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David Busch’s Sony ® α DSLR-A550/A500: Guide to Digital Photography

Book Description

With the Alpha A550 and A500, Sony has combined the high-quality attributes of more expensive and advanced digital SLR cameras with the compact body and ease of use that the Alpha models are known for. David Busch's Sony Alpha DSLR-A550/A500 Guide to Digital Photography shows discriminating photographers like you how to take outstanding pictures with these sophisticated and cutting-edge cameras that feature 12 to 14 megapixels of resolution, blazing fast automatic focus, and the real-time preview system Live View . You'll learn how, when, and, most importantly, why to use all the cool features and functions of your camera to take eye-popping photographs. Introductory chapters will help you get comfortable with the basics of your camera before you dive right into exploring creative ways to apply the Sony Alpha's exposure modes, focus controls, and electronic flash options. Compatible with both the A550 and the A500, this book is chock full of hands-on tips for choosing lenses, flash units, and software products to use with your new camera. Beautiful, full-color images illustrate where the essential buttons and dials are, so you'll quickly learn how to use your Sony Alpha, and use it well.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Authors
  4. Preface
  5. Introduction
    1. Why the Sony Alpha dSLR Needs Special Coverage
    2. Who Are You?
    3. Who Am I?
    4. Meet My Co-Author, Alex
  6. 1. Getting Started with Your Sony Alpha dSLR
    1. Differences Between the A500 and A550 Models
    2. Your Out-of-Box Experience
    3. Initial Setup
      1. Battery Included
        1. Charging the Battery
      2. Final Steps
        1. Mounting the Lens
        2. Adjusting Diopter Correction
        3. Inserting a Memory Card
        4. Turn on the Power
      3. Formatting a Memory Card
    4. Selecting a Shooting Mode
    5. Choosing a Metering Mode
    6. Choosing a Focus Mode
    7. Selecting a Focus Point
    8. Other Settings
      1. Adjusting White Balance and ISO
      2. Using the Self-Timer
    9. Reviewing the Images You’ve Taken
    10. Transferring Photos to Your Computer
  7. 2. Sony Alpha DSLR-A550/A500 Roadmap
    1. Front View
    2. The Sony Alpha’s Business End
    3. Going Topside
    4. Underneath Your Sony Alpha
    5. Lens Components
    6. LCD Panel Readouts
    7. Looking Inside the Viewfinder
  8. 3. Setting Up Your Sony Alpha dSLR
    1. Anatomy of the Sony Alpha’s Menus
    2. Recording 1/2 Menu
      1. Image Size
      2. Aspect Ratio
      3. Quality
        1. JPEG vs. RAW
      4. Flash Control
      5. AF Illuminator
      6. SteadyShot
      7. Color Space
      8. Long Exp. NR/High ISO NR
    3. Custom Menu
      1. Eye-Start AF
      2. AEL Button
      3. Red Eye Reduction
      4. Auto Review
      5. Auto Off w/ VF
      6. Grid Line
    4. Playback Menu
      1. Delete
      2. Format
      3. Slide Show
      4. Protect
      5. Specify Printing
      6. Playback Display
    5. Setup 1/2/3 Menus
      1. LCD Brightness
      2. Date/Time Setup
      3. Power Save (Live View)
      4. Power Save (Optical Viewfinder)
      5. CTRL for HDMI
      6. Language
      7. Help Guide Display
      8. File Number
      9. Folder Name
      10. Select Folder/New Folder
      11. USB Connection
      12. Audio Signals
      13. Cleaning Mode
      14. Pixel Mapping
      15. Version
      16. Reset Default
    6. Function Menu
  9. 4. Getting the Right Exposure
    1. Getting a Handle on Exposure
    2. How the Sony Alpha Calculates Exposure
    3. Choosing a Metering Method
    4. Choosing an Exposure Method
      1. Aperture Priority
      2. Shutter Priority
      3. Program Auto Mode
      4. Making Exposure Value Changes
