Just because someone is visually impaired doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy photography – they might just need a little more help to navigate the camera. Menu systems, (especially Sony’s) can be confusing even for someone with perfect vision but luckily the Sony A7 IV now includes a screen reader feature.
Launched in 2021, the Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) has been a popular choice among professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists looking for a high-resolution camera. With a 61MP sensor, 4K 60p video recording and 10 frames per second burst shooting, it’s a brilliant all-rounder that is now more accessible to those with visual impairments.
The screen reader works exactly how you might think – it simply reads out the words in the menu system allowing the user to hear the options available. You can turn the feature on/off by going to Menu > Setup > Accessibility > Screen Reader and once set up you can also adjust the speed and volume of the voice. For those who might struggle to turn it on in the first place, it’s recommended that you plug your camera into a larger monitor or TV via a HDMI cable so the menu text is easier to read.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab) (CDC) there are an estimated 12 million people aged 40 and over who suffer from some kind of visual impairment. Loss of vision can cause a substantial social and economic impact but features such as a screen reader will go a huge way to make photography easier for people suffering from various eye conditions.
Sony is still improving the screen reader feature but it has definitely taken a step in the right direction to be more inclusive. What once would’ve been impossible, Sony has made possible by giving some independence back to people who suffer from vision loss. Hopefully, more camera manufacturers will follow suit and those who are visually impaired will be to have a choice of cameras suited to their needs.