Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

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Suz_Dellos New Member • Posts: 1
Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required
1

Hi,

I purchased the Sony A6000 a few months back so I could take pictures of stock for my website.

I am really struggling with using the camera indoors and I can't work out the settings in order to take a good picture. Does anyone have any experience with this camera or can recommend a decent guide to use?

I am really good at using it outdoors on a sunny day, it's only indoors I need help with.

Thank you

Sony a6000
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Norm Neely Senior Member • Posts: 2,081
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required
1

Suz_Dellos wrote:

Hi,

I purchased the Sony A6000 a few months back so I could take pictures of stock for my website.

Not sure of the size of your stock. Here is a website with some Product Tutorials.

http://www.tabletopstudio.com/

How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent – DIY

https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-make-a-inexpensive-light-tent/

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Norm

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Cavig1 Contributing Member • Posts: 591
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

Google a6000 ebook.   I’ve got the Friedman ebook and it’s very good.  Mark Galer’s info is always spot on too   Either should answer any questions you have.

Good light and good shooting 😊

Cavig

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FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,613
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required
1

Suz_Dellos wrote:

Hi,

I purchased the Sony A6000 a few months back so I could take pictures of stock for my website.

I am really struggling with using the camera indoors and I can't work out the settings in order to take a good picture. Does anyone have any experience with this camera or can recommend a decent guide to use?

I am really good at using it outdoors on a sunny day, it's only indoors I need help with.

The word "photography" can be translated as "drawing with light". Indoors, there just isn't anywhere near as much light as outdoors, so your camera struggles to get a photo indoors. To take product photos indoors you will need to light them up with artificial light. I'd suggest reading about studio lighting, or lighting for product photography. A good general work on lighting is "Light: Science and Magic".

Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 16,419
Could you...?

Could you show a few of your disappointing indoor photos? That way we can help you better.

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thebustos Veteran Member • Posts: 3,408
Examples please

Examples would help us figure out what the issue is and how to help.

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Good luck and happy shooting!

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lost alaskan
lost alaskan Senior Member • Posts: 1,666
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

I have a A6300. I bought it after I wrecked my A6000. I take pics of products in my little light tent.  A couple of weeks ago I took some shots of parts with my little Nissin i40. I wondered why I didn't use it more often.  This week I put it on my A6300 and went to take some shots of some product.  The result? Horrible. Everything went black.  Back to side lighting for the next while.  The point is; studio lighting(for me) is a mystery. Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.  Probably not much help. I'm sure you will figure it out and so will I.

 lost alaskan's gear list:lost alaskan's gear list
Sony a6300 Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS +2 more
Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 5,678
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

If colors are off or ugly, try:

  • High-quality high-CRI bulbs. Home Depot sells Cree 5k bulbs for maybe $3 each. It's important all the bulbs be the same. I like 5k since it also plays well with having light coming in through windows
  • Manually set white balance. Use a $2 gray card (or a $0.01 white piece of paper). 

Both of these are worth doing even if colors aren't off, since colors will still look better.

One step up is proper studio lighting and learning how to paint with light. Following standard lighting (broad, short, etc.) portrait lighting and just trying to replicate it is a good place to start.

If images have noise or motion blur, things to try:

  • Tripod. Spend at least $100-$200 to get a sturdy, stable used tripod. More gets you that, and compact / lightweight / easy-to-adjust / new. Do not, and I repeat, do not get a $30-$60 new tripod at your local store or an Amazon. I know you'll probably do this anyways -- but don't. No one listens to this advice. A good tripod last a lifetime, so a good investment here makes sense.
  • Wide aperture lens (e.g. f/1.8 or f/1.4).
  • Play with aperture, ISO, and shutter speed settings.
  • Learn to hold the camera steady. This is a learned skill which only comes with deliberate practice. 
  • Learn to time your photos. There are times when there's more and less motion blur. 
Norm Neely Senior Member • Posts: 2,081
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

Alphoid wrote:

Learn to hold the camera steady. This is a learned skill which only comes with deliberate practice.

+1 keep your arms to your sides and turn your body to aim the camera.

Firearm Breath Control While Shooting: 4 Options

Try these 4 options and pick the one that works best for you while taking pictures.

https://www.usacarry.com/4-options-breath-control-shooting/

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Norm

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skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 5,751
Re: Sony A6000 - Beginners Help Required

Suz_Dellos wrote:

Hi,

I purchased the Sony A6000 a few months back so I could take pictures of stock for my website.

