Camera Controls - Top Deck: Mode Dial Part 1


Sony® A6500 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Camera Controls - Top Deck: Mode Dial Part 1

It's time to get into the good stuff now, so camera controls we're gonna be going over the buttons and features of this camera. So first off just basic controls, obviously you're gonna need your camera turned on and off, there is a charge protected optical filter that kind of vibrates to knock of any dust and so this happens each time you turn the camera on and off. Shutter release button for taking photos but also for waking the camera up any time it goes to sleep. The main dial is that foam dial right there on the right shoulder of the camera, we'll be using that for a number of things, shatter speeds apertures as well as various other changes throughout the camera. On the back of the camera we have a control wheel this is our second control dial but it's also buttons if you wanna press up, down, left or right, it's the way we're gonna navigate through the menu system. Okay, let's get into the top deck of the camera going through the buttons here. So the shutter release, obviously fo...

r taking photos but it's also for metering, auto focus, it wakes the camera whenever it's asleep, and if it's ever in some other mode like in the menu system by pressing halfway down it's gonna return you to the shooting mode and so any time you wanna exit you can exit by just pressing half way down on the shutter release. Now there's a lot of more experienced photographers that enjoy something called back button focusing and it's where the auto focus of the shutter release is turned off, so when you take a picture the camera will not focus, what happens is that you need to press a separate button on the camera and if you want to turn off the auto focusing of the shutter release you can dive into this little shortcut in camera settings 1, page 6/14 AF w/shutter and you can simply turn that off. You will need to have something else turned on on the camera to make sure that it's gonna focus, and we'll talk more about, there's a couple of options for focusing but you could reprogram either C1, C2, or the C3 customized buttons to be your focusing button, but there's another option that I'm gonna give you here in a little bit if you are interested in back button focusing so you don't need to changed this it's just one of the options on the camera. The mode dial on the top of the camera is one of our most important controls on the camera, it controls shutter speeds, apertures, and sometimes a lot more. So let's start with the most simple mode here which is the auto mode and this is where the camera is gonna be choosing shutter speed apertures as well as setting, white balance focusing, and pretty much all the other parameters in the camera. And so if you want the simplest mode this it what it's gonna do, and it has something called scene recognition, so it's gonna try to determine what you were shooting a photograph of into these categories that you see on the left side of this screen. And the camera is not perfect but it's pretty good at picking these things out, and it will try to adjust the exposure levels, the specific shutter speeds apertures, the focusing system for these scenarios, now because the camera is guessing and it doesn't know for sure, it can make a mistake. There is nothing the camera is doing in this mode that you can't do yourself if you know how to work the camera, so don't feel like you're gonna get better results here than some place else, it's just gonna be a little bit easier. Frankly if you have taken this class, and you've watched it to it's completion my hope is that you don't need or want to even use this auto mode here, you're gonna want to get in and play around and set some of the other features and settings the way that you want it set. The auto mode here is perfect for when your handing the camera to a friend or family member who doesn't know how to work your camera and you just want to keep things nice and simple for them, and so that's I think it's really good, it's best for. Now the auto mode technically has two different versions of the way you can set it, it has the intelligent auto, and then it has a superior auto mode, and we're gonna talk about this more when we get into the menu section of the camera. So in the superior auto mode what it does is it uses multiple images that it takes very quickly to solve certain types of problems whether they deal with exposure, or noise problems from low light, but the problem with that superior auto mode is that if you are moving the camera around those pictures are not gonna line up and you have to very careful about holding the camera at least pretty steady. And so they would not work well if you were trying to ride a bicycle and shoot photos at the same time. And so you really kind of wanna know that you are in the superior auto mode and how the camera is functioning if you're gonna put it there. To start with it's in what's known as intelligent auto right now it's trying to use it intelligent mind to figure out what the scene recognition is. So once again, just the simplest modes I think it's best for people who don't own your camera that don't normally use it. Next up is scene recognition, and this is where you start to have a little bit of input on how the camera is working and now you get to specifically choose what sort of scenario you're in. Maybe you're in a sports