My 5 MOST USED Custom Functions for Sony – Birds & Wildlife

My 5 MOST USED Custom Functions for Sony – Birds & Wildlife

welcome back to the channel everybody
I’m out here today doing some forest birding and so far it’s been pretty bad
out here it seems like a lot of the birds have already passed through and
it’s been increasingly more and more difficult to find birds in the forest so
what I’m gonna share with you today is what are my custom function settings on
my sony that are optimized for birds and wildlife and a bit of a disclaimer I do
photos and videos so these functions are for a mix of both and I’ll explain to
you why I have them set where I have them set and why I use them so stay
tuned for that one of the great things about the Sony’s
are you can customize any of these buttons to whatever you want it to do so
if you’re coming from another system you can adjust it so it’s similar to your
old system or you can do something completely new whatever fits your bill
one thing I was really looking for in my sony was when I was taking photos and
I’m hand-holding you know how it is with wildlife sometimes you can’t move you
can’t make any noise so I want all my buttons that I really need in accessible
places so that if I’m locked on and I have an animal in my sight
I don’t have to fish around too much the one caveat on the sony is the c3 button
on the side here so when i’m hand-holding like this you can’t really
access that button unless you have to move over your hand which it’s not
horrible but it’s just not in the best place so that one I reserved more for
video work the first button I want to talk to you
about is the c1 button so I have this one set to switch between the viewfinder
and the monitor I don’t want the camera to do it automatically I find that it
wastes more battery and there seems to be more issues with it like if the Sun
is hitting the back or a shadow hits the back it’ll randomly switch between the
two and I just felt like I had more control of the camera if I did it
manually so that one it’s in a very easy place I’m photographing something and I
need a bigger screen to look at I’ll just click that button quickly use the
monitor in the back and then I can switch back to the viewfinder afterwards
so having that right next to the shutter button is really easy I completely flip
between the two because sometimes you do need a bigger monitor to see exactly
what you’re shooting and what it looks like second button I want to talk to you
about is a c2 button and I have this one set to auto focus and manual focus
switch so I can control that manually I know what you’re saying you’re probably
thinking why don’t you just switch it on the lens and the reason I don’t do that
is because one is I find it’s easier to forget that you switch to manual
focus sometimes on the lens and goes back to my previous statement of I don’t
want to have to move my hands too much especially when there’s an animal coming
my way I don’t have to start like shimming around and I mean it is pretty
awkward if you’re hand-holding and you’re trying to get to this autofocus
button one of the times I use this button the most is when I’m doing forest
bird photography sometimes they’re in some pretty dense brush and it’s pretty
hard to track them even with a good auto focusing system it doesn’t really know
what to pick up on sometimes so what I’ll do is I’ll click at the c2 button
bring me into manual focus I’ll just quickly move the ring and this is so
smooth it works so well but I’ll just quickly move this around until you
acquire focus manually once you acquire focus switch back with your autofocus
and it should track your subject a little bit better than if it’s just
trying to determine what’s a branch what to leave what’s a bird it could be
pretty difficult so that’s my c2 button so now we’re getting into the c3 button
which is kind of the awkward one the one that’s a little bit weird to reach over
and get while you’re taking photos so I’ve designated that to a video feature
well it’s a video feature for now I’ll explain what I mean about that it’s the
