Sony DSLR-A850 Review

 
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Sony A850 Modes and Menus

This page will seem very familiar if you've read our Sony A900 review, as the A850's Modes and Menus are identical.

Capture Mode: When powered on, the camera is automatically placed into Record mode. The Exposure Mode dial on top of the camera sets the main shooting mode, with the following options:

  • Manual: Provides complete user control over the exposure, including both aperture and shutter speed settings. A Bulb shutter setting also becomes available in this mode, allowing variable length exposures for as long as you hold down the shutter button.
  • Shutter Priority: Allows the user to set the shutter speed, from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, while the camera selects the most appropriate aperture setting.
  • Aperture Priority: The opposite of Shutter Priority, this mode puts the user in control of the aperture setting while the camera selects the best shutter speed. (The aperture range varies with the lens in use.)
  • Program AE (with Shift): This mode places the camera in control over both aperture and shutter speed, while the user has access to all other menu functions. Turning either of the control dials cycles through a range of equivalent exposure settings, enabling the Program Shift mode.
  • Full Auto: This mode places the camera entirely in control of the exposure, though the user can adjust the exposure compensation and determine the flash mode.
  • Custom Modes 1-3: The A850 allows you to register three custom exposure modes, through the Memory option of the Record menu, so that you can quickly access your reserved settings by turning the Mode dial to one of the three numbered positions.

 

Playback Mode: The Playback button on the rear panel accesses Playback mode, where you can review captured images. The left and right arrow keys, as well as the up and down keys, scroll through the images on the card. You can enlarge captured images or display them in an index format for quick viewing.

 

Sony A850 Menus

Pressing the Menu button provides access to the camera's full menu system. The following options are available in most camera modes as menu tabs at the top of the display:

 

Sony A850 Record Menu:

Sony A900/A850 full Record menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Record Menu 1 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Image Size
3:2 aspect mode:

- L:24M
- M:13M
- S:6.1M

16:9 aspect mode:

- L:21M
- M:11M

- S:5.2M

APS-C size Capt. On:
- L:11M
- M:5.6M
- S:2.6M

Sets the pixel dimensions of captured still images.

L=(6,048 x 4,032)
M=(4,400 x 2,936)
S=(3,024 x 2,016)

L=(6,048 x 3,408)
M=(4,400 x 2,472)
S=(3,024 x 1,704)


L=(3,984 x 2,656)
M=(2,896 x 1,928)
S=(1,984 x 1,320)

Aspect Ratio
- 3:2
- 16:9
Select normal or HDTV wide screen aspect ratios for images.
Quality
- RAW
- cRAW
- RAW & JPEG
- cRAW & JPEG
- Extra Fine
- Fine
- Standard
Specifies the compression level and file type of images. cRAW is compressed RAW. JPEG is Fine when saved with RAW or cRAW.
D-Range Optimizer
- Off
- Standard
- Advanced Auto
- Advanced with 5-step level adjustment
Dynamic Range Optimization settings.
Custom Button
- AF lock
- AF/MF control
- Optical preview
- Intelligent preview
- ISO
- White balance
- Exposure comp.
- Flash compens.
- Drive mode
- AF area
- Image size
- Quality
- Creative Style
- D-Range Optimizer
- Flash mode
- Memory
Defines the function of the Custom button.
Creative Style
- Standard
- Vivid
- Neutral
- Clear
- Deep
- Light
- Portrait
- Landscape
- Sunset
- Night View
- Autumn Leaves
- B/W
- Sepia
Customizable styles start with a preset style, but allow contrast, saturation, sharpness, brightness and zone adjustments (B/W and Sepia styles exclude saturation adjustment).
Color Space
- sRGB
- Adobe RGB
Changes the color space setting.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Record menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Record Menu 2 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Flash Mode
- Autoflash
- Fill-flash
- Rear sync.
- Wireless
Wireless flash shooting requires HVL-F56AM or HVL-F36AM external flash.
Flash Control
- ADI Flash
- Pre-flash TTL
Selects the flash metering method. ADI uses pre-flash, but includes distance info provided by lens. Pre-flash TTL uses exposure calculated with pre-flash only.
Flash Compensation
- -3 to +3
Sets the flash exposure compensation level in EV.
Exposure Step
- 0.5 EV
- 0.3 EV
Exposure compensation increment.
ISO Auto Range
- 400-1,600
- 400-800
- 200-1,600
- 200-800
- 200-400
Controls the minimum and maximum ISO values allowed in Auto mode.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Record menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Record Menu 3 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
AF-A Setup
- AF-A
- DMF
Automatic AF or Direct Manual Focus which allows fine manual adjustment after AF.
AF Area
- Wide
- Spot
- Local
Wide option lets the camera choose AF area, Spot uses center focus area, Local allows user to choose which of the 9 AF sensors to use.
Priority Setup
- AF
- Release
The AF option will not release the shutter unless focus is set, while the Release setting trips the shutter even if AF is not established.
AF Illuminator
- Auto
- Off
Enables the LED AF illuminator, for use in very dark shooting conditions.
AF w/Shutter
- On
- Off
Enables AF when shutter button is half-depressed. When Off, autofocus by pressing center of multiselector, or a programmed button.
Long exp. NR
- On
- Off
Enables dark frame subtraction noise reduction for exposures longer than one second.
High ISO NR
- High
- Normal
- Low
- Off
Noise reduction levels at high ISOs (ISO 1,600 or higher).

