Sony® A9 Fast Start

Lesson 5/27 - Top Deck: Exposure Comp, Custom Key Settings, White Balance


Sony® A9 Fast Start


Lesson Info

Top Deck: Exposure Comp, Custom Key Settings, White Balance

Next up on the top of the camera is we have a good old traditional exposure compensation dial. It's nice to see these physical dials on cameras where you can just glance down, whether the camera is turned on or off and see where they're set at. So this is for adjusting the brightness of your photographs. You can make it brighter by going to the plus side, you can make it darker by going to the minus side. Each of these is a stop apart. These are gonna be used with the program mode, the shutter priority mode and the aperture mode and what's happening when you turn this dial in one direction or the other is the camera is changing whatever controls it has at that time to make the picture a stop darker or a stop lighter. Now I will let you know right now that we do have this physical control on the camera. We do also have electronic controls in the camera for doing this in another manner and so if you prefer doing this with a different dial on the camera or from the menu system in the came...

ra, we will also be able to do it there. But a lot of people like being able to do it right there nice and easy with that dial. Now it does not have a lock on it so you may wanna be a little bit careful about bumping that and so be careful when you set your camera up. As you get into the shooting mode, make sure that that is set at zero unless you intend it to be someplace else. Right in front of that we have our little focal plane indicator. It's highly doubtful, but possibly at some point where you're doing cinematography, you're doing macro photography, you need to measure the distance from your subject to the focal plane. Well that's where the focal plane is in the camera. The C1 button is a custom button and we're gonna have a lot of custom buttons on this camera and so if you want to go in and program this button to do something in particular, Sony has a few options that you can preprogram this button to do so let's take a look at those few options. Alright, let's go through these in detail one by one. No, folks, we're not going to do that. At least we will eventually talk about virtually everything on this list in this class and so these are all the different ways that you can preprogram this or any of the other C buttons on the camera. Now I am gonna call out a few of these things right here. Okay, so eye auto focus. So we're not really gonna get a chance to talk about eye auto focus at any other time so one of the things that we can do is we can program eye auto focus to this particular button and our camera will then look for eyes to focus on and I think this is a really cool feature. So let's get my camera set up and we're gonna use Kenna here in just a moment as our test model to see how well this works and so what I'm gonna do if you wanna along with me is I'm gonna go into the menu system and I'm gonna need to go to the setup menu for this which if I recall correctly is in the settings two, I think it's on six or seven. Eight, eight of nine custom key shooting and we're gonna go ahead and reprogram C1 right now which is custom button number one which is currently on white balance and we're gonna talk about that in just a moment. And now I need to find eye AF and I have only 19 pages of things to look through to find this and so if you see it, call out. So I'm looking for eye AF. And so all of these are different things that we can put in here. There it is right there so we're gonna hit the... Come down, select it, hit set button in here and so now it's gonna be looking for the eyes. Now I'm gonna quickly check my focusing mode and it's under white area so Kenna, if you could stand right here in front of the prop stand and I'm gonna press down halfway on my focusing and it doesn't do anything. Alright, that's because I'm not pressing the C1 button here so if I press the C1 button. Let's see, take a couple steps closer to me. And you know what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move my camera so that you can see this more easily into the continuous focusing mode and see if I press this C1 button now, now look at that spot. It's on Kenna's left eye. So Kenna, turn a little left and right profile so that we can't even see your eyes. Turn your head. Kenna, turn your head all the way to the right now. No. Am I... Do a 360. We wanna see for how long it stays on your eye and so it went into face tracking there and then as soon as I moved back and forth. Take a step closer to the camera and couple steps back to the table. And it is really locked on there and so you can see that it does a really good job. Thank you, Kenna. Round of applause for Kenna. Everybody give a round of applause at home. And so the eye AF is something that you can program to any one of the buttons and so if you do a lot of portrait photography, I think that's gonna be a great way to focus because when you shoot portraits, you really wanna make sure that that eye is in focus. So that's just one of the features. Let's see another one that I thought was kind of interesting was the AEL toggle. Now we talked a little bit earlier about that manual shift in using the AEL button and one of the things about it is that you had to leave your finger on the button. Well there's a toggle switch which makes it works like a light switch. You can turn it on and turn it off and that way you don't have to hold your hand down on that button or your finger down on that button. And so any time you see the word toggle, it's turn on and turn off rather than press and hold in that manner. Another one that I found interesting, now this is something I would personally detest and hate in a camera generally, but if you're new to photography, if you're new to this camera, this camera has an in-camera guide and so it's like a menu system that will pull up when you have questions when you go to something in the menu system if you simply press that button. And so if you're brand new to this camera and you want kind of a help button, you could program one of your buttons, C1, C2, C3 or C as a help button in that regard. Another one that's interesting is shot result preview and so a lot of times we'll shoot a photograph to take a look to see how it actually came out with a specific shutter speed. And so you can do a preview without actually recording that image to the memory card to where you would have to go back and delete that image and so if you wanna see your results in just kind of a practice shot without recording it, you can do that as well. Another one that's interesting is bright monitoring and so sometimes you're using this camera with flash photography and you have your camera set up in a particular way that the screen is very bright, this would with one press give you a nice bright monitoring option on the camera. So those are just a few of them to take a look into. This is kind of your home study portion. We don't have time to go through every one of these in detail, but there's some great options and ways for you to customize your camera. And so take a look through here and see if there's anything that you find particularly helpful because we're gonna have a number of different ways that we can program it to the camera. Alright, so if you do not reprogram this in any other way, it controls your white balance which is something that we need to access on a pretty regular basis for a lot of different types of photography and so it's not a bad preset to leave right in here with custom one. So when you press that button now without any changes to it, you get the option to jump in and adjust the white balance. So white balance is the color that you are recording your photographs under and different types of light will have different types of color and so if you want white objects to be white objects without a color cast to them, you need to have the right white balance set in. So there's all sorts of presets that they have determined is very common. Daylight, cloudy, shade, those are your common natural lighting types of white balance that you'll have. This camera has a lot of different options when it comes to fluorescent lights because there's a lot of different fluorescent lights out there. Beyond these we also have an underwater one for anyone who is putting their camera in a housing to go underwater. Don't take this camera underwater as it is. And then we have auto white balance where the camera chooses and the camera is actually a very, very good at being able to do this so I prefer to leave this camera in auto white balance as its default setting and then adjust from there according to the needs that I have and the type of light that I'm shooting. If I'm in my home which has a lot of tungsten lights, then I'm gonna put it into the tungsten or incandescent setting while I'm in that environment. We also have the kelvin setting where you can set a specific temperature and so if you know the temperature of the lights, there's something kind of unusual and you wanna set it at 8500 or 2500, you can set that specific number. You can also calibrate it using a white surface and there's three different storage areas where you can have presets saved and so let's just say you shoot sports for a high school team and you shoot in the gymnasium, you shoot in the swimming arena and the wrestling arena and they each have their own different funky lighting in there. You bring a white card in there or a gray card in there. You go through the process of setting that to those different presets of one, two and three and then any time you go back to that environment that has the same lighting, you can just set your camera's white balance to that one, two or three and it's gonna be automatically or at least preset to that particular lighting scenario. And so a lot of good options in here. If you are shooting raw images and we'll talk more about raw and jpeg, but if you're shooting raw, not super critical to do because you can adjust it later on. However I do try to just get things right so they look right in the camera and right in the viewfinder when I'm composing the shot, but it is very critical that you get the set right for jpeg shooters. While you can adjust the color in your images afterwards, you don't have all the information to go back to so very important for jpeg shooters to get this right out in the field.

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