Sony A99II unofficial guide, tips and tricks
Besides the advanced customizable autofocus functions, The Sony A99 II has some more hidden features that you might want to familiarize yourself with.
I’ll start with some of my settings after a few months’ experience with the A99 M2.
Diving into the MENU system
When you switch on your camera, you’ll be asked to enter a date, time, and timezone. This setting is necessary, as all images captured will have a timestamp, making it easy to find your favorite pictures in the future.
After this is setup, press the MENU button. You’ll see a range of icons and pages.
We’ll start at page 1 of the camera Icon (camera settings)
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 1
Do you edit your pictures on your desktop? If so, set to RAW or RAW jpeg. A RAW file saves all information the camera pixels register during shooting and will make for better quality images if you want to edit in something like Adobe Lightroom.
A jpeg is a compressed image (available in FINE (larger) and STANDARD (smaller, less quality) which takes up less space on your SD card but is less suited for editing afterward. Jpeg images will also have in-camera noise reduction applied, something you might or might not want to take care of yourself later, depending on your style and preference.
RAW file size:
You can choose between either compressed or uncompressed RAW. Compressed files are smaller, but there is also a small degradation of quality, especially noticeable in long exposures and scenes with high contrast. If you notice haloing in the sky during post processing for instance, then this is an artifact of that compression.
Large, medium or small is selectable (when you set Quality to jpeg). Set it to large for optimal quality, if SD card space is an issue, you can set it to Small.
Knowing the pixel size can tell you how large you can print your images without quality degradation. There are techniques nowadays to print larger, but this information might be interesting to some.
When Aspect Ratio is set to 3:2:
- L: 42M 7952×5304 pixels
- M: 18M 5168×3448 pixels
- S: 11M 3984×2656 pixels
When Aspect Ratio is set to 16:9:
- L: 36M 7952×4472 pixels
- M: 15M 5168×2912 pixels
- S: 8.9M 3984×2240 pixels
When APS-C/Super 35mm is On:
- 3:2 L: 18M 5168×3448 pixels
- 3:2 M: 11M 3984×2656 pixels
- 3:2 S: 4.5M 2592×1728 pixels
- 16:9 L: 15M 5168×2912 pixels
- 16:9 M: 8.9M 3984×2240 pixels
- 16:9 S: 3.8M 2592×1456 pixels
You can choose 3:2 (which uses the full sensor surface) or 16:9 (crop but a more broad view). Leave as is at 3:2, you can always crop your pictures later.
This setting tells the camera what to do when you’ve attached an APS-C lens to this full-frame camera. An APS-C lens won’t cover the full surface of the sensor, or you’ll notice heavy vignetting towards the edges of the frame. When recording movies, this crop is called Super 35mm. The principle here is that you use any a part of the surface of the sensor. If you want to do this, don’t worry too much about image quality as this is a high megapixel camera leaving you with a usable 18MP in APS-C mode.
- On: Records in either APS-C-equivalent size or Super 35mm-equivalent size.
- Auto: Automatically sets the capture range depending on the lens.
- Off: Always captures 35mm full-size image sensor pictures.
(when in panorama shooting mode) Size is selectable between standard and wide. Wide means your picture will cover a larger area. Set it to standard, having to scan an even broader area when making panoramas will take some experience with the camera to do efficiently.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 2
A panorama picture (only available in jpeg) is a composite of several images stitched together. When in this mode, you’ll see an arrow that guides you in what direction and speed you should pan the camera to take the sequential images that will be stitched together. You can choose the path in this menu (either, up, down, left or right).
Long Exposure NR
Set if you want the processing engine to apply noise reduction for images captured with a long exposure time. Leave it ON as there is no way of duplicating this process in post production, except to take a black frame of the same length in the same atmospheric conditions.
High ISO NR
Here you can select the amount of noise reduction applied to images with high ISO settings (when quality is set to jpeg). As Sony has rather aggressive noise reduction, I would change it to Low. (if not, you run the risk of getting paint-like, smeared images at higher ISO values).
You can choose between Standard and Adobe (extended color range) RGB. This is only important if you shoot JPEG and not RAW. Adobe RGB would be preferable if you print many images because of the extended color range.
The Sony A99 II allows you to select whether you would like to apply various lens compensations (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion) even when shooting in RAW. I leave this ON.
MENU →Red Camera Icon → page 3
Do you want to take a single picture when you press the shutter button or multiple images? You can select this here, as well as self-timer functions and bracketing.
Bracketing is taking a series of pictures, each with different settings, useful for combining your images with various exposures for HDR effects in software afterward, to name just one example.
You can also press the dedicated drive mode button to get to these settings.
- Single Shooting: Normal shooting mode.
- Cont. Shooting: Shoots images continuously while you press and hold down the shutter button.
- Self-timer: Shoots an image using the self-timer after a designated number of seconds have elapsed since the shutter button was pressed.
- Self-timer(Cont): Shoots a designated number of images using the self-timer after a designated number of seconds have elapsed since the shutter button was pressed.
- Cont. Bracket: Shoots images while holding the shutter button down, each with different degrees of brightness.
- Single Bracket: Shoots a specified number of images, one by one, each with a different degree of brightness.
- WB bracket: Shoots a total of three images, each with different color tones according to the selected settings for white balance, color temperature, and color filter.
- DRO Bracket: Shoots a total of three images, each at a different degree of D-Range Optimizer.
You can set the self-timer in bracket shooting mode, and the shooting order for exposure bracketing and white balance bracketing.
- Selftimer during Brkt: Sets whether to use the self-timer during bracket shooting. Also sets the number of seconds until the shutter is released if using the self-timer. (OFF/2 Sec/5 Sec/10 Sec)
- Bracket order: Sets the order of exposure bracketing and white balance bracketing.
Recall (Camera Settings1/Camera Settings2)
This functionality allows you to shoot an image after recalling often-used modes or camera settings registered with the Mode Dial memory positions in advance. It is now also possible to save your camera settings to a memory card and recall them later (or on a different camera). This is done by using the ‘select Rec. media’ function inside this menu.
Memory (Camera Settings1/Camera Settings2)
This setting allows you to register up to 3 often-used modes or product settings to the product and up to 4 (M1 through M4) to the memory card. You can recall the settings using just the mode dial. You can register various functions for shooting. The items that you can register are displayed on the menu of the camera. Aperture and Shutter speed are always available. You’ll need to select your SD card first using the ‘select Rec. media’ function inside the prior menu.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 4
Here, you can select how the autofocus engine will behave when you half-press the shutter button. Novice users should set into AF-A. This functionality is partly dependent on what focus area you select (see next)
- AF-S: With a half-press of the shutter button, the camera will focus only once. Suitable for capturing stills.
- AF-A: AF Automatic intelligently switches between S and C, depending on whether the camera detects movement or not. This is the standard setting and the easiest to use.
- AF-C: The camera will continuously focus on any movement when you half-press the shutter button.
- DMF: The ILCA-99M2 focuses on your subject and allows you to fine-tune your focus area further using the manual focus ring on the lens.
- MF: No autofocus is used, and you focus manually using the focus ring on the lens.
You can see a focus indicator on screen or EVF. When it is lit, the subject is in Focus and focus is locked.
Tip: if autofocus doesn’t seem to be working, check the lens barrel to see if the AF/MF slider is set to AF. It’s also possible to assign a button for what is called ‘Focus Hold’. With Focus Hold, you can freeze your focus point when you press this button. This is often used by photographers to allow for a greater flexibility in composition.
Another important fact is that in Movie mode, only Continuous AF and MF are available.
Priority Set in AF-S:
Sets whether to release the shutter even if the subject is not in focus when Focus Mode is set to Single-shot AF, DMF or Automatic AF and the subject is still.
- AF: Prioritizes focusing. The shutter will not be released until the subject is in focus.
- Release: Prioritizes the shutter’s release. The shutter will be released even if the subject is out of focus.
Priority Set in AF-C:
Sets whether to release the shutter even if the subject is not in focus when the continuous AF is activated and the subject is in motion.
- AF: Prioritizes focusing. The shutter will not be released until the subject is in focus.
- Release: Prioritizes the shutter’s release. The shutter will be released even if the subject is out of focus.
- Balanced Emphasis: Shoots with a balanced emphasis on both focusing and shutter release.
The Sony 99 Mark 2 has an advanced autofocus system, including both on-sensor AF detection points and a separate phase detection unit. This makes it one of the fastest and most reliable AF systems in the world. You might think it is best to leave it on the wide factory setting (as this uses all AF points), but for certain scenes, it is often better to use a zone or flexible spot to get it to focus on what you want.
- Wide: Wide focus area uses all focus points on the sensor. Ideal for action scenes where there is a lot of movement going on in your frame.
