While there are many aspects of the Sony A9 that impressed me when I shot with it, I couldn’t help be a little disappointed that the touch-screen control is limited to just for setting AF point and checking image sharpness. However, when I spoke recently to Yosuke Aoki, Vice President and Head of Digital Imaging Group at Sony Europe, it was clear that mine was not a lone voice and the company is aware that some potential users would like to be able to use the 3-inch screen to navigate the menu and make setting selections.
Encouragingly, Aoki volunteered that it would be possible to add such functionality with a firmware upgrade. He said that Sony would listen to market advice and assess the need for additional touch-control along with ‘other function’ enhancements.
According to Aoki, including the mini-joystick on the back of the camera was a priority for the camera as many professional photographers had requested it to ease setting the focus point when looking at the viewfinder. It’s certainly something I’ve requested in the past for the Sony A7 series. Similarly, the ability to change AF point with a tap on the screen was viewed as important to videographers.
In the past Sony has said that touch-control is not what it considers a high-end feature but Aoki agreed that it can speed scrolling through an extensive menu and make setting selections easier and faster. He went on to say that because of Sony’s wide-ranging business, which includes game consoles, phones and TVs, it has lots of software engineers who can work on firmware updates that can make significant improvements if the company thinks they are required.
I got the distinct impression that a firmware upgrade is in the pipeline rather than remote possibility. We didn’t discuss it at the time but I strongly suspect (hope) that Sony might also take the opportunity to add Picture Profiles and S-Log mode to make the camera more appealing to videographers.