Sony A7r III Fast Start

Lesson 19/26 - Menu Functions: Camera Settings 1


Sony A7r III Fast Start


Lesson Info

Menu Functions: Camera Settings 1

The basics of going through the menu system is hit the menu and use any one of the number of controls for going up, down, left and right and selecting the various items in here. We do have different tabs. Sony's menu systems have been notoriously bad and they are slightly better than they used to be. And so, we have camera settings one and two and I have no idea why there's one and two because they could put them all in one and just have more in page numbers. There is no clear classification of these types of things are in one and these types of things are in two. In a general sense there's a lot of video stuff in two. So, that's one thing I can point to, there's a lot of custom functions in two and everything else is in one. Network is gonna deal a lot with hooking your camera up to computers and your WiFi system. Setup stuff is usually the type of stuff that you don't go back to on a regular basis with the exception of formatting the memory card which is gonna be in the set up menu. ...

One thing you'll notice is that there's these little graphics, the little mountain or the movie strip. And that is gonna mean for something that is only for still that only applies to still image taking or something that only applies to shooting movies. So, be aware that that's one little quick graphic that your eye can grab on to to help you navigate through the menu system. We're gonna be looking at setup menu or not setup menu, camera menu one. Camera settings number one on page one of 14. Now, I keep saying one of 14 or the numbers like that because each of the tabs have different numbers of pages in there. And if I say something is on page three of there is only one place in the camera it can be. Because the next tab has I think nine pages. And so if I say eight of nine there's only one place in the camera it can be. And so, what I do is I say that to myself and it's easier when it's like, oh, it's eight of nine. I know where I'm gonna find it. Because once you start learning how many pages are in each of these tabs it becomes very easy. The first tab has the most, so 14 pages in here starting with the file format. This is RAW and the JPEG option in here. So, as many of you have been around digital photography for a while knows that when you shoot RAW you're getting the full image data off the sensor. And this is the 42 megapixels of information. Highest resolution, all the color data, all the light data on it. Now there is one little kind of asterisk. We do have an option in here which I'll show you in a moment. Is we have compressed and uncompressed options of the RAW file. And there's some things to consider in that and so I got a slide for that coming up. Give me a minute to get there. We also have JPEG options and so, if you wanna shoot in JPEG which is a very, very common form of files that we transfer, we post on the internet. If you need JPEGs you can shoot them straight in camera. Of course if you wanna shoot RAW plus JPEG you can do that as well. I don't find this really useful for a lot of people because if you have a RAW image and you have a computer, you can make a JPEG image with the right software. The best time for shooting RAW plus JPEG is when you have an immediate need for those JPEGs. If you wanna have access to the RAWS for long-term use of the image but you have immediate needs to transfer the images with JPEG this is a shortcut way that saves you from having to download images and create JPEGs, and send them out then. You can do it right in camera. And if you want to there's a multitude of ways of storing it. You could store RAWs to one card and JPEGs to the other card. And so, as we go through this class and as we have in the PDF that I do hand out, I do have my recommended settings as far as a logical place to start setting your camera. And so, for a very basic user it could be JPEG but I think for most people on this camera it's gonna be the RAW setting. And for special cases, RAW plus JPEG. The RAW file type. I mentioned this just a moment ago. We have two different options when it comes to RAW images. We have compressed and uncompressed. The big thing here is the size of the file is going to be different roughly and this will vary from image to image. 43 megabytes versus 86 per image. Now, one of the things this impacts is the buffer on the camera. So if you're shooting sports you're gonna have less images that you can shoot through in the buffer if you are shooting with an uncompressed image. Now, I have for a long time been a big proponent of shooting in the highest quality mode that you can set. Whatever that is on your camera just set it in the highest quality mode. Why would you do so otherwise? Well, there is a good reason. And so, I'm actually gonna recommend the compressed option here and that's because I've gone in and I've done extensive testing between uncompressed and compressed. And I have shot in examples of high detailed information. I've shot color, I've shot overexposed, I've shot underexposed. I've tried to find where a uncompressed image is giving me, I'm not gonna say noticeable detail but worthwhile detail. There is a small difference from this but I'm not seeing it and do I wanna expand half my memory for something I can't see? And something that and I doubt myself on this. And so, of course I go on the internet and I looked up every one that has done a compressed versus uncompressed test. And they've all come back with the same conclusion. There is virtually no difference between the two and you will be hard pressed in any situation to ever find that the uncompressed is gonna give you a better image. It is more data and there's a little bit of information that maybe somebody's gonna get out of it. And so, I've never seen anyone who's gone through full