- Zone: Zone allows you to select one of 9 predefined areas where autofocus will be active. These zones each cover about 25% of the screen, with a slight overlap. You can quickly change the area by pressing the multi-controller button and navigating to any of the other areas.
- Center: Focusses on whatever is centered in your images. A fail-proof way of getting the camera to focus on what you want. If you have any problems using the autofocus and are in a situation where you don’t want to miss any shots, revert to Center and just make sure you have your subject centred.
- Flexible spot: Flexible spot area selects a place anywhere on the screen where the camera should focus. (similar to Center spot, except not.. in the center) You can set it to small, medium or large. If you want to use this focus area, set it to medium or large, as the camera will struggle to find focus when setting to small (except perhaps for close-up portraits where you’d want to focus on the iris of the eye)
- Expand Flexible spot: If the camera can’t focus on a single selected point, it uses focus points around the flexible spot as a secondary priority area for focusing.
- Lock-on AF: When the shutter button is pressed and held halfway down, the camera tracks the subject within the selected autofocus area. This setting is available only when the focus mode is set to Continuous AF. Point the cursor to ‘Lock-on AF’ on the Focus Area setting screen, and then adjust the desired area to start tracking by pressing the multi-selector left/right. You can also move the tracking start area to the desired point by designating the area as a flexible spot or expand flexible spot.
Available focus areas:
- When the Hybrid Phase Detection AF system is active, the entire focus area including the focal plane phase detection AF area is available.
- When the Hybrid Phase Detection AF system is not active, dedicated phase detection AF area is available.
Tip: You can move the focus area in Flexible Spot, Expand Flexible Spot or Zone by operating the multi-selector (the little joystick).
Something not working? Check these settings before panicking:
- Focus Area is locked to Wide when the camera is set to Intelligent Auto, Lock-on AF or Eye AF.
- The focus area may not light up during continuous shooting or when the shutter button is pressed all the way down at once.
- When the mode dial is set to ‘Movie/S&Q Motion’ or during movie shooting, Lock-on AF cannot be selected as the Focus Area
- When using Smart Zoom, Clear Image Zoom or Digital Zoom, a dotted square frame may appear around the whole screen depending on the zoom scale. The camera will autofocus using the entire screen.
Selectable AF Area:
Although the Sony A99 II can focus using 399 focus points at maximum, you can also limit the available focus points manually.
- Auto: The number of focus points used for focusing are set automatically depending on the lens or shooting mode. Uses all 399 focus points at maximum.
- Only Cross-Type AF: Limits available 79 focus points at a maximum in the cross-type AF area.
Troubleshooting; The number of focus points available might be limited due to the lens you’re using.
- SAL75300, SAL1118, SAL55200, SAL1855, SAL18552, SAL55200-2, SAL30M28, SAL55300 only have 61 focus points available.
- SAL500F80: only the center focus spot is available.
Tip: I recommend that you set the camera to ‘Only Cross-Type AF’ whenWhen you want to prevent the number of focus points from changing automatically depending on the lens you attach when focusing is difficult at the surrounding points or when you want to select a focus area quickly by limiting the available focus point.
If you attach a lens that does not support Hybrid Phase Detection AF, or the AF System is set to ‘Ddc Phase AF Only’, a focus area that does not perform cross-type detection will also be used even when ‘Selectable AF Area’ is set to ‘Only Cross-Type AF’.
When the shooting mode is set to (Movie/S&Q Motion), the AF System is locked to ‘Ddc Phase AF Only’ and the number of focus points is limited to 61.
Here you can select if you want to use the Hybrid Phase Detection AF system (uses both the focal plane phase detection AF sensor and the dedicated phase detection AF sensor) or use only the dedicated phase detection AF sensor. I would normally use both.
- Auto: Uses both the focal plane phase detection AF sensor and the dedicated phase detection AF sensor depending on the lens or the shooting mode.
- Ddc Phase AF Only: Always uses only the dedicated phase detection AF sensor.
MENU →Red Camera Icon → page 5
Flexible Spot Points
When the Focus Area is set to Flexible Spot or Expand Flexible Spot, and you want to select a focus area quickly, you can limit the available number of focus points. In my view, it is best to set them to 63 points, as these also cover over 70% of the sensor and it is just easier to change your focus point quickly between 63 points than 323 focus points.
- All: Selects from 323 focus points at maximum.
- 63 Points: Uses the limited 63 focus points out of 323. Available only when the lens that supports the Hybrid Phase Detection AF is attached, and AF System is set to Auto.
- 15 Points: Uses the limited 15 points out of all the points of the dedicated phase detection AF sensor.
The AF illuminator is a little red light allowing the camera to focus more easily when the shutter button is pressed halfway. It automatically is switched off when you fully press the shutter. Leave it on except if you are using an underwater housing.
Center Lock-on AF
This is a very powerful autofocus feature. When turned ON, it allows you to track a subject. In the iAuto mode, you can access this feature (when turned ON and the A99II is set to AF) by pressing the Center button of the multi-controller. You’ll see a square on your screen, then center your desired tracking subject and the camera will continue to track it, even when it exits your frame and reappears.
AF Drive speed
You can select the autofocus speed to Fast or Slow.
Tip: You might think faster is better, but in real life, you’ll often find that Fast focusses on any slight movement and that it’s best to set it to Slow.
If you conclude that the Sony A99ii does not focus fast enough for your needs, this setting and the next are worth experimenting with!
AF track sens:
High is useful when shooting fast action scenery. The standard mode works fine in most situations, but you can also try responsive if you need faster tracking capabilities. Locked on keeps the focus on a specific subject when other things are crossing in front of the subject.
AF with shutter
Selects whether to focus automatically when you press the shutter button halfway down. Leave ON.
MENU → Camera Settings → page 6
Eye Start AF:
This configuration starts AF once the EVF sensor has detected your eye near the viewfinder. I’ve never used it personally, but some people might find this setting interesting as it can prolong battery life.
AF Rng.Ctrl Assist:
Sets whether to display or not that the subject is within the set distance during the AF range control.
AF Area Auto Clear:
Sets whether the focus area should be displayed all the time or should disappear automatically shortly after focus is achieved.
Wide AF Area Disp:
You can set whether the focus area should be displayed or not when Focus Area is set to Wide.
AF Micro Adj.:
Allows you to adjust and register autofocused positions for each lens. In general use, you do not need to adjust the autofocused position using this function. Use this function only when adjustments are needed for certain focus areas or focal lengths. You can make adjustments for both center and corner areas.
Note that the autofocus function may not be performed at a proper position when using this adjustment.
- The larger the value you select, the farther the autofocused position will be from the camera. The smaller the value you select, the closer the autofocused position will be to the camera.
- To adjust the autofocus position for the dedicated phase detection AF area, set the value for the center area.
- If the adjustment for the center area is not needed, you can skip this step.
Set the values for the corner areas if the adjustment of the autofocused positions outside of the dedicated phase detection AF are needed.
In general, the adjustment for the center area is applied to both the focal plane phase detection AF sensor and the dedicated phase detection AF sensor. The adjustments for the corner areas are applied to the focal plane phase detection AF sensor. For focal lengths between the wide end and the telephoto end, the values interpolated by the values for each end are applied.
It is recommended that you adjust the position under actual shooting conditions. To do so, set Focus Area to Flexible Spot and use a bright subject with high contrast when you adjust.
When the focal plane phase detection AF area is narrowed, such as when an APS-C size dedicated lens is attached, the adjustable area is the narrowed AF area only.
When a prime lens is attached, you cannot enter the adjustment value for the telephoto end. The adjustment value for the wide end is applied.
You cannot adjust the autofocus position for the corner areas in following situations:
- Selectable AF Area is set to Only Cross-Type AF.
- Flexible Spot Points is set to 15 Points.
When you attach a lens for which you have already registered a value, the registered value appears on the screen. [~+mn~0] appears for lenses for which a value has not yet been registered.
If [-] is displayed as the value, then a total of 30 lenses have been registered and no new lens can be registered. To register a new lens, attach a lens for which the registration can be erased, and set its value to [~+mn~0], or reset the values of all the lenses using [Clear].
The [AF Micro Adj.] supports Sony, Minolta, or Konica-Minolta lenses. If you perform [AF Micro Adj.] with lenses other than the supported lenses, the registered settings for the supported lenses may be affected. Do not perform [AF Micro Adj.] with an unsupported lens.
You cannot set [AF Micro Adj.] individually for a Sony, Minolta, and Konica-Minolta lens of the same specification.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 7
(Also available in the Quick Menu, accessed by pressing the FN button):
If you find that your image is overexposed (for instance when you are shooting at large apertures for a shallow depth-of-field in bright daylight), you can tweak the exposure compensation here in a plus or minus 5 (exact EV dependent on next step) range.
