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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 1 of 29

Class Introduction

John Greengo

Sony A7 III Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

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.


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:16:37
2 Photo Basics Duration:04:38
4 Camera Controls: Mode Dial Duration:26:05
5 Camera Controls: Top Deck Duration:18:35
9 Left & Right Side Controls Duration:07:02
10 Bottom Controls Duration:04:59
11 Front Controls & Lenses Duration:13:16
15 Menu Page 6: AF2 Duration:05:42
16 Menu Pages 7 & 8: AF3 & AF4 Duration:05:56
19 Menu Page 13: Focus Assist Duration:06:03
20 Menu Page 14: Shooting Assist Duration:06:29
21 Camera Settings: Movie Duration:07:43
25 Network Menu Duration:11:19
26 Playback Menu Duration:07:18
27 Setup Menu Duration:26:52
28 My Menu Overview Duration:08:13
29 Camera Operation Duration:10:14

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome everybody to the Sony a7 III fast start class. Now this is an important class, 'cause I think this is a very important camera. It's hit the market and it's caused, shall we say, a lot of ripples and a big splash because Sony, very cleverly, when they introduced this camera, on their slideshow they introduced this as the basic model. And so they set the bar very, very low. And then they just delivered on tons of stuff and everyone was like wow, if that's a basic model that's amazing. And the fact of the matter is is for the price, compared to Nikon, Canon, and other brands out there, it's a camera that really has a lot to offer. And so what this class is all about is not comparing this to other cameras out there, this is a class about how to learn to work this camera and what all the features and functions do, and part of the class is gonna be going through the entire menu system, which we have as a downloadable PDF when you get the class, and I'm a very visual person and I imag...

