The Best Digital Photography Tips and Techniques For Beginner Photographers

Photos By Meta Recommends The Best Sony Digital Camera Settings For Beginner Photographers

The Best Sony Digital Camera Settings

Sony Digital Camera Settings – Recommends The Best Sony Digital Camera Settings For Beginner Photographers. These settings are specific to the Sony a77 II Digital Camera, but they can also be applied to many other Sony Digital Cameras, which use similar Sony Digital Camera Settings and Menus.

Sony Digital Camera Procedures – Photos By Meta Explains How To Use Multiple Sony Digital Camera Settings to setup Digital Camera Procedures, such as Back Button Auto Focus.

Where To Buy The Best Digital Camera Guide Books

Recommended Settings For The Sony a77 II Digital Camera

Recommended Sony Digital Camera Settings For The Sony a77 II Digital Camera

Meta’s Recommended Sony Digital Camera Settings are specific for the Sony a77 II Digital Camera, but they should work just fine for other Sony Digital Cameras! Check the Sony a77 II Camera Help Guide before making any MENU changes to your Sony Digital Camera.

Image 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, it’s 256x more information!
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 Digital 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 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 = The Lowest Noise). There’s no technical 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 way too noisy.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> ISO AUTO (Recommended in Manual Mode)

Digital Photography TipsOne advantage of Auto ISO, is that the Sony a77 II Digital Camera will automatically select from a much finer range of ISO values: ISO 100, ISO 125, ISO 160, ISO 200, ISO 250, ISO 320, ISO 400 are commonly selected. Manually, only ISO 100, ISO 200 and ISO 400 can be selected in the Sony a77 II Digital Camera.

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 – This Has No Effect when shooting in RAW, but “Auto White Balance” works fairly well, and is a good Starting Point for RAW Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto

Creative Style – This Has No Effect when shooting in RAW, but Creative Style Standard can be set, then Boost what you see in the View Finder.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Creative Style –> Standard –> Contrast +1 | Saturation +2 | Sharpness +2

Long Exposure NR – Long Exposure Noise Reduction is available when shooting RAW. In Astrophotography, it is recommened to turn Off, because it mistakes faint stars as noise and tries to eliminate them.
MENU –> Camera 6 –> Long Exposure NR –> Off

Steady Shot – This is built into the Sony a77 II Digital Camera, not into the lens. Sony claims this can add 4 Stops of Light (Normally 1/100th of a Second can now shoot Hand Held at 1/15th of a Second). Turn this Off when using a Sturdy Tripod, but remember to turn it back On for Hand Held.
Note: SteadyShot is grayed out when the Shutter Speed is set to BULB Mode, indicating that it automatically gets Turned Off.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> On | Off


Remote Control – Ever wonder why your Wireless Remote Control doesn’t work, even after changing the 3V Battery? Maybe you have the Remote Control Option 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. Last Checked September 2019)


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 better for Night and Macro Photography.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Level –> Low (Low is more sensitive and exact)
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Color –> Yellow or Red

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 night photography, so Meta sets this to Release.
MENU –> Gear 5 –> Release (The shutter will be released even if the subject is out of focus – Better for Night 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
Some Functions don’t apply to Shooting in RAW, so Meta’s Simplified RAW Function Menu Settings:
1 –> Drive Mode | Focus Area | Metering Mode | SteadyShot | Flash Mode | ISO
2 –> If you Leave this entire section Blank, only the bottom row will show up in the camera’s 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

Control Camera with your iPhone or iPad – This updated feature allows you to take control of your Sony Digital Camera with an iPhone or iPad using the ImagingEdge App (replaces the old Play Memories App). You will need to download the new Sony ImagingEdge App from the App Store to your iPhone or iPad. This technique is handy for Steath Hummingbird Photography.
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.
On Your iPhone or iPad, Select WiFi, and Select the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot. Enter the password from the Sony Digital Camera. This will connect the iPhone or iPad to the Sony Digital Camera’s WiFi Hotspot.
Open the Sony ImagingEdge App on your iPhone or iPad. 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.

Camera’s Name – Lets you name your Sony Digital Camera
MENU –> WiFi 2 –> Edit Device Name –> Name Your Camera

Digital Photography TipsIf you’re like Meta, you might own more than one Sony Digital Camera of the same model, so consider Numbering each Camera (use 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.

The Best Sony Digital Camera Procedures For The Sony a77 II and Other Sony Digital Cameras

How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus On The Sony a77 II Digital Camera

Back Button Auto Focus – 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 Center Joy Stick Button, which is easy to locate and press with your right thumb.

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. The 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, 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 –> Function Menu Set –> Center Button –> AF On (Assigns the Auto Focus to the Center of the Joy Stick Button)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> AF/MF Button –> AF/MF Ctrl Toggle (AF/MF Button Toggles between AF and MF)

Digital Photography TipsYou should have more in focus photos using Back Button Auto Focus. This procedure greatly changes how your Digital Camera Focuses, so it will take a little time to get used to using the Center Button to Auto Focus with your thumb and not your index finger on the Shutter Release Button, but the results will be worth it.

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