Meta Explains Her Best Sony Alpha Camera Settings

Meta Explains Her Best Sony Alpha Camera Settings

Meta Explains Her Best Sony Alpha Camera Settings

These Sony Alpha Camera Settings will work for most all Sony Alpha Cameras.

Sony Alpha Camera Settings


How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus

How To Use The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App

How To Webcam With Your Sony Alpha Camera


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Meta Explains Her Best Sony Alpha Camera Settings

Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

Meta Explains Her Best Sony Alpha Camera Settings

SET IT AND FORGET IT SONY ALPHA CAMERA SETTINGS

Today’s Sony Alpha Cameras are packed full of features and options, but this also makes it a lot more confusing for Photographers to figure out which options are important and when and why you should use them.

The Sony Factory Defaults are a good place to start for 90% of your Basic Apple iPhone Photography, but there are a few options that still need tweaking:

P – Program Mode (Think of this as ISO Priority Mode – You set the ISO and your Camera figures out the Correct Shutter Speed and Aperture)
ISO –> AUTO ISO –> Limited ISO to ISO 800 (APS-C) or ISO 1600 (Full Frame). The Factory Default is ISO 6400.
MENU –> Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW (Don’t Make The Newbie Mistake of Shooting in JPEG)
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Drive Mode –> Continuous Shooting –> Hi (Unless Bracketing)
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Center (Switch to Manual to Recompose)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto (NO EFFECT IN RAW)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Metering Mode –> Multi (Default Mode)
MENU –> Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> On (Set It and Forget It)
Focus Mode Button: C for Continuous Auto Focusing (Set It and Forget It)
Meta Recommends You Setup Back Button Auto Focus


FOCUS MODE SWITCH

The small round Focus Mode Switch at the base of the lens (Photo: Left) has 4 rotary positions.
The 4 Focus Mode Switch options are “S”, “A”, “C” and “MF”. Continuous Auto Focus or C is Recommended.

S – Single. Once the Sony Alpha Camera achieves Focus, it stops Auto Focusing.
A – Automatic Mode. Lets the Sony Alpha Camera decide between “C” and “S” Modes. (Not Recommended)
C – Continuous Auto Focusing. The Sony Alpha Camera will Continuous Auto Focus (Recommended).
MF – Manual Focus is the Default. You have to manually focus your lens. Continuous Auto Focus is Disabled.

Sony Alpha Camera Settings – Meta Recommends Starting Out In “Program Mode” For New Photographers

MODE DIAL

AUTO – Auto Mode. Allows you to photograph still images with the settings adjusted automatically to a Point and Photograph Camera.
A – Aperture Priority Mode. Photographs by adjusting the Aperture and changing the focus range, or by defocus the background.
S – Shutter Priority Mode. Adjusts the Shutter Speed to show the movement of the subject.
M – Manual Mode. Allows you to photograph after manually adjusting the exposure (Shutter Speed and Aperture) using the Front Dial and the Rear Dial.
P – Program Mode. (Recommended For New Photographers). Allows you to photograph with the Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture) adjusted Automatically, but ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture can be quickly adjusted Manually using the Front Dial and the Rear Dial.
Program Mode helps you focus more on Better Photography Composition and helps you Learn the Fundamentals of Exposure – Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.

Program Mode – For New Photographers, Meta recommends using “Priority Mode”. P Mode allows you to set the ISO Limited to ISO 800 (APS-C) or ISO 1600 (Full Frame) and let the Sony Alpha Camera decide which Aperture and Shutter Speed to use. You can quickly override these settings and have Full Exposure Control.


Camera MENU SETTINGS

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

MENU –> Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW (Set It and Forget It)
Most Photographers Photograph in RAW, which gives you 16 bits vs. 8 bits of color, plus no JPEG Artifacts and no Double JPEG Compression from Post Production JPEG Export! Requires Post Production Software.

RAW Quality – One of the Newbie Photographer mistakes that Meta made when she got her first camera was shooting in JPEG Quality. JPEG seemed quick and easy, but Meta missed out on a lot of the Detail and Color Information that shooting RAW preserves. Meta now shoots only in RAW Quality for the Best Image Quality.

