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Sony A7 III Fast Start

Lesson 27 of 29

Setup Menu

John Greengo

Sony A7 III Fast Start

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

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.


  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

Setup Menu

We're getting into the final big tab, Setup menu. And in the Setup menu there's a lot of little kind of tweaks that you can make in the camera. There's a few really important settings, but for the most part this is something that you're gonna go through once, set it up the way you like it, and you probably won't need to come back to it too often with at least one very notable exception later on in here. All right, first up is Monitor Brightness. I like to leave this at zero most of the time. When I was out working recently in bright sunshine and I was trying to see the back of the camera I had to bump that up to plus three or whatever the highest setting was on there, so I could see it. So sometimes if you're sharing photos or you're trying to see under bright sunlight you should bump it up, but normally try to leave it at zero. Because sometimes people are basing the exposure on what they see on the back of the camera. We have the same type of option in the Viewfinder. Once again, gen...

erally set at zero unless there's so good reason why you are changing it temporarily. As I mentioned, the colors can drift over years of use. You can adjust for that if necessary. Hopefully that won't happen. All right, so one of the things about shooting video is that in some cases they like shooting with a color profile that is considered very flat, it's not very contrasty and it looks ugly in the camera, and then when they work with it in post-production they adjust the contrast and the levels and then it looks absolutely wonderful when it comes out in a nice video form. But when you're shooting video with the camera it looks really ugly, 'cause you've got this really flat look. Well, you can fix it just for the Viewfinder when you are shooting, so that you can have a normal view of what you're seeing, but it's recording that flat profile for you. And so this will match up with whatever profile that you have chosen. Volume Settings, when you are playing back movies, or actually not playing back movie, excuse me, this is just the general operational sound of the camera. There's a lot of beeps and things that can be turned on. I like to turn all that stuff off and set the volume as low as possible, so that I'm not distracting to subjects and other photographers and people around. Delete confirmation. Okay, the crux of this whole feature is how many times, how many button presses do you wanna press to delete an image? And here's my theory. One button is just a little too quick. You press Delete once and it's gone. It's a little too quick. The default system is that you have to press three times to delete an image. You have to delete it, you have to select that you wanna delete it, and then you have to confirm that you wanna delete it, which is a little too much for me. And so I like setting this on Delete first, which means that when you press Delete the camera says, you wanna delete? And you just say yes. Rather than assuming that you made a mistake by pressing the Delete button. And so that'll save you millions of button presses over the life of your camera. All right, next page, Setup2. Display Quality, High and Standard. What I have seen in this is that this I think uses a tad bit more battery power, Sony does not confirm this though. And what it does is the video that's being fed to you on the EVF in here is compressed a little bit more in the Standard and High gives you, it's not necessarily giving you more resolution, but it's giving you less compression and it's giving you just a slightly better image. And so for anyone who's shooting sports action you definitely wanna have this on High. If you're more static stuff you could leave it on Standard, but I think it's got a very low impact on the battery, so I would generally just leave it on High. Power Save Start Time. How quickly do you want the camera to power down if you haven't touched any camera buttons? And so I like to leave it set around one minute. That way it's conserving batteries on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes that's inconvenient. You can adjust it as necessary. Auto Power OFF Temperature. Okay, Sonys and temperature are a whole internet thing that you can check out yourself. What's happened is that Sony camera have been shutting down quicker than most people would expect or at least like. And that's what you get when you stick 4K video in a little tiny camera that has to process and these sensors heat up. And if you heat up too high it's gonna cause damage within the camera. And so I don't really know why they have this in here, but if you really don't wanna damage your camera in any way you can set this on Standard and when it reaches a certain level of heat it just stops recording, which is really irritating to somebody shooting professional video, but it protects the camera. Now there is a second level up at High that it will let it go up to a higher setting and it will still turn off, but it won't be quite as quickly. And I haven't heard of anyone's cameras getting damaged by leaving it at the High setting, so it seems like most serious people are just gonna put it in High, so that they can get as much recording time out of this as possible. All right, depending on where you live you're an NTSC person or you're a PAL person depending on the television system that you're using in your country. Set appropriately. The Cleaning Mode is where you can go in and clean the sensor yourself. There's a variety of ways of doing this. Step one is one of these little rocket air blowers. Everyone who has an interchangeable lens camera should own one of these and have them with them at any time it's important. For most mirrorless users this should be in the pack most of the time, because mirrorless cameras are just more susceptible than SLRs, 'cause they don't have a mirror and a shutter system protecting dust getting in on the