Guide to Sony a6000 Drive Modes

Have you been looking through the settings on your Sony a6000 and stumbled upon the “drive mode” option?

Ever wanted to learn how to do burst shooting or how to set a timer on the shutter?

In this quick and concise guide, we’ll go over every relevant option in the “drive modes” category on your Sony a6000 to explain what they are and how to use them.

Let’s dive in!

man holding camera by lake

The Basics

Where to find the drive mode setting?

Finding the location of the drive mode setting is pretty easy.

  1. Hit the FN button on the back of your camera
  2. Select the drive mode setting (1st position of the top row)
  3. Push in the middle of the joystick/dial to open the menu
  4. If needed, check out the reference picture below.

Now let’s jump into the specific modes.

location of the sony a6000 drive mode button

The Modes

Single Shooting

The single shooting drive mode is pretty self explanatory. You simply push the shutter button and the camera takes a single picture.

This is likely the typical mode, especially when combined with Single-Shot AF, that you’ve used most frequently.

You compose the shot, set focus, take the picture, and that’s all there is to it. Nothing complicated.

static photo of los angeles
A static image captured in single shot mode.

Continuous Shooting

In continuous shooting mode (also known as burst mode), your Sony a6000 will continue shooting pictures while the shutter button is held down.

The speed is adjustable between low, medium, and high. The a6000 can shoot up to 11-ish frames per second in JPEG or 10-ish frames per second in RAW.

The camera won’t autofocus between frames unless you’ve set your focus mode to AF-C.

Good for Fast Action

This mode is most commonly used for fast action situations and subjects.

For example, if you’re shooting cars or other fast moving subjects, you’d set the camera to continuous shooting in order to get “bursts” of action.

On the flipside, I often use the low speed setting for portraits in order to capture more candid movement in my shots.

SD Cards & Buffer Size

A big caveat of this shooting mode is that it can fill up your SD card very quickly.

Additionally, the camera has what is known as a “buffer” where eventually it will start to slow down because it can’t write (save) images quickly enough.

By the way, if you’re looking to shoot a lot of fast action, it’s worth investing in a quick SD card (affiliate link).

Self Timer

This next one is pretty self explanatory and is likely something you’ve seen even on phone cameras. You set the time (in this case, 2 seconds or 10 seconds) and then hit the shutter button. Then, a few moments later, your Sony a6000 will take the picture by itself.

Self Portraits/Group Photos

This is handy for many circumstances. The most obvious situation would be if you’re trying to take a self portrait or get into a group shot.

Set the timer, get in the frame, and the camera captures the image.

Stability on Tripods

The other use is for stability. When taking long exposures, even on a tripod (affiliate link), any touch of the shutter button will send micro vibrations through the camera, possibly ruining your shot.

Using a self timer allows you to be completely hands-free when the camera takes the image, eliminating any possibility of vibrations/blur (alternatively, you could use a remote shutter release).

man self portrait by car at night
The timer drive mode is great for self portraits.

Continuous Bracket

The next mode is primarily used in a photography method called “bracketed exposure” in which multiple frames are taken and then combined for a more evenly lit image (once again, using a tripod for stability and consistency).

To put it simply, the camera will shoot a few images at different exposures which you can then combine in post-processing (generally known as an HDR merge).

Good for High Contrast Situations

If you’re shooting a sunset for example, you can shoot in bracketed mode in order to have one image where the foreground/landscape is well lit, and then another where the sky is properly exposed.

Then, you can merge them in Photoshop or Lightroom to create a perfectly exposed image.


There are a few more drive modes that I neglected to mention, but they tend to be either useless or extremely niche. The four that I went over are the ones you’ll use most commonly.

If you’re interested in tackling your camera’s manual settings even more, go check out my articles on focus modes and shutter speed.

Thanks for reading!