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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 24 of 29

Camera Settings: Custom Operation


Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 24 of 29

Camera Settings: Custom Operation


Lesson Info

Camera Settings: Custom Operation

Custom key, we've seen me jump in here and customize a lot of the keys on the camera. So if we look at the camera, we can see that there are numerous buttons that we can reprogram in many different ways. All of these buttons can be reprogrammed on the camera or on the lens. Some of the bigger lenses have buttons on the side that you can use as well. And so, what can you program to these? Well, the number is expanding all the time so it's this 22 page list of features that you can go in and customize each of the buttons on your camera too. And so, you'll notice the little mountain symbol next to the custom key, that is for still photography. The beauty on this camera, is that you can completely change the way that they are customized, when you are shooting video. And so if you're shooting video and you have special features that you wanna have access to right away, you can program those in and they're not gonna get in your way when you're shooting still photographs, and you need those b...

uttons for something completely different. And it's gonna go through and you're gonna have the exact same buttons that you can go ahead and program in there. And if that's not enough, when you go in to the play back mode as I mentioned before in playback, you can customize these keys as well in here. And so there's a different set of keys, and it's a little bit more limited than in the previous two options. But you can program these keys to, either look for different types of images, but go in here and see what's available and see if you can make playback and reviewing your images a little bit quicker and a little bit easier. Next up, is Function Menu Set. And so the function menu was this listing of 12 different features that we went through earlier in the class, and all of these are replaceable and exchangeable. And so if you don't like them there, if you don't wanna even have them there, you can just take them all off. And so you can work with the upper row, you can work with the lower row, and go in and change all of these modes around and put only the ones in there that you use on a regular basis. If you don't like the way the dials work on the camera, with aperture values and time values front and back, you may wanna change them. This may sound silly to some of you, but some people have been using Canon or Nikon cameras for a long period of time, and they've always done apertures with the front dial, and this camera wants to do it with the back dial. Well you can switch it around, so it's comfortable for you to use. You can also not only change where the buttons are, the dials are, but you can change which direction they turn. And this can sometimes be easier when you're looking at the viewfinder and the numbers and the dials- and the indicators aren't working in the same direction. Sometimes the Japanese are kinda funny in the way they program these cameras, and if you wanna redo it, you can. Alright, next up is Dial Ev Compensation. And so, if you don't want to use that dial on the camera, let's just say that you bump it a lot, and it just doesn't work for you, you can have it reprogrammed to the front dial or the rear dial of the camera. So that way you would be changing aperture priority, or shutter priority, or program with the other dial, and then be using the exposure compensation with the dial here. This is the way that, a lot of the Canon cameras inherently work. And so if you wanna mimic that here, you can do that. The MOVIE Button. Some people... Don't like shooting movies. And they don't wanna shoot movies, and they get mad when their camera's taking still photographs and they accidentally bump that button, and it starts recording a movie. And so some people just kinda wanna turn that button off, unless you are in the movie mode. So if you're one of those people, put it in the movie mode only, and it will only start movies when you've turned the dial on the top of the camera to the movie mode. There are a number of dials and buttons that can get bumped when shooting in rough conditions like a journalist or sports photographer, and if you know you want everything set at a particular setting, you can lock that stuff in. And so if you wanna come in here, you can lock your selection of items in so that even though they get bumped and turned, the settings on the camera do not change. Audio signals, yeah they're kinda fun at first, but you may wanna turn them off just to be a little bit more discreet. John, we kinda have a grab bag of questions that do go back throughout the course so that we could take a few minutes now before we go to break. To address some of these, so this goes back to when we were talking about deleting images, and the question is, can you delete all the images with one click? Or do you have to just, format the card to get rid of all of them? So there are two options, one is you could format the card, and that would delete all the images, in as close to one click as you're gonna get. If you wanna delete an image, you can of course hit the garbage can on the back of the button, where you have to, confirm that you want it, yes I want it done. If you're gonna delete a lot of images, trying to think- if you playback, I'm not sure if this is a section I haven't gotten to, and- Yeah, so in the play- Yeah, we're gonna cover that more in