Photos By Meta - The Best Digital Camera Settings

Meta’s Digital Photography Tips – The Best Digital Camera Settings and Procedures

The Best Digital Camera Settings and Procdeures for Beginners

In Meta’s Digital Camera Settings Section, you’ll learn her Best Digital Camera Settings and Digital Camera Procedures for Beginners!

Meta’s Digital Camera Procedures, Tips and Tricks include How To Setup:
Back Button Auto Focus
Eye Auto Focus

Adjust Your Diopter – This eye focus adjustment is often overlooked, even by the Pros! If you wear glasses or share your camera with someone who does, adjust the viewfinder’s Diopter to your right eye, before using the Viewfinder. To adjust, rotate the small Gear on the right side of the Viewfinder for best focus.

Shoot in RAW – RAW Quality Mode gives you 16 bits vs. 8 bits of color (That’s not 2x but 256x More Color), plus no JPEG Artifacts and no Double JPEG Compression from Post Production!

The Exposure Triangle – Learn how Aperture Size, Shutter Speed and ISO are interconnected and need to be balanced. Once you Understand the The Exposure Triangle, you’ll be on your way to becoming a much better Digital Photographer!

Manual Mode – Meta shoots mostly in Manual Mode (Except for HDR Photography, where she uses Aperture Priority) to gain full control of both the Aperture Size (Controls Depth of Field) and Shutter Speed (Freeze or Blur Action) on her Digital Camera. She starts at f/8 and 1/100th of a second. Auto ISO (Limited to ISO 400) is recommended for Manual Mode to make it easier to use.

Auto Focus Modes – Learn to use Auto Focus to take advantage of your Sony Digital Camera’s amazing Auto Focusing capabilities and the 79 Auto Focus Points. On the Front Rotary Dial, Select either A for Automatic or C for Continuous.

Program Modes – If your Digital Camera supports Program Modes (Top Dial), these 3 Memory Modes record all of the camera’s settings for quick mode changing. Remember ABC. Meta uses her 3 Program Modes in Auto ISO for:
1) Action Photography – Manual Mode, 1/1600th, f/4, Continuous Shooting Hi, Wide Focus, Auto Focus
2) Bracketed for HDR Photography – Aperture Priority, f/8, 1.0EV 5 Images, Spot Focus, Manual Focus, Steadyshot Off, 3 Stop ND Filter
3) Close-Up / Macro Photography – Manual Mode, 1/160th, f/14, Continuous Shooting Hi, Center Focus, Manual Focus

Focal Plane Mark – Φ –This circular mark with a vertical line through it is located on the back of your Digital Camera (Photo: Left Highlighted in Yellow). The Φ mark indicates exactly where the sensor plane is located inside your Digital Camera. In Macro Photography, the Minimum Focus Distance (MFD) of a Macro Lens is measured from the Focal Plane Mark (FPM) to the Macro Subject. If you’re inside this area, you’re too close!

Example: Meta’s Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens has a MFD of 35cm, and her Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens has a MFD of 20cm, both of which are measured from the Macro Subject to the Focal Plane Mark Φ and not from the Macro Subject to the End of the Lens.

Depth of Field – Which part of your subject do you want to be in Focus? Depth of Field is controlled by the Aperture Size.
Large Apertures (f/1.4 or f/2.8) Blur the background and create a Narrow Depth of Field. Best for Portraits and Still Life.
Small Apertures (f/11 or f/16) Get everything in focus and create a Wide Depth of Field. Best for Landscape and Macro Photography.

Bracketing – Many Professional Photographers Bracket all of their shots by taking multiple shots at Different Exposures or EV levels. This is used mainly for HDR Post Production – Meta take 5 Shots at 1EV Separation in Aperture Priority Mode.

Minimize Sensor Noise – High ISO is the main cause of Sensor Amplification Noise, so try and keep your ISO as low as possible. For the Lowest Sensor Noise, use the Sony Digital Camera’s Native ISO 100 (no sensor amplification). Meta Limits her AUTO ISO to ISO 400.

Auto ISO – One advantage of using Auto ISO (Limited to ISO 400), is that the Sony a77 II Digital Camera will select from a much wider range of ISO values: ISO 100, ISO 125, ISO 160, ISO 200, ISO 250, ISO 320 and ISO 400 are commonly used. Manually ISO 100, ISO 200 or ISO 400 are only available.

Back Button Auto Focus – This Highly Recommended Professional Photography Procedure is handy for a number of reasons. This procedure Removes the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button, and Assigns it to a Back Button, such as the AEL Button in this example. (You could also use the Center Joy Stick Button or C Button).

Lets say you want to Compose Off Center or are Tracking a Fast Moving Subject. You now Press the AEL Button to active the Continuous Auto Focus. Once the subject is in Focus, lift your thumb off the AEL Button. Recompose the shot off center or take the Action Shot. Shoot by Pressing the Shutter Release Button as Normal, but this time the Digital Camera will not try to quickly refocus on the center area or another part of the action subject, resulting in out of focus photos.
(See Back Button Auto Focus Procedure Below for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera).