super 35 crop mode so I use that a ton for video especially for a wildlife
they’re always really far out and now on video you have basically no loss of
quality when you use it photos is another thing this camera goes from 24
megapixels to 10 megapixels when you use crop mode it for photos so for me that’s not I
never use it for photos sometimes I accidentally forget to turn it off which
is why I like having it here it’s a bit out of the way so yes it is awkward to
get to but I won’t accidentally hit it when I’m taking photos but the reason I
said that it’s only a video feature for now is I think I’m gonna sell all my old
gear probably a kidney probably part of my liver to buy the new Sony a7r4 61
megapixels and then if you’re in crop mode and gives you 1.5 times crop you
have 26 megapixels so it’s more than my camera right now which is insane it
blows my mind I think having that camera is going to change the way I think about
bird and wildlife photography so yeah I’m splurging a little bit so the next button I’m getting into is
the c4 button the little trash bin over here and this I’ve allotted to another
video feature it’s the Clear Image Zoom if you’ve seen my previous video on how
to get 2,700 millimeters of reach out of your Sony camera while filming that’s
one of the main features that does that the Clear Image Zoom I don’t really use
it for 1080p but for 4k it’s actually quite good so when you get out to that
1.5 times you do see a little bit more loss of quality but overall it’s it’s
actually pretty good last but certainly not least is the
focus hold button on this 200 to 600 there’s actually three of them so
depending your orientation depending your hand placement you can really
access any of those buttons they all do the same thing when you customize it but
it’s just nice to have them in different areas to me what I have this set too is
probably the most important thing for me anyways
I mean all depends your shooting style but I have this set to silent shooting
mode so there’s those scenarios where you’re not expecting an animal and
sometimes it walks right by you right in front of you right next to you whatever
it is and I mean especially with birds birds that happens so often where the
first snap of the shutter and that birds gone when I have a bird that kind of
sneaks up on me or an animal that sneaks up on me that I’m kind of weary and I
mean over time you get more and more used to it you kind of know it’s an
animal gonna stick around is it gonna fly off is it gonna run away stuff like
that but I think having that button set to silence shooting is huge so this is
what it sounds like you know you’re taking photos it’s not
terribly loud once you switch to silent shooting like I just press down the
shutter you don’t hear anything it’s completely silent which obviously the
name is silent shooting but one negative thing about that is that it’s so silent
that sometimes you don’t realize how many photos you’re actually taking and
it’s happened to me a few times where I’ve gone back and I was like wow I took
like 300 photos of this bird and it’s hard to realize it because you know
you’re so used to hearing that shutter I’m thinking about just all the
scenarios you’ve been in where the press of the shutter has scared something away
to me that is a game-changer right there I hope this video has been helpful for
you guys I love trying new things so if you have a method or you have your
button set up a different way let me know what they are I’d love to try them
out see what works best pull in one more thing for the next week I’m gonna be
camping in a beautiful national park here in Alberta
it’s called Elk Island National Park so I’m hoping to get some great bison
photos and footage and I’ll be sharing that whole week with you guys so that’ll
be a bit of a longer video but I’m really excited to get there I haven’t
seen bison in the wild I don’t think ever I don’t think I’ve ever seen wild
bison that’s gonna be a bucket-list animal for
me so I’m just excited to share that with you guys as always I hope you
enjoyed this video and happy birding see

