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Sony NEX Lens Impressions
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Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 13:45:12 MDT Print View

This thread was created to migrate the photography talk about the BPL Trinity Alps trip to a separate thread.

@Tony,

I've found that the 16mm pancake is very easy to carry. I use a padded sunglasses case attached to my shoulder strap D-rings to carry it as well as a lens pen. When carrying the 18-55mm or my 50mm/f2 it stay's put but I can't close the zipper which is a concern. (I'll upload a photo of the setup later.

The Trinity Alps trip was my first overnight with the 50mm lens (~70mm equivalent on NEX). I've always brought the 16mm along but I thought that with a larger group I would want to take more portrait style photos. I found that it was more useful for closeup pseudo macro shots of leaves than for portraits.

Using the Pentax adapter for the camera, I think I might look at getting a used Pentax 40mm/2.8 pancake as a replacement for my 50mm. A little wider for portraits and it should fit into my carry system. I haven't brought my kit zoom (18-55mm) with me on any outdoor trips as I like to shoot wide open quite often and at f3.5 I don't always get the bokeh I'm looking for. I've found with prime lenses that I can usually move around for composing my shot or crop the image when I get home.

An overnight trip to Mt. Tallac shot with my 16mm only.

Edited by cobberman on 10/25/2011 13:51:58 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 14:50:03 MDT Print View

Eric,

Really appreciate your feedback and helping me with this transition for me away from pocket cameras.

I love the shots and thanks for sharing them.

I do see that there is a "ring" in the center of the images and the outer corners are much darker.

Is this because of the pancake lens?

Honestly, I don't know squat about cameras and f stop....thought I think it is refering to the apperature size or speed, which allows light into the camera's sensor.

My other concern is that with any larger camera, I will be taking less shots because of the hassle factor.

For example, on my recent JMT trip in Aug, I think that in 16 days I took 3000 to 3900 shots with a simple pocket camera.

I am that sort of shooting fool....though, I do find that I need to take multiple shots of the same scene/subject to allow for motion blur with the limitations of the pocket camera.

-Tony

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 15:03:22 MDT Print View

The darker corners is called vignetting which can happen naturally on some lenses. I actually prefer the look and edit my photos in Lightroom to create the effect. It is not a result of using the pancake lens.

F-stop is the aperture size, lower number means larger opening for more light to hit the sensor/film. Many photographers refer to low f-stop lenses as fast glass (usually f/2.8 and lower).

With the pancake lens and the camera attached in front of me I'm more inclined to stop a second and snap the photo. With a larger lens attached I sometimes reluctantly keep trekking on.

I used the stock battery and took over 300 photos during the trip and had about 8% battery left when I got home. Most reports show that 300-400 is the number of photos per battery that you can expect from the NEX. So I wouldn't plan on 3000 shots without a constant supply of fully charged batteries along the way.

If you're not into learning about f-stops and don't think you'll want to swap out lenses you could look into the Canon S90/S95/S100 lineup or one of the large sensor/fixed lens cameras like the Sigma DP1 Cameron had on the trail.

Edited by cobberman on 10/25/2011 15:04:57 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 15:34:33 MDT Print View

> the outer corners are much darker.
Yeah, vignetting. It means the lens is not matched to the sensor. OK, some like this as an artistic effect, but personally I see it as a defect.

> in 16 days I took 3000 to 3900 shots with a simple pocket camera.
And this is much better than taking only 30 because the camera was too complex or inconvenient or packed away 'for safety'. Photos are not just 'show-off art', they are memories.

In all this preoccupation with DSLRs and multiple lenses, it is sometimes worth remembering that some of the world's great photos have been taken with the equivalent of a Box Brownie. OK, most phone cameras are just crap, but a good simple 'pocket camera' can take superb photos if used correctly *and frequently*.
:-)

Cheers

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 15:43:13 MDT Print View

Eric,

Again, I really appreciate the education.

The only photography class that I has was in junior high when I was 13 or 14 yrs old....35 mm black and white camera.

F stop totally makes sense to me now.

I am willing to learn....as my interest is just capturing better photos.

The essay that Jacob has on his website, Hike It Like It, was very helpful for me to understand sensor size.

http://hikeitlikeit.com/2011/photography-and-backpacking-1/

Given how much time I put into my photos and photo essays, it seems logical for me step to something better.

I am not even terribly concerned about weight....maybe I am concerned about bulk in that it may cause me to take less photos.

I have noticed that friends of mine who have a DSLR, they take a fraction of the shots that I do...what they take is great, but fewer of them.

I prefer to document my trips simply so I don't forget them. (My mind is shot!).

Good to know about the 16mm lens and that darkness at the edges is not from the lens.

Still, they are impressive shots you have.

Soonest that I would get this is next year...need to pay off some other bills before I can consider new toys, but just like backpacking gear....fun to research the hell out of what is out there in the market.

Any reason you did not get the NEX-7?

-Tony

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 15:57:28 MDT Print View

It sounded like Jacob was in the same boat when considering cameras. The NEX was fairly new to the market when I jumped in. They now have an upgraded NEX-5N which has a added a touch screen to it's feature list as well as a new Sony A-Mount adapter. The NEX-7 wasn't on the market when I bough my camera and is too Pro-DSLR for me anyway. I like the simplicity of the NEX interface and chose it because it didn't have all the buttons and dials.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 16:12:20 MDT Print View

I have lots of thoughts on the subject, but tied up at the moment. In the meantime everything you need to know about NEX compatible lenses (just about any rangefinder or SLR lens you can imagine) you will find here:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/969329/89

Start at page 90 and work your way up, once you reach the end start at the beginning :) You will see more there than anyone can "tell" you about a particular lens.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/25/2011 22:51:25 MDT Print View

Jacob,

Holy Cow Man!

