Exploring the Sony Alpha 1 DSLR-A200 dial adjusts the shutter speed. When in A, Aperture Priority...

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  • 11C H A P T E RExploring the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200

    Knowing your camera is one of the keys to being a better photographer. It could be argued that it is more important than understanding exposure or even com- position. The A200, after all, has a great auto setting that sets the exposure for you, and composition can be a matter of opinion, but not knowing where to set the Flash mode or how to access the white balance setting can severely hinder your photography. Knowing your camera enables you to adjust the white balance settings, change the ISO, switch metering and autofocus modes, and adjust any setting without having to spend a lot of time fi nding the right button, switch, or menu option.

    Chapters 1 and 2 help you learn about all the settings, con- trols, and menus of the A200. It takes time and can seem daunting, especially because some controls have more than one function. But the fi rst step is to learn where all those but- tons and switches are located on the camera.

    One of the things that always seems to impress people when I am photographing is that I know where and how to change the settings I want, quickly. If the time comes to switch between Single image drive mode and Continuous drive mode, I know that it can be done with a single button. And you will, too.

    ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

    In This Chapter

    Camera controls

    Viewfi nder display

    LCD screen

    ISO sensitivity

    Metering modes

    Drive modes

    ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

    CO PY

    RI GH

    TE D

    M AT

    ER IA


  • 14 Part 1 ✦ Using the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200

    On the front The most important part on the front of the A200, shown in fi gure 1.1, is the lens mount opening. This is the most vulnerable part of the camera, so if a lens is not attached, a body cap needs to be used. The less time this is open to the elements, the better. I leave a lens attached most of the time. This keeps the camera ready to be used at a moment’s notice and doesn’t let any dust and dirt into the camera when stored in my camera bag.

    Camera Controls Holding the camera as you would when shooting, you can see that the layout of the buttons and the controls all are well thought out. Use the following fi gures as a guide to the locations of all the various controls on your A200. After time, accessing your most commonly used controls should be second nature.

    Self-timer lamp

    Lens contacts


    Mirror Lens mount

    Lens mount release button

    Built-in flash

    1.1 The front of the A200 without a lens mounted

  • Chapter 1 ✦ Exploring the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200 15

    A-type lens mount and can accept all Sony camera lenses and a vari- ety of older Minolta A-type lenses. You can read more about lenses in Chapter 5.

    On the top The top of the A200 has three of the most important controls you’ll use, the Mode dial, the Control Dial, and the Shutter button. There are also dedicated buttons for the drive mode and ISO along with a hot shoe for external fl ashes.

    ✦ Hot shoe. The hot shoe lets you attach an external Sony fl ash unit such as the HVL-F58AM, HVL- F56AM, HVL-F42AM, or HVL- F36AM, along with fl ashes from third-party vendors such as Promaster, Metz, and Sigma.

    ✦ Mode dial. This is where you set the recording mode on the camera. The choices are Auto, a fully auto- matic mode; P, Program Auto mode; A, Aperture Priority mode; S, Shutter Priority mode; M, Manual mode; one of the six scene modes; and an Auto mode with no fl ash.

    ✦ Control dial. The control dial is where the photographer changes the shooting settings. When in P, Program Auto mode, rotating the dial adjusts the shutter speed. When in A, Aperture Priority mode, the dial controls the aperture. When in S, Shutter Priority mode, the dial controls the shutter speed. When in M, Manual mode, the Control dial alone controls the shutter speed, and when combined with pressing the Exposure Compensation/AV button, it con- trols the aperture.

    The features on the front of the camera also include:

    ✦ Built-in fl ash. Pressing the fl ash button on the left side of the fl ash manually opens the fl ash. The fl ash also automatically opens when the camera is in Auto mode and the built-in light meter determines that the scene is too dark and the fl ash is necessary. To close the fl ash, just push down from the top until it locks into place. Figure 1.1 shows the fl ash in the open position.

    ✦ Self-timer lamp. The Self-timer lamp fl ashes when either the 2-second or the 10-second Self-timer mode is used. The Self-timer is accessed in the Drive mode, which is covered later in this chapter.

