Camera Controls- Top Deck: Mode Dial Part 2


Sony® A6500 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Camera Controls- Top Deck: Mode Dial Part 2

Let's get into the regular still features of this camera. The program auto mode is where the camera sets the shutter speed and the aperture for you. And so, you'll be able to see that in the view finder. Down there, in the bottom left. The number on the furthest left is your shutter speed and then you have your aperture. We'll talk about ISO a little bit more here in a moment. Now, one of the things you can do with the program mode is it's kind of like the full auto mode, but you do have access to the full menu system. You have access to changing the metering or the focusing system and pretty much everything else in the camera. Whereas, in the simplistic auto mode, there's a lot of those things that are blocked off and, as I like to say there's a lot of child safety locks that don't allow you to get to those other features. If you don't like the numbers you're getting with program shift, you can turn either one of the dials and you can get a different program, as far as the setting of ...

the shutter speed and aperture. So, I want to show you on my camera how that works. Now, it tends to work a little bit better if your camera is not in auto ISO. And because I've reset everything on the camera, I'm gonna quickly change my ISO just to something other than auto. It's not super bright in here, so I'm gonna go with ISO 400. And so now, at the bottom of the screen, Actually, I'm gonna get it out of the video mode and over to the program mode. Always want to be in the right mode, folks. It's just a good tip. All right, so I'm getting a 15th of a second at F4. If I said, you know what, I want more depth of field, for one reason or the other, I wanted a different shutter speed. I'm kind of maxed out at F4 cause that's as wide open as this lens gets. But, I can go the other direction. And you'll see the numbers changing down here. But you'll also see them changing up here. And this is an extra guide, that if you don't like, you can turn it off, 'cause it is blocking the screen here, but it does allow us to see things very easily. And so, when we do this and we change it, I'm now at F16, it's a one second exposure. And you'll notice up here on the top, The P has an asterisk by it. That means you have changed it from the normal program mode. If I go all the way back to F4, the P will probably not have an asterisk by it. In this case, and there it does not, which means that is kind of the standard program mode. All of these, I can take a photo here, and that comes out with a normal exposure. And then if I want to adjust the settings, all the way down here to F16, we're gonna get a one second exposure. Glad the camera's on a tripod. And both of these photos, let me pull these up. So, this is the second one and you can see this is at F16, here. And this one is at F4. And exposure wise, they look identical. Depth of field is different, not concerned about that right now, but the camera is controlling the exposure. So, the P mode, I think, is a good, quick mode for a lot of photographers to use, who just want a good solid exposure. And they may want to have a little tweak on the exposure settings. And so, for individual shots it works pretty good. For shots where you're gonna be shooting a lot of them in a row, not always so good because the camera will drift around on you a little bit, on where those settings are, according to the exact light that you're shooting in. So, it's a good, quick shooting mode. Next up is aperture priority. This is where you get to control the aperture. And the camera will control the shutter speed. So, a couple of examples on why you'd want to use this. If you want lots of depth of field, so things in the foreground are in focus, as well as the background, you might close it down to F or 22. If you want very shallow depth of field, you want to highlight a particular subject, and blur the rest of the background out, you may want to open it up to 1.4 or maybe as wide as that lens can possibly go. And so, you'll make that change by turning either that dial on the top or the dial on the back of the camera, changing your aperture. And that is one of my favorite modes when I don't know what my next photo is gonna be. You can very quickly, kind of dial through that entire range of the apertures to get to virtually any combination that would be conceivably available. It's closely related to the next mode that we're gonna talk about, which is the shutter priority mode. In this case, you get to choose the shutter speed or the time value, as it is sometimes referred to. And the camera will figure out the aperture, the best that it can. And so, you'll do that by turning those same dials. Now, something to be aware of, is if you get a blinking number, that means that you do not have an aperture that is bright enough, or dark enough to handle that particular situation. So, here in the shutter priority, or time value mode, you can choose really fast shutter speeds to stop fast action, like an eagle going into the river, or if you want to blur the motion of something that's moving blowing around in the wind, perhaps, you can choose a one second exposure. The shutter priority mode is not my favorite mode because you can potentially get those blinking lights and it's a relatively small warning. So let me go ahead and show you on my camera. First thing of course, is to get it in the right mode. So, I'm gonna get it into the shutter priority mode, up here on top of the mode dial. And let's just go down to a shutter speed I know we can handle in here. And that's gonna be a half second because we did a photo before at a half second. And so, actually, there, I'm getting some reflections. Okay, so I can shoot a picture at a half second. But let's say I want to shoot a picture at a 125th of a second. So, I'm gonna change to a 125th of a second. And you can see that my camera is fighting me on this. It's telling me that the F4 is blinking and what that's saying is that it's too dark to take a photo which you can actually see in the LCD pretty clearly. And so any time that I go to a faster shutter speed, it's blinking, and this plus minus is telling me that there's not enough light. And so, I need to get this down to an area where it's not blinking. And so I'll just keep changing