Sony A7 cameras are some of the most popular and versatile mirrorless cameras on the market. They offer full-frame sensors, high-resolution EVF and LCD, fast autofocus, 4K video and many other features that make them ideal for different types of photography.
But with so many settings available, how do you set up your Sony A7 camera to get the best results? In this article, I’ll share some of the Sony A7 camera settings that I use and recommend, based on my own experience.
Before we dive into the more advanced settings, let’s start with some basic ones that you should check and adjust when you first get your camera.
- Turn off audio signals: Nothing will annoy anyone around you while you’re shooting like a constant beeping coming from your camera. Turn them off by going to Menu > Setup > Sound Options > Audio Signals > Off.
- Change image quality: To shoot in RAW (you are shooting in RAW aren’t you), go to Menu > Shooting > Image Quality > Image Quality Settings > RAW. You could also set your second memory card to record JPEG files here too if you want that peace of mind.
- Turn on grid lines: This is a simple but useful setting that helps you compose your shots better. Grid lines are a rule-of-thirds overlay that shows on both the EVF and LCD, and they help you align your subject and horizon with the most aesthetically pleasing points of the frame. To turn on grid lines, go to Menu > Setup 2 > Grid Line > Rule of 3rds Grid.
- Switch on touch operation: If your Sony A7 camera has a touchscreen (such as the A7 III, A7R III, A7 IV, or A9), you can use it to select focus points by tapping on the LCD. This can be faster and easier than using the joystick or the dials. To enable touch operation, go to Menu > Setup 2 > Touch Operation > On.
- Set display quality: By default, the display quality of the EVF and LCD is set to standard, but you can change it to high for a sharper and more detailed image. This can help you see your exposure and focus better, especially when zooming in. To set display quality, go to Menu > Setup 3 > Display Quality > High.
- Save battery with Airplane Mode: Sony A7 cameras have many features that use wireless connectivity, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC. These features can drain your battery faster if you don’t need them. To save battery life, you can switch your camera to Airplane Mode, which turns off all wireless functions. To do this, go to Menu > Setup 1 > Airplane Mode > On.
One of the best things about Sony A7 cameras is that they have many custom buttons that you can assign to different functions according to your preference and shooting style. This can save you time and hassle by giving you quick access to the settings that you use most often. Here are some of the custom buttons that I use and what I assign them to:
- C1: Change ISO. I often shoot in Manual Mode and need to adjust my exposure depending on the light conditions. To assign ISO to C1, go to Menu > Camera Settings 2 > Custom Key > Custom Button 1 > ISO.
- C2: Change Focus Area, which is the pattern or zone that the camera uses to focus on your subject. There are many options for Focus Area, such as Wide, Zone, Center, Flexible Spot, etc., and each one has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. To assign Focus Area to C2, go to Menu > Camera Settings 2 > Custom Key > Custom Button 2 > Focus Area.
- C3: Enable Real-Time Tracking/Eye-AF Tracking, which is one of the most impressive features of Sony A7 cameras. This feature allows the camera to track your subject’s face and eyes automatically and keep them in focus even if they move around or turn their head. To assign Real-Time Tracking/Eye-AF Tracking to C3, go to Menu > Camera Settings 2 > Custom Key > Custom Button 3 > AF-On + AF Tracking On.
Another great feature of Sony A7 cameras is that they have a Memory Recall mode. This allows you to store specific camera settings for different situations and recall them quickly by turning the mode dial to 1 or 2. It’s handy for switching between different shooting scenarios without having to change all the settings manually. For example, you can store one set of settings for landscape photography and another set for street photography.
To store settings in Memory Recall mode, first set up your camera with the desired settings (such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus mode, etc.), then go to Menu > Camera Settings 1 > MR > Memory > 1 or 2. To recall the settings, simply turn the mode dial to 1 or 2.
Here are some examples of settings that I store in Memory Recall mode:
- Memory 1: Landscape photography. I use this mode when I want to capture the beauty of nature with a wide-angle lens and a tripod. I set the camera to Aperture Priority mode with an aperture of f/11, ISO 100, Auto White Balance, Flexible Spot Focus Area and 2-second Self-Timer. I also enable Silent Shooting and Long Exposure Noise Reduction to avoid any vibrations or noise that could affect the image quality.
- Memory 2: Street photography. I use this mode when I want to capture candid moments of people and urban scenes. I set the camera to Shutter Priority mode with a shutter speed of 1/250s, Auto ISO, Daylight White Balance, Wide Focus Area and Continuous Shooting. I also enable Real-Time Tracking/Eye-AF Tracking and Face Registration to make sure that my subjects are always in focus.
Go Deeper Into Your Sony A7 Camera Settings
There’s only so much I can cover in this article, so I highly recommend watching this video by Jason Vong. It’s almost an hour long, and covers a fair few settings for videography too, but it’s worth it if you want to really understand your camera settings.
Of course, none of these settings are set in stone, and you may want to tweak them according to your own preference and shooting style. The best way to learn and master your Sony A7 camera is to experiment with different settings and see what works best for your photography.
I hope this has been helpful for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and happy shooting!
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