How to Change ISO on a Sony a6000

Hi folks, this is a quick and concise guide on how (and why) to change the ISO on your Sony a6000 series camera.

Included will be a brief explanation of what ISO is and how changing the setting changes your images. Let’s dive in!


Where to find the ISO button on a Sony a6000.

How to change ISO on a Sony a6000?

Changing the ISO setting on your a6000 is incredibly easy. First, you’ll want to make sure the camera is in some sort of non-automatic mode (so P, A, S, or M mode). Switching the camera to “P” mode allows you to control just the ISO whilst keeping the rest of the settings automatic.

After you’ve switched modes, you simply push in the right side of the rear dial (where it says ISO) and that will open up a little menu. At that point, you simply spin the wheel to select your ISO setting.

So what is ISO?

Although ISO goes back to the film days, it’s quite the simple concept in the modern age. It’s pretty much a standardized metric used to measure the sensitivity of your camera sensor to light.

To put it in an easy way, the lower the ISO, the “darker” the image will be, whereas the higher you push the ISO, the brighter the image will be.

What is digital noise?

The ability to push your camera to “sense more light” may sound like magic. However, higher ISO values introduce a concept called digital noise.

Digital noise is essentially damaged pixels that don’t accurately represent the color or exposure of an image. While newer cameras have become incredibly adept at high ISO shooting, it’s still something to watch out for.

On my Sony a6000, I’ve found I can shoot up to 1600 ISO with no visual problems. 3200 ISO is when some noise begins to show, but is easily salvageable in post processing. I’d personally say 6400 ISO is the absolute limit for usable images, and should only be used in the toughest shooting conditions.

High ISO can often help with capturing the night sky, just don’t push it to far.

When should I increase my ISO?

There is one simple reason why you’d want to increase your ISO: to achieve brighter images in low light conditions.

However, you shouldn’t default to pushing your ISO any time the conditions get dark. ISO is just one part of the exposure triangle (shutter speed and aperture being the other parts), so it’s worth trying a combination of all three in order to get a well exposed image.

Generally, I increase my ISO as a last resort. If possible, I’ll stop down or extend my shutter speed (and use a tripod if I can’t handhold a shot).

My biggest advice would be to just practice. Take a variety of photos at various ISO settings and zoom in. Look closely at the visual quality at various levels, and over time you’ll start to understand the best ISO to shoot at in whatever given circumstances.

Hopefully this gave you a basic understanding on how (and why) to adjust ISO on your Sony a6000 camera.