Camera Operation


Sony® A6500 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Camera Operation

So this last section, I want to talk about camera operation. We've talked about all the individual features, so let's talk about, how would I set the camera up for a variety of things? First up, your general checklist of making sure the camera is right before you head out the door. You wanna make sure you charge and install the battery. You wanna make sure have a nice, fresh memory card in there, that you formatted and has lots of space on it available. I don't care whether you shoot JPEG or RAW, but hopefully you do and you've got it set exactly where you want it. Check the tabs that we've been going through in some of the menus, just to see if there's been something you've been playing around with that you don't want to be having set up. Having it in a time lapse mode, for instance, for general photography, you don't wanna have that turned on. And if you're gonna head off on a big trip, if you're gonna do a big job with this, do check the sensor to make sure it's clean. Shoot a white...

subject, like a white wall or a white piece of paper, shoot it at f/22, aperture priority, and take a look at that image and see if there's any black specks on it. If so, you're gonna need to get that sensor cleaned in one way or another. So make sure that's right before you head out the door. All right, the key settings on the camera, where do you find them? The Exposure Modes, things like your Apertures. And then onto your back of your camera for controlling your Shutter speeds, ISO, Exposure Compensation. And then we have more modes, like the Drive mode right there. To get into the rest, you're gonna need the Function Menu button, and you can dive into the focusing. Focusing Area, the Focusing Mode, and finally, the White Balance. These are things that you're gonna be getting to on a regular basis. So those are the buttons that you're gonna access on a day to day basis. So, here they all are. There's nine of 'em that I've chosen that I think are pretty important. And, here's how I would set them up for a few different scenarios. Super Simple is where I might even be handing the camera to a friend, who doesn't know about the camera and the operation, for just taking simple, basic photos. Put it in the Program mode, Shutter Speeds and Apertures are taken care of. I'm normally not a big fan of Auto ISO, but I will do so here. And, just because I haven't talked about it at all day long, there is a Multi-frame Auto section in here, where the camera will shoot multiple frames in order to get the best image quality and reduce the noise level. And so, I tend not to want to do that, because I shoot RAW. And if you shoot RAW, you're pretty much gonna get that better quality from the straight RAW image, but if you shoot JPEGs, it is another option. You can take a look at it, but I don't recommend it for most people shooting. Exposure Compensation, leave that at O, unless it needs to be changed. Auto White Balance works fine the vast majority of the time. For standard subjects, I'm gonna choose Single Focus, so the camera focuses and then stops adjusting, locks in on the subject. The simplest is the Wide Area, which looks at the entire scene and focuses at whatever is close to you. It's not great for an experienced photographer, but for really simple photography, it's gonna make focusing very quick and easy. And then for the Drive mode, I think getting a Single shot at a time should be more than enough. All right, let's do a little Landscape photography. So, the subjects are not moving around. You might be on a tripod, hopefully. And you want lots of depth of field so that everything is in focus in your photograph. In this case, you have a little bit more time to work with, so you can probably be in the Manual mode so that you get consistent exposures. First and most importantly here is the ISO. Setting it to a low ISO where you get good, clean information from the sensor. After that, you want a fair bit of depth of field. F/11, 16, 22, something in that range so that you're getting lots in focus. And then, you wanna have a Shutter Speed that is appropriate to the light, and this is gonna completely depend on what type of lighting you have. So, it may be a 30th of a second, it may be something else. If it is slower like this, you may want to be using a tripod. We aren't using Exposure Compensation because we are in the Manual mode and Exposure Compensation does not work when we're in the Manual mode. Light Balance, set it to Auto. If we're getting funny colors, we might set it to Cloudy or Sunny. Focusing mode, our subjects are not moving around, so Single Focusing works fine. I wanna be very precise about where I'm focusing, so that's where I would probably choose a smaller box. The Flexible Spot which maybe is on small, medium, or large. And I would choose exactly the point that I want in focus, or the center of focus to be. And then for the Drive mode, I could be using Single and a cable release, or I could be using Self-timer so that I don't have to have that extra cable and have a two or five second self-timer, so that there's no vibration when the picture is actually taken. Let's do a little Portrait photography now. So, now we have a subject that has some movement, so we want faster shutter speeds. We often want a shallower depth of field so that our subject stands out from the background. If we have time to set it up in Manual, that would be my