After using the SONY A7r for a few days with manual lenses – User interface ideas for next firmware release

Show images and zoom – this is the most annoying thing with the whole camera!!!
Both dials and the back wheel AND pressing the wheel will show prev/next image (4 different ways to do the same thing, talk about wasting controls), when one of the controls could instead be used for direct zooming.
As it is now, button C2 has to be pressed before zooming in/out is possible when showing images, how stupid!
Zoom also always starts at max zoomed in, and it is not possible to set default zoom level, quite annoying and takes a LOT of time to check focusing is OK while shooting, since you everytime have to press C2 and the zoom out from the too far zoomed in image!
* Best would be to just remember zoom level and position from last use. Or do like the Olympus OM-D where the zoom is very fast and intuitive: one of the top dials will zoom in directly witghout having to press any button before, starting from max zoomed OUT, not max zoomed in, or if you have looked at other images before, it will start from that zoom and position when you turn the dial. Extremely fast to work with in real life. Please SONY fix this!!!!!
* Generally, it is not possible to program any buttons in play mode, again, quite unnecessary omission.


Bug with rotation when viewing images:
When you use the camera in portrait position and zoom in the images will rotate back to landscape in the zoomed in state. Very annoying. Rotation is also lost when shifting display mode (DISP).


In camera image star rating:
* This is an incredibly useful feature on my Canon 5DmkIII, I use it all the time. For portraits I can have a quick look with the customer and with just a push of one button select some images they like. And for bigger jobbs, if I get some slow time I can sit down and start the culling process right away.


More customization:

* Why are we not allowed to program fast access to things like FORMAT and LIVE VIEW DISPLAY _ SETTING DISPLAY ON/OFF and many more that I would like to access faster than diving in the menus?


Auto ISO:
* Not possible to set shutter speed range, it always aims for 1/60 and change only when reaching iso range limits.
I would prefer configurable limits on both iso and shutter speed, and also suggest something I have never seen in any camera, a tickbox saying for each of iso and shutter speed: ”OK to go outside limits if everything else fails to get correct exposure” / ”Always keep limits no matter what”


Assigning focus zoom to a button, for use with manual lenses:
* Needs to press the button two times to focus zoom, should be configurable to ”1-push select area 2-puch zoom” / ”1-push zoom direct” and then a second option for ”Push to zoom/unzoom” / ”Zoom only while pushed”
Best would be if focus zoom could be done when half pressing the shutter too, as an option.


Idea for even more focus help, inspired by old focusing screens:

* Why not have a movable enlargement circle in the viewfinder, that would be fantastic!


BW images:
* No red/green/yellow filters, I use them all the time on the Olympus OM-D.


Shooting RAW only:
* Embedded jpg in the RAW file is very small, hard to tell exact focus if you use programs like Photo Mechanic for fast culling. To check exact focus you have to read the actual raw data like in Bridge or Lightroom, a much more slow process than using Photo Mechanic, or you can shoot RAW+JPG, but that takes a lot of card and harddisk space.


Leica M rangefinder lenses:
They are extremely nice and small, great to handle, but one thing must be considered – almost everyone has a minimum focusing distance of 70cm or more. EDIT: HAWK has a Helicoid adapter that work like an adjustable macro ring, so you can choose if you want inifinity focus or cluser focus capabilities. Check it out on ebay at 180 usd. I asked them about A7 performance and the gave me this link:

It seems the Hawk V2.5 is OK with 35-75mm but has vignetting with 90mm, and there is comming an updated V3.0 of the Hawk Helicoid next week on ebayt, same price, better features and handles up to 135mm. EDIT: Hawk V3.0 now ordered!

Voigtländer is comming out not in december with the same thing, stating it´s full frame tested.

Lets hope for some really small lenses (only the 35/2.8 is currently small enough for a carry-around use) AND also lets hope they some really fast ones, at least we pros need something like 21/4 – 35/1.4 – 50/1.4 – 85/1.8 – 24-70/2.8 – 70-200/2.8 and all with OSS or even better, SONY A8r with IBIS from Olympus cooperation!

More will follow…




  1. Tested briefly the a7r at a local store. I also much disliked how ackward zooming images is compared to some other cameras like the D800 and EM-5. So much that I think the UI is weakest thing on a7r.


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