Class Introduction


Sony® A6500 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to all of you to the A6500 class. So for those of you with the Sony A6500, this class is gonna be the class where we're gonna go through all the buttons and dials, the feature, the customizing of the camera. And so if you want to know how to work and take high-quality photos with it, that's what we're gonna be covering in here. A couple of areas that we're not gonna be going too deep into is if you are tethering the camera to a computer, there's a number of download protocols, and we're not gonna be going into every nuance of that. There's a number of different types of wireless options that you can have for hooking this up, we're not gonna go into every one of those, but I will be doing a demo showing you how to hook this camera up to a smartphone and remote control shoot photos, and have them download to your phone on there. So the A6500 from Sony is their highest-end camera with the crop frame sensor. And so above this, they have their full-frame series, the A7 and now the A...

9 cameras. And here they have the A6500. They're still making the A6300, and the A6000, which we also have classes on. So if you have a 6000 or a 6300, you can check out those specific classes. But in the A6500, they've kept the body about the same, but they changed the menu system, which means I had to come out with a new class, because everything's in a different place, and they've added a few new features here and there. But for the most part, the menu is just very different than on the previous Sony cameras. Now as far as Sony goes, I've been in the industry for a few decades now, and Sony is still kind of the new kid on the block in my mind. And I'll be honest with you, it's taken me a while to kind of warm up to the Sonys, you might say, but this is a really good camera. And I can very well see if I was brand new into photography, and I just know the way I research and look and compare cameras, I could see myself end up with this camera, because it's small, it's lightweight, it's got a ton of features, and there's a lot of versatility just with the different types of lenses you can hook onto it. So I think it's a very, very capable camera. I really like using it. It's a lot of fun. It's got, as I say, some great features that we're gonna go through in this class. And so I think you'll probably be very happy, if you don't own this, if you're thinking about it, it's gonna be a good camera for, I think, a lot of different types of people. All right, so let's go ahead and talk about what we're gonna be doing in this class. I've broken this class down into some different sections. We're gonna go through a little bit of introduction, to start with, about what this camera is, a little bit about Sony. We'll go through just about five minutes of just photo basics, for anyone that hasn't had the chance to take a regular photography class. The greatest portion of this class is going to be in camera controls, where we go into the buttons and dials and what they do, and then the menu functions. We're gonna go through the entire menu, line item by line item, talking about what it does and how you would use it. And at the end we'll kind of cap the whole thing off with the camera operation, where I'll give you some recommendations on how I would set the camera up for a variety of different types of shooting scenarios. Now for the menu functions, what you'll want to take a look at is my recommended settings pdf. And what this is, is the entire menu on one page. I'm a very visual person, and I imagine you are, as well. And I like to look at all the menu items with one glance. I can kind of find something. You know, right before a class, I wanted to turn off the facial recognition in the camera. I'm like, what page is that on? Because even though I've made a class on this, I forget what page to find it on. So I just pull this out and I can scan around and look for that term I'm looking for and find it very, very quickly. And so this has a few different pages to it. The first page is the entire menu with my recommendations of where I would set it for a couple of different types of users. The kind of a basic user, and then maybe a more advanced user, as well, on some settings. But you're gonna eventually totally customize this to your own needs, so I provide a second page that has just the menu, without my recommendations, so you can put down your own thoughts as to what you want to set down there. And then on the back two pages, I have some other information about settings for how I would set the camera up in different types of portrait and sport scenarios, kind of the setting philosophy on how to use the camera. So you'll want to have that for the second half of the class. But for now, I think we're ready to go ahead and dive into a little bit more of the class overview here. So with this camera, something very important to note. The camera comes with a very, very small instruction manual. And it only has about 56 pages. And if you want the full information, well you should be able to get most of that here in this class, but if you want the full technical guide, from Sony, you need to download that. And to download it you go to Sony's website and you need to know the name of the camera. And I know this sounds kind of ridiculous, but the A6500 is not the name of this camera, that is kind of the marketing name of the camera. The actual name of the camera, as you