Do you ever wonder how you can zoom beyond your lens’ stated focal length? You are not alone. As someone who already owns a Sony telephoto lens, I want to get more closer to the subject. However, I do not have the budget for another lens. Fortunately, while experimenting with my Sony a7III camera, I discovered the crop mode.
Crop mode is a camera setting on the Sony a7III. It crops the image, which gives you a tighter or more zoomed-in perspective than full-frame lenses. To enable crop mode, press the Menu button and select the “APS-C/Super 35mm” option.
Below, I will show you the detailed steps on how to use the crop mode on Sony a7III. But first, I will teach you its definition in this article. I will also cover its benefits and drawbacks, so you can learn whether it is the right camera setting for you.
What Is Crop Mode On Sony a7III?
Crop mode is known as the APS-C/Super 35mm setting on the Sony a7III camera. It lets you choose between two sensor sizes when capturing stills or movies.
The first option is the APS-C sensor size, which is around 15.6 x 23.6mm. It is smaller than the full-frame camera sensor (36 x 24mm) that the Sony a7III has. When you choose the APS-C crop mode, the camera shoots the image using the smaller image circle, regardless if you are using full-frame lenses or not. It gives you a 1.5x crop, meaning the image offers a closer perspective. That makes subjects appear larger in the frame.
Since the crop mode changes the sensor size your camera records in, it can also affect the focal length of the lens. For example, a 50mm standard lens becomes a 75mm short telephoto lens. A 450mm telephoto offers a super narrow perspective equivalent to a 675mm lens. To know the focal length of the lens when using the crop mode, multiply it by 1.5.
The second crop mode option is the Super 35mm setting for shooting video. Traditionally, film cameras record movies using the 35mm film. The Super 35 format removes the space usually reserved for the soundtrack. It enables filmmakers to capture more of the scene. It is among the most popular movie formats today and has already been used for countless blockbusters.
In a digital format on the Sony a7III, the Super 35mm has a similar frame size as APS-C. It crops the video to give you a closer perspective, similar to working on a smaller sensor.
Why Should You Use Crop Mode On Sony a7III?
Now that you know what crop mode is, you may wonder why you use it at all.
One of the first reasons to use crop mode is to get a longer focal length with your full-frame lens. Whether you want to photograph a lion from afar or an athlete from the nosebleed section, the crop mode offers a clear image zoom of the subject. It will convert your moderately telephoto lens to a long telephoto focal range. For example, a 150mm lens will have a 225mm focal length on the Sony a7III crop mode.
Another reason to use the crop mode is to save money. Since the crop mode gives you a longer focal range, you can make the most of the lens you already have. There is no need to buy another potentially expensive camera lens. You can transform a standard lens into a telephoto one.
Crop mode on the Sony a7III can also help minimize the effect of noise you get from shooting in low-light environments. It crops the image, effectively removing the noisier areas of the frame.
Finally, crop mode can reduce the file size. It captures a cropped version of the full-frame sensor, which takes up less space in your storage. It is perfect for sharing photos on social media quickly.
What Are The Downsides of Using Crop Mode On Sony a7III?
Crop mode on the Sony a7III is not always sunshine and rainbows. It also has its fair share of downsides you must know before using it.
First, crop mode reduces image quality since it only uses a portion of the sensor. It results in a smaller image file because of the lower megapixel count. This can be a double-edged sword, depending on the type of images you shoot and where you share them.
Crop mode also does not affect the effective aperture of your lens. It does not change the amount of light hitting the sensor. At the same time, it does not produce the same level of background blur (bokeh) that you would get with a longer lens using the same f-stop.
Another con of the Sony crop mode is the limited frame space. It can restrain you from composing images creatively, especially if the scene requires a wide perspective. The cropped field of view might prevent you from including several elements in the frame.
Lastly, the crop mode on the Sony a7III camera is permanent. It does not allow further editing if you realize you want a wider perspective later on. There is no way to recover the areas that you have already cropped.
How To Use Crop Mode On Sony a7III?
Have you decided to still use crop mode after learning its pros and cons? Well then, the next thing to know is how to use crop mode on Sony a7III.
First, press the Menu button on the top left of the camera. It is located just above the rear LCD screen.
The Menu screen will pop up. Go to the first tab and scroll down using the rear dials on the right side of the LCD.
On the bottom of the first tab, you will see the “APS-C/Super 35mm” option. Press the center button on the rear dial to click it.
You will encounter three options: Manual, Auto, and Off.
You may have set your camera to the Auto setting before. Change it to Manual to turn on the crop mode. And that is it; you can already enjoy the benefits of shooting in crop mode!
What Is The Best Crop Size For Photographers?
There is no one crop size that fits all. The best crop size ratio depends on the subject you are capturing and how you want to depict it.
Below is a brief overview of the most popular aspect ratios for photography.
- 1:1 – This crop size is a square image. Traditionally, it can only be recorded using Polaroids and medium-format films. Today, the 1:1 format is popular on social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram.
- 3:2 – This is the default image format for full-frame cameras, such as the Sony a7III. It is also a popular print size, ideal for postcards.
- 4:3 – It is the aspect ratio used for television and computer monitors. In photography, the 4:3 image format lets you capture more of the scene in front of you. It is suitable for print and social media.
- 5:4 – This is another popular print size for artwork and photography. However, most cameras do not natively capture a 5:4 aspect ratio. As such, many photographers must first crop the image to avoid the unsightly white borders on the image.
Should I Zoom Or Crop Images On Sony a7III?
You might wonder: is cropping really necessary? Can I zoom in with my lens instead? Well, that depends on what you want to achieve with the image.
Zooming in lets you capture the subject without reducing image quality. That is because it uses the entire full-frame sensor of Sony cameras. It is ideal for printing or displaying photos in larger sizes.
But if your zoom lens does not cover the focal length you need, you can turn on the crop mode on the Sony a7III. As mentioned, it uses a portion of the sensor to give you a tighter perspective. That makes the subject appear larger and closer.
The Sony a7III offers crop mode for a narrower field of view, ultimately making the subject appear closer. To use crop mode, go to the Menu setting. Scroll down until you see the “APS-C/Super 35mm” option. Press it and change the setting from “Off” or “Auto” to “Manual.” You can now capture images using the cropped version of the sensor.
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