You were not kidding....lenses, lenses, and more!

Maybe I don't want to know how expensive they are, but the results are pretty amazing.

I can see how this can be just like tweaking your backpacking gear...

-Tony

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/26/2011 09:27:38 MDT Print View

WOOOSH!

That was the sound of you going down the rabbit hole, Tony. Welcome to the matrix :)


As far as lenses go, you've got two general options:
a) Sony E mount lenses with autofocus and electronic aperture
b) "Alt" (third party) manual focus, manual aperture lenses adapted to fit the NEX
c) Ok, technically there is a third option for Sony A mount (SLR) lenses... but big and heavy

The Sony E lenses are ok in my book, from what I've seen most of them are very decent. I've only used the 18-55. My main gripe is the limited line up, which doesn't make the most sense for a 1.5x crop body. This is the way I view the E-Mount lineup...

- 16/2.8 (24mm equivalent) - The somewhat fast aperture suggests that it might make for a 'normal' lens, but it's really too wide for that. Getting too close to people will distort their proportions. For landscape use the 18-55 @18mm is equally a good option at a similar focal length.

- 18-55 (27-83mm eq) - A very nicely built 'kit' lens. The image quality doesn't reach out and grab me but it's surprisingly good.

- 24/1.8 (36mm eq) - Not released yet. If this lens flops I think a lot of people will be disappointed, including me. If it's a good lens (which it should be at $1000) then it will really strengthen the overall lineup.

- 30/3.5 (45mm eq) - Short macro lenses are ok for flowers, you'll never get close enough to bugs to get the macro magnification. Slow-ish aperture for use as a normal lens.

- 50/1.8 (75mm eq) - Not released yet. The focal length is neither here nor there. Not wide enough for use as a 'normal' lens, a little short for a dedicated portrait lens. They should have made this either a 35/1.4 or 75/1.8, or 90/1.8

- 18-200 and 55-210 zooms - Well, these big zooms may be more useful for general travel. I don't think many UL backpackers will want/need them.


What Sony has done is created a really fine and interesting little camera in the NEX, but fallen short in their lens offerings. Even despite that the camera has been a HUGE hit in Japan (and around the world). The combination of a compact body, large sensor, and excellent sensor performance is a winner! Putting alt glass on digital cameras is nothing new, but the sensor on the NEX really shines with good lenses, and the small size makes for a very compact package when using the classic rangefinder lenses.


The classic manual focus lenses require a few things...
- First, an adapter to convert (whatever) mount to an E mount
- User must know how to manually focus
- User must know how to set the aperture on the lens


These are not difficult skills to acquire. Since the advent of cameras, photographers have been able to master these things. Prices range from dirt cheap to drain your bank account. Once you know what you're looking for eBay is a good place to shop. KEH is another.


edited to add a couple of "by the ways"...
1. A little self promotion, Tony you may want to read this on lenses if you have not already.
2. Congrats on having your photos selected for the Nat Geo book!

Edited by JacobD on 10/26/2011 10:06:25 MDT.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/26/2011 09:40:55 MDT Print View

Good advice from Jacob. I'd just add that the new focus peaking feature means that it's easy to focus manually with the NEX.

I think the 55-210 lens could be useful for telephoto landscapes and wildlife shots. I often carry the 55-250 with my Canon 450D and use it enough to justify the weight. I intend getting the 55-210.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Focus Peaking on 10/26/2011 10:13:54 MDT Print View

I agree, this is a pretty neat feature. Between peaking and the MF assist magnifier it's hard to go wrong. Really bright sunlight made things a little more difficult for me on my first trip out, but overall it wasn't a problem. I really wish the NEX-5 had an integrated view finder, but I don't think I will buy the add on.


I didn't mention it above, but my backpacking kit consists of the 18-55 and Voigtlander Nokton 40/1.4... until I get a fast 24mm lens anyway, then the 40 will be out. I carried this on an across the chest strap with the spare lens in my backpack side pocket wrapped in a cloth.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/26/2011 16:19:20 MDT Print View

Jacob & Chris,

Wow....I am getting an awesome education here on photography!

Appreciate the listing of the lenses that are and will be available for the camera.

Photography almost seems like UL backpacking...right lens for the specific situation.

$1000 for a lens....I might be afraid to drop it. :)

Looking at the shots that have been displayed on the other thread and the forum link you provided, I can tell you that I am sold with green envy of the spectacular shots that have been captured.

Good news for me is that I won't be purchasing this til sometime next year, which means there is time for new lenses to come and to chose from.

This has definitely been an eye opener.

Also, it is great to get your opinions on what lenses you would carry, which carries a lot of weight in terms of helping me decide what I might want.

-Tony

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
All very well, but ... on 10/26/2011 17:52:14 MDT Print View

In all of this it is easy to lose sight of the bottom line, and I am not talking about dollars here. It is 'what do you want to do with your photos?'

If you want to make wall-sized prints, then a DSLR and primes may be the (only) way to go. But how many really do that? Really?