    ✦ Handgrip. The ergonomic handgrip houses the battery. The grip is com- fortable and secure for horizontal and vertical shooting.

    ✦ Mirror. The mirror refl ects the light that comes through the lens up to the viewfi nder letting the photogra- pher see the same view as the camera. When the Shutter button is pressed, the mirror fl ips up out of the way so that the light can reach the sensor. The mirror is located inside the camera body and should not be touched.

    ✦ Lens contacts. These are the con- tacts that communicate between the camera body and the camera lens.

    ✦ Lens mount release button. This button, when pressed, unlocks the lens from the body and makes it possible to remove the lens.

    ✦ Lens mount. This is where you attach the lens. The Sony lens mount is based on the Minolta

  • 16 Part 1 ✦ Using the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200

    button all easily accessed with your thumb. This lets you change the picture-taking set- tings without having to change your grip.

    ✦ Power switch. This turns the cam- era on and off . The A200 has a built-in sensor-cleaning mode that vibrates the sensor to shake off any dust every time the power is turned off . The slight vibration when turn- ing the camera off is normal.

    ✦ Menu button. The Menu button opens the Main menu on the LCD screen.

    ✦ Display button. The Display button enables you to switch between the detailed display and the enlarged display in the Recording mode. The Display button also cycles through the diff erent display modes when in the Playback mode. The bright- ness of the LCD screen can be adjusted by pressing the Display button for a few seconds.

    ✦ Shutter button. When you press this button all the way down, the shutter releases and the photo is taken. When pressed halfway down, the camera autofocuses using one of the nine autofocus sensors.

    ✦ Drive button. This button opens the Drive mode menu on the LCD screen.

    ✦ ISO button. This button opens the ISO menu on the LCD screen.

    ✦ Image sensor plane indicator. This marking on the camera body is used if you need to measure the exact distance from the subject to the image sensor.

    On the back The back of the A200 is intelligently laid out with the Function button, Multi-selector, Super SteadyShot switch, Exposure com- pensation/Enlarge button, and AEL Lock

    Control dial

    Shutter button

    Mode dial

    Image sensor plane indicator

    Hot shoe

    Drive button

    ISO button

    1.2 A top view of the camera

  • Chapter 1 ✦ Exploring the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200 17

    ✦ Diopter adjustment dial. This lets you compensate for farsightedness and nearsightedness. Adjust the dial while looking through the viewfi nder until the image is sharp. If you are farsighted, rotate the dial downward; if you are nearsighted, rotate the dial upward.

    ✦ Exposure Compensation/Enlarge button. Pressing this button opens the Exposure Compensation menu. When in Viewing mode, pressing the button enlarges the image on the LCD screen.

    ✦ AEL (AE Lock)/Zoom button. This button has two purposes depend- ing on which mode the camera is in. When the camera is in Shooting mode, this button locks in a certain exposure. When you focus on an area or subject that you want to be metered for exposure, even if it is not going to be the main subject of your photograph, and press the AEL

    ✦ Trash button. When you are reviewing images on the LCD screen, pressing this button opens the Delete Image screen. There is a choice to delete the image or to cancel, which returns the display to reviewing images mode.

    ✦ Playback button. The Playback button is pressed to view on the LCD screen the images already taken.

    ✦ LCD screen. The 2.7-inch LCD screen displays diff erent informa- tion depending on the mode.

    ✦ Viewfi nder. The viewfi nder shows a bright clear view of the scene shown through the lens.

    ✦ Eyepiece sensor. This sensor right below the viewfi nder can deter- mine if you are looking through the eyepiece. The default setting is for the LCD screen to turn off when the sensor determines that you are looking through the viewfi nder.


    Eyepiece sensor

    Power switch

    Menu button

    Display button

    Trash button

    Playback button

    LCD monitor

    Access light

    Function/Rotate button


    Super SteadyShot switch

    AEL (AE Lock)/ Zoom button

    Exposure Compensation/ Enlarge button

    Diopter adjustment dial

    Spot focus selector/Multi-selector center button

    1.3 A rear view of the A200

  • 18 Part 1 ✦ Using the Sony Alpha DSLR-A200

    On the bottom The bottom of the A200 houses the battery and a tripod mo