. It's a very very wide shot. Sometimes too wide I think. And then panning left to right I think is a good standard technique to have. Next up is the file format, and you can see the little movie symbol beside this. So this deals with just the movie recording and so XAVC is the highest quality format. MP4 is a little bit more common format that will be a little bit easier to work with with a wider variety of software systems on the computer. Alright? So that's page one down folks. We're onto page two in the camera settings. First up here is a continuation of the recording settings and so if you are choosing the movie modes, heres where you get to choose the frame rates and the file sizes. How much information are we recording at any one time? Now just as a quick note, FX, FH, PS, these are little Sony designators as to what type of file size. It's kinda of a larger and smaller file size. And the middle number the 24M, the 17M, this is dealing with how many megabits per second you're recording. Now the highest setting in this 60i 24M is gets to be a very large file size for your average photographer. For those of you that want to shoot the most information that would be the 60p which is 60 frames per second. It's a 28 mega, I think it's megabits per second, so it's gonna be the largest file but I think it's a little overkill for the average person who just wants to shoot a few little bits of video here and there. The drive mode is something we have seen twice before. Once it was in the function menu and then there was a button on the back of the camera that deals with it directly, but we see it again here. Single shootings where most people are gonna leave their camera for most basic shooting. (clears throat) So we're gonna see a number of things in here. It's gonna feel like deja vu 'cause we've already talked about this many times. It was in that function menu on the back of the camera accessed with the function button. So flash mode allows us to change our different options on the flash, as I say same in the function mode of the camera so, fill flash is my preferred mode forcing the flash on if it is in the popped up position. As I mentioned before in flash compensation, powering this down a little bit gives skin tones a little bit more natural look if you do a lot of people photography with the flash unit on the camera. Next up is a red eye reduction option and what this does is it fires multiple strobes of flash before the picture is actually taken. From a technology standpoint this is a very cool thing that it can do that it can reduce the amount of red eye by just flashing a bunch of times. From a subject perspective this is a really annoying thing that somebody has turned on on their camera 'cause it shines you with this disco light of lights and then takes an extra bright one at the very end. And if you shoot pictures of kids a lot of times they'll see the first part of the flash and then they'll turn away and they're onto the next thing. And so for timing of the shots I would prefer to leave this turned off. And I would fix red eye in a post production software. The focus mode is once again another one of these things that was in the function menu, and this is controlling how your lens focuses. Whether it focuses and stops, whether it continues to focus on a action subject for instance, or whether you're in manual focus or where you are manually focusing it after auto focus which is the DMF, Direct Manual Focus where you can focus it after the camera has already done its thing with it. Moving onto page three. Starting with our focus area. This allows us to shoot a whole frame or to choose a box and moving where that box is. Once again this was in the functions button so there's a lot of features here at the beginning of the menus that are duplicating. And part of the reason they're here is the menu just has everything in it, supposed to have everything in it. But you can also take features from the menu, and add them to one of the custom controls. Remember the custom one button on the top and the custom two button on the back can be used as a short cut to a lot of these different features in here. Also dealing with focusing is the illuminator. I mentioned this before. This is a light on the front of the camera that will help illuminate subjects in low light situations. It's also somewhat annoying and so this is something that I would recommend turning off 'cause it has very limited real world value, but it has a very good chance of annoying the subject that you're pointing it at. Alright. Notice the movie symbol besides this. The AF drive speed. So we have the option of slow fast and normal. Well why wouldn't we want this in the fast mode? Well think about shooting video, and as you focus on one subject to the next, if you focus on that subject really quickly it's a little bit jarring and it draws peoples attention away from the actual content of the video and more to the technique that is being used. And so that's why I would normally leave this in the normal setting. But if need be you can either slow it down even more, or make it faster if it fits better with the type of subjects that you are shooting. Oh a somewhat related note, the AF track duration is a feature that allows you to customize the way that your camera tracks focusing when it's in the movie mode. And so if you can think about your camera tracking the subject moving towards the camera, and let's say somebody was to cross in front of that person, do you want your camera to instantly jump to that person that crossed in front? Well not in that case, certainly not. And so if you were to