If you want to look at your photos on a screen or a TV and put them on a web site, remember this: no matter what resolution your camera has, your screen is unlikely to be better than 1,600 pixels wide. That is a far cry from what some of the expensive cameras and lenses can offer. In fitting your precious photos to a screen you are going to lose most of that wonderful resolution. in fact, HOW you edit and reduce the photos will be more significant than what camera you used to take the photos. Many display technologies do a lousy job of that reduction, usually to get fast processing.

It is instructive to remember the story of the modern video zoom camera. Such animals were originally large, expensive and heavy (think broadcast camera), until the legendary head of (I think it was) Sony had a meeting with his optical designers. He wanted a zoom lens for a small hand-held video camera.
The 'experts' told him it could not be done.
Why not?
Because the resolution would be too poor.
Well, what sort of resolution could they get?
It would be under 1000 lines, and that's terrible.
But the sensor has only 760 pixels across (or about that then).
Well, yes, but ...
Build it and show me.

So they did, and it wowed the world. (It was also hugely profitable!) We now have small hand-held video cameras with excellent zoom. To be sure, the resolution is only just enough for the sensor, but any more would be wasted.

Mind you, I still say most phone cameras are crap. But look at the glass bead they use for a lens!

Cheers

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: All very well, but ... on 10/26/2011 21:38:42 MDT Print View

Roger,

The difference between the Canon SD880is and Sony NEX is night and day, regardless of what one does with their photos. The thread topic is "Sony NEX Lens Impressions" after all.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: All very well, but ... on 10/27/2011 03:13:07 MDT Print View

Hi Jacob

Yes, I understand what the thread topic is.

Let's ignore the fact that the 880 is several years older than the NEX, and focus on the price: the NEX is sort of double the historical cost of the 880 before you add lenses. Adding lenses boosts the cost even higher.

My question then is whether the **use you are going to make of the photos you take** can justify the rather significant extra cost. The cost of the gear is after all one of the 'impressions' I get.

Comes a day when the technology is good enough that the old mantra cease to be significant. For on-screen display, perhaps we have reached that day?

Cheers

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Re: Re: All very well, but ...(NEX cameras) on 10/27/2011 04:06:27 MDT Print View

Good points Roger .... but I think choosing a camera involves more than just the resolution. Cameras with APS-C sensors, like the NEX series, have much better dynamic range than compacts with much, much smaller sensors. For landscape pictures this makes a difference. Also, larger sensor cameras mean less noisy images at high ISOs so low light pictures look better, as do ones where a high ISO is needed because you can't hold the camera steady due to the wind (or being out of breath).Having interchangeable lenses makes a difference too, as you can decide which lenses to take on which trip. Of course now you can have a tiny sensor compact with interchangeable lenses - the Pentax Q.

The end use of images is significant of course. But even for web use better dynamic range makes a difference. High ISO images taken with a tiny sensor compact can look awful on the web too.

If you'll always be taking pictures in bright light then a tiny sensor compact and a low ISO will be fine. In fact many camera phones will be fine. I took images with my Android phone on the Pacific Northwest Trail last year that appeared in a magazine and looked okay. But in anything other than good light the phone pictures were terrible.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Bulb Exposure on 10/27/2011 08:39:26 MDT Print View

Hey Eric, I just realized that the NEX has bulb exposure. Did you happen to use yours on the Trinity trip (or any other) for doing star trails or slow exposure on water?

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Bulb Exposure on 10/27/2011 09:06:43 MDT Print View

I haven't used that feature yet as I'm trying to figure out a IR remote instead. I'm too afraid of camera shake even with a tripod. Still, I'll have to give it a go and see how it turns out sometime.

Edit: I have found that using the 16mm lens it has to hunt for autofocus when doing 20-30s nightsky shots. Any tips to eliminate the hunt for autofocus?

Edited by cobberman on 10/27/2011 09:08:46 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Bulb Exposure on 10/27/2011 10:24:22 MDT Print View

The easiest way would be MF mode preset on infinity. I don't know how the AF lock functions on these cameras, but unless there's a "toggle" on/off option I'd avoid AF entirely.

Cheers,

Rick

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 10:45:33 MDT Print View

Roger,

Appreciate your input and hear what you are saying.

In fact, one of my concerns is that a newer, more complex camera might mean taking fewer photos.

My motivation is not that I want to print massive mural sized photos.

This is all about preserving memories, docummenting my travels, and sharing it with others with my photo essays.

My desire to "step up" has to do with having a larger/better sensor so that I can have images that better capture what I have seen.

I really don't know a lot about photography, but when I see the photos that others have taken with this camera or larger DSLRs, I am struck by how clear, sharp, and vivid the images are vs. my humble Canon 880.

And it would be nicer to have a camera that performs better in low light situations, which the larger sensors found in larger or more expensive cameras.

In some ways, it would be nice to not have to fuzz with interchangeable lenses, but it seems that stepping up to a larger sensor camera means detachable lenses.

I can live with that if the trade off are pictures that are "better" than what I have now.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to the simple fact that I am willing to spend the money and take on the extra weight for the pure self enjoyment of being able to look at the photos later on that look "nicer" than what I am getting now from my trusty SD880.

-Tony

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 10:58:09 MDT Print View

Just because you can change lenses doesn't mean you have to. A lot of people, including Ryan J., shoot with one lens most of the time. Ryan generally uses a 35 f1.8 lens on his D7000 and that's my combo for most situations as well.

