A few days ago, I posted a paean to some of the best photographic gear that I used in 2015.
This is the flip side – the gear that drove me up the wall in 2015.
It’s obsolete. It’s finicky. It’s not supported directly on new computers. But, if you’ve got a Hassy H-series camera, you can’t do without it.
By now, shouldn’t all desktop bus connectors have no-look plugability like ThunderBolt? It’s bad enough if the computer/hub end has an orientation that you can’t suss out by feel. It’s much worse when the device end is designed that way. Special demerits for the USB micro connector, whose orientation demands maddening precision even when it’s oriented right.
Nikon D810 Mirror-up & EFCS operation
I love the way that EFCS makes for sharp images with long lenses on the D810. I hate the controls. To take a picture, you have to press the release twice, once to raise the mirror, and once to trigger the shutter. In live view mode, you still have to press the release twice, once to do, near as I can tell, precisely nothing, and once to trip the shutter. As an example of how mirror up should work, we need look no further than Hasselblad. You press the mirror button once. The mirror goes up. You take as many pictures as you want. You press the mirror button again and the mirror goes down.
Sony a7x grip battery changing
Sony wisely realized that the small battery that they’ve used since the NEX-5 days wouldn’t have enough capacity for some a7x shooters, so they came out with an add-on grip that takes two batteries and switches between. I think they missed an opportunity for introducing a much larger battery (think Nikon D4-sized) that worked only with the grip, but that’s not why I’m writing this raspberry. If you want the extra battery capacity, you presumably want to change batteries quickly, and changing batteries with the grip takes much longer than changing batteries without the grip, unless you invest in extra battery holders. And the holders? Sony doesn’t consider them accessories, but replacement parts, so they’re hard to get, and they price them at more than sixty bucks a pop. Geez.
Computer OS changes that break apps and drivers
This is not as much of a problem in the PC world, although PC’s are not immune. It’s endemic in Appleland, and has been a problem for users for more than 30 years. It’s partly the fault of the OS vendor, and partly the fault of the app writer who refuses to update for the new OS version. It’s especially galling when a $20K piece of equipment turns into a doorstop (I’m talking about you, Imacon/Hasselblad).
Sony a7x menus
Functions are sprinkled randomly through the menus. In the a7RII, there are focus-related items in Camera 3, Camera 4, Camera 7, Gear 1, Gear 3, Gear 4, Gear 5, and Gear 6. There are video controls in Camera 2, Camera 8, Gear 1, Gear 2, Gear 7, Gear 8, Suitcase 2, and Suitcase 3. And what’s with the cameras, gears, and suitcases? Menu items move around from model to model nonsensically. Things which should be button assignable aren’t. You can’t make buttons “press to change with the wheels”, like with CaNikon. There’s no passive LCD status panel on the top of the camera, so you’re menu diving more than you should be. It wouldn’t be so frustrating if the rest of the camera weren’t so good.
Floppy rubber connector covers
In the old days, electrical connectors were covered by screw-on plastic pieces. You’d take them off, and they’d get lost. Now, there are a lot more electrical connectors, and they’re covered with floppy pieces of rubbery stuff that won’t stay out of the way when you’re trying to insert the cable. Neither was a great solution.
Lens hoods that don’t tell you what lens they fit.
Makes sorting through a box of hoods to find the one you want a real PITA. Grrr…
It’s also a shame that you can’t charge the batteries in the grip via the camera’s Micro-USB port. I haven’t done any measurements, but my feeling is that with a decent USB power supply a single battery in the camera charges around as fast as a battery in the dedicated charger, if not a little faster.
While you’d expect it to take twice as long to charge both batteries on a single USB power supply, being able to just plug the completely drained camera in overnight and wake up with both batteries fully charged would be very convenient.
It would also be handy (and just as fast as the dedicated charger) for splash-and-dash charging where only one battery is depleted, but Sony makes you mess around getting the holder out, remembering which battery was the depleted one, finding and setting up the charger etc. rather than just being able to plug the camera into a USB charger you’ve probably already got for your phone and other equipment.
Lynn Allan says
Another USB negative: delicate. Eventually wear out. Several of my desktop USB ports are nearly “fully depreciated”. I am more careful with camera USB connectors, and use card readers.
Also, proliferation of USB connectors. 4 or is it 5 now?