Menu: Camera Setting 1 Page 4-6


Sony® A9 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Menu: Camera Setting 1 Page 4-6

On to our fourth page. Now you can see this fourth page has the title of AF1. So these are things dealing with auto focusing here. So in here, when you are in the AF-S mode, the single focusing mode, what's most important to you? And you can have a balanced emphasis, release priority, so that means you're getting the photo whether it's in focus or not, and I'm thinking the best option is auto focus set here. And that way, if you're trying to focus on a subject, it needs to be in focus before you press the shutter down all the way. Balanced emphasis would be not a bad second choice. The downside to balanced emphasis is that sometimes if you press down on the shutter release button really quickly, the camera will not totally be in focus but it will get you a photo a little bit quicker. And so it's probably more important in these modes that you get absolutely properly focused images, which is why I'm recommending the AF setting in this regard. This is how most other cameras have been set...

up for quite some time. So historically speaking, that's the way most photographers are used to their cameras working. Here we have the same option when it comes to AF-C. Continuously focusing. And here the parameters are... The idea is a little different, in that when you are shooting a continuous series of photos, you want to get a series of photos out of it, and you don't want the camera to be too fussy. You want it to be in focus, but you don't want your camera to be fussing over perfect focus, not taking photos. And here a balanced emphasis, it tries to get you the best autofocus, but it continues to shoot photos. I know that there was one of the skateboarder scenes that I was shooting. And I probably shot 30 images. So a second and a half. And there was two images that were notably out of focus, and that's where the camera just couldn't find the focus for some reason. They lost it, but it still continued to shoot. Now the fact of the matter was, if something super exciting happened, I probably could have used those photos in a small size. Because they weren't that out of focus. They were just a little bit out of focus. And so I still could have used them. But then it kinda got back onto its game and gave me some in focus pictures for the rest of the series. And so that will happen from time to time. And so balanced emphasis is probably a good balance between the two priorities that you have an option of here. Focus area, this is kind of a dumb place to go into the menu system in order to change this. Because we have a shortcut menu, it's in the function menu, but the real reason it's here is so that you can assign it to a custom button of your choice. If you would prefer it to be on C1 rather than C2, it's here in the full listing so that you can reprogram it someplace else. We will be seeing a number of items like this that we have seen or talked about once or twice before. Another one that doesn't make a lot of sense is focus settings. And this is just where in the frame you are focusing. This is they type of thing that you would ideally use in one of the custom buttons so that you just have one button press to move things around. This one seems in many ways completely unnecessary because of the joystick on the back of the camera. It's somewhat redundant in that regard, and so my guess is that you won't need to program a button to do this because you already have a button that does it to start with. Switch vertical and horizontal AF areas. I really like this on cameras. And so if you have that right area, as indicated as to where you want to focus, when you turn the camera vertically, that right area becomes the top of the frame, depending on how you rotate the camera. So, that may not be where you want to focus if you're going back and forth between horizontals and verticals in a particular shot. Now, you can separate and you can have one memorized point when you have the camera in horizontals and then when you set it to verticals, it will memorize a new point. Wherever you happen to put it in verticals, that's where it will remember. Now, technically, it will remember three positions: horizontal, grip up, and grip down. If you want to have different positions for the focusing area, you can do that. Now, you can change, if you set it to AF Point Only, that is the location of where your focusing point is. When you switch from horizontal to vertical, you can also switch the area that you're using and so if you want to switch from a small point to a wide point, you can do that as well. I think this is going to be really important for anyone who shoots action and they are trying to compose in a particular way and they switch back and forth between horizonal and vertical. Good feature to take advantage of. Next up, the AF Illuminator. So, there's this little light on the front of the camera I told you about. From a technology standpoint, that's kind of cool. It fires out this beam of light to help you focus under low light. The fact of the matter is it's not effective for a very large range and it's kind of annoying to people and draws attention to you as the photographer. So, this is a lot of times, completely unnecessary and not going to help you out at all, so that's why I'm recommending turning it off. If you happen to be a private investigator that uses stealth to take your photos, you definitely do not want to turn this on. Moving on to page five, continuing on with auto-focus features. Center Lock-on AF is an older feature from some Sony cameras that was kind of an earlier version of the Lock-on AF that we talked about earlier in the focusing section. The main reason that this gets used at this point in time