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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 11 of 29

Front Controls & Lenses

John Greengo

Sony A7 III Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

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.


  Class Trailer
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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

Front Controls & Lenses

Looking on to the front of the camera, not too many controls. We have the little white dot, that's your mounting index, so that when you mount your cameras, you know how to line them up in there. This is as close as we get to the sensor, 24 megapixel sensor, very good qualities on it, the folks who do all the testing will get into the dynamic range and all the capabilities, but as far as operation, it's a great sensor. CPU contacts, connect with the lens, transfer focus and data information, make sure their not broken, bent, or obstructed, in any other way. The alignment pin and lens release, when you're taking your lenses on and off, let me give you just a quick little demo here. I find that some people who are new to SLRs are very scared about taking the lenses on and off. I'm like, no, that's what they're designed for. Realistically speaking, because the cameras have the sensors so close to the outside, you do want to be careful with the types of environments that you are changing t...

hese lenses. You know, if you're in a dusty, blowy desert, that's not the time to be changing lenses outside, and so just look for the white dot, the white dot, and you'll see the little pin over here, and that retracts when you push in here, and what that's connecting up to is this little area and it pops into this hole right there, when you get it lined up right, and makes a wonderful little clicking noise, wait for it, wait for it, there you go, and that means you have your lens mounted on there properly. If you don't hear the click, try it again. What else do we got on the front of the camera? Hidden behind the grip is the Wi-Fi antenna, so that when you are connecting up with your phone, that's where it is, I don't know why you need to know that, but that's where it is. The remote control sensor enables you to shoot pictures remotely with the Sony Wireless Remote. That does not look like it was designed for this camera, 'cause it was not, because it was designed for a camcorder, but you can trigger the photos, you can trigger the video, you might even be able to control the zoom lens if you can find a powered one for it. Front dial, which we're using for a little bit of everything, and the AF Illuminator and Self-Timer Lamp. This will come on when you are needing a little bit of extra light. The auto focus light will come on and shine a light on your subject. Now, granted the size of this light is not all that powerful, so this is good for about four or five, six feet, two meters or so. It also comes with a self-timer to let you know when you're shooting photos, and if you like to be discreet, and you don't want your camera making a lot of noises and lights coming on and stuff, you can go into the Camera Settings and you can turn this off, which I will recommend as we go through the menu system later on. So that pretty much covers the entire camera front to back, but since we're talking about lenses, let's talk a little bit more about those lenses. This is a Sony Full Frame camera. It uses FE lenses from Sony for full coverage of the frame. It shares the E-Mount with the Crop Frame cameras, like the Sony 6500. It's the same physical mount on the camera, and you can mount lenses back and forth with some repercussions, as I'll show you in just a moment. On the other side of the coin, Sony makes SLR, an SLR style a cameras, like the A99, that's a Full Frame camera, that has their own dedicated series of lenses for it. They also have a Crop version of it that has DT Lenses that are designed for the Crop Frame SLR users, and so as I said with Sony, little complicated 'cause we have four different systems, Full Frame, Crop Frame, Mirror-less, and SLR style, and so, the SLR style will not fit directly on to this camera. There are adapters that you can use, and I'll talk about those that you can put on here, but you can't go to just a random garage sale, find a Sony lens, and know that it's gonna work on there, just 'cause it says Sony on there, you have to make sure it's the right mount, which is the E-Mount. Any E-Mount lens will work on this camera. So the difference between the FE and the E lenses that work on the E-Mount, is this. The FE lenses are designed for the Full Frame sensor, which means that, as light comes through that lens, it's gonna have a large image circle that covers the entire sensor area for that Full Frame sensor. Sony's E-Mount lenses, have a smaller image circle that is designed for the smaller sensor of their APS-C, and where things get interesting, is when you switch one to the other. You can mount E-Mount lenses on your Sony Full Frame camera, but it's not gonna cover the corners. The camera's automatically gonna recognize this, and it's automatically gonna crop the image down 1.5 times, and rather than 24 megapixels, you're gonna get a 10 megapixel image, but it's gonna look basically the same as far as coverage, wide-angle telephoto angle of view, as it would on a Crop Frame camera. So anyone who's moving up from the Crop Frame series, yeah, your lenses are gonna work, but they're very limited. Now if you were to take your FE lens and mount it on your A6500, or other Crop Frame camera, there's no harm done. You're kind of projecting more information than your sensor can record, but it's gonna work kind of the same way your other lenses work. So it works a little bit better this direction, because you still get a full image off of the full sensor area. So, one of the great things about the Mirror-less cameras, is the very short flange distance between the Lens Mount and Image Sensor, which allows us to adapt and use a lot of different lenses. Sony's made their lenses perfectly match to the camera, the mounting system, the distance system for focus, perfectly matched for it, but if you want to mount other lenses on there, that is an option. Now you can't just mount 'em on to the camera for two reasons. Number one, the mount doesn't work right, and two, the distance from the image plane is incorrect. So there are a variety of companies, including Sony, that make adapters, so that you can use different lenses, and everything matches and works right on the camera. Now, let me put a little asterisk at the end of that as far as when I say, everything works right. Lets talk about some of the