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Sony A6300 Fast Start

Lesson 3 of 18

Top Deck: Mode Dial

John Greengo

Sony A6300 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

3. Top Deck: Mode Dial

Lesson Info

Top Deck: Mode Dial

Okay folks, it's time to get involved in the good stuff now. We're finally to really getting into the camera controls and let's start off with a few of the basic controls on the camera. So, obviously you're gonna turn the camera on. When you do that, the camera does have an ultrasonic vibration mechanism that it turns on to kind of knock all the dust off the sensor, anything that might have come to rest on the sensor itself. And so, this will do a pretty good job at keeping your sensor clean, but it's possible that you may have dust on the sensor, and I will give you some tools and techniques later on in the class that'll show you a little bit on how to clean that if you are still having dust on the sensor. So, the shutter unit for taking photos is obviously important. You wanna be pressing down halfway to activate the camera as well as focusing and shooting. We can expect to get three to 400 hundred shots per battery charge, it really depends on how much you have your review screen on...

, how long you're looking through the viewfinder, if you're using the flash. So, mileage may vary, but this is the type of camera that I would highly recommend having a spare battery for, just because you can very easily get through those number of shots in one day of shooting. The main dial on this camera is the thumb dial on the back corner of the camera, and it's just called the Control Dial, but I'll maybe call it the thumb dial or the back dial. Back dial's probably not a good name because there is another dial on the back, the control wheel, which is an up down, left right controller, as well as a dial, and that's gonna be very important for navigating through the menu system and moving the focusing point. There is also a center button in the middle that we are gonna be used for activating, and turning on, and confirming the settings that we have in the camera. So, starting with the top of the camera, the shutter release is a great way to wake the camera up, because this camera is battery dependent and for conserving battery power, it wants to power down quite frequently. So, when you turn the camera on after five, or ten seconds or so, it's gonna suddenly go into a nap mode, and the way you wake it up from the nap is just press halfway down on the shutter release. When you do that, you are also activating the metering system and activating the focusing system. And so, it's doing multiple things before you actually press down all the way to shoot a photo. Now, one of the things I will talk about in my class is back button focusing. Now, this is something that has become quite popular with intermediate and advanced level photographers, and it's a way to separate focusing and taking photos, because right now it's all locked into that shutter release. And so, you can activate that by turning off the auto focus of the shutter unit. Now, this is a shortcut, and I'm gonna give you a number of shortcuts in my class, 'cause I know some of you are very eager to make these changes into your camera right now. So, if you wanted to get your camera into back button focusing, you would dive into your menu system. You would look for the custom setup, page number five, item listed as AF w/shutter, and you would turn it off so that your shutter would no longer auto focus, and if you don't wanna jump ahead, you just wanna follow along with the class, not to worry. We will get there eventually when we go through the menu. This is just for those people who like to jump ahead and get things done right here and now, and you will see those, many more of those as we go through this portion of the class. Next up is the Mode Dial, the big dial on the top with all the letters and graphics, and this controls the shutter speeds, apertures, and other features of the camera. So, let's dive in and talk about this in a little bit more depth. So, let's start with the simplest setting on the camera, which is the green full Auto Mode on this camera. The camera is gonna be setting shutter speeds, apertures, it's gonna put the camera in auto focus, and it's gonna go in and do a lot of other things behind your back, and one of the things that it does is it has a scene recognition mode, where it looks at what you're photographing, and it's not as intelligent as you are, okay? But, it's trying to guess what you are photographing by either how much something's moving around, how bright it is, perhaps what shape it is, and you can see the list of scene recognition things that it is trying to identify, and it might even list this, and show this in the back of the camera with a little icon. Now, if it's the wrong thing and you're saying, this isn't a landscape, this is my lunch, there's no way to really change it at this point right here, 'cause this is where the camera is deciding for you what it's doing, and this is the simplest mode, and I would hope anyone that has taken one of my classes on the camera would be well beyond using the camera in the Auto Mode. But, if you wanted to hand the camera to somebody else to take a photograph, you didn't want them to mess your camera up, and you just wanted them to get basic, simple, decent shots; this is where you would put it, because it's a very safe, simple mode. And so, it's good for starting out, but once you wanna play around and have your own manual control of the camera, you're gonna wanna go to the next setting. It's a little bit more advanced. Now, the Auto Mode actually has two different auto modes. I believe right now, from the factory it is set in the Intelligent Auto Mode, which is standard auto, but they gotta call it intelligent because it can recognize different