testing and recommends the uncompressed to everyone. It's kind of interesting. It seems to be one of those things there for the geeks. But it doesn't have uncompressed option and I wanna be able to shoot the larger file size. Now there is one other little aspect to this and that a uncompressed RAW and a compressed RAW are read by certain programs slightly differently. And I have seen that there are certain tablets or phones that don't read the compressed RAW in the same way that they read the uncompressed RAW. And basically somebody who had an iPad and they had a software program on that that wasn't able to read those larger size files or excuse me, the smaller size compressed files. So, check it out yourself, see if it works for you, see if it works on your system. And so, from what I've seen I'm setting my camera to compressed RAW and saving half the data because I don't see any difference. Next up is JPEG quality. If you are shooting JPEGS either as JPEG only or as RAW plus JPEG you can control the compression of that JPEG. And so, this is gonna result in different file sizes. And so, it depends on your needs of what you're doing with that JPEG as to what you might do here. But in general I recommend the highest unless you know you need something or can work with something lower. You can change the size of the JPEG as well and this is basically how many megapixels are you recording, 42, 18 or 11. And in most cases if you are shooting JPEG you're gonna want the largest. But if you know you need something smaller you can shoot it straight in camera. Aspect ratio, the sensor is three by two so you probably wanna record on the entire sensor. But if you want it to match the 16 by nine aspect ratio of HDTV, you could do that and have that done so straight in camera. But most of the time, it'll probably be at three by two. We can crop down a little bit further and so, there's a special cropping for the APS-C system. And so, if you want in here this is also known as super which is where the S35 comes from. And this is one of the weird things on the camera that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Is that the camera normally is automatically going to crop you into this mode when you go into 4K recording because technically you get a little bit better image quality. And so, you're probably better off shooting in this super 35 mode if you are shooting 4K. But if you need wide angle you're gonna have to get out some very special lenses in order to get wide angle because you're getting cropped in and you're losing your wide angle. And so, this is not something that I generally recommend although for some people if they are shooting sports I've known that they have reprogrammed one of the buttons on the camera so that with the press of the button it automatically goes into an APS-C mode. And it's like they threw on a 1.5 teleconverter. Now, they have also gone from 42 down to 18 megapixels but maybe 18 megapixels is more than enough for what their purposes are for that image. It wasn't that long ago that 18 megapixels was the top of the game in photography. It's still a really good quality image. So, in here if you set it in auto the camera will crop to APS-C if an E-mount lens is attached. And so, if you have one of those smaller crop frame lenses it'll automatically do it or if you put the camera into a 4K mode. So, be aware of this. This is something that I probably recommend a lot of photographers put into manual so that you can manually choose whether you're cropping this or not. The next option is whether you are actually using this crop or not. The first one was on how it was chosen, this is on if you are choosing it. And so, if you do choose it you are gonna get around a 17.8 megapixel image if you are shooting still images from this. Now normally you would leave this turned off. This is something that as I say you can program to one of the buttons if you want a one button 1.5 crop, you could add it in with the benefit and draw back to it of cropping in. All right, on to page two. Long exposure noise reduction. All right, so here's the first of several items that are only gonna affect JPEG images and have no impact on shooting RAW images on the image quality of that RAW image. And so, on this one what happens is if you use a long exposure like 30 seconds what the camera does is it shoots a second blank exposure of 30 seconds so that it can process the image and take out some of the noise with that camera from that long exposure. And I've been a little bit dubious about this because when I'm out shooting in the field if I'm ever shooting a 30-second exposure it's usually in the middle of the night or late at night and then I have to wait the extra 30 seconds for it to process this information. Is this really worth it? Once again, I've run it through my own little test here under low light conditions. I shot a 30-second exposure. I shot it with and without the exposure noise reduction and I could not see any noticeable difference here. And so, I think you're probably better off turning this off and doing any sort of noise reduction that you might need in that case in post-production software. If you wanna do it in camera it allows you to do it, it just never does very much from what I've seen in my own testing. And so, I recommend turning this off. It just kind of gets in the way. Another reason to turn it off is if you just shoot RAW. The camera will still go through the noise reduction if you have it set to RAW and it just waste your time and does nothing for you. All right, we have another noise reduction one here and this is for high ISOs. When you do shoot at high ISO you will most definitely get noise. And the camera can go in and fix that to some degree with the JPEG images here. So, shooting at 12,800. Noise reduction off, we are clearly getting some noise. We can turn it on low or normal. The problem with turning it on