Sony A7S III Setup For Quick Access When Shooting Video

With the release of the A7S III, Sony has proven that the lines that separate DSLR and Mirrorless cameras from full-bodied ‘Cinema’ cameras have vanished forever. This camera packs capabilities into it that are so incredible that most of the cameras from just a few years ago pale in comparison, but there is still a bit of a catch.

Since mirrorless cameras are originally designed with video features in the forefront, shooters tend to have to hunt through pages and pages of menus just to find a setting that would normally be assigned to a button on a camera like the Sony FX6.

Although the menu systems have improved over the years, it can still be a challenge to find the settings you need – especially on a high-pressure, run-and-gun shoot. So, Harv of Harv Video/Audio Stuff has put together a tutorial for his custom menu layout that might just help make your life as a video shooter a bit more relaxed.

There are so many pages upon pages upon pages of menus in Sony cameras that it isn’t even funny. They’re a lot less cumbersome than they used to be, but navigating all of those settings can really be a big pain. 

Fortunately, Sony has made the A7S III and most of their other cameras very easily customizable allowing you to set it up for a faster workflow that’ll help produce some lovely images.

But the very first thing you’ll have to do with the A7S III is turn off those annoying Start/Stop record sounds.

Silent Mode Settings

You would imagine that the setting to turn off those notifications would be in Sound Options, but it isn’t. Its actually in Shooting, then Shutter/Silent. 

Here you have the option to shut off that ridiculous sound, and also allow the camera to release the shutter without a lens, which is necessary if you are shooting with manual lenses. Go into Silent Mode settings and turn on Silent Mode.

Custom Menus

Custom menus on the A7S III can be loaded up with almost any function you can think of. It might be best to assign certain functions to external buttons for quick access, and leave your custom menus for things that you don’t need all the time, but are generally tricky to find like File Format, Movie Settings, Steadyshot, etc.

Custom Button Layout

Setting up your button layout to improve your workflow is essential for video shooting. These custom settings can be a very personal thing, and there is always going to be a lot of debate as to which buttons are best placed where but give these settings a shot and see how it works for you.


  • C1: Zoom/Punch In
    • Allows you to punch in and double check your focus
  • C2: Whitebalance Shortcut
  • C3: Quick My Menu Access
  • C4: Picture Profiles
  • Wheel Rotation: ISO Settings
  • Wheel Top Botton: Display Options
  • Wheel Right Button: Zebras On/Off
  • Wheel Left Button: Focus Peaking On/Off
  • Wheel Bottom Button: Gamma Display Assist On/Off

Media Management

If you’re the cautious type, then you’ll want to set your A7S III up to record to redundant media. One fantastic feature in the A7S III is the addition of a second card slot which you can use to auto switch and extend recording times or record simultaneously to two cards just in case either one should fail.

Turning this feature on is super easy. Just go to Rec. Media Settings and switch Recording Mode to Simultaneous.  Now you’ve got little to worry about – the event of both cards failing at the same time is highly unlikely.

Also, you only need the Cfast Express Type A cards if you’re going to use the higher frame rates in the S & Q mode, otherwise, you’re good to go with a set of V90 SD Cards.

Knowing where everything is, and how to find your way through your camera’s menu system is crucial when time is of the essence and there aren’t any do-overs. No mirrorless camera will ever be as conveniently set up as a dedicated video camera, but it’s great that you can really dive in and customize your camera for exactly how you like to work. Sony might have made their menu system terribly confusing, but at least they give you the option to make it your own.

[source: Harv Video/Audio Stuff]

Order Links:

  • Sony Alpha a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&HAmazon)

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