You can select at which ISO value you’d like to capture your image or change the Auto ISO range.
I have this range set between 100-3200 as this range is virtually noise free, and I don’t like the ISO performance above 3200. In a pinch, when you’re getting blurred images due to a too long shutter speed at low ISO, you can experiment with higher ISO settings. It’s better to get a sharp but noisy image than a blurred one….
Iso Auto Min SS.
This is a useful and exciting setting. If you select ISO AUTO you are in P (Program Auto) or A (Aperture Priority) mode; you can set the shutter speed at which the ISO sensitivity starts changing. The difference in shutter speed at which ISO sensitivity starts to change between [Faster], [Fast], [Standard], [Slow], and [Slower] is 1 EV.
You have three possibilities here:
- FASTER (Faster)/FAST (Fast): The ISO sensitivity will start to change at shutter speeds faster than the Standard (normal). This will help you prevent getting blurred images when shooting action or sports. This at the cost of raising the ISO and noise in your images. Remember this is linked to your Auto ISO settings, so it won’t go any higher than your upper limit, even if the camera is capable of doing so.
- STD (Standard): The camera automatically sets the shutter speed based on the focal length of the lens.
- SLOW (Slow)/SLOWER (Slower): The ISO sensitivity will start to change at shutter speeds slower than the Standard setting. This enables you to shoot images with less noise. Never to be used if you want to shoot action, but can be useful if you are a landscape or architecture photographer who likes to walk around without a tripod yet takes some time to frame and shoot images carefully.
- 1/8000 ― 30″: The ISO sensitivity starts to change at the shutter speed you have set.
Metering mode refers to the way the camera reads the light and sets the exposure.
In multi, it considers the whole frame and sets exposure according to internal algorithms programmed in camera.
In spot or center, the camera only considers what is in that spot or the center (per example, if your subject is completely black, the camera will try to compensate by overexposing the image).
- Multi: Measures light on each area after dividing the total area into multiple areas and determines the proper exposure of the entire screen (Multi-pattern metering).
- Center: Measures the average brightness of the entire screen, while emphasizing the central area of the screen (Center-weighted metering).
- Spot: Measures only the central area (Spot metering). This mode is suitable for measuring light on a specified part of the entire screen. The size of the metering circle can be selected from [Spot: Standard] and [Spot: Large]. The position of the metering circle depends the setting for [Spot Metering Point].
- Entire Screen Avg.: Measures the average brightness of the entire screen. The exposure will be stable even if the composition or the position of the subject changes.
- Highlight: Measures the brightness while emphasizing the highlighted area on the screen. This mode is suitable for shooting the subject while avoiding overexposure.
Tip: When [Spot] is selected and [Focus Area] is set to either [Flexible Spot] or [Expand Flexible Spot] while [Spot Metering Point] is set to [Focus Point Link], the spot metering point can be coordinated with the focus area.
Spot Metering Point
Sets whether to coordinate the spot metering position with the focus area when Focus Area is set to Flexible Spot or Expand Flexible Spot.
- Center: The spot metering position does not coordinate with the focus area, but always meters brightness at the center.
- Focus Point Link: The spot metering position coordinates with the focus area.
You can set the setting range for the shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation values either .3 or .5 EV steps.
MENU →Red Camera Icon → page 8
AEL w shutter
Sets whether to fix the exposure when you press the shutter button halfway down. Select Off to adjust the focus and the exposure separately.
- Auto (default setting): Fixes the exposure after adjusting the focus automatically when you press the shutter button halfway down when Focus Mode is set to Single-shot AF.
- On: Fixes the exposure when you press the shutter button halfway down.
- Off: Does not adjust the exposure when you press the shutter button halfway down. Use this mode when you want to change focus and exposure separately.
The camera keeps adjusting the exposure while shooting in Cont. Shooting or Spd Priority Cont. mode. Operation using the AEL button is prioritized over the AEL w/ shutter settings.
Exposure Std. Adjust
Adjusts this camera’s standard for the correct exposure value for each metering mode. You can set a value from -1 EV to 1 EV in 1/6 EV increments.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 9
(Also available in the Quick Menu accessed by pressing the FN button)
As the A99 has a pop-up flash, you might want to get into the different Flash Modes. If you’re new to photography, I’d suggest setting it to Auto, where the camera will decide when and how you need the flash.
If you’d like to get more into flash photography, you should read up on the different possibilities and what their effect would be on your images. This is a basic explanation of what the different modes do:
- fill flash: A fill flash is useful even in daylight to fill the shadows with light (like a person in the shade).
- Slow sync: Tells the camera to use a longer shutter speed along with a flash, and thus is better for night shots. In manual and shutter priority modes, there is no difference in flash power. But when using aperture priority, program, or auto, choosing slow sync tells the camera to use a longer shutter speed than it would ordinarily pick.What the slow sync flash mode does is a first fire the flash for the subject exposure, then allow for a longer shutter speed that will allow for more ambient light to be captured by the sensor.
- Rear Sync: Capturing an image involves two shutter actions: one when the capture starts and on when it stops. Rear Sync tells the flash to fire right before the shutter closes. Moving objects will show a streak where they came from and a sharp image where they were at the end of the exposure. This conveys a sense of speed with moving objects. Rear Sync is a creative technique, if you’d like to know more about this type of photography, I’d suggest doing a Google search on ‘Rear Sync Flash Photography.’
- Wireless: Select wireless is if want to use the in-camera flash to trigger an external flash like the Sony HVL-43M (with TTL!). Using an external flash is helpful when shooting weddings and dimly-lit subject matter, You can use your main flash to light the subject, and your external flash to light the background.
Flash comp or Flash compensation:
Especially when using Slow Sync or Rear Sync Flash modes, you might have to lower the power of the Flash to get a decently exposed image. (Also available in the Quick Menu accessed by pressing the FN button).
Exp comp set
Selects if the Exposure compensation function ( -5 in 0.5EV or 0.3EV steps) also reduces flash power or not. Leave it to Ambient And Flash, unless if you want to use HSS sync with flashes, then it is handy to be able to control exposure and flash output separately.
- ADI flash: The camera’s flash control uses the focus distance information and brightness value of the subject when the pre-flash is reflected. This gives precise flash control without hardly being affected by the reflective level of the subject.
- Pre-flash TTL: The camera’s flash control uses the brightness value of the subject when the pre-flash is reflected. If this setting is used, the camera’s ability to precisely measure the flash may be affected by reflections from the subject.
Red Eye Reduction:
This anti-Red Eye setting quickly fires the flash before your image capture starts, reducing the red-eye effect often seen when using a flash.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 10
You can either set the white balance to Auto, where the camera tries to guess what the neutral grey value is, or use one of the preset white balance settings for different lighting conditions or customize the white balance according to your preference or using a grey card.
Priority Set in AWB
Selects which tone to prioritize when shooting under lighting conditions such as incandescent light when White Balance is set to Auto.
- Standard: Shoots with standard auto white balance. The camera automatically adjusts the color tones.
- Ambience: Prioritizes the color tone of the light source. This is suitable when you want to produce a warm atmosphere.
- White: Prioritizes a reproduction of white color when the color temperature of the light source is low.
This stands for Dynamic range optimise and analyses the contrast of your scene in real-time. It produces an image with optimal brightness and recovered shadow detail. You can use this function even while the subject is moving or during the continuous shooting.
(not available for RAW captures) this feature Shoots three images with different exposures and then overlays the bright area of the underexposed image and the dark area of the overexposed image to create a picture with an extended range from highlight to shadow.
The highlight detail in auto HDR is better than that in DRO and with reduced noise. The shutter is released three times, so using this function for moving subjects is not recommended.
The Sony creative styles can best be explained as being film emulations (the same way as do some other camera manufacturers implements this). There is a range of styles available from vivid colour to black and white. If you’re shooting RAW, these styles are embedded, but can always be zeroed after importing them to you RAW editor of choice. Jpegs are saved with this styling applied. It is always useful to try some of these, and can be a real boost for your creativity, as you will notice that you make different images in say black-and-white as opposed to colour.
- Standard: For shooting various scenes with rich gradation and beautiful colors.
- Vivid: The saturation and contrast are heightened for shooting striking images of colorful scenes and subjects such as flowers, spring greenery, blue sky, or ocean views.
- Neutral: The saturation and sharpness are lowered for shooting images in subdued tones. This is also suitable for capturing image material to be modified with a computer.
- Clear: For shooting images in clear tones with limpid colors in highlight, suitable for capturing radiant light.
- Deep: For shooting images with deep and dense colors, suitable for capturing the solid presence of the subject.
