Record Screens & Menus
Auto mode, which has its own position on the mode dial, is the camera's easiest shooting mode. It automates all settings, and allows few manual adjustments. For example, in Auto mode you can only set the flash to auto or off - you can't select the six additional modes available in Program mode, such as flash on with red-eye reduction or slow-speed sync (which sets the camera to a slow shutter speed and fires the flash).
The icons at the top left corner (from left to right) indicate Auto mode, auto flash, single shot drive mode, auto white balance, and that custom image is off. Top right indicates the metering mode, shake reduction on, and battery level.
Also, by default the Q7 includes horizontal and vertical level indicators at top right on the LCD. With these handy, it's arguably easier than having to use the menus to bring up a grid or level indicator (though having lines run across the screen may be easier to line up than relying on these smaller meters). You can turn off these electronic levels, as well as choose from a few grid overlays.
At the bottom of the screen, you see the shutter speed, aperture setting, ISO and number of still images that can still be recorded on the memory card at current resolution settings.
Program mode allows more flexibility than Auto mode. For example, you select from all of the flash modes versus just auto flash and flash off in Auto shooting mode. In addition, you can use one of the 11 Custom Image settings in addition to the 11 digital filters that are also available in Auto mode.
When focus has locked onto your subject, the AF box (or, boxes, depending on the AF mode) turns green.
If you're using manual focus, you will appreciate first that the Q lenses have a focus ring instead of having to use a zoom lever from the camera body. However, because the Q7 lacks a viewfinder, you still must contend with having to focus while looking at a 460,000-dot LCD. To help you get sharper shots with manual focus, the camera offers focus peaking, which highlights the edges of subjects (see above). You can turn this feature on and off.
Also, if you use the manual focus auto zoom feature, when you turn the focus ring the on-screen image will magnify by the amount you select: 2X, 4X or 6X.
Pressing the Info button on the back panel brings up a 15-item menu of commonly adjusted shooting parameters, including Custom Image (11 options) and digital filters (11 choices). Having this dedicated function saves you from potentially navigating through multiple tabs in the traditional shooting menu list. You move though these icons using the four-way control, and can then scroll through the selections with the thumb dial, without having to press OK and navigate the options with the four-way buttons.
Info button menu:
- Custom Image (11 selections)
- Digital filter (11 selections)
- HDR capture: Off, auto, HDR 1, HDR 2
- Highlight correction: Auto, on, off
- Shadow correction: Auto, on, off
- AE metering: Multi-segment, center-weighted, spot
- ND filter: On, off
- Focus method: Auto focus, manual focus
- Auto focus method: Face detection, tracking, multiple AF points, select, spot
- Focus peaking: On, off
- Distortion correction: On, off
- Aspect ratio: 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
- File format: JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG
- JPEG recorded pixels: 2M to 12M (selections depend on selected aspect ratio)
- Shake reduction: On, off
A second press of the Info button brings up the display menu, which has three simple options.
- Standard information display
- No information display
- Display off
Pressing the dedicated exposure compensation button (AV +/-) on the back panel brings up an overlaid menu; you adjust the exposure compensation with the thumb dial, moving the hash mark left or right to the corresponding amount of exposure compensation. As indicated by the green button at bottom right, pressing the green button just below the exposure compensation button resets the EV to 0.
The four-way control offers no surprises in its offerings - it's all familiar territory (clockwise from top): ISO, drive mode, white balance, and flash. Shown here are the flash mode selections in Program mode (Auto mode limits this to auto flash and flash off). All eight options are available in aperture-priority mode, but shutter-priority mode removes slow sync and trailing curtain options.
- Auto flash
- Auto flash with red-eye reduction
- Flash on
- Flash on with red-eye reduction
- Slow-speed sync
- Slow-speed sync with red-eye reduction
- Trailing curtain sync
- Flash off
In case the Info button menu's 15 items aren't what you need to adjust, you have the three-page shooting menu to consult. Here you will find additional settings and features, such as high ISO noise reduction, histogram display, and electronic level. This is also where you program the Quick Dial positions and program the Green button.
The Custom Image menu offers a good variety of photographic treatments, some of them mimicking film types and development methods. You can navigate to this menu via Info button or shooting menu.
Custom Image menu:
- Bleach Bypass
- Reversal Film
- Cross Processing
The digital filters menu offers 18 options. It is an attractive assortment of filer effects, and all of them have at least one adjustable parameter. Shown above, the water color filter has two parameters. Others have just one, while others have three. The Extract Color filter, for example, allows you to choose two colors and each one's intensity.
Digital filters menu (shooting mode):
- Toy Camera
- High Contrast
- Invert Color
- Extract Color
- Water Color
The Q7 offers five auto focus methods. This should help you get a sharp shot of a variety of subjects. However, the camera uses contrast detection auto focus, which is arguably less accurate with moving subjects than phase detection auto focus (used in SLR cameras). In my testing, I found the auto focus method often inaccurate at freezing moving action (when used in Auto or Program shooting mode). Switching to tracking AF and faster shutter speeds manually produces better results.
Auto focus menu:
- Face detection: Detects and tracks faces
- Tracking: Tracks subject in focus (shutter can be released even if subject is out of focus)
- Multiple AF points: Select 1, 9 or 25 of 49 areas (sensor divided into 7 x 7)
- Select: Sets focus area in number of pixels)
- Spot: Focus area is a limited to the center of the frame
Page 3 of the shooting menu is where you select the custom function of the green button on the back of the camera, between the four-way control and exposure compensation button.
Green Button menu:
- Green button (resets parameter being adjusted)
- One push file fomat
- Auto exposure lock
- Enable auto focus
The green button is not the only customizable button on the camera. The four-position quick dial on the front of the camera also can be assigned a variety of functions. The default is the Smart Effect, with four choices corresponding to the four icons above.
There is a total of nine assignable presets to the four positions, plus three user presets that you can assign settings to.
Smart Effect menu:
- Brilliant color
- Unicolor bold
- Vintage color
- Cross processing
- Warm fade
- Tone expansion
- Bold monochrome
- Water color
- Vibrant color enhance
- User 1
- User 2
- User 3
In addition to the Smart Effect option, you can use the quick dial to adjust four other parameters.
Quick Dial menu:
- Smart Effect: Nine presets and three user settings
- Aspect ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
- AF/MF focus method: auto focus, manual focus
- Focus peaking: On, off
- ND filter: On, off
The setup menu is where you find the global settings such as date/time, LCD settings, video output settings, power off setting, and perform dust removal and memory card formatting.
The custom menu includes three pages of very particular preferences you have likely never thought of if you haven't taken a deep dive into photography. For example, selecting "2" for "AE-L with AF locked" locks the exposure when auto focus locks (the default of 1 has this turned off). You can perform a variety of other customizations, such as turning off auto focus when you are using a remote control unit. In addition, you can set the camera not to fire the flash if you haven't popped it up from the body - saving you the trouble of having to change the flash mode to "off" (and forcing you to raise it, where it will reduce red eye and avoid the long shadow of a zoom lens).
The Q7 records full 1080p video, but if you weren't told the resolution, you might not guess it to be full high-definition. The video quality is adequate, but I found the auto focus slow to adjust when zooming in video record mode, and panning with the standard zoom lens produced distortions at the edges that were a little dizzying.
The movie record menu is pretty basic. You get just five adjustments. The good news here is you can use all 11 of the digital filters available when shooting still images.
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