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Sony A7 Mark II Series Fast Start

Lesson 11 of 36

Function Button: Modes

John Greengo

Sony A7 Mark II Series Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

11. Function Button: Modes

Lesson Info

Function Button: Modes

Next up, we have our function button, and this is one of the areas that we're going to be able to customize in our camera. Thankfully, as I said, there's, a lot of features that are scattered throughout this camera and this is going to be one of the areas where we're gonna be able to organize things to start with. It is a collection of features that you might normally dive into the menu to go for, but this is a short cut menu in order to get to these features so let's, go ahead and work our way through these different features, so you're going to hit the function button, and then you will simply go up or down to navigate through these two rows of six items. The first item is the drive mode. What happens when you press all the way down on the shutter release? Normally, my cameras in the single shot when I'm shooting sports and continuous shooting, we have the option of shooting low speed and high speed. We have a variety of self timer modes. We have some bracketing modes, including a wh...

ite balance bracketing and a de ouro bracket, which will be talking about us. We get into this, but we have a little video watch some of this being used in action, so let's, go ahead and watch this video. All right now what we're gonna do is we're gonna put our camera into the motor drive mode and we're gonna turn on the continuous shooting low option now we got caitlin still running here and what I've decided to do is rather than go for the zone focusing I wanted to get a little bit more targeted and so I'm gonna choose the large flexible spot and I'm gonna have that start just a little bit off to the right a little bit closer to where she is and I'm gonna loosen up the camera on the tripod and caitlin let's go ahead and have you run and so she's coming through it's following tracking and shooting photos at the same time all right so that worked out pretty well let's push the limits of this camera and take this back and go up to the high speed continuous shooting everything else we're gonna leave the same so we're going to start with the brackets on her it's tracking the action and now it's firing at about five frames a second and we just filled up buffer there and so this is a great way of tracking any sort of action that's coming towards you or away from you as long as there's not too much other action going on it might be a little bit difficult in a soccer field but this is a great way to track that action moving at very quick speeds all right, so here is thie siri's of photos from the first shot, which is too two and a half frames per second, and then at five frames per saw five frames per second, in case you're wondering. Well, exactly how good is the sharp sharpness on this let's? Go ahead and take a magnified look, and you can see that it is really kneeling the sharpness quite well. Well, look at one more photo right here. Nice, perfect sharpness. Notice how the backgrounds and nice little soft there, and so it does an extremely good job at focus tracking in that situation. As I said in the video, this might be difficult on a soccer field where you have a variety of players that are intersecting and cutting in front of each other. It's a little bit better in this scenario where it's, a fairly simple set up for it toe watch one of the other options in here is a bracketing option, and this looks like something we talked about before called exposure compensation. But this is where the camera will automatically fire off a serious of shots very quickly. The previous ones are ones that you would set manually and shoot one at a time, and so on this you can shoot three or five or nine, seven, seven or nine shots at a time. So you'll see a bracketing symbol in there, and that means it's turned on. There are two options there's a single and a continuous single is obviously for shooting one picture at a time continuous allows you to press down completely on the shutter release and it fires through the entire sequence of possible shots. We can choose a different number of shots three, five, seven or nine and then we can choose different increments anywhere from point three all the way up to three evey in value. Now this is something that's gonna work best with aperture priority shutter priority of program in manual. This is something that you would just manually make adjustments on. So I think aperture priority is the mode that works best in this regard for the bracketing. And so let me just do a quick little demo on the camera here in front of us. I do still have it in aperture priority and we're going to go into the function. We're going to go up to the top left for the drive mode we can go in here, we can select high or low speed continuous, we have different self timers for ten seconds. We have one for ten seconds, but it will shoot three shots, five shots or three shots after five seconds or a variety of options in there we have our bracketing options including a white balance bracketing and a de ouro, which will talk more about let's. Go ahead and do a bracket siri's right here and there are a lot of options according to how many photos we want to take, and I am going to do a siri's of five shots at one stop of exposure adjustments, so it says one evey five stops and I would actually prefer this to be in continuous. So let me look for the continuous option, which is actually above it. So I want a one stop evey for five photos right here. So what I'm gonna do right now? Because I'm just going to hold the camera down and it's going to shoot five photos relatively quickly one, two, three, four and I think it's working on processing them right now, got five of them in there and so let's, take a quick look at him and I'm going to try to pull up some more information so we can see exactly what's going on here. I'm gonna pull up this one it's got some bling keys that are showing us the highlights, but what I'm looking at is over here on the left, it says, plus two minus two plus one minus one zero and so those are my five shot it's zero minus plus minus and plus. And so if you were unsure about the correct exposure of a particular scenario, this would be a way of ensuring that you get the exact correct exposure. There's also people who like to do hdr photography, where they take photos at different exposure levels and combine them later in a high dynamic range option, and so great little feature, good for landscapes, or any time you're on a tripod, obviously shooting all those photos at the same time or near to the same time, you need to have a camera on a tripod in order to do that, so that is the drive mode. Next up, the camera does not have a built in flash, so you can change whatever you want here and it's not going to change much of anything until you add a flash unit onto the camera. So there are a variety of settings on turning the flash on or off how it fires with different shutter speeds, so let's, take a look a few of the options auto flash will fire whenever it thinks it needs it. Phil flash. It'll always fire slow sink uses a slow shutter speed rear sync times, the flash with the rear curtain closing of the shutter, which could give you some interesting effects with subjects that move there is also ah hole option of adding wireless combinations of multiple flash units. We're not gonna have time to get into that. And just one little footnote on the whole thing is that when you are