Sony® A9 Fast Start

 

Sony® A9 Fast Start

 

Lesson Info

Menu: Camera Setting 1 Page 1-3

All right, so let's dive into the menu functions of this camera. So when you press the menu button, you're going to dive into the brain of the camera. You will be using the variety of controls that we have been talking about, as far as navigating your way through the menu system. There are gonna be six main tabs where items are now pretty logically organized. So we have two different camera settings tabs. I don't know why we have two tabs for this rather than just a long list of pages in there. In general, camera settings two is where you're going to find a lot of the video functions and a lot of the custom functions. Camera settings one is more image quality, autofocus parameters, things like that. For wireless communication, there is the network. Also if you're going to be hooking up with that ethernet port. Playback's pretty obvious. Setups is a lot of items that you'll set up once and you won't need to come back to, and now in Sony cameras, we have My Menu, which can store, if I re...

call correctly, I think upwards of 30 different items that you see throughout the menu system. And so as we do go through the menu system, I don't know, how many are there? There's probably 200, 250 different items on this list. And in my mind, there's kind of three different types of these, and that's nothing to do with whether it's video or stills or thinks like that. It has to do with, is this something I'm going to use at all? Is it something I'm going to use on a regular basis? And so the ones that you're going to use on a regular basis, you kind of wanna take note of, and those are ones you're going to want to put in my menu. There's a lot of them that are just gonna have no impact on your photography at all and it doesn't really matter what you do, but there's other ones that you're gonna wanna make sure that are set right so that the camera is set up and operates the way you like it to operate. Now, as we go through the menu functions, you're going to see these two symbols in there. And nowhere in any of the Sony instruction manuals have I found what these symbols actually mean. But what I've figured out, I guess, is that the little mountain scene has to do with still images. And so it's a feature that is either only or primarily used with still imagery, and the little film strip is for things that deal with when you're shooting with the movie mode. And so you can kind of identify what items are for in the menu system if they have this symbol next to 'em. But I have found exceptions to the rules, where there are some things that only deal with still photography, but they don't have the little mountain symbol next to 'em. And so it's not 100%. And so Sony, you still have some of your act to clean up. But, needless to say, they've done great things with the menu system, and it's come quite far in the last couple years. So, hit the menu button. Dive on in, and we're going to go ahead and start on our first tab on the far left, which is our camera settings tab. And we're going to look at page one of 13. Now, this is how I think and kind of talk to myself when I'm trying to look for something some place in there. And so if I say, this is on page one of 13, well, there's only one tab that has 13 pages in it. And so that tells you pretty much almost exactly where it is in the menu system. So keep track of that as we do go through class. Down at the bottom of the screen is a more graphic symbol, if you like the graphics of kind of where are we? Are we at the beginning or the middle of it? All right, so our first item on page one of is the quality setting. And so that's got a little mountain symbol next to it, which means it deals with still image quality. We talked about this earlier. RAW, if you wanna get all the information off the sensor. We have JPEGs, for those of you who need images to work with right away without fussing around in a computer with 'em. RAW plus JPEG if you want both but don't mind extra file sizes. And so I'm going to giving you my recommendations, which are also on the handout here, and you will see my general recommendations on the far right-hand side in gray, and then for the more advanced users, I might have a red recommendation. So sometimes I'll have two, depending on who you are. And of course, this is your camera. Set it up however you want and however it works for you. I'm just trying to give you some suggestions as a good, safe place to start out when setting your camera. Okay. Here is something that we have been alluding to, and we're finally going to get into, and this is the RAW file type. We have two options here, a compressed file or an uncompressed file. A compressed file takes the data, throws away stuff that it doesn't really need, and still keeps a raw file. And that'll allow you to shoot at 20 frames per second. If you wanna keep every bit of information from that 14-bit uncompressed raw, you're going to get a about a 50-megabyte file, and you'll be able to shoot at 12 frames per second. And so the big question is is how much difference is there between a compressed and an uncompressed photo? And so I encourage you, if this is important to you, to do your own test. On the test that I did, I could see a very, very slight difference between compressed and uncompressed, but it's in the level of extraordinarily hard to see. It's only if you were trying to look for as much difference as possible. I would pretty much lay a big bet on the fact that you're not going to lose any jobs if