Manufacturer with intuitive menus?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
TacticDesigns Veteran Member • Posts: 7,559
Re: Manufacturer with intuitive menus?

saltydogstudios wrote:

TacticDesigns wrote:

saltydogstudios wrote:

Wigelii wrote:

tbcass wrote:

Wigelii wrote:

rb61 wrote:

Is there one camera manufacturer that stands out as a leader when it comes to intuitive menus?

Please ignore, if possible, stratospheric priced cameras.



Prime example of how subjective a subject this is. This guy has the complete opposite opinion.

I have never understood why people complain about the Olympus menus. I think they are very logical and over the years became even more user friendly.

It's not the "menus" per-se. It's the E-P5 (which I mistakenly called the E-PL5 before).

See that that switch that goes from "1" to "2" - every button and dial does something different based on that.

This is supposed to be a "flagship" camera but that switch makes me not want to use it.

To be fair - I bought this camera as a kit for the lens (the 17mm f/1/8) so it was basically free.

As for the menus themselves - personally I think if I have to "go into the menus" to do most basic things, user interface is probably not that good,

There are a lot of little niceties that I have come across my Nikon D5100 that makes me like it the most.

And that is coming from a Pentaxian. And a guy that had a Canon 10D.

I actually had a Pentax K100d, Nikon D70s and Canon 10D all at the same time.

And I used to shoot all of them.

I just found it fun seeing how each company approached shooting.

One thing that stood out for me was autofocus assist.

On the Nikon D70s (or my D5100 for that matter), it has a separate AF assist light.

So . . . I could actually use it with or without flash. If I just wanted to take a picture without flash, but I wanted the help of the AF assist light, I would just need to make sure it was enabled, toss the camera into AF-S (single shot mode), half press the shutter button and let the camera do its thing.

If I changed my mind and I wanted to use flash, I could just tap the "flash" button, the flash would pop up and I take the picture.

For my Canon 10D, it did not have a dedicated AF assist light. Instead it used the built-in flash, and pulsed the flash.

So if I wanted a flash picture, and I wanted the help of the AF assist light, then I could just pop the flash.

But sometimes . . . I wanted the help of AF assist, but I didn't want flash. Like where it was dark, I wanted to focus on a subject in the scene, but I wanted to only use the ambient light.

For the Canon 10D . . . the only way I found to make it so I could use the AF assist and not use flash was to go into the menu and set it so the flash did not fire when popped up.

Back then, with kit and superzoom lenses . . . I found the AF assist light did help. And I did find I often did not want the flash to fire.

Which was super easy to do on my Nikon D70s (or D5100).

But for the Canon 10D, I would constantly have to press the menu button and change the setting. Luckily that was pretty much the only setting that I changed in the menu. So as soon as I pressed the menu button, I was right there on that setting! LOL.

Of course, for my Pentax K100d, it also did not have a built-in AF assist light. It used the flash unit to help focus by pulsing the flash unit. The thing with the Pentax K100d was that I was not able to figure out how to disable the flash from contributing to the picture when I only wanted to take advantage of the AF assist of the pulsing flash.

Instead I would have to drag out my humongous Pentax AF540fgz flash unit. Put it on the camera. Enable its AF assist and force it not to fire. Not really that easy or convenient. LOL.

Of course . . . Pentax added a dedicated AF assist light with the Pentax K-7.

And Nikon removed the AF assist light from the Nikon D780.

So the landscape has changed.

I have to admit that my use of that built-in AF assist light is very minimal now-a-days, seeing as I shoot indoor sports. So AF-C (continuous AF) where the AF assist light is not enabled. And I wouldn't want a light flashing out anyway. For gymnastics that could disturb the athlete. And for anyone doing video it could be annoying. And for that I use f/2.8 zooms anyway . . . so the AF is not so much needed.

Although I was taking a portrait one time and the couple wanted to be on a porch with the sunset in the background. There was so much light coming from behind them that the camera was having difficulty focusing. But I just tossed the camera into AF-S, turned on the AF assist light and the camera acquired focus in a snap. So easy.

