A7 - great camera, ergonomic disaster?

Started Jan 21, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Fred Briggs
Fred Briggs Senior Member • Posts: 1,023
A7 - great camera, ergonomic disaster?

Well, I finally made the decision to buy an A7 - tipped over the edge by finding that I could buy it for £265 less at Amazon France than Amazon UK, as detailed in an earlier thread!

From reading the reviews I was looking forward to a more sensible menu system than the NEX-6 I had been playing with, and additional controls and customisation. What I hadn't expected, and surely I am not the only one to feel this way, was for the camera to be such a mess ergonomically.

I suppose it serves me right for buying before trying, but I feel like I need to be ET, or one of those lemurs with the long bony fingers, in order to operate the camera in anything more sophisticated than point and shoot mode. This doesn't mean I am not keeping the camera, but guys, why didn't someone warn me about this!

First of all the shutter button is too high compared to the ridge on the grip under which your next finger rests, and does not slope forward to allow a natural angle for the finger to articulate. This also means I have to splay my fingers uncomfortably far apart to reach the shutter while still maintaining a good grip, not helped by having to reach my index finger around the neckstrap fixing which gets in the way. It would have been much better (IMO) to have the shutter button at about where the top of the front dial is, and angled downwards at the front.

Secondly the controls are spread across no less than three different planes - four if you count the raised surface of the shutter button. We have shutter button and C1 on the top. Then we have all the controls on the rear surface. Finally we have the EC dial and rear dial plus two more buttons on the recessed vertical surface which runs under the viewfinder. I find the C2 button particularly awkward to use as I find I have to change my grip to allow my thumb to go across and reach into the recessed area to press it.

The controls on the rear surface are also not well placed, in particular the C3 button which is hidden under the base of the thumb , so requiring a complete change of grip to access.

My other major gripe (and perhaps I will find a way to do this, or some kind person will point it out) is why oh why can I not use the rear wheel and its central button in review mode to magnify, zoom/de-zoom and navigate pictures in the same simple and natural way that I could on the NEX-6? I know it defaults to ISO in shooting mode but is fully available in review mode.

Instead, as far as I can tell at this point in my familiarisation, I have to go to three different places - the awkwardly placed C2 button to initiate magnify, the rear dial or AEL button to zoom/de-zoom and the button in the centre of the rear wheel to jump back to unmagnified view.

Now I know this is a small camera - that is one big reason why I bought it, but surely Sony could have put a bit more thought into this? For example, why didn't they put the mode wheel on the other side of the viewfinder leaving room on top for a better placed and angled shutter button.


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"We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky." Leonard Cohen c1967

 Fred Briggs's gear list:Fred Briggs's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS
Sony Alpha a7 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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