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Sony A6500 Fast Start

Lesson 5 of 24

Top Deck: Custom Settings and Focus Mode

John Greengo

Sony A6500 Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Top Deck: Custom Settings and Focus Mode


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:15:31
2 Photo Basics Duration:06:08
7 Backside: AF/MF Duration:05:24
10 Backside: Control Wheel Duration:10:12
12 Sony Lenses Duration:10:11
13 Menu Overview Duration:03:47
14 Camera Settings 1: Pages 1-3 Duration:14:00
15 Camera Settings 1: Pages 4-6 Duration:17:29
16 Camera Settings 1: Pages 7-9 Duration:07:22
17 Camera Settings 1: Pages 10-14 Duration:21:50
18 Camera Settings 2: Pages 1-4 Duration:16:02
19 Camera Settings 2: Pages 5-9 Duration:14:50
20 Wireless Settings Duration:06:24
21 Application Menu Duration:18:46
22 Playback Menu Duration:03:35
23 Setup Menu Duration:22:27
24 Camera Operation Duration:10:53

Lesson Info

Top Deck: Custom Settings and Focus Mode

Moving on from the mode dial. What else do we have on top? We have a couple of custom buttons. We actually have three of them. There's one on the back side of the camera and they all operate kind of in the same way, where you can go in and customize these buttons. Now they do have kind of a preset setting right now that you may or may not want to change. Right now C1 is White Balance, C2 is Focus Mode, and we're gonna talk about those in a moment. But if you do want to customize these, well, there are just a few options on how to customize these. This is a relatively long list on the ways that you can customize it and to be honest with you, we're gonna talk about almost every one of these as we go through the menu system. Normally, you would dive into the menu to turn something on and then use it. There is one that I do want to highlight, and that just one in particular here because this isn't in the camera anywhere else. You would have to choose Eye AF. This is where the camera would ...

