Sony cameras have come a long way since their first mirrorless cameras started taking over the low-end and compact video market. Sony has also listened to many of their customers and added plenty of features over the years with the latest a7 IV and a7S III being quite incredible cameras. Almost too many features for everyone to know all of them.
There are even a bunch of “hacks” that you can get by setting things up in just the right way. And you should learn all these features and hacks. Caleb from DSLR Video Shooter has a handful of tricks he thinks will help you have a better shooting experience.
1. Sony Imaging Edge Control
This isn’t so much of a hack as a likely underused piece of software. Sony’s free Imaging Edge software allows you to connect your camera to your computer to access the live view and control all the settings. You can even add things like guides and grids to make tethered shooting even easier. And you can then save images right to your computer.
2. Focus Hold Custom Button
Sony cameras are very customizable and one thing you might want to consider is setting one of your custom buttons to be Focus Hold. This does what you think it does and when you hold it down it will keep the focus in the current position. An alternate option is to set a button to AF/MF toggle and then you can switch between auto and manual focus for a similar result.
3. XLR-K3M Hidden Safety Track
If you picked up the XLR-K3M for better audio there are even more capabilities you might not know about. You can actually create a safety track using a single microphone. With your mic plugged into the first XLR input set the input select to IN1.
Now you set the level switch on input one to manual. You can not set both the first and second input levels to control one mic. By setting the second level down a bit you have effectively created a safety track.
4. Clear Image Zoom
A lesser-known feature for Sony is Clear Image Zoom. This is actually slightly different than normal digital zoom as it relies on the extra resolution sensors have when shooting video to perform a smart crop.
This results in better image quality than traditional digital zoom. To access this quickly you can set a couple buttons to zoom in and out.
5. Crop Lens
Cameras can already crop in to the APS-C area to use crop lenses. However, most of these lenses actually have a bit more image area than the full crop. If you use Clear Image Zoom with a crop lens you can get a slightly wider field of view than the standard crop.
6. Color Meter
You can use your camera to get precise measurements of the color temperature of your scene. This can be helpful for matching light sources. Using the custom white balance setting you can get exact readings and then adjust your settings appropriately.
You can use a variety of remote controls with Sony cameras. IR remotes work well and there are more advanced Bluetooth options. There are plenty of third-party wired remotes as well that have a lot more control options.
8. Focus Spot Meter
If you often use touch to focus you can take advantage of a setting to use this to also do spot metering. Spot Metering Point is the setting and can be set to Focus Point Link.
This also helps because it shows a black circle on the screen so you will get both a spot metering reading and an indicator of where you are focusing.
9. Menu Button
Since most Sony cameras have the menu button on the left side you will need a second hand to access it. If you want even faster access you can set menu to be opened up via a custom button. Should make things a touch faster to jump into it.
10. Picture Profile
There are tons of Picture Profile options and the camera model you have will make a difference on the recommended settings. Anything without 10-bit recording, meaning before the a7S III, you should either not use profiles or use S-Log2 gamma with Rec709 color mode. For 10-bit cameras you can use any profile, though S-Log3 is generally thought to give the best image quality and flexibility.
Do you have any tricks for Sony cameras that you want to share?
[source: DSLR Video Shooter]
- Sony a7 IV Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony XLR-K3M XLR Microphone Adapter (B&H)
Claim your copy of DAVINCI RESOLVE - SIMPLIFIED COURSE with 50% off! Get Instant Access!