the playback mode, because there is a deleting option right here, that will allow you to basically put a check mark on an image and say I wanna delete this one and this one this one this one this one, and then hit delete once and it deletes all of them. So I think that's what they were asking. [Short Haired Woman) Cool, okay. Yeah so you can just indicate your individual images with pressing delete once. Great. Let's see, we had a question about that was the preview one, okay, a couple of lens questions. Okay. So James asked, "When you're using a manual lens, with an adaptor, do you have to set the release without lens to disable?" It depends on the adaptor that you have, cause there are some manual lenses that have electronic transfer, to the adaptor and the adaptor to the camera body, and the camera will recognize "Hey, there's a lens on the camera, I have no idea what it's doing but I know there's a lens on there," and that information is being passed in to the meta data. In some cases, it's kinda like an old school retro lens, it's got no electronics at all, and that's where you're gonna want to turn the release without lens on so that you can release the shutter release, even though the camera doesn't even recognize a lens on the camera. Can you say just a few more words about proxy recording? Cause sometimes the challenge I have is trying to send a movie over to like an iPad or an iPhone, and I know we can't do that even with the card, can you do that if you set proxy recording? Yes you can, so the proxy recording for instance, you might be shooting a 4k video, and then this proxy recording video, which is still pretty good resolution, will also be recorded along with it. And then you could through wifi, which is what we're gonna get to in the next section, you could send that to your mobile device. Rather than the big 4k video that you recorded. And so that's gonna go a lot faster, because that's a lot lower resolution. So yeah, that's the whole reason that this came up, as we go up to higher and higher resolution, we're getting the higher resolution faster than we're increasing our exchange rates. And our transfer rates. And so yes. Cool, so question from Craig, that was similar to using an- another one about using an adaptor. So using Metabones adaptor for Canon lens, so the question is, "Will a lens made to work on a Canon, like a third party lens like a Tamron, or a Tokina, that's made to work on a canon, work on the Sony as well?" Yeah, yeah. With that adaptor. So for instance, I have a Sigma lens, on a Metabones adaptor, on a Sony camera, using a Canon mount that Canon has made no money on. (simultaneous laughter) And so yeah, it works as well as the Canon lenses themselves. It's still not everything that the Sony lenses, I don't have all the focus options available. And so there's a few limitations, but exposure-wise, it's very easy. It's mostly- the focusing is gonna be the limitation. Great, thank you. Anthony had a question, "Will the ISO auto- let me see if I'm reading this right- "Will the ISO auto minimum shutter speed work in manual mode?" Yes, yes. Question from Carrie, who loves your classes, says "I shoot full frame Nikon now, but very tempted by the Sony A73, and not having to calibrate lens, lenses to bodies, face and eye focus, and silent shutter, doesn't really know what Nikon has coming, if it'll be worth the wait, so if those things are important to her, is this a good way to go?" Yeah, definitely. One of the things that I've always been against my whole life in photography, is just changing systems to get one notch better. It's just not worth it for most people. If you have unlimited money, knock yourself out. Okay. But, for most of us, there's a serious expense in exchanging and so I've just- shook my head over the years of all the people switching from Nikon to Canon and Canon to Nikon and back and forth and, you know they're just trying to reach for these incremental gains. Well right now, Sony has, what is this, this is about a five year head start. From Canon to Nikon, on a full frame product. Now, Canon and Nikon have had mirror less cameras, or do have mirror less cameras, but not exactly so they've done research and they have been learning through their other products but they don't have anything in full frame right now and this is likely to change in the coming weeks. And so for those of you watching is this in the future, I know it seems antiquated and dated that we don't have 12 Nikon mirror less cameras out on the market, but right now we don't. Nikon is said to be introducing one maybe even next week. But the thing is, I can guarantee you they're not gonna have a set up lenses that matches Sony's. That's really weird to say. Nikon doesn't have as many lenses as Sony, but neither does Canon either. In this particular market. If Nikon comes out, if Canon comes out, they're gonna come out with a mirror less camera. They might have two or three or four lenses available, and then over the years they'll add a few more, few more, few more, and they'll be able to ramp up production and in five years from now, it'll be a pretty even playing game with mirror less cameras from all the manufacturers. But, if the mirror less camera has a lot of features that you like, you like full frame, yeah, Leica makes a couple of mirror less cameras in the category, but that's kind of a whole different thing. Sony's got the whole thing right now. Sony's got the whole ball of wax on full frame mirror less. And if you want it, yeah, there's no doubt this is gonna be the main game in town, for a number of years in the future.

