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Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 11 of 26

Back Side Controls: Function Button


Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 11 of 26

Back Side Controls: Function Button


Lesson Info

Back Side Controls: Function Button

We've been looking at the buttons and controls on the camera and we're on the back of the camera and we're gonna be starting to dive in to some of the kind of pseudo button menu systems on it. So the camera has a full on menu system which has about 180 some features in there and the function button is the shortcut to a few of the best ones in there. Now currently it's scheduled to hold about of what Sony thinks is the most important ones, but like pretty much everything else in this camera, it can be customized. But, I gotta be fair, it's pretty good to start off with. So let's go ahead and take a look at what the function button does. And so it's gonna give us access to these 12 different functions, which we will go through one by one. So, to operate these you hit the function button and then your gonna use either the dial or the joystick on the back of the camera to navigate to the one that you want. And then you can press the center button to get in and make further changes on each...

of these individual modes. Alright, first up top left we have the drive mode. And so this controls how many pictures you take when you press down on the shutter release and the exact nature of it. It also kinda dips into a few other different areas of options when it comes to different ways to shoot. So let's go ahead and take a look at all of these options. First and most popular is gonna be the single shooting mode. This is where you wanna press down the shutter release once to take a single photograph and that's gonna work most of the time. We also have continuous shooting and there's a few things to talk about in here. We do have high, high plus. We have a mid and a low which is just different frames per second. When you're shooting at 10 frames per second, when you are looking through the viewfinder, the image that you will see between pictures that you are actually taking, is the image that you just shot. When you go down to the high setting, the mid and the low setting, what you see in between your shots will be a live view of the image in front of you. So let's say you are trying to follow a baseball player running around the bases. It's a little bit easier to track that action when you have live feed information. And you will get that eight, six or three frames per second. If you want the maximum, it's gonna show you what you just took. Now granted it's gonna be about 1/10 of a second ago, but it's not quite as easy to follow really fast moving action. And so the best rate to choose depends on the type of action that you are shooting. Lets' see what else we need to talk about in here. Okay that's probably the most important stuff. Next up we have a self-timer mode, which has different time options two, five and 10 seconds. And then we have a continuous option. Which is really good if you are doing group shots. So my secret for getting group shots is a 10 second self-timer with three to five shots, because somebody always blinks or isn't looking at the camera or isn't ready on the first shot. So if you do five shots, there is a good chance that everyone will be ready and looking at the camera in at least one of those. Finally we have bracketing and this is where the camera shoots a variety of pictures, changing some aspect of it. Now traditionally it's been exposure bracketing, that's the most common, is that you would change the exposure a little bit so that you make sure that you have a picture that's the correct brightness. We have a continuous option and a single option, which is where the camera will continuously fire through all the shots as quickly as possible, so that they're taken in the shortest amount of time. Or you could choose it in single if you're trying to time something in particular, like perhaps a breaking wave on the ocean or something. Now you'll have a number of different options as far as the number of shots and exposure values in here. But beyond exposure bracketing are a couple of other types of bracketing where it varies the white balance or another feature called the dynamic range optimizer. So let's take a look at all of this bracketing a little bit more closely. First up is exposure bracketing. And this is where you get to shoot a variety of pictures at different exposure levels. And in the display in the camera you're gonna see this little graphic; and first up the BRK simply means the bracketing is turned on. The C or S is gonna tell you whether you're in the continuous or the single shooting mode. Then we will have the number of exposures. And so typically a traditional bracket was just very simple, three photos. But now a lot of people are doing HDR photography, and if you're trying to cover a really wide range you might need five or nine frames in order to do that. And then you can change the exposure increment, how far apart are each of the images. Traditionally most people are doing one-stop exposure value changes. If you're making pretty big adjustments, you might need to go to two or more. It's usually not real beneficial at point-three or point-five,it's a very small difference. And if you're shooting raw photos, that's the type of thing that you can usually adjust in post quite easily. So most of the time, it's gonna be one or two when it comes to exposure bracketing. Now you can go in to tweak these bracketing settings if you want. There's a couple of additional things that you can turn on, for instance, you'll notice that we're talking about bracketing and a moment ago we were talking about self-timer. Well what if you want to have the self-timer to trigger the bracketing? Well, yes, you can do that and you can do that by jumping into these bracket settings in the menu system. And we can also control the order that the camera shoots in bracketing as well. And so if you do a lot of bracketing, you can customize it to fit your needs there very easily. The other types of bracketing that we have mentioned here was a white balance bracketing. If you're the type of person that shoots raw images, this is of no use to you because you can adjust white balance after the fact in shooting raw. And so in jpegs if you wanted to, you could shoot this. It would seem like it's a lot easier just to shoot raw. But it's there for somebody who did want to vary the color temperature of their jpegs. D.R.O. stands for dynamic range optimizer. And what it's basically doing here, it's holding