      5. Manual Exposure
    5. Adjusting Exposure with ISO Settings
    6. Bracketing
    7. Dealing with Noise
    8. Fixing Exposures with Histograms
    9. Scene and Auto Modes
  10. 5. Advanced Techniques for Your Sony Alpha dSLR
    1. Exploring Ultra-Fast Exposures
    2. Long Exposures
      1. Three Ways to Take Long Exposures
      2. Working with Long Exposures
    3. Delayed Exposures
      1. Self-Timer
    4. Getting into Focus
      1. Phase Detection
        1. Improved Cross-Type Focus Point
      2. Contrast Detection
      3. Focus Modes
    5. Focus Pocus
      1. Adding Circles of Confusion
      2. Making Sense of Focus Sensors
      3. Your Autofocus Mode Options
        1. Single-Shot AF
        2. Continuous AF
        3. Automatic AF
      4. Setting the AF Area
        1. Face Detection
    6. Manual Focus
      1. Manual Focus Live View Check
      2. Focus Stacking
    7. Continuous Shooting
    8. Setting Image Parameters
      1. Customizing White Balance
      2. Setting White Balance by Color Temperature
      3. Setting a Custom White Balance
    9. Image Processing
      1. D-Range Optimizer
      2. Using Creative Styles
    10. Working with Live View
      1. What You Can Do with Live View
  11. 6. Working with Lenses
    1. But Don’t Forget the Crop Factor
    2. Your First Lens
      1. Buy Now, Expand Later
    3. Your Second (and Third…) Lens
      1. What Lenses Can Do for You
      2. Zoom or Prime?
    4. Categories of Lenses
    5. Using Wide-Angle and Wide-Zoom Lenses
      1. Avoiding Potential Wide-Angle Problems
    6. Using Telephoto and Tele-Zoom Lenses
      1. Avoiding Telephoto Lens Problems
      2. Telephotos and Bokeh
    7. Add-ons and Special Features
      1. Lens Hoods
      2. Telephoto Extenders
      3. Macro Focusing
      4. SteadyShot and Your Lenses
  12. 7. Making Light Work for You
    1. The Elements of Light
    2. Continuous Lighting—or Electronic Flash?
    3. Continuous Lighting Basics
      1. Daylight
      2. Incandescent/Tungsten Light
      3. Fluorescent Light/Other Light Sources
      4. Adjusting White Balance
    4. Electronic Flash Basics
      1. How Electronic Flash Works
        1. Avoiding Sync Speed Problems
        2. Ghost Images
        3. Slow Sync
        4. Determining Exposure
    5. Using the Built-In Flash
      1. Setting Flash Modes
        1. Flash Exposure Compensation
    6. Using the External Electronic Flash
      1. HVL-F58AM Flash Unit
      2. HVL-F42AM Flash Unit
      3. HVL-F36AM Flash Unit
      4. HVL-F20AM Flash Unit
    7. More Advanced Lighting Techniques
      1. Diffusing and Softening the Light
      2. Using Multiple Light Sources
        1. Basic Flash Setups
        2. Studio Flash
      3. Other Lighting Accessories
        1. Soft Boxes
        2. Light Stands
        3. Backgrounds
        4. Snoots and Barn Doors
  13. 8. Downloading and Editing Your Images
    1. What’s in the Box?
      1. Picture Motion Browser
      2. Image Data Lightbox SR
      3. Image Data Converter SR
    2. Transferring Your Photos
      1. Using a Card Reader and Software
      2. Dragging and Dropping
    3. Editing Your Photos
      1. Image Editors
      2. RAW Utilities
  14. 9. Sony Alpha DSLR-A550/A500: Troubleshooting and Prevention
    1. Update Your Firmware
    2. Protect Your LCD
    3. Troubleshooting Memory Cards
      1. All Your Eggs in One Basket?
      2. What Can Go Wrong?
      3. What Can You Do?
    4. Clean Your Sensor
      1. Dust the FAQs, Ma’am.
      2. Identifying and Dealing with Stubborn Dust
      3. Avoiding Dust
      4. Sensor Cleaning
        1. Placing the Shutter in the Locked and Fully Upright Position for Landing
        2. Air Cleaning
        3. Brush Cleaning
        4. Liquid Cleaning
        5. Tape Cleaning
  15. Glossary