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Sony A6000 Fast Start

Lesson 2 of 15

Top Deck: Mode Dial

John Greengo

Sony A6000 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

2. Top Deck: Mode Dial

Lesson Info

Top Deck: Mode Dial

The mode dial, the main control dial on the top of the camera is a very important control because it controls the shutter speeds, apertures as well as many other features that are happening on the camera. So let's have a more detailed discussion about this little dial here. So, let's start with the simplest of the modes, the Intelligent Auto mode which is the green camera. If you turn your camera to this mode the camera will have a scene recognition system here where it will try to identify what you are shooting and then it will set the appropriate settings on the camera for that situation. And if you were just gonna hand this camera to a friend of yours to go take photos, and you didn't wanna explain how all the complex functions of the camera work, this would be the place that you wanna put it at. It's gonna do a generally good job in virtually all situations. But as a photographer who likes to really get in and control things, it's very limiting what you can do and sometimes it migh...

t pick the wrong thing. It may not understand exactly what you're trying to do which is why this camera has a lot of more manual options for doing things yourself. A related mode is the gold camera, the Superior Auto mode. And the differences here is that the camera will use multi shot techniques in order to capture an image. For instance, in a really wide exposure range it'll shoot an HDR image or three different exposures to try to get the right exposure combining all three images. And you do kinda have to know it's gonna be doing this to really be aware so that you don't move the camera after the first picture. It takes three very quickly but you can only be using this in certain situations. And so, you wanna be a little bit more careful about setting it in the superior auto mode but it will help out in certain difficult exposure situations for getting better quality exposures. For the most part, I think most people will be better off leaving it in the Intelligent Auto not the Superior Auto mode. All right, the scene mode on the camera, let me change my camera to do that. This is where it allows you to change the camera into a variety of scene modes according to what situation you are actually in. Whereas in the intelligent mode it's guessing what you're doing. In this case, you actually get to dial it in yourself. And so, on the back of the camera you'll see some little indicators of where you have turned that main dial and what it's trying to do in those particular modes with some basic information. And so, this would be a very easy way to start getting in to photography, to kind of just ease in to the right thing. This is how you can let the camera know what you're doing so it's making the right decisions for you. And so, it's just kind of a baby step in the direction of taking more manual control of your camera. Next up is the panoramic or the Sweep Panorama mode here and in this case it allows you to take really wide angle shots because you're actually moving the camera in order to encompass a larger stretch of area from left to right for instance. Now there are four basic different options because there's the standard, the wide option and then it's whether you have the camera turned vertically or horizontally as you are doing this. And you will end up with a variety of different sizes of pictures from that. And so, there are a couple of settings in the camera that you'll need to set up to get the one of these four that you want to have set up. And so, in order to do that you can change the direction by turning the dial on the camera. And if you wanna get in and change the size you actually have to dive in to the menu system itself. And so, I wanted to do a little test here, do a little panorama of the studio shot in front of us. So let's go ahead and take a look at the back of the camera. First off, I do have it in the scene mode right now and by turning the dial, actually I got to put it to the panorama mode. Got to talk about the right mode here. So by turning the dial over here I can change the direction of the arrow and if I wanna get a very wide one I'm gonna go left to right. It's really like going left to right in most cases. And so, now this one I'm gonna actually have to pick up off the camera. Well, actually I will do it so that you guys can see it right there in the camera. I'm gonna turn it way off, I know you can barely see what's going on and so, what I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna press down on the shutter release (shutter clicking) and it's shooting photos and all of these are still photos that it is going to stitch together. You can see the little box at the bottom, I got to keep going and then it stitch it together, so there is our panoramic shot. Let me play this back so you guys can see it. So we have one panoramic shot and I'm gonna see if I can zoom in and look at that nice little scroll. You can see Kenna working over there by the light wall moving over to our screen over on the right hand side. And so, panorama is a cool way of very quickly getting a very wide scene in front of you. Now because of the technique that it uses shooting multiple photographs very quickly, a couple things to be aware of. Number one, you need to pan at the right speed, so you can't go too fast and you can't go too slow. And the second thing is is anything that moves out in front of you might cause a problem in the final image because it might be captured in one, in one place and then it moves and is captured in a different frame, and you might get some ghosting. And so, it does not work well with subjects that are moving around a lot. Works much better with a more static type scene. But good mode to use when you have a really wide vista in front of you. Next up we have the movie mode and while the camera does have a movie button that you can press at anytime to record movies, the movie mode really kicks it in to its full on movie section where it shows you the crop frame that you're gonna be using that kinda wide panoramic look we get from the HD frame. And so, the movie record button is kinda located over on the right hand side by the grip and it is indented a little bit. It is intentionally somewhat hard to press. You don't want you accidentally