Sony® A9 Fast Start

Lesson 4/27 - Cameral Controls: P Mode, A Mode, S Mode, M Mode


Sony® A9 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Cameral Controls: P Mode, A Mode, S Mode, M Mode

Very much related to that is the S&Q for slow and quick motion. And so, if you dive into the menu settings number two, which is page one of nine, the S&Q settings, you would first get to choose what sort of video do you wanna create, one that shoots at 60 frames a second, 30, or 24? And that's gonna depend on how you would plan to use that particular footage. And then you get to decide what you wanna record at. So, you're recording rate for frames per second. Now, if you're gonna shoot a standard video at 30 frames a second, and you're shooting at 120, that's gonna slow everything down to 1/3 of the normal speed of that subject. So if you wanna slow something that's moving very quickly in a video, you would set that recording rate to 120. If you wanna do a time lapse, you could set it at one, or two, or four frames per second, and then that's gonna compress it into 30 frames a second, and it's gonna speed everything up. And so, whether you wanna speed it up or slow things down,...

I have a lot of different options when it comes to the vide on this camera. All right, the first of our still shooting modes is the program mode. And so, in the program mode, the camera is setting shutter speeds and apertures, but it's not using any of those child safety locks to block off any other features in the camera. So if you wanna change anything in the menu, anything with focusing, anything with the motor drive, you are perfectly welcome to do it here. In the viewfinder on the back of the camera, you're gonna see in the lower-left your shutter speed and your aperture, which is preceded by the F number. And in the program mode, it's a pretty good general mode for taking basic photos. If you find that the numbers, the aperture and shutter speed are not exactly what you want, you can do something called Program Shift, and that's by turning either the front Dial or the back dial to get a different set of numbers. So let's go ahead do that with my camera. Let's turn around, and get my self into the right program mode. Turning the camera, that always seems to help. Move in on our little prop table here. I'm gonna turn off a little bit of this extra display here. And so, right now, I'm gonna flip this over from Auto ISO, and we'll talk more about this in a moment. I'm just gonna set it at 400 for right now. So right now, in here, we are getting an aperture of F4 at 1/13 of a second. If I said, "You know, I think we need a little bit more "depth of field than that." I can just turn this dial. It didn't work that direction, go the other direction. And I can set this to F16 and have more depth field with a different shutter speed. So I can use this to take a photo. And then I can adjust it back to its setting of F4. Take a photo there. Play these photos back, and we can see the settings right down here at the bottom as to what I shot them. They are the exact same brightness, but they have some different characteristics of it, as far as the depth of field and the shutter speed. And so, in the program mode, you're gonna get nice, even exposures, and it's really hard to go wrong with this. It's a good quick shooting mode for anybody who may be wants to make a little touch up adjustment on what they're doing with a little turn of the dial there. Next up is the aperture priority mode. This is one of my favorite modes for kind of travel photography, or just keeping the camera stored in the camera bag. You can set an aperture, just keep an eye on the shutter speed, and see if it's appropriate. You can change through your apertures very quickly. You'll notice that when a number is orange, that means you're manually making the change on it. So with the apertures, if you wanted a lot of depth of field, everything from the near, near foreground to things in the background in focus, that might be F/11, 16, 22. It depends on a number of variables. You want shallow depth of field. You're probably gonna be opening your lens as wide as it can go, or pretty close to it. F/1.4 to F/2.8, F/4 on some lenses will get you that fairly shallow depth of field. And so, changing the aperture very easy just by turning either the front dial or the back dial on the camera. That's closely related to the S for shutter priority mode. And once again, we can use the front dial or back dial to control the shutter speeds on it. Now, there are so many different shutter speeds on any give camera and especially this camera, generally quite a few more than there are aperture settings. So it's possible to set a shutter speed that your camera doesn't have an acceptable aperture on. And so, what you have to be very careful of is anything that's blinking on screen. And so, if you have a number like F/2.8 blinking, that means you're not letting in enough light. So, when it comes to shutter speeds, you'll need a fast shutter speed like 1/1000 of a second for very fast action. You might wanna choose a slower shutter speed to blur objects that you want to have a little bot of blur in the frame for artistic reasons. So let me do a little demo here on the shutter priority mode on the camera, because I wanna show you that warning. So, got the camera in the shutter priority mode right now, and I'm gonna bump the ISO up even more in here, just so that I have some more room to play with. We're gonna go up to 3200. And so, you can see that the shutter speed is in orange, because that's what I'm changing. And if I decide on reasonable number, let's go to 1/30 of a second, I can take a photo, and it's gonna look like a decent photo. Play it back here. And so, nice, well-exposed photo. But if I said, "You know