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3 Setting Up Your Sony Alpha SLT-A77 > Anatomy of the Sony Alpha’s Menus

Anatomy of the Sony Alpha’s Menus

The Alpha has one of the best designed menu systems of any digital camera in its price class, with a significant amount of consistency with other cameras in the Sony current product line. The Sony Alpha SLT-A77 has a series of sixteen separate tabbed menus, each with a single screen of entries, arranged in rows. (The Still Shooting tabs are shown in Figure 3.1.)

You’ll never need to scroll within a menu to see all the entries; however, if you scroll down to the bottom of any given menu, and then past the last entry, you’ll be taken automatically to the first entry in the next tab. Just press the MENU button, located in the upper-left corner of the back of the camera, use the left/right controls to highlight the menu tab you want to access, and then use the up/down controls or spin the front control dial to highlight the menu entry you want. What could be easier?

Figure 3.1 The Sony Alpha’s Still Shooting 1 menu.

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Pressing the MENU button brings up a typical menu. (If the camera goes to “sleep” because of the Power Save feature while you’re reviewing a menu, you can wake it up again by tapping the MENU button.) The 16 menu tabs are Still Shooting 1, Still Shooting 2, Still Shooting 3, Movie Shooting 1, Custom 1, Custom 2, Custom 3, Custom 4, Custom 5, Playback 1, Playback 2, Memory Card Tool 1, Clock setup 1, Setup 1, Setup 2, and Setup 3.

Of course, not everything is set using these menus. The Alpha also has very convenient direct setting controls, such as the drive mode, exposure compensation, white balance, and ISO buttons that bypass the multilayered menu system to provide quick access to some features. Even more direct access adjustment screens are available when you press the Fn (Function) button, which produces the Function menu and submenus, introduced in Chapters 1 and 2 and discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

When working with any of these menus, after you’ve moved the highlighting bar by pressing up or down (or by rotating the front control dial) to the menu item you want to work with, press the multi-selector button to select it. In most cases, a submenu with a list of options for the selected menu item will appear. Within the submenu options, you can scroll with the up/down buttons or with the front control dial to choose a setting, and then press the multi-selector button to confirm the choice you’ve made. Press the MENU button again to exit. Or, if you prefer, you can press halfway down on the shutter button to exit the menu system and go directly into Still Shooting mode, ready to snap a photo with your new menu settings.

At times you will notice that some lines on various menu screens are “grayed out,” so you can read them, but they cannot be selected. This means that item is not available for adjustment with your current settings. For example, if you have set Quality to RAW, the Image Size line will be grayed out, because RAW files are all the same size, and no size setting is possible.

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