ine a lot of photographers are visual people, so I have the entire menu system on one page, so you can just quickly scan and find where things are. And so, on one page I've given you my standard recommendations, and then on another page, I've left it blank so you can just kind of have a simple reference of where things are and you can put your own favorites in there. And a big part of the modern cameras and especially a camera like this is getting it set up the way you like it to work. And that's what this class is going to enable you to do. 'Cause we're gonna go through each feature, one at a time. I'll explain what it does, why you might want to have it on one setting, and then another setting, and you can decide how it's best to set it up for yourself. Now I usually don't like to even address whether you should buy this camera and how this camera compares to other cameras, but it's still a pretty new camera. There's still a lot of people who are asking about it. And it's partly because Canon and Nikon have ruled the kingdom of cameras for so long, and Sony has really been delivering a lot of goods, and it started off with well, they're offering something kind of interesting that's different. And then, well, it's pretty good, but they don't have the system really fleshed out, and it's not a full system now. And now it's really turned into a fully legitimate option for most every photographer out there. They don't have as many big sports lenses as Canon and Nikon right now, but they are due to deliver their first big one here in a moment. And it's really looking like they are going to be fulfilling all those little empty holes that people would imagine. And I know there's a lot of people out there who are probably watching that own Canon and Nikon, and they're just looking at what the competition is doing and they're like, eh, do I want to jump ship and do they offer something different and that's that much better? Well, it's a mirrorless camera and compared to at least Nikon and Canon, who are offering SLRs at this time, it's a different game. And there's advantages and disadvantages. And over the years, I and many, most everyone else in the industry has been kind of harping on this one fact, is that they lag behind in action auto focus. They have not been good at tracking it as well. And at this point now, I can say that there's some give and takes, but on par, it is equal and is as good as most any Canon and Nikon out there. There are some slight discrepancies where you can choose and pick one as a little bit better, but there's enough features that I think the typical user is gonna get as much performance out of this as a Canon or a Nikon equivalent camera out there. And for people who are thinking about coming to Sony, the mirrorless system, one of the big promises is we get a smaller camera. And that is a fact. We have a camera that has a smaller flange distance. I'll talk more about this in the class. It is a smaller camera. The fact of the matter is, it's got a full-frame censor and lenses need to be a particular size. For instance, lemme show you a lens over here. This is the Sony 100-400, and if anyone has seen Nikon's 80- or Canon's 100-400, you'll say, well that looks like it's about the same size. Now, some of this is hood, but the fact of the matter is, is that this is just a tiny bit bigger than Canon's SLR 100-400. So the camera is a little bit smaller, and it's smaller by about a half an inch in depth, and that's not really that big a deal. And so all the lenses are the same size. And actually, Sony is making some really high end lenses which tend to be a little bit bigger and heavier. So by the time you put a package of three lenses together, Sony versus Nikon versus Canon, there is no difference at all. And what I'm trying to say is, that if you're buying Sony to save weight and size, you're gonna be disappointed. Now that's not a reason not to go to mirrorless cameras, because these cameras offer some features that you're not gonna find in Canon and Nikon. And we're gonna go through all those features today. So I still think it's a great option. I just think, don't be misled into thinking if you're getting a mirrorless camera you're gonna get a smaller system. The only way you're gonna get a smaller system is if you buy one of the compact pancake lenses. And that's it. I use a mirrorless camera because I like the features. I like what it can do, and what is different about an SLR. And we're gonna go through those features, as I say, in this class. Alright. Let's get in and talk about what we're gonna be talking about this whole day. We've got a long day ahead of us, because we've got a lot of features to go through. So I've broken this class into different sections. A lot of people are new to Sony, so I want to give you a little introduction about what you're getting yourself into. We're gonna talk ever-so-briefly about photo basics. I imagine most people who are getting this camera have been in photography for a little bit, but I want to give you just a couple minutes of some tips and hints. And then we get into the main section of the camera, and the class, and that is camera controls. We're gonna go through all the physical buttons and dials on the camera, and I'll be explaining what they do, and my recommendations for setting them. And then we get into the menu in the second half of the class. Alright. With this camera, you get what I consider to be a very wimpy instruction manual. It's 100 pages in length, and it's basically a quick overview. And in my mind, Sony has given up trying to supply you with a proper instruction manual. Not that I think that anyone is providing a good instruction manual, which is why I'm making these classes to replace the instruction manual. And it does in most cases. There are some specifications that you can dive in there with it. What Sony has is something called a Help Guide, and this is available online for free download for anybody who wants it. Just go to Sony's website. And this has the, kind of the full instruction manual. But this thing is a disaster in my opinion, because every time they want to talk about a feature, let's just say white balance, every time that comes up they give you the full page of information on white balance, so you'll run across the same information again and again. And you're like did I already read this page? Yeah, probably, it was in some place else. And so the bulk of it has got this huge 642 page PDF that you can go through, which I have done that for you, so you do not have to do it. And so you can read through all that. And there is some specs and stuff that you might find useful in there. But hopefully I'm gonna cover everything. Now, if you do want to get the Help Guide, you have to go to Sony's website, and you have to search for this camera. And we're calling this camera the Sony a7 III, or the a7 Mark III. That's not really the name of this camera. The official name from Sony is the ILCE-7M3, which all mean something. It means Interchangeable Lens, Compact, E-mount, 7 Mark 3. So that's what you want to look for when you want to get that Help Guide. So this class is going to be about 5 hours in length. And there is no way that I can cover everything that is in the instruction manual. My priority is to cover all the topics that cover image quality, and manual control of the camera, and then there's a few other things I'm gonna let go by the side, kind of, you know, hooking up to the computer and doing tethering and things. Printing from the camera, we're not gonna go really into that. I'm gonna concentrate on the core features of the camera itself. Now this is what I call a camera class. We're gonna learn how to work this camera. And if you were to become an expert in this camera, that does not mean you are an expert in photography. There's a whole other set of lighting and composition et cetera. And those can be learned in other classes. I teach a bunch of those classes here at CreativeLive. I have a short one called the Photography Starter Kit, and then I have a much longer, more in-depth one called the Fundamentals of Photography. And so if you want to learn more about photography, as well as your camera, you might want to take a look into those