Class Description


  • Use the advanced focusing system with 425 Contrast points and 693 phase detection points
  • Understand and leverage bracketing options for Exposure, White Balance and Dynamic Range Optimizer
  • Use the multitude of customizing options
  • Use video features like 4K video, slow motion, and time-lapse
  • Better use any modern mirrorless features like the EVF


Sony set the bar high by calling the Sony A7 III a basic mirrorless camera, packing the $2,000 body-only digital camera with a 24.2 megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor and image processor capable of 10 fps. The entry level full frame camera is being touted as one of the best options for full frame, even among Canon and Nikon competitors.

This class helps you get the most of your Sony camera with a complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features, whether you are just picking up the a7 III for the first time or you want to learn new tricks for your well-loved camera. Join expert photographer John Greengo as he gives you all the information you need to understand this Sony Alpha camera's buttons, menus, and functions -- without the 642-page instruction manual.


Anyone who has purchased, or is thinking about purchasing the Sony A7 III

Sony A7 III


John Greengo is a veteran instructor and an experienced photographer with over 50 Fast Start classes in the CreativeLive catalog. He has dove into the complex menu systems of multiple Sony cameras including the a6000, a6500, a9, and a7r III, as well as mirrorless and DSLRs from Panasonic, Nikon, and Canon. Besides being adept at dissecting new cameras, John works as a travel and outdoor photographer. With his experience in analyzing camera manuals, he will discuss the complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. After this class, you’ll be able to use your new Sony A7 III with confidence.


  1. Class Introduction

    Dip your feet into the world of Sony cameras with the class instruction. Walk through what to expect for the class and learn about how the camera compares to Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Note the differences with the Sony a7r III and learn camera care basics.

  2. Photo Basics

    New to photography? John covers the basics like what a mirrorless camera is and using an EVF. Learn basic terms like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed as well as factors like APS-C versus full frame sensors.

  3. Camera Controls: Control Wheel & Shutter Release

    Take your first picture (if you haven't already) with the basic, most-used controls on the Sony camera body. Explore the control wheel and shutter release, as well as the joystick that's new to the Sony a7 III (hint: the joystick also doubles as a button).

  4. Camera Controls: Mode Dial

    Learn the Sony a7 III's available modes by exploring the mode dial. From why you shouldn't use auto (and when you should) to how to use advanced modes like aperture priority mode and manual mode, dissect the different shooting modes on the camera.

  5. Camera Controls: Top Deck

    Navigate the remainder of the controls on the top of the camera, including the custom controls, like programming Sony's excellent eye AF.

  6. Camera Controls: Back Side Controls

    Demystify the controls at the back of the camera body. Learn essentials from focusing the viewfinder to AF modes to using the LCD screen.

  7. Back Side Controls: Function Button

    Jump into that "Fn" button and the quick menu controls that it brings up. Here, you can find shortcuts to adjusting options like ISO, AF mode, continuous shooting mode, and white balance.

  8. Back Side Controls: Wheel & Custom Buttons

    Continuing the journey through the back of the camera, learn all the options for the multi-purpose wheel, from shortcut EVF options to ISO.

  9. Left & Right Side Controls

    Decipher all the doors and ports at the side of the camera, including what accessories work well with the Sony camera body, the camera's NFC option, and the dual memory card slots.

  10. Bottom Controls

    The camera body doesn't have a lot of pieces at the bottom, but here, John walks photographers through easy tricks like finding the serial number and adding the battery grip accessory.

  11. Front Controls & Lenses

    Sony cameras don't often have a ton of controls at the front -- but learn the essentials on the front, as well as how to safely swap lenses. Then, dive into EF E-Mount lenses. Learn the best zoom lens and prime lenses to use with the camera body, some with built-in image stabilization. Besides using lenses from Sony and Zeiss, dig into using Canon lenses on a Sony camera with an adapter.

  12. Menu Page 1: Quality/Image Size 1

    Sony camera menus can be confusing and long -- start the trek through the a7 III's menus in this lesson by looking at the first sections on image quality, image size, and RAW vs. JPEG.

  13. Menu Page 2: Quality/Image Size 2

    Continuing diving through the image quality and size menus with features like ISO noise reduction, color space controls, and in-camera lens corrections.

  14. Menu Pages 3-5: Shoot Mode/Drive 1/AF1

    Adjust settings for multiple photos including burst mode settings and image bracketing by learning the shoot mode menu.

