Guide to Sony a7iii Custom Buttons (Simple!)

Looking to get a bit more customization out of your Sony a7iii? Ever wondered what those C1, C2, etc. buttons mean?

In this quick and simple article, I’ll be going over how (and why!) to change the custom buttons on your camera.

Let’s dive in!

The Basics

Where to find the custom buttons?

The Sony a7iii features four dedicated custom buttons.

Two of these custom buttons are on the top of the camera near the shutter button.

The other two are on the rear. One is under the mode dial (the trash can icon) and the other is to the top left of the LCD screen.

Besides these dedicated buttons, you can customize almost all the other buttons on your camera! This allows for an incredible degree of customization for photographer’s who want to fully personalize everything.

Where are the custom button settings?

So, where do you actually adjust the custom buttons? Deep in the menus.

  1. Hit the menu button on the rear of the camera
  2. Go to the 2nd tab and then page 8
  3. Open up the “custom key” setting with the image icon
  4. Customize the buttons to your liking

In this menu you’ll have the ability to customize not just the dedicated buttons, but many other buttons of the camera as well.

What do I personally use?

Obviously, custom buttons can be tailored to your preferences specifically but in any case, I’ll share what I personally use.

C1 Button

First off, I’ve set my C1 button (near the shutter button) to control my drive mode.

I oftentimes switch between single shot, self-timer (stability in long exposures) and bracket modes (HDR) quite often.

Digging through the menus slows me down a lot, so having the custom button makes switching an absolute breeze.

C2 Button

In that same vein, I have my C2 button (right next to C1) set to control the focusing mode.

I shoot manual focus quite often so, on lenses that lack a physical AF/MF switch, having the setting easily accessible allows me to quickly switch around as needed.

Additionally, when doing street photography, sometimes I’ll want to capture a fast moving subject (a running businessman or speeding taxi, perhaps). Having the custom button in easy reach let’s me switch to AF-C tracking mode extremely fast.

C3 Button

My C3 button is set to silent shooting mode.

I don’t tend to shoot in silent mode (as there’s a whole myriad of downsides), but I’ve found it incredibly useful when shooting in quiet environments such as churches or restaurants.

C4 Button

I have my C4 button bound to monitor brightness.

Honestly, this has been a lot more useful than I originally expected. I tend to shoot at night frequently, so being able to quickly adjust my LCD brightness has been invaluable.

AF-ON Button

I rebound the AF-ON button to act as my SteadyShot (stabilization) toggle.

Although I keep stabilization on the vast majority of the time, sometimes I’ll turn it off in certain situations like when shooting on a tripod.

AEL Button

Finally, I have my AEL button set to focus magnifier. If you’ve ever used manual focus, you’ll know that sometimes focus peaking isn’t enough to tell if something is truly in focus.

Thus, having it bound to AEL allows me to quickly double tap it to zoom in 10x on my subject to ensure I’ve nailed focus.

Speaking of which, if you’re unfamiliar with manual focus, feel free to read my a7iii-specific MF guide.

sony a7iii sitting on table
Setting up custom buttons can speed up your workflow.


Besides the dedicated custom buttons, I’ve actually kept everything else as their defaults.

Like I said, custom buttons allow you to achieve an incredible level of flexibility and customization with your camera. Experiment with what works for you.

If you’re looking to delve a bit deeper into the manual controls on your camera, check out some of our other a7iii-focused guides such as drive mode and focus mode.

Thanks for reading!