scenes. There is a second mode you can choose called Superior Auto, and what happens here is the camera uses a multi shot technique to capture certain types of images. If it thinks that there's too much contrast, it'll shoot multiple photos at different exposures to try to capture all that exposure information, and this potentially can get you better photos, but the real caveat here is that it's shooting multiple photos, and if you move the camera significantly, this process will not work. And so, this is something that you really need to be aware of, that you are implementing and using on the camera. I think for most people who are kind of a little bit serious about taking their photography are probably not gonna wanna use this mode. It's just a little bit dangerous you might say, but you can try it out. See if it works for your type of photography, but normally I would just leave it in the Intelligent Mode if you want it to be at the simplest mode. Alright, next up is the Scene Mode, and this is where you get to choose what type of scenes that you are photographing. And so, by turning the main dial on the top of the camera, you can select from the multitudes of different scenes available, and you will see right on the back of the camera or in the viewfinder, what those different options are, and it's adjusting the shutter speeds and apertures to be a little bit more appropriate for that situation. It might change the focusing or the metering as well. So, one of the key things that's important to know about the Scene Mode, is that it is not doing anything that you can't do yourself, provided you have the knowledge and you're willing to take the time to make those settings yourself. The problem that I, as a little bit more serious photographer, have with the Scene Modes, is it doesn't seem like they go fast enough, or they go far enough in what they're doing, and for instance, if I'm doing sports photography. Normally, just basic photography I might be at a 60th of a second, and in the Scene Mode it would say, oh it's action, let's go to 125th of a second, and as somebody who's photographed a lot of sports, I'm like, 125th of a second, that's not far enough. We need to go to 500th of a second and it's impossible to kind of push the camera further. It just kinda gently nudges you a little bit into the right direction. And so, if you want a very, very gentle nudge in one direction, it's pretty good, but for anyone who really wants to take control I think there's better modes that we're gonna find out, that we're gonna see here in just a moment. Alright, next up is the Sweep Panorama Mode, and this is a pretty cool mode where the camera shoots multiple photos as we move the camera, so that it creates a panorama, and I wanna do a little demo right here in the class. So, I am gonna shoot. So, let's, I'm gonna do a big panorama sweep, and we're gonna show everybody what our studios really look like here. And so, I think I have my camera set up right, let me just, I'm gonna check something secretly on the back that we'll talk about later. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna press the shutter release once, and I'm gonna pan to the right. On the back of my camera there's an arrow because that's how I have it set up. We could go left or right, up or down, but I'm gonna go left to right, and I'm gonna press it once, and then I'm gonna have to start moving. (camera rapidly clicking) Smile. (camera rapidly clicking) Okay, let's get a close up of the back of the camera now, 'cause I wanna show you what the final image. Well first off, let me show you what I first saw in the viewfinder is, you'll see it's kind of darkened over here on the left hand side, and then I have an arrow that's pointing to the right. So, let's take a look at the photo that I just shot. I'm gonna hit play here and so this is the shot. This is much wider than this lens would normally be able to get and we'll talk more about the play functions later of the camera, but in panorama, this is kinda cool. If I hit the center button, watch what it does. It goes in and it starts on the left side, and it just scrolls across the entire image as it's just kind of like a really long, long image here, and this isn't the longest it can do. There's actually one that's even longer than that. And so, we can see the entire image or we can see it up close like that. And so, that was just hitting playback, and then the center button on this so that we can see that scrolling. Now, I've shot a lot of panoramas in my time, and the traditional technique is to shoot one on the left, and then another, and another, and another, and you do all these individual shots. Kind of in the more manual way of what it did automatically for us, and I have found that the cameras that shoot like this, all in a row really quickly, it's nice for a quick basic panoramic shot, but if you're really looking for something to enlarge, and put on the wall, and have really perfect; you're probably better off shooting those individual still shots. And so, I've done this just kinda like, oh this is a really neat viewpoint, let me just add this in here, and I'm not gonna be too worried if there's something that's not quite perfect with it. Because of the system that it uses, you have to be really careful of things that move, and so if there's a cyclist that's going down the street in the same way that you're panning, you might capture that cyclist, two, three, four times, because every time that shutter clicks it's clicking a new version of that cyclist going down the street. And so, it's good for snapshots and it's great for overlooks, and just kind of neat places that you're at, and you just wanna remember what it looks like from there, but for really kind of fine art photography, you're probably better off shooting individual shots. And so, there are four different ways to shoot with this