You’ve done your research and looked at all the different options available and finally made a decision on which camera to buy. Then at the last minute you learn about something that’s an absolute deal breaker and you pull the plug. What is one thing that would stop you from buying a particular camera?
On a recent video about the new Sony a7r IV, Tony Northrup talked about five things he hates with the new camera. It was interesting to watch for me because I recently wrote an article about that very camera and why, in my current circumstances, I wouldn’t be buying it even though it looks like an absolutely outstanding piece of equipment. More importantly, as he ran through his list I asked myself whether any of those particular things that he finds acutely annoying would really be a deal breaker for me. And when I say deal breaker, I mean something that would absolutely stop me from buying that body, no questions asked.
Let me give you an example using cars as an analogy. I’m currently in the process of buying a new car here in Japan. Unfortunately, it seems that almost all of the new models being released these days have something they refer to here as “idling stop”, which is a feature where the engine cuts out as soon as the car goes below 9 km/h. So every time you stop, or start idling at traffic lights, for instance, the engine is dead. And then when you put your foot on the accelerator again the engine automatically starts up.
To me, that’s an absolute deal breaker. Not in this world do I ever want my car stopping and starting every time it goes below 9 km/h. Of course, many models have the option to turn this feature off as soon as you get in the car but there are still some models that don’t. Therefore, whenever I walk into a dealers and ask about their cars the first thing I query is the idling stop feature and whether you can turn it on or off yourself. If they say you can’t, then I do a quick pirouette and walk out the door. I am unequivocal that I do not want the idling stop feature in my new car, no matter how many other wonderful bells and whistles it may have.
So coming back to Tony Northrup's video and the five things he hates about the new Sony a7r IV, I thought about whether any of them were actually deal breakers for me. Incidentally, if you haven’t seen the video and you want a quick overview of those five specific things here they are:
lack of connectivity
control dials (exposure compensation dial, particularly)
convoluted menu system
Looking at that list there are a couple of things that are certainly concerning. For me, the sensor dust issue was extremely surprising to hear, especially because he said it happens pretty much after every shoot. Now that would be a real pain to pay towards $3,500 for a new camera body and have sensor dust to deal with every single time you go shooting. I’ve never had to deal with that to any extent with cameras I’ve owned thus far so it certainly makes me think twice.
Especially because it affects you before you go shooting and after get you go shooting: before because you have to spend time cleaning your sensor and after because you have to spend time cleaning up all the spots on your images if you didn’t do a good enough job in the cleaning stage. I’m not sure I want to deal with that process for years to come, but I’m also not sure it would be an absolute deal breaker. I’ll have to look into it more and talk to some friends about it as I get closer to the time I buy my next body.
What about you? Are any of those in Tony Northrup’s list deal breakers for you? If not, is there anything that is an absolute no for you when you’re looking at upgrading to a new camera body? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.