But for personal use, if I can have a camera with a dedicated AF assist light, I prefer it.

I do find it comes in handy.

What does this have to do with menus?

Not much.

Probably only that I had no problem with the menus of the Pentax K100d, Nikon D70s or the Canon 10D I had at the time.

But . . . from a user interface perspective, they were each very different.

Of course . . . just because I figure my next camera is a Nikon, it doesn't mean I don't have my eye on another Canon or Pentax.

I totally want a Canon EOS RP and a (cheaper) Pentax K-1! LOL.

That's a great example.


Also why don't they make the AF Assist light red? If you have a strobe on top of the camera, they often project a red grid (great for those contrasty lines). It doesn't have to be a grid - that's too much for a tiny lamp, but why not make it red? Probably putting a red filter on it would reduce the reach or something.

I don't know how many have white light and how many have an orange light.

I know my Fujifilm XP80 waterproof compact's AF assist light is orange. And it looks like it is putting out an "X" pattern. And if I remember correctly, when I had a Canon S90, I think it's AF assist light was orange as well. (But I'm just going on memory with that.)

But, again going by memory, I think something like the Panasonic compacts AF assist light was white.

Ricoh had a genius solution to this on two of their cameras. Fixed focal length compacts mind you, so this worked in those cases. It had a two tiny lenses for phase detect autofocus.

I had never noticed that before!

Pretty interesting!

So would that be instead of trying to do focus off the sensor with contrast?

I notice the newer APS-C Ricoh GR cameras don't have that. It looks like the new GR's have a conventional AF assist light of some sort.

I drew red arrows to point to them.

There are tons of tiny frustrations like the ones you describe with lots of camera manufacturers. Often involving the flash.


I guess the thing is . . . if you only use one brand, you get familiar with how things are done and you don't think about other options.

I just find cameras interesting, so when someone in the gang has a new camera I go and pick it up and play with it! LOL.

And when there were cameras in-store, I'd go and try each one out.

When you get to try different cameras, it kinda starts you thinking . . . ok, based on what I shoot and how I shoot, which one actually fits me the most. LOL.

When I first got my Fuji X-Pro2 I decided I would be clever and set up Custom 1 for studio mode. Set the white balance, shutter speed, manual mode - all the things that would make it ready for studio shooting so I had to do less work to get it into studio mode.

Except I couldn't figure out how to get it OUT of Custom 1. Say what you want about PASM dials - at least you know when you're in Custom 1 and when you're not. Eventually figured out how to do a factory reset and never used Custom settings on a Fuji again. <-- proof I'm not the only person this has happened to.


so I barely even remember what the menus on any camera I own look like except for the handful of things I need to do on them.

At some point you own too many cameras to bother memorizing the menus of each one you own. How to change ISO or White Balance on the other hand - it should be easy to do and that switch makes it hard for me to remember what's where.


For me, after a while, after using a bunch of different cameras I kinda just started appreciating certain things.

Yes. That is a highly personal thing IMHO, and very dependent on what you shoot and how you shoot it.

But if someone wants to ask, I am happy to say why I like a particular set-up.

I hope its useful!

On my X-Pro2, I dial in whole stop shutter speeds on the top dial. Then I can dial in third stop shutter speeds on one of the spinning dials. I can never remember which one. Every time I do it, it feels like i'm guessing and just barely managed to get it right.

Some cameras it feels like you're in charge. They're meant to be shot in Manual Mode.

Some cameras it feels like you're along for the ride. They're meant to be shot in some sort of auto exposure mode.

Nikon - fully confident shooting in Manual mode. Fuji - 80% confident shooting in manual mode. Which is weird for a camera that has dedicated aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials.


It's a matter of which one provides you with the least amount of grief I guess! LOL!

That's all that we can hope for. LOL.

Take care & Happy Shooting!

Take care & Happy Shooting!

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