Many pundits flesh out their reviews with (usually) lengthy and often caustic gripes about interfaces – the way the camera communicates with you and how easy it is to set, or change a specific function.
Read any Web review. There’s always a section on the menus and how hard (usually) or easy (rarely) it is to get things done.
Having foolishly unlocked the usually nailed down controls on my NEX-7 a couple of days ago, I got some first hand experience and a mild kind of panic; what am I going to do if I can’t get this damned camera back to where I know what’s it’s doing?
The exposure values and ISO on the rear LCD were all over the show and I was ready to toss the whole thing into the nearby loch. WTF I cried to the heavens?
Calm yourself. Take a deep breath. Look at the LCD – what’s changed?
Turns out, I’d managed to change the shooting mode from my invariable (A)perture priority to (M)anual. One level down and a turn of the big wheel on the back and I was back in business. Not before locking those all-too-easy-to-accidently-change bloody controls up again though.
Happily restored to action, I got to thinking just how much of the functionality Sony et al pack into their cameras. I really use very little, just set up and shoot. Just a guess, but that’s probably about 5%.
LCD for occasional chimping
Doesn’t seem like much does it? Especially when you consider that this tiny photographic marvel also has somewhere north of a million different LCD icons, a flash, shoots video, HDRs, panoramas and even has an exposure setting that allows the user to tell the sex of various wild animals at a distance. Yaaaaaawn.
Right now, the only thing I want it to have is GPS to save me either using a less than useless iPhone app, or endless satellite images on Google Maps.
Of course, my 5% is probably different to your 5%, but do we really need Vivid, minute JPGs and/or 3D sweep panoramas? Who uses all that stuff and should Sony be encouraging those that do to use such a powerful camera for what is really just messing about?
What’s your experience?
Do you do Vivid? Is VGA important to you? Hand held twilight? Are users such dolts that they don’t know what a tripod is?
Should we be demanding less of this meaningless complexity, or at least access to the software to select what we want in a menu and only that?
In a world where camera makers did as their users asked, we’d get this degree of customisation, but then our cameras would be “Pro” versions and cost 15% more because of all the extra R&D necessary. Huh?
C’mon. I’ve given up a couple of hours of my holiday to think this one out. It’s your turn now.
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