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Tethering A Sony a7R III

Not long ago, I purchased a Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. And while so much of its tremendous functionality comes easily, it took me a bit to determine the best, easiest and most functional approach to using the a7R III for tethered capture. After a bit of trial and error, I honed in on my preferred approach. And now I find it to be more reliable than other tethering approaches I’ve used in the past.

First, the camera gives the option of using a USB-C or micro USB for connection to the computer. The USB-C is ultimately preferable due to its ability to power the camera while connected, as well as its durability and ability to maximize speed. Whichever connection you prefer, also know that the camera comes with a cable protector, designed to prevent accidentally disconnecting during transfer or, even worse, yanking the cable and damaging it or the connector.

To start, connect the cable protector by opening the rubber protective covers over the camera ports and snapping the protector into place—taking care to position the rubber covers in the slots on the cable protector. (It’s awkward but functional, and once you’ve done it you’ll find it gets easier subsequently.) Then remove the threaded cap from the side of the cable protector and run the cable vertically through the opening. Screw the cap back on to hold the cable securely in place. This takes all the strain off that connection so it’s safer and more secure.

Next, download and install Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop applications, available from Sony at imagingedge.sony.net. In the past, I tethered frequently with Adobe Lightroom but have had a surprisingly smoother and bug-free tethering operation with the Sony apps. The two that are necessary are Remote and Viewer, which allow you to control and trigger the camera (even providing a live view through the lens right on your computer screen) and to browse and rate images after capture. I still prefer processing my RAW files in Lightroom, but you could complete the process of prepping finished image files with the Edit application included in the Imaging Edge download.

From here, take a few steps to ensure consistent, smooth communication between camera and computer. There’s nothing more frustrating than an inconsistent tethered capture session, and a few preparatory steps will pay dividends.

First, turn off applications that may interfere with the camera’s ability to seamlessly communicate with the Imaging Edge apps and only those apps. Things like Dropbox and Google Drive, in particular, can cause frustrating connectivity issues when tethering. If your computer should be detecting your camera but isn’t, double-check to ensure these other apps are closed.

Next, under the USB connection heading in the camera menu, choose PC Remote in order to connect and control the camera with the computer. If you’ve selected a different USB mode, connecting the cable won’t automatically switch to this tethered capture capability, so do this prior to connecting to the computer. Then turn the camera off.

Next, connect the USB cable to the camera and the computer and then turn the camera back on. After a few seconds, open the Imaging Edge Remote app. When you open the app it looks for a connected camera. If it doesn’t find one, the app doesn’t open.

With the camera on and application open, look for Display Live View under the Tools heading and be sure it’s checked. You’ll then see a live feed from the camera sensor on the left side of the Remote application. The right side of the screen offers camera and exposure controls that are quite robust. Not only can you adjust ISO, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, you can record video, use the app as an intervalometer for exposures at regular intervals and more.

One of the coolest tools in the operation panel is the ability to use the camera’s Pixel Shift Multi Shooting to create multiple exposures at a predetermined interval and automatically combine them into a single image with better color, sharpness and noise characteristics than a single exposure.

To view images recently captured, click the application-switching icon at the top left of the Remote window to switch to Viewer or Edit applications. Click the corresponding checkbox in Remote upon opening to automatically send images to Viewer, too, and save yourself a step when shooting and reviewing.

Since you can also customize the location where the files are stored and how they’re named directly from the bottom of Remote’s operations panel, you can combine this workflow with Lightroom to create a watched folder that automatically imports captured images into a Lightroom Catalog. To learn about setting up a watched folder, check out this Lightroom tip from last summer.

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