Skip to main content

Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 8 of 26

Back Side Controls: Focus Mode


Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 8 of 26

Back Side Controls: Focus Mode


Lesson Info

Back Side Controls: Focus Mode

Let's look at the back side of the camera. So, let's start on the top left. We have one of those custom three buttons. So this is another one of those buttons that we get to customize in any way that we want. It is currently set up to control the focusing mode, and this is how the camera is focusing. We have five different options. So let's take a look at what these five options are. First up is AF-S and this is where a lot of us I think will have the camera set up. 'Cause it's just basic photography. We're gonna photograph on a subject that is not moving around a lot, and so if your subject is stationary, AF-S is probably the right mode to be in. Let's skip over to AF-C, this is the other big different one. This is continuous focusing, this is gonna be used for tracking subjects moving around. So if you do sports or action photography, you want to put it into the continuous mode. And so be aware that if you are doing this, the focus is locked on the first shot when the aperture is sma...

ller than F8. And there is something that's kind of unusual about this camera that's different than SLRs is that when you set the aperture on this camera, the aperture closes down down to that aperture right then and there. And it's always there and so if you were to put it at F it's got very little light coming in, and it's gonna have a hard time focusing with very little light. You could still shoot pictures at that mode and that's why it can't do that focusing. But if you do wanna do critical focusing, I have found, I was testing it out last night, and it was really low light and I found that I had the camera at f and the image I was getting on the viewfinder was really grainy and just didn't look really clear, so I opened up the aperture much larger and it became much larger. And so one of the things I think I can do and I'm gonna do a new demo here, I wasn't planning on this one, but I'm gonna point this camera straight in to the other camera and I want to see if we can see in the aperture and I am gonna get behind here so I can change this aperture down. Let's change the aperture. Let's open the aperture up. Aperture should be fully opened up. Oh there we go, I gotta get it angled right. And so you can actually see me changing the aperture in here, and so it tends to stay there when I shoot a picture. That's as wide open as it gets. But if was to close it all the way down here, and put the motor drive on, you could see that the aperture, let's close it down to f22. (clicking) The aperture is not opening when I'm shooting photos. And so if you were trying to track action while you're doing that, there's not a lot of light coming in. In an SLR what happens is that the aperture opens up for just a fraction of a second so that you can see through the viewfinder and the camera can focus at the same time. And so it's a little bit different system. So it's really not that big of a hindrance because generally when you're shooting very, very quickly, you have subjects that are moving quickly that you need fast shutter speeds on, which needs really wide apertures. So it's very rare that you would be shooting at 10 frames a second at f11. But somebody out there is gonna have that problem, and that's why it works so well on this particular camera. All right, between these two is something called AF-A and this is where the camera chooses for you what you think you should be doing. And this is something that I would obviously not recommend, I like having control of the camera, and I bet you do too. When you put the camera in the full auto mode, on the mode dial on the top of the camera, this is the way the camera focuses. It looks for actions, and it will track it if it sees it. But I have found it's pretty easy when you ask the question, is my subject moving or not. And so it's a pretty easy call to make and so I would think AF-S and AF-C are gonna be two of the most common modes. We have DMF, direct manual focus. And this allows you to auto focus on a subject and then manually adjust it if you want. And so let's go ahead and do a little demo here on this, and so let's go over our prop table again. I'm gonna go to simple exposure mode. And I do need to adjust my focusing for DMF here. And so if I wanna focus, and let's change this over just to a center point. It's kinda tight in here. And so I let the camera focus, and if I said you know what, I wanna check in on this. The camera automatically zooms in, and you can see the little scale on the bottom. And I can just touch that up to make sure that it's exactly where I want it, and then I can press down the rest of the way and take the photo. And so for anyone who likes to adjust the focus, you know let the camera help them out, but really dial it in themselves, it's really designed for people who like manual focus but want a little bit of auto focus help. Finally, of course, we have manual focus, which allows you to just focus yourself. Now there are a couple of things that will have aids that we can employ later on. One is focus magnification, which we just saw, where the camera automatically zooms in for a closer look at the subject. And then we also have focus peaking, which I'll show you a little bit later on. And what that'll do is it'll kind of show you in a shimmering highlights the areas that are in focus. And some people find that very helpful when they are manually focusing. And so some very good options in here. I think AF-S is kind of the standard way. For your action AF-C. DMF is kind of interesting, I just prefer to jump over to full manual focus if I do want a manual focus myself. And if you want to reprogram the focus mode to another custom button, yes you can do that. There's some buttons on the back of the camera. If you would prefer this to be on C2 or C1, all of these options are very, very customizable. So if you don't like their location, you can move them around.

Class Description

Get the most out of your new Sony A7r III with this complete step-by-step walkthrough of the camera’s features. You'll learn why this camera is highly sought after by enthusiasts and professional photographers alike. Join expert photographer John Greengo as he gives you all the information you need to understand the camera's buttons, menus, and functions.

In this Fast Start class John will discuss:

  • Improved performance at 10fps for shooting action shots
  • High speed continuous shooting
  • Improved 5 axis image stabilization
  • Faster, lower-noise image processing
  • High quality 4K video

John is a CreativeLive veteran instructor and an experienced photographer. With over 50 Fast Start classes in the CreativeLive catalog, he will discuss the complete breakdown of your camera’s exposure, focus, metering, video and more. John will also explain how to customize the Sony A7r III settings to work for your style of photography.


Angela Sanchez

Super great clearly explained guide for the Sony a7r III. John is always a fantastic knowledgeable instructor who knows how to teach all about cameras in a super clear organized way. I love John Geengo classes!

Craig Markham

As always, John shines as a teacher extraordinaire! His visuals, pacing of presentation, clarity, and and adherence to the class objectives are all spot-on. As a devoted A7r II user for the past 2 years, this was a great review of the shared features, and gave me the best information for evaluating the cost/benefit of an upgrade to the A7r III now.


John Greengo is the man. I've been watching CreativeLive classes for years and there is no better instructor than him. I recently upgraded from the A7r II to the III and had been waiting for this course to be offered. John is incredibly knowledgeable and, with great dedication, provides all pertinent information related to operating and knowing your new camera. If it weren't for John, I wouldn't know the ins and outs of my new camera and would struggle with optimal settings which would decrease the best output possible. You rock, John. Thanks again!

Explore More Free Classes


Enjoy the free classes? Get 2000+ more Classes and watch it anytime, anywhere.

Get The Pass