After my first batch of tests, I think it's time for having a closer look at the ergonomics of the commands, both harware buttons and software options.
6- Command ergonomics
There are 4 levels of commands in the K-7:
Level 1 - Hardware buttons
- Hardware buttons
- Shortcut buttons
- Info panel
- Menu panel
One of the major features of the K-7 is the ability to operate it as a film camera, without relying on software menues and options shown on the back LCD.
The following parameters are managed directly by specific hardware :
- Mode: full auto (green) P, Sv Tv, Av, TAv, M, B, X, USER, film, by the Mode dial (left)
- Speed and aperture: by front and rear dials (right)
- ISO: button plus rear dial (right)
- Compensation (+/-) : button plus rear dials (right)
- Flash: pop-up button
- RAW: button
- Back to standard parameters: green button
- AF: button or half-pressed trigger
- AF mode: auto, selection (one zone out of 11, with the 4-keypad) or spot
- Light measurement: auto, central, spot, by sub-dial (left)
- Depth of field check: sub-dial under the trigger
- AE-lock: button
The top LCD provides enough information with all common parameters (speed, aperture, ISO, compensation, ...).
As an option, the rear panel could display the common parameters. I've unchecked that option: I'd rather prefer the top LCD.Level 2 - Shortcut buttons
The 4-keypad provides shorcut to
- Shooting mode (up-key): continuous, timer, remote, ...
- Color mode (right-key): natural, enhanced, portrait, landscape, bright, down, B&W
- Flash management (down-key): forced, red-eyes, slow, first curtain, second curtain, remote, exposure bracketing
- White balance managemet (left-key): auto, sun, clouds, lamp, tungsten, flash, manual
The rear LCD is used. The ok button validates and the Menu button cancels.
I'm really missing the loss of the hardware button for exposure bracketing. Level 3 - Info panel
The Info button shows a full single panel on the rear LCD.
Select the parameter you want to change with the 4-keypad and adjust the value with th front and rear dials (right)
- ISO auto; lower and higher value
- P-mode: auto, normal, MTF, fast, depth of field; ...
- High light compensation
- Shadows compensation
- Distorsion compensation
- Enhanced bracketing: white balance, hue, saturation, sharpness, contrast, ...
- Digital filter
- Color aberration
- File format: JPEG and/or RAW
- Pixels used: from 2 up to 14 M
- JPEG quality: from * up to ****
- Shake reduction
No more hardware button for shake reduction.Level 4 - Menu panel
The Menu button brings a rash of 15 different screens on the rear LCD.
Among many, many other parameters,
- P-mode: (again)
- Enhanced bracketing (again)
- HDR (again)
- Digital filter (again)
- Multiple exposures
- Electronic horizon with automatic correction
All this, and especially the 4 levels of commands, may look complicated at first glance. At the contrary: each level is carefully designed. Most commands are at level 1 with no need for reading the rear LCD. If more commands are needed, try level 2 with the shortcut buttons. If the solution isn't provided, escalate to level 3 through the info button. Last solution is level 4 with the menu button. Please, avoid using that level 4 on the field
Consider level 1 as consistent with a film camera. Level 2 manages the digital aspects of the SLR (as white balance) and provides some electronic assistance (as timer or remote). Level 3 features sophisticated processes such as color and distorsion aberration or HDR. Level 4 is more oriented at tweaking the camera at home before going to the fields.
The truth is, I was first disappointed and disoriented by so many levels and so many options. The user manual only lists the options one after the other, without providing a clue on the philosophy behind the 4 levels and the purpose of each one. The K10D had only 2 levels, corresponding to level 1 and level 4, but obviously didn't feature so many options.
But after half an hour, I felt at home. Sure, I've been prepared by many years with the K10D
. However, during my first batch of tests, I used level 1 most of the time, level 2 occasionally mainly for white balance, level 3 maybe twice and level 4 never.
I'm confident that, after a short learning period, each user would prioritize the options to use regarding the needs, and then find the best way to deal with those four different levels
Sorry, it has been a long and wordy post
with no pictures, but dealing with so many options may be confusing. But I'm convinced that, when the logic behind those four levels is clearly stated, everything becomes obvious and easy to enjoy
[:idea: EDIT] I've added some pictures to ease the reading