leave this on normal it's probably gonna stay within your original subject. If you put it on high, it's gonna be a little bit more jumpy in wanting to jump to new subjects. And in some cases that might be the better choice which is why it's an option. But for most shooting I would leave this at normal. Exposure compensation we've seen this before. There's a button on the back of the camera. There's another function in the function button options for it. It's for making our pictures lighter or darker in the semi-automatic modes like aperture, shutter priority and program. Exposure steps. How big of steps do you like to take with your shutter speeds? Do you want it to be in half steps or third steps? Most people prefer to keep them in third steps so they can be as exact as possible. But there are some people that prefer half steps and you can change it if you want to but, most people as I say leave it in the third steps. Alright folks we're movin' right along. Page four. ISO setting. Guess what? Deja vu for the second time. Got a button on the back of the camera. We have a function option that allows us to change this. But it's also in here so we can assign it as a short cut button in some cases. Next up is the metering mode and once again, same type of thing. Seen it before in the function menus but we can change 'em. Leave it on multi. Uses a really good multi segment system for measuring the light. Very accurate in most all situations. White balance mode, getting the correct color in our images. And we have lots of different options on the settings from auto, daylight, shade, cloudy and so forth. And so auto tends to do a very good job for me which is where I leave it most of the time. Alright, so under the white balance one of the options that I mentioned is that you could shoot a white piece of paper under the type of lighting that you are gonna be shooting photos of to see what color the light source is. So what you do is you essentially just photograph a white sheet of paper and the first thing you need to do is actually to come in here to white balance to custom setup. And then what you need to do is press the control wheel while pointed at a neutral colored object. So you don't even actually have to take a photo of it, but you're just having your camera set and look at a white piece of paper, and it can look at a white piece of paper and understand what color is lighting it. And so then you would register that white balance by pressing the control wheel button and then you would have perfectly color wheel calibrated camera for shooting under those lighting situations and so if you're under very tricky lighting and it's very important that you get it right, this is the way to do it. The DRO and Auto HDR option is something that we once again talked about in the function buttons and this is something that I would most definitely leave turned off unless there is some very specific application that you were wanting to use this. And this is for getting a better exposure, getting wide dynamic range. DRO does it with a single shot image that will become a JPEG. The HDR Auto shoots a number of images. Two images usually and what it will do is it will combine it with a JPEG image as well. So you can not shoot RAW images when shooting this. So occasionally, you'll see a feature that is grayed out on your camera, which means it's not available for use that's because there's some other conflicting issue and so, yeah this might be grayed out because you have RAW image selected. Creative style is gonna give us a variety of options for changing the look of our images with the color and the contrast and the tone. And this is something that I think is best left at standard for most of the shots. If you want to play around with it, feel free. But be aware that you might want to have a standard looking shot rather than something too goofy later on. The picture effect is the strong filter effects that you can get. And so you have to be very careful about how strong of an effect that you want to have in this. And so there's a lot of different things that you can customize in here and so let's do a little demo here of some of the options that we can have in customizing the styles. So, first up I need to get into the menu system. And I need to get over to page four of our menu system down to picture effects. Alright. I'm gonna dive in here. And I have different options like the toy camera look and the pop color and posterization. That's a pretty weird look. And if you'll notice some of them have an arrow off to the side, and if they have an arrow off to the side, you can start changing some of those features and so I'm doing a partial color that's looking for particular colors. We don't have a super colorful scenes here so that doesn't work out too well right here. But we have a soft focus and we can change the exact parameters of things. Here's one, HDR painting. We have a high a low and a medium setting down here. So just be aware of all those arrows of where they are 'cause then you can start tweaking with these things. Illustration, mild, high, low, and so lots of customization but you just have to be a little bit curious in bumping around and changing those little settings in the camera to get what you like. And so that is all in the picture effects. And let's take a look at some of these examples. So we got your normal shot, our toy camera which adds a bit of a vignette, pop color with some little bit more intense saturation on the colors, posterization which is pretty funky, retro pretty faded colors there. The partial color didn't work out totally well here but you can