Edited by simplespirit on 10/27/2011 11:07:19 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
P&S on 10/27/2011 11:02:44 MDT Print View

Tony,

You can of course leave one lens on the camera at all times, like the kit zoom. I don't change lenses very often when I hike. Something like kit lens for the hike, change to fast prime in camp (or don't change at all). You still get the benefit of the bigger sensor.

You can use the NEX like a P&S (same is true of just about any camera). It has full auto mode, it also has some other modes such as a really neat panorama sweep mode, automatic HDR, and an evening capture mode that takes several fast shots and merges them in camera to greatly reduce the effects of camera shake. These are more 'auto' modes and I have not fully delved into them, besides the panorama - which is pretty cool.

These are all conveniences that your camera, and many newer cameras don't yet offer. I think if anything you will take MORE photos with the NEX (shudder) ;)

Additionally you can customize the few buttons that are on the NEX. I know you've discovered the technique of locking exposure, you can customize one button on the NEX to do this, which is a better way than using a half press on the shutter and recomposing because there is no focus involved with the single button lock (the SD880 can do this too, but it's a multi button press). Just an example of another way that you can leverage the camera as an even more powerful P&S


(edit: Chris beat me to it)

Edited by JacobD on 10/27/2011 11:05:46 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: Bulb Exposure on 10/27/2011 11:13:38 MDT Print View

@Eric

That may be a valid concern. The NEX is so small and light it might be tricky. Weighting the tripod like we were talking about might solve the issue. Then again it looks like a basic off brand IR remote can be had for ~$10, small and light to boot.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
can't emphasize the NEX enough! on 10/27/2011 11:23:00 MDT Print View

almost bought a DSLR, so glad I didn't.
Lens range is limiting factor unless you get a converter and go for manual, which, at the moment is something I'm not doing for backpacking and climbing use at least.

crala flwrs
llaosrk
hood sunset

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 11:56:50 MDT Print View

Hi Tony, may I offer a suggestion? Go through your existing photos and parse your shooting habits. By which I mean look at the zoom settings you used most often, what light conditions you shot in (and the various ISO settings), what subjects you shot most commonly and--very importantly--which photos you really like. i.e., What shots transcend the chasm between snapshot and treasured image? (Some photo software can give you camera setting statistics, which is a big help. If 62% of your shots are at the widest zoom setting, that's a clue.)

After doing this with a few hundred or better, a couple thousand shots (one Saturday kid soccer game for me) you should have an idea of what sort of photographer you are. Do you like sweeping wide-angle scenery? Do you like compressed scenery through a long telephoto view? Do you like macro wildflowers and bugs? Do you like portraits? Do you like evening time exposures? Do you like marauding deer and other large critters?

Once you've self-examined, look around at others' work and see what they're doing that you'd like to yourself, but aren't because of either technique or equipment. I wouldn't spend a nickle until determining what I'd like to accomplish with my images that I can't now. Sometimes it's a learning hurdle; sometimes it's a gear hurdle.

Nearly every camera has an "Auto" setting that delivers trustworthy results 90% of the time, so if you buy something completely unfamiliar you can still successfully use it immediately upon charging the battery. Cameras are easy. Then, as your skills expand you can take it off Auto and control it yourself to enhance and extend your vision. Don't be intimidated by gear.

What I find gets in the way of shooting a lot while on the go is lack of easy access. DSLRs are crappy backpacking companions because they're not easy to comfortably keep at the ready. The new mirrorless system cameras are much smaller, presuming they're fitted with compact lenses. A chunk of the size advantage bleeds away as lens size increases, though. And there exist fixed-lens compacts that take images that compete with the most expen$ive dslr, they're just not as flexible.

In sum, before opening the wallet try to decide what you'd like to accomplish. The gear is actually pretty unimportant compared to clarity of vision. The big mistake is buying a "metric" camera when your needs are actually "Imperial." Then, the camera stays in the toolbox, unused.

Cheers,

Rick

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 13:09:13 MDT Print View

I must admit I've never had any difficulty carrying a DSLR (and before that a film SLR) so it was accessible. I've carried one in a padded case on a strap slung across my chest on every trip in the last 30 years. Sometimes I've carried two SLRs like this. I'm changing to the NEX system (I've had an NEX 5 for the last year) because it's smaller and lighter and produces the same quality images but if compact system cameras handn't come along I'd have happily stayed with DSLRs.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 14:29:56 MDT Print View

> one of my concerns is that a newer, more complex camera might mean taking fewer photos.

Been there, done that. I used to use an expensive SLR with film and many lenses, and I found I was missing lots of good shots. By switching to a slightly smaller camera which I can carry in a pouch on the shoulder strap of my pack, I get to take MANY more shots. Also, the slightly smaller size means I can get the camera out with one hand while I am doing something else. A wrist strap is a very good idea if you are going to do that, btw. That doesn't meant going down to the phone camera or tiny P&S size though.

> I am struck by how clear, sharp, and vivid the images are vs. my humble Canon 880.
I am going to disagree slightly with some comments about this (sorry Rick and Chris and all). The dynamic range found in a jpg image from an ideal silicon sensor is 256:1. That is because the data has only 8 bits resolution. This is a far cry from the 3+ decades available from Kodak Gold etc!

However, that is a bit misleading for 2 reasons. The first is that the transfer function found in modern cameras is S-shaped, which gives the *appearance* of greater dynamic range. The second is because noise plays a big part in how an image looks. If the sensor is cheap and noisy, the dynamic range looks much worse. (Little P&S and phone cameras have tiny CHEAP sensors.) If the electronics uses lots of gain (=high ASA), the noise will rise.