using flash, the top shutter speed is one to fiftieth of a second for the camera to get all the readings that it needs from the flash and to synchronize with the flash. So that's going to be your top shutter speed when you have a flash unit attached to the camera? I believe, and I don't have a flash unit here to double test it, but when you put on that additional flashing it, it won't even allow you to go over to fifty so that's just a natural limitation of that system. So that is the flash mode. All right? Well, when the flash fires, how much power does it put out? Well, it puts out exactly as much power as it thinks it needs, and sometimes it's incorrect in that power output. And if you don't like like the standard tt l output a flash, you can either power it up or power it down now. Generally, for good looking portrait's, most photographers prefer to power down the flash a little bit because when you leave it at full power, it looks like a passport for id or motor vehicle type. Driver's license it's a little too powerful oftentimes were wanting flash just tow help bring up the shadows a little bit of our subject and this could be really a big impact on a bright, sunny day where they're often very deep shadows and so in this case I think t t l minus two is the most natural looking and so powering the flash down is something I think is a very important step for doing portrait photography with an additional flash unit and so a lot of times I will leave this on minus one in the compensation as we continue to work our way around the camera and into the menu system you will I think I am repeating myself and if that is the case you are correct there are a number of features that have buttons on the outside of the camera they have places in the function menu and then they will be yet again in the menu and so we don't need to spend much time on this. We were just talking about the focus mode it is currently programmed to the c three button but it's the same controls once again duplicating the focus area that we currently have programmed on see two on the cameras that top button on the camera choosing where we focus so just as a reminder the white area is almost the entire screen zone is going to be nine boxes center is on ly in the middle, not movable flexible has three different sizes and you can move it anywhere you want and the expand flexible spot is kind of the best of both small and the medium boxes on it and then of course we have the lock on, but those will only become active when your camera is in the continuous focusing mode, so on ly access when it's in continuous focusing next up, we have our exposure compensation and as you might call, there is a dial on the camera beautiful dialling the camera that does this inherently and so the control in the back is overridden by the dial on the top of the camera, and so let's, just do a little experiment here, so I'm going to go into the function control in the camera. I'm going to go over to exposure compensation and I'm going to dial in a minus three exposure compensation so minus three right there, but on the top of my camera it says zero on here and I'm going to dial this in to say, plus two, all right, so where is the camera and what is it really doing when I go back into function menu invalid in the current exposure compensation dial? And so the two are kind of conflicted there and what's happened is that the dialled has overridden the electronic controls in the cameron so it is currently at plus two, so I'm going to reset this back to zero and it has s so what happened is essentially as soon as I turned the top dial on the camera, it zeroed out thie elektronik setting that I had made in the function setting and so you can make it back here just kind of choose whether you want to do it with the dial or do it in the function menu all right, next item in the function menu is just simply a note as to where you have your camera set on the mod ill and it seems kind of superfluous because you've got it set right on the top of the camera, but sometimes you'll have the camera up on a tripod and it's actually hard to see the top of the camera and so it's just nice to have that information back there potentially next up we have creative styles all right? So for those of you who shoot raw and those of you who do know you d'oh, this doesn't matter to you okay doesn't matter at all, but if you shoot j peg, this is the style and look of the images when it comes to the contrast and color of the images that you shoot now I really think that the goal of the camera is to capture the image and not to do the processing. I think if you want to change the look of your photograph, the better place to do that is in your computer, where you have a much larger screen and muchmore thorough controls from making those changes. So my recommendation is to leave this on standard and just leave it as is, however, there are people that I realised used this camera and they're shooting j pegs, and they need j picks to have a certain look to them and they don't have time to do it in the computer or they don't want to do with the computer, and if you do want to go in and change it, this is where you can change it nowthe one in here that I would actually change it, too, from time to time and there's. A good reason for this is if I was shooting raw, I would occasionally change it to black and white if I am thinking that I want to take a black and white photo because the beauty of an electron ic viewfinder is it's going to show it the world to us in black and white so you can imagine shooting black and white on a traditional film camera you're just looking around the world trying to go. Guess what's going to look good in black and white, and with this camera you could hold it up to your eye and you can see it in black and white. And so if you were a black and white photographer, he wanted to do that it's a neat option, because if you shoot raw, you will get the photograph in color, but for compositional and artistic reasons using the camera you, khun judge the scene and work with it in black and white so that's one that I think it does have a special value to it all right next up d r o auto, which stands for dynamic range optimizer, which is dealing with the levels off light, high dynamic range, which is kind of more of the standard term in the industry hdr and so normally this is going to be turned off, but you can have it automatically shooting different photos and there's two different ways that it works in the d r o mode what it does there is it shoots one photograph and it goes in and it plays around with shadow tones and the highlight tones to try to make the best looking image that it can, and I kind of don't like that because it's, like I took a photo and then sony's coming along and they're futzing with my photo and they're playing with it, making it give it a certain look at it like no, no, no, no, I just want a straight photo now hdr will shoot a series of photos at different exposures and then combine them to try to rescue either highlight or shadow information that may be lost by only trying to take one single photo. And so I just went into the studio to try to do a little test on this, and I'm photographing a subject that you can notice that as we crank up the d r o levels it's cranking up the shadow areas is what it's doing now, if you shoot a raw image and you are familiar with a variety of software programs, in order to control your images, you're going to be able to do this on your own, and you're going to able to tweak it exactly the way you want it. And so this is something that I wanna personal level I'm not going to use