it till it stops blinking. Okay. I can shoot a picture here at a 20th of a second. And it doesn't like doing anything faster than that. And so, on the slow side, if I wanted to do a 30 second exposure F22 is not small enough. And so, there's a lot of different warnings and there's a relatively small range in here that I can play with. And everything else is gonna give me poor exposures. On the top of the camera, I'll go ahead and change it into aperture priority, and now, there's more of a limited range of apertures that are available. And so, if I go to the widest aperture, which would be F4 on this lens, I can shoot a photo. I can go to the other extreme, which would be, get back into the camera mode here, F which is the opposite extreme and I can shoot a photo. It's using a longer shutter speed, but it's still giving me a good looking photo. And I'm never going out of the range. And so it's less likely to make a catastrophic mistake when you're in the aperture priority mode. But, having said that, there is a time and place to use the shutter priority mode. And I will use it, when it's appropriate. You've just got to be careful of those blinking warnings, that's telling you you are out of the exposure range. Next up. Full manual. Love being able to use this one. You get nice, consistent results. In this case, you're gonna be changing the aperture with the dial on the top of the camera. And changing the shutter speeds on the back of the camera. And so, what you'll need to be looking for now is this metered manual indicator down here in the bottom. That'll be telling you if you are getting the proper exposure. Now the two main reasons that I like to shoot manual Number one is for tricky lighting. Any time the camera's metering system may get fooled and give you the wrong combination of shutter speeds and/or apertures, you can really dial in the best exposure. And then any time I'm shooting something that gives me that I'm gonna be shooting several photos of, and it's under consistent lighting, like normal sunlight and I want to get consistent exposures. No matter how bright or dark my subject is, I will use manual exposure for those situations. So, the longest shutter speed, in manual, goes beyond 30 seconds, to something called bulb. And so, bulb is a long time exposure, and what it means is when you press down on the shutter release, it's gonna open the first shutter and it's gonna stay open as long as your finger is on the shutter release. Now this is where's it's nice to have an external cable release, so that you're not actually touching and moving the camera during its exposure. When you are done, and you want the camera to turn the exposure off, you lift your finger off the button and it closes the second shutter and ends the exposure. So, let's take a look on my camera. And set up having manual exposure. So, of course, I will want to change the camera to the manual mode. And let's get setup on our stand, here. Zoom in just a little bit here. And so, it looks a little dark. I'm gonna turn off some of the displays, here. And you can see that it's dark because down here it says minus 2. That means it's either two stops underexposed or more than two stops underexposed. So, I can turn the back dial to change my shutter speeds or I can change my top dial to change my aperture. And so, you can see, I want to get this to plus minus zero for proper exposure. So this is a proper exposure. Right here. But if I said you know what that's not the settings that I would like. I would prefer a faster shutter speed so I can hand hold this. I'll just jump ahead and actually, let's change our shutter speed let's open up our aperture all the way. And now I'm gonna change my shutter speeds to a faster aperture. And if I said, you know what, it's still too slow at 120th of a second. Well let me just jump ahead. I'm gonna change the ISO over here and I'm gonna bump that up to 1600. And now I can change my shutter speeds to a faster shutter speed until it says plus minus zero and I'm at an 80th of a second. And that would be something that's probably more appropriate for hand holding. And so, boom. There's our shot at an 80th of a second. So that's how you're gonna use that exposure indicator. That's a numeric way of determining if you are overexposed or underexposed. Next up, we have one and two. And these are custom modes that you can set in the camera. Preset up so that it changes shutter speeds, apertures, and a whole bunch of other menu settings according to a system or set of settings that you want to recall very, very quickly. A good example of this might be a landscape photographer that likes to shoot birds in flight or animals in action. And landscapes and animals running around are very different types of setups in the camera. So, you could have one setup maybe as manual mode, where you get lots of depth of field, and spot metering And two is one that has faster shutter speeds, more of a program mode that is using a different type of focusing system. So beyond the two physical dial settings that you have one and two here, you also have, kind of a digital memorized one, two, three, and four that you can go to. And so, this would be something that you would select in the menu system. So you have two to select from on the dial, but then you have four more that you can select from by going into the camera. Now, the way that you do this, is you need to set the camera up the way that you want it to be. And then you're gonna load that into one of the memory. If you have a fancy car, a lot of these new cars have memorized seat positions so that if different people drive the car, just by pressing M1 or M2, you can get the seat into that new position. And that's kind of the idea of what's going on here. And so, the recall allows us to go choose one of those M1 through four and the memory ones, which is on page four of 14, allows you to register the settings, essentially. So you set the camera up, as you would normally want to do it. If you want aperture priority, set it up to aperture priority, the aperture you wanna choose the metering system, the focusing system, and any other changes in the camera you want. Go to page four of 14, and lock that into one of the memory settings. And so that's a quick way to jump around and change many, many settings on the camera very very quickly.

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!