Enthusiast features in A77? Yes and no.

Started Jun 22, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 4,033
Re: That's not how you evaluate AF systems

Those are the same situations where I review as well. With the A100 I didn't use auto review for that either because I spend time to magnify the image for close examination.

Those are the primary situations where I need the review. White balance doesn't matter -- I shoot RAW, so I can adjust that later (I do that on any system, but on Sony, you really need to -- in terms of image processing, color balance is probably Sony's single greatest weakness). Exposure, I only occasionally make errors, but again, I tend to underexpose very slightly, and regain that in processing (again, I use RAW), so this hits me less often than it might hit you.

DOF, lighting, motion blur, and confirming framing with motion (bird is flying quickly, I'm tracking it with the camera, and I want to make sure I didn't chop off its head) are where I need review.

Part of our differences is I don't use Auto mode at all. I use P for general use but Aperture priority for when DOF is critical and Shutter Priority when shutter speed is important.

I never use auto mode on the a55, Canon, or Nikon. It's useless. On older Sony, it was very usable -- it was just like P-mode, but without remembering settings. If you took the camera out of your bag after a week break, you don't need to remember that last time, you set it to ISO3200 and +1/3 exposure and whatever else, and fix all of that. If a relative shoots with the camera, same thing. 'Auto' stood for 'Ready to go' rather than 'automatic.' With the old auto, I had no use for P mode. I mostly shot aperture or shutter priority (you almost always want control of shutter vs. aperture vs. exposure), but I didn't miss shots diddling with the camera either (power up, reset settings, then shoot).

When I use P mode the camera remembers my previous settings like iso, WB, EV comp etc.

I don't want it to remember those settings. If I was shooting at a wedding last week, and am now shooting outdoors in a forest, what sense is it that the camera recalled that I was in high ISO, fluorescent lighting? ISO is the single thing I change most, and live preview doesn't show you image noise. Indeed, without zooming in on a review, you probably won't notice.

To me, it's a strict downgrade. It's a downgrade for advanced shooters like myself, but it's also a downgrade for beginners. Old Sony still worked out of the box for newbies like new Sony, but the controls were there. If a friend or relative took a photo, and it came out wrong, I could show them how to adjust exposure or ISO. Next time I ran into them, they'd know how that works, and would typically be using it. People got better at photography very quickly with old Sony. New Sony says you're either an idiot who needs everything disabled, or an advanced user where you have to understand everything.

There is no good reason for the camera to keep telling you "This feature is not available."

What upside do you see to the new automatic mode? Is there any?

If one needs to learn the camera quickly I can see where needing to make major changes in the way you do things could be a pain. I'm a musician and am accustomed to practicing hours at a time to master technique which has taught me great patience. Mastering new techniques on a camera is a snap compared to that. I guess that's why I don't understand all the fuss over camera ergonomics. I mastered the Fuji s9000 which ergonomically was rather poor as cameras go. I plan on using a camera for years so I don't mind a little time getting used to it's idiosyncrasies.

I'm an engineer with a Ph.D. I switch technologies frequently. I learn new technologies all the time. Like a musician, I've done many things which involved years of study. I don't mind mastering a new interface if it's better and substantially different -- I do that all the time. And I spend a good deal of time with the a55 trying to make it work for me, and mastering how to use it quickly. I have not reached the level of speed, comfort, and control as I had with the a700. That's not a fair comparison, since the a700 is a higher class camera. But I have not reached the level of speed, comfort, and control as the Maxxum 5D, which was in the same class.

The fuss is because, once mastered, I can be much more efficient with some technologies than others. If I can change the settings in a quarter of the time, I miss fewer pictures. This is true in other areas too -- e.g. once you master a Unix command line, you'll be much more efficient than in Windows or Apple. I'll take ultimate speed of use over ease of use any day. That's what a lot of ergonomics is about.

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