pressing this just by gripping the camera. And so, that's why the button is in that particular location. All right, let's get over to the more serious modes so we're gonna be going to the P mode which stands for program and this is where the camera is gonna be setting shutter speeds and apertures for us. And you will see this in the viewfinder or on the bottom of the LCD where you'll get your shutter speeds on the bottom left, and then our apertures and you'll also see your ISOs down there as well. So in the program mode if you want you can turn either of the dials to let the camera do a program shift. And this allows you to get a different set of combinations of shutter speeds and apertures, and this is a great way to let the camera mostly have control of the camera that allows you to override things and really say, oh no, I prefer to be at 1/125 of a second or f/8. And it'll hold it as long as it can but as the light changes the camera's gonna jump in and start making adjustments. So, it is another step in that direction of taking more control of your camera and your photographs. Next up is the aperture priority mode and this is where you get to set the aperture. The camera will figure out the rest of the equation by changing the shutter speed automatically for you. So you get to choose the aperture which is usually your depth of field. You might be wanting shallow depth of field or great depth of field and you can make those settings appropriately in this mode. By simply either turning the top dial or the back dial on the camera. The shutter priority is kind of the exact opposite where you get to set the shutter speed and the camera will figure out the aperture. This can be really nice if you have a very specific shutter speed that you're trying to do. Maybe if you're trying to stop action and you know you need 1/500 of a second to do it then you can set that and the camera will figure out the rest of this. I don't recommend the shutter priority in a lot of situations because a lot of times the lenses don't have an aperture that we need in order to get the shutter speed that we want. And so, if you do wanna use the shutter priority mode something I think that we'll be talking about in the future is very important and that would be auto ISO. So if you like shutter priority you should probably turn on auto ISO because that's gonna help you out in challenging exposure situations. All right, so if you like to do things yourself the Manual Exposure is the way to do it because you get to select the shutter speeds, you get to select the aperture and you can decide at how bright or how dark your images are going to be. And so, inside the viewfinder or on the back of the camera will be your light meter which will help give you some guiding reference to where things are set. So I'm gonna set my camera to manual, we're gonna do a little live demo here and we're gonna try to get our camera set on a manual exposure. And so, I have control of my apertures by turning my top dial and you can see the aperture's changing in here. I'm just gonna change it to f/11 right now. Now my shutter speed is 1/20 of a second and my picture is looking a little on the dark side. And so, I'm gonna try changing this around a little bit and one of the things that you may notice is first off, the picture gets brighter and darker. Secondly down at the bottom there's a little MM which stands for metered manual and that is showing me numbers anywhere from minus two to plus two. And that's telling me whether I'm overexposed or underexposed. Now if I go to where this says zero, at 1/15 of a second it looks a little bit dark to me actually, here it is at 1/20 of a second. It looks a little dark to me and it has to do with the way the lighting is here in the studio. I think this should be a little lighter and so, I can just simply take my shutter speed, dial down a little bit longer shutter speed and brighten this up a little bit to my taste and liking on this. And so, I think it's good there it stays locked in there no matter where I move the camera. And so, if I have a situation that either has tricky lighting or I just simply have a little bit of time to set up the camera, I prefer to set up at manual that way I can really make smart decisions about each different step of the process. But it's very easy to do on the camera because we do have two separate dials so you can really separately think about changing your captures with one dial and your shutter speeds with the other dial. Okay. So that is manual exposure. Next up we have Memory Recall. So, if you have favorite settings on your camera that require a whole host of changes, you wanna change the focusing system and the metering system and the exposure system into a certain style that you use on a regular basis it may take you 10 different changes on the camera and quite a bit of time to change there. What the camera has is a memory recall system where you can program in all of your favorite settings and have them available to you with the turn of the dial. Simple have to do memory recall. So, in your menu system and we're gonna get into the details of this a little later on, is there's gonna be two different settings. There's one for looking at what settings you have in there and how to select them. And then there's another one for recalling and calling them up. And so, two different memory systems, one for storing and one for recalling them. We'll get into the specifics when we get into the menu system but the basic scenario is set the camera up the way you would like it to work in memory recall. You would then go to the memory setting which is page seven in the camera settings and you would register that setting as your favorite setting. And then you would go to the memory recall and you would say hey, I want, this is the one that I want to use. And there'll be actually I think three different options that you can store in the camera so you can have a one, two and three stored in the camera and by turning to memory recall you choose the one that you have selected in the menu system. And so, very good system for anyone that has something that's kind of unusual that they shoot on a regular basis that needs a lot of camera adjustments to make right.

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.  

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Sony A6000 Recommended Settings

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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 !