Top of camera controls
Top of the camera is the power switch (normal Sony style slide for on, slide for off), the main mode dial which is used to switch immediately between Play (review images), Still (take still image shots) and Movie (record short video clips) modes. Just in front of this is the shutter release button, with a good feel between the half and full press. Behind the mode dial is the zoom lever which controls the cameras zoom proportionally to the amount it's moved (much like a video camera) - I wish we could see this proportional control on more digital cameras. The zoom control doubles as a playback zoom (up to 5.0x).
Rear of camera controls
On the rear of the F505V surrounding the LCD are the first set of controls, detailed below.
Toggles status information overlay on LCD preview
|LCD BACK LIGHT||LCD Back Light
Toggle LCD backlight on or off
+ / -
|Volume / AE +/-
Movie mode: Controls volume
Increase or decrease of AE setting depending on mode (above), readout of current exposure (shutter speed & aperture) is displayed on the LCD.
Lens barrel controls
Thank goodness someone knows how to build an ergonomic camera! All the controls you'd need (except exposure compensation), including a manual white balance preset button. Located neatly on the left side of the lens barrel they're always at hand. Details below.
|MACRO||Macro Focus mode
In Auto Focus, change focusing system to focus on very near objects (macro distances). Toggles on and off, icon displayed on LCD.
White Balance mode
|White Balance preset
This button is used to take a new white balance preset from the object at which the camera is currently aimed (typically a white card or white wall). Having this white balance preset available as a button on the case is an excellent feature (lets hope lots of other manufacturers decide to copy it).
|SPOT METER||Metering mode
Toggles between Spot Metering (metering is carried out only a small circular area in the center of the frame) or Center-Weighted average (metering is carried out as an average of all light in the frame with a certain extra weight given to a circular area in the center of the frame). A small cross (+) on the LCD screen indicates Spot Metering mode.
Overall Sony have done a good job of putting the "right kind" of controls on the outside of the camera, the only addition I'd like to have seen would be an exposure compensation button (probably the next most commonly used camera feature), perhaps this could be achieved with a small +/- rocker on the right hand side of the lens barrel (preset to +/-0.3,0.7,1.0,1.3,2.0 EV).
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