The general consensus is that Sony cameras are quickly gaining more and more popularity amongst many photographers. Out of the box, they’re quite capable–but many of you probably don’t know that there are loads of other features that the cameras can do, but are not immediately available. We’re not necessarily talking about firmware updates and improvements that come that way, but instead we’re emphasizing extra features.
For example, did you know that your Sony A7 can shoot in timelapse mode?
Before you even read this, you may wonder to yourself “Why doesn’t Sony just give us these features for free?”
And guess what? I completely agree with you, but what I’d really love is for them to just charge us a bit more and bundle the features into the camera to begin with. However, the fact that we can pick and choose is nice but the prices seem a bit steep in my opinion.
Pretty much every manufacturer has a timelapse mode built into their cameras. Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic–you name it. But right out of the box, Sony doesn’t offer this option. Instead, it’s available as an extra option when downloaded from the Sony PlayMemories store and paying a $9.99 fee. The mode lets the camera shoot loads of images and automatically stitches them together. This way, you don’t need an external control device like TriggerTrap, though even that has its benefits.
Light Painting Mode
Light Painting is a very cool and creative mode that captures light trails made by a user, removes them, and lets you superimpose them on another photo. Think of it as creating light trails in camera, using the lasso tool to remove them, and then superimposing them on another image. It’s fun, and for $4.99, you can do this. We’re sure that this won’t be as popular as something like timelapse mode, but it sure is bound to allow for more creativity.
Another feature that Sony doesn’t provide with some cameras like the Sony A7 series is Light Trail. What it does is finds the trails via movement from bright objects and only captures that movement. Light sources that are stagnant are then muted accordingly to prevent overexposure.
While many photographers would prefer to do this manually, it makes shooting much easier. For $4.99, you can add the feature.
Double exposures and multiple exposures are simple to do, but tough to captivate a viewer with. Canon, Fujifilm and Olympus have this feature as a standard but Sony allows users to add it into their camera for $4.99.
Sony goes a step further and rather than layering image on image or concentrating on only the dark or bright areas, they let you fine tune the image yourself. Sony offers “Easy silhouette, Sky, Texture, Rotate, Mirror or Soft Filter.” according to their site. If you choose the Manual theme, you can preview the results of six blending modes (Add, Weighted Average, Lighten, Darken, Screen and Multiply) and select the image you like most.
By this point, you’re paying around $25 to get more features from the camera but at least you can pick and choose what you want.
Touchless Shutter is one of the newer features that is currently free. Basically, you can trigger the camera when it’s on a tripod or other stable surface simply by bringing your hand to the viewfinder and having the Eye Sensor detect that you want to shoot an image. The Eye Sensor then fires the shutter–which means that you don’t cause any sort of shake on the camera.
Star Trail is designed for the photographers who love to photograph the night sky. For an extra $9.99, you can have the camera shoot a series of starry sky still images at intervals then combines them into one movie. Think of all those cool videos that you see on Vimeo that feature star trails.
Smart Remote Control
While some cameras come standard with this feature, Sony cameras can have the shutter fired via remote control with the Sony PlayMemories app on your phone or tablet. You won’t get full manual control, but you’ll have exposure compensation and the camera will send the image to your phone automatically. To access this, you go to the applications section of the camera menu and open it up.