Sony A6500 User's Guide
Here's how I set my A6500
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Sony a6500. bigger.
Power & Battery
The A6500 charges its battery inside the camera via a USB cord.
Put the battery in your new camera, and it never needs to come out again.
Plug the A6500 into any USB outlet in a car, a solar charger, a USB power bank, a computer or a wall adapter, and a yellow LED near the connector lights while charging. It turns off when done.
Sony NP-FW50 battery. bigger.
Sony A6500 battery & card compartment. bigger.
Sony a6500 connectors. bigger.
The top connector is the USB connector.
Fn Button, Frame Rates & More
Sony a6500. bigger.
We set many things with their own buttons and with the MENU button, however many new users take a while to discover that many other important settings are hidden behind the Fn button.
Press Fn, and 12 settings appear across the bottom of your screen.
You set the advance mode, frame rate, white balance and many other things here.
To change the frame rate, press the Fn button, select the advance mode icon which is usually at the left, select the continuous mode (usually a bearded rectangle icon) and that's where you can select among LO, MID, HI and HI+. In Silent mode, MID, HI and HI+ are not available and therefore grayed-out.
You can customize what options appear at the bottom of the screen. I like to add Auto ISO Minimum Shutter Speed and Silent Mode to these options instead of some of the defaults. You assign these at the third item in the eighth page of the CAMERA 2 menu (MENU > CAMERA 2 > page 8/9 > Function Menu Set).
General A6500 Settings
Once the battery is in and charged, I set the time zone, time and date.
Then I set these away from their defaults:
Setting and using Auto ISO is important enough to warrant its own section.
If you're on a tripod and the subject holds still, always use ISO 100 for everything for the best results.
Setting ISO manually for hand-holding went away ten years ago. Today we program our cameras to do it for us automatically based on our preferences and subjects.
For each kind of shooting, pick the highest ISO to which you'd like your camera to go, and the slowest shutter speed at which you will get a sharp shot, and the camera does the rest.
You set this at MENU > CAMERA 1 > page 8/14 > ISO and ISO AUTO Min. SS
I let the camera go to ISO 51,200. You might want to set a lower maximum, like 25,600 or 12,800, for landscape shots.
I set 1/125 as the minimum shutter speed for people photos. At 1/60 and slower often you'll get some blur as people are talking and laughing.
For sports and action, I'll pick 1/250 or 1/500.
For nature and landscapes, I let my A6500 pick a minimum speed based on the focal length of my lens. That's the "Standard" option at the top of the Auto ISO Min. SS options.
If my lens has a stabilizer, I set the minimum shutter speed top option to SLOW or SLOWER, since I get sharp shots a stop or two slower than the Standard 1/focal length option.
Subject-Specific A6500 Settings
Sony a6500. bigger.
Once the overall settings above are set, I set my A6500's Memory Recall modes (the big 1 and 2 on the top dial) for my styles of shooting. Now the Memory 1 and Memory 2 positions on the top dial let me recall these in one dial click.
I set 1 for photos of places and things, which I set to high resolution and slower shutter speeds and ultra high color saturation.
I set 2 for photos of people: moderate resolution and saturation, and set Auto ISO to a slowest speed of 1/125 to stop motion.
To set and save each, I set the A6500 as I like it, and then I save that by going to MENU > CAMERA 1 > page 4/14 > Cam1/Cam2 Memory and selecting the memory location into which I want to save my settings, and pressing the big rear central ● button.
If you're using the 1 or 2 mode, any changes you make are saved with the power off. It doesn't reset to your saved settings until you reselect M1 or M2 with the power on. This is good; it means you can change things for conditions, and when you return to either 1 or 2 mode that everything is then recalled to your originally saved values.
The A6500 locks up for a moment as you swap the top dial to either of the 1 or 2 memory recall positions.
This is bad because the whole point of these settings is to save time.
To make this faster, turn off the power, move the dial, and turn the a6500 back on. It will wake up and bypass the black screen you usually have to wait to clear out of your way.
More Tips & Hints
Sony A6500. bigger.
The LCD flips up and down.
It doesn't flip left or right, and doesn't flip far enough for self-portraits.
The LCD is dim in daylight. You could try to find the Daylight option in the menus, but I just use the superb finder in daylight instead.
Use the top dial to swap images while zoomed.
The Bulb shutter option isn't grayed-out in Silent mode; it's simply not there!
There is no warning message; you have to know to turn off the Silent mode to get the Bulb option to appear!
The flash won't fire in Silent mode.
There is no warning message; you have to know to turn off the Silent mode to get the flash to fire.
See also Sony's A6500 User's Manual.
Where to get your A6500
Unlike a bottle of milk or a roll of toilet paper, Sony doesn't seal its boxes in any way, so you have no idea if you're getting a used, returned, incomplete or damaged product if you risk buying at retail. Never buy at retail. Use only my personally approved sources for the best prices, service, return policies and selection— and they ship from secure remote warehouses where no customers or salesmen can get their sticky hands on your new camera before you do.
Thanks for helping me help you!
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23 December 2016