preference. From here, first thing is probably having that shallow depth of field, so the subject really stands out from the background. I need to have a Shutter Speed that stops their motion and my motion, 125th of a second or faster is gonna work for most people in most cases. And I would of course prefer to have the lowest ISO possible, but I will bump it up if necessary. Auto White Balance is gonna work most of the time. And as long as my subjects aren't moving around too much, I'll go with AF-S for Single Focusing. And I wanna be very precise about where they focus, and so I'll probably be choosing the small Flexible Spot. I could be using the eye focus or the face detection focus, those are some other very good options in here as well. And you can be choosing Continuous or probably Single for the Drive mode here, depending on how quickly you wanted to shoot photos. Next, let's do a little Action photography. This camera has a very good focusing system, so it does as good as any of the cameras that are this size out there for focusing. I like to be in Manual Exposure so that I get consistent results from shot to shot. Here, the Shutter Speed is really important, so I'm usually gonna want 500th of a second or faster, depending on how fast the action is. And that is where I really like having a lens that gets down to 2.8. If you don't have a lens that gets down to 2.8, you're just gonna have to open it as wide as it goes, probably, to get to those faster shutter speeds. And while I would prefer to be at ISO 100, sports almost always requires faster shutter speeds, which means you need higher ISO. So 400 and up is probably where you will likely be. I'm fine with Auto White Balance until I see a problem. And one of the most important setting changes here is to AF-C. Continuous focusing, this is where the camera will track the movement of the subject going back and forth. For Focus, we actually have a lot of options. Here, I prefer the Zone, which is those nine big boxes, and that's good for, kind of, erratic movement in there. But we could also use the Lock-on AF, that would work very well, 'cause that does a good job at tracking that subject moving around. Potentially, using that facial detection for tracking the focus, as well, might be good. And for the Drive mode, that's where we wanna be in the Continuous mode. I don't know that I would be in the high plus mode, because I don't get the live view between images. I would just be in the high mode, or maybe the medium mode if I don't need quite as many shots per second. Finally, last one of these, let's do Basic Photography. This is where you don't know what your next photo's gonna be and you just wanna be ready for anything very, very quickly. And so, in this case, I like a little bit of automation, let's go with some Aperture Priority. Kind of a medium to slightly faster Aperture around 5. will likely give me a little bit faster shutter speed. And if I need more depth of field, I'll dial that in at the time. I'm gonna prefer to leave it on ISO 100, and then change it according to my shutter speeds and light level needs. Exposure Compensation, I'll have at O, unless I'm specifically changing it for a certain scene. Auto White Balance is fine. As long as my subjects aren't moving that quickly towards me or away from me, AF-S will be fine. And I do like that Flexible Spot, think that's a good system. And for basic photography, Single Drive, just gets me one shot at a press, doesn't mean I'm gonna shoot too many photos, and if I need more, I'll just press up and down really quickly. So, hopefully that makes sense for you. Remember, that is on the PDF handout, and so if you kinda wanna take that with you, that is part of the PDF that comes with the class. Can I ask one question, John? Yeah. Before we wrap, Lisa wanted to know if the touchless shutter would work at night instead of using a remote for shooting the Milky Way. Yeah, it would. I'm trying to think if there's any implications because it is a proximity sensor and so it's not really looking at light, it's just looking, I think it's looking with an infra-red, is what my guess is. Okay. Okay folks, if you have made it this far through the class, I can say congratulations. I now crown you a a6500 expert. And so, thanks a lot for tuning in for the class. Hopefully that answered all your questions about it. If you are interested in other classes, I do have many other classes on many other cameras. I think this is number 48, although the next one's already in line, ready to go, and so lots more coming. And, if you are thinking about the Sony a9, I haven't fully committed to that class yet, but I have a feeling that I will be doing a class on the a9. I somewhat sarcastically would like to say, I'm gonna wait 30 days to see if they have a replacement model for it or an additional model, (laughing) an a9r or a9s and I'll just do a group of 'em together. But, I'm likely to have a class on the a9, maybe late summer time or in the fall time. If you're looking for Photography classes, take a look at my Photography Starter Kit or the Fundamentals, a short and a long version. I do have a Nature & Landscape as well as a Travel class, if you wanna get specific about certain topics. And, Canon and Nikon lens class isn't gonna help you too much with a Sony camera. So, there you go folks. That is your Sony a6500. How fun? It's a good camera, get out there and use as many features as you can.

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!