Eye Auto Focus – Back Button Eye AF enables the Sony a77 II Digital Camera to detect and accurately focus on an eye.
(See Eye Auto Focus Procedure Below for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera).

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Meta’s Digital Camera Settings for Sony a77 II Digital Cameras

The Best Sony Digital Camera Settings for Sony a77 II Digital Cameras

In this Digital Camera Settings Section for Sony Digital Cameras, Meta Reviews The Best Digital Camera Settings for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera. These Sony Digital Camera Settings should work for many other Sony Digital Cameras! Check in your Sony Camera Manual before making any MENU changes to your Digital Camera.

Quality – Most Professional Photographers Shoot in RAW which gives you 16 bits vs. 8 bits of color, plus no JPEG Artifacts and no Double JPEG Compression from Post Production! 8 Bits = 256 Shades of Red, Green and Blue, but 16 Bits = 65,536 Shades of Red, Green and Blue. 16 bits vs. 8 bits is not 2x more color, it’s 256x more color!
MENU –> Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW

Aspect Ratio – 3:2 | 6000x4000 Pixels is the Default Mode.
MENU –> Camera 1 –> Aspect Ratio –> 3:2

Drive Mode – Continuous Shooting – Take advantage of the Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s 12 fps shooting capability.
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Cont. Shooting (Hi or Lo)
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Cont. Bracket 1.0EV 5 Images (for HDR Photography)

Power Ratio – 1/16th Flash Power for Outdoor Fill or to Trigger Remote Flashes from the Camera’s Internal Flash.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Power Ratio –> 1/16

Focus Area – Use Wide to access the Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s 79 Auto Focus Points.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Wide (For Action Photography)
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Center (For HDR Photography)

AF-A Setup – Allows you to change the focusing behavior when the Focus Mode Switch is set to “A”.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> AF-A Setup–> DMF (Direct Manual Focusing. Works best with SSM Lenses and Macro Photography)

Focus Mode Switch – The Sony a77 II Digital Camera has an round Focus Mode Switch at the base of the lens.
Focus Mode Switch options are “S”, “A”, “C” and “MF”.
S – Single. Once the Sony Digital Camera achieves Focus, it stops Auto Focusing.
A – Automatic Mode. Lets the Sony Digital Camera decide between “C” and “S” Modes. (Recommended For Macro Photography)
C – Continuous Auto focusing. The Sony Digital Camera will Continuous Auto Focus (Standard Recommended Mode)
MF – Manual Focus. You have to manually focus your lens. Auto Focus is Disabled.

Exposure Step – Used for HDR Bracketing.
MENU –> Camera 4 –> Exposure Step –> 0.5EV

AF Drive Speed – Speed of the Auto Focus.
MENU –> Camera 4 –> AF Drive Speed –> Slow (Results in more in Focus Shots)

ISO – High ISO is the main cause of Sensor Amplification Noise, especially in dark areas. The Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s Native ISO = ISO 100 (No Sensor Amplification = Lowest Noise). There’s no advantage to drop below ISO 100. Meta uses Auto ISO in Manual Mode, but she limits the Maximum ISO to ISO 400, instead of the factory default of ISO 3200, which she finds too high. One advantage of using Auto ISO, is that the Sony a77 II Digital Camera will select from a much wider range of ISO values: ISO 100, ISO 125, ISO 160, ISO 200, ISO 250, ISO 320 and ISO 400 are used. Manually ISO 100, ISO 200 and ISO 400 can only be selected in the Sony a77 II Digital Camera.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> ISO AUTO (Recommended in Manual Mode)

Metering Mode – This isn’t always 100% perfect, so you might have to adjust your Exposure Compensation up or down depending on what you are shooting. Available Metering Modes are Multi, Center, and Spot.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Multi (For Overall Metering Mode)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Spot (For Long Exposure HDR Photography)

White Balance – This Has No Effect when shooting in RAW, but Auto White Balance (AWB) is a good Starting Point in RAW Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto

Steady Shot – This is built into the Sony a77 II Digital Cameras, not into the lens, no matter which make or model lens you use. Turn Off when using a Sturdy Tripod.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> On | Off


Remote Control – Ever wonder why your Wireless Remote Control doesn’t work, even after changing the battery? Maybe you have the Remote Control Turned Off!
MENU –> Tool 3 –> Remote Ctrl –> On

Sensor Cleaning – Blow any Sensor Dust off whenever changing lenses. Never change lenses outdoors when it’s windy! Clean your Sensor Often:
MENU –> Tool 3 –> Cleaning Mode (Requires Camera to be Turned Off After Vibrating Sensor Cleaning)

Area Setting – If you travel across multiple Time Zones, remember to Set Your Time Zone, which adjusts your Camera’s internal clock. This helps when trying to find photos based on the time of day – Was that a sunset or a sunrise photo?
MENU –> Tool 4 –> Area Setting (Set Your Time Zone)

