Meta's Best Sony Digital Camera Settings For Beginners

Learn How To Best Setup Your Sony Digital Camera By Meta Gatschenberger

Ad • Find The Best Photography Books

Meta’s Best Sony Digital Camera Settings For Beginners

This section is related to all Sony Digital Cameras, (Sony a77 II Digital Camera for example). Meta’s Sony Digital Camera Settings For Beginners will work for most all Sony Digital Cameras.

Meta’s Sony Digital Camera Settings

Included are some of Meta’s Digital Camera Procedures that are not included in your Sony Digital Camera Manual.

How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus
How To Setup PC Remote Control
How To Webcam With Your Sony Digital Camera

Holiday Gift IdeasAd • Give The Gift of Amazon Prime – Finding “The Perfect Gift” for everyone on your list can be difficult, especially if you want to get them something that they’ll actually use. Gifting Amazon Prime gives your friends and family access to Free 2-Day Shipping, Unlimited Streaming Music, Video, Movies, eBooks, and much more!

Meta’s Best Sony Digital Camera Settings

Ad • Find The Best Sony Mirrorless Cameras

Sony Digital Camera Settings – Sony A77 II Instructional Guide

Meta’s Best Sony Digital Camera Settings

FOCUS MODE SWITCH

The Sony a77 II Digital Camera has a small round Focus Mode Switch at the base of the lens (Photo: Left), which has 4 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 Digital Camera achieves Focus, it stops Auto Focusing.
A – Automatic Mode. Lets the Sony Digital Camera decide between “C” and “S” Modes.
C – Continuous Auto focusing. The Sony Digital Camera will Continuous Auto Focus (Recommended Mode).
MF – Manual Focus is the Default. You have to manually focus your lens. Continuous Auto Focus is Disabled.

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersAd • RAW Post Production Software – Meta uses Luminar and Aurora HDR for her RAW Post Production Software. Aurora HDR is a RAW photo editor focused on creating high quality HDR merges from multiple image brackets. Luminar is an innovative AI Software that focuses on time saving edits and creativity. No Monthly Subscription Fees!



Sony Digital Camera Settings – Using Program Mode For Beginners

MODE DIAL

AUTO – Auto Mode. Allows you to shoot still images with the settings adjusted automatically to a Point and Shoot Camera.
A – Aperture Priority Mode. Shoots 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 shoot after manually adjusting the exposure (Shutter Speed and Aperture) using the front or rear dial.
P – Program Mode. (Recommended Mode For Beginner Photographers). Allows you to shoot with the Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture) adjusted Automatically, but ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture can be adjusted Manually. Program Mode helps you focus more on Better Photography Composition and helps you Learn the Fundamentals of Exposure.

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersProgram Mode – For Beginner Nature Photographers, Meta recommends starting in Priority Mode. P Mode allows you to set the ISO (Auto ISO Limited to ISO 800) and let the Sony Digital Camera decide which Aperture and Shutter Speed to use. You can quickly override these settings and have Full Manual Control over the ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.


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 (Image Quality of RAW Requires Post Production Software)
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 JPEG Export!

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersRAW Quality – One of the Beginner Photographer mistakes that Meta made when she got her first Sony a65 Digital 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 Photography Images.

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). High is highly recommended when shooting Fast Action Wildlife Photography.
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 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 Wide to access the Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s 79 Auto Focus Points.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Wide (For Fast Action Wildlife 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 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 Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s Native ISO = ISO 100 (No Sensor Amplification = The Lowest Noise). There’s no technical advantage to drop below the Native ISO. Meta normally shoots at the Native ISO of her Sony Digital Camera, ISO 100, which produces the lowest noise image possible.

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersNative ISO – Know the Native ISO of your Digital Camera and try to shoot 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 Sony a77 II Digital Camera’s Native ISO = ISO 100. Most Digital Cameras have Native ISO of ISO 50 to ISO 200.

AUTO ISO – If you prefer to use Auto ISO, you can limit the ISO Range Limit to ISO 800 to keep the High ISO the noise lowest. The Sony Default ISO Limit is ISO 6400, which Meta considers way too noisy. ISO Limit is set in the ISO Screen.

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersAuto ISO – One advantage of using Auto ISO 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 –> ISO 100 or Auto ISO (Limited to ISO 800)

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 –> Center (For Center Metering Mode)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Spot (For Long Exposure HDR Photography)

White Balance – White Balance has NO EFFECT when shooting in RAW. Auto White Balance works very well and is a good Starting Point for RAW Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto

Creative Style – Creative Style has NO EFFECT when shooting in RAW. Meta shoots in Vivid, which mimics her Vivid Post Processing.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Creative Style –> Vivid –> Contrast 0 | Saturation 0 | Sharpness 0
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 Shoot 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 of the Sony a77 II Digital Camera, and not into the Sony Lens or Minolta AF 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, especially if there is any 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