action mode and the camera is reading that as a portrait mode, and so here if you want to dial in that sports action mode you can do that. Now the screen that you see is showing you that scene selection and a little bit of a blue blur but a photo about that, but I wanna show you on my camera real quickly, let's turn this on to the scene mode and you'll notice in the top left corner there's a small little icon and as we turn the dial we can go from our sports to our landscape and so forth and it's not giving me this big screen, I have something else turned on, and if you like that turned on let me just show you real quickly I'm gonna go into the menu and on page two of seven here there is something called the mode dial guide right here and I'm gonna go ahead and turn this on, I normally don't want this turned on, I'm just showing you guys. So now, press the shutter release to get out of there when I changed the style it's got a little bit more graphic display that explains this information, and when you don't know this camera this information is nice to have, when you are used to using the camera and you know what you're doing is just something that irritatingly blocks the view of the camera and then you have to press down on the shutter release and then you can see what's going on. And so we're gonna go through all those items in the menu and I'll recommend when to turn these things on and off, but that's why and how you can see that if you really wanna see these screens right here and now. Next up is the Sweep Panorama Mode now this is pretty cool mode, panorama is been something kind of new in the world of digital that's great because you can stitch images together to create a really wide panoramic. So let's talk about what this does and then I'll do a little demo here in the class. And so there's a couple of different ways that you can set the camera, you can pan using it in kind of a horizontal position or a downer position and turning it sideways so that you can reach a little bit higher width, it depends on how wide and how high you want your photograph to be and there are actually for versions of these, Standard Down, Wide Down gets you a little bit wider, Standard Right, and then Wide Right. And you can see the total number of pixels, then the megapixels you're gonna get on the image varies a little bit, in general they're smaller than a single shot, the best time to use this is when you have a lens that is not wide enough for the entire area. And so there's a couple of warnings, a warning that you see throughout this class is if you are getting an image that will only be recorded in JPEG, and there's a lot of people who like recording in RAW and we'll talk about RAW and JPEG later on, but for those who like to record RAW this panorama is only done as a JPEG. And having done a lot of panoramas in my career I can tell you that these are nice for kind of quick, simple panoramas, if you said, "Wow this is a beautiful panorama spot, I wanna make "a gigantic poster from this image that I'm gonna capture." I would recommend shooting individual kind of a traditional panorama stitch image, this is just nice for a kind of a quick panorama because it's not perfect as you will see. So here is a panorama that I shot, and this is Downtown Seattle, actually this is kind of all of Seattle in some ways. But one of the things that it's doing is it's shooting a series of individual images, and as the water was moving you can actually see the different slices of image and where the water looks a little bit different, and there's one slice in there that's notably blurry, there's actually a couple of slices that are kind of blurry and that's the problem with shooting individual images is that you keep things that move between those don't work out to well. And so I wanted to try to do a panorama in here, and so one of the things you'll need to know about is if you want to change the direction, we'll do that with the top dial, and if you want to change the size you need to go into the menu settings. So I'm gonna go into the menu and I think I wanna change actually no, I'm gonna keep it at the standard size but I'm gonna check it in the menu so let's go into the camera and I'm gonna go into the menu and I think we need to go over into the top tab one and it helps to always have it in the mode that you're talking about so I'm gonna put it in the panorama mode, hit the menu button again and so we can change the direction and the size so we can do standard and wide and I'm gonna keep this on standard in here, so now that I'm in the panorama mode and you can see in the top left I am in the panorama mode, I can change the direction from down I can go left top I'm gonna go to the right, and so I think I probably gonna end up getting Drew in this shot here. So I'm gonna start over here and I'm gonna I'm just gonna rotate the camera on the table like this, and let's see how wide a shot, I'm gonna go a little bit wider angle and I'm gonna press the shutter release down and the camera is just start firing shots and as soon as that happens I need to start turning the camera. (shutter clicks) And we're gonna get over, and uh we're gonna get to be able to see the camera actually shooting the photos there. And so I'm gonna hit playback now, and what's kind of cool about this is I can just look at the image, I'm gonna turn off the display here so that we're just looking at the image here, and so we can see a wide sloth