is you start losing some of the details and the edge contrast throughout the image. And so, it's overdoing it on the noise reduction in some cases. The problem here is that you only have two options, low and normal and that's it. If you were to take that image that had no noise reduction to it at all and loaded into any sort of post-production software, you're gonna have a slider and you're gonna have multiple controls where you can really control the fine details of how this works. If we take it up to 100, where we're gonna see a lot of noise the in camera noise reduction does a pretty good job. So if you don't have a computer to do this work for you or you don't have the right software, yes, you can do it in the camera but if you're willing to do it yourself you're gonna be better off. Now once again, this is only for JPEGs and if you have RAWs you can do that noise reduction yourself and end up with even better results if you have decent software and you know a little bit about what you're doing. The color space of sRGB is the color space of the internet and a lot of basic computer things like that. If you want to print, you wanna make changes on your computer, you wanna be using Adobe RGB. So anyone who really wants to get in and manually control their images you want to have the largest color space possible. If you're shooting just for the internet it's probably safest just to stay in sRGB. When you shoot RAW you are getting Adobe RGB on all of them. Next up is a sub menu with lens compensation. And so, I hate to tell you this folks but all those expensive lenses you bought, they're not perfect. They have slight little problems to them. And so, the camera knows about these slight little problems and it can fix them. So one of the options is called shading composition and this deals with vignetting. And so, with fast lenses and some wide angle lenses you're gonna get a darkening of the corners. And so, to correct for this you can turn this on and it will automatically correct for it which I think for a lot of landscape photography is fantastic, this is great. The problem is is that when I do people photography I'm often adding in a little bit of shading and vignetting because I don't want those bright corners to be there. I wanted kind of that nice little dark framing for my subject. And so, it kind of depends on how you shoot, what you shoot, what you want your photos to look like. Do you wanna correct for them or not and that'll only fix them on JPEG images once again. Another option is chromatic aberration. Now, I haven't met anyone so far who likes chromatic aberration so this is something you'll probably wanna leave turned on. What happens is that when you have bright light coming around a solid object not all that light hits the sensor in the right spot and you end up with these slight halos that might be kind of bluish green or magenta in color. And the camera knows how much problems these lenses have with these tough situations and can automatically fix it, at least on JPEG images. There's a lot of post-production software that also has fixes for this as well. So that's something that you can probably more likely leave on auto and have that fixed if you do shoot JPEGs. Next up is distortion compensation and I don't know a lot of photographers who like distortion other than in their occasional fisheye lens, that's kind of a special exception to it. And so, as I go back and forth between these two images you can see the horizon is a little bit curved and then we can correct for it in software here. And so, the cameras will correct for that automatically according to what that lens needs. Once again, only on JPEGs, not on RAW images. Looking at our next page here is dealing with shooting mode and drive options. We have our drive mode and if this seems familiar, yes, this is the third time we've seen this. It's located here in the menu system which basically enables us to program it to one of the custom buttons different than it's already at right now. So, we're not gonna dive into this any further because we talked about it thoroughly before. Bracket settings which are part of the options on the drive option but here's where we get to customize them. One of the options that we get to do here is add the self timer. And so, if you're the type of person like me that doesn't always use the cable release, the self timer and bracket option work really nicely because you trigger the cameras to start it. You get your hands off the camera, the vibration settle off and then the bracket series is taken. The bracket order, the way that it normally shoots I think is just weird. It's because it shoots normal and then a little bit darker, a little bit lighter then a bit darker and a bit dark, lighter and it gets very confusing especially if you shoot a series of bracket series. And so, people who shoot bracket series often prefer that they shoot them from dark to light or light to dark. In this case, it just makes it a lot easier as you see these come up and you shot 10 of these bracket series. It's gonna be much easier to see where one starts and where one ends afterwards. Pixel shift multi shoot. This is new to the camera, this is new to Sony. It's been on a few other cameras out there and this is where the camera is going to shoot multiple exposures. The camera uses what's known as a bare, a pixel pattern. And the problem here is that at any one point of light it's only recording one of those three colors. So, what the camera will do is it will carefully move exactly one pixel over to pick up additional color information and it will move down and over to pick up four bits of data. And basically it's gonna take four individual photographs so that it picks up as much information as possible. Now, the current downside to this whole idea here is that you do have to use Sony software in order to compile these images. And so, you can get that software