You have some options when it comes to what information is displayed as overlays on the live view on the Sony a7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera. You can cycle through the options by pressing the DISP control on the back of the camera. That’s the top of the main dial. But you can also control which screens are included in that sequence.
The back controls should be pretty familiar by now. There’s the main dial, with the top, bottom, and sides also working as buttons (as is the center button). There’s another small thumb-operated joystick at the top of this shot which is used for moving focus points, etc.
You can also set these for the back screen and the viewfinder separately.
You can find these options under Camera2 and then scroll sideways to page 7, which is titled Display/Auto Review1. The option you’re after is called DISP Button.
The first thing you have to choose is whether you’re looking to change the displayed information on the back screen (monitor) or the electronic viewfinder (finder).
Monitor / Back Screen
The options for the back screen are:
- Graphic Display. This is a small graphic element that’s tucked down into the bottom right. The main elements are shutter speed and aperture, but it also has exposure compensation. I don’t find this a particularly useful display because it’s more of a help tip than a shooting aid. The shutter speed line, for instance, has a person standing still at the slow end and a person running at the fast end. So if you’ve for some reason forgotten that, you’ll need fast shutter speed for fast-moving subjects, well, it’s there to remind you. Similarly, the aperture line has helpers symbolizing shallow depth of field and deep depth of field. It does show you where your current settings fall on those respective ranges, but you can still see the precise settings elsewhere on the screen. The Graphic Display option is off by default, and I suspect that that’s how it will stay for most shooters most of the time.
- Display All Info. This is the standard screen that you see when you first set the camera up. It has all sorts of icons and data being displayed on all four edges of the screen (well, to be precise, the overlay is on the top three edges–the bottom edge information is always on).
- No Display Info. This turns off all the overlay information from the top and each side. It’s basically a distraction-free option.
- Histogram. It gives you a small real-time histogram down in the bottom right corner. It shows only overall brightness, not individual RGB channels.
- Level. This is one of the more useful tools I use often. It’s an electronic level that displays in the center of the screen that tells you whether the camera is angled or tilted. It’s especially good if you’re trying to get a straight horizon or lining up with some architectural elements.
- For Viewfinder. This is the whole shebang screen like the one at the top of this page. It replaces the live view entirely with real-time information about a whole bunch of readings and settings.
- Monitor Off. This gives you the option of blacking out the back screen entirely. It’s especially useful for things like time-lapse (saves battery) or tripod-mounted shooting when you’re trying to be discrete or don’t want the light spill of a bright monitor.
The check boxes show whether or not a particular screen is available when you cycle through with the Display button. They’re not all enabled by default. This is what it looks like with the default settings:
The options for displaying information through the viewfinder are fundamentally the same, but there are a couple of options missing compared to those for the back screen. They’re logical omissions. It doesn’t make much sense being able to black out the viewfinder. And it’s not much more sense to have the data-only display through the viewfinder for the same reason–ie. you can’t see what you’re shooting.
This is the default setup: