Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ISO Craziness - Case of the Latest NEX Firmware and Options

Sony previously a new firmware version 03 for their NEX for improving usability and for direct selection of major camera settings which are yet customisable. For details, read DPR's previous article below:-

Going down the article, there are the suggested settings for their preferred choices. The DPR guys chose the (change of) ISO as the most important setting, and they programmed it to the central button, together with two "less important" (but still somehow important) functions that they think. The remaining soft button can be programmed for another (single) function, they chose the "MF Assist".

Although there are always choices, I don't agree with DPR's selections and their (weak) rationales behind. And sometimes, I just always wonder why nowadays people are seeing the ISO speed and the change of the setting so important, or IMHO, just too important. Is it just so important more than the bases of using a camera such as changing the Tv and Av as for PASM exposure modes?! :-o

Such phenomenon, if I have to describe, would be called "ISO Craziness", for which people are just gone crazy and far from sensible about the ISO setting of digital cameras, by too much, too far away and beyond! =_="

Below is my own settings and selection over the DPR's suggested ones. And my rationales for making such options are also briefed:-

My Selected/Suggested Function
Soft Key B (Lower Left Button)
Shoot Mode
To reserve the Soft Key C for *three* other functions, as the C can be programmed for *either* for the "Shoot Mode" alone or the other three (called "Custom"). So, to me, it is just a no-brainer! (I have no choice!)

And, how could I live with a camera other than a P&S zoom compact DC without a direct key for PASM selection? :-o (But yes, the DPR guys still did that! ;-))

Soft Key C (Central Button)

1. Autofocus Area

2. Metering Mode

3. White Balance
1. Choosing / Quick changing of the AF Area is important. The NEX is by its primitive nature more or less a high-end interchangeable lens P&S. Sometimes, I would give it to my wife (or even other laymen) to use it as a fool-proof camera with the face-detection function (for both AE and AF) and let the camera do all the things. To use this function, the "Multi-AF" must be selected. In contrast, if I am to use the camera myself, I would use the Central single AF point most of the time.

2. NEX's Multi-Segment metering mode is not as intelligent and reliable as one would think and on paper. I often found that the 16-segment one in my K-x is better! (But ditto for the case of K-x against the K-7!) So, changing the metering mode is yet crucial.

3. White Balance! What I would say the AWB of the NEX sucks! My K-x excels here, yet once again!

The less reliable and accurate Multi-Segment Metering and WB of the NEX just make me scratch my head hard as I just wonder why a LiveView camera could do worse than a DSLR reflex for both!? >:-[

Do note in the above that I do not choose any ISO for all the four programmable function in neither the Soft Key B or C. Why? The Auto ISO actually works well most of the time. Just in case if it doesn't and I need to override it, I could still dig into the menu to change it. I regard the (change of) ISO is less important the the above four settings and functions that I have chosen. And nonetheless, the NEX actually could remember the last setting item I used, so this would be the "Brigthness/Color" main menu item and when I click into it, it has already selected the ISO there (which is also memorised).

For one more remark, I think there is no need to program "MF Assist" in any button, as there is just an option of "DMF" (Dynamic Manual Focus) in the NEX (when an E-mount lens is mounted), which is just similar to Quick Shift Focus in Pentax term, but which can be automatically zoomed in for the Live View image for better, easier and more accurate focusing. Maybe the DPR guys have just forgot about this useful feature and option! Have they read fully the user manual before they had completed their NEX full review?! :-)

On the other hand, if MF lenses are mounted, the "MF Assist" will appear automatically, so this is just a don't bother case afterall!

Last but not least, speaking about the "Custom" functions of three of the central key "C", the camera and new firmware is designed to memorise the last time called function until the battery is extracted. So, this is really a very thoughtful design, which is the good job that I always like and would praise - and more importantly the good hearts of those software engineers in writing their firmware so wholeheartedly and with a careful mind of theirs (which I have to say that this does not often happen for Canon and Nikon cameras, but only in Pentax and Sony ones that I could see, frankly).


How a Company Respond Positively to Criticisms

My New APS-C K-mount ILDC! ;-D

Is the Sony E-Mount a Modded K-Mount?(!)

My NEX Sample Photos Gallery

NEX-5/3 First Practical Impressions and Quick Review

My Ten Reasons to Buy the NEX-3 Over the NEX-5! :-o

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