what, I want "a really fast shutter speed of 1/1,000 of a second." you'll notice the F number is blinking at me. The plus minus is blinking. Anything that blinks is a warning. Just nothing should be normally blinking at you. And so, if i take a photo, the cameral will totally allow me to take a photo. And here is my photo. And it basically told me, "I warned you this wasn't gonna come out right. "But if you do it, go right ahead." So that was at 1/1,000 of a second. And so what I need to do is either need to change my shutter speed or change my ISO to correct for the fact that this camera, this lens doesn't up any wider than F/4. So I'm gonna have to bring that shutter speed back down to where it's not blinking. So right now, the fastest shutter speed I can use here at ISO is right about here at 1/100 of a second. And so, that does a fine job. If I wanna shoot higher than that, I'm gonna have to bump up the ISO. So be aware of that, because that'll happen on the high end. It can also happen on the low end. So if I go down here, and wanna do a 25-second exposure, F/22 is not small enough. I could lower my ISO, I could use a neutral density filter, but I gotta change that. Now, let me just switch it over to aperture priority. So I'm in aperture priority now on the top of the camera. So as I turn the dial, you can see the aperture turns orange. And if I go to F/22, we've got a shutter speed that can handle that. If I go to the widest opening, F/4, we've got a shutter speed that can handle that. So it's a little bit... It's next to impossible to have a problem in aperture priority, not getting the right numbers, but it can happen in shutter priority quite easily. And so I just tell people, with shutter priority, be careful in how you use it. Because if you choose something too high or too low, the camera is gonna very subtly warn you that it's not getting the right exposure. Kenna, you have question. I do have a question that came in related to this here. The question is can I set a shutter speed minimum in aperture priority mode? We talked about that when you're customizing things or- We can set a shutter priority in the ISO, but not just for the aperture mode. No, so not just in the aperture mode. But if you are choosing ISO, the Auto ISO option, then you can choose a specific shutter speed, or one that's related to the lens that you're using. And so I'll have more detailed information when we get into the menu sections on the Auto ISO option. Great, and you can say like, "This is a minimum. "I don't want you to go below that." Don't ever go below this. Okay, awesome. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you. Very good. Okay, so, continuing along the way. Next one up is manual. M for manual means you get to choose your shutter speed and your aperture. The front dial is your aperture. The back dial is your shutter speed. And now you're gonna need to worry about what does your light meter say. And so, next to your shutter speed and aperture in the viewfinder is gonna be your metering information. Now, unlike most camera, which give you kind of a visual graphic overexposed, underexposed, this is just gonna give you a numeric number that's gonna be plus or minus, telling you if you're over exposed. So, manual exposure is one of my favorite modes because it works really well for tricky lighting situations. And so, if you have something that the light meter just isn't reading totally properly... And the beauty of digital cameras is being able to see those in the field results and going, "No, it should be a little bit brighter. "It could be a little bit darker." you can really hone that in and narrow it down to the best settings. It's also good for consistent results. When the light is not changing on a very rapid basis, and you wanna get a lot of photos that have all the same exposure level, but you're gonna have different compositions with them, having the same manual exposure for all of those photos is one of the keys to getting even exposures. Now, when you are in the manual exposure mode, the longest shutter speed changes from 30 seconds, After that, to something called Bulb. Now Bulb is a long time exposure. It's as long as your finger is on the shutter release or on the cable release. And so, when you press down, it opens up the shutter, and it stays open as long as your finger is on that button. And so, when you take the finger off, then it closes the shutter. Now, as a side note, this is not available for those of you using the electronic shutter that we will talk plenty more about as we go through the class. And so, this is a great night time mode if you wanna do star photography, or any sort of night time work. You'll probably be using Bulb at some point. And so, in manual exposure, let me just show you a few things on that. Let me go ahead and flip my camera over into the manual mode here. And so, on the front of the camera, we have our aperture's control. Let's just set a middle aperture of F/8 for right now. Now you can see I have 30 seconds set down here. And if I go one step beyond 30 seconds, I go into a Bulb mode. And so if I wanna leave the shutter open for a long period of time, it's as long as my finger is on that button. (shutter clicks) There we go. So that's my long exposure. And so, if I wan set the proper exposure in here, I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna look. I'm gonna leave F/8, that's fine. I can see I'm overexposed by two stops, and it's blinking, which actually means more than two stops. And so, I'm just gonna keep bringing this back until it says zero. I should be getting close here. And the screen is mimicking what's going on down here. And so, right here is my proper exposure. At least the camera thinks this is what the proper exposure is. And I can shoot a photo