I am really struggling with using the camera indoors and I can't work out the settings in order to take a good picture. Does anyone have any experience with this camera or can recommend a decent guide to use?

I am really good at using it outdoors on a sunny day, it's only indoors I need help with.

Not sure if your indoor problems are:

  • Out of focus
  • Wrong colors
  • Pictures too dark

That said, try these for starters:

  1. Reset the camera to factory defaults using the reset function in the menu.
  2. Turn the mode dial to "P" mode.
  3. Go into the menu and set focus mode to AF-S (Auto Focus Single) and set the focus area to Center (single small rectangle).
  4. Enable the zebra overlay and set it to 100%.
  5. the a6000 also has the option (Settings tab, page 6, Dial/Wheel Ev Comp) to devote one of the dials to operate exposure compensation.

Auto Focus Single is for stationary subjects (while Auto Focus Continuous is for moving subjects). The Zebra overlay at 100% will show stripes on anything that is over exposed and will be clipped. You don't want any zebra stripes on anything you want detail to show.

Now to take a picture indoors (or outdoors):

  1. Insure that the mode dial is set to "P" mode.
  2. Frame the scene and adjust the white balance setting for best looking colors. There will be settings like auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent. Just cycle through the settings until the best looking colors are displayed. Check the user manual on how to do this. There should be a quick easy way using buttons without having to go into the menu.
  3. With the scene framed the way you want it, spin the exposure compensation dial (set in step-5 above) until zebra stripes appear and then spin the dial the other way until the zebra stripes just disappear. This will be the optimum exposure setting.
  4. Set the small rectangle in the viewfinder (or back LCD screen) on the subject.
  5. Half press the shutter and hold it until the in focus beep and maybe a green light happens to indicate that focus is locked.
  6. While still half pressing the shutter you can recompose the scene to your liking.
  7. Now SLOWLY press the shutter all the way down to snap the picture. Press so slowly that when the shutter trips it surprises you. That will eliminate camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button too fast.

You should end up with a picture with correct colors, sharp focus of the subject, and optimum exposure. Do this for outdoor and indoor pictures.

Note that setting the white balance in step-2 only has to be done once when entering an environment for the first time. Like going outdoors in sunlight. Or going indoors that has tungsten lighting. Once the while balance is set, you don't have to fool with it until you change lighting environment.

There are other considerations like taking pictures with back lighting stronger than the lighting of the subject but that's another discussion.

Sky

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,613
Sanity check

skyglider wrote:

Suz_Dellos wrote:

Hi,

I purchased the Sony A6000 a few months back so I could take pictures of stock for my website.

I am really struggling with using the camera indoors and I can't work out the settings in order to take a good picture. Does anyone have any experience with this camera or can recommend a decent guide to use?

I am really good at using it outdoors on a sunny day, it's only indoors I need help with.

Not sure if your indoor problems are:

  • Out of focus
  • Wrong colors
  • Pictures too dark

That said, try these for starters:

  1. Reset the camera to factory defaults using the reset function in the menu.
  2. Turn the mode dial to "P" mode.
  3. Go into the menu and set focus mode to AF-S (Auto Focus Single) and set the focus area to Center (single small rectangle).
  4. Enable the zebra overlay and set it to 100%.
  5. the a6000 also has the option (Settings tab, page 6, Dial/Wheel Ev Comp) to devote one of the dials to operate exposure compensation.

Auto Focus Single is for stationary subjects (while Auto Focus Continuous is for moving subjects). The Zebra overlay at 100% will show stripes on anything that is over exposed and will be clipped. You don't want any zebra stripes on anything you want detail to show.

Now to take a picture indoors (or outdoors):

  1. Insure that the mode dial is set to "P" mode.
  2. Frame the scene and adjust the white balance setting for best looking colors. There will be settings like auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent. Just cycle through the settings until the best looking colors are displayed. Check the user manual on how to do this. There should be a quick easy way using buttons without having to go into the menu.
  3. With the scene framed the way you want it, spin the exposure compensation dial (set in step-5 above) until zebra stripes appear and then spin the dial the other way until the zebra stripes just disappear. This will be the optimum exposure setting.
  4. Set the small rectangle in the viewfinder (or back LCD screen) on the subject.
  5. Half press the shutter and hold it until the in focus beep and maybe a green light happens to indicate that focus is locked.
  6. While still half pressing the shutter you can recompose the scene to your liking.
  7. Now SLOWLY press the shutter all the way down to snap the picture. Press so slowly that when the shutter trips it surprises you. That will eliminate camera shake caused by pressing the shutter button too fast.