of images here. Now what I can also do is I can hit I believe it's the center button and it will play through this image just scanning across so that you can see all the different portions of it, and so it's a great little feature when you get to a nice really wide vista that you're trying to cover in one shot. And as I said there are four different versions of it this is standard right, which leaves the camera in the horizontal position and we can go much wider than this that gets about 180 degrees from side to side. So great little feature, be careful though if you want the highest quality you might want to shoot individual images in a stitch system. Does it stitch those together if you hand-hold as well, or does it need to be on a tripod? No, you can, it'll stitch it together if you're hand-held. Okay. Yes so you just put it in the mode and just sweep across and that's the photo it gives you. Sweet. Yeah. Okay, next up is the movie record icon on the camera so if you do wanna record movies it's preferable, it's better if you go to the movie record setting on the dial, you can hit the record button any time you want and start recording, but when you put it in the movie mode the camera knows you're trying to shoot movies and it may change things that you have set up in the menu system, and so if you wanna shoot with a particular mode perhaps like manual, or shutter priority you could do that here but you wanna be able to do it in other places. So let's talk a little bit about shooting movies, we'll talk about shooting movies in several portions of today's class. So you can change your different file formats in the menu system, that was gonna be in camera settings 2, page 1/9, we'll talk more about those specifically a little bit later on. Next up, you can have different frame rates and amount of data that you were recording on a per second basis, and we'll talk a little bit more about frame rates and so forth. You do have a 29 minute HD time limit on it, you have a 20 minute 4K limit, we'll shoot 4K video but it does limit it to 20 minutes, and when you are using the 4K you are not getting the full sensor on it, you're getting a slight crop it's a 1.23x crop to be exact, files are limited to a 4GB file coming up here, and the new movies are started automatically and then with focusing the camera is either in a continuous focusing mode or it's in a manual focusing mode. And so depending on how you use your camera you may want to choose one or the other. So let's look at some more some more things on movie recording. We have different types of resolution, we have Standard HD, we have Full HD, and we now have 4K on the camera for incredibly high resolution. Next up we have this being able to record at different frames per second and so not all of them are available on all the resolutions because the file sizes start becoming too big so 4K is limited to 30fps. We're gonna have a number of different formats available as far as the package of the video file the XAVC S 4K, that's gonna be a pretty popular 4K system, the AVCHD is designed for Blue Ray recording so that may be one that most people don't really use that much any more, and MP4 is gonna be one that is often used for very simple use on the computer so you probably wanna choose the XAVC options for higher quality recording. If you're not used to shooting video there's a lot of different frame rates, here in the United States most video TV is shot at 30fps. Over in other regions of the world that use the PAL system they're gonna be at 25fps, in many cases you'll be able to double that and you may want to double it if you're shooting fast action, it'll capture that with a little bit more sharpness or perhaps you wanna play your images or your video back in slow motion at half speed or quarter speed, you could do that with some of the higher rates. When you watch a Hollywood style movie, those are typically shot at 24fps and so that is also gonna be an option for you. Beyond this there are some other options that you can get into with slow and quick frame rates, so if you wanna record kind of a time laps, you wanna speed time up or you wanna slow it down in another way you can do that as well and we'll be talking about that as we get into the menu section of the camera as well. So there's a lot of options, it's one of the best compact cameras available for shooting high quality video or movies right here, and so very good camera for that.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But reading dense technical manuals can be time-consuming and frustrating. Get the most out of your new Sony A6500 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 class, you’ll learn:
  • How to set and work with the advanced video capabilities
  • How to maximize the autofocus system
  • How to set and customize the menu 

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 A6500 settings to work for your style of photography.


Nichola Johnson


a Creativelive Student

I've owned the A6000 since it came out and still learned a TON from John's A6500 class. I will definitely be getting his original A6000 class. I'm SO glad he's doing Sony cameras now. Thanks John G. - You are a truly great teacher!

Lee Kneisz

I bought the a6000 course a while back and when I upgraded to the a6500 this was a no-brainer. I love how comprehensive the coverage is and it was a great refresher on previous features. If you're a newbie to the Sony a6500 this is a must!