Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 1/26 - Class Overview


Sony A7r III Fast Start


Lesson Info

Class Overview

Welcome, everybody, to the Sony a7R III Fast Start class. In here, we're going to be going over all the features, functions, buttons, menu operations of the entire camera, trying to figure out how to use the camera. I know there's a lot of other places where you can look at reviews on camera, which are interesting, and camera comparisons, but what we're trying to do in here is learn how this camera works. As you probably know if you're watching this class, this is one of the more poplar cameras out on the market. It's one of the more talked about ones because it's got a lot of things built into it, it's got a lot of capabilities, it's got a lot of different features in there. In fact, as part of the class you do get my little pdf, and what I do on this is I take the entire menu system and I lay it out on one page so that it's simple and easy to see. And I've gotta be honest with you folks. We all know that the Sony menu system is developing and it's getting better as time goes on and i...

t's not quite perfection yet. I get to know this camera forward and backwards, but I still get lost, and the easiest way for me to find some things is to grab one sheet so I can scan just real quickly up and down, and this is how I still have to find some things in the menu system, But we will be going through the menu system and through this. Now, I do give you my recommendations on how to set this for average setters... average users and then some more advanced users. I sometimes have two different settings depending on exactly what your needs are, and then I know that you are all gonna make your own changes so then I include a second sheet that has everything blank so you can write in your own settings if you want to do that. And then there are two more pages in the back about some recommended settings on the camera that we'll get to in the second half of this class. So, let's jump in and show you what we're gonna be doing in this class here. Broken the class up into a few different sections. First off, I just want to give you a little bit of overview, if you're new to Sony perhaps, where this camera fits in their system and a little bit about them. We're not gonna cover too much in the way of photo basics. Every once in a while there is somebody who gets started in photography and they've never even taken a photography class and they wanted to get a great camera, and this is what got recommended, so they bought it. So, I'm just going to give you a few minutes of photo basics, but most of the class is gonna be on the camera controls, where we go around each of the buttons and dials and talk about what they do and how you would use them, and the other big half of the class is the menu functions. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna go through this little handout that we have here from top to bottom and talk real briefly about what each of these items does and where I'd recommend setting it and for what sorts of situations I would recommend using this camera. It's a very capable camera. I've had some fun using it myself. I have found an Achilles' heel. I'll just kinda let you know that there is just one little thing it's not very good at that's kind of important to know, and I'm gonna let you know about that here in this very first section of the class. Okay, so anytime you get a camera you're gonna pull it out of the box and there's that instruction manual, and Sony is a bit different than most other companies that I know of in that the instruction manual that comes with this camera is woefully inadequate. They've pretty much given up on writing traditional instruction manuals, and so you get this 100 page kind of very brief manual that barely goes into half of what the camera does, and they make the rest of it available online, which is this 650 page pdf that you can download. And this thing has had me going forward and backwards and going nuts because it doesn't need to be 650 pages. They have the same page duplicated in various places when they go, well, we're talking about focusing, so let's just recopy those pages here. And so, it's a bit of a disaster going through it, but you could spend up to 25 hours going through this and we're going to spend about five hours. And so, you can kind of trust that I have gone through every page of the instruction manual and I'm gonna try to hone things down to a smart five hours here. But I do want to say there are a few things that we're gonna cover a little bit more briefly. If you're gonna hook this camera up to a network system and you're gonna be doing tethering with this, we're gonna talk a little bit about that, but we're not gonna be going fully in-depth on that. We're gonna be concentrating on how to use the camera manually, how to get the highest quality images out of it in here. Now, here's a little fun little tidbit of information. Everyone calls this the Sony a7R III. That's not the name of the camera. If you go to Sony's website and you want to find the pdf help guide, you have to type in the official name of the camera which is the ILCE-7RM3, and what that means is it's a Sony product, interchangeable lens, it's a compact camera, and it uses the E mount. And so, that's what those letters mean. And so, its a little bit awkward because that's not how they market it, but that's how you look up information. So, if you wanna get a brochure, instruction manual, firmware updates, you gotta know that name for getting in and finding the camera. The ILCE-7RM3. Now, somebody who's watching a Fast Start class for the first time might be wondering, well, John, isn't composition and lighting very important to photography? And I say absolutely yes. It's just that in this class we're gonna be talking about this one camera for the entire class and that's what our focus is here. If you're interested in photography classes, there's a ton of other classes here at Creative Live. I have basic classes, I have more advanced classes, I have a variety of 'em, and there's many many other great instructors with lots of great classes. And we're gonna be staying focused on this one camera. So, I hope you're ready to be dedicated into this one system today. So, just a quick bit on Sony. Sony has not been into cameras forever. They've been around for quite a while as an electronics dealer, as we all know, but they did start making digital cameras very very early on. They were one of the first companies to offer a digital camera to the consumers. They had their Cyber-shot cameras, which were very popular back in the 90s. They then bought the remains of Kodak... Or, excuse me, Konica and Minolta and the whole Minolta mount system, and they have taken that over with their SLT system of cameras and lenses. And then they developed their own system using this new mirrorless technology and the NEX series, which has kind of evolved from around that. And then they came out with a full-frame camera, which