How could Sony improve the UI on the NEX series of cameras? Aside from adding more buttons/dials (always welcome to me but probably not on a NEX-5 level of camera), there’s a few things that would probably be less problematic for their development team to do.
Add a reprogrammable soft button. The NEX already has two soft buttons (top and bottom). The top one is almost always the Menu button, and the bottom one is almost always the Shooting tips button. Advanced users don’t need shooting tips. Why not let them reassign this to a custom function? Another alternative is allowing the flash button to be customizable when the flash is not attached to the camera.
Add a “My Menu” feature. Let people make their own custom menu of their favorite or most common settings. You could even make this auto-populate based on how often people access certain settings if they don’t want to populate it themselves.
Remember the last used Menu item. This is another biggie. If I go into the Camera menu and use the Format option, for instance, it should remember that the next time I go into the Camera menu. Same with ISO when going into Brightness. This’ll make menu use much faster.
Put QuickNavi in the NEX-7. I love it on my a700. Let’s make sure it shows up on the advanced NEX camera when it shows up.
If an option is not available, explain why. They did this much better on the a550, where they explain clearly why you can’t do something. Say, trying to choose HDR mode when you have RAW enabled. Either tell someone why they can’t do it or change settings behind the scenes to let the user do what he wants.
Allow Auto ISO in Manual mode, or add a SA mode instead. If you’re dead set on manual meaning manual everything, use a SA (shutter+aperture) mode where both are controlled by the user with the ISO being set automatically. That sounds dumb saying it out loud, so just let auto ISO be enabled on Manual mode.
Ditch the main menu interface and go with a series of tabs instead. It’s less pretty, but it saves clicks.