Do you need a simple camera guide without all the techno jargon?
Beginners guide to shooting awesome photos with a Sony A6000. Are you a budding photographer and want to take photos that you can be proud of? Then this is the guide for you!
I wanted to know exactly what I could do with this camera with my limited technical knowledge and how I could grow and learn my photography skills as I progressed.
With all the recent excitement about mirrorless cameras I must admit I was slow to take up the opportunity.
What is a mirrorless camera, you ask? In summary, it’s a relatively new breed of camera that offers DSLR image quality but in a lighter, more portable package.
The Sony A6000 was recommended to me some time ago but it wasn’t until I experienced a wrist injury that I began to consider the recommendation seriously.
What’s Important to me in a Camera
I’m not a professional photographer but I like my photos to look as sharp and exceptional as possible.
Capacity – I tend to choose cameras that have a little more capacity than a ‘point and shoot’ camera but not so complex that by the time you have the target in focus, the moment is lost.
Flexibility – I love a long lens so that I can sneak up on birds and other wildlife in the distance without disturbing them – but again, not so long that it’s difficult to manage.
Adaptable – I love a lens that is adaptable enough to take a clear shot of a beautiful flower and then pan to the distance to take a landscape shot.
Low light Capabilities – I love a stunning sunrise or sunset and I especially love silhouettes which play on the light. Check out my other photos taken at Fogg Dam in Darwin, Australia.
Lightweight – I like to carry my camera with me, so finding a camera light enough and one that was small enough to fit in my handbag or small backpack was one of key the factors of my decision.
This review is not like other camera review sites that talk about everything technical.
Written with photographic newbies in mind, this guide will focus on the key elements of taking great photos with the Sony A6000.
If you’re confident with the manual settings using ISO & aperture, go right ahead and enjoy the flexibility of this very capable little camera.
But if you’re looking to learn new skills and techniques, don’t be afraid of using the auto intelligent settings. Using these settings will have you taking spectacular shots that you can review to learn and develop your understanding of the camera’s capability whilst you grow your own skills.Learn new skills and techniques .. Don't be afraid of using the auto settings while you learn about your camera Click To Tweet
All these photos are mine. All were taken on my Sony A6000.
Bear in mind these photos have been taken whilst learning to use the Sony A6000.
Some have lighting flaws, some used the wrong lens for the shot and some were just pure luck.
Watch the techno-guru reviews from YouTube to expand your knowledge once you get some self-confidence.
Sony A6000 Techno Stuff
All the techno stuff I consider important to know:
- 24 megapixels means that the quality of your photos will allow them to print beautifully.
- 11 frames per second means that I can take multiple shots ‘rapid fire’ to get capture a moving target.
- Choose from Manual or Auto modes – take manual control of every photo you take or select from Superior Auto or Intelligent Auto settings for fail safe shooting to reduce blurring or noise while you’re learning about your new camera.
- Ultra-fast auto-focus – the ability to quickly adjust it’s focus automatically should your subject move.
- Super easy-to-use video.
- Capacity to shoot in JPEG making it easy to hare in social media and RAW if you wish to edit or enhance the photos.
- Low light capabilities, making it perfect for sunrise & sunset photography.
- WiFi & NFC connectivity – simple uploading for the non-nerds among us.
Why I love the Sony A6000
Small, lightweight, fast and high-powered.
- It’s small (it fits in my handbag)
- It’s lightweight
- It’s fast (11 frames per second)
- high-powered (24 megapixels)
- It has plenty of flexibility with the good selection of lenses available if you want them.
It uses the E-mount lenses which Sony has been making for many years. I use the following 2 lenses.
- Standard kit lens 3.5-5.6/16-50
- Sony Zoom lens 4/18 – 105
The adjusting focus is quick and sharp. I like to use the Sony Spot focus and the Zebra focus so I can quickly see where my camera is focused. Find the settings for these in the menu. I end up with very few blurry shots!
Sony’s Electronic Viewfinder
Sony’s Electronic Viewfinder is clear and sharp. Check your horizon is aligned, check the histogram, focus-peaking, and more within the viewfinder. Review photos though the viewfinder instead of the back of the camera after you’ve taken them … often when it’s bright outside it’s impossible to see on the back screen.
Sony’s Presets for Perfect Photos
Discover how to take amazing photos from the very first day in the field. Opt for one of Sony’s presets. They’re a great option to test out what your camera can do!
- Superior Auto – Shoots automatically while reducing blurring and noise.
- Intelligent Auto – Automatically identifies the scene’s characteristics and shoots the photo.
- Scene Selection – Selects a mode suitable for the subject you want to capture and the environment.
- Sweep Panorama – Creates a panoramic image while you move the camera left/right or up/down at a fixed speed.
- Movie Options – Mode for shooting movies. You can check the angle of the view before shooting.
- Manual Exposure – Do it yourself, select your aperture and shutter speed.
Taken at the Bali Safari & Marine Park in November 2017 from a distance of approximately 5 metres from the Orangutan. Utilising a spot focus to make sure I had the right depth of field to retain the clarity.
At Litchfield National Park I photographed this magnificent spider in his web on one of the walks behind Florence Falls. If you look carefully, you will see the web as the leaves blur into the background. I will explore more of this type of photography.
The camera was fantastic for taking quick snaps of people posing with the monkey’s at the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. The capacity of the A6000 to re-focus quickly was amazing. The monkey’s didn’t sit still for long.
We captured this Javanese Leopard sheltering in a hollow tree as we were exiting the Bali Safari Park. It was bucketing down rain and quite gloomy out and despite no artificial light, this photo shows clarity and the colours of this big cat. One of my favourite photos of our last trip to Bali.
Watch these YouTube videos for the nitty gritty when you want to expand your Sony A6000 knowledge.
- Tony & Chelsea Northrup – Sony A6000 Overview Tutorial
- That1CameraGuy – Full Manual Control Photography Tutorial
- Maartin Heilbron – Sony A6000 Best Camera Settings
As they say … Just do it!
Friends asking me about my camera equipment has inspired me to write this post. I’m not an expert but I am very keen to learn about new technology and I’ve discovered trial & error and YouTube are the best resources to be found.
The Sony A6000 isn’t an expensive camera and I have found it perfect for my needs. Most of my photos for my blog taken in the later half of 2017 have been taken with the Sony A6000 and I’ve been pleased (and often surprised) with the results of many of them.
If you’re considering accessories for your camera – check out our post 6 Essential Accessories for you new Camera.
Just get out there and have a go.
Experiment with your photos, try different settings and take every opportunity to learn about the camera. I’d love to hear about your progress … in fact, lets learn together!
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