How to set up Sony 6300 camera

I wrote this Sony A6300 settings guide for those who are confused by the camera buttons and the long list of options in the camera menu. The settings reflect my work style and needs may differ from case to case.

The Sony A6300 is an advanced interchangeable lens mirrorless camera designed for enthusiasts and professionals alike, so it has many complex functions and features. In this article, we’ll go over important information about which settings are ideal for photography and video, as well as explain what some of the settings do.

Before we examine the camera menu, let’s take a look at the external controls. Similar to previous cameras in the Sony 6000 family, the A6300 has many menu options but there are a few things that can only be controlled from the external control options.

1) Camera mode selector and C1 / C2

The Sony A6300’s top plate is uncluttered, which thankfully makes things easier to understand. Besides the built-in flash of the flash or microphone stand and the camera, there are only two dials and one function button that you will deal with. The first dial close to the flash unit is the camera’s mode dial. Here you set the camera’s main operating mode, be it Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Auto, Scene or Memory Recall modes.


One of my personal preferences is to use Aperture Priority mode over other camera modes as it gives me control over the lens aperture and the camera does the rest of the exposure calculation, which works very well on most cameras including the Sony A6300. There are other modes that are specifically used for things like panoramas and movies, but I use them less often. This leaves three modes that I find most useful on the A6300: Aperture Priority, Manual and Memory Recall. Although the Memory Recall mode (labeled as “1” and “2” on the dial) is intended for more advanced photographers who want to store settings for different situations, I would encourage every A6300 owner to explore this mode as it can be very useful when you from one filming scenario to another. All you have to do is access the camera menu as shown in the camera menu below, save your settings to one of the memory banks and you’re good to go. If you don’t want to go that route yet, I’d encourage you to try using Aperture Priority mode instead of Program Mode, Auto, or Scene modes. The selector on the right is a function selector that can be used for different purposes depending on where you are. In Aperture Priority and Manual modes, for example, the dial is used to adjust the lens aperture, while in Shutter Priority mode, it changes the camera’s shutter speed. Once you’ve set your camera to Aperture Priority mode, just use this dial on the right to adjust the lens aperture. The C1 function button next to the camera power/shutter switch is used to change the focus mode by default. I personally prefer to keep this function in the C1 button, but you can change it to one of the many other functions available through the camera menu, as explained below.


2) Rear Buttons

The rear side of the Sony A6300 is a lot more functional compared to others, thanks to a number of different navigation and function buttons. Similar to its predecessor, the A6300 is definitely “right-heavy” on the back, with almost all buttons located to the right of the LCD camera. The flash button (the one with flash icon) is a physical button that opens up the pop-up flash. It is not programmable like most other buttons. The Menu button located right next to it obviously opens up the camera menu – that’s where you make changes to the camera. Here is how the back of the camera looks:
At the top right side of the camera you will find the AEL (Auto Exposure Lock) / AF/MF (Autofocus / Manual Focus) switch with a button in the middle. This button is meant to be used in conjunction with the switch and its function changes depending on what you set the switch to. By default, if you keep the switch on AF/MF, the button will perform “AF/MF Control Hold”. While this can be handy for holding the button and rotating the focus ring to make quick focus adjustments (the camera switches to manual focus when the button is pressed), I personally prefer changing this button to “AF On”. This way, the button is used purely for back-button focusing and can also be used to focus and recompose (although you don’t really need to do that anymore thanks to such superb focus point coverage). When the dial is set to “AEL”, I let the camera hold my exposure, which is the default behavior (AEL hold). This can be useful when shooting manual panoramas, where each image must have the same exposure. We will go through the process of configuring all this further down below. To the right of this switch, almost on the side of the camera, you will find a red button that is used for recording videos.


 Fn / Function Button

The Fn (Function) button is a very useful button that you will use a lot to make quick changes to the most important camera settings such as ISO, White Balance, Drive and Focus modes, etc. While you can change and customize the menu function when the button is pressed, I personally find the defaults work pretty well. Let’s go through these very quickly:

Drive Mode: I mostly keep it at “Single Shot” but sometimes switch to Self-Timer when shooting on a tripod to avoid camera shake.

Focus Mode: The default ‘AF-A’ (Auto AF, which is a combination of AF-S and AF-C modes) should work well for most scenarios, but if you need to switch to continuous or manual focus, here’s the place you do it from.

Focus Area: Flexible Point: M. This mode works great for selective focus. Unfortunately, by default, there is no quick way to change the focus point. But don’t worry, there’s a way to set the center button of the rear rotary dial (the one below the “Fn” button) so that when you press the button, you’ll be able to easily move the focus points. We will configure this later in the camera menu.

Exposure Compensation: I prefer to use the lower back button on the rotary dial to access exposure compensation.

ISO: Set this to “ISO Auto” so that the camera automatically chooses the ISO for you. The Auto ISO function works very well and has all the features of modern Auto ISO implementations found on Nikon and Canon cameras. I usually leave the minimum ISO at 100, while setting the maximum ISO to 3200 – anything above ISO 3200 is too noisy for my taste. Although you can only see the minimum and maximum ISO options under this setting, you can also navigate to the camera menu and set the minimum shutter speed in ISO Auto mode (the ISO AUTO Min. SS option in the Exposure 1 submenu). By default, the camera will set the shutter speed using the reciprocal rule, but you can change the values from “Slower” to “Faster” as well as set a specific shutter speed you want to stick to.