- Light: For shooting images with bright and simple colors, suitable for capturing a refreshingly light ambience.
- Portrait: For capturing skin in a soft tone, ideally suited for shooting portraits.
- Landscape: The saturation, contrast, and sharpness are heightened for shooting vivid and crisp scenery. Distant landscapes also stand out more. Sunset: For shooting the beautiful red of the setting sun.
- Night Scene: The contrast is lowered for reproducing night scenes.
- Autumn leaves: For shooting autumn scenes, vividly highlighting the reds and yellows of changing leaves.
- Black & White: For shooting images in black and white monotone.
- Sepia: For shooting images in sepia monotone.
You can edit these different styles and save your own creative style if you want.
This functionality can be changed:
- Contrast: The higher the value selected, the more the difference of light and shadow is accentuated, and the bigger the effect on the image.
- Saturation: The higher the value selected, the more vivid the color. When a lower value is selected, the color of the image is restrained and subdued.
- Sharpness: Adjusts the sharpness. The higher the value selected, the more the contours are accentuated, and the lower the value selected, the more the contours are softened.
Think of this menu as an Instagram app right in your camera, with all kinds of retro filters and effects. These are only available when quality is set to Jpeg (Not in RAW).
- Off: Disables the [Picture Effect] function.
- Toy Camera: Creates a soft image with shaded corners and reduced sharpness.
- Pop Color: Creates a vivid look by emphasizing color tones.
- Posterization: Creates a high contrast, abstract look by heavily emphasizing primary colors, or in black and white.
- Retro Photo: Creates the look of an aged photo with sepia color tones and faded contrast.
- Soft High-key: Creates an image with the indicated atmosphere: bright, transparent, ethereal, tender, soft.
- Partial Color: Creates an image which retains a specific color, but converts others to black and white.
- High Contrast Mono.: Creates a high-contrast image in black and white.
- Rich-tone Mono.: Creates an image in black and white with rich gradation and reproduction of details.
Allows you to change the settings for the color, gradation, etc.
The basic contrast and coloring are defined by the combination of [Gamma] (gamma curve) and [Color Mode] (color characteristics) settings.
- Movie: Standard gamma curve for video.
- Still: Standard gamma curve for still images.
- Cine1: Softens the contrast in darker image areas and emphasizes gradation changes in lighter image areas, producing a subdued tone overall (equivalent to HG4609G33) Gamma curve that obtains a dynamic range of 460% when the exposure is adjusted to 33% video output with 18% reflectance gray. The maximum value of video output is 109%. Images shot with this gamma can be used without grading, but since the images have smooth gradation characteristics, this can be used to grade and finalize the viewed image in the post-production process.
- Cine2: Similar results to [Cine1] but optimized for editing with up to 100% video signal (equivalent to HG4600G30)
Gamma curve that obtains a dynamic range of 460% when the exposure is adjusted to 30% video output with 18% reflectance gray. The maximum value of video output is 100%.
- Cine3: Stronger contrast between dark and light image areas and greater emphasis on black gradation changes (compared to [Cine1] and [Cine2])
- Cine4: Stronger contrast than [Cine3] in darker image areas.
- ITU709 ITU709 gamma curve (low-light gain of 4.5).
- ITU709: (800%) Gamma curve for checking scenes recorded using [S-Log2] or [S-Log3].
- S-Log2 [S-Log2] gamma curve. This setting is selected when some grading work will be performed after recording. The exposure is set so that 18% reflectance gray video is output as 32%. Under these conditions, a dynamic range of 1,300% is obtained with 90% reflectance white. The maximum value of video output is 106%.
- S-Log3: [S-Log3] gamma curve with characteristics closer to those of film. This setting is selected when some grading work will be performed after recording. It allows for better reproduction of gradations in shadows and the mid-tone range than S-Log2. The exposure is set so that 18% reflectance gray video is output as 41%. Under these conditions, a dynamic range of 1,300% is obtained with 90% reflectance white. As a characteristic of S-Log3, the dynamic range can be extended above 1,300%. However, Picture Profile is set to a dynamic range of 1,300% in order to maintain a balance with camera performance. Under these conditions, the maximum value of video output is 94%.
- Movie Color tones for [Movie] gamma curve (standard color reproduction for movies when Picture Profile is not used)
- Still Color tones for [Still] gamma curve (standard color reproduction for still images when Picture Profile is not used)
- Cinema Color tones for [Cine1] and [Cine2] gamma curve
- Pro Color tones similar to standard Sony broadcast camera image quality (used in combination with [ITU709] gamma curve)
- ITU709 Matrix ITU709 color tones (used in combination with [ITU709] gamma curve)
- Black & White Sets the saturation to 0 for recording in black and white
S-Gamut Setting based on the assumption that some grading work will be performed after recording. Used when [Gamma] is set to [S-Log2].
- S-Gamut3.Cine Setting based on the assumption that some grading work will be performed after recording. Used when [Gamma] is set to [S-Log3].
- This setting is easier to use than [S-Gamut3], because it limits the color space to a more practical range than that of [S-Gamut3]. It is recommended in cases where [S-Gamut3], a wide color space, is not required.
- S-Gammut3 Setting based on the assumption that some grading work will be performed after recording. Used when [Gamma] is set to [S-Log3].
This setting has a wider color space than that of [S-Gamut3.Cine]. It is suited for converting images to a format with a wide color space like BT.2020.
Depending on the type of camera, the entire [S-Gamut3] color space may not be supported.
This function adjusts the black level of the image -15 to 15. As an image effect, you can emphasize the color black to create an image that gives a powerful impression, or you can weaken black to give the image a soft impression.
Shifting Black Level in the minus direction emphasizes the black color in the image, while changing the level in the plus direction weakens the black color.
If you want to simulate an old film, or capture winter morning fog, the black level value should be increased. If you decrease the value, gradations in dark areas will be smoothed out, making the areas appear in crisp black. When using multiple fixed cameras to shoot the same subject from different angles, the balance between subject and background often varies. This balance variation may cause the black color in the subject to appear different when cameras are switched. However, this is an optical illusion. If it occurs, you can correct it by adjusting Black Level to make the black color look the same.
When using multiple fixed cameras to shoot the same subject from different angles, the balance between subject and background often varies.
This balance variation may cause the black color in the subject to appear different when cameras are switched. However, this is an optical illusion. If it occurs, you can correct it by adjusting Black Level to make the black color look the same.
This function lets you alter the shape of the selected gamma curve and adjust gradations in dark image areas. Range available between Wide, Middle or Narrow. Leven between -7 and 7.
[Range] controls the luminance range that Black Gamma influences. The [Narrow] setting keeps the range close to black, while the [Wide] setting extends the range to gray. [Range] should be set narrower when you want to control the quality of dark areas. If you want to adjust the overall image tone, [Range] should be set wider. At first, it may be a good idea to start from the [Narrow] setting.
Increasing the [Level] value brightens the image, whereas decreasing the value makes the image darker. For example, if you set [Range] to [Narrow] and decrease the [Level] value, you can create an image with dark areas that are similar to the ones seen in films. Unlike Black Level, Black Gamma Level adjusts luminance subtly.
This function sets the knee point and slope for video signal compression to prevent over-exposure by limiting signals in high-intensity areas of the subject to the dynamic range of your camera.
First, select whether to set the knee point and slope automatically or manually in [Mode], and then adjust each setting.
- Knee > Mode: Auto / Manual
- Knee > Auto Set > Max Point: 90% to 100%
- Knee > Auto Set > Sensitivity: High / Mid / Low
- Knee > Manual Set > Point: 75% to 105%
- Knee > Manual Set > Slope: –5 to 5
Automatically adjusts the knee based on what is selected in the following settings (when [Movie] or [ITU709] is selected in [Gamma]).
- [Max Point] determines the maximum knee point level (white level). The knee slope is automatically adjusted according to the Max Point setting. The standard is to keep it at 100%. A lower setting will turn white grayish, while a higher setting will discard gradations in high luminance areas.
- [Sensitivity] changes the luminance level at which the knee’s automatic adjustment starts. When set to [High], the knee’s automatic adjustment starts at lower input signal levels than normal. When set to [Low], the knee’s automatic adjustment starts at higher input signal levels than normal.
- When a parameter other than [Movie] or [ITU709] is selected in [Gamma], the gamma curve will not exceed the White clip point and over-exposure rarely occurs. When [Mode] is set to [Auto] with these settings, the Knee function is disabled. If you want to enable the Knee function, set [Mode] to [Manual].
Sticks to settings based on the following selections.
- [Point] sets the position of the knee point output level.
- [Slope] determines the inclination of the knee slope.
