I’ve owned the 5D Mk III for about nine moths, so I'm using it as an example, but these issues apply to a greater or lesser degree to all the mid-range bodies. I am aware the others have made most of these points before, but I still wish to add my (albeit humble) voice to their cause.
- The meter is biased too strongly towards the active AF point. How about a separate metering mode or a custom feature to allow this to be changed, like the AF system's menus?
- The control layout is not well designed for use with camera to the eye; (unlike the 1DX or D800) it lacks enough displays in the viewfinder to allow easy changing of metering mode; white balance; AF mode and drive mode. Somewhat perversely, you have to look back through the viewfinder to change the AF points and area options, as there is no display for these on either the top LCD or Q-Menu. It also places too many buttons in a line: i.e. meter/white balance; AF/drive mode; ISO/flash exposure compensation and display light. As the buttons are all of a similar size, this makes it very difficult to make adjustments by feel with the camera to your eye1. I might also make this argument about the AF-ON, exposure lock and AF point select buttons.
- With the custom modes (C1-C3), there are two options: enable or disable auto updating of custom setting. Neither of these options is optimal; if you enable, the risk is that you change mode, or use the camera on a different occasion and easily forget that you made changes last time. If you disable auto updating, then as soon as the camera goes to sleep, you lose the changes that you made to the settings –just marvellous when you’re waiting for the light or trying to put a filter on! The simple solution would be to have the camera able to distinguish between ‘sleep’ mode and hard shutdown with the ON/OFF switch used.
- The histogram and highlight alerts (“blinkies”) are not as useful as they could be. For a start, they need to be on a different colour background to the rest of the screen, so that you can see where the scale ends. For RAW shooters, there must be some way of basing the histogram on something other than an 8-bit jpeg output. Canon must be aware that RAW conversion software (including their own) is capable of recovering more highlight information; we need a bigger histogram with a scale in EV that better reflects what the sensor is recording.
- The ON/OFF switch is still in a sub-optimal position (although better than on the 5D Mk II); Nikon, Sony and Pentax all put it around the shutter release… Come on Canon, take a hint!
(OK, ISO/flash exp comp has a nipple –but it isn’t exactly easy to feel the difference, especially when wearing gloves).
Does anyone else find these annoying? Do you know of any settings changes that would help that I may have missed (before anyone asks: no, I haven’t read the entire 404 pages of the user manual front to back!)? Are there any other handling issues that get in the way of your shooting?