Author Topic: Sony A77 - tips and tricks  (Read 24160 times)

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Offline Stef.

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Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« on: April 17, 2012, 07:18:21 PM »
Dear All,

This A77 thread will hopefully become a wealth of information about settings that help you to use your A77 more efficiently.

Here is my suggestion how we should do this:

1. Please do NOT reply or discuss anything in this thread that is not a new tip. We want to keep it as clean as possible and the last thing we need is having to go though numerous "thank yous" before finding the next tip. Any discussions, start a new thread.
2. Write at the top of your tip in bold letters what your tip will be about. This makes searching easier.

Thanks!

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Offline Stef.

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 07:22:18 PM »
A77 - use with studio lights

If you use the A77 in a studio with studio lights you will very quickly discover that you can not see anything through the viewfinder.

Here is what you need to do:

Go into your menu settings > * #2, at the bottom: set "Live View Display" to off and voila it works.

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Offline Stef.

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 07:42:09 PM »
Handheld Twilight versus Multi Frame Noise Reduction

Both settings ONLY work in JPEG mode!!!

You can use either for shooting without a tripod (!) in low light situations. The camera will combine a couple of images to a low noise (!) final one.

Get immediately used to using "Multi Frame Noise Reduction" instead of "Handheld Twilight". If you use "Multi Frame Noise Reduction" you can change all (!) your settings as desired. In handheld twilight mode the camera will choose most of your settings automatically, such as aperture, speed, ISO and so on. Beware: if you choose "handheld twilight mode the camera will unfortunately automatically switch from jpeg quality "extra fine" to "fine". Not so for Multi Frame Noise Reduction

Here is what you need to do: go to ISO > first click "auto" > set your max and min ISO > move one up in your menu to "ISO Auto" > you wil be now in multi frame noise reduction mode.

While pressing the shutter, hold the camera as still as possible as it will fire a couple of shots that then will be combined to your final image. This final image will be a very low noise image and frankly it does work superbly well, even for subjects that move slightly!

A couple of samples:












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« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 07:46:31 PM by Stef. »
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Offline sum_of_all_parts

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 03:21:27 PM »
A great discussion series Stef.

Here is my two cents worth. If you want to see your histogram when you are shooting Aperture or Shutter Priority mode while over riding automatic exposure, assign one of your control dials to Exposure compensation. This way, you will have instant access for over riding your exposure and, if you have the histogram displayed in your viewfinder or the rear LCD monitor you can watch its shape change as you go over or under exposure. If you use the default settings that come with your camera and simply press the compensation button on the top of the camera, you can't see the histogram change as you change exposure.

Brian Matsumoto

Offline FarmerDave

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2012, 06:24:46 PM »
PRESS CENTER OF MULTI SELECTOR FOR CENTER SPOT FOCUS

This might be old trick for long time Sony users but since I always had the A900 with center spot focus I totally forgot about this. It is more useful for A77 anyways with multi zone focusing.
Now you can select one of the side focus points but pressing the center of the joystick would home in on the center spot.

Offline Clive

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 03:14:30 PM »
As recommended by Gary Friedman (Firmware Version 1.07)
1) Using Release Priority, you can tell the camera to take the picture RIGHT NOW, rather than waiting until the camera thinks the subject is in focus. MENU > [camera] 3 > Priority setup > Release.

When shooting fast moving subjects this can be important. Without this setting, if the camera thinks the subject is not in focus it will not take a photo. With the camera set this way it will continue shooting anyway and the outcome is usually satisfactory.

2) Set the AF/MF button to "control toggle." MENU > *3 > AF/MF Button. Select "AF/MF Control Toggle.

From Friedman: "Press it (the AF/MF button) once to switch to manual focus, then press it again to switch back to autofocus. (The other related option, “AF/MF Control Hold”, means that button will change state only for as long as you hold the button down with your thumb...)"

This is excellent when using focus peaking.

3) Get Gary Friedman's book.

 




 
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 09:45:37 PM by AScot »
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Offline FarmerDave

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 08:01:03 PM »
SHOOT LONG VIDEOS WITH LCD DEPLOYED

Depending on the ambient temperature, it has been shown the A77 runs much cooler while shooting long videos with the LCD off its parked position. I guess it makes sense.

Offline shamb

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2012, 01:39:50 PM »
Configuring the A77 for professional looking camera work, plus workflow.
The default A77 video focusing mode (constant focusing) is useless for large scenes because it is constantly focusing, has a slight delay before it refocuses, and you can’t control the focus subject easily.