Metering mode: I use Multi, but sometimes I switch to spot metering when a situation calls for it.

Flash Mode: Auto. I dont use use that little pop-up flash!

Flash Comp: 0.0

White Balance: AWB (Auto White Balance)

Creative Style: Standard. Don’t bother with Creative Styles as they are irrelevant when shooting in RAW.

Quality: RAW, of course. Shooting mode: Aperture priority (changes according to shooting mode) ​.


Navigation and Other Rear Buttons

The multi-function navigation dial on the back of the camera is very useful and can be used to navigate through the camera menu, make quick exposure changes, as well as access specific functions by pressing each of the four corners. “DISP” switches between different views on the camera’s LCD; “ISO” allows you to change the ISO of the camera; the left side is used to access the camera’s drive mode, while the bottom is for making exposure compensation adjustments. There are two additional buttons below the multifunction navigation dial – Play and C2 / Trash. Playback is obviously to play images on the LCD, and the C2 / Trash button can be used to delete unwanted images during playback. When the camera is not in Playback mode, C2 serves as another programmable function key. By default this button is set to nothing on the A6300, but I changed mine to serve as “ISO AUTO Min. SS” so I can make quick adjustments to the minimum shutter speed when using Auto ISO. Again, we’ll go over custom button setup below.


Camera Menu

Sony’s menu system is not easy to use – it’s quite a cluttered and cluttered menu system. Lots of menu options to go through, with different functions thrown into random menus. Let’s go through each menu setting.
Shooting Menu 1
Image size: Default (24M), gray on RAW 
Aspect ratio: 3:2 
Quality: RAW
Panorama: Size -> Standard (only visible in Panorama mode) 
Panorama: Direction -> Right (left to right, visible in Pan mode)

File format: XAVC S 4K
Record setting: 25p 60M. 
Dual video recording: ON
Enabled HFR settings: 24p. This is used for slow motion videos, so choose your target frame rate.
Drive mode: single shooting
Bracket settings: Self timer during Brkt: 2 sec Bracket order: – -> 0 -> +
Shooting Menu 3
Flash Mode: Fill Flash 
Flash Comp: 0.0 
Red-eye reduction: Off 
Focus mode: Auto AF (AF-A) 
Focus area: flexible point: M 
AF Illuminator: Auto
Shooting Menu 4
AF driving speed: Normal 
AF tracking direction: Normal 
Exposure Comp: 0.0
Exposure step: 0.3EV 
AUTO ISO Min. SS: Standard, but you can change it to "Fast" or "Master" if you have shaky hands I found "Normal" for AF travel speed and track sensitivity to be optimal for most situations.
Shooting Menu 5
Metering mode: Multi
White balance: Auto
DRO / Auto HDR: Off 
Creative Style: Standard
Image Effect: Off (grey in RAW mode) 
Image Profile: Disabled
Shooting Menu 6
Zoom: in gray in RAW 
Focus Magnifier: Used for zooming in while focusing manually. Gray in AF mode, must be in MF to work. 
NR long exposure: On 
High ISO NR: Off (grey in RAW mode) 
Center Lock-on AF: Disabled, but can be a good option when something needs to be actively tracked
Smile / Face Detect: On (Face Recording) – works pretty well for face recording and tracking 
Shooting Menu 7
Soft skin effect: Off (disabled in RAW)
Auto Obj. Framing: Off (disabled in RAW)
Auto Mode: Default (-), grayed out and only visible when you switch to "Auto" mode on the top dial
Scene Selection: Default (-), grayed out, but will show a bunch of scenes in Scene mode 
Movie/HFR: Default (-), faded in Aperture Priority mode

Shooting Menu 8
SteadyShot: On – keep this on. It's for image stabilization, but it only works with lenses that have it (the Sony A6300 doesn't have IBIS).
Color space: Although color space doesn't matter for RAW files, I use AdobeRGB because it provides a slightly more accurate histogram to determine correct exposure (since the camera shows the histogram based on the JPEG image rendered by the camera, even if you shoot exclusively in RAW). 
Auto slow Shut: On 
Audio recording: On
Audio recording level: — 
Wind noise reduction: Off 
Shooting Menu 9
Memory Recall: Available only when MR mode is selected at the top of the camera. Allows you to choose one of three presets.
Memory: Going here will save all current settings to one of the selected presets. I usually switch between two presets – for Landscapes and People. For landscapes, I set the camera mode to Aperture Priority, Manual Focus, ISO to 100, turn off Auto ISO, and turn off other irrelevant settings like face registration. For portraits, I set the camera to AF-A focus mode, ISO to Auto and change other relevant settings.
Wheel 1
Zebra: Off 
MF Assist: On – a great feature that automatically zooms in when you move the focus ring in manual focus mode. 
Focus Magnif. Time: 5 seconds, I like to keep it a bit longer
AF in Focus Magnif. Time: On 
Grid Line: Rule of third grid 
Marker Display: Disabled
Wheel 2
Marker Settings: All Off (depending on your video recording needs) Automatic review: 2 sec 
DISP button: Monitor: No display information and For Verified Viewfinder. The display of all the information is too cluttered and the graphic display takes up too much of the screen. 
Finder: No display Info, histogram 
Peaking Level: Mid – peaking only works in MF mode. 
Peaking color: red
Wheel 3
Exposure set. Guide: On
Live View Display: Setting the effect ON
AF Area Auto Clear: Off
Disp. account.AF area: On
Pre-AF: On
Zoom setting: optical zoom only (gray in RAW)
Wheel 5
Priority set in AF-S:Balanced Emphasis 
Priority set in AF-C: Balanced Emphasis 
AF w/ shutter: On – if you want to focus and recompose, set it to Off and use the rear AEL button for  AF ON
AEL w/ shutter: Auto 
Silent shooting: OFF
e-Front Curtain Shutter: ON