on this camera. I don't think it's really necessary in most cases, it's a nice thing to have on there if you do need to do it in the camera and so in the high dynamic range little different subject, and you'll notice the shadow side of the rubik's cube here, the yellow side gets a little bit brighter as we crank up the levels of the hdr and so it's, how intense you want, how much work you want the camera to do for you. So this is a multi shot technique in hd are so you will be needing to keep the camera still so on a tripod in order to shoot these and so there kind of neat modes to have. I don't think a lot of people are going to be used these using these really heavily, but they might be potentially advantage advantageous to somebody say, for instance, a real estate photographer whose photographing the house that has thie inside of the house lit in one way but has windows pointing outside in a very different lighting situation that could be one way of doing it, writing camera and not having to deal with anything in the computer. All right, next up is our auto white balance, and this is something that we have already done already dealt with with the custom one button on the top of the camera so we can make our changes once again. Normally I leave it in auto white balance, all right, here's, another new one, the meter in mode. And so the camera has three different metering modes, and it just breaks up the frame that you are looking at into different areas. The multi zone uses twelve hundred different points of light it compares and contrasts them to figure out what is the best exposure for you traditional cameras back from the sixties, seventies and eighties used a center waited metering system which is a very simplistic system looking at whatever is in the middle of the frame and the spot metering system is nice when you want to get a very direct reading in a very small area now I have found that the multi pattern meeting does eight excellent job that along with being able to check your images on the back of the camera and using the hist a gram you should rarely get poor quality images when it comes to exposure so they do have some options here but I think a lot of folks are just going to be leaving this in the multi pattern metering system and then finally we have our s o setting on this and so we can set everything at least on the r model between a low of fifty and a high of one hundred thousand on this now the best quality setting on this is going to be I s a one hundred that is where the sensor is designed to be set and where it's going to get its optimum and cleanest amount of information we can shoot lower than that all the way down to fifty and that's why they have little lines around it and what happens is the camera is processing that information, and the downside going below one hundred is that you start losing dynamic rage and so it's not recommended you use it. There are situations where I have been shooting say, a waterfall and I'm at ah, half a second and I want to get down to a one second and I've maxed out the other parameters on my camera. I could take it from I s o one hundred down to the esso fifty. Now we can go all the way up to one hundred thousand, and in general, those are going to have a lot of noises. I'll show you in just a moment. Let me go ahead and turn my camera on. I just want to show you a few little things about changing the so we do actually have an s o dedicated button right here, but I'm going to go into the function button and down over on the left hand side one hundred is where the camera's sensor is designed to give you the best performance. We can go lower than that down to fifty. We can go all the way up two, one hundred thousand you can see it just kind of cycles around now we too have two different auto modes. And so we have your standard auto mode which is actually going to be able to be a little bit customizable when we get into the actual menu system and then we have a multi frame noise reduction and this is where the camera will shoot multiple shots in order to reduce the noise in an image and so I don't recommend this unless you're on a tripod on dso something to be aware of and we'll talk more about noise reduction as we get into this and so my default position on this camera's I leave it at one hundred and then depending on the environment I go in, I change it so if I was going to be in a room like I'm in right now, which has um it's got a lot of lights but they're not super bright I would probably raise up the desoto four hundred or eight hundred to get shots now this is not a review of this camera, but I will show you my test results because I wanted to do a test with actually all three of these cameras and so just doing it in the studio comparing a magnified portion of a small scene and these cameras all have incredibly clean information at one hundred two hundred four hundred eight hundred is all really, really good in fact, I really don't see much difference up until around thirty two hundred and I to think that the r and the s are clearly better better than the a seven mark too I think they've put in a better processing system on it now there's a bit of ah ah compromise between the r and the s because thie s does better under low light but it doesn't have as many pixels so when I enlarge an image as large it is as it is here on screen both the r and the s are looking a little bit grainy but for different reasons one is because it doesn't have enough pixels and one because it's cranking up those pixels more in height in general I think these cameras are extraordinarily clean up to sixty four hundred but as always with all I s o settings the lower the number the better at least down to the esso one hundred on this camera I forgot I want an even closer to see more detail and so you can see a twenty five thousand we are getting a lot of noise yes the s and the armada lll go up beyond this even mohr but it gets really really crunchy you might say at that point so that is the iso setting will see a button for that again and you can also program that two other buttons within the camera and so these are the function settings I call it the shortcut menu and one of the best things about this camera is that you can go into customs set up number seven, the function menu settee, and you can say, you know what? I don't like where those features are, I want to switch him, and I want to switch those, and in fact, I don't even need any of these, and I want to go find some other ones, and I want to put them in the camera and you can organize this in any way that you want. And so this is going to make diving into the menu, something that you do less frequently and you'll be able to find the stuff, and once you get used to it, you can kind of group you're focusing one's and your exposure ones together, and you're dr ones together, and it will make life a lot easier to work with on the cameras, so that function button is a great shortcut button. When you get into that function menu said, there will be two pages, one for the upper level of controls and one for the lower level of controls, and you can go in and adjust those as needed. All right, we have our s o button direct, and so this is not a bad way just to leave it. Right here, because they do have it labelled. But this is the right press of the dial on the back of the camera, which can be reprogrammed to do something else. But we just talked about it, so so we don't need to spend any more time on it. The drive mode we've already talked about, because that is, of course, duplicated in the function menu. Again, same options here, as we saw in the function menu.