DSLR film shooters tend to use manual control. Here’s their workflow
  • They have a DSLR rig with a large monitor so they can see focus visually.
  • The rig is weighted to steady the camera
  • They place masking tape on the lens focusing ring then rehearse the shot, making pen marks on the tape for the focus points (‘focus marks’). Then, for the actual shot, they manually focus straight to each subject by using the focus marks.

With the A77, you don’t need all this kit and rehearsing: you can automate everything (once you realise the AF/MF toggle also works for video)  with just the camera itself:
  • Instead of the monitor, use focus peaking (Settings 2 > Peaking level > high).
  • Instead of  a steadycam rig, turn on steadyshot (Camera 2 > Steadyshot > On). Obviously, steadyshot only fixes slight handshake vibration: you cant run with the camera like you can with a real steadycam!

For focus marks, do the following:
Change the AF/MF button to AF/MF Toggle (Settings 4 > AF/MF Button > AF/MF Control Toggle).
  • When you start recording the scene, the camera will focus to the first subject (this corresponds to your first focus mark). Press the AF/MF toggle. This drops you out of auto focus and into manual focus with peaking. You can now see what is in focus without needing to look at a large monitor.
  • To move to a second ‘focus mark’ , simply move to the new subject and press the AF/MF button: the camera will go into auto focus and *immediately* refocus. Then, *immediately* drop back into MF by pressing AF/MF again. With practive, you can perform this step in less than a second
  • If you want to do anything specialised (e.g. a focus fade), simply drop into manual focus and take direct control of the lens.

The results you can get with technique 3 are simply amazing: it looks like you have being shooting video for years, and is the whole point of that translucent mirror... something that all the Canon/Nikon indie DSLR shooters just don’t seem to figure out in their A77 for video reviews ;)

PS - yes this is almost Clive's tip rehashed, but I think its worth reiterating how very useful the technique is in video workflows, where focus changes are an important part of the final composition!

PPS - It would probably be better to start shooting video in manual and then use AF/Manual control hold to AF, but the camera doesnt allow that for some reason.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2012, 07:17:54 PM by shamb »

Offline shamb

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2012, 02:03:38 PM »
Cleaner images in low light
If you are shooting in low light and cannot use a flash, simply turn on steady shot and add a slight Exposure comp. Exposure compensation is better than increasing ISO because the former increases light to the sensor (so noise stays the same, signal goes up, better s/n) whereas the latter amplifies available signal (you add amplifier noise as well as amplify both the signal AND noise thus increasing overall noise). The steadyshot mitigates against handshake due to the slower shutter speed.

If you are shooting in low light and can use flash (or are shooting fast moving subjects – kids at a party -and need a faster shutter), use the popup flash, setting the Flash compensation at -3EV to -2EV, with auto ISO (ignore the steadyshot warning). In most conditions, (subject is more than about 2m away) this gives you the same light composition (as -3 to -2EV is barely noticeable unless it’s getting reflected on glass, and won't overpower existing shade and tone), but the camera will choose an ISO around 100-600, rather than 1600 AND select a much higher shutter speed, giving you really crisp images. In fact, I *always* use this technique indoors with the A77, even in bright light, and get really good results

« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 02:07:21 PM by shamb »

Offline shamb

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 03:58:35 PM »
Reduce EVF contrast for RAW/Video photographers

Creative styles (Fn button > Creative style) don’t affect the final image when you shoot RAW, but they are still displayed in the EVF if you have RAW selected. By applying a creative style with low contrast and saturation (I use standard with contrast -3, saturation -3, sharpness 0) , I remove the tendency for the EVF to blow out on highlights and over-saturate, thus giving a more true to life view, without actually changing the RAW.

Remember though, the style *will* be applied if you shoot jpg or video. I actually keep the style on all the time as I only use RAW and video, and never shoot jpg.

The reason I leave a style on for video is that low contrast and saturation is a better starting point if you will be grading the video in post: if you have too much contrast in your out-of-camera footage for example, your video starts with the dynamic range ‘crunched’ towards extremes of brightness (really dark shadows, really bright highlights) and you lose information that you cannot get back in post.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 10:51:15 PM by shamb »

Offline Stef.

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2012, 12:15:07 AM »
Use of onboard flash or external flash

I have realised just lately that it is of real advantage to put the iSO to Auto and limit the Auto range when using flash. This will automatically take care of the ambient light in the room and the flash will pretty much spot on expose for the subject. It works really well and surprisingly the camera does not automatically dial in the highest ISO possible.

Also frankly auto ISO works a treat when not using flash. Here again it usually really tried to give you the lowest ISO possible.