 

Sony A900/A850 full Record menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Record Menu 4 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Memory
Select settings for register:
- 1
- 2
- 3
Allows three sets of shooting modes and parameters to be saved for quick recall on the Mode dial.
Rec mode reset
- OK
- Cancel
Resets record mode settings to factory defaults.

 

Sony A850 Custom Menu:

Sony A900/A850 full Custom menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Custom Menu 1 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level Notes
AF/MF Button
- AF/MF control
- AF lock
Use AF/MF for AF lock instead of switching between auto focus and manual focus.
AF/MF Control
- Hold
- Toggle
Hold requires button to be held down to switch, while toggle switches modes every time it's pressed.
AF Drive Speed
- Fast
- Slow
Speed of AF. Slow is useful for macro work.
AF Area Display
- 0.6 sec
- 0.3 sec
- Off
Duration of AF area illumination in viewfinder.
Focus Hold Button
- Focus hold
- Optical Preview
- Intelligent Preview
For lenses with a Focus Hold button, you can change it to enable optical or intelligent preview modes.
Auto Review
- 10 sec.
- 5 sec.
- 2 sec.
- Off
Sets the display time for an image immediately post-capture, or turns review off.
Preview Function
- Intelligent
- Optical
Sets the mode for the Preview button on the front of the camera. Optical shows depth of field, and Intelligent shows effects of exposure compensation, white balance, etc.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Custom menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Custom Menu 2 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
AEL Button
- AEL hold
- AEL toggle
- Spot AE, AEL hold
- Spot AE, AEL toggle
Changes the behavior of the AE Lock button. Spot AE can be performed before AEL hold or toggle, regardless of metering mode.
Ctrl Dial Setup
- Front shutter speed / back aperture
- Front aperture / back shutter speed
Adjust the shutter speed with the front dial and aperture with the rear, or vice vera.
Dial Exp. Comp.
- Off
- Front dial
- Rear dial
Selects which dial adjusts exposure compensation. Has no effect in Manual exposure mode.
Ctrl Dial Lock
- On
- Off
On only allows dials to function while shutter speed and aperture are displayed. Off allows changes even when not displayed.
Button Ops.
- Exclusive disp
- Quick Navi
Display exclusive screen, or Quick Navi screen when pressing ISO, WB, Drive, EV comp or C (custom) button.
Release w/o Card
- Enable
- Disable
Allows shutter release without card installed.
Rec. Info. Disp.
- Auto Rotate
- Horizontal
Auto Rotate automatically rotates the information display when the camera's orientation changes.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Custom menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Custom Menu 3 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Exp. Comp. Set
- Ambient&flash
- Ambient only
Sets whether Exposure Compensation adjusts the ambient exposure only, or the ambient exposure and the flash (if flash is in use).
Bracket Order
- 0 to - to +
- - to 0 to +
Sets the order in bracket sequence. Does not apply to DRO advanced bracket.
Custom Reset
- OK
- Cancel
Resets all Custom menu options to their default settings.