Drive Mode – Continuous Shooting – Take advantage of the Sony Alpha Camera’s 12 FPS shooting capability and Select Hi
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Continuous Shooting –> Hi (Set It and Forget It)
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Continuous Bracket –> 1.0EV 5 Images (Only if Shooting HDR Photography)

Power Ratio – 1/16th Flash Power for Outdoor Fill or to Trigger Remote Flash Units from the Camera’s Internal Popup Flash.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Power Ratio –> 1/16 (Not Needed If Using a Top Mounted Flash Unit)

Focus Area – Use Center.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Center (Switch to Manual to Recompose)

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 with Sony SSM Lenses and Macro Photography)

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 – Higher ISO is the main cause of Sensor Amplification Noise, especially in dark areas. The Native ISO = ISO 100 (No Sensor Amplification = The Lowest Noise). There’s no technical advantage to drop below the Native ISO. Meta tries to shoot at the Native ISO of her Sony Alpha Camera, ISO 100, which produces the lowest noise image possible.

Native ISO – Know the Native ISO of your Camera and try to photograph at the Native ISO. Only raise the ISO as a Last Resort, after you have attempted to decrease the Shutter Speed or Open the Aperture of your Lens to let in more light. The Native ISO = ISO 100. Most Cameras have Native ISO of ISO 100 to ISO 200.

AUTO ISO – If you prefer to use Auto ISO, you should Limit set ISO Range Limit to ISO 800 (APS-C) or ISO 1600 (Full Frame), to keep the High ISO the Sensor Noise to an acceptable level. The Factory Default ISO Limit is ISO 6400, which Meta considers a way too high. The ISO Limit is set in the ISO Screen. If you’re not sure what ISO Limit to use, take a series of Out of Focus Images at different ISO Values, then compare the Noise in the Darker Areas.

Auto ISO – One advantage of using Auto ISO Limited to ISO 800 (APS-C) over a Fixed ISO value, is that you will get more Auto ISO Selections, like ISO 125, ISO 160, ISO 250, ISO 320, ISO 500, and ISO 640, which are not available in the Fixed ISO Selection of ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400 and ISO 800.

MENU –> Camera 5 –> Auto ISO Limited to ISO 800 (APS-C) or ISO 1600 (Full Frame)

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 –> Metering Mode –> Multi (Default Mode)

White Balance – White Balance has NO EFFECT IN RAW. Auto White Balance works very well and is a good Starting Point for RAW Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto (Set It and Forget It)

Creative Style – Creative Style has NO EFFECT IN RAW, but this does affect what you see on your View Finder, which is the JPEG Preview. There are many options to adjust your JPEG Preview, but the Color RAW Image File will not be affected.
Option 1) MENU –> Camera 5 –> Creative Style –> Vivid –> Contrast 1 | Saturation 1 | Sharpness 1 (Mimics Final Post Production Photo)
Option 2) MENU –> Camera 5 –> Creative Style –> B/W –> Contrast 3 | – | Sharpness 0 (Only Color is the Manual Focus Peaking Color)
Your Histogram, Zebra Overexposure and Photo Preview are controlled by the JPEG Preview. Adjusting the Creative Style has NO EFFECT on your JPEG Preview’s Histogram and Zebra Overexposure, only what you see in Preview.

Long Exposure NR – Performs a “Dark Frame Subtraction” on Exposures 1 Second or Longer, which takes 2x Longer to Photograph and Process. This works when shooting RAW. Long Exposure Noise Reduction is available only in Single Shot Mode. In Astrophotography<, it is recommended to Turn Off, because it can sometimes mistake faint stars as noise and tries to eliminate them.
MENU –> Camera 6 –> Long Exposure NR –> On

SteadyShot (In Body Image Stabilization or IBIS) – SteadyShot INSIDE is built into the body and not into the lens. Sony claims SteadyShot can add 4 Stops of Light. Meta recommends leaving SteadyShot ON when shooting Hand Held and when shooting on a Sturdy Tripod to help with wind shake or ground vibration.
Note: SteadyShot is grayed out when the Shutter Speed is set to BULB Mode, indicating it automatically gets Turned OFF for long Exposures greater than 30 Seconds.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> On (Set It and Forget It)

Color Space – Color Space has NO EFFECT IN RAW. AdobeRGB is essential if you’re a purest for color accuracy and your final product will be printed by a commercial printer using CMYK Printing using JPEG Format.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> Color Space –> AdobeRGB


Tool MENU SETTINGS


Sony Wireless Remote Control – Ever wonder why your Sony Wireless Remote Control won’t work, even after changing the CR2025 Lithium Battery? Before you send it back for repairs, check to make sure the Sony Alpha Camera’s Remote Control Function is Turned On!

