Essential Settings Guide for your Sony A6000

Sony’s most powerful mirrorless cameras are taking the world by storm.  Take your photography skills to the next level with our essential settings guide for your Sony a6000.

This guide will have you shooting like an expert with your Sony A6000 in no time at all.  Tweek your skills and ramp up your photography with this quick guide for your Sony mirrorless camera.

Getting around your camera can be a little tricky.  So take it slowly and explore each section at a time until you are comfortable with your results.  Explore each of the settings so that you are able to use your camera in a way that suits you best.

Read More:  Shoot awesome photos with your Sony A6000

Super-Smart Mirrorless Cameras

Sony a6000The Sony a6000 has taken mirrorless technology into the reach of those who want uncomplicated cameras to produce exceptional photographs.

The image sensor allows you to capture moving subjects with clarity ensuring you take crisper photos than ever before.

Tip:  Super-quick autofocus, a responsive shutter speed of 11 frames per second, crisp images in low-light conditions and 4K UHD video are why these cameras have taken the market by storm.

Customise your camera

Sony A6000

How to:
Press Menu, select Custom Key Settings.  Choose desired button and assign function.

Being able to assign a function of your choice to each of seven customisable buttons is one of my favourite features with the Sony A6000.

C1, C2, AEL, Center Button, Left, Right & Down buttons of the Control wheel are all customisable.  There are 48 assignable functions to choose from.

How to:
Press Menu, select Function Menu Set.  Choose desired area and assign function.

Tip:  Pressing the Fn button offers 12 functions on a quick display screen allowing quick access to change or modify your settings.

Essential Settings for Sony A6000

It’s is essential to get to know your cameras’ capabilities.

How to:
Turn the mode dial to select a desired shooting mode.

Start with setting the camera mode — the large dial on the top right of the camera. The controls range from point-and-shoot, simple through to full manual.

These mirrorless cameras have an easy on-screen interface and layout of controls.

Tip:  Shooting in P, A, S or M mode is recommended for full control, rather than Intelligent Auto or Superior Auto mode.

P (Program Auto)

Camera Settings

Allows you to shoot with the exposure adjusted automatically.  You can also select various settings using the menu and adjust them as desired.

For example, this mode enables a small aperture and fast shutter at noon to avoid overexposure, and the opposite at twilight to avoid underexposure.

Program mode offers the ability to customize exposure, making it ideal in most shooting conditions.

A (Aperture Priority)

Allows you to adjust the aperture to control the depth of field allowing you to shoot when you want to blur the background.

Set the aperture using either the control dial on the top right of the camera or the control wheel on the back of the screen.

S (Shutter Priority)

Allows you to shoot fast-moving subjects by manually adjusting the shutter speed.

Controlling the shutter speed will set how long the exposure will be, allowing you to freeze or blur action. The camera will automatically adjust the aperture to accommodate the shutter speed you have selected, achieving the correct exposure.

M (Manual Exposure)

You’re in control.  This setting allows you to shoot still images with a desired exposure by adjusting the shutter speed and the aperture.

Use the control dial on top to set the aperture and the control wheel on back to set shutter speed. The rear screen and electronic viewfinder show a preview of how your settings will affect the photo.

Intelligent Auto

Allows you to shoot still images with the settings adjusted automatically.

Superior Auto

Allows you to shoot still images of higher quality with the settings adjusted automatically than you could with Intelligent Auto mode.

Superior Auto is especially turned for low-light shooting.

Sweep Panorama

Just like on many smartphones, you can capture an extrawide photo by holding the shutter down and sweeping the camera across a scene (you’ll hear a continuous clicking sound as the camera captures dozens of individual photos that it then stitches together into one image).

MR (Memory Recall)

Allows you to shoot an image after recalling often-used modes or numeric settings that have been registered in advance.

Focus Mode

How to:
Press Fn button, choose Focus Mode.  Select desired mode.

Choose a focusing method depending on the subject movement.  Methods are mainly used are:

AF-S Single-Shot AF:  Locks the focus when focus adjustment is achieved.  Use Single-shot AF when the subject is stationary.

AF-A Automatic AF:  Switches between single-shot AF and Continuous AF according to the movement of the subject.  Press the shutter button halfway, to lock focus when subject is stationary, or continue to focus while subject is in motion.  During continuous shooting, the camera automatically shoots with Continuous AF starting from the second shot.

AF Continuous AF:  Continues to focus while the shutter button is held halfway down. Use this when subject is in motion.