back the highlights and it's lightening up the shadows, so that you can see into the shadow regions a little bit more easily. And so it's gonna give you a variety of images that make this adjustment for you. Now this is something that you could just turn on for one image if you want. And with my own testing on this, I have found that if you're shooting in raw and you do your adjustments in post-production and lighten up the shadow regions, it's doing pretty much the same thing as this, but with more control. Neither of these are modes that I really recommend for most people. I think that there are other better ways of going about it, to either have more control after the fact or just higher resolution with the raw images. So, they're here if you need them, but I don't think a lot of people are going to need them. One of the things you will notice if you are shooting pictures very rapidly is, up in the top left of the viewfinder or the LCD is a little indication that the camera is working at downloading those images and storing them on the memory card. And so it will give you a number as to how many images are in the buffer and kinda waiting for it to clear. But you'll see that working as you shoot through bursts of images. Next item to look at is the focus mode. And if this seems familiar, get used to this. There's gonna be a lot of things that we talk about a couple of different times. We already talked about this. This was the C3 button on the back of the camera. And if you wanna reprogram that button, well, you can come in here to the function button and access those same features for controlling the focus mode. The focus area is another button that we'd talked about earlier. We talked about it, when we talked about the C2 button on the top of the camera. So we get to choose our focusing area here. If you wanna reprogram the C2 button, you can still access the information here. Or maybe you wanna change things around in a different way moving them here, but they are here if you do wanna get to them. Next up is exposure compensation. Now the camera does have a dial on the top of the camera and so you're normally gonna be using that for changing it. But if you do have the camera in an auto ISO mode, you can still come in here and adjust it. Most of the time this will be grayed out, so this would be a good position that you could reprogram with something else. Alright, finally we've gotten something new here. This is the ISO setting. So for setting the sensitivity of the sensor, the camera has a very wide range that you could go to. 100 is the native or the base sensitivity of the sensor. Which means, if you want the highest quality information off the sensor, you would set it to ISO 100. You'll set it up for that if you need to have perhaps a faster shutter speed and a more sensitive sensor in that regard. We do have some low ISO settings below 100. They are not better than 100, they are just lower than 100. And those might be useful if you are really trying to get a very slow shutter speed. Like you're photographing a waterfall and you wanna get the longest shutter speed possible. The downside to setting any of these low ISOs is a smaller dynamic range. So you'll get less in the highlights and less in the shadows recorded on the sensor, when using this, by about one stop. So it's not huge, but it is something that you don't wanna do unless you absolutely have to. And then we also have auto ISO on here, where the camera will choose for you. And there's a lot of parameters that you will see as we get into the menu system, controlling what the maximum ISO is or what's the slowest shutter speed the camera would use in that system. We also have high settings down here that go all the way up to 102,000. Image quality gets a little bit sketchy on these, as we'll see here in a moment. But if you do absolutely need it, it does have a pretty high ceiling that you can go to. So let's go ahead and take a look at the ISO test on this. I always like to run every camera to run it through the test and see how good it is at different settings. And so in here we have pretty clean results up through ISO 1600 and in fact even all the way up to 12,800 I could see using that for pretty low light situations. Obviously the top few settings are getting very, very noisy there. But it seems like they just keep improving these sensors, so that we have a higher and higher ceiling that we're able to push this to and get decent quality results from. And so overall one of the best cameras on the market, when it comes to ISO and low light working. Alright, next up is our metering mode and this is how the camera reads the light coming into the sensor. We have a number of different options in here. Let's take a close look at what we have available. First up is the multi mode. This is using 1,200 different sections and it's looking at all of this information and basing it on everything that it sees in there. In general, the multi mode may be the only metering mode that you ever need. It does a really good job with a wide variety of situations; and it's how I leave my camera for metering most of the time. And so it's a really good system. Next up is center weighted. This is a more traditional system where it measures the light heavily concentrated in the middle of the frame and so it's not looking over towards the edges. Next we have a spot, which is a smaller version of the center weighted area. And we do have two different spots that are available to us, small and large. And in this case, it's very good for subjects that are not filling the frame and we only want to read the light of that particular subject. We have an entire scene average option here. And to be honest with you I have not done much testing with this. Sony says that it's a little bit better with subjects that are moving around a lot. But I have found that the multi system works so well, I haven't needed to bump it over to that one. But it is there for those who might want to experiment with it. And then finally there is a relatively new one for Sony, it's highlight. And the idea here, is that it's looking at the entire scene and it's trying to set the exposure as far to the right. If anyone's familiar with exposing to the right on the histogram, it's trying to expose it as bright as possible without overexposing anything. So it's protecting the highlights but making it as bright as possible. And so this is another good system, just a different way of looking at the light and reading it. And so for most people I think the multi pattern system is gonna be really good. It's what most people that use Sony have, but there are some other interesting options here that may fit