Sony’s $149 Custom Gridline Upgrade Has Arrived for Four Alpha Cameras

A professional photographer taking a picture of a female model seated on a stool in a studio, depicted conceptually through a sony camera's lcd screen showing the focused photo.

Last November, Sony announced plans to bring custom gridlines to select Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras for a $150 fee. At the time, the company said the feature would arrive in March. While it’s slightly late, it has arrived.

Available now in the United States and Canada, users can achieve “picture perfect framing” on the Sony a1, a7S III, a7 IV, and a9 III, among other mirrorless camera bodies.

The $150 upgrade is designed for large-volume photography and video production professionals. For example, a school portrait photographer may capture hundreds of photos of different children, so a custom gridline can help them maintain consistent framing throughout the day and have significantly less work to do later during post-processing.

A digital camera on a tripod focuses on a young woman in graduation attire, delightfully holding her diploma. the background is softly blurred, highlighting the focused image on the camera's lcd screen.

While $150 is an excessive amount to ask of most photographers for what appears to be a relatively simple software update, it is likely a small price to pay for pros who would benefit from custom gridlines.

Sony isn’t the only company thinking about serving the volume photography market, either. Earlier this year, Panasonic announced firmware that delivers precision framing masks and reliable photo identification tools explicitly built for volume photographers. The Lumix Volume Photography firmware license, exclusive to the United States, is $200.

A digital camera's back view displaying its screen, which shows a photo of a smiling woman sitting on a stool, wearing a yellow top and jeans. various camera buttons are also visible.

As Sony says, “custom gridlines alleviate the burden of volume photographers working at schools, photo studios, theme parks, cruise ships or malls who often need to take similar shots repeatedly, sometimes thousands in one day.” The ability to have pre-set customized gridlines makes that process significantly more straightforward during capture and when processing files for delivery.

Four framed photos displayed on tablets: a happy black family at an amusement park, a black boy in a school uniform, a baseball team posed on a field, and a white family dressed elegantly at a formal event.

Once a user has purchased and installed the license upgrade, as demonstrated in the videos below, they can import up to four customized gridlines to their camera. These can be displayed through the camera’s electronic viewfinder, on the rear LCD, or through an external monitor connected via HDMI.

Users can create the required gridlines as PNG files containing characters, logos, or other graphic elements, and replace the installed ones as needed. Users can also choose gridline colors to avoid issues with the lines blending in with specific clothing or backgrounds.

Sony also says that videographers can benefit from the custom gridline license, as they can develop ones specific to the aspect ratio needed for different video platforms.

The Sony Custom Gridline license is available now for $149 in the U.S. and $202 in Canada per permanent camera license. Complete purchasing information is available through Sony’s Upgrade and License Management Suite.

While many will likely scoff at a $149 custom gridline license, for the photographers who would benefit from the paid upgrade, $149 is probably a worthwhile investment.

Image credits: Sony