there. If I said, "You know what, "I think this should be a scene that's a little bit darker." I could set this to the minus sign, and maybe actually this is a little bit closer to reality. So I can kind of ignore this. Going to zero is a nice starting place, and that's a good place to take your first test photo. You look at that and you go, "Well, maybe I want it just a shade bit darker. Play these images back. And so, maybe that one's a little bit... That one's bright, which is easy to work with, but this one is a little bit closer to reality here because we have a lot of dark wood and dark gray over there. And so, that scene is a little bit darker than average. So that's how I would use manual. And I think a lot of you will be using manual quite a bit in this camera. Now, one of the neat features that is buried into the menus system is a feature called Manual Shift, which I am very excited about. Because the last time I saw this on a camera, well, it was back with the Pentax PZ-1, which was in the mid-90s. None of the Nikons have this, none of the Canons have this. I haven't seen it on the Fujis. I haven't seen it on the Olympus. And it should be on all cameras. And I wanna show you what this does. All right, so let's go back to our scenario that we had just set up here. Now, we had decided that F/8 and 1/40 of a second gave us the proper exposure, where I wanted this just slightly underexposed. What if I decided I don't wanna shoot it at F/8? Well, let's say I wanna shoot it at 5.6, what would I normally do? Well, I would have to come over to the front dial, and I'd have to go one, two, three clicks there. And then with the back dial, one, two, three clicks there, going to F/11. And so I'd have go several clicks with each dial. Now, what you can do is you can press the AEL button right up here. Press and hold this button. You'll get the little asterisk down here. And now you can turn the front dial, and it does a manual shift where all of these, so I can shoot at F/22, take this, shoot it at F/11 right here. Hold down that button, turn the front dial, and go all the way down to F/4, and I have the exact same exposure. Let's look at these and see how similar they are. So here is the F/4 version, the F/11 version, and F/22 version. So these are three very different photos despite the fact that they are composed the same, and they look kinda the same on the back of the camera. In the real world, where you might have something moving with shutter speed, or you might have a little bit more depth in it, these could be very different shots. And so, if you wanna change your settings, it's very simple in the manual mode. You hold down the AEL button, and then turn the front dial on the camera in either direction that you might wanna go on that. And so, that is called manual shift. And if you are the lead designer of cameras for other brands of cameras, please, everybody, put this on all cameras. It should be on all cameras. It's a great, great feature. Alright, next up, we have one, two, and three. And these are our Memory Recall options. You can set this camera up to work in three different memorized modes that you can turn to on the dials. There's gonna be a lot of other ways that we can memorize features on the camera, but this is one way of quickly turning the dial so that the camera is set up with particular shooting modes, with white balance set in a particular way, and a variety of other functions within the camera set just the way that you want them to. Perhaps, you shoot an event like football, and you have one as your basic action under normal conditions. But maybe then you also shoot night games, and you need to change things up a little bit, so you have a second option for that. And then the third option is for when you're shooting portraits before and after the game, and the players are not moving around as quickly. And so, what you would need to do on this is that you would need to go under the menu system, under camera settings number one. And on page three of 13, you can go into the Memory setting down there, and you can memorize the way that you're camera is set up. And so, the idea is that you set the camera up the way you want it to work. Then you go here and you register it to one, two, or three. Now that is not gonna be the only way that we can recall functions, but it is one of many ways that we can do this. So, beyond the one, two, three on the dial, the camera also has M1, M2, M3, and M4, which are embedded into the camera. So we have four plus three, help me on the math here, we're at seven. So we have seven different memorized functions. For instance, say you occasionally shoot movies, but you like to have the camera set up a certain mode. It doesn't happen that often, so you don't wanna use one, two, or three for that. You can use M1, or M2, or M3. You don't have a dial turn to get there, but you can still get there pretty quickly with the menu functions on the camera. So you have seven different ways that you can memorize the camera. Now if you just want to recall those modes, you can dive into the menu on page three of under the Recall option, and that way you can bring up that M1, M2, M3, and M4 option. And so, we have lots of different memorizing ways to keep your functions in this camera. And we'll continue to talk about them as we go through this class. So, there are all of our shooting modes in our camera. I expect this camera to be used a lot in the manual exposure mode, aperture priority mode. It does do a lot of sports, and I know some people like to use shutter priority there quite a bit. And it's not Sony's best camera for shooting movies, but it does shoot 4k movies. And so, I imagine a lot of people are gonna be using that movie mode as well.

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