classes, or the other classes we have here at CreativeLive. Alright. As many of you know, Sony has been an electronics manufacturer for many, many years. They were not traditionally know for their cameras, but they did get involved in the digital world of cameras very early on. And so they had some of the earliest digital cameras available. And they continue to make those. They acquired Minolta and the Konica-Minolta brand when they went out of business. And so they got the lens mount and then they started transitioning everything over. And they came up with something called a Single Lens Translucent camera, which is kind of like an SLR, and they continue to make those these days. But they really wanted to come up with something new and really change things for the modern with digital, and so that's when they came up with the mirrorless camera in their NEX series, which has transitioned and is generally just called the E-mount. We'll talk more about this. And then there was a real milestone when they came out with the first full-frame mirrorless camera. And that was really a holy grail. Every once in a while we have holy grails of cameras that they're trying to achieve at a certain point. And this was a big one. Wasn't a perfect camera. But it was a good system that started where we are today with this Sony a7. And so, we've had a lot of a7s out, so let me just go quickly through the series here. The first series, the a7, the R and the S. The R stands for resolution. Not sure what the S stands for, but it was specializing in video. Had very good video capabilities. And so, it's been this series of three cameras that are coming out. You can see we're probably expecting an a7S sometime here in the near future. And this is the latest generation, with lots of updates. They're not changing the megapixels so much as they are the operation, the speed of the camera, feature sets, organization, ergonomics. They've been improving on these as they go along. And so, very good cameras, needless to say. Now the Sony system viewed from above is a little bit complicated, and it's part of their legacy, where they bought that Konica and Minolta system with the Single Lens Reflect system. And so we have full-frame sensor. We also have the 1.5 crop sensor. We have mirrorless cameras, and SLR (SLT) cameras. So there's actually four categories of cameras and lenses in here. Now the SLR (SLT) series seems to be fading away. They're supporting it, but they're not aggresively going after that market, the way they are the mirrorless market. And so if you were new to photography, I would say do not invest in the SLT system. That is just a dying breed, you might say. The mirrorless system, they have had a large number of 1.5 crop cameras. But I'll have to say, over the last two to three years, we have not seen many new cameras in this category. And so this is another category, I don't know that it's dying, but it's not seeing much love from Sony, where they are concentrating their main efforts in cameras and lenses, is their full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sony a7 III being one of those cameras. This is where they are directing a lot of attention and a lot of their efforts. And that's clear with all the products they're bringing out. They have specialized lenses for each of these different categories. And so the SLR lenses are very different that the mirrorless lenses. You can use any of the E-mount mirrorless lenses on this camera. Granted, there is a little bit of an issue to deal with if it's designed for the crop sensor, and I'll talk more about that in the section I get into on lenses. Obviously, an electronic device like this needs to be taken care of with bumps and bruises. They give you all sorts of warnings in there. Don't do a lot of stupid things with it. One thing that a lot of people want to know about is the water, dust, moisture-resistance of the camera. And they say that it's got some dust and moisture resistance to it, but it's not that much. There's been some tests I've seen where they've tried to, you know, put it out in the rain and spray it with water and the battery compartment's not very well sealed, and so if you are going to be shooting out in the rain for any extended period of time, I would want to put a rain cover over it. It's probably fine for a couple of minutes of a moderate rain out there, but you do want to protect it from any sort of serious water intrusion. The other issue is using other manufacturers products on this camera. And so, they have put on a new battery, we'll talk more about the battery, so there's not too many after-market batteries available for it. I tend to want to stay with anything that's electronically connected to the camera, I usually want to stay with the manufacturer on that. So when it comes to batteries, when it comes to flashes, I like staying with the manufacturer on that. With flashes, it's not so much the electronic connection, it's just the simplicity of use. The systems are designed to work together, and flash is one the most complicated areas of photography. And so I tend to want to stay with the Sony flash, unless you're getting into a studio system where you're just hooking up to a PC sync to it, and you're just syncing it. Then you can go with whatever you need to in there. Memory cards, of course, it can take a wide variety of memory cards. And then on the ports on the side, where you have microphones and headphones and things like that, of course you can hook up anything you want there. Alright, let's make sure my camera and your camera is ready for the class today. So you need a charged battery. Takes about two and a half hours. It's a very good battery, we'll talk more about that. You'll need a lens on your camera, and a memory card in there so that you can take some practice photos. Turn the camera on and, you know, it kind of kills me to say this, just put it in the auto mode for right now, that'll be nice and simple. And then press down on the shutter release and I'm gonna do a little test shot here with our setup here. Let me just get this set. Make sure that we are looking right on this. Focuses. And takes a picture. And so, my camera's set up. Hopefully your camera is set up as well. Now, if you have acquired your camera from somebody else, perhaps you've bought it used or something, or somebody's been playing around. Maybe it's been you and you just want to get it back to the factory standards. What you can do is you can do a complete setting reset on this camera. And that just takes everything back to the original settings. And I'm gonna do that right now, so that you can see that my camera is working as it would out of the box. And so what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna follow my shortcut instructions that you're gonna see here on screen as we go through the class. Because I know some of you like to jump ahead and make these setting adjustments right away. And so I'm gonna jump into the menu. Go to page seven of seven and to the Setting Reset. So let's go into the back of the camera right now. I'm gonna hit the menu button, and I'm gonna go up to the top tab and come on over to the toolbox, and then go down, and then come over to page seven, and somewhere in here is going to be our setting reset, I'm gonna press the center button there. Now we can do a camera settings reset which is the basic settings of things that you've turned on and off in the camera. But I'm gonna do the full initialize, which goes in and resets the clock and the timezone and absolutely all the functions. And this is going to take just a moment for it to do it. And so we're gonna wait for that to clear out. Looks like it's going through it's little game here. And lemme quickly choose English. I'm not gonna really care too much about the time, but I will set it in Seattle time. And I'm not gonna worry about the time and date right now. And I'm just gonna say enter. And I'm gonna ignore this and say OK by pressing the center button. And so my camera is now back to factory, out of the box, settings. So everything's refreshed so that you can start along with me in the class.

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.


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.