you used a compressed system. You're not going to have somebody notice the difference between two photos, between a compressed and uncompressed, for somebody who's not totally into pixel peeping, zooming in to 200% to check out little tiny bits of data. And so, if this is important to you and you're trying to get every ounce of possible information out of that sensor, then you could switch it over to the uncompressed. But it seems like the information that it's throwing away is very, very small, and it's a very small compromise to make. And so if I as shooting sports with this and I what shooting RAW, I would no doubt be shooting in the compressed format. It seems to be totally fine in my regard. As I say, if it's important to you, do your own test and come to your own conclusions. Next up, we have image size, and this is for people who are shooting JPEG images. We have the choice between 24-, 12-, and six-megapixel images. Of course, you're probably going to want to shoot it in large, most of the time. There may be a special case where you know you don't need the file size, and you can make it smaller right when you shoot the image itself. You can change the aspect ratio of the images that you're shooting. And so three by two is the aspect ratio of the sensor, and so that's where it makes sense to leave it for most the time. But if you do wanna crop it to 16 by nine because you know that that's what the final image is gonna look like, that may help you when you are composing the image. And you'll see that in the viewfinder. You'll see that on the LCD. And so if you know that's your output, then you would switch it over. But for most the time, you'll leave it at three by two. All right. Next up is the option for doing a crop in-frame. And so if you use the Sony E-mount lenses which are designed for their smaller frame sensors, you can either turn that on so that you're cropping in and you're getting more telephoto. You will be reduced down to about 10 megapixels in file size, and so it's not really good for resolution. But it does help you get a lot of telephoto. And so you could also leave it on auto. That way, if you do happen to put on an E mount lens, not the FE, which is what is designed for this camera, you put on an E-mount lens, the camera will automatically crop it down for you and give you that cropped-in image. And so either on or auto would make sense. Or excuse me. Off or auto would make sense in this mode. All right. So, long exposure noise reduction. And so noise happens when you usually use a high ISO, but in this case, when you have the shutter open for a long period of time, the sensor heats up, and occasionally there's a little bit of noise that you'll get when you do a long exposure, anywhere from one second to 30 seconds. And the way the camera corrects for this is it processes that image for an extra length of time. So if you do a 30-second exposure, it's gonna process it for 30 seconds. And it's shooting a dark exposure, and it's trying to compare what's going on and trying to reduce the amount of noise. And I remember the first time I used a long exposure, it's like, why can't I shoot another picture for 30 seconds? I gotta sit here and wait. And I got real curious. Is this really worth... Is the noise reduction really doing anything? And so I, you know, I went into the studios. I shot a 30-second exposure with just a single bulb on, and I looked at what I got with the feature turned off and the feature turned on, and I'll be danged if I can't find any difference here at all. I just do not see that the camera is doing anything for you. And so I leave noise reduction turned off all the time in all of my cameras. I actually, to be honest with you, I tested in this in Fujis and Nikons and Canons and everyone else's, and none of 'em are doing next to anything in there. And so, once again, you know, if you wanna do your own test, feel free to... I encourage you to go out and do your own test, but I, just to start with, do not see much help here at all. Definitely not worth the extra time that it's wasting to do the processing. So, once again, and that's only on JPEGs. It's not doing anything for you on RAWs. So if you're shooting RAW, you don't want that on anyway. It's just going to take up your time. So, I would leave that one turned off. All right, moving on to page two, making our way through this large menu system. We have High ISO NR. So kind of the same thing we were just talking about, but this time, we're talking about high ISOs. And this is where we're going to see some difference. And so let's go ahead and shoot at a high ISO, in this case, 12,800. Let's turn that noise reduction off just to see what a normal picture looks like, and then let's turn it on the low and the normal. You can definitely see that we get less noise when we crank that noise reduction on. Now we do also unfortunately start to lose a little bit of edge detail. And so having it set on that normal setting may not be what all of you want. You're going to have to come to a conclusion as to what's right for you. Now, let's go ahead and crank it up a little higher. How about 100,000? And so here the noise reduction is you can see it takes away a lot of the color noise that we got in the original photo. Now, once again, this is for JPEG users. It doesn't apply to RAW shooters at all. And so setting it on low might make some sense. Normal's not too bad. It depends on how much you shoot at high settings. There's no real downside to having this set on. It doesn't take any longer. It doesn't slow up your