A negative slope setting results in a gentler knee slope angle. This expands the dynamic range, but reduces the ability to produce rich gradations. A positive slope setting makes the knee slope inclination steeper. This shrinks the dynamic range, but bolsters the ability to express gradations. When [Slope] is set to 5, the Knee function is disabled.
- Set [Point] and [Slope] in [Manual Set] in combination. If you select a higher setting for [Point] and a gentler setting for [Slope], you can obtain video-like sharp highlight effects. If softer film-like highlight effects are desired, select a lower setting for [Point] and a steeper setting for [Slope]. In practical terms, move [Point] and [Slope] up and down in opposite directions while checking the gradations in high luminance areas until you find the ideal settings.
A positive value results in more vivid colors, while a negative value presents faded colors. Saturation must be adjusted in tandem with contrast. Bright and vivid settings produce video-like images, while dark and vivid settings result in film-like images. The combination of bright and light creates pastel tones, whereas dark and light settings create artistic finishes.
As you rotate the color wheel to the left (decreasing the set value) or to the right (increasing the set value), the colors shift along the spectrum from red to yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta and red. Because this affects all colors, it is difficult to make specific adjustments exactly as intended. Use this function when matching coloring closely between different cameras.
This function adjusts the luminance for each color phase. The luminance changes more drastically when the selected color is richer (higher saturation). It does not change much at all when the color is achromatic.
A higher set value lowers luminance while deepening the color. A lower set value increases luminance, making the color look paler.
This setting does not only enhance the apparent vividness of colors, but also can express deep, dark colors.
Because each of the 6 colors — R (Red), G (Green), B (Blue), C (Cyan), M (Magenta), Y (Yellow) — can be adjusted individually, you can apply this function to just the colors you want to emphasize.
Emphasizing image edges (Detail)
This function adjusts how much detail is applied to the subject’s image edges.
Because settings other than [Level] are quite complex, we recommend you start by adjusting only the [Level] setting first.
This function determines the strength of detail image processing to be applied.
- If you apply too much detail, the subject’s original atmosphere may be undermined, as its translucence may be lost or it may be given an unnatural luster. Excessive detail when shooting shiny leaves, for instance, may result in the leaves looking as if they are made of plastic. It is also advisable to apply detail only modestly when shooting paintings.
- Because Detail makes image edges wider, the original texture of a subject consisting of very fine lines may be lost if too much detail processing is applied. (Example: thin lace curtains)
- Also, be aware that Detail may fatten up the edges of noise particles that appear under a high gain setting, and may make such particles highly noticeable. In such cases, you can adjust the amount of detail processing on the noise particles by using the [Crispening] function.
- The image edges become more visible when viewed on large screens. It may be advisable to ease off on Detail if you plan to view the image on large TVs or screens.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 11
When focussing manually or in DMF mode, you can set the camera to magnify a part of the screen so you can check focus. This sub-menu allows you to select the part of the image that will be magnified during shooting.
Focus Magnif Time
You can set how long to hold the magnified area during MF assist. 2 sec, 5 seconds or no limit. 2 seconds is how I have it set up.
Initial Focus Mag.
Sets the initial magnification scale when using [Focus Magnifier]. Select a setting that will help you frame your shot.
- x1.0: Displays the image with the same magnification as the shooting screen.
- x7.8: Displays a 7.8-times enlarged image.
APS-C/Super 35mm size shooting:
- x1.0: Displays the image with the same magnification as the shooting screen.
- x5.1: Displays a 5.1-times enlarged image.
- Peaking Level is a manual focusing aid which works when you have your camera set to MF or DMF.
- You’ll see a type of noise outlining the parts of your image where the focus lies, and you can adjust the sensitivity to high, mid or low.
- Which setting is best depends on what lens you use, as with a sharper lens it can be configured to low, while more soft lenses benefit from a medium or high setting to clearly visualize what you’re focusing on.
You can choose the color of this Peaking between Red, white and yellow. I have it set to red, as this contrasts nicely with most scenes you capture.
MENU → Red Camera Icon → page 12
Detects flickering/blinking from artificial light sources such as fluorescent lighting and times the shooting of images to moments when flickering will have less of an impact. This function reduces differences in the exposure and color tone caused by flickering between the upper area and the lower area of an image shot with fast shutter speed and during continuous shooting.
- Off: Does not reduce influences caused by flickering.
- On: Reduces influences caused by flickering. When the camera detects flickering while the shutter button is pressed halfway down, (flicker icon).
Detects the faces of your subjects and adjusts the focus, exposure, flash settings and performs image processing automatically. Up to 8 faces of your subjects can be detected.
When the Sony A99 II detects a face, a gray face detection frame appears. When the camera determines that autofocus is enabled, the face detection frame turns white. When you press the shutter button halfway down, the frame turns green.
In case you have registered the priority order for each face using [Face Registration], the camera automatically selects the first prioritized face and the face detection frame over that face turns white. The face detection frames of other registered faces turn reddish-purple.
- Off: Does not use the [Face Detection] function.
- On (Regist. Faces): Detects the registered face with higher priority using [Face Registration].
- On: Detects a face without giving higher priority to the registered face.
Face Registration (New Registration)
If you register faces in advance, the product can detect the registered face as a priority when [Face Detection] is set to [On (Regist. Faces)]. Shoot the face from the front in a brightly lit place. The face may not be registered correctly if it is obscured by a hat, a mask, sunglasses, etc.
- MENU → (Camera Settings1) → [Face Registration] → [New Registration].
- Align the guide frame with the face to be registered, and press the shutter button.
- When a confirmation message appears, select [Enter].
MENU → Purple Camera Icon → page 1
You can select the exposure mode for movie shooting or slow-motion/quick-motion shooting. You can change the setting and playback speed for slow-motion/quick-motion shooting with S&Q Settings later.
- Program Auto / Program Auto: Allows you to shoot with the exposure adjusted automatically (both the shutter speed and the aperture value).
- Aperture Priority / Aperture Priority: Allows you to shoot after adjusting the aperture value manually.
- Shutter Priority / Shutter Priority: Allows you to shoot after adjusting the shutter speed manually.
- Manual Exposure / Manual Exposure: Allows you to shoot after adjusting the exposure (both the shutter speed and the aperture value) manually.
File Format (video)
You can choose between XAVC S 4K, XAVC S HD, AVCHD or MP4. AVCHD is a far superior codec than plain MPEG-4. You’ll need a fast UHS Speed Class U3 SD card to record at 100 Mbps or more.
- XAVC S 4K: Records 4K movies in the XAVC S format. This format supports a high bit rate. Audio: LPCM
- XAVC S HD: Records HD movies in the XAVC S format. This format supports a high bit rate. Audio: LPCM. The file size of movies is limited to approx. 2 GB. If the movie file size reaches approx. 2 GB during recording, a new movie file will be created automatically.
- AVCHD: Records HD movies in the AVCHD format. This file format is suitable for high-definition TV. Audio: Dolby Digital
- MP4: Records MP4 (AVC) movies. This format is suitable for playback on smartphones or tablets, web uploads, and email attachments. The file size of movies is limited to approx. 4 GB. If the movie file size reaches approx. 4 GB during recording, recording will stop automatically.
Record Setting (video):
You can choose the quality of recorded video here. Select the image size, frame rate, and image quality for movie recording. The higher the bit-rate, the higher the picture quality. Frame- and bit-rate differ depending on your movie file format.
When File Format is set to XAVC S 4K you have these options:
- 30p/25p: 30p 60M/25p 60Mbps or 30p 100M/25p 100Mbps.
- 24p: 24p 60Mbps or 24p 100Mbps if your camera is set to NTSC
When File Format is set to XAVC S HD you have these options:
- 120p/100p: 120p 60M/100p 60Mbps or 120p 100M/100p 100Mbps.
- 30p/25p: 60p 50Mbps/50p 50Mbps.
- 60p/50p: 30p 50Mbps/25p 50Mbps.
- 24p: 24p 50Mbps when set to NTSC.
When File Format is set to AVCHD you have these options:
- 60i/50i: 60i 17Mbps(FH)/50i 17Mbps(FH) or 60i 24Mbps(FX)/50i 24Mbps(FX).
- 60p/50p: 60p 28Mbps(PS)/50p 28Mbps(PS).
- 24p/25p: 24p 17Mbps(FH)/25p 17Mbps(FH) or 24p 24Mbps(FX)/25p 24Mbps(FX).
When File Format is set to MP4 you have these options:
- 60p/50p: 1920×1080 60p 28Mbps/1920×1080 50p 28Mbps.
- 30p/25p: 1280×720 30p 6Mbps/1280×720 25p 6Mbps or 1920×1080 30p 16Mbps/1920×1080 25p 16Mbps.