for free from Sony, so it's free, it's not costly. It's just probably not the software that you normally use on a regular basis. And so, they do make three different remote, viewer and editing softwares that you can download. And so, I ran it through my own little test and it takes four different photos. You run it through the Sony software, it combines the four photos and it turns it into a Sony ARQ file which is a new type of file system that you can then turn into a TIF file. And so, this is a case where by shooting four photos, collecting the data from all of them, you will get higher resolution. And so, there is more detail information in that final file. Now, the file size is much larger. It is not larger in resolution though. It is still the same resolution but it has better information in that resolution so that's why you're getting a sharper image. Now, the camera can't move a pixel because the sensor's moving a pixel. And so, you can't handhold it, you got to have it on tripod. You really got to have it on a good tripod and you got to be shooting things that are not moving. And you go, oh, great, it's good for landscape photography. Well, you've got clouds and trees and flowers and things that are moving in the photograph. And because it takes a second between each of the four shots, it's gonna take place over a three-second span of time. Anything that moves in that three seconds is gonna look weird in the image because it moved. And so, product photography, architecture photography, those are the two main areas that it might be a benefit. And it's just still a little bit tricky to use. It's one trick to keep up your sleeve for a certain type of product. And so, if you were doing, maybe you were documenting the products at an art studio and you were gonna copy all of them for archiving purposes, this would be perfect for that. Because if you know that subject is not gonna move and you have a very controlled environment then this would work out quite well for that. And so, basically you can just put it in to this mode. You can select how many seconds between the images and the reason you might wanna do that is let's say you have studio strobes that are firing at full power and they take five seconds to power up. Well then you could set this at maybe 10 seconds so that there's more than enough time for those strobes to recycle. And so, that's the main reason that we have different times on there. But normally you would just put it on one second and just let it go through the settings, go through those images as quickly as it can. We talked about the recall options on the top of the camera's mode dial. One, two and three. And so, this is where you can recall the modes that you have already set. And so, remember one through four stored on the card, one, two, three are straight on the camera. Memory settings is gonna keep a storage of the shooting mode, the exposure settings, the focus settings that you've had in there. And you can store this right on the card. So let's do a quick little setup on our camera here. And so, I normally like to shoot in aperture priority but let's just say I wanna have the camera jump to shutter priority. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put my camera in shutter priority right now. Let's get our camera set up for some kind of fast action here. I'm gonna say let's just put the camera in auto ISO because I don't know what sort of light I would be in. I'm gonna let the camera choose that. And then I'm gonna choose a shutter speed of five-hundredths of a second so that it's gonna be able to stop some action pretty quickly there. And let's change the drive mode, yeah, let's keep it on high. All right, let's go to high plus right there. Okay, so we've made a few changes now. And so, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna jump in to the menu system and let's see, which page was I on. Right down here, memory. And so, I'm gonna press the center button here and now I can store this as one, two, three. And so that is if I wanna get it to one, two, three up here. I can store it to M1 through M which will then be stored on one of the cards. I'm gonna say let's save this to position number one so it is now registered there. So, as I take my camera back out to aperture priority, as I change my mode or drive back to single, as I play around with my shutter speed and aperture, if I take my dial on the top and I move it into position number one, you're gonna see we're in shutter priority five-hundredth of a second and we're ready to go for some fast action here, with that auto ISO also engaged there. And so, that's the idea on setting it up. And so, if you have a few different standards that you wanna get to really quickly you can easily lock those in. I would be a little bit careful about using M1, M2, M3 and M because those are just stored on the memory card. All right, this is where you get to select which media you are using for your memory recall. It's just the memory recall, where do you want that data stored. You might keep a small memory card in that top slot which remember is the slower of the two slots for recording that if you find that really helpful. All right on to page four of 14 here. Register custom shooting set. Okay, so there are, it's this little sub menu we're gonna get into. And so, we can use a variety of the buttons to recall a bunch of features with a single button press. What I did just a moment ago is I recorded a bunch of ways that I wanted the camera operate and in order to get it to work right I had to turn the mode dial over to number one on the camera. So, what I can do is I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna do this same thing but in a slightly different way. So, let's do the same thing. We're gonna set our cameras up to shutter priority. And we've got our five-hundredth of a second, let's go back to the mode or drive of high speed. Let's