Firmware Update – Check your Firmware Version to verify that it’s the latest version. Firmware is the Operating System that runs your Sony Digital Camera. Firmware updates fix bugs and often enable new camera features. The last Sony a77 II Digital Camera that Meta purchased in 2019 didn’t have the latest Firmware installed, so it had to be manually updated.
MENU –> Tool 6 –> Version (Sony a77 II Digital Camera Ver. 2.00. Verified May 2019)

Program Modes – If your Digital Camera supports Program Modes (Top Dial), these 3 Memory Locations record all of the camera’s settings for quick mode changing. Remember ABC. Meta uses her 3 Program Modes in Auto ISO for:
1) Action Photography – Manual Mode, 1/1600th, f/4, Continuous Shooting Hi, Wide Focus, Auto Focus
2) Bracketed for HDR Photography – Aperture Priority, f/8, 1.0EV 5 Images, Spot Focus, Manual Focus, Steadyshot Off, 3 Stop ND Filter
3) Close-Up / Macro Photography – Manual Mode, 1/160th, f/14, Continuous Shooting Hi, Center Focus, Manual Focus


Grid Line – Rule of 3rds Grid helps with your Creative Compensation.
MENU –> Gear 1 –> Grid Line –> Rule of 3rds Grid

Histogram – Turn on and watch your Histogram. This prevents over and under exposure.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> DISP Button –> Configures Display Button

Digital Level – Turn on in the Display to help keep the Camera Level. There’s nothing worse than a crooked landscape photo.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> DISP Button –> Configures Display Button

Manual Focus – Use Peaking Level and Peaking Color when in Manual Mode. Manual Mode is best for Night and Macro Photography.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Level –> Low (Low is more sensitive and exact)
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Color –> Yellow (Yellow is easier to see)

Live View Display – This is the unmarked button is next to the rear of the lens on the lower right side, and is hard to reach and impossible to see. It will close down the aperture to simulate the Depth of Field. If the Aperture is too small, it might be too dark to see.
The Live View Display Button can be easily assigned to the Center Button of the Joy Stick on the back of the camera.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Live View Display –> Setting Effect On
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> Center Button–> Aperture Preview

Bracket Order – Selecting the Darkest of the set first, makes the set easier to identify the Bracketed Set on your computer.
MENU –> Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - –> 0 –> + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest)

Function Menu Set – This allows you to set up Commonly Used Menu Functions under the Fn or Function Button.
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> Set Your Commonly Used Menu Items
Some Functions don’t apply to Shooting in RAW, so Meta’s Simplified RAW Function Menu Settings:
1 –> Drive Mode | Focus Area | Metering Mode | Exposure Compensation | Flash Mode | SteadyShot
2 –> If you Leave this entire section Blank, only one row will show up in the display.


Airplane Mode – If you’re not using your Digital Camera’s WiFi Mode, turn Airplane Mode On to Save Power.
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode–> On

Camera’s Name – If your’re like Meta, you might own more than one Sony Digital Camera, so consider Numbering the Camera (with a Number Sticker) and changing the Camera’s Name to match the Number: Eg: SonyA77II#1, SonyA77II#2, etc. This makes it easier to figure out which Camera took which photo, or which camera was having any issues at the time.
MENU –> WiFi 2 –> Edit Device Name –> Name The Camera

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Meta’s Digital Camera Procedures, Tips and Tricks for Sony a77 II Digital Cameras

The Best Sony Digital Camera Procedures for Sony a77 II Digital Cameras

In this Digital Camera Procedures, Tips and Tricks Section for Sony Digital Cameras, Meta Reviews The Best Digital Camera Procedures for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera. These Sony Digital Camera Procedures should work for many other Sony Digital Cameras! Check in your Sony Camera Manual before making any MENU changes to your Digital Camera.


Back Button Auto Focus Sony a77 II – Many Professional Photographers like Meta, Highly Recommend setting up Back Button Auto Focus or Back Button Focusing on your Digital Camera. This simple procedure involves Removing the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button, and Assigning it to a Back Button, such as the AEL Button in Meta’s example (You could also use the Center Joy Stick Button or C Button). This procedure prevents the Shutter Release Button from quickly refocusing on the closest object, if you or the subject moves when you take a shot, resulting in many out of focus photographs. Listed below is the Back Button Auto Focus Procedure for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera.

Your Digital Camera Settings May Vary, but the Back Button Auto Focus or Back Button Focus concept is the same.
MENU –> Gear 4 –> AF w/ Shutter –> Off (Removes the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> AEL Button –> AF On (Assigns the Auto Focus to the AEL Button)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> AF/MF Button –> AF/MF Ctrl Toggle (AF/MF Button Toggles between AF and MF)
Back Button Focus greatly changes how your Digital Camera Focuses, so it will take some time to get used to using the AEL Button to Auto Focus with your thumb and not your index finger on the Shutter Release Button. You should have more in focus photos.


Eye Auto Focus – Eye AF doesn’s show up in the Menu or Functions, making it difficult to find and use. Eye AF only works when assigned to a back button and only in Focus Mode Switch “S” for Single. Now Pressing the C Button will auto focus on a person’s eye.
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> C Button –> Eye AF (Assigns Eye AF to the C Button)

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