Class Description

Learn how to get the most out of your Sony® A7 Mark II series camera. Whether you've chosen the Sony A7R Mark II, the Sony A7S Mark II, or the Sony A7 Mark II, this class will give you in-depth instruction on your camera’s critical functions. 

John will guide you through the features, menus, and buttons on your camera, giving you the confidence you need to take pictures like a pro. You’ll learn about: 

  • The features, menus, and buttons on all 3 Sony models 
  • How to use the cameras in different shooting situations 
  • Maximizing the use of the cameras 

This in-depth class will help everyone from amateurs to professionals, get the most out of the incredible Sony® A7 Mark II series cameras. 


a Creativelive Student

INCREDIBLE Class! I couldn't find anything on the internet that truly explained this camera, explained what it can and can't do and what accessories would work with it. I have had my Sony A7II for awhile now, but was so overwhelmed by it, I rarely even took it out of its case. It was just easier to use my Canon 5D III. After this class, I am so excited to finally practice with and use my Sony. John is an incredible teacher. He is thorough, professional, fun and knowledgeable! Buying this class was the best investment!!! I feel like I just got the gift of a new camera because I can finally use my Sony!!! Thanks John and Thanks Creative Live!!!

Enrique Vega

I stored my Sony A7II for more than a year since I've been Canon's user for 7 years and I felt unsure of taking this new camera which implied a different menu system, different functions, a little bit intimidating. Finally, I took a bit of valor, put my camera next to the computer monitor for then start watching this guide and I spent a great time actually. I'm amazed at how helpful and clear is the sequence of the chapters. It was enough to get to chapter ten to know all the basic controls and start taking pictures with an equivalent confidence of my good old Canon, or even better since in the chapter 8th I learned how accurate and easy to use is the focusing system, either, manual or auto (For stills I've always used manual focusing). Very informative, enjoyable and now I became a new fan of the mirrorless cameras, at the point that I'm considering to buy another two :D


John is an excellent teacher! In fact his Fundamentals of Digital Photography 2014 was the first ever class I watched on CreativeLive, and since then I'm in love with his teaching style as well as with CreativeLive! I bought my Sony A7II in March 2015 and when I found out that John is giving a class on it I was very excited! As I expected I learnt many secrets about my camera which I had been using for 9 months already. For example about the option of focusing on the eyes, setting the buttons, making panoramas etc. The camera is still smarter than me I must admit. I am enjoying my Sony even more now since after the class I feel much more confident. Thank you John and CreativeLive for such an opportunity! I would recommend to everyone who has a Sony a7II camera and the other cameras in this line to watch this class. It's a concentrate of useful information, very detailed and to the point. I spent two days just watching the class and practicing new knowledge with my camera straight away. I had to postpone all the other life chores. And I would be ready to watch the class again after some time as it's a professional camera which needs a lot of practice!