Though they’re not the most innovative company, Canon has it down perfectly when it comes to menus.
This is a specific message to almost the entire industry (with the exception being Panasonic) whose menu systems are designed to be pretty darned simple. But for such innovative companies, I’m shocked that Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, and Nikon don’t have better menus. Canon is where I hold my thoughts in the most regard when it comes to menu systems. Canon in many ways has created what the old school thought of Apple had: simplicity. Want to format your memory card? It takes two taps; one to get to the major menu and another to tap a number for the submenu. In that submenu you can select format.
If you want to do this with Sony, Fujifilm, or anyone else for the most part you need to use a special menu system and wire those settings to that menu. But in order to go to that menu system, you’re still doing more steps than you need. I talked this over with Paul, the site’s Reviews Editor, and reasoned that I need to navigate my way over on the Sony camera to that menu and then initiate the settings. Where on the Canon EOS R (and pretty much any camera they’ve made in the past few years), I can do it with a few taps of the touch screen.
Fujifilm’s cameras also tend to trip me up at times; I’m not sure why they prioritize swiping on the screen over quicker menu navigation. Olympus has the same issue: a company that so many years ago embraced the touch screen but hasn’t really given us a big reason to use it for a while since. A user can access many settings via the back panel, but then navigate the menu system and you’ll go through page after page after page. I literally just did it right before writing this sentence.
I think the core to all this is with embracing the touchscreen and technology that you can allow yourself. We are a generation of photographers who live for the screen because almost any device we have uses them. We’re not saying get rid of the dials completely, but instead just modernize.