It’s fashionable in every review of Sony cameras to complain about the complexity of the menus. My current exposure is to the RX100 VI menus and, at first, their complexity is indeed daunting. I’m not sure that Sony is worse than other manufacturers, once you get used to the tabs and pages, but I tend to prefer Leica and Panasonic’s less fussy approach.
Most dedicated Sony users are happy with their menus and just prove the old adage that it’s easy when you know how. The trouble with most reviewers is that they have to adapt repeatedly to a succession of new cameras and menu layouts and, I suppose, they can’t be expert on everything.
What helps, if possible, is to visualise the menu system as a mind map. Some camera manufacturers include schematics in their manuals and there are probably mind maps of many camera menu systems available on the internet.
Recently, though, I was struck by one photographer’s efforts to analyse and display the intricacies of the Sony A7 Mark III menu system. Dimitri Popov started out with what he thought was a simple task, to make it easier to master menus. But, as Dimitri explains:
“This project quickly evolved into a major, and rather fascinating undertaking… It’s not a secret that the menu systems of any Sony Alpha camera can be charitably described as advanced. But you can only appreciate its intricacy and sheer complexity when the entire system is laid bare in front of you. I spent several days mapping the menu system, and it felt like exploring an uncharted world.”
The resulting map, according to his article in PetaPixel, is mind-boggling. It contains around 900 nodes, each corresponding to an individual menu item. We can be thankful that Dimitri has done the hard work and you can purchase the mind map, including an open-source mind-mapping tool for instant viewing. Alternatively, you can import the map into the most popular mind-mapping applications.