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 Alpha Camera. Firmware updates fix bugs and often enable new camera features. Here’s the latest Firmware. (Newer Mac OS Support is Very Limited).
MENU –> Tool 6 –> Version (Latest Firmware: Ver. 2.00. Release Date: 12/10/2014)

Cycle Your Sony Alpha Camera Battery Chargers Once a Month – Sony Alpha Camera Batteries sitting in the Sony Battery Charger will slowly loose their charge over time, unless you Cycle the Battery Charger. Meta uses Power Strips for her Sony Battery Chargers, so Powering Off and On the Power Strips, will reset the Sony Battery Chargers.


Gear MENU SETTINGS

Zebra – Blinks on the part of your image that will be over exposed. This is Optional.
MENU –> Gear 1 –> Zebra –> 100+

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. Like Zebras, this prevents over and under exposure. Highly Recommended.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> DISP Button –> Configures Display Button

Watch a Video – How to Read a Histogram


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

Manual Focus – Use Peaking Level and Peaking Color when in Manual Focus. Manual Focus is better for Macro Photography.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Level –> Low (Low is More Sensitive)
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 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 C Button on the back of the camera.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Live View Display –> Setting Effect On
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> C Button –> Aperture Preview

Priority Setup – Sets whether or not to release the shutter even when focus is not achieved in auto focus mode. This feature can cause more problems than it solves, especially with low light photography, so Meta sets this to Release.
MENU –> Gear 5 –> Release (The shutter will be released even if the subject is out of focus – Best for Low Light Photography)

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
Many Functions have NO EFFECT IN RAW. Here’s Meta’s Simplified RAW Function Menu Settings:
1 –> Drive Mode | Focus Area | Metering Mode | ISO | Peaking Level | Peaking Color
2 –> If you Leave this Section Blank, only 1 row will show up in the Sony Alpha Camera’s display.

Dial Setup – Meta prefers the Shutter Speed Control Dial in the Front and the Aperture Control Dial in the Rear.
MENU –> Gear 7 –> Dial Setup–> Front SS

Dial EV Comp – Turn Off when Shooting in Priority Mode or Manual Mode.
MENU –> Gear 7 –> Dial EV Comp–> Off

MOVIE Button – This allows you quickly Photograph Video by pressing the Red Movie Button.
MENU –> Gear 7 –> MOVIE Button –> Always


WiFi MENU SETTINGS

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

PC Remote Control – This is similar to Camera Tethering, but uses the Sony Alpha Camera’s built-in Wi-Fi Hub for Wireless Control from your Apple iPhone or iPad using the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App.
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> This will present you with the Sony Alpha Camera’s Wi-Fi Hotspot Password to Connect to your your Apple iPhone or iPad.
or
If you are connecting your Sony Alpha Camera to your Computer via a Micro USB Cable to USB Cable.
MENU –> Tool 4 –> USB Connection –> PC Remote


Camera’s Name – Lets you name your Sony Alpha Camera (Handy if you have more than one Camera of the same make and model)
MENU –> WiFi 2 –> Edit Device Name –> Name Your Camera

Name and Number Your Cameras – If you’re like Meta, you might own more than one Sony Alpha Camera, so consider numbering each Camera and changing the Camera’s Name to match the Number: Eg: SonyA77II#1, SonyA77II#2, SonyA77II#3, etc. This makes it easier to know which Sony Alpha Camera took which photo.

How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus On Your Sony Alpha Camera

Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

Back Button Auto Focus On Your Sony Alpha Camera

Many Photographers Highly Recommend setting up Back Button Auto Focus or Back Focusing on your Sony Alpha Camera. This simple procedure involves Removing the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button, and Assigning it for example, to the Center Joy Stick Button, which is very easy to locate, even in the dark. When the Center Joy Stick Button is now pressed, then it goes into Continuous Auto Focus Mode (Focus Mode Knob = C) and Auto Focuses.

Meta finds AF/MF Control Toggle frustrating to use, because there is no Camera Indicator to tell you which Focus Mode you are in; Auto Focus or Manual Focus.

Setting the AF/MF Button to AF/MF Control Hold (Factory Default), always keeps you in Auto Focus Mode (Focus Mode Knob = C), but if you want to Manual Focus your Lens, Press and Hold the AF/MF Button while Manually Adjusting the Focus Ring. Once you let go the AF/MF Button, the focus remains locked at that focus position, unless you press the Back Button Auto Focus Button again.

Setting AF with Shutter set to OFF, splits the focusing and shooting into to separate buttons. This 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 shoots.

This procedure below is for specific for the Sony a77 II Camera, but it should also work on other Sony Alpha Cameras as well.