sensor. They sell for about 10 to 20 dollars and they're pretty lightweight, so they're not a big pain to bring along. Some people will need to go to stage two of cleaning, which is sweeping the dust off of their sensor. There's a variety of systems out there, wet and dry. Take a look at see if that's something that you wanna get into, 'cause dust on the sensor is a standard problem in the world of interchangeable lens photography. The Touch Operations we haven't talked about too much. They're somewhat limited on this camera, but if you don't like using them you can turn them off. A lot of people do like it, so you're probably gonna leave it turned on. The back of the, the back LCD is known as a Touch Pad when you are using the Viewfinder. So what you can do is you could hold the camera up to your eye and you can with your thumb on the back move the focusing point around to wherever you want. Now there is a joystick right here that you could be using, but if you like the Touch Pad you could use that. If you are using the monitor on the back of the camera it's considered a Touch Panel, slight difference there. And you can kind of poke to where you want the focusing point to go to in the frame. You can also adjust the Touch Pad Settings. In here there's going to be a submenu. So for instance, when you're in vertical operation do you wanna turn this off? For some people depending on where their nose lands it starts readjusting their focusing point, 'cause their nose is bumping into the back of the screen. If you have that problem you can turn it off for vertical use only. The Touch Position, you can have it as an Absolute Position, left on the frame is left on the frame, or Relative where it works more like a mouse, move it left, move it right from wherever it started out right then and there. And then you can control where about on the screen, because your face might be blocking the left half of the screen you might wanna just use the right half of it as a Touch Panel. And so it really depends on how your face matches up with the camera and what your finger can reach from how you hold the camera. Demo Mode is used for stores that have cameras on display. Most people will not be using this. Time Code/User Bit. This gets real big for people shooting movies, especially people shooting movies, videos where they're using multiple cameras and they're trying to sync all these cameras up, so that they have time codes that they can download into the timeline and get them organized and grab clips from different cameras. And so this is not something that your typical mom and pop shooting weekend video is gonna use on this, but somebody who is going to be editing and wants more information, metadata that goes along with the video is gonna find value in. So in this submenu in here, TC/UB Settings, we have different types of ways of recording where you are in the timeline of this video clip that you're recording. You have a simple time Counter, you have a Time Code, which gets you down to the frame that you're actually recording, 24, 30 frames per second, and then there's also a User Bit data, which is used as an alphanumeric code to explain where things are. And so if you wanna set a Time Code you can set a Preset Time Code. If you wanna start at three minutes you can set it to three minutes where you start your recording. For User Bits you can change this as well. You can go through and change all this, I'm not gonna get into the whole alphanumeric thing, but it's there for the people who want to use it with other video cameras. For Time Code Format we can do a Drop Frame or Not Drop Frame. There's a whole thing about video shooting at 29.97 frames per second, which means that's not quite 30 frames per second and if you run that out long enough there's gonna be kind of an extra frame that the camera can drop, so that everything stays synced in with the Time Code. And when you're into video and you know exactly what I'm talking about and I actually probably don't even sound like I know what I'm talking about, but for people who have not shot video this is something important to some people. Time Code Run. Do you want the clock to run continuously? Or do you want it to stop and start recording? If you had two cameras you could have them start their recording simultaneously and you can see over the course of a couple of hours when the camera was turned on and recording versus the other camera. And so different systems designed for different setups of recording. All right, so Preset and Regenerate. You can set up the Time Code to either start off new or where it last left off. UB Time Code. And so you can turn that on and off depending on if you're gonna even use it or not. And so for the video nerds out there, Remote Control. And so if you do wanna use the remote control you do have to turn this on. It's gonna use a little bit more battery power. Remember, it does use the sensor in the front of the camera to control shooting photos. HDMI Settings, so if you were going to be outputting to a TV or monitor. Now where we're getting right here in the menu system, this is mostly for people going to a monitor who's using an external monitor to see more easily about what they're shooting. And so first up is the Resolution. This is gonna depend on the type of monitor that you're viewing this on. You can control it, as far as what is being sent out, from the camera and into that monitor. You can control the frame rate at 24 or 60 frames per second. And then the Information, do you want information to be seen on this display or not? Because those displays are frequently used in two different manners of speaking. One is just for compositional focus reasons, they're looking to check to see what they're recording through the lens. In another case these are being used to record video from the camera. So rather than recording in-camera on the memory card, they're recording on an external device. And in that case you probably don't wanna show all that extra information, 'cause that's not what you want your final viewers to see. Time Code Output, this is sending all that time information out. Once again, sometimes you want that recorded in the