Camera Operation


Sony® A9 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Camera Operation

For our final section, camera operation. I'm just gonna go through some ideas and concepts about what I would be thinking about and how I'd be setting the camera up, for a variety of other shooting setups. First up, if I'm going out shooting, I want to make sure I have a charged battery. I probably have a spare battery as well. I like to have my memory cards formatted ahead of time. I like making sure that my quality is set where I want it to, which is usually in raw, but sometimes jpeg. I might wanna take a little perusal through some of the menu to see if anything's been changed from my last camera shoot that I might have left in there that does need a change. If I'm taking off on an important trip, I'm gonna wanna make sure that my sensor is clean. I don't have any dust on that sensor that I need to worry about. The key settings on your camera are gonna be controls on the outside of the camera. A lot of exposure settings with the shutter speed and aperture. There's a number of focus...

ing settings that are currently set to shortcut buttons, so you can move those around if you want to. Those are the controls that we're gonna access on a regular basis for doing a lot of different types of photography. Here they are in all their glory and all their options. Let's go ahead and take a look at what basic photography, or super simple photography, would be like in this case. If I wanted to set this camera up so it was just really easy to work with, I'm gonna set it in the program mode. This is where the camera sets shutter speeds and apertures for you. Not a huge fan of auto ISO, but for general shooting it does a pretty good job. Make sure that exposure compensation dial, on the top of the camera, is not adjusted outside of zero, unless you are intending it. The auto white balance tends to do a pretty good job. I'll leave it there to start with. For basic photography, AF-S will focus on your first solid subject and be good there. Focusing area, wide just looks over the entire scene of the frame, which is fine in most situations. You do need to be careful on it focusing on things in the foreground. If it does then you're gonna need to change to one of the smaller size boxes, in that case. And a drive mode of single, so you're just getting a single shot each time you press the shutter release, should work fine. Let's jump into some landscape photography. This is where we're gonna want more depth of field. We may have a little bit slower shutter speeds. We may need to use the camera on a tripod. Have a little bit more time to shoot with here, so I would prefer to be in manual and be very specific about my settings, like an ISO of 100, because that's where you're gonna get the cleanest information off of this sensor. A middle aperture, one that has a little more depth of field, 8, 11, 16, something in that range, depending on the scene and the angle of view and how close you are to your subject could be some variants in there. But generally, that smaller aperture is gonna mean a slower shutter speed. It will depend, of course, on the amount of light. If it's a slow shutter speed, like a 30th of a second, you may want a tripod. You may be able to handhold it with a steady shot system built into the camera. But a tripod is a nice tool to use here. For white balance you can leave it in auto until you see a problem and then change it if necessary. Our subject's not moving around, so AF-S for single focus is fine. You probably wanna be pretty specific about where you're choosing to focus, in this case. So the flexible spot will allow you to move that anywhere, with the joystick, that you need it to be. And the drive mode here, you can either use single with a cable release or you can use the self timer if you don't have the cable release and you're working from a tripod and you don't want to touch the camera when you're actually pressing the shutter release and taking the photo at that very moment. So good options there. Next up let's do portrait photography. In this case we're probably not gonna be on a tripod. We need to think more about our shutter speeds and we also need to think about how much depth of field we want in the photograph. I prefer to be in manual, so I can take a series of consistent exposures. One of my first settings is probably gonna be setting a shallow depth of field. It depends on exactly what I want in the photograph. That could be anywhere from F4 to F1.4. I'm gonna want a shutter speed that stops their motion and my motion, which is gonna be 125th of a second or faster. I'm gonna prefer to be at 100 ISO, but I'll be willing to change that if necessary. Auto white balance should be good in most situations. If they're not moving around too much, single focus, so that you can focus lock and recompose if you want to. Focus area, I wanna be very precise and so the flexible spot would be a very good option there, choosing the small size option. The expand flexible spot would work pretty good. And although it's not an option here, we showed you earlier, the eye tracking option here, which would also make an excellent option for shooting portraits. In the drive mode, you'll probably find just choosing the single shot to take a picture when you press down each time on the button. Next up is action photography. Here we need to be choosing faster shutter speeds. We need to be getting our camera into a faster dive mode, so that we can capture a series of photos. I prefer, once again, to be in manual exposure so that my exposures are consistent. In this case, I'm gonna need a faster shutter speed. Probably gonna be 500th or faster, depends on the exact action that you're shooting. This is where the fast lenses that go down to 2. are really gonna pay off for you. In most cases, because you're shooting with a very fast shutter speed, you will often need an ISO about 100. 400 is just the start. Use auto white balance til you see a problem. And one of the most important settings is the focus change to AF-C, continuous focusing so it can continue to track your subject. And for the focus area you could choose the zone area for focusing, which chooses a nice large area. You may also wanna choose one of the lock on options for this. The lock on zone would be a good option there as well. And for the drive, you're probably gonna wanna have it in one of the continuous modes. Perhaps low, medium or high, depending on the types of action you're shooting and how many shots you wanna get in a short burst. The other key things here is having the camera turned on the electronic shutter will enable you to get to those 20 frames per second. If you have it on the mechanical shutter, it's gonna be anywhere between 5 and 10 frames a second. A good last one to leave this class on, which is basic photography. If I didn't know what my next shot was gonna be and I just needed to be ready for anything that might come my way, here's where I would employ a little bit of automation. Aperture priority and a modest aperture around 5.6. That gives me a reasonable fast shutter speed. If I need something different I'll quickly change that aperture setting for both a different aperture and a different shutter speed. I'll leave the camera set to ISO 100, unless I'm starting to get into pretty dark environments or needing faster shutter speeds. I'll make sure that exposure compensation dial is at 0. White balance is at auto. As long as I'm not shooting action, I'll leave it in the AF-S mode. Focus area, I'll probably be in the flexible spot, because then I can be very precise about moving that focusing bracket around. And for the drive mode, I'm probably gonna be fine in the single shot mode.

Class Description

We know what it’s like to dive right into taking pictures with your new camera. But trying to understand the manual can be a frustrating experience. Get the most out of your new mirrorless Sony A9 with this complete step-by-step walk-through 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:

  1. How to utilize the 20 frames/second with full autofocus feature
  2. How to understand the new menu systems
  3. How to use the camera's 4K video capabilities

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 A9 settings to work for your style of photography.



I've taken lots of John's classes as my photography journey has unfolded. Like all good teachers, John has a fantastic ability to take concepts which are complex and could be overwhelming, and making them accessible and much simpler. I'm lucky enough to own this amazing camera, I'm sure I'll get even more enjoyment from using it after taking this class - John has done so much of the hard work of learning away, now I feel like I can just start enjoying it!


Great information as always, John's approach is amazing, well paced and very informative. I own so many of his amazing tutorials, I feel like he's part of my family - but a lot more knowledgeable 😏

Alexander Zlatev

Thank you Great Work