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Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

Updated on August 8, 2013

About the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

The Sony Alpha A300 and A350 are well designed digital SLR cameras that provide a wealth of photographic options.

The Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide strips away the mystery from the menus, buttons and dials to allow the user to master the art of taking great pictures with the A300 series.

Reviews of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

Purchase the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide on Amazon!

Get the most from your A300 or A350. Order the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide from Amazon.

What you'll learn from this book:

If you want to improve your Sony Alpha A300 or A350 experience, this is the place to start.

Part I: Using the Sony Alpha A300 series

Chapter 1: Exploring the Sony Alpha A300 and A350

Chapter one gets right to the heart of the matter with an in depth look at the Sony Quick AF Live View System, which sets the A300 and A350 apart from the other dSLRs in he Alpha lineup. The chapter then looks at all the external controls on the A300 series, exploring each button, dial and switch. After completing this chapter, you will be completely familiar with the controls on the A300 series.

Chapter 2: Setting Up Your Alpha A300 Series dSLR

After completing chaspter 2, you will be a master of the A300 menu syytem

Chapter 2 begins where the first chapter left off, dissecting each setting available in the A300 series menus. Understanding the menu system is crucial to getting great results with the A300 and A350, and Chapter 2 gives the reader an easy-to-understand discussion of each command and explains the circumstances where the command should be used.

Part II: Creating Great Photos with the Alpha A300 Series

Chapter 3: Photography Essentials

The Sony Alpha A300 and A350 appeal to a diverse population of photographers, some of who have been shooting for years, and others who are entering the word of the dSLR for the very first time. Chapter 3 gives the reader a through explanation of basic photography fundamentals, without overwhelming the reader with jargon and technical terms. New photographers will gain an appreciation of aperture, shutter speed, exposure, ISO and white balance. This knowledge will help the first time dSLR shooter rapidly advance in their quest to become a better photographer. The chapter serves as a refresher course for long time dSLR users and also helps in the transition from film to digital SLR shooting. Both newcomers and experienced shooters will benefit from the section on composition fundamentals.

Chapter 4: Lenses and Accessories

Interchangeable lenses are one of a dSLR's major strengths, and that is true of both the A300 and A350. With so many lens options, choosing auxiliary lenses for the A300 series can become overwhelming. Chapter 4 helps eliminate the mystery about which lenses to buy and gives you a full explanation of what to look for when evaluating a new lens.

The chapter takes a close look at wide-angle, normal, telephoto and macro lenses. It discusses the full Sony lens lineup and goes on to demystify the option of using Minolta lenses on the Sony Alpha. You'll also learn what to look for when buying a used lens. The chapter closes with a look at must-have accessories for the A300 series, including the vertical grip, remote releases and more.

Chapter 5: Lighting Fundamentals

Chapter 5 introduces you to a variety of lighting techniques

Create lighting effects with inexpensive household lamps: pg. 87

Understanding light and light modifiers is absolutely essential to getting great results from a dSLR. in chapter 5, you'll find a complete discussion of lighting basics, including the differences between continuous lighting and electronic flash. The full array of light modifiers is outlined, and the chapter goes on to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the proprietary Sony/Minolta hot shoe design. Naturally, there is also a discussion of which flash units work with the A300 series.

Part III: Shooting with the Alpha A300

Chapter 6: Photo Subjects

Chapter 6 is the largest chapter in the book and it consists of a series of exercises designed to enhance your skills when shooting in a wide variety of photographic situations. Each exercise is accompanied by numerous full color images to inspire your creative faculties. The exercises will foster your skills in a full range of disciplines, including:

  • Animal and Pet Photography

  • Architectural Photography

  • Black and White Photography

  • Event Photography

  • Flash Photography

  • Flower and Garden Photography

  • Food Photography

  • High Dynamic Range Photography

  • Landscape and Nature Photography

Capture exciting Sports and
action, pg 178

Master night photography, pg 153

  • Macro Photography

  • Night Photography

  • Panoramic Photography

  • Portrait Photography

  • Product photography

  • Seasonal Photography

  • Special Effects Photography

  • Sports and Action Photography

  • Travel Photography

  • Weather Photography

Whip up delicious images in the food photography section, pg 136

When you complete Chapter 6, you will be well equipped to handle almost any photographic situation you encounter with your A300 series.

Chapter 7: Creating a Digital Workflow

DSLR photography entails far more than just the camera and lens. Once you fill your memory card with great images, you will need to catalog, store and edit those images. Chapter 7 takes you through a quick, but informative tour of the software and hardware options available to simplify your digital workflow. You will be exposed to the differences between RAW and JPEG images, and you'll receive a through overview of your RAW processing options. You also learn about sharpening and noise reduction software, as well as the best pixel editing applications.