see a little bit of that red coming through. The partial color blue, you can see the blue is the only thing that's colored. Everything else goes black and white. Our soft focus portrait look. HDR painting a little CGI look there. And I really like the illustration look in this one. The trees just look really cool in this one so you never which one's gonna work out. You gotta play around with it. But there's some interesting things in there. So that is picture effects. Alright. Next up is a zoom option and this is a digital zoom which means it doesn't really do anything. What it's doing is it's cropping in on the frame and it's showing you the cropped in portion of the frame. And so this really doesn't help out in most any situation and so I wouldn't bother using it. But it is there if you really wanted to see it. Next up is our focus magnifier and so this is something that will help us focus. So let's do a little live demo on this one. Alright. Let me jump into the menu system. And get to the correct page. And my focus magnifier is grayed out and I need to figure out why is it grayed out? What did I do? And I'm guessin' I was probably playin' around with the focusing system so let me go in and take a look at the focusing system which is currently on DMF and I am gonna change it to manual focus. Go back into the menu system, and now it's available. So focusing magnifier is turned on and this is something that you can use as a short cut button and right now I gotta go into the menu system 'cause I don't have it as a short cut button, and once I see that little gray box, doesn't give me very long to see, I can hit this center button, I waited too long again. Okay. No waiting this time. I can zoom in, and now I can adjust focus. Let's see if I can go in even closer. There I can go even closer. Now let's get focused up here a little bit. Oops. And so now I can see if I'm focusing properly. This works I think even better when you have a proper focus ring on it 'cause this one is not the best focus ring on it. But it allows you basically to zoom in really closely to see if you're actually focused on what you're supposed to, and that's what the focusing magnifier does. And that's something that you would probably want to assign to one of the custom buttons. C1 or the C2 button on the back of the camera. Alright. Movin' forward. Long exposure noise reduction. So this is where the camera is gonna try to reduce the noise images that were taken that lasted over one second in length. Related to that is high ISO noise reduction and this is where the camera tries to reduce the noise images shot at very high ISO's. Normally when things go right you don't get much noise. But when you shoot at a very high ISO or at a very long shutter speed you're likely to get noise. The camera has built in software to help reduce the noise. The good news is is that you can just turn it on and let the camera do its thing. The other side of that issue is that the camera doesn't always do the best job possible for any individual image, and you can probably do better with software on your own if you have that software and you want to, and are willing to spend the time doing it. So for the more advanced photographers they'll probably want to turn this off. For somebody who doesn't want to fuss with this type of thing then you would leave it on maybe a basic setting. And so, that's why I'm recommending turning it off for the more serious photographer, and leaving it on for the more basic photographer. Lock-on AF is a tracking feature that the camera has and to be honest with you, it's a little cumbersome to use. I've tried using this out in the field, and you have to go into the mode to activate it and what it does is it will track subjects that are moving a little bit better than the standard continuous mode. And the problem is is that we've seen some of the newer cameras come out after this camera now that has a more integrated mode that's a little bit easier to use. And so it does work on the camera but it's just very awkward activating this on mode 'cause you have to keep going back into the menu to activate this particular feature. So it's one that I'm not real fond of and I probably wouldn't use too much. Alright. Smile and face detection. And so this is a pretty cool one where it will determine a persons face and focus on a face. You can actually register faces. Let me get into the menu and show you a little bit about what's goin' on here. So let's get to page five down to the smile and face detection. And so in here over on the left we can turn it off which is where I would normally leave it. We can turn it on where it will just look for anyone's face. And, actually on is the third one down, the second one down is on registered faces. What we can do is we can actually a register a face. For instance, if you were shooting a wedding you could register the bride as position number one. Let me see if I can get in here, actually, menu, register faces. Let's see. Okay registering is somewhere else in here but, you can register different faces of importance. So you could od the bride as number one, the groom as number two, the mother in-law as number three, and so on down the list and so the camera will actually pick out who is most important in the focus. And so one of the things that we could do is we could have somebody in front of the camera smiling and it will actually detect when they smile and shoot a photograph. So if you want to have some fun, you can go ahead and try this. Tell someone to have a frowny face and then smile, and it will automatically shoot a photograph when they smile. Now, I