Beware the Sony Auto-mode in low-light! (Or: don't make my mistake)

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Some kind of person New Member • Posts: 10
Beware the Sony Auto-mode in low-light! (Or: don't make my mistake)

So, I had a little get-together the other night, and since I'd be lending my camera (an A6500) to others now and again (I wanted to be in some of the photos too), I had the brilliant idea of just putting it on complete Auto the whole night, figuring that surely Sony's engineers would know their stuff when it comes to the basics of exposure (a reasonable assumption, given that Program mode normally works just fine). That turns out to have been a major mistake.

Looking at the photos afterwards, most/all of them are considerably noisy, having invariably been shot at ISO 6400, at f-stops as high as f/3.5, and never below f/2 (the Sigma 30mm f1.4 was used the whole night), with shutter speeds staying consistently at 1/160. This, despite the fact that we were all adults who have no problems sitting still in front of the camera to have our pictures taken, and the camera having IBIS, and thus shutter speeds of around 1/30 would've been perfectly fine.

I've done some testing afterwards, and my impression is that it's almost as if Sony's Auto-mode prioritises high shutter speeds and apertures over low ISO, choosing to crank up the ISO to 6400 before relenting on aperture, and then finally relenting on shutter speed (preferring a shutter speed of at least 1/160, and an f-stop of at least f/2). Strangely, my RX100VA seems much more reasonable, going low on the shutter speed before really cranking up the ISO, so it's obviously not something that's consistent across the range of Sony products, and may just be something unique to the A6500.

In any case, I guess I should consider this a lesson learned: if I'm gonna be handing my camera over to someone else to take a couple of shots with, I'll be setting it to Program mode from now on.

Sony a6500
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