re: a lot of pressure on Sony now ... part-II

Started Jan 31, 2014 | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 36,701
Re: Tom: preliminary notes on XT-1 ergonomy from its launch in Canada...

jpr2 wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

jpr2 wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

I am into ergonomic controls and intuitive to use and the Sony A7 type is only a pass mark at best in my book. No doubt that those who just use cameras and work around the deficiencies so a to hardly notice them find the A7 type just fine. Is the XT-1 better in the user experience than the A7 type?

Given that for some time all digital cameras have had enough performance for most purposes I can trade off some gee-whizz latest technology for the sheer pleasure of a camera that is (instantly) at one with my personal needs. This is even if it takes a day or so to patiently work through the manual and custom settings to make any camera a reflection of my photographic personality. I am not into awkwardly placed controls that "you get used to" or plinking around menus an sub-menus for some function that I use often, neatly by-passing sometimes very useful function that I never use and is in my face because I cannot move it out of sight.

Buttons hidden in crevices and wheels that can only be moved by running ones finger around the edge (rather than on the knurled flats where the finger should always be). Wheels that are either to ratchety and stiff or so free that changes are made inadvertently. Big red video buttons placed right under your thumb - not configurable to do anything else and always painted bright red like a target for a bull. A great irritation if you don't "do video". Flush fit buttons (especially those lined up in a row) which have to be looked at to be sure and often have the fingers pressing aimlessly groping at hard surface whilst trying to find them by touch in the dark. Controls placed in thumb or finger dislocating positions that are always assuredly the ones that you might use most often. Buttons scattered randomly where micro-spaces can be found by engineers rather than placed sensibly in locations found by designers using ergonomic principles.

Above all once some good egonomic layouts have been determined then throw it all away for some other witches breakfast whenever a new model eventuates.

I'm very much with you on this - daily pleasure of the photographic tool, working with my camera NOT against it, etc. are my major tenets in assessing a new gear. I was amazed and saddened recently here when a poster questioning ergonomics of his A7 was almost immediately hen-pecked into "you'll get used to it" position by a gang demanding and instant adherence to the A7s are worlds 8th wonder.

Hopefully the XT-1 will prove itself to be of different ilk - already plethora of external controls - starting with aperture rings on lenses has warmed my heart towards it. But of course only a real hands-on experience afield will answer this for sure

One thing about a witches breakfast is that you need someone to stir the pot (grin).
Tom Caldwell

...bit skimpy on details, and seems to expect to be believed on trust and reputation (perhaps well deserved among among Fuji users, but I do not know the guy). Anyway, it confirms all the strong points with some reservations concerning EC in Auto ISO, and peculiarities of battery grip.

From my perspective most important were tidbits confirming very good AF'ing performance also on moving targets, however absolutely no details


With all respect to all the good guys who are I am not at all interested in the new Fuji and what or what not it can do any more than I am interested in the A7 type.  I found the A7 type ergonomically awkward - enough to give me an excuse to pass it up quite easily when I had the opportunity to buy one.  I am interested, albeit vaguely, to see if Fuji produce a good user interface more from the point of knowing whether they have "good user design" worked out.  My little experience with the Fuji with a play with the X100 (?) trick camera with the fixed lens was that i was even less user friendly than the A7 type.  I hope they have improved.

Meanwhile my love of the moment is a complete u-turn - the tiny Panasonic GM1 - which I find is a powerhouse masquerading as "Bambi".  They seem to have managed to find a way of fitting six configurable function buttons into "Bambi" without spoiling its clean aesthetic shape and straightforward control once it has been set up. It is a lesson in how a touch screen can overcome the much more sparse real estate problem with some panache.  Arguably "Bambi" is not only just as fully controllable as the A7 type but does this in a much better ergonomic manner - that is if you can ever get your hands around the grip.

If the Fuji X-T1 with aps-c sensor and Olympus E-M1 with M4/3 sensor can get prime time comparison to the A7 type then the GM1 hardly looks the part of a grown up camera but in reality - how many leagues is it out to sea?

I can think of a few already - but muscle by muscle all the necessary bits are there - but I guess the serious guys are still rolling around the floor in a fit of laughter.

I aver that the little Bambi has a more complex, comprehensive and useful feature set than my well understood NEX6 at least.

Maybe some will come to understand that "Bambi" is not just little sub-standard point and shoot, or a camera for the wife's handbag, or even a pocket camera if you can find a lens small enough. Let alone a second camera in the gadget bag just in case the big boomer breaks down.  It is actually a very interesting and powerful little soul and an outstanding camera tool in its own right.

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Tom Caldwell

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