recognize eyes and can focus on they eyes. So what I'm gonna do is go ahead and take a look at the back of the camera here. I'm gonna go into the menu system and I'm gonna change this C3 button, which doesn't really have a lot of purpose right now, into working with Eye AF. So I need to go find, I think it's second shooting tab, I think it's towards the end. It's the last page. Second to last page. Custom key shooting. I'm gonna come down here to 3 and rather than the In-Camera Guide, I'm gonna look for Eye AF, and then we're gonna do a little demo with Drew, and see if we can get it to focus on his eyes. Here we are. Eye AF. Now I think I also need to turn on my facial recognition, which I turned off earlier, because I didn't want it to work in that manner. So now I need to go find-- Whoops, I went to far. I'm just looking for my.. Smile and face detection. I need to go to my own notes to find out where this is. It's on page 14 of 14. That's 13. There's 14. Facial recognition. Oh wait. Smile and face detection. I'm gonna turn this on. It is now on. Drew if I could have you stand up here in front of the camera. We're gonna see if the camera-- and I'm gonna get this a little tilt. If you could come closer to the camera. So we have facial recognition but to get the eye recognition, I'm gonna press C3. Go ahead and just take a few-- walk slowly forward a couple steps and back a couple of steps. Actually, I'm gonna have you go back and so we're not-- so right now, it's in facial recognition, but when I go to C3, it locks on his eye. Now, maybe if you can turn a little bit to the left and right. Just stay in place. Let's see if we can-- So I don't have this in continuous focus right now. I'm gonna change-- Folks I'm jumping ahead just a moment here. I'm gonna change this to continuous focusing. I want to see if this will lock on in continuous focusing. So now move around a little bit. Turn your head from left to right. And then walk a little bit closer to the camera, just a step closer. So that's good. Step back a little bit. You can see that it's totally tracking his eye. At any point, I can shoot a photo and let's-- Thank you Drew. Let's take a look at these photos on the back of the camera. Let's go look at this first one here. I'm gonna zoom in. Let's see if his eye is in focus. That looks pretty good, folks. That looks pretty good. Let's go to the next photo, and see if-- it's locking on his eye right there. I had to do, as you saw, I had to do a couple things. I had to assign the Eye AF to a button. I had to press that button while I was focusing. You can assign that to a different button. I did have to turn on the facial recognition. Because I wanted him to really do it dynamically, I wanted it to move around, I turned the camera to the continuous focusing. If you have no idea what I just talked about, I'll be covering that throughout the rest of the class. But my bet is a lot of you have already played around with some of those features on there. So I think that's a very interesting one if you do a lot of people photography, very valuable one to know about, and to use with your own discretion. It's not always the best thing to use, but for some cases it really does an amazing job of locking on focus exactly where you want it. So those are our custom buttons. That can be customized, but the C1 right now is currently set up as your White Balance button. This is affecting the color that your images are recorded as. There's gonna be a number of different options according to the different types of light sources. This is all based on a Kelvin scale. Daylight is very normal, around 5,000 degrees Kelvin. Cloudy and Shade are slightly different. The one that is most different is Incandescent or Tungsten light. The camera has a number of different fluorescent settings because, as many of you know, you can buy fluorescent lights with different color temperatures. You can go in and set that specifically. We also have the option of an Underwater setting. We also have a Auto White Balance, where the camera gets to choose. You can choose a specific Kelvin temperature, if you wanted to have, say, multiple cameras set exactly to a specific number. Then you can also calibrate it using a white surface. That's the one that I want to do a little demo on right here and now. So I need a white surface. So I'm gonna use the back side of my handout, which is a white piece of paper. So let's go ahead and take a look at the back of the camera. I'm gonna throw the camera into a program mode just because I want nice simple exposures right now, because we're just talking about white balance. So in this case, I'm gonna hit the White Balance button, which is C1 right now. Then I'm gonna up and down on the left to change from auto through all the different options. We have our different fluorescent settings. Our underwater. Color temperature, where we could go in and change the numbers if we wanted to. Then we have three customized settings. One, two, and three. If I want to lock in something, so here in the Creative Live Studio, they have a certain number of lights that are a certain color. I want to calibrate my camera for shooting photos in this situation, so I'm gonna go down here to Set. Custom Setup. Then down here on the bottom is some instructions. I'm gonna hit enter. Press the center button to capture data of central area brightness. So what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna hold this white sheet of paper, which is reflecting the light in here, and I'm gonna press the button right there. It takes basically a test photo. Then I can choose, going left and right, whether to record that as number one, number two, or number three. I'm gonna record it in as number one. Now color is calibrated here in the studio according to the lights that you have. You can set that up, once again, for three different locations. If you regularly shoot photos in three different locations, maybe it's your living room, maybe it's the school gymnasium, and maybe it's the office, you can have your camera get set up so that it gets perfect color in each of those three scenarios very quickly by changing it to one of those settings. So important to have. That is White Balance. Next up is the C2 button, which is currently programed as the Focus Mode. So let's talk about these different focusing mode options. First up is AF-S, stands for Single. This is great for subjects that are not moving around. This is where the camera will focus once, a single time on a subject. It'll stay locked in as long as you leave your finger halfway down on the shutter release. You can recompose and move your subject into a different position in the frame perhaps. Let's jump to the third one. AF-C for Continuous. This is where the camera will track a subject moving back and forth. Any time you are shooting sports, dance, action, things like that, where the subject's distance from you and the camera is changing, that is where you'd want to have the focusing mode so that you could shoot a variety of pictures with the camera changing focus between each one. In between these two is an Auto Mode, where the camera will choose on it's own. This is one that I can not fully recommend. The camera is a little bit erratic, and it's not that there's a problem with the A6500. I find that all cameras are a little erratic in choosing where it wants to go. It just gets misled by many different types of subjects. So I recommend choosing AF-S for basic photography, and then when you get into the action photography, going to AF-C. DMF stands for Direct Manual Focus. This is where the camera focuses in an AF-S style, but allows you to go in and manually focus afterwards. I'll do a little demo here in just a moment. Then, of course, you have full Manual Focus, if you want to manually focus the lens yourself. There is no switch on the lens, as there is on some other brands of camera. So if you do want to do that, you would change it right here. There's a couple of things you want to look for later on in this class. One is called Focus Magnification and the other is called Focus Peaking. These are two little ways that the camera can help you focus. What I want to do is, I want to change it to the DMF mode, and I just want to show you a little bit about what that's like, because I think it's a neat mode. I'm gonna press the C2 button, and it was last in Continuous Auto Focus with my last demo, and I'm just gonna change it down to DMF down here. Let's zoom in as close as we can. Get this lined up. See if I can do this so I'm not blocking the camera. I'm gonna press halfway down and the camera is going to focus. But if I want to check or I don't like that, I can turn the focusing ring and it automatically zooms in and you can see there's a scale in there where I can choose what I'm focusing on. I can make sure that it's in focus, and then press all the way down to take the photo. Once again, you press halfway down, let the camera focus on it's own, and then go in and adjust it yourself. There's some people who like to double check, or they might want to adjust a little bit, where the camera is focusing. You'll notice the camera automatically magnifies into it. It doesn't normally do that when you're in manual focus, you have to turn that feature on and we'll talk more about that as we go through the class. There's a little box here that pops up, that is your flash. There's a little flash lightning bolt button on the back of the camera that will pop the flash up. We do also have what's called a hot shoe but Sony calls it a Mutli Interface Shoe, which allows you to hook up things more than just flashes here. If you do want a more powerful flash, if you're gonna be shooting events that have a lot of flash going on, where you need to have a faster recycle time, or you need a longer throw or a wider coverage, Sony makes a lot of different flashes. I got one slide here that's got the basics on there. The flashes that they have out now. I'm not gonna go into the details of every one, but up on the top there you can see that you can also hook up microphones. Because of the Multi Interface, there's extra electronics built into the front end of this hot shoe. It'll power these mics, so they don't need necessarily extra power with them. They'll connect up directly to the camera. A lot of different options in here. If I was gonna recommend a flash, if the built in flash is not powerful enough, you're gonna want to get something that's notably more powerful. The built in one only has a guide number of 18. So you might want to look at one of the more intermediate level flashes so that you can get much more power or much faster recycling time from those. There is a little Focal Plane indicator. Most people will never need this. If you ever needed to measure where the sensor is in the camera, that's it. It might be necessary for some high magnification photography, or some cinematography. Cinematographers who use special cinema lenses, that they need to manually focus and measure the distance, that's the distance that you would be measuring to.

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!