Color Space – Color Space has NO EFFECT when shooting 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, check to make sure the 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 Digital Camera. Firmware updates fix bugs and often enable new camera features. A Sony a77 II Digital Camera that Meta purchased in 2019 didn’t have the latest Firmware installed, so it had to be manually updated on a PC. (Newer Mac OS Support is very Limited).
MENU –> Tool 6 –> Version (Latest Sony a77 II Digital Camera Firmware: Ver. 2.00. Release Date: 12/10/2014)


Gear MENU SETTINGS

Zebra – Blinks on the part of your image that will be over exposed. 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

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 when shooting in RAW, so here’s Meta’s Simplified RAW Function Menu Settings:
1 –> Drive Mode | Focus Area | Metering Mode | SteadyShot | White Balance | Peaking Level
2 –> If you Leave this entire section Blank, only the bottom row will show up in the camera’s display.

MOVIE Button – This allows you quickly Shoot 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 WiFi Mode, 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 Digital Camera’s built-in WiFi Hub for Wireless Control from your iPhone or iPad using the Free Sony ImagingEdge App.
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> This will present you with the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot Password to Connect to.
or
If you are connecting your Sony Digital Camera to your Computer via a Micro USB Cable.
MENU –> Tool 4 –> USB Connection –> PC Remote


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

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersName and Number Your Cameras – If you’re like Meta, you might own more than one Sony Digital 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 Digital Camera took which photo, or which was having problems.

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

Ad • Find The Best Sony Mirrorless Cameras

How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus For Sony Digital Cameras

Many Professional Nature Photographers like Meta, Highly Recommend setting up Back Button Auto Focus or Back Focusing on your 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. When the Center Joy Stick Button is pressed, then it goes into Continuous Auto Focus Mode and Auto Focuses.

Back Button Auto Focus 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. This procedure below is for specific for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera, but it should also work on other Sony Digital Cameras as well.

Your Sony Digital Camera Settings May Vary Slightly, but the Back Button Auto Focus or Back Button Focus concept is exactly 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 Toggle (Toggles between AF and MF Modes)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> Center Button –> AF On (Assigns the Auto Focus to the Center Joy Stick Button)

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersBack Button Auto Focus – This greatly changes how your Camera Focuses, so it will take a little 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 results will be well worth it.

How To Remote Control Your Sony Digital Camera From Your iPhone, iPad or MacBook

Ad • Find The Best Sony Mirrorless Cameras

How To Setup PC Remote Control For Sony Digital Cameras

PC Remote Control allows you to take control of your Sony Digital Camera with an iPhone, iPad or MacBook using the Free Sony ImagingEdge App (replaces the old Play Memories App). You will need to download the Free Sony ImagingEdge App from the App Store to your iPhone, iPad or MacBook.

This is very similar to Camera Tethering, but uses the Sony Digital Camera’s built-in WiFi Hub for Connection and Control. No USB Cables or HDMI are required.

MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode –> Off
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> This will present you with the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot Password to Connect to.

On Your iPhone, iPad or MacBook, Select WiFi, and Select the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot. Enter the password obtained from the Sony Digital Camera. This will connect the iPhone or iPad to the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot.

Open the Free Sony ImagingEdge App on your iPhone, iPad or MacBook. It should automatically connect to the Sony Digital Camera. You should see the View Finder Image and be able to press the Shutter Release Button to take photos.

Meta's Best Nature Photography Tips For BeginnersPC Remote Control – This is very handy for all Studio Photography and for Stealth Remote Control of the Sony Digital Camera for Very Low Macro Photography and Remote Hummingbird Photography.

How To Use Your Sony Digital Camera as a High Quality Webcam

Ad • Find The Best Sony Mirrorless Cameras

How To Webcam With Your Sony Digital Camera

The Sony Imaging Edge Webcam Driver lets you connect your Sony Digital Camera to your Computer, and use your Sony Digital Camera as a Webcam with your Livestreaming / Web Conferencing Application on your Computer. Meta’s Sony a77 II Digital Camera is supported.

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


Connect your Sony Digital 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 Digital 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.

Contact Meta

Ad • Purchase Meta’s Nature Photography Gifts

Photos By Meta

PO Box 1571
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
1-828-443-4277

Contact Meta

Member: Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association




Holiday Gift IdeasAd • Purchase Meta’s Nature Photography Gifts – Meta’s Award Winning North Carolina Nature Photography make “The Perfect Holiday Gift”. Photos By Meta are available on Jigsaw Puzzles, Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Coffee Mugs, Greeting Cards, iPhone Cases, Tote Bags, T-Shirts, Face Masks and much more...

Photos By Meta

North Carolina Nature Photography was shot by Western North Carolina Nature Photographer Meta Gatschenberger.
Purchase Meta’s Nature Photography Gifts.

Follow Meta On:

You TubeFollow Us On FacebookFollow Me On InstagramMeta's Best Nature Photography Tips For Beginners
North Carolina Web Design