You can do slow-motion recording or record quick-motion recording. The sound will not be recorded. In a slow-motion recording, the shutter speed becomes faster and you may not be able to obtain the proper exposure. If this happens, decrease the aperture value or adjust the ISO sensitivity to a higher value.
How to record slow motion movie on the Sony A99 II:
- Set the mode dial to (Movie/S&Q Motion).
- Select MENU→ (Camera Settings2)→[Movie/S&Q Motion]→ and select the desired setting of slow-motion/quick-motion (S&Q) ( Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Manual Exposure).
- Select MENU→ (Camera Settings2)→[ S&Q Settings] and select the desired settings for [ Record Setting] and [ Frame Rate].
- Press the MOVIE (movie) button to start recording. Press the MOVIE button again to stop recording.
Record Setting: Selects the frame rate of the movie.
Frame Rate: Selects the shooting frame rate.
Playback speed: The playback speed will vary as below depending on the assigned [ Record Setting] and [Frame Rate].
Dual Video REC
Allows you to simultaneously record an XAVC S movie and an MP4 movie, or an AVCHD movie and an MP4 movie. You can simultaneously record a movie in different movie formats onto a memory card. To set the recording mode for 2 memory cards, such as simultaneous recording or sort recording, use Recording Mode.
AF Track Sens (movie)
You can set the AF sensitivity separately in movie mode.
- Responsive: Sets the AF sensitivity to high. This mode is useful when recording movies in which the subject is moving quickly.
- Standard: Sets the AF sensitivity to normal.
- Locked on: Sets the AF sensitivity to low. You can shoot with a stable focus by ignoring the influence of anything in front of the subject.
MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 2
Auto Slow Shut. (movie)
Sets whether or not to adjust the shutter speed automatically when recording dark scenes.
- On: Uses Auto Slow Shutter. The shutter speed automatically slows when recording in dark locations. You can reduce noise in the movie by using a slow shutter speed when recording in dark locations.
- Off: Does not use Auto Slow Shut.. The recorded movie will be darker than when On is selected, but you can record movies with smoother motion and less object blur.
You can switch off audio recording in movie mode. When you record audio movies with loud volumes, set Audio Rec Level to a lower sound level. Doing so enables you to record more realistic audio. When you record audio movies with lower volumes, set Audio Rec Level to a higher sound level to make the sound easier to hear. Regardless of the Audio Rec Level settings, the limiter always operates.
Audio Rec Level
You can adjust the audio recording level while checking the level meter.
Audio Level Display
Sets whether to display the audio level on the screen.
Don’t see the audio level display?
- Check if Audio Recording]is set to Off.
- Check if DISP (Display Setting) is set to No Disp. Info.
- During slow-motion/quick-motion shooting, audio is automatically turned OFF.
Audio Out Timing
You can set echo cancellation during audio monitoring and prevent undesirable deviations between video and audio during HDMI output.
- Live: Outputs audio without delay. Select this setting when the audio deviation is a problem during audio monitoring.
- Lip Sync: Outputs audio and video in sync. Select this setting to prevent undesirable deviations between video and audio.
Wind Noise Reduction
This helps reduce noise from the wind during video recording.
MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 3
Marker Display (movie)
Select if you want guidelines (a grid) in movie mode. The markers are displayed on the monitor or viewfinder
Marker Settings (movie)
Sets the markers to be displayed while shooting movies. You can display several markers at the same time.
- Center: Sets whether or not to display the center marker in the center of the shooting screen. [Off]/[On]
- Aspect: Sets the aspect marker display. [Off]/[4:3]/[13:9]/[14:9]/[15:9]/[1.66:1]/[1.85:1]/[2.35:1]
- Safety Zone: Sets the safety zone display. This becomes the standard range that can be received by a general household TV. [Off]/[80%]/[90%]
- Guideframe: Sets whether or not to display the guide frame. You can verify whether the subject is level or perpendicular to the ground.
Video Light Mode
Sets the illumination setting for the optional HVL-LBPC LED light.
- Power Link: The video light turns on/off in sync with the ON/OFF operation of this camera.
- REC Link: The video light turns on/off in sync with movie recording start/stop.
- REC Link&STBY: The video light turns on when movie recording starts and dims when not recording (STBY).
- Auto: The video light automatically turns on when it is dark.
MENU → Purple Camera Icon→ page 4
e-Front Curtain Shut.
This shortens the time lag between shutter releases. When you shoot at high shutter speeds with a large diameter lens attached, the ghosting of a blurred area may occur, depending on the subject or shooting conditions. When a lens made by another manufacturer (including a Minolta/Konica-Minolta lens) is used, set this function to [Off]. If you set this function to [On], the correct exposure will not be set or the image brightness will be uneven.
Release without lens
Makes it possible to capture images even if a lens is not supported by the camera. (Like when using an adapter with vintage lenses)
Release without card
If set to Off, you won’t be able to engage the shutter when there is no SD card in the slot. This is a useful failsafe to prevent you from shooting images without the ability to save them.
Sets whether or not to use the SteadyShot (sensor stabilization) function.For optimal sharpness, turn it off when using a tripod.
If your lens does not relay focal length information to the A99 II body, you can still use the Ibis stabilization by dialing in the focal length manually.
- Auto: Performs the SteadyShot function automatically according to the information obtained from the attached lens.
- Manual: Performs the SteadyShot function according to the focal length set using [SteadyS. Focal Len.]. (8mm-1000mm)
(MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 5)
Turn the digital zoom functionality on or off.
Set to Optical zoom only (using the optical zoom capabilities of your lens
Two other settings are available which use digital zoom (cropping of the original image):
Pictures captured by the image sensor of the camera are enlarged using digital signal processing. As the magnification level increases, signals to be also estimated growth and can reduce the picture quality.
Clear Image Zoom:
Zoomed images are captured close to the original quality when shooting a still picture. The camera first zooms to the maximum optical magnification, then uses Clear Image Zoom technology to enlarge the image an additional 2x, producing clear, sharp images despite the increased zoom ratio. If you don’t have a zoom lens, this might be an option as the camera uses the RAW file to zoom; although still some image quality will be lost.
MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 6
Selects the functionality (what is shown) on the screen when you press the DISP button (on the control wheel). You can choose Graphic Display, all info, no disp info, and histogram.
You can set the behaviour of the EVF and screen here. Do you want your screen on all the time, switch between screen and EVF once your eye has been detected near the viewfinder? Or turn the screen off and only use the EVF? It can all be selected here.
The zebra function shows a zebra pattern on the screen while shooting in any area that is in danger of highlight clipping. You can switch this OFF or anywhere in a range between 70 and 100.The Zebra Pattern is a highlight warning indicator that is common in video cameras. It does not control exposure but just warns you that your highlights are blown out. It is not recorded into the resulting image.I have it set halfway at around 75, and it is a very useful indication of correct exposure of the entire scene.
Grid Line (stills)
Sets whether the grid line is displayed or not. The grid line will help you to adjust the composition of images.
- Rule of 3rds Grid: Place main subjects close to one of the grid lines that divide the image into thirds for a well-balanced composition.
- Square Grid: Square grids make it easier to confirm the horizontal level of your composition. This is suitable to determine the quality of the composition when shooting landscape, close-up, or duplicated images.
- Diag. Square Grid: Place a subject on the diagonal line to express an uplifting and powerful feeling.
- Off: Does not display the grid line.
Exposure set guide
The exposure set guide is an on-screen scroller that tells you the relation between your chosen aperture and the appropriate shutter speed for the scene you are shooting. I find this quite handy, but you can turn it off if you don’t.
Live view Display
Live view display allows you to see the image you’re going to capture with the settings you have dialed-in like aperture and shutter speed. Some users report easier autofocusing in low light when it’s turned OFF, and you’d need to turn it off when using external flashes too that can’t be used with Sony’s TTL (through the lens) functionality.
MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 7
You can check your captured image on the screen directly after shooting. You can select how long the image will stay on the screen (10, 5 or 2 seconds). I find this very annoying, so I turned it off. If you want to review your image, you can simply press play to do so.
(MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 8)
Custom Key(Shoot.)/Custom Key(PB)
You can assign the desired function to the desired key. Some functions are available only when they are assigned to a custom key. For example, if you assign [Eye AF] to [Center Button] for [Custom Key(Shoot.)], you can easily recall [Eye AF] simply by pressing the center of the multi-selector while shooting.
- Drive Mode Button
- WB Button
- Exp. Comp. Button
- ISO Button
- AF/MF Button
- AEL Button
- Center Button
- Fn/ Button 9. Button (Smart Tele. Button )
- Custom Button 1
- Custom Button 2
- Front Multi Ctrl./ Front Multi Ctrl.
- Preview Button
Function Menu Set.
