Having a bit of Sony’s ear, I thought it might be a good idea to compile a short list (and the list is short) of suggestions for improvements to the firmware in the Sony NEX-7. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the NEX-7 is a great camera, but there is always room for improvement.
Having used the NEX-7 “on the job” so to speak, I have run into a few “glitches” which I would personally like to see addressed in a future FW update. I have also read other’s reports on the camera, and have tried to incorporate their suggestions here as well.
Since it is my hope to get Sony’s attention, I would appreciate any additional suggestions and/or recommendations be made in the comments section of this article. Note: there is no order or priority to these suggestions.
Here we go…
1. Please increase the steps between EV settings for both bracketing and Auto-HDR. Neither .3 or .7 EV increments is enough for serious work. It would also be valuable to choose from either 3, 5, or 7 exposures.
2. The review modes need to be consolidated. There should not be separate modes for stills and video. This leads to confusion as to what is in storage as well as how to switch easily between modes.
3. There needs to be a way to prevent the eye-switch from disabling the cameras “sleep mode”. The simplest way to do this would be to remove it from the list of actions which wake the camera, relying only on a button press to reawaken. Without this, it is possible to very rapidly drain the battery unknowingly.
4. There should be an option to either simply disable the Record button and /or to reassign it to another function. It is far too easily pressed when trying to take a shot, thus causing the photographer to not only miss the shot, but to struggle to put the camera back into still image mode.
5. The “Menu” and “Focus” buttons need to be swapped. The menu button is right under your finger, while the focus button is at the bottom of the camera. This is awkward as you need to access the focus button often, and the menu button infrequently. While the menu button is fixed, the focus button is a “soft button.” This should be an extremely easy fix. I could find no way to reassign these buttons in the menu, though many others could be.
6. The Jpeg processing could use some serious improvement. Allowing for noise reduction to be turned off entirely would go a long way from eliminating the “smearing” seen in the Jpegs from the camera.
7. Image controls are needed for the adjustment of the image in the EVF. At least a “contrast control” is required to allow the user to adjust the display to match the actual scene. Sharpness controls would also worthwhile.
8. Personally I would also like to see the addition of the option to set the ISO range from which auto-ISO chooses. Currently you have no control over this when you set the camera to Auto-ISO.
The last two suggestions are courtesy Michael Reichmann of the Luminous Landscape web-site. Since Michael says it so much better than I could, I quoted him here.
9. “As good as Sony’s new interface on the NEX-7 is, there is one major omission. That is, there is no way to group all of the camera’s settings into what some camera makers call My settings, or have on the Mode dial as C1, C2, etc. This is, in my view, a huge hole in all NEX camera’s user interface, and is particularly glaring in its absence on the NEX-7 because it is a camera aimed at the advanced amateur and Pro.”
10. Regarding the EVF display… “There is a gottcha with the Settings Effect “OFF” mode though. It’s intended to show you a bright visible image, regardless of the cameras settings, and that includes exposure. When OFF, if you’re over or underexposing, deliberately or otherwise, the screen will always show you a decent image for framing and composition (except in manual exposure mode). But, if you have the histogram feature turned on the histogram does not show you a graph of the exposure that is set, but instead shows you a perfect histogram of the image that is being displayed.”
That’s it then. Hopefully when Sony releases a FW v1.1 we will see many, if not all of these implemented. If you have other suggestions, or recommendations which can be implemented in the FIRMWARE, please sound off in our comments section.