Wheel 6
S. Auto Img. Extract.: grayed out in Aperture Priority. Only works in Superior Auto mode 
Exp.comp.set: Ambient&flash 
Face Registration: used for registering faces. 
AF Micro Adj: Off, don't do this unless you want to calibrate a lens 
Lens Comp.: Shading Comp.: Off 
Chro. Aber. Comp.: Off 
Distortion Comp.: Off 
AF System: Default (-), works only in combination with some lenses
Function Menu Set.: This is what controls what the menu looks like when you press the "Fn" button on the back of the camera. Function Upper and Lower – leave these at default, unless you know what you are doing 
Custom Key (Shoot.): 
Custom Button 1: Focus Mode.
Custom Button 2: Focus Magnifier. Once you do this, you will be able to use the C2 button to zoom in while focusing. Pressing the same button several times will allow you to zoom in up to 11.7x (pixel level). 
Center Button: Standard Focus 
Left Button: Drive Mode 
Right Button: ISO 
Down Button: Exposure Comp.
AEL Button: AEL hold 
AF/MF Button: AF On 
Focus Hold Button: Focus Hold 
Custom Key (PB): The custom buttons can be set to behave differently when playing back images on the camera. I personally don't care for these, so I leave them at their default values 
Custom Button 1: Follow Custom (Sht.) 
Custom Button 2: Follow Custom (Sht.) 
Fn / SmartPhone Button: Send to Smartphone 
Dial/Wheel Setup: F/no, SS 
Dial/Wheel Ev Comp: Wheel – since the lens aperture is controlled with the dial, I like to use the rear dial for exposure compensation. 
Zoom Ring Rotate: Default, only available with some lenses
Wheel 8
MOVIE Button: Always – will record movie any time without going into Movie 
Mode Dial / Wheel Lock: Unlock
Connection 1 and 2
Might be best to keep “Airplane Mode: On” to save battery life.


You can use things like Smart Remote to remotely control the camera.

Playback 1 and 2

Display Rotation: Off – I don’t like it when the camera flips verticals
Other settings are used for accessing specific playback functions


Setup 1
Monitor Brightness: Manual 
Viewfinder Brightness: Auto works pretty well 
Finder Color Temp.: 0 
Gamma Disp. Assist: Off 
Volume Settings: 7 
Audio signals: Off – I always turn these off
Setup 2
Tile Menu: Off – you don't want extra icons to access the menu 
Mode Dial Guide: Off – won't display the guide when changing camera modes 
Delete confirm: "Delete" first - don't want to scroll when I need to delete something 
Display Quality: Standard 
Pwr Save Start Time: 1 Min usually works pretty well


Setup 3
NTSC/PAL Selector: Don't touch unless you know what you are doing, When you change the type of files on the card you lose all stored data Cleaning Mode: used for cleaning the camera sensor 
Demo Mode: grayed out TC/UB Settings: Don't touch unless you know what you are doing 
Remote Ctrl: On (for remote control)
Setup 4
HDMI Settings: 
HDMI Resolution: Auto 
24p/60p Output: 60p 
HDMI Info. Display: On 
TC Output: Off 
REC Control: – 
4K Output Sel.: – USB Connection: Auto 
USB LUN Setting: Multi 
USB Power Supply: On
Setup 5
Language: English 
Date/Time Setup: usually turn Daylight Savings On 
Area Setting: For setting the time zone 
Copyright Info: For adding copyright info metadata to images 
Format: for formatting SD memory card 
File Number: Series
Setup 6
Set File Name: DSC 
Select REC Folder: Skip this 
New Folder: Skip this 
Folder Name: Standard Form 
Recover Image DB: Skip this 
Display Media Info.: Shows what's on the card
Setup 7
Version: Display firmware version 
Setting Reset: will reset the camera settings or reinitialize the camera


I hope you found this article on recommended settings useful. The above settings work for me and may not necessarily suit your needs, it also depends on your work style. It’s best to explore your camera and learn as much as you can about each feature and button to take advantage of all the available features and customization options your camera has to offer!

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