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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 19 of 29

Menu Page 13: Focus Assist


Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 19 of 29

Menu Page 13: Focus Assist


Lesson Info

Menu Page 13: Focus Assist

The Focus Magnifier allows you to jump in, and zoom in, and magnify your image so that you can see that it is nice and sharp and easy to see. And so, let me show you, on the back of my camera, that this is something that's kind of already programmed in, when you are in manual focus. So let me go ahead and change over to manual focus. And so, when I want to manually focus, what's gonna happen is, the camera is gonna jump in. Let's get this centered a little bit better here. It's automatically just gonna jump in. When I press the shutter release halfway down, it's gonna jump back to the full image. And so, I have this set in, so it just automatically comes in here so I can see the focus on it, right there. And so, a very simple system and I can move around... the image if I want with the dials, as well. And so, eventually it'll just time back out, and there you are. And so, for anyone who does manual focusing, that's a handy feature to have. Get you the exact focus. Focus Magnification T...

ime. How long you want it to stay in. Do you want it just be there for a couple seconds, or do you want it to be able to stay there indefinitely? Currently, I have it set on No Limit, so that you can spend as much time focusing, examining, and then going back and readjusting it, if necessary. Initial Focus Magnification. This a pretty important one. I think it normally comes set to 1.0. Is when you press that, or when you turn the dial to jump in, it jumps in to 3.8, and if that seems like an odd number, yeah, you're right. But it's jumping into one to one magnification with the pixels. And that's where you want to be when you're judging focus. Auto focus in Focus Magnification, leaving this on. Ah, double check my notes on this. And so, can you auto focus while you are in Focus Magnification? And sometimes you do want to be able to focus, that way you can be very precise about what area of the image you are focusing on. Manual Focus Assist. And so, on this one, this is when you are in manual focus. I may have mixed up a little bit of the feature. This is the feature where, when you do have it in manual focus, it automatically jumps in. So if we look on the back of my camera, this is the option of automatically jumping in, right here, like that. And so, anytime you grab the focus ring, you can just start turning it and it jumps in so you can see what you're focusing on. Press the shutter release and it goes back to this level, here. And so, in the menu, the other option, in this case, the Focus Magnifier, which is kinda related, can be programmed to one of the buttons. What I usually do, is I usually have it programmed to the center button in the back of the camera, which, let me just jump in and do that right now. So Custom Key, I want the Center Button on the back of the camera for Focus Magnification. And I don't have it memorized, where this one is, so I have to look for it. So it's gonna be under Focus Magnifier, right there. And so, it's now Focus Magnifier, and so if I press the center button on the back of the camera, it gets my frame, and I can move my frame around, and then I press the center button, and it jumps in, and I can then focus on it. And so, there's a couple different ways that you can adjust to jump in. You can either just grab the focus ring, or you can have a button that you press for that. And then, even more focus, or even tighter in, and then, back off to the full frame. Peaking Setting. All right, so there's another little sub menu in here. And this allows you to turn the peaking feature on and off. I'll do a little demo here, in just a moment, on this. After I run through these other quick things here. You can choose different levels. Low, medium, and high. And then, you can choose different colors here, as well. So let me go in here and set this camera up for some peaking. So let's go to the back of the camera. Menu, and let's get back to where we need to be with this section. Focus peaking, down here. And let's turn this peaking on. Let's turn the level to high, so that you can see it very clearly, and let's change it to red just to be dramatic about it. Look at that, oh, my gosh. All right, so as we focus in and out, you can see what areas are in focus with those red areas of shimmering light. Let me see if I can move this over to the camera. And so, if it's shimmering in red, that means it's in focus. And so, it's a quick, easy way to see if you're focusing in the right area. I will have to say, that the downside to this is that it is not super, super finely tuned accurate. It's showing you a large area that's in focus, but it's not showing you the exact area. Anything that has really strong contrast is gonna start shimmering in red highlights. Like, for instance, if you look at the camera, I'm not quite focused on it, but it's starting to shimmer. But when I get lots of red around it, that's when it's at its best focus. And so, it's when the shimmering is at its greatest is when you are getting the sharpest focus. And so, be careful of just going, oh, it's kinda shimmering in that area. That's not always enough.

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.