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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 2 of 29

Photo Basics


Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 2 of 29

Photo Basics


Lesson Info

Photo Basics

I wanna take people through a few photo basics in case you are new to photography and just decided to get a great camera, and still don't know a lot about photography. Well this is a mirrorless camera, which means it does not have a mirror. Thank you for that. In the lens we have an aperture which controls the aperture. And so the aperture is one of the ways in which we control light in photography. We can open it wide open to 1. if we have a lens that lets' us do it that far, and close it down to 22 and sometimes further. And this is one way that we control the amount of light coming in the camera. It is also how we control how much depth of field we have in a particular image. Depth of field is what's in focus, in front of and behind, your point of focus. And so you can have shallow depth of field, with a 1.4 lens, and then as we stop our aperture down, we're gonna get a little bit more depth of field with each of our aperture changes that we make. And so there's a wide variety of re...

asons why we might wanna have shallow or great depth of field, but that's part of the creativity of photography. So down at f/22 we're gonna get the maximum depth of field out of a lot of lenses where most everything is in focus. And there's our great depth of field. So that's our aperture control. Light comes in to the image sensor and is fed directly back to the LCD on the back of the camera. And it is also fed to the EVF, the electronic view finder, that you get to see the image on. And the EVF is a great and new advancement in photography in that you get to see the exposure that you are shooting before you shoot the picture. And I recently took a Sony camera on a long trip to Mongolia and I never got a bad exposure on my Sony camera because every time I looked at the screen I could immediately tell if my shutter speed and aperture combination was proper for getting the right exposure. It's just intuitive, you can see it right there and easily. And this is also true with focusing and light balance and so that's one of the advantages of the mirrorless camera is you get to see final results before you've even shot them which is a great thing I love about these cameras. Now, at the sensor level we have a little bit more complicated design in some ways because it is open and exposed to light in it's natural state. When it's time to take a photo it needs to close the first shutter curtain, prep the sensor so that the sensor's ready to capture light, it captures the light, and then a second curtain comes in and closes it off. And then the second curtain needs to open again so that you can see light coming into the sensor for the next image. Now, I'll say that we're gonna talk more about this when we get into the shutter system on the camera cause there's some other options that allow the shutter to work in a very different way but this is kinda the standard way that most mirrorless cameras work. So the shutter system is available at different shutter speeds so we're gonna start off at 1/8000th of a second for super fast motion, and then we'll go down to 30 seconds so you can actually get beyond this as well. So that's a little bit about what's going on on the sensor and in a mirrorless camera in general. One of the most important things on any camera is the size of the sensor and this uses a full frame sensor which is the same size as 35mm film. It's not the largest that you can buy but it's the largest of the common sizes we'll say. And so there's a lot of other cameras that use smaller size sensors that we're not gonna really talk about in the class but they are available and they have a variety of benefits and drawbacks to them. As I said, this is the same size as 35mm so photographers as they made that transition from film to digital could just get new lenses that fit on, or use their old lenses that fit on the new digital cameras were very easy. So that's why this is a very common standard in photography. This smaller sensors do offer the option of having smaller size cameras and smaller size lenses and so as I say there's an interesting set of trade offs when you go through these different sizes. But this is one of the larger sizes and it's one of the more common especially among professional photographers. So if you wanna learn more about the basics of photography and the fundamentals of photography I have a couple of classes. You might wanna check these out. They're are couple of more popular classes here at Creative Live and they're a great way to add to all your knowledge of the camera cause you do need to have knowledge of photography if you wanna take great photos in the big scheme of things.

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.