Function Button: Bottom Row


Sony® A9 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Function Button: Bottom Row

Next up isn't really gonna matter unless you have a flash attached to your camera, but if you do, then you can go in and you can change the flash modes on your camera. And so, there's gonna be a number of different options in here, let's take a quick look at what some of these options are used for. Autoflash is where the flash will just fire whenever it's dark and it's necessary. Fill-flash is where the flash will fire, even though it may think it's bright enough and doesn't need the flash. Slow Sync allows you to use a slower shutter speed to get some background blur or more ambient light in the background. Rear Sync will synchronize the flash, not with the front shutter curtain, but with the rear shutter curtain, to get special effects with subjects that are moving. We also have a Wireless option if you want to hook up multiple Sony wireless flashes, they can get to communicate, and you can have them in different groups, and there's a whole class that should be about working with the...

Sony flash off-camera 'cause it's a very complicated subject, but it can do it. Now, when you are doing this with a Sony flash, your top shutter speed is 1/250th of second. And remember, if you are using the electronic shutter, you may want to turn that off when you get to start working with the flash because it's not gonna work with that. Because of that scanning way that it records the pixels, it cannot record the light the way that it can with a mechanical shutter. Next up, on our function menu down on row two, is Flash Compensation, and so if you are using a flash, and you want to go in and you want to adjust the power of the flash, which is something you may very well want to do if you do a lot of portrait photography. This is where the camera will fire in TTL, which is an automated system that technically, from a robotic standpoint, is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, but from a more human, aesthetic side of things, the flash is a little bit too powerful, so a lot of people want to power it down by one or two stops. And so, whether this subject is under even light, or more contrasting lighting, it's often very common to see photographers having their cameras set to -2/3 of a stop, -1 stop, -1 1/3 stop. Really depends on your subject, the background, other things in the frame. A lot of times with the flash, what we're trying to do is we're trying to add in a little bit of fill flash, but we're not trying to overwhelm our subject with too much flash, and this is a good way to just power that flash down a little bit. So a -1 setting here would not be the worst thing in the world to have. Next up is white balance. We took a look at this more closely earlier in the class, but we have another chance to set it here if we reformat one of the buttons on the camera to control this. We can get in and make all those same controls back here in the back of the camera. Next up is the Creative Style, and this is the way that your JPEGs are developed and presented to you. So if you shoot RAW, this isn't really gonna matter at all. But if you do shoot JPEGs, and the style, and the look, and the contrast, and the colority, and the saturation of those JPEGs are important to you, you can choose a different preset setting here. And so if you want to go in and change it from standard to vivid, all of your colors are gonna be a bit more vivid. Which is good for some things, but it's not good for other things. Like, it's good for landscape photography, but it's not good for portrait photography. We do have another setting in here for portrait. There's this different one for landscape that is slightly different than vivid. And this is something that you can go around and play with, but you can also go in and you can customize as well. Now, if you shoot in RAW, you're gonna get the original information off the sensor that is unmanipulated. But if you do wanna adjust your JPEGs, you can adjust the look here to it. I would highly recommend just starting off on standard, see if it looks good to you, if you don't like it, then you might want to come in here and play around with some of the others. The one in here that I do really like is black and white because if you like to shoot black and white, mirrorless cameras now give you the option with an electronic viewfinder to view the world in black and white, and I guarantee you that's gonna change the way that you shoot black and white, when you can see it black and white in the viewfinder. And so, one of the things that I'd like to do is shoot RAW images, but I want to shoot them in black and white, and if you have RAW image set, and you have your camera set to black and white, you will see it black and white in the viewfinder, and then when you download your memory cards, you're gonna get a RAW image which means you have full access to all the information that was captured, including the color information. You can take that image, you can turn it black and white, or you can keep it in color. And so you get to view in black and white, but you get to keep both versions of it if you shoot RAW. Okay, now we get to talk about shooting RAW, JPEG, and the different quality settings as options in the camera, and so this is where you're gonna be choosing whether you want to shoot RAW, JPEG, or both. So let's look a little bit more closely at some of the options we have in here. First up, if you want to get the most information out of this camera, you want to shoot RAW. You're gonna get an ARW file, which is the Sony alpha RAW file, and you're gonna need the right software to look at that information. You're gonna need the software that came with the camera, or you're gonna need some third party software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and there's many other programs out there that will handle the Sony RAW images, and you can then view and work with them. The camera has a 24 megapixel sensor, so, of course, you're gonna get that with RAW, 6,000 by 4,000 on the resolution. Now, as I mentioned before and we will continue to talk about, there is the options of a compressed or an uncompressed version of that file. It will double your file size, and that will change the performance of the camera, and we'll talk about where you can set that, and the implications when we get into the menu setting of the camera where that feature is actually given as an option. We can shoot as a RAW and a JPEG, where we're gonna get two files every time we shoot a single photograph. And so, here, this is gonna increase the total amount of space that it takes up on the card. I don't recommend using this mode for most situations. The reason you should use it is that you want to have access to those full RAWs in the long-term, but you need the JPEGs right away, for a project that you don't have time for turning RAWs into JPEGs. If you have a RAW and you have a computer, you can make a JPEG any time you want, and so in many cases for photographers, you can shoot RAW, take your time, go back to your computer, download them, pick out your best image, make it a JPEG, and send it off to whoever needs it. But other people, they need their images right away and JPEGs are just a lot easier to work with, and so you may want to shoot with the JPEG image in some cases. Now, if all you want to shoot with is JPEG, we do have three different options, and it has to do with the compression, how much is the data being crunched and being thrown out to make a smaller file size? And so we have Extra Fine, Fine, and Standard, which has different levels