in most cases is for tracking subjects when shooting video. So, if you want to, you can assign a custom button, perhaps the C4 button or the center button or another button of your choice and when pressing that button, your camera can then lock on to a subject and track its movement, focusing on it while you're shooting video. So, it can do a little better job than the standard continuous tracking because now you can really identify a subject you want to track but the other Lock-on options in the area choosing that we looked at before, the focus area Lock-on options, those are probably going to be a better option for most action and sports shooting. Auto-focusing Track Sensitivity. So, for taking still photographs, you have the option of how quickly the camera will switch to a new subject. So, if you think about a football match where you're focusing on a player that's running down the field and they cross by a referee who is standing still. So, for a moment in time, the referee comes between you and the player that you're tracking down the field. Do you want the camera to refocus on the referee? Probably not, and that's why this is at standard and not responsive. If you were focusing something where you wanted to capture whoever is closest to you-- I don't know, the finish line of a race and you don't care who wins the race. You just want to make sure whoever wins is the sharpest in focus. In that case, you might want to have it in responsive. But, if you want it to kind of stay locked onto that subject the standard mode is a good place. If you find that it's jumping off of that a little too quickly for what you like, you might want to stay locked on. For instance, if you're in charge of focusing and taking pictures of a particular team or an individual and you don't want any other player, once you focus on them, you don't want any other player to steal that focus from the main player, you might want to go down to number two or number one and this will require a little bit of experimentation on your part. It depends on your lenses, your angle of view and how you use the camera in many ways but to start with, middle ground at three-standard is perfectly fine. Next up is the auto-focus system and this is for people who are using the old Sony A-Mount lenses and you are adapting them to your new E-Mount camera and so do you want to use the Phase Detection in the camera or do you want to use the Contrast Detection system? So, there's not as many people who are going to be doing this because it really does affect the performance of the camera quite a bit but if you do the Phase Detection, it will probably be a little bit faster in its focusing. The Contrast AF will probably be a little bit more accurate. There's a bit of a trade-off there, obviously, in those. Next up is auto-focus with the shutter. We've talked about this a couple of times before. If you want to remove the focusing, when you press half-way down on the shutter release, you can turn it off here. As I said, there's a lot of advanced users who prefer to separate the functions of focusing and taking the picture If you do want to do that, you turn this feature off and now it will not focus when you press the shutter release. So, be forewarned. When you take photos, you're probably going to be pressing two buttons: the auto-focus button and then the shutter release button. Pre-auto-focus is something that I really dislike. I'm sorry. I'm supposed to not be very passionate about these things but this is where the camera will focus pretty much any time the camera's turned on. So, it might get you there a little bit quicker because it's like the camera is pressing half-way down on the shutter release for focusing all the time. This is gonna waste battery power and it's going to be completely unnecessary in a lot of situations and so probably not going to need this and this is why it's inherently turned off. It's not something that you would normally want to have turned on. Eye-Start AF. So, this is where you can tell the camera-- oops, this one is a little different. There's a couple different eye things on here. This is so if you are using a couple of the Sony adapters for using their Sony A-Mount lenses, the cameras will automatically start focusing when you hold the camera up to your eye. Now, I do not have any good reason why the camera can't do this without the adapters, but it can do it with the adapters and if you want to, you can turn it on and off here. All right, more auto-focus stuff. AF Area Registration. All right, so this feature is something that you can turn on and off and so if you want to have a registered area that you go to on a regular basis, you're normally focused over on the left hand side, but you want to quickly go over to the right hand side just for a couple of shots, you can do that here. So, let me show you how you would do this. Let me go in here to page six of 13 in the menu system and get over to six of 13 and I've got to turn this feature on to start with. Six of 13 and AF Area Registration is turned off. I'm going to go ahead and turn it on. Okay, so now, I'm gonna get to my live view screen here so that you can see what's going on. That's look pretty bad. Let's just throw it into Program Mode for right now. Let's turn off a little bit of this information. Okay, so now let's choose a specific point to focus on. I'm gonna choose the large point and I'm not used to having a joystick on these cameras and so it's nice to have that. So, I've got to come up here and so you can see my focusing bracket up there. So, let's say I want to be able to jump up there very quickly for focusing. Let's just move this over so those flowers are right in there so I can jump up to those flowers. I'm gonna tell you what. Let's just leave this like that and I'll move