shooting rate at all that I've seen. It's possible it may slow up how fast the buffer fills up and how long it takes to clear out, perhaps, but I think normal and off are the kind of places that you would have this for this. Now, once again, it's only effecting this on JPEG images. Color space is the range of colors that we are recording. When you shoot in RAW, you are getting Adobe RGB, which is a larger color gamut. If you shoot JPEGs, and we're all gonna shoot JPEGs a little bit from time to time at the very least, you are gonna want to be able to set... You can set either sRGB, which is where pretty much the entire internet is at these days. But if you wanna have the most colors to work from on that JPEG, you would go with Adobe RGB. So if you plan to do editing or printing with your JPEGs, you would wanna choose Adobe RGB. If you wanna go straight to the internet and just keep the colors real simplified and basic for that without needing any adjustments, then you can go with the sRGB system. Lens compensation. So there's a lot of little issues that lenses can have. Sony knows exactly what's wrong with their lenses, and they're not perfect. And so they can go in and correct for this problems. So this is for JPEG shooters again. One option is shading composition. And so let me show you what I'm talking about here. So when you shoot with a fast lens, you're going to get a darkening of the corners, a vignetting effect, and the cameras know how bad particular lenses are at vignetting and can automatically fix that by simply brightening up those pixels in the corners. And when you have a continuous tone of a sky, that makes pretty good sense and looks good. But the fact of the matter is a lot of photographers like myself add vignetting in to certain types of images, especially images with people. It draws your eye a little bit closer into the middle of the frame where it's brighter. And so having that natural darkening of the corners can be perfectly fine. So there's a lot of photographers who are totally fine with just shooting the camera and the lens the way it was originally designed and the way it actually works. Next one. Chromatic aberration compensation. And so chromatic aberration is a color ghosting artifact problem that happens when you have a bright background in front of a solid subject. The light comes around it, hits the sensor a little bit in a funny way that causes it to have either this magenta or cyan little color ghosting right next the solid object. Now, I haven't met anybody so far that likes this look in their images. And so this is the type of thing that most everybody wants to correct. Now, it's correcting for it on the JPEGs. It's not doing it on the RAWs. You can do it in Lightroom and Photoshop and many other programs as well. Another type of lens problem that you may have is distortion compensation. And so this is gonna happen most frequently with wide-angle lenses. And so in this example, you can see that the earth is curved a little bit, and not that I'm promoting a flat earth idea here. In this area, it should be... Whoops, I'm sorry. I went the wrong button here. So here you can see we've got the curved horizon. We go to the next image where we have corrected for it. You can see the difference as we go back and forth on this. And so nobody really likes that curved straight line, especially when it's on a brick wall or a building or something that we all know is supposed to be straight. And so once again this will fix it on the JPEG images. It seems to be a good idea. It's something a lot of people will do afterwards on RAW images in Lightroom or other programs like that as well. So, those are all little ways to compensate for lens imperfections. Moving onto our third tab within the menu system here, self timer type. And so as I mentioned before, when you have the camera set to self timer, you can select exactly how you want the self timer to work. There can be delays of either two, five, or 10 seconds. You can set it to shoot a single or a continuous set of images. So you could shoot three or five shots. Now, why you might wanna do that is I, for instance, if I'm doing a group shot that I wanna get in myself, I'm going to set it for 10 seconds so I can get in the shot. But I'm going to set it for five pictures, because undoubtedly, in your group of people, there's going to be a blinker who blinks on the first shot. And so if you have five shots, you're gonna have five opportunities, so that you don't have to go back to the camera to reset the timer on it. So, nice little custom functions. There's a lot of people who use this when the camera's on a tripod and they're doing landscape photography or working in the studio, and they just don't wanna touch the camera while it's actually shooting. So there's a lot of great options in here, set according to your needs, of course. The bracket settings leads us into a submenu where we can control the way that our camera brackets. And we're going to have a few different options in here. We have exposure bracketing, white balance, and then dynamic range bracketing. First, let's talk about exposure bracketing. This is where we're going to be taking multiple photos to get different exposures. With the bracketing, the camera will fire through a series of photos very quickly so you only have to press the shutter release button once. As you go in and make these settings, you're going to see this little symbol and information. And the upper left is telling you that the bracketing is on. You can have it in the single or the continuous mode. I