was a bit of a holy grail camera, in my opinion, 'cause it was the first full-frame mirrorless camera out, and this is one of the descendants of that camera. In fact, let's take a look at the history of the Sony a7 line because they have three different cameras in the a7 series that address different needs. The a7 is kind of your middle of the road, general consumer camera. The R is the higher resolution model. The S tends to be a little bit more geared towards videographers, and so there's a few more video features in there with a lower pixel count. It tends to be very good under low light conditions. And so, with the a7R III, the order that they've been introduced has been changed up a little bit, and I'm guessing that in the future we're gonna see an a7 III and we'll see an a7S mark III. Not too hard to predict looking at this graph that that's likely to come out. Now, if that does happen, I'll have to take a look at those cameras and see if they're worthy of their own Fast Start or they might have an addendum that goes with this class. We'll have to see about that if and when those cameras were ever to come out. Usually pretty on in the instruction manuals are a whole lot of dire warnings about using your camera, about what not to do, and they could replace pretty much all of that with just a don't be stupid with it type statement because it's generally true. A couple of questions that are good questions about this camera is about the weather ceiling of this because the camera officially states, "The camera is designed to be dust and moisture resistant," but that's not real clear as to what it can handle and what it can't handle. It's not waterproof, it's not splash-proof, and so that means if it gets to be much more than a light rain, you better get some protection. Either a weather covering or an umbrella or shoot from inside or something else. I have seen some tests where they've done water tests and some Canons and Nikons have held up more durably than the Sonys, and so the camera is moderately resistant to those sorts of things, but you do also have to be aware of the lenses that you have on and the fact that they may or may not be weather sealed as well, and that may have a big influence on the camera and how well it does. The other issue is using products from other manufacturers. And so, when it comes to other manufacturer's products, there's going to be lenses, flashes, batteries, and memory cards. Pretty much any of the memory cards are gonna be fine. I'll talk specifically about size and speed of cards a little bit later on. With the batteries, I would probably stick with Sony. That's a very important component that it needs to be matched just right. You can use a variety of flash units, you can hook up strobes in the studio which is gonna be perfectly fine. If you're looking for a flash that communicates with the camera, you can put a variety of different models on. For convenience and ease of use, I would prefer to stay with the manufacturer on something like that. When it comes to lenses though, the mirrorless camera gives you the option of adapting lenses from other manufacturers, and I've been using this with Sony lenses, but I've also been using it with Canon lenses 'cause I have a few of those, and now I've started to use it with a few of the Leica lenses as well. And so, this is one of the best cameras on the market if you wanna adapt other brands of lenses. Not everything is going to work 100% when you do that, and we'll talk a little bit more about that as we get into the class. If you really want he best autofocus performance, if you're shooting sports or action, you're gonna wanna stick with the Sony lenses or any other lens that is fully dedicated with the autofocus system without adapters because once you start putting on adapters is when you start losing bits of communication and what it is varies a little bit according to the adapter and the lens and some other variables on the settings on the camera. So, be aware of that as we go through it. One of the ways that they rate cameras is on shutter durability, and this camera is rated at 500,000 cycles, which is really impressive. Just back in the old days, used to be that cameras were rated for about 50, and then some of the professional cameras were 100 or maybe 150,000. And so, this is rated at 500,000 cycles, but you do see there is a little asterisk by that, and that is with the electronic front curtain shutter, which means one of the shutters is not being used nearly as much. So, there's a little bit of a special note on that one, and we will talk about what is electronic front curtain shutter and whether you should be using that or not later in the class. Okay, let's make sure your camera and my camera is ready for the class. I charged my battery up last night, takes about 2.5 hours. And you're gonna want a lens on your camera for doing this. Have a memory card in the... probably the lower of the two slots, if you'll only have one memory card. Turn the camera on, which I will do right now. It kinda kills me to say this, but you can just put your camera in the auto mode for right now just to take a picture and I'm gonna go ahead and take a picture of our little prop stand over here, make sure things are working out okay. And looks pretty good there. Now, one of the things that they do have kind of at the tail end of the menu system, if you would like to bring your camera back to the factory default settings, if you've been in and you're making settings and you just wanna go back for a fresh start or something's not working on your camera and you just really can't figure it out, one of the things you can do is do a complete settings reset. And I'm gonna do that right now because I've been obviously playing around with my camera a lot and I wanna make sure that it's basically factory fresh. So, hit the menu button to get into the menu and I'm going to tab over to the settings tab and I'm gonna go to the very tail end of this, which is page seven of seven, and we're gonna do a full setting reset here. Now, one thing we could do is a camera settings, which are the basic camera settings like RAW and jpeg and some of the autofocus settings, but we're gonna initialize, which is wifi system, playback mode, everything. And yes, we really do wanna do this. Yes, I double confirmed that I wanna do this. It's gonna take a moment to go through the initialization phase. Now, it does not delete any of the photos on the card when you do this, but it does take everything back to the way it was when you got it out of the box. Yes, I speak English. I don't want to enter the time, but I have to do something here, so I am just going to set it to our local time here and I'm gonna skip all the rest of this, at least for right now. And yes, I know I can go to Sony for more information, and there we are. So, we are fully reset at this point. And so, do that if you've been messing with your camera and you wanna follow me along with a factory fresh 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!