This leads to a couple of questions. Do you use your camera on Auto? If so, be aware that it will often push the gain/ASA up to keep the shutter speed fast. That can put a lot of noise into your pitures, which will make them look lower in quality. The solution here is to never use Auto; use P(rogram) instead and keep the ASA down. This may mean you need to rest the camera against something at times: do so.

The next question is how have you set you camera to save the images? If you are using medium to high compression, then image quality will suffer. I never use anything but the maximum allowed image size, or even RAW. I don't think the 880 can save as RAW however.

Then there is cheating - well, editing. Many of the photos I see on the web have been enhanced. A photo-editor can balance the colours and boost the contrast a bit to make the image look better. A little adjustment of the jpg settings can boost the edges just a little to make images look sharper. Oh, there's so many trick to the trade! (And Playboy Bunnies are 50% photo-enhancement, along with any other 'enhancements'!)

I am not saying you can't take better photos with a more expensive camera, but I am saying that the skills needed to properly use a DSLR can be applied to a pro-compact to get VERY similar results.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 10/27/2011 14:30:59 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/27/2011 14:39:26 MDT Print View

Roger - that's why I have an Oly XZ-1 for light and fast trips. Good combination of weight, price, and a sharp bright lens with an ok zoom range.

I looked hard at the Nex and other mirrorless systems but couldn't justify the cost since I already had an investment in Nikon.

Edited by simplespirit on 10/27/2011 14:40:48 MDT.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
I would second mr caffin's statement on 10/27/2011 14:41:49 MDT Print View

I used a decent P&S up until this year. Was able to take many great shots, camera did a ton of what I wanted, with ease most of the time. The main issue was dynamic range during a lot of mountaineering where you have bright white slopes and dark green valleys below. There were work arounds for this but a bigger better sensor help a lot.
That said with my P&S I was able to make gorgeous calendars that I gave to family/friends each christmas (about 25-35 copies each year)--this was from an 8mp camera and most of the shots were blown up to the full size of the calendar. Generally the colors were warm and rich, things not grainy, and resolution fine.

The NEX line has been an incredible upgrade for me in terms of getting the significantly higher IQ without sacrificing much at all as far as size. I almost bought a DSLR (canon) but after I watched people lugging them around their neck up Mt St helens in the winter and then got to use a guy's NEX to take some group shots for them, the seed was planted. Yes it is not quite as pocket-able. Yes I cannot just use AA lithiums. Yes the native mount lens availability is limited right now. BUT, all these are outweighed by quality of the pictures I get and the increased photographic capability I have with the equipment. I had maxed out the P&S's capabilities but I imagine getting something like the latest Canon G12 or whatever, would not disappoint and be quite field-usable. I wouldn't even consider a fullon DSLR in a million years now. Small systems will only grow in popularity, features, and quality. I can subtly bring the NEX with 16mm to a dinner party. There is no subtly with any of the DSLRs.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/27/2011 16:55:05 MDT Print View

I have had a small photography and writing business for about 12 years now, but in the last two years it has been pretty much in hibernation for various personal reasons. In the early days I concentrated on landscape photography and then in later years on bird photography. My photos were published in magazines and books, I contributed to a couple of stock libraries, sold a few prints and did a little commissioned work.

When I carried an SLR I didn't take many photos, but those I did were of high quality, often taken at either the end or the start of the day. I always used a tripod and setting it all up, trying different compositions, bracketing exposures (film days), using filters etc. just took too long to stop that often. Also I never liked carrying an SLR round my neck whilst hiking.

On recent trips I have just taken a point and shoot and have really enjoyed taking a lot more photos as I go along and have ended up with a much better record of the trip. Unless you are going to devote some serious time to your photography whilst hiking , or are just into photography, then I feel that for most people a DSLR is a bit of an over kill, as there are some excellent options now available.

I am now looking to swap my entire DSLR system for something smaller, as my photography will now be mainly for on-line display and some magazine use. However, it is a somewhat bewildering choice and choosing backpacking gear is a breeze compared to choosing between photo systems.I would likely already be on the waiting list for a NEX-7 if the lens line up was a little more inspiring, as it looks lovely. Then some days I decide to go with the Olympus system :). Then there's the Fuji X-100 and the possibility of using manual focus lenses with an adapter on the 4/3 and Nex cameras - help:). Finally there are the high end compacts like the XZ-1 and the Fuji X10. Hoeing to make some kind of decision pre Christmas.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX vs. SLR's on 10/27/2011 20:34:23 MDT Print View

There are very few reasons why someone would actually need an SLR any more, but they could be good reasons if they matter to the camera user.

- Faster autofocus
- Advanced AF features, like subject tracking
- Wide(st) selection of AF'ing lenses vs. other camera systems
- Ergonomics & handling

Aside from backpackers who are capturing fast moving wildlife in action the first three reasons are of little significance. As far as handling goes, I definitely wouldn't fault anyone for wanting to stick with an SLR (or SLR-like) camera.

Now that large (APS-C and full frame) sensors are found in bodies that look like rangefinders and, in the case of the NEX, a P&S style body, all of the other benefits can be reaped including the wider dynamic range, better ISO, better resolution, raw file format, raw file support in Lightroom, and so on. There are now several fixed-lens large sensor cameras, as well as interchangeable lens versions such as the NEX which paves the way for SLR users to make the jump.