prefer the continuous mode. That way, all the photographs are taken very closely together. You press down on the button, and it will fire through the three or five or however many shots very quickly. If you were trying to time something but do a bracket series, then you would wanna go with the single mode. But I think continuous is going to be good for most people. You can change the number of exposures between three, five, and nine in there. And so there is a group of them that you can have. Now, how many do you want in that group? And then you can change the exposure increment. How big a difference do you want from one photo to the next? Now, 0.3 EV is really small. I don't think many people are gonna use that. Kind of the most common is gonna be either one exposure value or two EV steps, so that your pictures are notably different from one exposure to the next. And these are the types of things that seem to work really well in aperture priority, shutter priority, and program. My favorite is aperture priority, 'cause then you choose the aperture you want. The depth of field stays the same, and the camera just simply adjusts the time to get you these different exposures. And so that is what is known as exposure bracketing. Another type of bracketing is white balance bracketing. This seems much less necessary in my mind. First off, if you shoot RAW you can adjust white balance later on without a problem. So that's not really an issue. It's more for the JPEG shooter who's not sure how to correct white balance and they wanna get it right in the camera. They can have the camera shoot through a series of photos that are warmer or cooler on a low or high level and get different versions of that scene. Another option is dynamic range optimizer. And what it's doing here is it's looking at all the tones in the photograph, and it's just trying to optimize 'em to give you the best image. And a lot of times what it's doing is it's brightening up the shadows so that you can see into the shadows a little bit better, and it's restraining the highlights from becoming too light. And so, in some tricky situations, that might be a way of getting better exposures. But I think most people, when they're doing bracketing, are probably going to be doing exposure bracketing on this camera. But we have all those options available to you. So that's first choosing what type of bracketing you're doing. Another option is do you want to choose the self timer while you're bracketing? Now, the reason this is here is if you remember up on the top dial of your camera, you can choose to use the self timer or the bracketing. You can't do both at the same time, 'cause there's a position for each on the dial. So if you do wanna combine the self timer with bracketing, you can add it in here as well. And then, you can control the order that they are shot. Now, the inherent way that Sony set it up looks a little bit awkward when you're shooting it. You shoot the normal one first, and then a little bit darker, or a little bit lighter, and then much darker, and then much lighter. And you end up with this collection of images that kind of are up and down, up and down in brightness. And so if you want, a lot of photographers prefer to shoot it so that it's a dark to light scenario. And so this look a little bit easier to understand that it's part of a series, and especially if you're shooting a series of bracketed images, it's real easy to see where each series begins and ends. And so I think that's a good recommendation there. Next up is the recall mode. Now, you remember earlier that number one, number two, and three are memorized places. And so this is where we can go to recall those modes. This is where you get to select what you want. You can either select the number that you have turned the dial to or you can dive in and select memory one through four, which are ones that are stored electronically in the camera and available from any of those one, two, or three settings. Now, the way that you do all this is you have to have the camera memorized. Everything you're going to do, you need to register your settings in here as one, two, or three. And so it's going to remember what shooting mode and what exposure settings and some various settings that you might set in your camera. So let's go ahead and give that a try on our camera. And so first off, I'm going to set my camera to something different. Let's just see what happens right now. I'm g going to put my camera, change to the display mode so that when can see what's going on in the camera. I'm going to change it to number one, 'cause I haven't done anything here. And I wanna see what it's coming up as. And so number one is a program mode. Number two is a program mode. Number three is a program mode. So I'm going to put my camera in aperture priority right now. I'm going to open up the aperture to f/4.5, just to be a little bit on the different side. I'm going to hit the function button, and I'm going to come over here, and I'm going to play with something. For white balance, I'm going to change this to tungsten light, and let's make one more change here somewhere. Just to be different, let's change it from the three by two aspect ratio to the 16 by nine. So I've got aperture priority of 4.5, tungsten, and 16 by nine. Now, I'm going to go into the menu system and I'm going to go to page three of 13, and I am going to put this into the memory. Of I'm going to hit the center button here, and then I get to choose. Do I want this to be in one, two, three, or I could be in M1 through