Sony a6000 for beginners
A couple of whale watchers. (Check out that camera!)

This is my recap of my figuring out how to use my Sony a6000 for true beginners. I truly mean, beginner beginners. I didn’t really know the difference between a ‘point and shoot and something else’. I didn’t understand why you need a million different lenses. I didn’t understand iso, aperture, etc. (PS, I still don’t understand it.)  An aside, this isn’t a sponsored post, I spent my own money on this camera.

I went into Best Buy to pick up the Nikon, case and tripod that I’d ordered online. The tripod was way larger than I expected it to be and would be horrible for traveling so I promptly declined to pick that up. While in search of a tripod some random gal offered to get me help. I’m not sure how we got on the subject but the guy offering me help was talking me through my camera purchase and with the help of another employee talked me into the Sony Alpha α6000. It’s a mirrorless camera which came with a standard 16-50 mm lens, plus a 55-210 mm lens. I was even lost about what this meant but I thought I’d go with it.

I had already opened the box at home when it occurred to me that I should have googled this camera more before purchasing it. I did google ‘Sony a6000 for bloggers’ and there were many articles on how it was the best camera for travel bloggers. Ding. Ding. Nothing like google making you feel better about your purchase. Now I just need to figure out how to use it.

There was barely a direction book to speak of in my new camera box. So I went to Twitter to post that I had a new camera and then asked ‘now what’. Someone mentioned YouTube. So that was my next stop. The first video I watched was great but still over my head. Then it occurred to me to search for Sony α6000 guide for beginners. This seemed more my speed. This guy gave me some good info, but I still didn’t get through all of this video. (This is a good reminder to get back to it!)

When I turned on my camera for the first time it formatted my sd card and had me input the date and time. It also told me to download the Sony software to the computer. I felt like I had succeeded by figuring this out and getting the camera strap successfully on the camera.

Then I promptly left for my Alaskan Cruise. (Yes, I was one of the people bringing my new camera on an Alaskan Cruise.) For the cruise, I predominantly used my longer lens, which was just amazing. Our first tour in Juneau was a Whale Watching and hiking tour. The guide was a professional photographer doing his second summer in Alaska. He gave us tips! In general tip giving, he showed me the zoom. So you click on the button to get to the taken pictures (it’s on the lower right hand side, and is a square with a right facing arrow,) then click the circle button at the top, AEL. (Don’t worry I’m not going to go through all my knowledge with you but I thought this was helpful!) You can then move the dial in the middle to move around the zoomed in picture. This feature let me know that I captured an Eagle in the distance as well as cruise ships that were REALLY far away and looked to be more of a blob in the picture. But the key piece of advice our guide indicated was to use the dial at the top to select a Scene (SCN) and to select Sports Action. (The description indicates it Shoots fast motion at higher speeds.)

Sony a6000 for beginners, set to Sports Action to caption the tale action of this whale in Juneau, Alaska! No photography Experience Necessary.
Sony α6000, zoom lens, SCN, “Sports Action.” No photography Experience Necessary. © Pack Your Pixie Dust
The Sony a6000 for true beginners
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. (Photo taken with the Sony a6000.) © Pack Your Pixie Dust

For most of the other shots I oscillated between Intelligent Auto and Superior Auto and let the camera figure it out for me. The YouTube videos also told me to occasionally use my flash to add more light to my pictures. I hope on my next trip, I will remember to take note to compare using a flash and not. I also wished that I would have swapped out my lens to my smaller one for a lake that we were close to. I didn’t need the zoom and actually missed out because I had my longer lens at that stop. But man, this camera took beautiful pictures. I don’t regret the purchase of the Sony Alpha α6000 at all and I can’t wait to learn more!

I hope this helps you decide! Happy Travels!

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