Secret Sony Features: Bright Monitoring

Secret Sony Features: Bright Monitoring

Maybe I’m the only person who didn’t know this feature existed, but I bet I’m not! I’ve been a fan of Sony cameras for a long time. Although they can work in the dark, I always say they can’t see in the dark! This makes it nearly impossible to focus and compose an image without bright light. Boy was I wrong.

CLEAR SURVEILLANCE — Where have you been all my life?

What is Bright Monitoring?

Bright Monitoring allows you to adjust the composition when shooting in dark environments. With a simple push of a button you can see in the dark. You can check the composition in the viewfinder/monitor even in dark locations, such as under the night sky. Admittedly it’s not brilliant quality, it’s grainy, and moving the camera gives you trails of light, but a total game changer when it comes to shooting the night sky. This feature does not affect the final result of the quality of your photos.

How to set it up

You must set Bright Monitoring to a Custom Key. I used the Down function on the handlebars, as it was not assigned to anything. I use one Sony A7RIII; you may need your Sony model online.

  1. MENU → Custom settings (Camera icon 2 page 8/9) → Custom key (page 2) → Assign the function (Bright Monitoring) to the desired key (Down button).
  2. Press the key to which you assigned the (Bright Monitoring) function, then record.
    • The brightness due to (Bright Monitoring) will continue after shooting, but I noticed mine didn’t always.
    • To return the monitor brightness to normal or to re-enable Bright Monitoring, press the key to which you assigned the function (Bright Monitoring) again.

How to use

That’s the easy part. If you’re out at night and it’s too dark to see your subject, simply press the button to activate Bright Monitoring and compose your image and even focus.

Please note you must be in manual mode and manual focus for this setting to work.

How did I learn about it?

I did a night photography workshop with Levin Barrett from Rarereview photography who suggested it to me on the Sony A1, also the Sony A7RV, did a bit of Google and I found out it’s also available on my Sony A7RIII! Brilliant. I can’t believe I never knew this feature existed.

Very useful in dark situations
Very useful in dark situations