28 Replies to “My 5 MOST USED Custom Functions for Sony – Birds & Wildlife”

  1. I'm curious, which custom functions do you guys use the most? There's many more buttons you can customize on your cameras, but these are the 5 I use on a daily basis. I won't have a lot of cell service while I'm camping, so I'll get back to your comments as quickly as I can. Have a great week!

  2. Never even knew there was an option for the back monitor/view finder switch… just thought I was doomed for it to always randomly switch back and forth haha — just saved me a lot of time! Excellent and informative video!!

  3. Stefano: I like the choices you have made for your "birding buttons" but was surprised that you apparently don't have one dedicated to instantly optimized settings for BIF… I find it extremely beneficial to program the AEL button for that function, using a higher shutter speed (1/2500-5000), EV compensation (+0.7), Tracking AF (wide or zone), ISO Auto, and Hi drive mode to allow me to get on BIFs within 2 seconds of spotting them. If you haven't done this before, give it a try – pretty sure you'll like it.

  4. I excited for you! The a7r4 should be a beast in your hands!

    Also, I really enjoyed my time in Alberta. No doubt you'll find many wildlife photo opportunities!

  5. Great video. I have the exact 200-600 lens but on A7R3. Just newly got my gears and still trying out best functions and customizing it. However, I noticed the Crop Mode switching are locked out during clearing buffer/writing to disc. Do you notice that? Means you cannot switch to/from Crop Mode until all buffer/writing are clear. This is very annoying especially in birding wildlife when you take a shot and you need to recompose to/from Crop Mode. I could not understand why Sony have to lock this out. This happen for both Single Shooting/Cont. Shooting. Do you have any solutions to this?

  6. Nice tips, but I have a feeling you haven't tried the "Reg Cust Shoot Set" yet 🙂 Because that feature is sooo powerful, and it can initiate focus too (af on). So you could program settings for BIF, for static animals, and once you get the R4, you can have a button that does tracking + af-on, and another button that does wide + af-on for example, and yet another button that does manual focus (no need to switch, just hold that button).
    Anyway … I wish you to get the R4 soon because as you said, it's going to be a game changer with that 1.5 crop!

  7. Great video, I just ordered the 200-600 and I can't wait! Shame they're on back order in the U.K so I'll have to wait. Watching this made me excited to test it with my a7r2!
    Subscribed and followed you on socials 🙂

  8. Hi Stefano! I have the sony a7iii and the 200-600 and I love photographing birds…I LOVE your videos!! I have a question for you…I have tried silent shooting and I noticed that the images look super wonky. My friend suggested that the e-curtain doesn't work well in silent shooting because its electronic and not mechanical. I was of course shooting at a high frame rate Hi+…I compared the same frame rate with silent and non silent and the non silent looks perfect. have you noticed this at all? What are your thoughts?

  9. also, super dope idea about customizing the button to go between manual focus and AF. I had wondered to myself if that would work for trying to pick up birds in between branches! Totally going to try it out!

  10. Very nice custom setting bro. Thanks for sharing and big thumbs up for the video. Big thumbs up and greeting from Singapore.

  11. Nasa Called they want their lens back LOL that is awesome man. Great shots in here also love the wood cocks in flight, i believe they were.

  12. Thanks, as answered that question I had. Just got the sel200600 and saw the 3 buttons, but only 1 in custom key setup…..hmm….what the ….OK, now answered, one (same) setting for all, and makes sense.

  13. Though I have custom button C1 set up for APS-C, I tend to use the customisable C1, C2 and C3 on the command dial more than the buttons. I generally walk around with my A7R4 + 200 – 600mm set at 1/1000th, f6.3 and auto ISO. If I then see a bird or dragonfly in flight I just switch to C1 which is set to 1/2000th, f8, auto ISO. If the light is poor C2 is set to 1/1600th, f6.3, auto ISO. C3 is set at 1/250th, f13, ISO 100, for flash close up's of butterflies and dragonflies too far away for my 90mm macro lens. I have a Meike 320S mini speedlight fitted to my camera. This is a small, lightweight flash which does not interfere with the balance of the camera when the 200 – 600mm is attached.

  14. Thank you for this video! I got the Sony a7 III a few months ago. I'm still saving for new lenses and I'm really looking forward to try wildlife photography. Your tips are very useful.

  15. All your videos are really informative and insightful…do u mind doing a similar video on the custom settings with the new A7R4 … especially where you have set the crop mode etc…

  16. Great video! Just curious why you aren't shooting in silent shutter all of the time? I used the a73 and keep it on silent shutter and haven't really found a reason not to use that. There are a couple of features that don't work with silent shutter I know.

  17. I love the silent mode, but like you say you take a lot as you hear nothing. At first I didn't think It was taking any photo's. On my old Canon 7d silent mode made no difference. I tried it in a blind setup and the rapid fire of the shutter did scare the birds. But silent mode they have no idea that I'm there. Love the Sony and the 200-600mm

  18. My favorite custom setting is .. Recall custom hold 1
    I have mine set to f2.8, 1/1600, auto ISO, continual shooting, continuous AF.
    I use this alot for example, i might be shooting a bird on a branch so my camera setting are set up for that shot witha slow shutter speed. The bird takes off so i press one button and it reprograms all my settings so i can now take a photo of a bird in flight.

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