camera, sometimes you want it on the external device. Recording Control. Do you want to start the recording of the external recorder with the built in record button on the camera? If you're handholding the camera it makes it a lot easier than trying to press an extra button up on that top monitor that might be mounted up there. Control for HDMI. And so if you have this turned on you can kind of hand over remote control capabilities to your TV through the HDMI Control it goes in and can change from one picture to the next on your camera. All right, next page in the Setup. We have 4K Output Select. So when you are sending out your 4K Output do you want it to go to the Memory Card or only the HDMI device? And if you're sending it to the HDMI device what frame rate do you want it to be at? And so that's for those people that have external video recorders. If you are connecting your camera up to your computer, which you could do either for downloading images or updating the firmware on the camera. Different computers, depending on their Mac, PC, and possibly the operating system on them, Auto will usually get you connected and recognized by the computer, but sometimes the computer doesn't recognize it and you need to change it to Mass Storage or one of the other options on there, so it gets recognized when you plug in the USB cable. Sometimes setting this to Single will allow you to get hooked up. Usually Multi it'll figure out what the device number is, but in some cases if it's not connecting up you would need to go in here and change this to signal, Single, excuse me. Power Supply. So this camera charges from a USB cable and when you do that from your computer it's great, 'cause you can charge up your camera. And as we all know, cameras are more important than computers. But sometimes you don't wanna drain the battery power on your computer. And so sometimes you just wanna hook up to transfer images, but not move power over to the camera and charge your battery. And so you can turn this off if you're trying to conserve battery power on your computer or you don't have much battery life left. PC Remote Settings, this is gonna send us into a submenu. And so if you are saving to a PC, which, once again, not many people do, you can choose whether those images are being recorded in the camera, in the computer, or both. You can choose whether it's being sent to the computer RAW plus JPEG or just the JPEGs or just the RAWs only, depending on how you are tethering your system up. Language, obviously for the menu system and all the operations of the camera. Date and Time Setup. This is gonna, of course, get you in here for all the standard settings. Daylight Savings, on and off. The Date and Time. I will have to admit that the Date and Time in pretty much all cameras seems to drift more than the cheapest watch you will ever buy. So if you have multiple cameras I have found that they drift by minutes over the course of a couple of months. And so that is something that if you're going, if you're like a wedding shooter and you are shooting with multiple cameras, especially different brands of cameras, which have different drift rates, you would probably wanna try to get that synced before each wedding. You probably don't need to sync it in the middle of the wedding, probably good for a day or so. And then the Date Format. Of course, year is first, because then things fall very logically on your images as far as organizing by number. Area Setting. This is there so that when you travel from the East Coast to the West Coast of the country you don't have to change the date, you just change the area, so you don't have to think about the time, you just look at the map and move the dots over. Copyright Information allows you to add information into the camera, which I highly recommend. And so first thing you can do in here is you can put your name in here. And that way it's a, I consider it a very low level of protection. If somebody was to find your camera and turn it into the police you can at least say, yes, see my name is built into the camera. It will also go onto the metadata of your photos. It's not permanent, it's something that people can write over, but if they wanna honest and find out who shot this photograph and pay them their big fee they will have your name in there as part of the metadata. And under the Copyright you could set all rights reserved, you could put your copyright information, you could put your website information, your email, so that people can contact with you here. And that will, once again, go into the metadata attached to each and every photograph. And you can take a look at that by just going right here and seeing what's set in there. All right, this is the one feature that you will be coming back to on a regular basis in this particular group of settings. The Format is going to allow you to delete the data, the pictures, the folders, the directory, everything else on the card. And so that's what you wanna do typically before you go out on a brand new shoot. Now what I just told you right now is a small white lie. It doesn't actually totally get rid of everything. If you were to reformat a card the data is still on the card and can be recovered by special recovery software. You can't do it in the camera, you would have to have special software on your computer or a company that would do it. So if you really wanna get rid of data you have to write over it by taking new photos. You could also use a computer to do that with many different types of reformatting programs in the computers, but the cameras won't allow you to see the photographs, it writes it all as empty and so it actually has to write over it to completely write over it. So Sony has the most convoluted folder system on their cards of anyone out there. And thus is one of the reasons why it takes so long to format cards in a Sony camera. It's about three or four times longer than Canon or Nikon when it comes to formatting cards. So the still images, not too bad. They're located in the DCIM folder, into another folder, and that's where the Sony Alpha Raw files are. But the video files are buried in here. So the AVCHD are in this location, but then