prefer to be in a little bit more control of when the photo is taken, and so I even normally leave this in the off position. But, it's a fun thing to play around with especially if you do a lot of people photography so give it a try. Alright. Soft skin effect. So this is only gonna be effect in cases where you are shooting JPEG images. Does not have any impact on people shooting RAW images. And so this just lowers the contrast on skin tone areas to make the skin look a little bit smoother. And so, try if if you do a lot of people photography. I'd be careful I wouldn't probably putting it on high very often. Okay. Auto object framing. So, this particular feature is the worst feature I have ever seen in any camera in my lifetime. This is an embarrassment to have in the camera. What this will do is it will take your carefully composed photograph, and it will reframe it into something that it thinks is good. And so this might be fun as a joke to turn on in a friends camera, but it will obviously only do this one JPEG images. And what it's trying to do is it's trying to save images with a quote unquote more impressive composition well put. Who's gonna have a more impressive composition than the owner of one of these cameras than someone who's taken one of my classes? Please do not turn this on ever, ever, ever. Leave this turned off. And best thing about the whole thing, or the worst thing, is that it doesn't do it consistently. It's auto which means it will only do it when it thinks it needs to do it. Alright, next up. Scene selection. This allows us to change the different modes on the scene. There is a much better way of doing that by actually turning the dial on the back of the camera. But you can do it in the menu section here as well. So, no big deal. Next up is the movie mode. And so here is when you get to choose when you are shooting movies, is it in the program mode, shutter priority, aperture priority, full on manual? And so, the basic shooter who just wants to shoot simple videos leave it in program. For the cinema buffs out there, this is where you can select manual, your 50th of a second, whatever aperture you need. You can take full control of it in that case. The SteadyShot mode on here. So this is the stabilization mode and it's not actually doing anything in the camera. This is controlling the lenses that have the SteadyShot feature, and so this is how you turn the SteadyShot on and off is in the lens. Some lenses will not have this feature. And this feature will be grayed out and unavailable. Normally for handheld photography I do like to leave it turned on. The color space is the range of colors that you're going to be recording, and AdobeRGB is what you get when you shoot with RAW images. But if you do shoot with JPEGS you can choose between a smaller or a larger color space. I always prefer to shoot in the largest color space. That way if I want to do printing, I have the most colors recorded to the image file, so that I can get the best colors possible in the final print. (clears throat) Alright. Final page of the camera settings. Auto slow shutter. So when you are shooting movies, and you don't have enough light, do you want the camera to automatically slow the shutter down so that you have the proper exposure? For the armature photographer who just wants simple basic movies, yeah go ahead take care of those problems. That's nice. And for the more serious shooter, you don't want the camera messin' with your shutter speeds. Because that may be the effect or the look that you're wanting in your images and so, on for the basic user, off for the more manual movie shooter. Next up is our audio recording. So, when you are recording your movies do you want to record sound with them? Most of the time we do, but in some cases you may be using an external device or you just don't need audio recorded for your videos at all. And so that is once again for the movie mode. Next up, wind noise reduction. The camera has automated system for going in and reducing noise. Or actually not an automated system but a system that you can turn on or off. So this is something that you would only want to turn on under really windy conditions. 'Cause you can get very bad sound otherwise in the camera. Shooting tip list will give you a little helpful advice when you switch around to the different modes in the camera. And this is kinda helpful and handy when you first get the camera, and then once you get to knowing what you're doing, it's kinda annoying 'cause it's popping up a window on top of all the stuff you're trying to look at. And so I'd say very shortly down the road of you using this camera, this is something that you'll want to have turned off. Alright so you remember the memory recall option on the mode dial? And so memory recall allows us to view the different settings that we have record in there and we'll have three different options. Memory one, memory two and memory three that we can record and have kind of set to activate whenever we turn that dial to the MR setting. And so it's gonna record the shooting mode, the aperture, the shutter speed and everything in the camera settings section of the camera which is this entire menu section we've been going through for the last 20 minutes or so. Related and next on the list is the memory setting and this is where you actually activate the memory, where you register the settings. So what you do again, is set up the camera exactly the way you want it, come to that section in the menu and then have your settings memorized for sections one, two and three.

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 !