DMF:  Allows you to use a combination of manual focus and autofocus.

MF:  Allows focus to be adjusted manually.

Tip:  Remember you can press the Fn button to quickly change one of these modes if your shooting needs change.

Focus Area

How to:
Press the Fn button, choose Focus Area.  Select desired setting.

Focus area settings let you choose the area within the frame to focus on.  The basic choice is Wide, but you can choose Zone, Centre or Flexible Spot, as preferred.

Wide:  Focuses automatically on a subject within all ranges of the image.  One or more green frames display around the area that is in focus.

Zone:  Select a zone on the monitor on which to focus.  Choose from 9 zones to select from, the camera will focus on the chosen zone.

Centre:  Focuses automatically on a subject in the centre of the screen.

Flexible Spot (S/M/L): Lets you move an AF range (select S/M/L size) to a desired point on the screen.  It will allow you to focus on a very small subject within a limited area.

Tip:  Remember you can press the Fn button to quickly change one of these modes if your shooting needs change.

Lock-on AF

How to:
Press Menu, call up Lock-on setting, select ON.

Lock-on AF tracks the subject and maintains focus on the chosen subject. Position the target frame over the subject, and press the central button of the control wheel to start tracking your subject.

Tip:  There is a convenient Lock-on AF activation setting when camera is in AF-C mode once shutter button is pressed halfway.

Eye AF

How to:
Press Menu, Custom Key Settings.  Choose a desired button (AEL button) and assign Eye AF to it.

Eye AF is a function to precisely focus on a subject’s eye.  Once focus is achieved, a green rectangular frame appears over the eye that is in focus.

Eye AF is only available when it is assigned to one of the assignable buttons.

Smile/Face Detect

How to:
Press Menu, call up Smile/Face Detect. Select desired option.

Face detection function detects subjects faces, adjusts focus, exposure, and flash settings and performs the processing automatically.

Once the camera detects a face, (it can detect up to 8 faces at a time) a grey face detection frame appears.

When camera determines that autofocus is enabled, the face detection frame turns white.  Depress the shutter button halfway, the frame turns green and activates the shoot.

Drive Mode

How to:
Press the left side of the control wheel and choose the desired setting.

Allows you to choose among various drive-mode options such as Continuous Shooting and Self-timer shooting.

Single Shooting:  Shoots one still image.  Mainly used when shooting a stationary subject.

Continuous Shooting:  Shoots images continuously while you press and hold down the shutter button.  Enables maximum 11 fps continuous shooting in Hi setting.  Hi, Mid or Lo settings are available.

Self-timer:  Shoots an image after 2 or 10 seconds.

Self-timer Continuous:  Shoots 3 or 5 images continuously after 10 seconds.

Single Bracket:  Shoots a specified number of images, one by one, each with a different degree of exposure.

Continuous Bracket:  Shoots images, each with a different degree of brightness, while you hold the shutter down.

White Balance Bracket:  Shoots 3 images, each with different colour tones, according to selected settings for white balance, colour and colour filter.

DRO Bracket:  Shoots 3 images, each with a different degree of D-Range Optimiser.

AF Track Duration (Movies)

How to:
Press Menu, call up AF Track Duration.  Choose desired setting.

Choose between two degrees of duration for AF tracking when recording a movie.

With the High setting the AF quickly focuses and tracks a subject in close proximity. Normal setting enhances stability of tracking the subject in situations where objects cross in between the subject and camera.

AF Drive Speed (Movies)

How to:
Press Menu, call up AF Drive Speed.  Choose desired setting.

Select focusing speed when using autofocus in movie mode.

Fast:  Sets the AF drive speed to fast.  This mode is suitable for shooting active scenes, such as sport.

Normal:  Sets the AF drive speed to normal.

Slow:  Sets the AF drive speed to slow.  The focus switches smoothly when the subject of focus changes.  This mode is useful for shooting impressive movies.

Keep challenging yourself

Test out all the essential settings in our guide for Sony A6000.  You will be surprised at how simple they are to master and how much your photography will improve with more practice.

Check out my SmugMug Photo Gallery for my photos taken with the Sony a6000.

Inspired to try these essential settings?  Why not pin this for later?

a6000 settings guide

Don’t have a Sony a6000 yet?  Check out these camera options.

The Sony A6000 is by far my favourite camera to date and I look forward expanding my skills as I continue to push my own boundaries.  If you have a few favourite settings for your Sony a6000, I’d love to add them to my list.