Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the self-timer, part of Learning to Shoot with the Sony Alpha a7 Series.
- Most people think of the self timer mode as a way to get themselves into their family pictures. Well, this is great because you can set the tripod up and put the camera on it, or you can use a flat surface and then compose the shot. When you push the shutter button it gives you a moment to run around to get in front of the camera, and join the picture yourself. Now, this is pretty straightforward and if you use the cameras menus you can actually change the timers duration, so you don't have to run so fast. You can set it between two and ten seconds. Let me show you how this works.
Press the left button to access Drive Mode, and if you scroll down you'll see different timers. There are two modes here. Self Timer and Continuous Self Timer. Lets talk about the first. You can now press left or right to change the amount of delay. The newer a72 Series offers two, five, and ten seconds. On the original a7, you'll just find two and ten. If you do decide to use the continuous timer, this allows you to choose the number of shots.
For example here, you see that I can set it to take three shots or five shots, and choose the initial delay. In this case three shots with a five second delay, or five shots with a five second delay from the first exposure. Let me show you what this looks like. Now when I press the button, the camera focuses, counts down for five seconds, and fires off the burst of five shots.
This can be quite useful if you've got people wanting to do different poses or a safety measure to make sure that they didn't get missed in the shot. In that case it did a really high speed burst, but let me show you how we can change that. Lets go in here, and we will set that to five shots with a two second delay. Press the shutter button, waits two seconds, and fires the burst of five. Now, its a very good idea when you do this to make sure that the camera is on a tripod or a stable surface, and you frame up the shot.
Then, you press the button half way to set auto-focus and then when you are ready, press it to fire the shot. You notice that the self timer lamp will flash and begin to beep to give you and your subjects a cue. You can tell by that beeping when its getting closer to taking the shot, and then it actually makes an audible sound to cue people, hopefully, to smile. Now, by default, the two seconds before the photo is taken the lamp will stop flashing, and the beeping will become more rapid.
This is useful because it doesn't want to spill that light onto the scene. Keep in mind that its also useful for this feature to reduce camera shake. Now, if I'm shooting something in low light, maybe a building interior such as an old church, I can use this timer mode so that the camera isn't shaky. This is particularly true if I'm using a lighter weight travel tripod. This way I could set the camera down on a lightweight tripod or, maybe a surface, like a bench, or a ledge. Trigger the shot, and give it a second to two to stabalize before it fires the photo.
This will cut down of vibration that will soften the image. Now, if you do these types of techniques its a great way to get tack sharp photos, as well as to include yourself in some of your pictures.
- Taking shots in auto mode
- Using the in-camera guide
- Using lens controls and zoom
- Changing image size and quality
- Changing ISO in programmed auto mode
- Exploring autofocus
- Shooting in continuous (burst) mode
- Switching exposure modes
- Shooting with an external flash
- Recording video
- Remote controlling and tethering your a7 camera via Wi-Fi