I Bet You Didn't Know Your Sony Camera Could Do This

A few days ago I published my article about the main three custom settings I use with Sony cameras. Here, I dive further into another really powerful button configuration.

For this example, I'm using the "Recall Custom Hold" setting to allow two buttons on the Sony a7R III to activate two separate focus area modes depending on which one I press. As you can see from the video, however, there are many more specifications that can be set with this customization. When I'm not reviewing other gear, I'm photographing wildlife with my Canon 7D Mark II and using this Recall Custom Hold setting is almost identical to how I have that camera set up to handle a variety of fact-paced situations.

As far as I know, Recall Custom Hold is only available on the newest Sony mirrorless cameras including the a9, a7 III, a7R III, and a6400. The other Sony cameras still have access to the "Memory Recall" function, but that is a much slower implementation of achieving essentially the same task.

Do you use this custom button on your Sony camera? I'd love to hear how you use it for your own style of photography in the comments below.

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Jesse Merz's picture

Thanks Ryan - I'll definitely be using this to improve my AEL-mapped eye AF with the addition of wide area and continuous AF, which until now I've had to change individually every time I've used eye AF. The next A7 III firmware update might change things, but until then, very useful!

Edit: upon inspection it appears there is no way to use custom recall with eye AF. Oh well, not that big of a deal.

Jonathan Posner's picture

Ryan, I scrolled down to read the ISO Control wheel recommendation – and then stopped reading the rest. I had my A7R3 set up this way (by my choice) until I virtually ruined my entire shoot. The wheel is WAY too sensitive for something as important as ISO; it can be nudged so easily with your right hand. End result? I was set to Auto ISO and a tiny inadvertent nudge rotated the wheel by just one parameter. Yup, that's right, I did the rest of the shoot at ISO 50 before I noticed. I can't think of a single other setting you could assign to the wheel with it having such a detrimental effect (because with most other settings you'd immediately "notice.") But for me, lesson learnt, I've now disabled the wheel for everything.

Ryan Mense's picture

Thanks for adding in your experience with it, and I'd always encourage people adding in their own viewpoints if they are different than mine.

I really like having the control there, but you're right that it's not for everyone and maybe it's easier to accidentally change with certain hand sizes or grip styles. Personally I think the idea is sound, having all three exposure settings at the ready, and perhaps Sony should be making the control wheel a little tighter so accidents are less likely. I know my Canon wheel is much tighter than the Sony.

Again, appreciate the feedback.

Eric Salas's picture

I’ve had my Sony’s setup this way for years now and while I do have to admit I’ve made that mistake once I also have to say if you’re not noticing auto iso is on with an EVF you’ve just flat out gotta pay more attention.

Andy Day's picture

Yeah, i can relate to this one! I was lucky to discover it not long after buying my Sony while shooting some fairly meaningless street photography. The control wheel is too easily jogged inadvertently, knocking you out of auto ISO. Took me a while to notice.

I find the control wheel quite fiddly to use on the a7III and prefer the more tactile feel on the a6300 (or possibly a6000 - I forget). I've just switched to ISO as C2 + thumb wheel and will see how that goes.

Jeremy Lusk's picture

This is an awesome tip, thank you! I generally use wide but it’s not perfect and this will be so much quicker than having to switch to center point when I need more control.

Reed Page's picture

Always nice to see useful features and what camera companies are doing. Have a personal gripe with Sony but with all of the great features they have been adding to their cameras, it definitely skews me towards shooting them again. Thanks for the informative article.

Andy Day's picture

Super useful. Nice work.