Sony Alpha a6400 Camera Settings to Change

Top 7 Settings to Change on the Sony a6400

In Photography by Jerad HillLeave a Comment

The Sony a6400 is here and ready for some testing but first I have some settings I need to change to make the camera more fluid to use. Over the years I have found on just about every camera I use, there are settings I want to customize. That is why there are there, to customize. Each of us has a different workflow when taking photos and like our cameras to respond a certain way. Though each camera brings new features, it is best to find what works well for you and set your camera up accordingly. I produce videos like these to help you learn more about your camera and it’s functionality.

In this video, I share my Top 7 Settings I Changed on my Sony a6400. Enjoy!

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Let’s Get Started!

Hey, what’s up? It’s Jerad with Ditch Auto, and I’m here with the Sony a6400. I’m gonna talk to you today about the top settings that I change first in this camera. Now, this is a popular video series that I do whenever I get a new camera. There are some settings that I like to customize. There are some things that I found that make these cameras a little bit easier to use. What’s funny is that some of these settings that I have changed in the past actually are now just the basic way that the camera operates now, which I was excited about because there are less settings I have to change, the better. There are still seven things that I change.

Set the Region, Date & Time

First of all, before I jump into those settings, there are a couple of things that you really need to do when you first get your camera. Even though I know you’re excited to jump in and start shooting and taking pictures, the first thing that you need to do, and this is not one of the seven, but you need to set that date and time. The camera is gonna prompt you to do that right when you turn it on for the very first time, so I recommend that you go and set that date and time.

Set It to Manual Mode!

All right, so the first thing that I do is set my camera, of course, to manual mode. We’ve got our manual mode right there. Obviously, Ditch Auto is all about shooting in manual and getting the most out of your camera. You’re gonna want to make sure to put your camera in manual mode, and if you don’t quite yet understand what manual mode is, we have our free Ditch Auto Course which will help you understand manual mode and how to shoot in manual mode. Using auto, of course, is getting better and better these days, but it’s still no match for shooting in manual mode where you manually control the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO of your camera so that you can get the best possible image possible out of the device and get the best quality images. Definitely check out our free course. It’s linked in the description below.

1. RAW + JPEG Capture Mode

The first thing I do is put my camera in RAW + JPEG mode. Now, the reason I do this is because I like having the JPEG’s, even though the thing that I’m going to manipulate the most is the raw images and the raw images have much more data. It’s much better image to start with because of all the extra data you can white balance, you can change the exposure, you can recover dark areas or highlight areas much better than a JPEG.

I still like having the JPEG’s because when it comes to transferring images to my smart phone, the Sony Play Memories App that you use on your phone to transfer images from your camera to your phone only does JPEG’s, it doesn’t transfer a RAW file. If you are only shooting RAW, then the app has to actually, or at the camera itself has to do that conversion inside. I would rather just have the images ready to go, so I don’t have to wait while it thinks. It’s not a big process, but it’s certainly much faster to have those JPEG’s and it’s also if you’re wanting to do something quickly with those JPEG’s, it’s much easier to copy JPEG’s off of a card, then it is to copy the RAW files. I set to RAW plus JPEG just for that simple fact.

2. Change Video Mode to XAVC S 4K

The second thing that I do, because I do a lot of video shooting, is I go and change the video format of the camera. We go right into that video; the second tab there, I can go down into file format and by default it goes to XAVCSHD, which is HD format. I like to shoot in 4K, so I switch it to 4K. This camera is a monster at 4K, absolutely fantastic. The only reason that you’re going to want to shoot in HD is, of course, if you want that smaller video size, file size, maybe you’re not ready for HD yet, but you’re also going to get those super slow-mo options, like the 120P for slow motion, you’re not gonna get that if you shoot HD. Of course, even 60P, you’re not gonna get that if you shoot in 4K, I mean. Shooting in 4K, we’re going to lose a little bit of those options. You can see here, we only have 30P and 24P, but that’s okay. I would rather be shooting there.

Then of course, you can go down into AVCHD and there are very few options there, as well. It’s kind of a format that I don’t really recommend. Sony’s format is fantastic. Then I also set it to [inaudible 00:04:20], just to get the most frames out of it that I possibly can. I just prefer to get the use of the full sensor because what this camera is, is capturing at a full sensor and down sampling to 4K and I would rather just have the least amount of processing done on my image as possible.