camera. You can shoot with it in the vertical position, in a standard or wide format, you can shoot with it horizontal, in the standard or wide. The one that I did here in the class demo was standard right, and so there is one that is even wider called wide right, and so you'll see the different size megapixel pictures that we're gonna get, and there's really nothing we can do to control those sizes. The exposure is automatic, the size of it is all automatic for you, everything's taken care of, and there's very little manual control you have other than deciding the standard down, wide, right types of options in there, but, great way to capture little scenic overlooks. Now, you can change the direction that you go from left to right, or up, or down by turning the dial on the top of the camera, and that will simply change the dial on the back. Let me just quickly show you on the camera here. Press down halfway on the shutter release and so, if I turn the back dial of the camera you can see that the arrow changes. So, let me take my camera off the tripod here just to show you. So, that normally I would, if I was gonna go left, I could go this direction, or if I was gonna do a waterfall I could pan up like that. And so, my default system, which is mainly because I do this manually, is I always like to go left to right, so that if I do individual photos, they come up correct in the computer. But you can change the direction by just turning this top dial. Now, to change the size on this, that's something that you're gonna have to go into the menu system to do, but the direction can be changed just by turning the dial and nothing else. And so, to change the size you can go into settings, or yeah, camera settings number one, Panorama: Size, and you can choose between wide and standard on that one. Alright, next up is the Movie Mode. Now, there is a movie button over on the side of the camera, and at any time you wanna record movies, you can hit the movie button and start recording a movie, but by putting the camera in the Movie Mode, it'll crop the image to the 16:9 aspect ratio that we are currently shooting videos at. That's kinda the standard frame for video, and so if you wanna compose your image before you start shooting, you would be wise to put your camera in the movie mode. That's also gonna switch over various controls on the camera, knowing that you're gonna go shoot movies. Different parameters you can have set up when you're gonna be shooting movies. So, I highly recommend if you are gonna shoot movies, put it into the Movie Mode. If you need to shoot a movie for an emergency reason right now, you don't have time to turn the dial, then you can go ahead and just hit the button, but everything at that point is gonna be fully automated and you're not gonna have much control over shooting those movies. Alright, let's get over into the more manual modes and we're gonna start with the P Mode, which stands for program, which means the camera is gonna set shutter speeds and apertures for you. You will see those shutter speeds either in the viewfinder or on the back of the camera, down kind of on the bottom left. We'll start with our shutter speeds and then our apertures, and then the ISO you'll see off to the right, we'll talk more about that in a little bit, and then you'll see in the upper left that you are in the Program Mode itself. And this is where the camera sets shutter speeds, apertures, but nothing else. And so, if you wanna get in and change the drive mode, or metering, or focusing, you have full access to doing all of that. Whereas in the Auto Mode, the camera is gonna take over those controls and you may not have access to making changes, depending on what it is that you're trying to change. Now, there is one thing that you can change here, and that is you can do something called Program Shift, and what this does is it allows you to choose different shutter speeds and apertures, and let the camera really kinda figure out the rest of the computation for you. So, let's go ahead and do a little demo with my camera here. I'm gonna press down halfway on the shutter release to wake my camera up, I'm gonna see if I can zoom in a little bit over on our little camera stand over here, and right now, let's see what shutter speed and aperture we got. We are at 180th of a second at F5.6. Now, if I said, you know what, I think I need more depth of field, I would like to get that to F11. I'm gonna turn this dial and see if I can get to F11. Now, I actually have two things going on. I have the numbers on the bottom row here and then there's this additional line of information, and this is something that you can turn off if you want. I love great graphics and that is some really nice graphics, but you know what I love even more than graphics, is actual photos and things that I'm composing over, and I hate the fact that something is covering up my image. And so, I can see that information very clearly down here, and so now it's at F11. Okay, well that's great, I'm gonna turn the camera off. I'm gonna turn the camera back on. It's still in the program mode, is it still at F11? Not anymore, actually the zoom changed on it too. And so, things change on you. Now, if I just let the camera go to sleep, which should happen here in a few seconds, so that was kind of a light sleep there. It's still at F13. And so, it's sticking there for a little bit. And so, you do have to be careful 'cause it is a little bit sticky when it's on, but it turns it off. And so, any time you are shooting something where you really want the same shutter speed, you're probably better off going to one of the other more manual modes. This is a great mode when you don't know what your next picture is gonna be, and you just wanna be able to pick the camera up and shoot it, because if I go all the way to one extreme, and I take a photo, and I'm gonna quickly