of compression. And I didn't run the test myself, but I was looking at tests from other photographers, and the camera shoots an incredible number of shots, and I'm trying to remember what that number is off the top of my head, it's around 350 images in the buffer, before the buffer fills up. If you are shooting the Extra Fine JPEG, you can get 350 shots in the buffer. The downside to shooting 350 shots in a row is that it takes almost two minutes to clear the buffer because the camera is going through a lot of processing, creating these Extra Fine files. And so, if you are somebody who's gonna be shooting JPEGs in this, you might want to take a close look at the difference between, image quality between an Extra Fine and a Fine, and see if that extra size is worth it for you. Now, with any of the JPEGs, any of these three different models, versions of it, you can change the image size, which is the resolution, the number of pixels that are recorded here. And so you can choose a 24, a 10, or a six megapixel version of it, which would change the 24 megapixels down. Generally, people are gonna want to shoot this camera at 24 megapixels most of the time, but if you know that you want to change the size, you can dive into the menu, go down to image size, and you can change it down to 10 or six megapixels if you know you need that smaller size. But most of the time, it's gonna be 24 megapixels, and you can see the file size there on the bottom of the screen, and so with your RAW files, 25 megabytes for a compressed file, and then you can cut that in half and in half again with those JPEGs. All right, so those are your quality setting options, I'm gonna recommend RAW for a lot of users. Some of the sports photographers out there, they don't want to deal with the large RAW files, you're probably gonna be shooting extra fine, and then there's a few people who want to have access to the RAWs and need some JPEGs for some immediate tasks at hand, and that would be RAW plus JPEG. All right, next up is Select Record Media, and this is our first Sony still camera that uses two memory card slots. Congratulations, Sony, welcome to the party. (laughs) They're one of the last ones here. So now we have two card slots, and we can quickly select which is our primary card slot. Now, there's gonna be a lot of options, we're gonna get to in the menu, in the setup menu, about directing, "Well, can I put stills here "and video here, and can I put JPEG here?" Yes, you can do almost everything, and we will get into the details of how to organize it, but the first thing is is what's your primary slot that you want to go to? Now, the other thing that has thrown me for a loop on this camera is that every camera to date has had memory slot number one on the top, and number two on the bottom, and so it's kinda like, you know, the top was where all the action is on the camera, so that's, you know, the first spot. And so, number one is on the bottom, but the way that I think about this is it's just like an apartment building. Floor number one is on the ground and number two is above that, and so, if you're trying to remember what's the main card slot, start on the ground floor, that's your slot number one. And then our final little box down here is for our shooting mode, which is just a reflection of where our dial is turned on the top of the camera. So this is one of those boxes that I think can be reprogrammed pretty easily, unless you can't see the top of your camera and you want to see where things are set at, you can see it in the back of the camera, which could be handy for some people. And so pressing the function button, using your controls to get in here. Now, in the function menu set on page eight of nine, you can go in and you can move all these things around, and so if you want to group all of your autofocus stuff on the left and your exposure stuff on the right, or top row, bottom row, you can organize this however you want. You can then go in and delete them if you don't want to use them, you're just not using all of those things, you can find other items, and you can put those in wherever you want. So there's a good chance that you, if you are an experienced Sony shooter, and you run up against somebody else who's an experienced Sony shooter, and you try to switch cameras, everything's gonna be in a different spot. You're gonna have this camera totally tailored to the way that you want it to by the time you're done with this class. All right, next up, we have our control wheel which we've been using for everything and we will continue to use for a lot of different controls on the camera. The top button on this controls the display. We talked about that before in the viewfinder, and if you press that now on the back of the camera, you're gonna have many different options. Now, one of the options is called For Viewfinder, and that's gonna give you the function menu right over there on the right side. And let me give you a little demo on that right here and now, 'cause I just want to show you real quickly that you don't need to dive into the function menu. So one option is that you can press the function menu, and you'll see all your information down there. So let's just back out of that, and if we hit the display button a number of times, we'll cycle through all our different options, and here's our For Viewfinder. So this is for people who are using the viewfinder, and they just want lots of important information on the back of the camera. We can see my little tilt horizon going on there, we can my histogram if I was to change this to manual exposure, you can see what happens to the histogram as I change things back and forth, but if I want to jump into the function menu, it just now lights up and my same 12 items are now over on the right-hand side of the camera. And so, I can see what's going on right over here, and so any one of these controls that I want to get into, I can get over and get into these. And so, you know? Let me take a look real quickly on something, something I just noticed. Yeah, you know what? It is slightly different. They did change some of the function menus that you can get into, it's a slightly different list, there's a few things here that we haven't talked about yet that we will eventually get to, but they've just slightly changed them around a little bit. So the function custom menu is for the one that we have in this display right here. That's the one that we just went through. So, hit that display to get, to cycle through all the different options that are available. And so, the display button, just for your information, is not reprogrammable, that is a hard button on the camera. You can't go in and reprogram that to do something else. If you do want to change which displays are available, you can, so if you don't use the For Viewfinder, you don't use the Level, you can uncheck that box and not have that as an option that you cycle through. The right-hand button controls the ISO. We just talked about that in the function menu. And so, you can dive in here, and you can set your ISO, I find that a pretty easy button to get to and access, so I like that being quickly accessible right there. The down button and the left button do not have anything programmed straight out of the box, brand new, and so these are things that you can go into the custom key option in the menu system and reprogram to do something that you want it to. And I love having lots of empty buttons that just I get to choose whatever that does, and that's just gonna allow you to get your camera fixed exactly to the way you like it to work.

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