Custom gridlines are coming to Sony cameras – you’ll have to pay for it
Sony announced a new feature is coming for the Alpha lineup. Users will be able to set and use custom gridlines in-camera. The feature will be available for multiple Sony cameras within the lineup, such as the Sony a7iv, but you will have to purchase a separate license to activate it.
Custom gridlines on Sony cameras
The custom gridlines license will allow you to store up to 4 different gridlines of your own choosing. Each gridline can be displayed on the EVF (electronic viewfinder) and the camera’s LCD. You are also able to monitor them on external monitors when using the HDMI output.
Custom gridlines are useful for many cases, from album shoots to advertising material shoots. But there is an alternative way of using this new feature. Instead of placing guidelines, you can set entire blocks of color in your frame. Why would you do that? As they are partially transparent, they will make for extremely potent transparency masks.
Why is it helpful?
The opacity is only partially transparent so it can help when you plan on cropping the image to a completely different ratio. It allows your brain to easily ignore the image area outside the mask. Now you can consider the final composition while still seeing the rest of the frame. Masks are also extremely helpful if you are shooting an ID or images involving computer graphics.
What am I going to use it for?
Personally, I am going to use two custom gridlines. First, I am going to use a golden ratio guide, as I like it for composition better than the classic 3×3 grid. And second? Using a high-megapixel camera like the Sony a7Rv, I will mimic the famously wide Hasselblad X-pan. How? The Sony a7Rv has enough megapixels to actually only use the middle third of the frame. Using the transparency masks, I will be able to block out the top and bottom of the frame so I will only see a narrow image. Just like an Xpan. Then, I can crop in post.
The gridline license will be available through Sony’s “Upgrade and License Management Suite” in spring 2024, and it will cost $149 MSRP. I think that charging about $150 just to add the ability for customized gridlines is pushing a bit too much. With many of the best Sony cameras already costing over $5,000, you would think Sony would just throw this feature in for free.