make sure we're in continuous focusing here. What else do we want? Let's choose zone and we'll have right in the middle and that's fine. Okay, so what we're gonna do now is we're gonna have all of these set up for a single button press. So our entire camera switches with a press of a button rather than turning the dial. Because sometimes turning the dial, that's way too much work. It's gonna take too long. So we're gonna go in here to menu and we're gonna come over to register custom shooting. That's exactly what we wanna do. Now, we can do this for three different things. We'll do it for number one. And we can register whatever we want in here or we can import what the camera is currently set at. And that sounds like an idea because I set the camera up the way I want it to be. If I wanted to I can additionally go in here and change all these as well but I'm gonna import the current settings. And yeah, I said yes so let's hit enter again. And then this is an important one. Watch this folks, register. And so this, so I imported them into that list there but let's say I change my mind. I change my mind on what shutter speed I need. I can go up here to the shutter speed and let's change that to a thousandth of a second, okay. Now, I'm ready to register. These are the modes I want and I'm gonna register. And so, these are gonna be registered to something called recall custom hold. I'm gonna hit the menu and I'm gonna back out of this. And now when I go out and shoot photos nothing's gonna happen. Because I haven't registered those to a particular button on the camera. So, I'm gonna go back into the menu system and I'm gonna register those to an area that we haven't got to yet but I will jump ahead and you will follow me, I know you will. We are gonna go to custom key setting and let's program this to the AEL button because that's an easy button to get to. So, currently the AEL button is my auto exposure hold button and now I have my 23 pages of information in here, all right. So, now I need to go find where the heck is register custom hold number one. And so, call it out at home when you see it. I'm gonna move quickly through here because I think it's towards the front listings, let's see. There it is, right back there. So now I'm gonna have register custom hold one programmed. There it is. And register that for the AEL button. So now let's say I'm out deliberately taking photos in the manual exposure mode, and I got my camera in the self timer mode. And I'm taking some basic shots right here. And as soon as I press the AEL button you'll see that my camera switches over to shutter priority, thousandth of a second, auto focus continuous. And when I release off of it it switches back. And so, you could have it set up for an emergency set and you can have three of those settings that are completely different sets of settings to three different buttons. As well as three different style settings. And so, as I say, one of the most customizable cameras you will find out on the market today. Next up is first page dealing with auto focus. And so, in this case we can choose between single and continuous and if this seems familiar it was the C3 button on the back of the camera. This allows you to reprogram it to some place else in the camera. The priority set in AF-S mode is that the camera has to have the picture in focus before it takes the picture. Now this is the way most cameras work. If you want you could do a release mode where it will allow you to shoot a photo even if it's out of focus. That's a little bit dangerous only for people who are very, very skilled who wanna do that. A balanced emphasis means the camera will be a little bit more quick to shoot and less fuzzy about getting the focus right. But I think most people will probably wanna leave this on the AF preference. That's a little bit different when we get into the AF-C option. So when you're continuously focusing on a subject you don't want the camera to be too fuzzy about perfect focus. You do want it to get it shots up and the balance emphasis means that it will be a little bit more deliberate about getting that shutter to fire and not worry about absolute fuzziness when it comes to perfection in focusing in that case, which is near impossible when you are focusing on a subject that's moving. The focus area is where you were able to choose the different size areas that it's looking for. This was the C2 button on the top of the camera reprogram to another button if you want or find it here if necessary. Focus setting simply allows you to go in and move the focus bracket around. This is simply here for historical reasons. We needed it on older cameras. This camera has a joystick and we don't need to have a special button to access this particular feature. And so, the joystick is the easy way of getting into this. All right, switching between vertical and horizontal points. If you shoot a lot of sports photography you find that sometimes you're shooting horizontals and sometimes you're shooting verticals. And sometimes you kind of have an idea as I want my subject on the left side of the frame. But when you switch to vertical now your focus point is at the top of the frame. You can program the camera to recognize when you're shooting verticals or horizontals and have different focus points. And even different focus areas set different according to whether you're holding it vertical or horizontal and it will just simply remember what you have set for that position of the sensor. And so, this can be really handy for anyone who's kind of has a compositional idea and they want it as similar as they can between shooting vertical and horizontal. And so, it's very nice to be able to have that in as close as the same position as possible. And as I say, you can either do it with the location or the bracket size and the location of it.

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!