You should end up with a picture with correct colors, sharp focus of the subject, and optimum exposure. Do this for outdoor and indoor pictures.

Note that setting the white balance in step-2 only has to be done once when entering an environment for the first time. Like going outdoors in sunlight. Or going indoors that has tungsten lighting. Once the while balance is set, you don't have to fool with it until you change lighting environment.

There are other considerations like taking pictures with back lighting stronger than the lighting of the subject but that's another discussion.

Sky

Let's do a sanity check of those recommendations.

Would you agree that a system reset puts the camera into manual ISO, probably at ISO 100, and set to take JPEGs, not RAW?

Would you agree that typical indoor lighting, when no special lights have been applied, is somewhere around EV6 for ISO 100? That's nine stops darker than full sun.

Let's assume that OP is using her kit 16-50mmm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. We have no idea how big her stock is. She could be using 16mm or she could be using 50mm. Let's assume she is using a focal length at which the max aperture is f/4.

We have no idea of the tonal values and range of her stock. Let's just assume it is middle grey for now.

In P mode with EV6 (for ISO 100) light, the camera will set the lens wide open to f/4. That's four stops lighter than the f/16 used in the sunny 16 rule. There are nine stops less scene luminance than sunny 16 and four stops more exposure from lens aperture, so the camera needs to set the shutter speed to five stops below 1/125. That's 1/4 sec shutter. At such a shutter speed she will get significant camera motion blur at the focal length she is using, even with OSS enabled. Using any +ve EC will just add to the motion blur.

So frankly, your suggestions just make no sense for indoor photography.

I've already suggested lighting. Without lighting, the way to go would be Auto-ISO, M mode, aperture set to widest available or stopped down if  wide open doesn't give enough DOF to cover the stock item, shutter set to no slower than 1 / (3/8  x focal length).

The shutter speed recommendation assumes she properly holds the camera, and that OSS is giving two stops of stabilization. The former may not be a good assumption. She may need a faster shutter. The latter is based both on testing by  IR and my own experience with the lens on the same camera.

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,365
Re: Sanity check

FingerPainter wrote:

Would you agree that a system reset puts the camera into manual ISO, probably at ISO 100, and set to take JPEGs, not RAW?

No, a settings reset on a Sony 6000 puts the camera in bounded ISO auto mode (i.e. where user sets upper and lower bounds) with a range of 100 to 3200. It does set the camera to take JPGs in "fine" mode.

I did a settings reset, and in P mode, indoor (late afternoon sun and one incandescent lamp), it went for ISO 2500-3200, f/4-4.5, 1/30-1/60.

Aaron

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skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 5,751
Re: Sanity check

FingerPainter wrote:

skyglider wrote:

Not sure if your indoor problems are:

  • Out of focus
  • Wrong colors
  • Pictures too dark

That said, try these for starters:

Let's do a sanity check of those recommendations.

Would you agree that a system reset puts the camera into manual ISO, probably at ISO 100, and set to take JPEGs, not RAW?

Would you agree that typical indoor lighting, when no special lights have been applied, is somewhere around EV6 for ISO 100? That's nine stops darker than full sun.

Let's assume that OP is using her kit 16-50mmm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. We have no idea how big her stock is. She could be using 16mm or she could be using 50mm. Let's assume she is using a focal length at which the max aperture is f/4.

We have no idea of the tonal values and range of her stock. Let's just assume it is middle grey for now.

In P mode with EV6 (for ISO 100) light, the camera will set the lens wide open to f/4. That's four stops lighter than the f/16 used in the sunny 16 rule. There are nine stops less scene luminance than sunny 16 and four stops more exposure from lens aperture, so the camera needs to set the shutter speed to five stops below 1/125. That's 1/4 sec shutter. At such a shutter speed she will get significant camera motion blur at the focal length she is using, even with OSS enabled. Using any +ve EC will just add to the motion blur.

