The Sony a7rII is a great camera and I am mostly satisfied with it. There are a few things I would like to be implemented or changed but most of those problems can be solved within a firmware update and not necessarily a hardware update (however, I would like dual card slots). I’m not sure how to get the community’s support on this but please let me know what you think of these ideas.
If Sony improves their current generation cameras, it inspires buyer confidence and this equates to more money for Sony. Uncompressed RAW was added after the Sony a7rII was released, and I believe this was mostly because it was a controversial topic for quite some time. You might not agree with my ideas but are you 100% satisfied with the Sony firmware? I am not.
Sony a7rII Specific Firmware Improvements For The Sony a7rII 4.20 Firmware Update
- The battery drains after a while even if the camera is not in use or switched on
- Crop mode should be easier to access, perhaps as part of the quick menu so that it can be quickly enabled for videos
- Video mode crop mode should be separate from photography crop mode, therefore videographers don’t have to continuously change this when taking photographs or making videos ~ This is an extremely important feature for the Sony a7rII
- Lossless compressed raw should be an additional option for the RAW file format ~ Lossy compressed is lossy and uncompressed creates incredibly large files
Sony a7II, Sony a7sII, Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII and Sony a9 General Firmware Improvements
- Better manual focus options ~ manual focus should have the option to go straight to full zoom when you rotate the lens, and there should also be the option to only magnify a portion of the frame e.g. a small, 10x square around the selected focus point or focus area. This would allow you to compose the shot while focusing ~ I believe this is important and would improve the manual focus experience with the Sony a7II, Sony a7sII and the Sony a7rII considerably
- Spot meter should be able to meter the focus point instead of just a point in the centre of the frame, in other words, interlock the focus point with spot focus
- A customizable video menu should allow duplicates of what’s in the stills menu, this would allow people to create their own menu system in an order that did not irritate them
- Facial recognition software should be put to better use for manual focusing, for example, it could automatically move the focus point to the subjects face and when you turn the focus ring, it magnifies around that area ~ This feature is fairly unimportant
- The option to disable electronic first curtain shutter automatically with speeds above 1/1000 of a second. This would help to avoid situations where banding can potentially exist ~ This feature is important as if is annyoing having to disable EFCS (electronic first curtain shutter) with the Sony a7II, Sony a7sII and the Sony a7rII
- Live histogram and zebra stripes should relate to the raw file and not the JPG settings
- Live histogram should be adjustable so that it can display red, green or blue, and not just luminance
- Maximum exposure length should be customizeable like auto ISO, for example, you should be able to have a maximum of 1 minute instead of 30 seconds
- Save settings from the “gear” menu to the custom function settings i.e. “C1” should remember setting-effect has been set to “off” while “C2” remembers setting-effect has been set to “on”
- Customizeable PASM dial, so “P” can become “C3” or whatever you want it to be
- Selected steady shot focal length is transferred to the exif data when using manual lenses that lack electronic contacts ~ SAR user suggestion
Sony a7II, Sony a7sII,Sony a7rII, Sony a7rIII and Sony a9 Wi-Fi Firmware Improvements and App Requests
- Send to phone using a network connection already available i.e. connecting to a router, instead of having to create a new network and disconnecting the old network
- An FTP, dropbox and an instagram app, and they should not require you to type in a password each time you use them
- Focus stacking and merging app for macro shooting (this might not be possible due to focus breathing) ~ SAR user suggestion
The Sony menu system and why it should be improved in a Sony a7II, Sony a7sII and Sony a7rII Firmware Update
I believe there’s a certain amount of people that take great offence to the criticism of their beloved material item. They might have saved up for weeks; perhaps their leisure time was consumed by researching the perfect product to buy. If you criticise it, are you criticising their judgement? Are you telling them, “hey, you made a mistake, you screwed up with your research, you don’t know what you’re doing and it’s actually a bad camera”? Buyer’s Stockholm syndrome dissuades people from targeting a companies product with the much needed criticism it might deserve.
When you look at these suggestions, please don’t think I am criticising your choice as a buyer. I think I begin to understand the logic behind it but I want the Sony experience to be improved :). I enjoy using my camera and it’s certainly not bad–it could simply be better. I don’t want you to read the points and think “ehhh, who needs an instagram app? that’s rubbish” but instead, try to think of ideas that would help and suggest them in the comments below; I’ll add them. Love or hate Instagram, it’s popular, and I think it’s a huge reason as to why people still use the cameras on their phone–they can upload photographs much faster than if they used another camera.
The Sony menu system is criticised by many, especially Canon and Nikon owners. There are of course those that have used a Nikon camera for years and dislike something else purely based on unfamiliarity. I might find it uncomfortable to use an Apple computer and discover basic menu items are in the opposite place, such design choices aren’t bad per se. If an item is on the left as opposed to the right, it’s technically in the exact same position in terms of ease of use (excluding psychological facts regarding our ability to obtain data e.g. we’re used to reading from left to right). So when we criticise a menu system, it’s often easy for someone to say “you’re not used to it” and perhaps they’re right. I can memorise menus in half the time it takes the average person, but so what? How does that prove anything? The argument becomes,”this menu is good because I am fast at remembering things and I have shot with this brand of camera for a longer period than other cameras.”
When we think about out favourite features, it can help to imagine we’re robots with total recall. We can remember where everything is but we can only issue a certain amount of commands a second. When we limit ourselves to pressing only 1 button every 10 seconds, we soon realise how many button presses a task takes. We understand that it could be more efficient. Is it efficient to have to change between APS-C “enabled” for when you shoot a video, and to then set it to “disabled” when you go back to shooting stills? Would it take less button presses if there were an option for it to be video and stills independent? I like to use this logic because it is extremely easy to fall into the trap of “I’m used to the Canon menu system; therefore the Canon menu system is better”.
User interfaces are extremely subjective, but we don’t have the customisation to suit everyone. Windows is far from a perfect operating system but it does have a taskbar, start menu and a desktop with icons you can customise; its programs can be customised. Therefore, is it illogical to want a separate video section in the main menu of Sony mirrorless cameras, given they have amazing video? What about a blank space, so we could put our own menu items in the main menu? Why should we be satisfied with just a quick-menu? Why should we be satisfied with only two rows for the quick menu? Why can’t we set ISO to the shutter speed dial? Some of these ideas are extremely unimportant, but I think certain aspects of customisation have been prohibited for no reason.