go back, and let's go to the other extreme. So, this is gonna be the aperture really closed down. It's gonna be a half second shutter and let's play back these two images. Let me hit the display so that you can see. So, we can see this picture was taken with a half second at F36, and the previous image was 180th of a second at a F5.6, and exposure wise, they are nearly duplicate images. They are virtually indistinguishable. Now, there's differences with the shutter speed and the aperture, which, depending on the photo will be more noticeable than it is here, but the camera is constantly figuring out the exposure for you. And so, this as I say is a good kind of quick mode if you just wanna have your camera ready to go for anything that might happen. This is not the worst place in the world to be. It's a nice, nice quick mode, but I think for anyone who's doing serious photography, you're gonna wanna move a little bit beyond this so that you get consistent results. Alright, next up is one of my favorite modes, which is the Aperture Priority Mode. Now, you change the aperture priority by either turning the top dial or the back dial. Now, this is gonna be a good mode when you know that you want a lot of depth of field. So, in this case, I wanted the subject in the background in focus, but I also, for artistic reasons, I wanted things in the foreground to be in focus as well. And so, in this case I'm gonna dial the camera down to F22 and get everything in focus. And so, when you know what depth of field you wanna have and you're not too concerned about your shutter speed, you can simply put it in the Aperture Priority Mode, and either turn the back wheel or the top Control Dial for controlling your aperture. Shutter Priority is very much the same as the Aperture Priority, but now you have specific control over the shutter speed. So, if you know that you need a specific shutter speed, like a 1,000th of a second to capture very fast action, you can dial that in. The camera will fire no matter what at that shutter speed, trying to choose the best aperture possible, and if you have enough light, you'll get the right exposure. So, let me do a little demonstration here in the class, 'cause I wanna show you the potential problem with that. So, I'm gonna put my camera into the Shutter Priority Mode. Let's go ahead and turn the back on so we can see what's going on here, and if I change my shutter speed to something that I think is very reasonable for a somewhat dark room like this, and I'm just gonna quickly go in and change my ISO to so that way you're gonna, got a fair game going on here, and I'm gonna actually go down to a 30th of a second. So, I'm a 30th of a second and I take a photo, and there's our studio at 1/30th of a second. Now, if for some reason I decided, well I wanna shoot at a really fast shutter speed, I can go to a really fast shutter speed like a 1,000th of a second. Let me get this up here at 1,000th of a second and you can see the screen has gotten really dark, and that's because our aperture, which you'll notice down here, is blinking at us. We don't have enough light coming through this lens to take a picture at a 1,000th of a second, but the camera will allow us to shoot anyway, alright? 'Cause we're in control and it's just warning us that we don't have enough light. So, if you do shoot in Shutter Priority, do be careful of any light that is blinking at you because that means you are not letting in enough light. So, let me go to a slower shutter speed to see where we need to be, and it's gonna stop blinking somewhere in here. Okay, stopped blinking here. So, somewhere around a 20th of a second is the fastest we can use at ISO 100. Now, if you do wanna use Shutter Priority, one of the things I would strongly recommend is look at using Auto ISO so that it can compensate for what you're doing. Now, we haven't officially talked about ISO but I'm gonna jump in and I'm just gonna bump that up, and I'm gonna use it in the Auto ISO Mode. And so, now if I go up to a 1,000th of a second. Let me get up here to a 1,000th of a second. Now, if I shoot a picture, I can take a photo, and let's go look at this photo, and it's properly exposed, and the camera automatically went in and jumped us up to ISO 5,000. Now, we didn't have control of that 'cause I just turned that over to the camera, and so if you do shoot in Shutter Priority, Auto ISO is probably a good match that goes along with it. You don't have to use it, but I think it's a good match because it's easy to outrun what the lens will let in in light. So, that is Shutter Priority. Alright, let's get to the last one, which is Manual, which is one of my favorite modes. I love being in control and I love getting consistent results on things. And so, in this case we are gonna have the aperture controlled with the top dial, and the shutter speed controlled with the back dial. So, let's do a little live Manual shoot here. And so, my camera is in Manual, and let's see. Let's set our aperture at 5.6, or excuse me, 16. I'm gonna go to 16, so F16, and now what I need to do is adjust my shutter speed, and I can do this two different ways. I can just look at the back of the camera to see if it's a normally exposed photograph, but I can also look down here at the plus minus. Now it's blinking, which means it's out of range, and I better quickly, I'm gonna take this out of Auto ISO just so that we're dealing with things in a normal way. So, you can see here it says minus two. We are more than two stops under exposed. So, I'm gonna start changing the back dial, lowering my shutter speed, looking at the image until it gets to kind of a normal brightness, and where's my light? It's still blinking at minus two. Alright, here we are, we're getting closer, and you can see it only shows us up to minus two, and we're getting close, and right here at one second, F16 is the proper