I am a reluctant convert from a Canon 5D, which in my experience has been an excellent camera even at 6 years old. That's like a millennium in the digital world, but it still manages to keep up with some of the best modern cameras (as far as image quality goes). The NEX-5N is on par with the 5D and, in some respects, surpasses it. It's exciting to find this kind of performance in such a small system. Sadly my wife has mandated the sale of my 5D as she won't give up her SLR as of yet. That camera has photographed both our kids as babies! She's a tough one, someone buy me a beer ;)

I admit to liking the prospect of the NEX-7 as far as ergonomics and handling are concerned (this is the camera that initially sparked my interest in NEX's in general) but the 24mp sensor leaves me cold and I doubt I will have any interest in it. I am very curious though to see some how the files look when production models are available, especially with the Sony-Zeiss 24/1.8 that's coming this fall.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: NEX vs. SLR's on 10/27/2011 20:50:00 MDT Print View

Good Luck Selling your 5D. If you are lucky you will get $100 for it.

True, its far more likely to sell than my Sony r1 that is on the fritz with metering problems...

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: NEX vs. SLR's on 10/27/2011 21:00:06 MDT Print View

Hahaha... Brian. I'm not sure if that was tongue in cheek, but market price for a 5D in good condition is about $1000 :)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: NEX vs. SLR's on 10/27/2011 22:27:02 MDT Print View

"I'm not sure if that was tongue in cheek, but market price for a 5D in good condition is about $1000"

That depends on whether the Canon 5D is a Mark I, Mark II, or Mark III.

--B.G.--

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/28/2011 12:49:58 MDT Print View

Rick,

Brillant advice and very much appreciated.

In fact, I want to thank everyone here for the input and education.

I am pretty excited at the future possibilities of what this camera can do for me.

Having shot rediculous number of shot and having sorted them out for my past photo essays, my shots tend to fall mostly with large landscapes and shots of people on the trail and in camp.

Occassionally, I will take some Macro shots of flowers along the trail.

I guess from that perspective the NEX-5 with the pancake 16mm might be the lens for me to have on my camera most of the time and then swapping to the kit 18-55 mm while in camp or at lunch time to capture close up shots of people.

If that sounds reasonable, it might be a great setup for me as the 16 mm lens makes the NEX-5 more "compact" vs. having the 18-55 mm lens on all of the time.

Given that I am shooting outdoors, the ISO is low...in fact, in manual mode, I like to push the ISO down to 80 to get the best looking shots that I can, but I just have to make sure I am really stable to prevent blur with my pocket camera.

One of the things that Jacob mentioned about this camera is that there are programable buttons. Three of them if I recall???

I would definitely program one of them for panoramic shoots, which I love to take.

Another one would be for night time shots....which might involve a higher ISO preset.

Chris mentioned that Ryan uses just one lens and that might appeal to me.

However, I have a feeling that as I get into this and with Jacob's expert guidance, I am going to see the advantages of having a second lens in the field to give me more flexibility.

I am completely blown away with the images that have been posted up with this camera!

Me wants now! (But will have to wait to buy new shiny toy later).

-Tony

Edited by Valshar on 10/28/2011 12:52:37 MDT.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
customize buttons on 10/28/2011 12:54:36 MDT Print View

i actually use the 18-55mm as my all-around lens. Only occasionally outdoors do I put the 16mm on, and often that is in conjunction with the WDA (wide angle adapter).

as far as customizable buttons, you can do this on the NEX-5, but the NEX-C3 and NEX-5N I think give even more options as far as settings.

The ones I change the most are: ISO, HDR, and White Balance.

I have personally found the pano feature of the NEX to suck (or maybe it is me!) as far as lots of poor alignment and obvious edges where it has joined the pano. I end up better just taking 3-5 pictures and joining them myself in a program.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/28/2011 16:42:48 MDT Print View

"Having shot rediculous number of shot and having sorted them out for my past photo essays, my shots tend to fall mostly with large landscapes and shots of people on the trail and in camp.

Occassionally, I will take some Macro shots of flowers along the trail."

Nothing about this statement screams you need anything more than an enthusiast compact like a Canon G12, Nikon P7100, Pany LX5, Oly XZ-1, Fuji X10, or even a vacation compact like the Fuji EXR600. Add in a small Gorilla Pod, and/or polarizing/graduated ND filters if compatible and you will have a very capable and versatile kit for your INTENDED OUTPUT.

Importantly, no need to fumble with lenses and risk getting dust in the sensor. Any dynamic range shortcomings of the smaller sensors can be overcome with exposure bracketing and HDR processing. Seriously, unless you are printing for publication or photography is the main reason for your hike ANY current changeable lens camera is overkill. IF you have time to think about and set up a shot a modern compact can take very nice photographs for small prints and electronic publication.

Edited by rmjapan on 10/28/2011 16:46:19 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/28/2011 17:07:53 MDT Print View

Rick,

Truly appreciate your input and thoughts.

I know that hte pocket camera that I have serves me well, maybe by evidence of the numberous photos that I have posted on BPL of the trips that I have taken.

I admit that there is more hassle here with this sort of camera, but I believe that the "better" looking photos might be worth it for me.

I fully admit that I have photo envy going on here or perhaps I am just considering this step as part of moving on to learning more about photography.

Not looking to publish, sell, or have photography as a living.

This i purely for my self enjoyment to look back at the memories of the trips that I have had and sharing them online with the photo essays on BPL.

Maybe this helps put some context to what I am trying to do.

