Guide to Sony a6000 Focus Modes (Simple)

Ever wondered how to capture fast action or use manual focus on your Sony a6000?

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

Let’s dive in!

The Basics

Where to find the focus mode setting?

Finding the focus mode setting is pretty easy.

  1. Hit the FN button on the back of your camera.
  2. Search for the focus mode setting (4th position on the top row).
  3. Push in the middle of the joystick/dial to open up the menu.
  4. If needed, refer to the picture below for reference.

Now let’s jump into the specific modes.

focus mode location on sony a6000

Focusing Modes

Single-Shot AF (AF-S)

The single-shot AF mode is pretty self explanatory. When you half press the shutter button, the camera will lock in focus.

You can then move the camera around (recompose) and the camera will hold focus, or you can fully push in the shutter button to take the shot.

Single-shot AF is the most commonly used focusing mode on the a6000 (generally combined with the single shooting drive mode), as it’s the best for stationary subjects.

Continuous AF (AF-C)

For non-stationary subjects, continuous AF is best. While the shutter button is pressed halfway, the camera is able to continuously track a moving subject.

You’ll see tiny green boxes moving around the screen that indicate what is currently in focus. I’ve used this for all sorts of subjects. The obvious use is for fast moving objects like cars or runners, but I’ve also even used it for capturing a sense of motion during portraits shoots.

This mode can be coupled with the continuous shooting drive mode in order to reliably capture fast action. It’s worth noting that this mode burns up batteries quickly due to the near-constant refocusing.

Manual Focus (MF)

The next mode is manual focus. This is the mode where you physically have to spin the focusing ring on your lens as it completely disables the autofocus system.

While manual focus can seem intimidating, it’s actually quite easy and very powerful once you get the hang of it. Learning manual focus opens you up to an entirely new world of low cost, fully manual lenses.

If you’re interested in learning more about MF, I’d highly recommend reading our top ranking guide to manual focus on Sony a6000 cameras. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Dynamic Modes

Automatic AF (AF-A)

Automatic AF is a combination of the two previously mentioned modes.

When the shutter button is pushed halfway down, it’ll lock focus on a stationary subject. If it detects movement, however, the camera will switch to continuous AF to track the subjects.

This mode is generally very unreliable, and I wouldn’t suggest ever using it.

Dynamic Manual Focus (DMF)

The last mode is DMF. It’s a smart mode that, by default, will use autofocus (AF-S) but will switch to manual focus as soon as the focusing ring is moved.

This can be a very useful mode, but can often times be accidentally activated by bumping the focusing ring.

man holding camera on mountaintop
Experiment with different focus modes!


As you can see, the various focusing modes on your camera aren’t very complicated once you learn what they’re used for.

If you’re interested in tackling your camera’s manual controls even more, take a gander over at my a6000 guides on shutter speed, drive modes, and aperture.

Thanks for reading!