exposure in here, and if I wanted to say, oh you know what, I want a different aperture. I could, let's go change this back down to say, F4. One more click there and now I'm gonna change my shutter speeds. Let's go back the other direction until I get to plus minus zero. Looks like I have two different settings that are, so we'll notice that I'm under exposed. It's giving me two different shutter speeds which are evenly exposed, which I find interesting. So, I could choose either one of these and it's gonna be about right. I can also look at the view of the back of the camera 'cause I have that mimicking the exposure that I'm going to get. And so, then you can just shoot from there, and if you're gonna be shooting in consistent light, you're gonna get consistent results if you're in the Manual Exposure Mode because shutter speeds and apertures are under your control, and they're not changing unless you're telling them to change. And so, in a lot of situations I like to take a moment, set my camera up manually, and then get consistent results for the rest of the shoot in that regard. So, that's how you use Manual Exposure, and we are looking at that metered manual, that plus minus, and this can be really good for any time you want either consistent results or you're shooting in tricky lighting situations. And so, something like this where there's a lot of very dark, or very, very light colors, the camera's built in meter system may or may not be able to figure this out. So, this is a good time to get in and do Manual Exposure. One of the other options on this camera is a Bulb Exposure, and if you go down to the longest shutter speed, 30 seconds, and then you go past that, there's gonna be a bulb down there, and what bulb refers to is a long shutter speed, and it's as long as you are actually pushing down on the button. And so, this particular photograph, obviously in Rome, I wanted as many car taillights in the shot as possible, and I wasn't getting enough taillights at 30 seconds. So, I changed it to a two minute exposure using the bulb feature on my camera. So, the shutter would stay open as long as I am pressing down on the shutter release, and because moving the camera and touching the camera while it's firing is not a good idea, this is a good time to implement that cable release as an option you can get with the camera. And so, that is the Bulb Mode, which is the longest of the shutter speeds on the camera. Alright, finally we have a number one and number two, and these are Memory Recall settings where you can have the camera remember your favorite settings. And so, if you like to use the camera in Aperture Priority at F2. with the motor drive on high and the spot meter turned on, you can basically set the camera up the way that you want it to, you go into the menu system, and you can have the camera log that in as one of your memory settings. Now, you have a one and two on the dial, but you actually have access to much more in the camera. There is also built in to the memory system, four additional memories beyond the one and two that you simply have on the dial. So, you could have up to six different favorite collections of settings in the camera, and if you are changing very quickly from one type of shot to another type of shot, so let's just say that you are doing portraits out in the field, but then you kinda change to photo journalistic, more action photography, and you wanna have your camera set up completely differently for those. Set the camera up as you want to have them and then in the menu of the camera, and we'll talk more about this, there's gonna be two important settings on camera settings page nine. The memory setting is gonna let you register your settings. And so, you would set the camera up, you go to memory, and you would say, log this in as either one, two, or M1 through M4, and then you could go to Memory Recall, and you could say, this is the one that I want to use right now. And so, great way for customizing the camera so that you can make quick changes between very different styles of shooting that you might do. So, that is the Mode Dial on the top of the camera.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But dense technical manuals make for a terrible first date. Get the most out of your new Sony A6300 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.

Join expert photographer John Greengo for a fast-track introduction, and unlock your camera’s full potential. In this fast start class, you’ll learn:

  • How to work with the A6300’s outstanding video capabilities
  • How to maximize the A6300’s ultra-fast autofocus
  • How to navigate the A6300’s menus
John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. He has extensive experience teaching the technical minutiae that makes any camera an effective tool: aperture, ISO, the Rule of Thirds, and the kinds of lenses you’ll need to suit your camera body. 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 Sony A6300’s settings to work for your style of photography.       


Cassandra Mcd

This was so much better than having to read a manual that often times is not helpful in terms of pointing out tips on when would be the best time times to use a particular function. Love the graphics, the recommendations provided for both new and advanced users and mostly I love the fact that I can go back and watch different segments as I get more use to shooting with this camera. Great Course and I'm really glad I bought it! Thanks John!

Priscilla Read

I'm still working my way through the lessons, trying out everything as I go. I like how John shows everything with great visuals and demos. Also like that he explains when to use the various options available on the camera. Really great! Thanks!

a Creativelive Student

Great overview of this cool camera, with some handy hints and tips from an accomplished instructor. A lot of info!