Your Sony Alpha Camera Settings May Vary Slightly, 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 4 –> AEL w/ Shutter –> Off (Removes the Auto Exposure Lock from the Shutter Release Button)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> AF/MF Button –> AF/MF Control Hold (Press and Hold to Manual Focus The Lens)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> Center Button –> AF On (Assigns the Auto Focus to the Center Joy Stick Button)

Back Button Auto Focus – This greatly changes how your Camera Functions, so it will take a short time to get used to using the Center Joy Stick Button to Auto Focus using your thumb and not your index finger on the Shutter Release Button, but the learning curve will be well worth the effort and your better Focusing Results.

How To Use The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App With Your Apple iPhone or iPad

Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

PC Remote Control On Your Sony Alpha Cameras (WiFi)

Sometimes you might want to setup your camera and control it from a far away distance using WiFi. Wildlife Photography is a good example. Supported Sony Alpha Cameras.

The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App uses the Sony Alpha Camera’s Built-In Wi-Fi to allow Limited Control of your Sony Alpha Camera from an Apple iPhone or iPad.

Open the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App on your Apple iPhone or iPad.

MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode –> Off (Verify that Wi-Fi is Enabled)
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> Presents you with a Password to Connect Imaging Edge Mobile to your Sony Alpha Camera.

1) Select your Sony Alpha Camera from the Camera list. If no Camera appears, click Connect with a new camera and add yours.
2) Click Join and Start.
3) Enter the Password Shown on the Sony Alpha Camera’s screen. Once the Sony Alpha Camera is remembered by the App, you don’t have to keep inputting the same password.

You should now be connected to your Sony Alpha Camera and have Limited Control over your Sony Alpha Camera.
Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

How To Use The PC Remote Control On Sony Alpha Cameras (USB Cable)

Sometimes you might want to take Remote Full Control over your Sony Alpha Camera. Studio Photography is a good example. Supported Sony Alpha Cameras.

The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App uses a USB Cable to allow Full Control of your Sony Alpha Camera from a Computer. (Recommended Method over WiFi)

Connect the Sony Alpha Camera to your Computer using a Micro USB Cable to USB Cable.

Open the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App on your Apple iPhone or iPad.

MENU –> Tool 4 –> USB Connection –> PC Remote

1) Select your Sony Alpha Camera from the Camera list. If no Camera appears, click Connect with a new camera and add yours.
2) Click Join and Start.

You should now be connected to your Sony Alpha Camera and have Full Control over your Sony Alpha Camera.
Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

How To Send Images From Sony Alpha Cameras To Apple iPhones

The Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App uses the Built-In Wi-Fi to transfer Images from your Sony Alpha Camera to your Apple iPhone or iPad.

Open the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile App on your Apple iPhone or iPad.

MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode –> Off (Verify that Wi-Fi is Enabled)
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Send to Smartphone –> Presents you with a Password to Connect Imaging Edge Mobile App to your Sony Alpha Camera.

1) Select your Sony Alpha Camera from the Camera list. If no Camera appears, click Connect with a new camera and add yours.
2) Click Join and Start.
3) Enter the Password Shown on the Sony Alpha Camera’s screen. Once the Sony Alpha Camera is remembered by the App, you don’t have to keep inputting the same password.

You should now be connected to your Sony Alpha Camera. Follow the On Screen Instructions.

How To Use The Your Sony Alpha Camera as a High Quality Webcam

Sony a77 II Camera
Meta Recommends The Sony a77 II Camera

Webcam With Your Sony Alpha Camera

The Sony Imaging Edge Webcam Driver lets you connect your Sony Alpha Camera to your Computer, and use your Sony Alpha Camera as a Webcam with your Livestreaming / Web Conferencing Application on your Computer. Check to see if your model of Sony Alpha Camera is supported.

Download the Sony Imaging Edge Webcam Driver. Install the Webcam Driver then Restart your Computer.

Connect your Sony Alpha Camera to your Computer using a USB Micro Cable.
MENU –> Tool 4 –> USB Connection –> PC Remote

Launch your Livestreaming / Web Conferencing Application on your Computer.

Change the Camera Input Setting on the Livestreaming / Web Conferencing Application to switch the Camera Input to be used from the Computer’s built-in camera to the Sony Alpha Camera.

Aspect Ratio: The default aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9 at 1,024 × 576 pixel resolution.

Audio Input: Imaging Edge Webcam does not handle audio. Use your Computer’s built-in microphone or an external microphone.

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