-Tony

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
dont have to be semi-pro to want better camera on 10/28/2011 17:21:48 MDT Print View

really comes down to enjoyment!

like i laid out, I did plenty great stuff with my point and shoot. But, there was more I wanted. Better dynamic range, better low-light performance, better night photography. While there is plenty of technological trickery to make up for not having a large sensor, the short and sweet is that a larger sensor (of quality) will give much better results in a variety of areas, all things being equal with the photographer behind the camera.

On a strictly analytical level for all of life, people would be best off with a whole host of simplified and exceedingly cheaper options (like smaller homes, less/smaller cars, healthier diet, etc) but that analysis isn't really tenable for how people actually live.

Same goes for camera, people like to have options. Whats the worst thing that happens if you spend the money to get into the NEX system (or anything beyond P&S basically) and find you don't like it? You sell it used, get back some money, and home in on the better photo-enthusiast p&s of the day like whatever the G12, etc evolves into.

Additionally, you may be very happy with your ASP-C sensor produced photos and find yourself slowly migrating into large prints simply for your own home or family/friends. Or may grow as a photographer and find yourself further into the system.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 10/28/2011 17:45:38 MDT Print View

"I fully admit that I have photo envy going on here or perhaps I am just considering this step as part of moving on to learning more about photography.

Not looking to publish, sell, or have photography as a living.

This i purely for my self enjoyment to look back at the memories of the trips that I have had and sharing them online with the photo essays on BPL.

Maybe this helps put some context to what I am trying to do."

I think all the compacts I mentioned have the basic PASM modes that will let you learn/play with exposure just like any dlsr/icl camera. They shoot RAW too so you can waste time/have lots of fun in post processing. Today's compacts are more capable than even the best 35mm film cameras ever were. Pulitzer-prize winning photos have been taken with iPhones. Great pics are not about the camera but the artist behind the lens. I suspect Galen Rowell, patron saint of UL hikers/photographers would be using the Fuji X100 if were still alive. Well, probably a Leica M9....naw he'd still be shooting film!

You will improve your skill by learning what makes a great photograph, NOT because you have a shiny new camera with lot's of useless features. The ART of photography is making a pic that tells a story and draws your audience in. Watch people at a print exhibition and you will see them stop in front a pic that catches their "eye" and inevitably they move in closer to appreciate the details.

Now if this were not a UL hiking forum, I'd say knock yourself out but buy a real dSLR like a Pentax K5 or Nikon D700!

Edited by rmjapan on 10/28/2011 18:08:13 MDT.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: dont have to be semi-pro to want better camera on 10/28/2011 18:02:39 MDT Print View

"But, there was more I wanted. Better dynamic range, better low-light performance, better night photography. While there is plenty of technological trickery to make up for..."

Methinks that technological trickery is the whole raison d'etre behind the move to digital from film. Digital off loaded the work of the professional photolab on to our personal computers. Now the trend is to move the processing off the PC and into the camera.

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/28/2011 18:10:05 MDT Print View

I could be wrong, but I think Tony wants better quality images from his camera, not to become more of a photographer maximizing lenses and manual control of the focus, shutter, and aperture.

The Sony NEX would be great for Tony, IMO. It can take pictures fast enough to satisfy his needs at home and on the trail. The images are sharp. More manual features satisfies a photographer, but the small sensor on the dlux5 left me unimpressed.


Something like the x10 could work well for him, but a dp1 would be far too slow, quirky, and lacking in battery life.

The manual small sensors provide creative control, but not better image quality IMO.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re:...Tony wants better quality images from his camera, ... on 10/28/2011 19:06:23 MDT Print View

Depends on what you think makes a quality image. If you define photo quality by the technical aspects of sharpness and resolution, color saturation, contrast, pixelation or "noise" characteristics then the true benefits of a larger sensor will only reveal themselves in print, and rather large prints at that. As Roger Caffin posted earlier, with electronic output all these qualities are hindered/limited by out rather pitiful 2MP HD monitors with their limited color gamuts and dynamic range. Once you attend a few nature photography photo exhibitions of glorious hi-rez poster-sized prints, this difference is starkely clear.

All modern compacts have very sharp lenses, can produce good color and contrast and display little sensor "noise" and pixelation at or near their base ISO provided you do not crop excessively, i.e., more than 30%. Using a small tripod will let you shoot at base ISO more often by allowing longer exposures and judicious use of polarizing and ND filters will help you with difficult lighting situations.

Unfortunately, setting this up while thinking about the shot, framing the scene with perspective, waiting for or shaping good lighting with diffusers/reflectors, and setting exposure for creative effect are features/skills the camera OEMs have yet to build into the camera. So if one wants to improve beyond taking "I am here" snapshots these skills need to be practiced and mastered.

Edited by rmjapan on 10/28/2011 19:09:15 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re:...Tony wants better quality images from his camera, ... on 10/28/2011 19:52:09 MDT Print View

"Using a small tripod will let you shoot at base ISO more often by allowing longer exposures and judicious use of polarizing and ND filters will help you with difficult lighting situations."

Your statement assumes that you are shooting at a stationary target.

Typically, I am not, and I don't think there is a compact camera that can get the job done for me.

--B.G.--

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: ...Tony wants better quality images from his camera, ... on 10/28/2011 20:31:15 MDT Print View

Maybe you need a GoPro then?!

http://gopro.com/

FWIW, I think this is most innovative camera to come to market in a long time. Outside of being bombproof it is a very simple P&S. Yet, it allows one to get amazing engaging pics.