special needs that you have. Next up we have the flash option and as you all know, this camera does not have a flash, so you do need a flash on the camera for this to work We won't spend a lot of time here. But real quickly, you can have the flash automatically firing. You can force it in fill flash to fire even though it's fairly brite and doesn't think it needs it. We can use slow sync, where it uses a slow shutter speed. Rear sync, where it synchronizes the flash with the closing shutter curtain on a long shutter speed. And then you can hook up multiple flashes to do your own wireless flash system. And if you are using flash, 1/250 of a second is the standard top shutter speed you can use with the flashes in their TTL automated modes. If you have a flash on there, you can control the amount of power that is being put out by the flash, so that the flash normally fires in something called a TTL flash. And it is sometimes, quite frequently, just a little too powerful. And so if you want to power that flash down a little bit, you would add in a bit of minus exposure compensation with the flash. And it's very rare that you would ever add in a plus exposure compensation. Usually we're trying to take the flash down so it's not overpowering your subject. So minus one to minus two, might get those skin tones looking a little bit more normal if you are using flash. If you don't use flash on your camera, don't have a Sony flash, don't wanna use one, these are gonna be two spots that you can reprogram with other features to go in here. So kind of keep that in mind if you're not utilizing or thinking some of these functions are valuable to the way you shoot. Next up is our white balance. We talked about this before on the C1 button on the top of the camera. But in here if you are shooting under unusual light, you can go ahead and get this set up for that type of light source. Auto white balance is a good general place to start off and adjust as necessary from there. The creative styles allows you to have the camera process your photos with a slightly different look. And so this would be akin to old days of buying different styles of film that have a different look to them. There's gonna be a little different contrast, saturation, black point on all of these and so this is really only gonna matter to people who are shooting jpegs and trying to get a jpeg that looks good straight out of camera. And so most of these are not gonna be important to anyone shooting raw; and I think a lot of people will be shooting raw with this camera. But the one in here that I do think is kinda special and helpful is the black and white mode, if you are interested in shooting black and white. When you put this in black and white and if you have your camera in raw, you'll see in the viewfinder, the world in black and white. So you'll be able to compose your images in black and white. And when you shoot raw, you'll be collecting all the data off the sensor, which means the color and the black and white information. So that when you download it to your computer, you will get a color image which you can then turn back into black and white or you can keep in color or you can make copies and have both. But the whole idea that makes it so good, is that you can actually see in the viewfinder, as you're composing your image, what's it gonna look like in black and white. And you can actually go in and tweak some of these, so you can increase the contrast and you can kinda play with the look of it, the way that you might want that final image to be. And so I found that really helpful when I'm in a kind of a black and white mode, or I have an idea for a black and white image, I get to see it and preview it, what it's gonna look like straight in the camera. Next up we have one of our first controls for controlling where are we storing information on the camera. We have two memory cards and Sony has a number, maybe too many different options, for controlling how this information is stored on your camera. And so this is selecting what card you are gonna be using for recording that information. The final one is mostly just a notation as to where you have the mode dial set on the camera. So if you think it's pretty obvious that it's on the top of the camera and it's easy to see, this is one of those little boxes that you will be able to reprogram later on in you don't like. So that is the function menu, that you will use your variety of controls for changing. And as I mentioned, this is fully customizable. You can go into camera settings too and you can start switching around settings if you don't like where they are. You can move them. if you said "You know what? I don't find these useful at all," you could just leave them blank or you could go select from a bunch of other features and put them in wherever you want. If there is only three things you found useful, you could have three things in your function menu, but there's still spots for 12. And so if you wanna put in 12, this is a great place to put them. And so in general, when it comes to customizing your camera, the process that I kind of think of is, there are three different levels. If it's something that's really important to you, you program one of the buttons on the top of the camera, top or the back of the camera. If it's pretty important, it goes into here, into the function button option. And if it's next level of important, you will do something in the menu called my menu. And there are a lot of items and several pages that you could put in there of items that you put in there. And I think somebody who properly sets up their camera might never need to go into the menu system, once they've set it up, which is really nice 'cause there's 180 items in there. And most of us are only gonna find a few handful of items that we really need and if you get them programed to the buttons or here the function menu or the my menu coming up, you're not gonna need to go into the full menu at all. The function button is a different button when you get to playback mode. So in the playback mode, it is a shortcut for diving in, for sending images from your camera to your phone. And so if you want to set that up, we're gonna do a little wifi connection later on in this class. But once you get your camera and your phone connected, you could have it be a basic one button press to get from your camera to your phone so that you can upload those images as easily as possible. And as I say, we'll talk more about these network connections and wifi connections when we get into the menu part of the camera.

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!

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