Appendix A: Sony Alpha Resources

The resource section provides you with list of specialty and used camera dealers, support and technical information, A-mount lens and flash databases as well as Sony/Minolta forums and discussion Groups

Appendix B: Troubleshooting

In the troubleshooting section, you learn how to keep your Compact Flash cards healthy, how to update your camera's firmware, how to protect and clean your digital sensor and how to reset the A300 series to the default, factory settings. The chapter winds up with a full explanation of the Li-Ion battery used in the A300 series and provides you with tips on how to prolong the life of your batteries

Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide is available online and at fine book sellers across the USA - Brand new -- just in time for Christmas!

Some of the many online retailers carrying this book include:

What's inside the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

Discover everything between the covers

Part I: Using the Sony Alpha A300 series

Chapter 1: Exploring the Sony Alpha A300 and A350

  • Working with the Sony Quick AF Live View System

  • Mastering the A300 Series Controls

  • Front camera controls and features

  • Top camera controls and features

  • Right side controls and features

  • Left side controls and features

  • Back of the camera

Chapter 2: Setting Up Your Alpha A300 Series dSLR

  • Using the Menu List

  • Flash mode

  • Autofocus mode

  • White balance

  • Metering mode

  • AF area

  • D-Range Optimizer

Surveying the Main Menu Options
  • Recording menu 1

  • Recording menu 2

  • Custom menu

  • Playback menu 1

  • Playback menu 2

  • Setup menu 1

  • Setup menu 2

  • Setup menu 3

Part II: Creating Great Photos with the Alpha A300 Series

Chapter 3: Photography Essentials

  • How Aperture Affects Your Images

  • Understanding aperture 48

  • Deciphering f-stops

  • How Shutter Speeds Influence Your Photos

  • Understanding Exposure

  • The role of ISO in exposure

  • Understanding exposure latitude

  • Working with highlights and shadows

  • Utilizing Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer

  • The importance of optimum white balance

  • Composition

  • The rule of thirds

  • Using direction to aid the viewer

Chapter 4: Lenses and Accessories

  • Selecting Lenses to Complement Your A300 Series Camera

  • The advantages of Super Steady Shot

  • Understanding lens crop factor

  • Sorting Through Your Lens Options

  • Telephoto lenses

  • Normal lenses

  • Wide-angle lenses

  • Macro lenses

  • Zoom lenses

  • Prime lenses

  • Available Lenses for the A300 Series

  • Analyzing the A300 series kit lenses

  • Sony lenses

  • Minolta lenses

  • Should You Buy a Used Lens?

  • Extending Lens Reach with a Teleconverter

  • Must-have Accessories for the A300 Series

Chapter 5: Lighting Fundamentals

  • Reflected Light

  • Continuous Lighting

  • Electronic Flash

  • Studio Strobe Units

  • Light Modifiers

    • Softboxes

    • Photo umbrellas

    • Flash diffuser attachments

    • Grids and barn doors
  • Using Artifi cial Light with the A300 Series

  • Sony/Minolta hotshoe

  • Off camera flash

  • Wired flash

  • Wireless flash

  • Radio triggers

  • What to Look for in an External Flash Unit

  • Sony Dedicated Flash Units

  • Using Older Minolta Flash Units with the A300 Series

Part III: Shooting with the Alpha A300

Chapter 6: Photo Subjects

  • Animal and Pet Photography

  • Architectural Photography

  • Black and White Photography

  • Event Photography

  • Flash Photography

  • Flower and Garden Photography

  • Food Photography

  • High Dynamic Range Photography

  • Landscape and Nature Photography

  • Macro Photography

  • Night Photography

  • Panoramic Photography

  • Portrait Photography

  • Product photography

  • Seasonal Photography

  • Special Effects Photography

  • Sports and Action Photography

  • Travel Photography

  • Weather Photography

Chapter 7: Creating a DigitalWorkflow

  • Transferring Images to Your Computer

  • The Advantages of a RAW Workflow

  • Working with JPEG

  • Advantages of RAW

  • RAW conversion software for the Sony A300 series

  • Third-Party Converters for RAW Images

  • Archiving and Cataloging Images

  • Storage Medium Options

  • Dedicated Sharpening and Noise Reduction Applications

  • Pixel Image Editing Applications

Appendix A: Sony Alpha Resources

  • Specialty and Used Camera Dealers

  • Support and Technical Information

  • A-mount Lens and Flash Information

  • Sony/Minolta Forums and Discussion Groups

Appendix B: Troubleshooting

  • Keeping Your Compact Flash Cards Healthy

  • Upgrading Your Camera's Firmware

  • Preventing Sensor Dust

  • Resetting to the Default Settings

  • Battery Basics

About Tom Bonner, author of the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

When Konica-Minolta announced that they were exiting the camera business, Tom Bonner realized he had to make a decision. A Minolta user for decades, Bonner was suddenly looking at a photo landscape devoid of future Minolta offerings.