four. And I'm going to choose to put it in two. And so I have now locked it in two. So I'm going to go back to my regular shooting mode, and I'm going to change it out of aperture priority to manual. I'm going to go in and just reset a few of these features back to where the were before. So three by two, and then I'll hit the function button again, and then the final thing was to hit tungsten and then go back to auto white balance. And so this is where I might wanna be for one type of shooting. But then when I change it to number one, that's still in the program mode, but number two goes to my aperture priority at 4.5, tungsten light, and, I don't know that it says it there, but I'm going to be in the 16 by nine aspect ratio. Let me shoot a photo. And let's play that back and see if it's 16 by nine. It certainly is, and boy, does that look pretty bad in here. So, that is how you would register these modes. And so you just go through, set the camera up as you would like it to be, go into that memory setting on three of 13. Let me just make sure I've got it right. The memory one. And then you would register that as one, two, three, or M1, M2, M3, or M4. Seven different ways to have the camera pre-set up for how you like it to work. So, take advantage of those customizations. Register custom shooting set. All right, this sounds very similar to what we've been doing, but now we can program a way for the camera to work with a one-press shooting. So you could be shooting in one mode and then suddenly just press a single button, and everything on your camera changes to a different mode. So let me show you what we're going to do in here. Actually, let's keep it on the keynote. Let's keep it on the keynote, 'cause I wanna dive in and show you that once you get in here, there's going to be one, two, and three options that you can have set. And then you can program those to any one of the buttons. So you can have three different favorite settings that you access with one button. So let's go ahead and do this for one of these buttons. So now take a look on the back of my camera. I'm gonna dive into the menu. On page three of 13, register custom shooting set. So there's going to e a custom shooting set, and let's do this for number one. We're going to press the center button. And now we can go through here and choose different things. Okay. So let's say in this case, I wanna change the shooting mode to shutter priority. I want a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. The drive mode, I want to be continuous high, and I'll leave exposure compensation there. ISO, I'll leave it in auto. I like that. Metering mode, multi, okay, and focusing mode, let's go to continuous. So I'm ready for fast action with this. Okay. So these other things are fine. Now, I could just take the way the camera's set up and import those, but in this case, I'm telling the camera right here in the menu system what I want it to do. So this is the way I want the camera to work, and it is now registered. All right. So now, when I am shooting, nothing's gonna change, because I haven't programmed one of the buttons to bring this back up. So what we need to do is we need to go back into the menu system, and we need to go to a feature that we haven't quite got to yet. And so I'm going to just quickly take us there, and this is over in tab two. I think it's eight of nine. Custom keys. We need to program one of the custom keys to bring up this information. Okay, so here's what we need to do, is we need to choose a key on the camera in order from this to work. Now, custom buttons, C1, C2, C3, that's already doing something. Oh, but look. C4 has nothing going on right now. So let's program it into C4. So I'm going to come down to C4, and what do we want to program in C4? Well, we want to look for this feature that we just programmed, and there's 19 pages of information. And so there's all sorts of things. I'll go backwards through here, because I secretly know where it's at. And so all these things you can program to these buttons. And this one happens to be one page two, Recall Custom hold. Remember, that's what we just memorized right here. So now, C4 is going to recall custom hold number one. All right. So what mode is our camera in? It's in aperture priority. I can flip it to manual. I can be in a lot of different modes right here. So if I press C4, watch what happens on the back of the camera. It changes to shutter priority, 1/500th of a second, auto white balance, F4 is blinking, and so it's changed all of our modes, just by simply pressing and holding this button. Now, I do have to hold it. You can see that it disappears when we come back. We can even see the motor drive has gone into the high speed motor drive. (camera clicks rapidly) And so we can shoot through lots of photos right there. That'll take a little while to download right there. And so, if you have two completely different scenarios that you wanna go between, and turning the dial is too much work and effort, and I can understand that, you can do that with a simple press of a button. In fact, you can have three difference buttons for three different modes that you have set up for different shutter speeds, apertures, metering modes, all those combinations. And so I think this is a really powerful new feature that we haven't seen before, and there's some people that it's really gonna help out when they are trying to change and shoot in different scenarios. Okay, so that's our registered custom shooting set. Very useful.

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.