You can assign the functions to be called up when you press the Fn (Function) button.
You can switch the functions of the front/rear dial between shutter speed and aperture.
Dial Ev Comp
You can compensate the exposure using the front or rear dial. You can adjust the exposure in a range of -5.0 EV to 5.0 EV.
Sets whether or not to activate the MOVIE (Movie) button.
- Always: Starts movie recording when you press the MOVIE button in any mode.
- Movie Mode Only: Starts movie recording when you press the MOVIE button only if the shooting mode is set to [Movie/S&Q Motion] mode.
MENU →Purple Camera Icon→ page 9
You can set whether the dials will be locked by pressing and holding the Fn (Function) button. You can release the lock by holding the Fn (Function) button down again
- Lock: Locks the front and rear dials when you press and hold the Fn button.
- Unlock: The front or rear dials are not locked, even if you press and hold the Fn (Function) button.
Selects whether the product produces a sound or not, for example when the focus is achieved by pressing the shutter button halfway down.
MENU – Wireless functionality – page 1
Send To Smartphone
- You can send one or several images directly to your wireless device (phone or tablet) by pressing this button.
- You can either decide to choose which images you want to transfer on the camera or the wireless device (via the Sony PlayMemories app, available for free in the apple or android store).
- You’ll have to connect the-the camera via Wifi first (it makes a Wifi access point), using the instruction on the A99 mark 2 screen.
- It works just like connecting to any other access point with your phone or tablet.
- You should do this as quickly as possible, just to get it out of the way.
- When your phone has wirelessly connected to the camera once, and you’ve entered the password, it will remember this, and make it a lot faster to connect later.
Send to Computer
You’ll need to connect the computer physically to the camera using the supplied USB cable, and you can push selected pictures to your Sony PlayMemories desktop software (installed from the CD or downloaded from their website). This can even be set up to continue pushing images after the camera has turned off.
View On TV
If you have a Wifi-enabled TV, you can see pictures and slideshows directly from your camera through your home wireless network.
Ctrl w/ smartphone
By connecting the camera to a smartphone using Wi-Fi, you can control the camera and shoot images using the smartphone, and you can transfer images shot with the camera to the smartphone.
Connection Info. displays the QR code or SSID used to connect the camera to a smartphone.
Disables all wireless functionality, just like airplane mode does on your phone.
If your access point has the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button, you can register the access point to this product easily by pushing the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button.
Access Point Set.
You can register your access point manually. Before starting the procedure, check the SSID name of the access point, security system, and password. The password may be preset in some devices. For details, see the access point operating instructions, or consult the access point administrator.
Disp MAC Address
Displays the MAC address of your Sony A99 II.
Your camera shares the connection information for [Send to Smartphone] and [ Connection Info.] with a device that has permission to connect. If you want to change the device that is permitted to connect, reset the connection information.
MENU – Wireless functionality – page 2
Controls the settings for connecting the camera to a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. You need to pair the camera and smartphone before using the location information interlocking function. If you want to pair the camera and smartphone in order to use the location information interlocking function, refer to “Loc. Info. Link Set.."
Loc. Info. Link Set
You can use the application PlayMemories Mobile to obtain location information from a smartphone that is connected with your camera using Bluetooth communication. You can record the obtained location information when shooting images.
To use the location information linking function of the camera, you need the PlayMemories Mobile application on your smartphone and transfer an image to your smartphone to test the connection
- Confirm that the Bluetooth function of your smartphone is activated. (Do not perform the Bluetooth pairing operation on the smartphone setting screen!!! In steps 2 to 7, the pairing operation is performed using the camera and the application PlayMemories Mobile. If you accidentally perform the pairing operation on the smartphone setting screen in step 1, cancel the pairing and then perform the pairing operation by following Steps 2 through 7 using the camera and the application PlayMemories Mobile.)
- On the camera, select MENU → (Wireless) → [Bluetooth Settings] → [Bluetooth Function] → [On].
- On the camera, select MENU → (Wireless) → [Bluetooth Settings] → [Pairing].
- Launch PlayMemories Mobile on your smartphone and tap “Location Information Linkage."
- Activate [Location Information Linkage] on the [Location Information Linkage] setting screen of PlayMemories Mobile.
- Select [OK] when a message is displayed on the monitor of the camera. Pairing of the camera and PlayMemories Mobile is complete.
- On the camera, select MENU → (Wireless) → [ Loc. Info. Link Set.] → [Location Info. Link] → [On].
(obtaining location information icon) will be displayed on the monitor of the camera. Location information obtained by your smartphone using GPS, etc., will be recorded when shooting images.
Options in this Menu:
- Location Info. Link: Sets whether to obtain the location information by linking with a smartphone.
- Auto Time Correct.: Sets whether to automatically correct the date setting of the camera using information from a linked smartphone.
- Auto Area Adjust.: Sets whether to automatically correct the area setting of the camera using information from a linked smartphone.
Edit Device name
If you wish, you can change the name of the Device Access point) perhaps to make it easier to identify which A6000 is yours in particular situations.
Reset Network set
Resets all network settings.
If something does not function properly, and you want to start from scratch, can be useful.
MENU – playback options – page 1
Delete one or multiple images stored on your SD card.
select how the camera will arrange captured pictures in the viewing browser.
Choose whether you want the image browser to display 12 (larger) or 30 (smaller) images per page.
Select whether you want the camera to rotate images automatically when you rotate the camera or not.
Select PB media
Select what SD card slot will be used when you press playback.
You can copy images from a memory card in a slot that is selected using [Select PB Media] to a memory card in another slot.
MENU – playback options – page 2
Select whether you want the camera to repeat slideshows when all pictures are viewed or not, and choose the interval between slides.
Change the orientation of images in-camera.
Select an image and expand a portion of that picture. Useful for checking details and focus.
Enlarge Init. Mag.
Sets the initial magnification scale when playing back enlarged images.
Enlarge Initial Pos.
Sets the initial position when enlarging an image in playback. You can select either image center or the focus position.
Protect images (selectable or per date) from accidentally being erased.
MENU – playback options – page 3
Specify Printing is a feature that allows images to be marked for printing later. Registered images are displayed with the DPOF mark. (DPOF stands for Digital Print Order Format)
Captures a chosen scene in a movie to save as a still image. First shoot a movie, then pause the movie during playback to capture decisive moments that tend to be missed when shooting still images, and save them as still images.
MENU – Setup – page 1
Manually set the Monitor brightness (recommended leave to zero) or change to a brighter setting for Sunny Weather.
Set to Auto, which adapts to the lighting circumstances or manually changes to your preferred setting.
Finder Color Temp
Change the color temperature of the viewfinder (colder-warmer) to you liking. I don’t make any adjustments here.
Gamma Disp. Assist
Movies with S-Log gamma are assumed to be processed after shooting in order to make use of the wide dynamic range. They are therefore displayed in low contrast during shooting and may be difficult to monitor, using [Gamma Disp. Assist], contrast equivalent to that of normal gamma can be reproduced. In addition, [Gamma Disp. Assist] can also be applied when playing back movies on the camera’s monitor/viewfinder.
Modify the playback volume for recorded video or demos.
MENU – Setup – page 2
You can set whether [Delete] or [Cancel] is selected as the default setting on the delete confirmation screen.
You can change the display quality from standard to high at the expense of shorter battery life.
Pwr Save Start Time
Sets time intervals to automatically switch to power save mode when you are not performing operations to prevent wearing down the battery pack. To return to shooting mode, perform an operation such as pressing the shutter button halfway down. I have it set to 5 minutes, a good balance between usability and battery life.
Plays back movies recorded with the product on a NTSC/PAL system TV.
If dust or debris gets inside the camera and adheres to the surface of the image sensor (the part that converts the light to an electric signal), it may appear as dark spots on the image, depending on the shooting environment. If this happens, follow the steps below to clean the image sensor.
The [Demo Mode] function displays the movies recorded on the memory card automatically (demonstration) when the camera has not been operated for a certain time. Normally select [Off].
MENU – Setup – page 3
Timecode (TC) and the user bit (UB) information can be recorded as data attached to movies. This is used for synchronization of video in post production. The time code can be set between the following range: 00:00:00:00 to 23:59:59:29.
- TC/UB Disp. Setting: Sets the display for the counter, time code, and user bit.
- TC Preset: Sets the time code.
- UB Preset: Sets the user bit.
- TC Format: Sets the recording method for the time code. (Only when [NTSC/PAL Selector] is set to NTSC.)
- TC Run: Sets the count up format for the time code.
- TC Make: Sets the recording format for the time code on the recording medium.
- UB Time Rec: Sets whether or not to record the time as a user bit.