3. Focus Mode to AFA or AFS

All right. The next setting that I change is my auto focus mode. Usually this is situational, but I’m talking about it because I think it’s pretty important. If you go and tap your function button, and then just go over one, to focus mode, the camera, by default is gonna be set to AFA, where there’s also AFS; as single shot mode. I will switch back and forth between those modes depending on what I’m shooting.

If I want auto focus to be automatic and continuous or more continuous, then I will put it in AFA and as long as I’m holding the shutter button down a little bit, it’s going to be searching and looking for focus. If you’re taking a picture of something that’s pretty stationary, you don’t want the camera doing any crazy focusing or any of it’s kind of voodoo magic that this camera is known for. You can go into AFS Single Shot Mode and the thing with the single shot is that when you press down the shutter, it’s going to grab focus and stay there and it’s preparing to take one photo, as opposed to the AFA mode, which is right below it, is automatic, it’s putting the camera kind of in an automatic focus mode.

It also has auto focus continuous mode, which is really best for video. I’ve put it in auto focus continuous mode and a lot of times what that does is the camera ends up really searching and spending a lot of time looking around. It’s going to use your battery faster and it’s also going to make your camera take a little bit longer to grab actual focus in my experiences, so I typically just use AFC when I’m shooting video. AFC as gotten better and if you put it in that mode and point at something, it’s not as bad. But the continuous mode means that the camera is continuously focusing without you pushing the button. Without you pushing the shutter button on the top of the camera, the camera is going to be trying to focus continuously and that also can drain your battery. That’s probably my biggest concern there is just that. I will leave that in AFA mode.

4. Set Focus Area to Flex Spot

The next thing I do is change the way that the camera looks at a subject that I’m trying to focus on. Most of the time I’m taking pictures of people or I want a specific area of focus. Now, of course, this camera has gotten much better at taking pictures of people because it has that eye detection, auto focus, which is amazing and fantastic. But what if you’re taking a picture of a group of people and you want to be able to choose the person that you’re going to be focusing on or you want to select something that’s not a face, such as a building or a point of interest.

Now, because I’m often doing that and I want that flexibility a little bit more than just readily having the entire screen available to focus on whatever the camera sees fit, I go into the function button here, go one over from our last focus mode to focus area and I set focus area to flexible spot and then what that does is, you can see it there, it gives me a flexible spot that I can tap on and move all around and essentially what it’s doing is, it’s saying whatever’s inside that box is what it’s gonna focus on. That’s good for me because I don’t want the entire screen where the camera is thinking, or the entire sensor where the camera is thinking, well maybe it’s that thing up there in the top hand corner or maybe there is a person in the background, but that’s not what you want to focus on.

You want to focus on the scene, but there’s actual people in the background. The camera is gonna have a hard time choosing something that’s not a person because of that feature. When I do this I’m forcing it to only look in the area that I am wanting and that’s very quick to do that because most of the time I am using this smaller camera, not with the viewfinder, but with the back screen on, or even then, if I’m using the viewfinder, I could just really easily move that around. Now, when you are using the back screen, you could just simply tap around, but if you’re using the viewfinder, it makes it a little trickier ’cause you’re looking through the camera and of course, you can tap the screen and drag your finger around, even while you’re looking through the viewfinder, which is just magical, absolutely fantastic. But because your face is so close up to everything, it’s kind of hard to get your thumb in there, while your eye is up against the viewfinder, so that gets a little tricky.

5. Map Center Button to Focus Standard

What I do, is I map this button to actually allow me to select and then I can move and toggle around that position. Now, this used to be the only way to do this on older cameras before the touchscreen came into … actually, before the A6500, you had to do this with this D-Pad or whatever you want to call it, over on the side, moving it around.