 

Sony A850 Playback Menu:

Sony A900/A850 full Playback menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Playback Menu 1 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Delete
- Marked images
- All images
Lets you delete all photos on the card, or only marked photos.
Format
- OK
- Cancel
Formats the selected memory card, erasing all files (even protected ones).
Protect
- Marked images
- All images
- Cancel all
Write protects images, or removes protection.
DPOF Setup
- Marked images
- All images
- Cancel all
Sets up photos for DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) printing on a compatible standalone printer.
Date Imprint
- On
- Off
Chooses whether or not to print the date on all photos in your DPOF order.
Index Print
- Create index
- Delete index
Chooses whether to create or delete an index print of all photos in your DPOF order.
Playback Display
- Auto rotate
- Manual rotate
Sets whether the camera automatically rotates vertically-shot images in Playback mode.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Playback menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Playback Menu 2 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Slideshow
Press center of multi-selector to start/stop slide show.
Display slide show of captured images.
Interval
- 30 sec
- 10 sec
- 5 sec
- 3 sec
- 1 sec
Sets the slide show interval.

 

Sony A850 Setup Menu:

Sony A900/A850 full Setup menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Setup Menu 1 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
LCD Brightness
Select level (-5 to +5)
Adjust LCD brightness.
Info. Disp.Time
- 1 min
- 30 sec
- 10 sec
- 5 sec
Length of time record information is displayed on LCD in record mode.
Power Save
- 30 min
- 10 min
- 5 min
- 3 min
- 1 min
Determines the amount of inactivity time that will cause camera to enter a low power mode. Pressing shutter button half-way exits power save mode.
Video Output
- NTSC
- PAL
Selects composite video out standard.
HDMI Output
- HD(1080i)prior.
- HD(720p)prior.
- SD priority
Selects type of signal over HDMI interface (normally automatic).
Language
- English
- French
- Spanish
- Italian
- Japanese
- Chinese
Menu language setup.
Date/Time Setup
Fields for:
- Date
- Time
- Date format
Set the cameras internal clock and calendar.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Setup menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Setup Menu 2 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Memory Card
- Memory Stick
- CompactFlash
Select type of memory card.
File Number
- Series
- Reset
Set whether filename continues to increment from last image, regardless of whether folder or card has changed, or the card has been formatted.
Folder Name
- Standard form
- Date form
Select standard folder names (i.e., 100MSDCF), or include the date in the folder name (i.e.., 10170101).
Select Folder
Select from a list of folders.
Selects current folder.
New Folder
- OK
Create a new folder with a number incremented from the largest previous number.
USB Connection
- Mass Storage
- PTP
- Remote PC
Sets USB mode.
MassStrg.Card
- Both cards
- Selected card
Display both the Memory Stick Duo and CF cards, (requires Windows 2000 SP3 or higher) or just the selected card when connected to a computer.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Setup menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Setup Menu 3 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Menu Start
- Top
- Previous
Display the first or previous menu when menu button is pressed.
Delete Confirm
- "Delete" first
- "Cancel" first

Selects default action for Delete.

Audio Signals
- On
- Off
Enables sound during self-timer countdown, etc.
Cleaning Mode
After cleaning, turn camera off. Continue?
- OK
- Cancel
Enables sensor cleaning mode, which vibrates the sensor, then flips the mirror up and opens the shutter for access with a blower or swab. Can be performed only when battery is at least 3/4 charged.
AF Micro Adj.
- On
- Off
- Clear
If on, registers the adjustment value of the attached lens or focuses on a subject using the registered value, set between -20 and +20. Clear removes the preset values.
Amount
Set the desired adjustment values for the AF Micro Adj. setting.
Sets the adjustment values for fine AF adjustment.
Focusing Screen
- Type G
- Type M
- Type L
Sets the focusing screen. G is default, Type M makes it easier to check peak focus and sharpness (suitable for brighter lenses f/1.4 to 2.8), and L is equipped with a grid.

 

Sony A900/A850 full Setup menu layout
(note, large download for dialup users)

Setup Menu 4 Options
Top-Level
Selection
Second-Level
Notes
APS-C Size Capt.
- On
- Off
Captures an image in the area equivalent to the APS-C size.
Reset Default
- OK
- Cancel
Restore factory defaults for all menu settings.

 

Sony DSLR-A850

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