So frankly, your suggestions just make no sense for indoor photography.

I've already suggested lighting. Without lighting, the way to go would be Auto-ISO, M mode, aperture set to widest available or stopped down if wide open doesn't give enough DOF to cover the stock item, shutter set to no slower than 1 / (3/8 x focal length).

The shutter speed recommendation assumes she properly holds the camera, and that OSS is giving two stops of stabilization. The former may not be a good assumption. She may need a faster shutter. The latter is based both on testing by IR and my own experience with the lens on the same camera.

Guess you missed the " try these for starters:" part of my post.

Not trying to pin point specific indoor lighting conditions but just suggesting a starting point for the original poster not knowing whether the problem is focus, color or exposure.

He/she can follow your suggestions from there.

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,613
Re: Sanity check
1

skyglider wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

skyglider wrote:

Not sure if your indoor problems are:

  • Out of focus
  • Wrong colors
  • Pictures too dark

That said, try these for starters:

Let's do a sanity check of those recommendations.

Would you agree that a system reset puts the camera into manual ISO, probably at ISO 100, and set to take JPEGs, not RAW?

Would you agree that typical indoor lighting, when no special lights have been applied, is somewhere around EV6 for ISO 100? That's nine stops darker than full sun.

Let's assume that OP is using her kit 16-50mmm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. We have no idea how big her stock is. She could be using 16mm or she could be using 50mm. Let's assume she is using a focal length at which the max aperture is f/4.

We have no idea of the tonal values and range of her stock. Let's just assume it is middle grey for now.

In P mode with EV6 (for ISO 100) light, the camera will set the lens wide open to f/4. That's four stops lighter than the f/16 used in the sunny 16 rule. There are nine stops less scene luminance than sunny 16 and four stops more exposure from lens aperture, so the camera needs to set the shutter speed to five stops below 1/125. That's 1/4 sec shutter. At such a shutter speed she will get significant camera motion blur at the focal length she is using, even with OSS enabled. Using any +ve EC will just add to the motion blur.

So frankly, your suggestions just make no sense for indoor photography.

I've already suggested lighting. Without lighting, the way to go would be Auto-ISO, M mode, aperture set to widest available or stopped down if wide open doesn't give enough DOF to cover the stock item, shutter set to no slower than 1 / (3/8 x focal length).

The shutter speed recommendation assumes she properly holds the camera, and that OSS is giving two stops of stabilization. The former may not be a good assumption. She may need a faster shutter. The latter is based both on testing by IR and my own experience with the lens on the same camera.

Guess you missed the " try these for starters:" part of my post.

Not trying to pin point specific indoor lighting conditions but just suggesting a starting point for the original poster not knowing whether the problem is focus, color or exposure.

He/she can follow your suggestions from there.

More egregiously, I missed that setting an a6000 back to default actually enables Auto-ISO. So much of my objection is mis-placed. I am sorry about that.

FingerPainter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,613
Re: Sanity check

Autonerd wrote:

FingerPainter wrote:

Would you agree that a system reset puts the camera into manual ISO, probably at ISO 100, and set to take JPEGs, not RAW?

No, a settings reset on a Sony 6000 puts the camera in bounded ISO auto mode (i.e. where user sets upper and lower bounds) with a range of 100 to 3200. It does set the camera to take JPGs in "fine" mode.

Thanks for this. I guess I've never done a system reset on an a6000.

I did a settings reset, and in P mode, indoor (late afternoon sun and one incandescent lamp), it went for ISO 2500-3200, f/4-4.5, 1/30-1/60.

So two stops darker than what i estimated for a better-lit room. Sounds about right. I'm going to have to apologize to

Aaron

skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 5,751
Re: Sanity check

FingerPainter wrote:

More egregiously, I missed that setting an a6000 back to default actually enables Auto-ISO. So much of my objection is mis-placed. I am sorry about that.

No worries. Happy Thanksgiving

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,365
Re: Sanity check

FingerPainter wrote:

Thanks for this. I guess I've never done a system reset on an a6000.

I just happened to have one sitting around!

So two stops darker than what i estimated for a better-lit room. Sounds about right. I'm going to have to apologize to

Aaron

Aww, you don't have to apologize to me... *g*

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