A rant on the menu system

Started Nov 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: A rant on the menu system

TiagoReil wrote:

AlanB1976 wrote:

Damn, I read before getting my NEX that the Sony menu system takes some getting used to. Holy cr@p were they right. I’m an electronic engineer, worked in IT, have numerous gadgets from smartphones, other cameras, AVR’s, RC controllers and so much more, so “think” I’m not stupid and have seen many a menu system (and can see the logic behind the menu systems). Sony’s just seem so strange. It takes me soooooo long to set what I want Such long lists of settings. And then, when something is greyed out, it just says that it is not able to be set in this camera mode. So, I can’t set what I want to happen in the panorama mode without actually going there first. Sure it makes sense so people don’t think they are changing settings that won’t take affect in that mode, but if you know what you are basically doing and just want to set things up....frustrating.

Sure, there is the FN button to shortcut to some settings, but you’re only listed some. For example, the flash compensation cannot be set there, yet you can assign that to the B key or AEL (which in my case I want that set to one of the other limited settings). Maybe I’m just not used to it yet but it is really hard work. And, in my personal view, I wish the display would only show the settings that are actually on/used, not this huge bunch of icons with “off” next to it. So, to reset back to standard, I have to go over every icon and make sure it’s set properly, instead of just looking to see what icons are showing and go change those.

Sorry, just me ranting. I will get used to it but I wish it was easy. I’m not a pro and sometimes need to play around to figure out what to do to get the image in my head on to the camera. Then spend 2 hours trying to figure out what I need to set back

rant finished..... for now

I agree with you with some things, and not with others.

Just to be clear, I work on IT. Applications for companies mostly, so Ive seen a lot of menu systems. The menu system of the NEX is not complex. IT is 2 levels. 1 level of grous, and another level of parameters. Thats all. It is like any window application that has a menu on top, and after that options. It is quite easy to understand it.

6 Groups:

Shoot Mode

Camera: AF, Drive mode, Display info, etc.

Image Size: Image size/quality/aspect ratio.

Brightness Color:



For me the only ambiguity is what goes in camara and what on setup. But the rest is very clear. And with time you know where to find what we want. So for me this is not a problem. It is very clear already for me, after 2 years of using my nex-5, where everything is, and except for some items that I can confuse if it is on camera or on setup, everything is very very clear where it is. Anything about files, in Image size. Anything about the camera operation, on CAmera, or Setup, anything about Color or brightness, on Brightness color. It is so easy.

The other problem with setup is as you say, that certain things would change others and so they gray them. I think that the only problem is not stating why this is grayed. I would actually change that to inform why, and give the option to go on anyway. But yes, this is a problem, not only because you have to know what to do, but because you have to change many things. And I agree with you that this is a problem. Not a big one, but it is. One example:

I use almost always RAW. The only time I dont do it is when using HDR. So to use HDR, I have to first go to Image size, change image from raw to jpg, then go to brightness and color, and chane DRO to HDR. Take the picture I want, and if afterwards I want to go back to RAW, I have to do the same again, change HDR to DRO, and then JPG to RAW. This is not so bad if you have set the option MEnu Start (in setup) to Previous. That way you wont have to search for the options when you are going back to RAW.


A rare but helpful quasi-endorsement of the much-criticised NEX menu Tiago! I agree with AlanB1976 that it can be frustrating, but after setting up custom button controls with ISO, White balance etc, and getting used to the menu and your shooting style, it becomes much much easier. I use A mode, RAW + JPG  most of the time, rarely menu-diving.

Usabiity would be much improved if the camera switched to JPG for HDR, with a warning message, then remembered and switched back to the previous user's RAW/JPG settings on mode change. Or why not save the HDR exposure RAW files along with the blended JPG? Many simple things like this could/should be improved, but it's not so bad with experience.


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