if we look down in here is where we're gonna find the other 4K and HD videos and our proxy videos. And so if you have an assistant and you tell them, go get the images and videos off my card, they better look pretty hard for those videos, because they're not quite as clearly positioned as the stills in there. Depending on what type of videos you are shooting as well. So just be aware that it's a little convoluted in there. The file numbering of the cameras is already done for you. If you do wanna reset it from time to time you can. There's really not a great reason to do it. For general purpose reasons the camera will normally count up through a 10,000 count cycle and then restart again. If you want to adjust the file name to match your initials or a camera identification you could do that. And so it'll be slightly different for sRGB and Adobe RGB, they have different formats, but you can go in and reset that letter code depending on the types of format you're shooting. All right, this is an important setting here. This is gonna control where your images are stored and how they are stored on the camera. And so first off, you can prioritize either Slot 1 or Slot 2 as your main slot. Choose whichever one you want. But it's kind of nice to know that if one ever gets damaged you can always use the other slot. Next up is the Recording Mode and we have a lot of different options here, and so I wanna kind of clarify and illustrate what's going on with each of these different options. So first up is the Standard option, which saves to the designated card and you have a card carrying place for the rest of the card. It doesn't do anything in there, it just sits in there. Next up is Simultaneously writing still images to both cards, while movies will just go to the designated card. So for somebody who's really interested in still photography and wants that all backed up, that's a good choice. Simultaneous Movies is just the opposite. Movies go to both cards and still images just go to one card. For the truly paranoid, Simultaneous Movies and Stills going to both cards, so they are fully backed up in all ways forwards and backwards. Oh, but what about RAW and JPEG? Some people prefer to separate the JPEGs and the RAWs and so if you wanna have one card designated for JPEGs and one card for RAWs you can sort them in this manner. And then finally, we can Sort the Movies and the Stills. Perhaps you want all the videos to go to one card and all the stills to go to another card. And so obviously a lot of different options depending on what you're doing. I usually subscribe to the truly paranoid and get the everything on both cards. That way everything is fully backed up. And so Standard is gonna be fine for most people, but then Simultaneous on both is good for professionals. Auto Switching Media. Now this is kind of a nice option, so that if you are shooting to just one card as soon as it is full it'll start spilling over into the second card. So for people who shoot a lot of photos and they don't want any breaks from going from card one to card two it'll automatically just roll over to that new card. You can have different folders on the cards, potentially for clients, or personal business use. You can create folders and then shoot to those particular folders where those images will be stored. And so here's where you can select the folders, here's where you can create the folders and give them a name. Actually here's where you give them the name. And so you can choose a Standard Form or a Date Form. And so the Date Form's kind of nice, 'cause you can kind of see when you started that series. I've had this happen once. I looked like a photo god, 'cause someone had a Sony camera and they said, my images are all corrupt on my camera and I can't see them. And there had been some sort of communication problem between the camera and the card. This does not delete the images, all it does is it goes through, tries to find the data, and restructure all the connections. And we just put the camera through the Image Recovery Database and suddenly he could see all the images on his card that were, they were totally fine, there wasn't anything wrong with them. It's just the camera had lost how to communicate with them. And so I think this might have to do with Sony's more complicated file structure system and so it just goes back and it restructures that with the data that's already on the card. Display Media Info is very helpful for you to see how much information you have left to record to on a particular card. How many images? How much time on the video you have left. All right, getting near the end. The Version number. This is the firmware version. From time to time manufacturers will update the software on their cameras. In order to do this you gotta get your camera connected up to the internet, so that means you gotta connect your camera physically to a computer connected to the internet using a USB cable, look up the new firmware at Sony, whenever that might come out, and then you need to download it to your camera, but you do need to use something called a System Software Updater, which is a free software program from Sony. There's more information at Sony's site in what this program is. But basically it's just a little program on your computer that downloads the new software from Sony's website and uploads it and installs it on your camera. In the world of cameras Sony doesn't do a lot of firmware updates compared to most companies and so don't expect a lot of changes. There'll be bug fixes from time to time, but don't expect a lot of changes on the features of the camera, at least with the Sony of today. All right, this is one of the first things we talked about in the class, which is the Setting Reset. And this is where you can go in and under Camera Settings you're basically resetting all the things in the first two tabs of the Camera Settings. Initialize goes through pretty much everything on the camera and resets it back to the factory standards. It does not format the memory card, it is just working with the camera system itself and resetting it back to the factory settings.

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.