By default, there is no way to actually set that up. If you go into menu and then we go up and toggle over to custom keys, so we’re gonna go down here, almost to the last page, go to custom key and you can see here, it shows a little graphical representation of what button we’re looking at and you can see here, the rear center button on the second page, if we change that to focus standard, which is under AF1 on the fourth page, then that is going to give us that functionality to select, move around and then hit the button again to confirm that position of where we want that focus point to be. Of course, we can just do that with the screen, which is what I do most of the time, but when I have the camera up against my face and I’m trying it right now, my nose is in the way and I can’t get the focus beyond where it is right now. If you can see right here, I’m losing the last third of the whole sensor because I can’t get past my nose.

Sometimes it’s easier just to actually tap this button, move it around, tap it again, if you’ve ever played video games before you’re going to be really quick at this and it’s probably the best way to move your focus point around. Of course, if this sounds like a little too much for you, you can definitely stick with using some of the other focus areas, like what it comes standard to, which is focus area wide. It’s a great place to get started.

6. Turn off Audio Signals

The sixth thing that I do is turn off audio signals. I hate it when you press down the shutter button and it beeps. I don’t necessarily need that. I can see with my own eye that the camera, as in fact done that and so what I need to do is just go one more page over to, we’re under the second camera on the ninth panel here and go down and turn audio signals off. By default it does this: it makes those beeps. What you can see here is that I’m just simply changing this to off and now when I go and attempt to pull focus, it doesn’t beep. I’m getting those green little blinkies that are showing me exactly where the focus area is, so I don’t need that audio signal. To me, it’s kind of obnoxious. If you’re into street photography or trying to take pictures of your kids and you don’t want them to know that you’re taking pictures, then turning off audio signals is gonna help you out.

7. Add a Copyright

The seventh thing that I do, because I am a professional photographer is set a copyright on my images. If you go to setup, which is the little briefcase and then toggle over to the fifth panel, you can go down to copyright info and you can go to set photographer and then put in your name and then also set copyright, which you would want to set to All Rights Reserved.

Now, even if you’re not a professional photographer, you’re going to want to do this because if you put your photos on the web, this data is actually written into the file and so if you’re posting photos of your kid or something like that or your family and they end up on somebody’s blog or somewhere where they’re not supposed to be, your copyright information is written in there, so a person using a photo should know well enough and most people don’t, but they should know well enough to look and see whether the photo is available for free use or not. If it’s not available for free use, because it has a copyright on it, then it’s much easier for you to take legal action against them if they fail to take your photo down when you request.

I always recommend doing that even if you’re not a professional photographer. Set the photographer, set the copyright and then also go and turn that on and make sure that, that is getting written to every single photo that you post on social media or to the web or on your blog or whatnot.

Bonus! Format Your Cards In Camera

All right, so the last tip here, this is a bonus one. That is to always format your card within the camera. You’re going to want to make sure that there is nothing on the card that you’re wanting to keep before you do that and I recommend formatting the card in the camera as opposed to formatting it on your computer because the file format and everything, the exact way that the camera formats a card, is gonna be the best option for you to prevent having any issues with files writing to that card. I absolutely never format a card on a computer, I always format it in the computer, even if I’m going from a Sony to a Cannon or to a Nikon or whatever, I always format within, so I just simply go and format the card and start out with a freshly formatted card every time I go out and do a new shoot. Of course, like I said, making sure that, that card was backed up onto my computer or something like that.

One of the things that I do, as you can see, this is my card case right here, is I actually flip a card over, upside down when the card is not ready to be formatted and that way I know whether or not a card is ready to be used again or not. It makes it very nice. I’ll link to this little Pelican case down below, it’s absolutely fantastic. I’ll also link to my favorite SD cards that I use with the A6400. I’ve never had a card failure before, knock on wood, but I definitely take care of my cards. I always format them in camera and I keep them in a safe place all the time.

That’s going to do it for this video. I hope that you enjoyed it. The A6400 is a fantastic little camera. I’m excited to have it. Make sure to check out my other A6400 video, which is the first shot video. It’s a new series that I’m starting here on Ditch Auto and I hope to have you check that out.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the Ditch Auto course is free. If you want to learn how to shoot in manual mode, it’s the course for you. Make sure to head on over and check that out. Links are in the description below.

If this article helped you out, share it with a friend and if you’re interested in any accessories or anything that I use with this camera, those links are above, right after the video. We’ll see you back here in the next one. Take care.

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