can see on screen here, is the ILCE-6500, interchangeable lens compact camera with an E mount is what that stands for. And you can get the Help Guide from Sony if you want to get into some of those stats and other information that I don't cover in this class. Now obviously that's gonna take you some time to go through if you want to go through that page by page. This class I expect to be maybe a little under five hours, about five hours in length, and so it's impossible for me to cover all the specifications and compatibility issues using different and older Sony lenses and so forth. And so that's why that instruction manual may be of help at some point. And so if you do need to get that Help Guide, you would go to You could look under the Support tab and the Manuals. And then you type in the name ILCE-6500, which once again is the official name of this camera. This camera does have something kind of interesting. There is an in-camera guide that you can turn on. Now this is what I call a shortcut in my class. And I know a lot of you watching this class kind of want to just jump ahead and start making settings in your camera. So I want to give you the opportunity to do that. So in order to turn this on, you would go into Custom Settings number two, Custom Operation one, which is on page eight of nine. Custom Key shooting, and you can set one of the keys on the camera as your In-Camera Guide. And so what I would like to do is I would like to show you how to do the shortcut right here and now. So if we can cut to the camera, it shows you the back of my camera. I'm gonna go into the menu item here. And we're gonna get into the menu fully in the second half of the class, but there is these tabs along the top and you can kind of go down and come up. And we wanted to go to eight of nine, and there are, this is tab number two. We're gonna come down and go to page eight of nine. And I am going to come down to Custom Key, which allows me to customize a number of the keys on the camera. And actually I think I just did something wrong there. I wanted to be Custom Key under shooting, not playback. And Custom Button number three is not set. So it's not doing anything, which is this button down here. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna set that to do the Info. And I just need to find, there's a very long list here, and I'm forgetting the exact name of it but I should recognize it when I see it. And I'm gonna be able to, In-Camera Guide, right here. So I'm gonna give this a check by pressing the center button. And I get the In-Camera Guide, now. And so when I press C3, if I am in the menu someplace, let's say I want to find out what the movie button does, I hit C3, and it gives me a brief little instruction about what that does. And so if I pop over into the menu and I, let's just go over someplace different in the setup menu, what does the Tile Menu do, hit C3, and well, it doesn't give me a lot of helpful information there, so it's very limited in what it can do, but if you want an In-Camera Guide, that is how you can customize your camera to give you a little bit of help at the press of a button. All right, so this class is gonna be really important for learning how to work the camera, but that is just a small portion of learning photography. Lighting, composition, shutter speeds, apertures, all of that is very important, and that's not really what we're gonna be covering in this class, we're gonna be talking about the buttons, dials and features of this particular camera. If you want a general photography class, there is a bunch of them here at Creative Live. I have a couple of them available. One of them is a nice, short brief one for people who want to kind of quickly get out the door, and then I have a longer one for people who really want to dive in and learn as much as possible as they can on the subject. So you can take a look at those classes, right at the Creative Live. You can always type in my last name, Greengo, there are no other instructors with the last name Greengo, and so if you just type in Greengo, you'll get all of my classes, and there's a lot of them to choose from in there. All right, so Sony's been around for a long time, but they haven't been in the photography business for that long. And so they've been making, obviously, a lot of electronics and other devices for quite some time. They really started to get into it in digital. That's where kind of their main thinking was, because they had a lot of video cameras that were already working in a digital style fashion, so they had a lot of cyber-shot cameras back there in the mid '90s and late '90s. Then Sony acquired Minolta, and so that's the lens mount that is on the standard Sony cameras, is the old Minolta lens mount. They went out of business, Sony bought the rights to all that technology. They have since kind of abandoned the traditional SLR camera, and they have what's called an SLT camera, which uses a fixed mirror in place, and we're not gonna get into that really here, it's a different style of camera. And next up, in 2010, they came out with the mirror-less, the compact mirror-less, which is the predecessor to this camera. So this camera basically goes back to the 2010 timeframe when the first NEX camera came out. That was kind of their marketing name. They have since abandoned the NEX, and it's just kind of this alpha 6000 series, now. Since then, they've come out with a full-frame camera and I'll be talking about the lens