options. So, for instance, Sony has a couple of adapters, so that you can use all of the old Minolta, Minolta Konica lenses, the Sony current lenses designed for the SLT, they could be used on this camera with these adapters. Now it does add bulk, weight, and cost to the whole setup, and there's certain focusing aspects that are less than ideal on 'em, and I'll just say that they, there's some compromises when you get in to using them. So one of the things that Canon users primarily have been enjoying, is using Canon lenses on Sony cameras with this Metabones adapter. This is what I've been using with some of my Canon lenses, and it's a very good adapter, and it allows me to work with almost everything the camera can do. Namely, there are a number of auto focus things that don't work. If you recall, the focusing area, there's Center, and there's Large Zone, Median Zone, Small, Medium, Large, Flexible, all these different options, well that's narrowed down by about half when you put a Canon lens on there. It's harder to do with Nikon lenses, because Nikon lenses, up until their latest version, which I am forgetting the letter right now, but their lenses have a mechanical aperture stop down lever, and so, it has electronics and mechanical, and this works fully electronic, and so, I think there have been a couple of companies that have tried to do something, but their not as plentiful as the ones for Canon, and so those are the ones that you're seeing most adapted, but it does take, there are adapters for Nikon lenses, they may have to work in a manual mode, there's adapters for other brands of lenses as well, in fact there's probably more different lenses that you can adapt to this camera than any other camera on the market. So, if you are using a Lens Adapter, I'm not gonna read this list here, but there is a whole list of potential problems, and I always try to stay with equipment that is designed to work right. It just makes things a lot easier, unless you're willing to go on the work arounds, and sometimes I'm willing to do a work around 'cause I'm really trying to do something, and there's only one lens that's gonna allow me to do it, or that's the lens I have, but that's just the trade-offs of photography, and so if you want full auto focus with this camera, you probably are gonna want to stick with the Sony lenses or any lens that is specifically designed for the Sony Mirror-less cameras. Those are the ones that are gonna work the best. So let me talk real quickly about some of the lenses here. First off, we have, what I consider, good quality zoom lenses, and a lot of these are the f/4 zoom lenses, and that's a nice compact series, I like these for travel photography, and their good quality, they maintain that constant aperture. There's a lot of letters, I'm not gonna go into all the letters right now, but I'll leave the key up here as I go through these other options. The G Master, these are their pro-quality zooms, and so if you see a gold G, expect to pay for it, and you will get good quality results, and so they have some wonderful lenses that are 2.8 in aperture, there's a 100-400, that's also very good different aperture on that. These are really the highest quality zooms, and if you want this camera operating on all cylinders, these are the lenses that you probably want to have on the camera. Sony is very rapidly filling out all the different holes in the photography world of different prime lenses that solve very specific problems, allowing in a lot of light, and these lenses, to be honest with you, they're a little bit on the pricey side, compared to Canon, Nikon, and other options out there, but quality wise, you're getting what you pay for, and that whole little kind of rant, that I went into at the very beginning of the class, about smaller size on the camera doesn't make a difference, when you add these lenses to it, because it ends up being a very large lens, and this a large system, and this is where a lot of people do put the vertical grip on, because the cameras tend to be so front heavy, because the cameras themselves are so light once you get these on there, but all these top head lenses that I've shown here, as well as others, are really high quality stuff, just very good stuff. A few other favorites, from photographers out there, and you might say these are great value lenses. Their not the premium lens, but their just good, general purpose lenses. 24-105 is about the ideal walk around range for most photographers. A good wide angle, good enough in portrait, short telephoto range that you have a little bit of everything in there. The 85 1.8, a lot smaller, lighter weight, lower money, and a lot of photographers don't like to shoot all wide open when it comes to the portraits, stopping down 2 to 2.8, this is a nice light weight option. The 50 1.8, good normal lens. The 28 f/2, nice, pretty compact, street shooting lens. So, Sony does make some very good lenses. They also have one that's kind of unusual, this is not one for most people. This one's specially designed for video, and for all you photographers that are taking still photographs that are kind of thinking about getting into video, video changes the game completely in everything you need, and you need a lens that has very different characteristics, and this is a pretty expensive lens. If this was designed for still photography at 28-135, I would guess would be a $1,000 lens, but this is a video lens and it has special video features that I'm not gonna go completely into, but it sells for $2,500. Now, you'll notice it has the tripod collar on it, so that you can mount it very stable, the neurals knobs on it are different, so that you can focus it and zoom it a little bit more easily, because they have different requirements and needs in video than we do in stills, and so, it's kind of fascinating the differences that they have to make for video in this regard, and I know this is just the tip of the iceberg on lenses because I love to talk about lenses, and I have other classes on lenses, and so, if you want to know more about lenses, I have a class called, Choosing the Right Camera Lens. I talk about Sony, as well as Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon, and Canon lenses in here, and if you want an introduction to lenses, this is a good class that'll take you through what all these lenses, what all the letters mean, what all the technology means, what focal lengths you want to do, different types of subjects, what type of aperture you need on the lenses, and so it's a good comprehensive class if you really want to master the whole lens portion of photography.

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.