Electronics giant Sony announced they were acquiring all the photographic assets of Konica-Minolta, and Bonner faced the choice of switching brands or staying the course with newcomer Sony.

That was in 2006. Since then, Bonner made the decision to move into the Sony camp, started a popular blog about Sony Alpha cameras and has just completed a book about the Sony A300 and A350 dSLRs.

"It's been an interesting couple of years," Bonner smiles. "I was somewhat concerned about whether Sony would maintain the quality and innovation that the Minolta cameras offered. Today, I am very happy with the direction Sony has taken with their Alpha dSLRs. The cameras are great; they are easy to use, reliable and they make great images."

Bonner began his photographic career in the mid-seventies. Covering motorsports and the Detroit auto industry, Bonner's photos began to appear in national magazines throughout the country. He traveled extensively on assignment, creating images of cars, events, travel locations and outdoor subjects.

In the nineties, Bonner entered the graphic arts industry, spending a decade working at the Detroit office of Applied Graphics Technologies. There he was involved in all phases of high-end advertising graphics. He worked closely with many of the top art directors in Detroit, learning how to produce the highest quality print material. Much of the work consisted of retouching images in Adobe Photoshop.

"The Detroit agencies take their advertising images very seriously," Bonner attests. "The art directors were great to work with, but when it came to their images they were incredibly demanding. You were expected to turn out flawless work under the tightest of deadlines. It was hard work, but thanks to that period I can cut Photoshop masks in my sleep."

The new millennium found Bonner behind the lens once again, this time photographing million-dollar beach homes along the North Carolina coast. The images were designed to be used on the Internet, and Bonner began to leverage the skills he learned in the prepress industry toward designing high quality websites.

He quickly masted the intricacies of CSS, Javascipt, Flash and advanced HTML. Of course his Photoshop skills fitted perfectly into this new scenario, as did his photographic experience. He continued to shoot film, but he started to incorporate digital cameras into his repertoire. With his extensive digital experience at AGT, working with multimedia formats was second nature to him.

With Minolta out of the picture, Bonner determined to start writing about the new Sony Alpha. He started a blog for Sony and Minolta SLR users at Alphatracks covers both film and digital pursuits. Digital topics, however, are becoming much more prevalent.

"I still love my old Minolta film SLRs, but that train has left the station," Bonner explains. "I am excited about shooting digital. I love the immediacy of seeing what you shot and the ability to tailor the ISO to the shooting conditions. I've found that my experience with my old manual film SLRs translates very well to the Alpha dSLR cameras."

In 2008 Bonner accepted an offer from Wiley Publishing to write the Sony Alpha DSLR-A300/A350 Digital Field Guide.

"This was a wonderful experience," Bonner says. "The people at Wiley were great to work with, and I really enjoyed shooting with the A350. I worked very hard to make the features and settings of the A300 series easy to understand by dSLR newcomers, while at the same time including material useful to more seasoned photographers."

The book is part of the Wiley Digital Field Guide series. Each book in the series focuses on a particular digital camera, exploring the menus and controls in detail. In addition, each guide provides information on lenses, flash units and accessories. There are also sections on photographic workflows, troubleshooting and resources.

"My favorite part was developing the photography exercises section," Bonner says. "The idea of this section is to provide exercises that users of all skill levels can follow to improve their photographic techniques. The section runs the gamut from sports-action photography, to travel, to portraiture, to black & white photography. Hopefully, readers will learn some new techniques to enhance their images under specific conditions."

Now that the book is completed, Bonner has returned to blogging at Alphatracks, as well providing event photography and web design to corporate clients.

Links and more...

SquiDirectory - A categorized Squidoo directory featuring an interesting variety of different subjects ranging from arts and literature, shopping, and eco friendly tips, to vehicles for sale, travel, and everything in between.

Feed Shark

Tell us what you like and dislike about the A300 series. What are the strong points? What could Sony have done better? Would you recommend the camera to someone else?

What's your take on the A300 sereis... - If you shoot with the A300 or A350, let us know what you think

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      looks interesting but i like nikon

    • TIRMassageStone1 profile image


      8 years ago

      I would love to get this camera!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great lens. Very nice photos. If anyone is in the myrtle beach area, come check me out at Myrtle Beach Photography


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