compatibility between this camera and the full-frame, because there is some back and forth where some things work and some things do not work. And so that's just a little brief history on the lens mount and where it came from. So if you dive into the instruction manual, you'll come across all sorts of dire warnings about things not do with the camera. So obviously, just don't do stupid stuff with it. It does have a couple of important things, and the first thing is the camera is designed to be dust and moisture resistant, the question is what exactly do you mean and how much rain and how much dust, and so forth. They also say, just a few paragraphs later, it's not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof. And so if it's a light, modest rain and it's not too much time out there, you're probably gonna be fine. If you knew you had to go out and shoot in a rain for hours on end like a football game, or something like that, you'd probably be best wise to have some sort of rain cover for it. It's not really designed as a professional camera in drenching rains for a long period of time, but for short periods of stuff, you're probably fine. The camera has a shutter which has a life expectancy of 200,000 firings, which is pretty high. The traditional standard was around 50,000. And so now it's more up around 100,000, so it's actually about double where a lot of the other good cameras are. Some of the high-end professional cameras have a shutter rating of around 400,000, so it's not quite up to that level. They also warn about using this camera with other manufacturer's items. Could it be lenses or flash or batteries and so forth. So you're always gonna get the best performance when you use Sony stuff, because you know, they know what they're doing. If you use non-Sony lenses, there's gonna be a few features that don't work or don't work as well as when you have Sony lenses on there. There's some very nice options from Sigma and I think Tamron make some, and there's a number of others that you can adapt on here, and you're gonna lose a few features here and there. And so you're gonna want to investigate what that compatibility is, and I don't have time to go through all of those options here in this class. But in general, if there's a lens that you really want to use, it's a good chance that it's probably worth a slight compromise, just depends on if there's any special, unique features in this camera that you also want to use with that accessory lens. I would tend to stay with the Sony flashes. I think the communication system makes life a lot easier to deal with in the flash world. I wouldn't mind too much using non-Sony lenses, I don't think it's too big a deal. The Sony batteries, a little on the pricey side. If you need just a cheap back-up one, you'll probably find going after market, but if it's something you're gonna use on a regular basis, I'd probably stick with Sony. All right, let's make sure that your camera and my camera is ready for today's class. You need to have a charged battery. I did that last night. It takes about two and a half hours. You'll need to have a lens on it, if you haven't attached it already. You want a memory card in there so you can shoot and store photos. Turn the camera on and turn the mode dial to the Auto section, just so that it's nice and simple to start with. And then go ahead and press the shutter release, I'm gonna do that on mine. Let's make sure I can shoot a photo of our little prop stand. Got the beep turned on. It's focusing, shooting a photo. So hopefully all of that is working fine on your camera. Now something I did last night, well technically I did it this morning in preparation for today's class, is I wanted to make sure that my camera was exactly like one that was coming out of the box from the factory, and so I did a setting reset on this. I want to go into the menu and show you this real quickly. So if any of you have been messing with your cameras, and you're like, okay, I want to restart on the whole thing, I want to start factory-fresh and get my camera totally set up as I want it. So under Set-up, page seven, setting reset. So I'm gonna dive into my menu here. And so over on the tools section, the tool box, I'm gonna go to page seven of seven. And there is Setting Reset. So I'm gonna go in here, and there are two options. There is a Camera Settings Reset, which is gonna reset basically your shutter speeds, aperture, things like that, basic settings in the camera. And then there's Initialize. And Initialize basically wipes everything. I'm gonna be 99.9% sure. It's not gonna reformat the card, but what it does is it initializes the camera. And that's what I did last night, and I just hit the center button there to initialize it, took about 10 seconds. I am not gonna do it now, because when you do initialize, it wipes off the Apps that you can download to the camera, and I have a number of Apps that I want to talk about later on in this class, so I'm not going to initialize this, but I did recently do it on this camera, and I haven't made any notable changes to the operation of the camera. And so if you want to do one or the other, you would just press the center button. If you don't want to do either, you can just hit the menu to back out of this, or hit down on the shutter release to go back into the shooting mode. And so if you do want to reset it, that is where you can reset it on the camera.

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!