I like it!
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Offline Stef.

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 04:03:26 AM »
How to shoot video effectively

I had the "pleasure" to shoot a video about sturgeon fishing last weekend and wanted to share with you how I did this IMHO quite successfully:

Most of you will know that you can shoot with the A77 in AF mode. The problem with this is that you have no real influence on the settings as all will be automated.

The way to shoot with the A77 is actually in manual mode: This is what I did to make my life easier:

1. In the menu under the film setting I set my File Format to: AVCHD 60i/60p; Record Setting was at 60p 28M (PS) => this setting allows me to do slow motion if needed and also it will give me the best quality.

2. I turned the AF switch on the CAMERA (not lens) to M (manual focusing); I also set in the menu my AF/MF button (that is the button next to the AEL button) to "AF/MF Control Toggle" => this means that each time I press the AF/MF button on the back of my camera it will switch from AF to MF and if I press it again it will switch back to AF (neat isn't it?)

3. The I switched my control wheel to the movie mode and chose "Shutter Priority" and I set my speed to 1/125s (This last step is important as the shutter speed should be double the frames per second (see step 1). So if you choose 24p then it should be roughly 1/50s.

4. My ISO was set to "Auto"

5. Absolutely vital!!! Turn you sharpness down to zero, contrast to 0 and choose standard or neutral as your creative style! Why? Less moire and anti-aliasing problems!

6. Now here comes the neat part:

Before I press the record button I aim my camera at my target => press the AF/MF button on the back of my camera to switch momentarily to AF => it will lock focus on my target and th focus confirm button in your viewfinder will show you that you camera has found focus  => then I press the same button again to be back in manual focus mode and finally I press my record button.

With a bit of practice this approach works very well and it saves you to manually focus first. And before I forget: focus peaking is enabled and it will tell you where you focus on!

Hope this is helpful?

Stef.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 07:28:02 AM by Stef. »
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Offline shamb

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 08:36:58 PM »
Quick one I stumbled upon last week:

If you want to temporarily stop the camera switching from the LCD to EVF, simply flip the LCD down so that it hangs below the camera. The camera will now stop using the EVF altogether, so you cannot now switch to EVF by accident if you are like me and use the LCD as a video monitor... but often fumble for the controls and inadvertently switch to EVF :)

Offline francis

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 10:23:35 AM »
Re: cleaner images in low
 I hv tried yr suggested method using Auto iso set min iso100 & max iso600 but the A77 jumped to iso800 max instead. I hvn't got a clue why it chose that iso.

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 02:27:56 AM »
How to shoot video effectively

I had the "pleasure" to shoot a video about sturgeon fishing last weekend and wanted to share with you how I did this IMHO quite successfully:

Most of you will know that you can shoot with the A77 in AF mode. The problem with this is that you have no real influence on the settings as all will be automated.

The way to shoot with the A77 is actually in manual mode: This is what I did to make my life easier:

1. In the menu under the film setting I set my File Format to: AVCHD 60i/60p; Record Setting was at 60p 28M (PS) => this setting allows me to do slow motion if needed and also it will give me the best quality.

2. I turned the AF switch on the CAMERA (not lens) to M (manual focusing); I also set in the menu my AF/MF button (that is the button next to the AEL button) to "AF/MF Control Toggle" => this means that each time I press the AF/MF button on the back of my camera it will switch from AF to MF and if I press it again it will switch back to AF (neat isn't it?)

3. The I switched my control wheel to the movie mode and chose "Shutter Priority" and I set my speed to 1/125s (This last step is important as the shutter speed should be double the frames per second (see step 1). So if you choose 24p then it should be roughly 1/50s.

4. My ISO was set to "Auto"

5. Absolutely vital!!! Turn you sharpness down to zero, contrast to 0 and choose standard or neutral as your creative style! Why? Less moire and anti-aliasing problems!

6. Now here comes the neat part:

Before I press the record button I aim my camera at my target => press the AF/MF button on the back of my camera to switch momentarily to AF => it will lock focus on my target and th focus confirm button in your viewfinder will show you that you camera has found focus  => then I press the same button again to be back in manual focus mode and finally I press my record button.

With a bit of practice this approach works very well and it saves you to manually focus first. And before I forget: focus peaking is enabled and it will tell you where you focus on!

Hope this is helpful?

Stef.

Hi Stef
I have an a65 and want to record slow motion video. I set file format and record settings as you describe with shutter speed 1/125 but no slow motion. What am I missing? Thanks
Peppy

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Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 02:27:56 AM »