You can operate this product and shoot images using the SHUTTER button, 2 SEC button (2-second delay shutter), and START/STOP button (or Movie button (RMT-DSLR2 only)) on the Wireless Remote Commander RMT-DSLR1 (sold separately) and RMT-DSLR2 (sold separately). Refer also to the operating instructions for the Wireless Remote Commander.
When you connect the product to a High Definition (HD) TV with HDMI terminals using an HDMI cable (sold separately), you can select HDMI Resolution to output images to the TV.
- Auto: The product automatically recognizes an HD TV and sets the output resolution.
- 2160p/1080p: Outputs signals in 2160p/1080p.
- 1080p: Outputs signals in HD picture quality (1080p).
- 1080i: Outputs signals in HD picture quality (1080i).
4K Still Output Sel.
Outputs still image in 4K resolution to an HDMI-connected TV that supports 4K.
- Memory Card HDMI: Simultaneously outputs to the external recording/playback device and records on the camera’s memory card.
- HDMI Only(30p): Outputs a 4K movie in 30p to the external recording/playback device without recording on the camera’s memory card.
- HDMI Only(24p): Outputs a 4K movie in 24p to the external recording/playback device without recording on the camera’s memory card.
- HDMI Only(25p)* : Outputs a 4K movie in 25p to the external recording/playback device without recording on the camera’s memory card.
Selects what will happen when you connect your camera to your PC or MAC.
- Auto: Establishes a Mass Storage or MTP connection automatically, depending on the computer or other USB devices to be connected. Windows 7 or Windows 8 computers are connected in MTP, and their unique functions are enabled for use.
- Mass Storage: Establishes a Mass Storage connection between this product, a computer, and other USB devices.
- MTP: Establishes an MTP connection between this product, a computer, and other USB devices. Windows 7 or Windows 8 computers are connected in MTP, and their unique functions are enabled for use.
- PC Remote: Uses “Remote Camera Control" to control this product from the computer, including such functions as shooting and storing images on the computer
USB LUN Setting
Improves compatibility with external devices by limiting the functions of the USB connection.
Older devices that are not able to connect to the camera might work when set to single. Otherwise, use Multi.
MENU – Setup – page 4
PC Remote settings
Sets whether to save still images stored in both the camera and the computer during PC Remote shooting. This setting is useful when you want to check recorded images on the camera without leaving the camera.
Selects the language to be used in the menu items, warnings, and messages.
The Clock Set screen is displayed automatically when you turn on your A99II for the first time PC Remote: Uses “Remote Camera Control” to control this product from the computer, including such functions as shooting and storing images on the computer. * MENU → (Setup) → [PC Remote Settings] → [RAW J PC Save Img] → desired setting. 1 1 MENU → (Setup) → [ Language] → desired language. or when the internal rechargeable backup battery has fully discharged. Select this menu when setting the date and time after the first time.
Sets where in the world where you are using your camera.
Writes copyright information onto the still images like your name or business.
When you use a memory card with this camera for the first time, we recommend that you format the card using the camera for stable performance of the memory card. Note that formatting permanently erases all data on the memory card, and is unrecoverable.
MENU – Setup – page 5
Name your files according to some shots or reset it to start from 1.
Set File Name
Use the standard file naming system or a customizable one.
Select REC media
Selects the memory card slot on which to record. [Slot 1] is the default setting. If you do not intend to change the settings and will only use one memory card, use the slot 1. To record the same image on two memory cards at the same time or to sort recorded images onto two memory card slots by the image type (still image/movie), use [Recording Mode].
You can select the method for recording an image, such as recording the same image simultaneously to two memory cards or recording different types of images to two memory cards. (If you want to record a movie to a memory card in different formats, use [Dual Video REC].)
- Standard: Records an image to a memory card in the memory card slot that you select in [Select Rec. Media].
- Simult. (stills): Records a still image to both memory cards and records a movie to a memory card in the memory card slot that you select in [Select Rec. Media].
- Simult. (video): Records a still image to a memory card in the memory card slot that you select in [Select Rec. Media], and records a movie to both memory cards.
- Simult. (stills/video ): Records a still image and a movie to both memory cards.
- Sort(JPEG/RAW): Records an image in JPEG format to a memory card in the memory card slot that you select in [Select Rec. Media], and records an image in RAW format to the other memory card.
- Sort( stills/video ): Records a still image to a memory card in the memory card slot that you select in [Select Rec. Media], and records a movie to the other memory card.
Select REC folder
Selects where the camera will store newly captured images.
Make a new folder for quickly organizing events and locations.
MENU – Setup – page 6
Choose whether to have folder names in standard form (DSC) or create a new one by date. Setting folders by date will make organizing your images easier.
Recover Image DB
If you have a storage card error, you can try to rebuild the database to retrieve lost images possibly.
Display media info
You can check how much space is left on your SD card (have pictures in your desired quality and how many minutes of video)
Check what version of the operating system your camera and the lens is running. Sony sporadically releases updates with new features, so it might be worth checking if any new firmware versions are available.
Fully resets the camera to factory settings.
The Next Chapter is about the various shooting Modes Available, another concept that is necessary to understand fully.
Shooting modes available via the Mode Dial
This mode automatically detects the type of scene you’re shooting and adjusts the scene automatically. You’ll see the icon for the recognized scene appears on the top right hand of the screen.
These scenes are the same ones which can be selected individually in SCENE mode.
The Sony A99 II will also use the most appropriate FOCUS AREA, and ISO value (the ISO range cannot be changed in iAuto though).
Drive Mode (single shooting, continuous shooting Lo-Mid-Hi), Self-timer and Self-timer cont (multiple images with the self-timer) can be changed by using the Fn button.
Works for both RAW and JPEG shooting.
Disadvantage: ISO range is fixed to 50-6400 (you can’t change the range).
P (Program Auto):
Program (P) mode automatically adjusts exposure and aperture according to your desired setting.
See this as a more advanced iAuto mode, as you’ll be able to change all other settings through the touch screen (Focus area, creative style, exposure compensation,…);
tip: lower the automatic ISO range to 100-1600 for better image quality (ISO-Auto range in MENU SYSTEM)
A (Aperture Priority):
Allows you to adjust the aperture and shoot, for example when you want to blur the background (large aperture like f/1.8), or want a sharp corner-to-corner image (around f/5.6-f/8).
The aperture value can be changed during movie recording, a technique that will be familiar to videographers.
Smaller F-value: The subject is in focus, but objects in front of and beyond the subject are blurred (what is called Bokeh).
Larger F-value: The subject and its foreground and background are all in focus.
If proper exposure cannot be set, the shutter speed on the shooting screen blinks.
S (Shutter Priority):
The go-to mode if you can’t shoot fast-moving subjects, by manually adjusting the shutter speed. You can express the movement of a moving subject in various ways by changing the shutter speed, for example, at the instant of motion with a high-speed shutter, or as a trailing image with a low-speed shutter. The shutter speed can be changed while recording movies. The aperture is automatically adjusted to obtain proper exposure.
If a correct exposure cannot be obtained, the aperture value on the shooting screen blinks.
- Use a tripod to prevent blurring when you use a slow shutter speed.
- The SteadyShot warning indicator does not appear in shutter speed priority mode.
- When the shutter speed is 1 second(s) or longer, noise reduction will be applied (Long Exposure noise reduction in the Menu ON/OFF) after shooting for the same amount of time that the shutter was open. This will temporarily freeze your camera, and you want to be able to capture images while noise reduction is in progress.
- The brightness of the picture on the monitor may differ from the actual image being shot (there is no Live view on Sony cameras for long exposures).
M (Manual Exposure):
Both shutter speed and the aperture value can be changed in this mode, also during movie recording.
Press the bottom side of the control wheel to select the shutter speed or aperture value, then turn the control wheel to select a value.
When ISO Auto is used, the ISO value automatically changes to achieve the appropriate exposure using the aperture value and shutter speed you have set.
- If the aperture value and shutter speed you have set are not suitable for adequate exposure, the ISO value indicator will blink.
- When the amount of ambient light exceeds the metering range of the Metered Manual, the Metered Manual indicator flashes.
- The SteadyShot warning indicator does not appear in manual exposure mode.
- The brightness of the image on the monitor may differ from the actual image being shot.
Bulb Mode in Manual exposure
Bulb is the mode used to shoot a trailing picture of a subject’s’ movement with a long exposure time. Think light trails from cars, or fireworks.
- Press the bottom side of the control wheel to select the shutter speed, then turn the control wheel counterclockwise until BULB is indicated.
- Press the shutter button halfway down to adjust the focus.
- Press and hold the shutter button for the duration of the shooting.
- As long as the shutter button is pressed, the shutter remains open.
- Use a tripod for long exposures.