Sony announces Custom Grid Line license for Alpha cameras

Sony has announced a new feature for professional content creators who use its Alpha mirrorless cameras. The Custom Grid Line license allows you to import your own custom grid lines to overlay on your camera’s display.

Custom Grid Lines

With the Custom Grid Line feature, you can import up to four customized original grid lines that you have created as PNG files. In addition, you can also select alternative colors to maximize the visibility of the grid lines against the background of your shot. The grid lines can be displayed on the camera’s electronic viewfinder, rear LCD monitor, or on an external monitor via HDMI. You can also superimpose the grid lines on your captured video during playback and review.

Who’s it for?

Custom grid lines are very useful for photographers or videographers who use similar shots or set-ups repeatedly. For example, sports photographers can apply one set of gridlines for full team photos and another for individual player shots. Video shooters can also set guide lines to frame content that can easily be repurposed in different aspect ratios for social media. In addition, the PNG files can feature characters, logos, and other graphic elements. However, the resolution is quite limited at 640 x 480 pixels and 256 KB or less.

How to use

The feature is a paid-for feature and requires you to purchase a license. The license is permanent, but you will need one for each camera you want to use custom grid lines with. Before buying a license, you will need to upgrade your camera to the latest firmware for the model. You can then buy and download the license file. To activate the license, you save the file to a memory card and insert it in slot 1 of your camera.

What we think

The Custom Grid Line feature is going to be really useful for a lot of content creators. You can create a custom grid for framing your regular and vertical content in one shot. It’s also useful if you want to be able to accurately repeat a specific composition. The only real disappointment is that Sony is charging a large license fee just to be able to import a simple PNG file. As such, casual users may be put off. However, for some professional shooters, the Custom Grid Line license will pay for itself in no time at all.

Pricing and availability

The Custom Grid Line license is available now in the United States and Canada from Sony’s upgrade website. Sony says the feature is currently supported by the Alpha 1, Alpha 7S III, Alpha 7 IV and Alpha 9 III. However, it will be rolled out to other Alpha mirrorless camera bodies in the future. The license is permanent and costs $149 per camera.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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