this over to the flowers itself. Let's say this is the area that we want to go to, what we do is we hold down the Function key for two seconds and that is a registered focusing area. At this point in time, that does us no good at all because we don't have any way of pulling it back up. We need to go program one of the other buttons on the camera so I'm gonna go back into the menu system and we still haven't gotten to this yet but you guys have gotten a pretty good preview of this. Here in the second tab, towards the end of it, is our Custom Key Shooting, all right? So, what I want to do is I want to go down here to this Custom Button Number Four, which we pre-programmed before but I'm gonna make it into something new now. So, now, what I'm gonna be looking is I want to be looking at this Recall, not Custom Hold. I want to recall that focusing area and Register AF Area Hold, I believe that's the name of the feature that we're looking at here. So, I'm going to press this button right there and I want to jump back here and take a quick look. Look at the next page. So, this is on page three of 13. I'm gonna undo this and I'm gonna go for the next version of this on page four of 13, which is a toggle switch. This is pretty cool. So, I'm gonna select this one. Register AF Area Toggle. Okay, so if I move my focusing point down here, down to the middle of the frame right there, you can see it blinking up there. That's where it wants to go to if I press the C4 button. The C4 button is a toggle so it will go between wherever I am and my favorite spot to go to. Now, if I happen to be someplace else, like I'm over here on the lower right of the frame and I press the C4 button, it automatically goes up there and shoots. So, for instance, let's say you're photographing sports, but every once in a while, you want to jump over and get some shots of the coach. The coach is kind of always in the same place in the frame. You simply hit this button and it moves the focusing point to that pre-determined spot. Now, if you've said, you know what? That new great spot is down here in the lower right, I'm gonna press the Function button, hold it down for a couple seconds, and I've re-registered that focusing area. So now, I can go over to the left side of the frame and now, if I press the C4 button, I'll go back and forth between being in the corners and over on the left side of the frame. So, it requires two things. One, you want to have this feature turned on. I guess maybe three things. Three, you gotta program it in with the Function button, and then from there, you gotta go in and register that as one of the keys. Now, having just thought about this right now at this very moment, one of the things that might make a lot of sense is if you registered the area in the middle of the frame, then you could program that and that way, you could kind of venture out and say oh, this looks kind of nice framing over here on the right side of the frame but then, you want to get back there real quickly, you just press C4 and you press C4 to come back to where you were. Now, you could press the center of the button to get you back but then you've got to kind of move your way slowly back to where you were and so the C4 just enables you to jump back and forth really quickly. So, I think there's a lot of people out there who will make a very creative use of this particular feature. Kenna, you have a question on this. Delete Registered AF Area? So, I'm not really sure why you need to delete it but if you just don't want it in there anymore, you can just simply go in here and delete that registered area that you were doing by holding the Function button for two seconds. AF Auto Area Clear. So, this clears the bracket out after you've focused. So, if you leave this off, it's gonna show you where you focused and I kind of like it. I'm kind of used to that. But, if you want, you can focus on your subject. It lets you know you're in focus and then it gets it off to clear off the clutter and I think I want to try shooting with it in that mode, but currently I have it set off just because I like to be reassured of where the camera was focusing in any particular situation. Display Continuous AF Area. So, this is definitely going to be helpful for people as they are first using this camera. What happens is when you are tracking a subject, it's going to show you with these small green boxes how it is tracking that particular subject. It's quite possible that you will learn to trust your camera and that you know what it's doing and you just don't like that extra clutter on the screen. It doesn't help you compose your images and it's just distracting in some manner so you may want to turn that off in the long run but, I think for a lot of people, as they get used to this new auto-focus system, it's good to kind of keep an eye and see what it's doing to start with. AF Micro Adjust is something that is only going to be necessary for people who are using the older SLR style A-Mount lenses on the adapters so, if you are using those lenses, the Phase Detection Tracking focusing can sometimes be a little bit off because it's an estimate of where you should be focusing at and, as I say, it can be off a little bit and you need to adjust it. So, this is where you would adjust where the camera focuses either to the foreground or to the background. This is kind of the problem that Nikon and Canon SLRs have is that they have a very fast focusing system but sometimes it's a little inaccurate and you've got to go in and you've got to tweak with this and so, if you are using those older lenses and they are either front or back focusing on a consistent basis, you're going to need to dive in there and make a little bit of an adjustment per lens.

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