  15. Menu Page 6: AF2

    The Sony a7 III is often noted for the autofocus improvement over earlier models. Dig through the different AF options by digging into what all the features in the AF2 menu mean.

  16. Menu Pages 7 & 8: AF3 & AF4

    Continue digging into the AF menu and learn what features are a waste of battery and what features are actually useful like setting a second AF area.

  17. Menu Pages 9-11: Exposure & Flash

    Fine-tune your Sony camera's exposure settings with advanced menu tools like choosing whether or not to leave settings intact when the camera powers off and setting limits for the auto ISO.

  18. Menu Page 12: Color/WB/Img Processing

    Color photos not looking so hot? John walks you through the Sony camera color menu, which contains controls for options like white balance. John walks through the menu options, explaining what tools like dynamic range optimizer and picture profiles entail.

  19. Menu Page 13: Focus Assist

    Ever get home from a shoot thinking you got a great shot only to see it on a bigger screen and realize it's just a bit soft? Learn Sony's built-in tools for making sure you nab a sharp shot, including focus magnification and focus peaking, available through that OLED Tru-Finder EVF. Walk through what the different focus assist tools do, how to use them, and how to customize them.

  20. Menu Page 14: Shooting Assist

    Dig into game-changing tools you may not even realize exist by exploring the shooting assist menu. Learn how to turn on anti-flicker to get consistent results with lights that are flickering. This often happens at a speed too fast for you to perceive, but can create shots that are too dark because of the timing of the flicker and the image. Discover how to tell the face AF who to prioritize and more in the shooting assist menu.

  21. Camera Settings: Movie

    Mirrorless cameras are often just as excellent when tasked with recording video. Learn how to adjust the video settings inside the menu, including choosing 4K video or HD, along with advanced options like wind noise reduction.

  22. Camera Settings: Shutter & Steady Shot

    On the Sony a7 III, users can adjust the way the shutter works. Learn what a second curtain shutter is. Dive into how to turn the Sony camera on silent mode using a global shutter, and when you should avoid using this feature.

  23. Camera Settings: Zoom & Display Auto Review

    The Sony camera menu has several zoom and display options. Digital zoom is available but should be avoided because of a loss in image quality, leaving the menu option set to optical zoom only. Inside this submenu, learn how to adjust the display options to review your images.

  24. Camera Settings: Custom Operation

    Still using the camera's default set-up? The Sony a7 III, like many Sony cameras, can be custom programmed. Learn how to set the camera up for your shooting style for the easiest access to the most frequently used settings from customizing the control scheme to organizing your own function setting menu.

  25. Network Menu

    The Sony a7 III has both Wi-Fi and NFC. Dig into how to use the Wi-Fi to easily share images, including sending to a smartphone, sharing with a computer, or shooting with a tether.

  26. Playback Menu

    The playback menu contains all the options for working with images after you've shot them. Walk through the playback menu options, from deleting images and rating images to jumpstart the culling process.

  27. Setup Menu

    Dig into how to customize the setup of your camera, from the brightness of the LCD screen to turning down the camera's beeps. This menu is one that contains a lot of features that are set once and forgotten, John says, but there are some essential revisited sections like the sensor cleaning mode and formatting the memory card.

  28. My Menu Overview

    Find the menu daunting? Sony's My Menu allows photographers to save the most frequently used menu settings to quickly find the option without digging through pages of menu options. The custom menu idea has been around for a while on Nikon and Canon DSLRs, but it's a relatively new feature for Sony cameras.

  29. Camera Operation

    Now that you've covered the ins and outs of the cameras, work through a checklist to prep the camera for operation. Walk through a handful of different shooting scenarios from portraits to sports and how to choose the appropriate settings for that shot.


a Creativelive Student

John GreengO! What a wonderful teacher! As always to the point. You do all the testing for us and we get an amazing tour of the camera. Really thrilled with your class once again. Thanks a lot!


Thanks John. Another great class! I appreciate the thorough explanations. I many never use all of the features on this camera but at least I know what they do. Love all of your classes and would definitely recommend them.


Wonderful class. John is a great instructor. Learned a lot. Only wish he'd include a bit more on using a7iii to shoot video, such as using Clear Image Zoom, and including video in the ending Camera Operation settings section. Loved the course though.