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Sony DSLR, SLT, NEX, & Mirrorless Discussion => Sony Alpha SLT Camera Discussion => Topic started by: Stef. on April 17, 2012, 07:18:21 PM

Title: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Stef. 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!

Stef.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Stef. 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.

Stef.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Stef. 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:
(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7112/6926529976_f2c2ff1311_z.jpg)

(http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7267/6884497250_bfc2c68c0a_z.jpg)

(http://g4.img-dpreview.com/D27D06B767E7459FB4A4C33D35C9D42A.jpg)

(http://g4.img-dpreview.com/1B65FA4C2B724D7F88E60D522C78ACAE.jpg)

(http://g1.img-dpreview.com/CF1ACF235DD64ABE8D8894377AB3D144.jpg)

(http://g2.img-dpreview.com/0E8908AD5155483AAE52482EB84F5242.jpg)

Stef.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: sum_of_all_parts 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
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: FarmerDave 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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Clive 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.

 




 
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: FarmerDave 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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb 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

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:

For focus marks, do the following:
Change the AF/MF button to AF/MF Toggle (Settings 4 > AF/MF Button > AF/MF Control Toggle).

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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb 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

Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb 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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Stef. 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!
Stef.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Stef. 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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb 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 :)
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: francis 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.
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: Peppy 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
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb on February 03, 2014, 12:31:47 AM
Using Dynamic Range Optimization in Video

The A77 (and probably other video enabled models) allow you to use DRO in video (Fn > DRO/Auto HDR > Set to Lv1-5 or AUTO). Setting DRO to on gives you brighter shadows, and this prevents the one bad thing with the AVCHD codec (it reduces information in shadows, causing 'macro blocking' if you try to expose the footage up in post).

Don't use DRO in video if you are at a high ISO though: the brightening causes noise in the uplifted shadows, casuing them to appear to 'shimmer' with respect to the mid and high tones. I turn it off above ISO400.

Note that using DRO will increase video quality even though DRO of itself does not increase shadow detail: the hack is that the AVCHD encoder is fooled into thinking the shadows are actually closer to mid-tones (and therefore the encoding keeps more information in the shadows, and this allows you to post process the footage more without it macro blocking in the low tones).
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb on February 03, 2014, 12:39:15 AM
Using apertures wider than f3.5 in video

The Sony Alpha limits you to F3.5 when you select autofocus in video. Get around this by autofocusing first, then switching into manual (AF/MF button). You can now use a wide aperture.

This works well in practice because if you are shooting below f3.5, the subject will not be moving much (or shouldn't be, given that your DOF is now very thin!). Allows me to get beautiful DOF video footage with the Minolta f1.4 and the Sony APS-C 50/f1.8!

One thing to avoid: don't look at some of the other advice out there that tells you to jam the aperture lever (bottom of lens) to wide open... given the hack above, you just don't have to risk doing this!
Title: Re: Sony A77 - tips and tricks
Post by: shamb on February 04, 2014, 12:55:43 AM
@Peppy

You have to conform the 60p/60i to 25p/25i when you ingest the footage into your application and/or you have to put the footage on a timeline configured to play at 25fps.

If you do this, your footage will play at 25fps rather than 60fps (i.e. about half speed with no loss of smoothness). Google 'conform footage <your editing application>' to see how to do this if you are unsure.

If you later want to advance to ultra slow footage (e.g. x10 slower), you have to use a plugin that creates in-between frames from your existing frames ('synthetic-tweening'). I use twixtor for this, and to use it successfully with the A765/77, shoot at 50p/60p with as high a shutter as possible (over 1/1000s, so you need very good light). Again, Google is your friend.

Video can be very tricky when you first come to it from stills, because frame rate is often an alien concept (with all sorts of little nuances that are easy to miss!). Anyway, hope that helps.