Yes, always best to match the tools with the job and no one camera has yet to master it all. Fast shutter speeds can require bigger lenses and higher ISO of full-on dlsr. If you need a focal length much longer than "normal" a Sony Nex 5n or m4/3 is not the right choice either. But I argue if you regularly need more capability than a current compact offers, UL hiking is no longer your main objective of being out in the sticks.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: ...Tony wants better quality images from his camera, ... on 10/28/2011 20:39:19 MDT Print View

To go backpacking without any camera would be a sin, I guess. I don't know if it is a venial sin or a mortal sin. Ultralightweight backpacking gear techniques simply allow me to carry the necessary photographic gear and still cover the necessary miles per day.

--B.G.--

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/28/2011 21:18:05 MDT Print View

The GoPro is indeed a remarkable camera but not exactly a replacement for an enthusiast camera.
Great for action movies and for wide views but you take everything with the equivalent of a fisheye lens (127 or 170 diagonal angle of view) so that excludes a lot of shots people take with their compacts but introduces a previously not so affordable perspective.
Franco

Eli .
(Feileung) - F
@Rick on 10/28/2011 23:50:27 MDT Print View

Rick,

I think you're saying something different than Roger was. I agree with his perspective that (paraphrasing) you should bring the camera that you'll actually use and that super high megapixel ratings are more than most people will need most of the time.

It sounds to me like you're implying that because this conversation is focused on technical merit that the people involved aren't concerned w/ the artistic component. I don't think this is true. I also don't think its true that even *most* consumer digital P&S cameras are technically on par to a decent SLR or what I've seen from the NEX; even when the eventual output is a relatively low res display . If your experience doesn't match this (mine does) then check Jacobs blog for examples or just google for comparison shots. The difference is vast to my eye.

Maximizing the technical quality of an image maximizes the artistic potential of the photo as the photographer isn't limited by a low-information source.

That said, I'm currently taking pictures with an iPhone :(

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 14:08:10 MDT Print View

Cameron,

Thanks for giving your opinion on this.

Given that you have taken trips with me, you know exactly how I shot my shots and under what conditions, so your thumbs up means a lot.

In fact, I have you to "blame" for starting me out on this path.

After seeing the shots of our JMT trip that you posted on BPL, it definitely gave me a case of camera envy.

Mixing that with Jacob's education on photography from his website, I really got an education, plus his recommendation to take a look at the new NEX-5, it started me down this path.

http://hikeitlikeit.com/2011/photography-and-backpacking/

To add to the discussion on this, maybe I should mention how I take shots.

I am basically taking shots on the run here, traveling between 10-15 miles per day, sometimes a little more than 20 miles per day.

I probably get about 5-10 seconds to pull out my camera, compose, and to shoot my shots. Any longer and I am going to be left behind by the others.

I so have a tripod, but I have not taken it with me on a trip in 3-4 yrs.

http://www.rei.com/product/777249/pedco-ultrapod-mini-tripod

Cameron gave me the nickname/trail name, "Snapshot" and it is probably accurate.

Given the limited amount of time that I have, I am heavily relying on automatic features and a simply camera menu layout to access features.

I have never used features to adjust my exposure plus or minus, I simply use the Auto Lock feature to control exposure and recompose my shots to adjust for lighting conditions.

Looking at my camera, and I have no idea of what this means, here is what the lens says:

5.0 - 20.0 mm 1:2.8 - 5.8 (Zoom Lens 4xIS)

Okay, now that I think about it and having recalled Jacob's essay on lenses, this must be the F Stops?

Given this is what I am used to shooting with and my understanding that my camera is a Wide Angle Lens, I am hoping that the NEX-5 with the 18-55 mm lens covers the same range that I am currently getting.

If it does, great!

Nothing "worse" than I am getting now.

I am hoping to:

1. Have a general improvement in my shots (not sure how to define this)

2. Better low light performance for dawn & dusk....night time shots

3. Similar easy of use like the pocket camera that I have now

Cameron is correct in that I am not looking to have more manual control over the camera...simply looking for better results via larger sensor?

Frankly, if I can use the 18-55 mm "standard" lens for all of my shoots I would be a very happy camper indeed as I really would not have time to swap lenses while on the go.

That said, I can see, like UL backpacking, having the option to have a wide angle lens like the 16mm pancake, would be a nice option to have to give me more options in the field.

I could see coming into a Canyon like Deadman's Canyon in SEKI where I would appreciate putting the 16 mm lens on and then shooting the whole afternoon with that on, but I would not want to be continually swapping between lenses the whole afternoon.

My style of hiking just does not permit it.

I am first and foremost, out to hike, taking the pictures is very important as a means for me to remember and document my trips.

That said, I am incredibly honored that everyone has been so passionate and freely sharing their thoughts to guide me on this decision...I am lucky to have a community of friends here.

Hope this helps.

That said, between the photos that I have seen posted up and what I have read here, I am pretty convinced that this should be the camera for me.

-Tony

Edited by Valshar on 10/29/2011 15:12:09 MDT.

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 14:28:06 MDT Print View

I haven't seen the discussion that started this thread. But, coincidentally, I had asked about the lens Eric used in a Desolation Wilderness trip report he posted a while back.

I too carry only the 16mm lens with my NEX. Where I hike, it's the ideal lens, if perhaps not wide enough. I am more than happy with the image quality of the pictures I take using that lens.

I carry it in the Sony hard-sided case (don't know what the model number is, it's a bit pricey at $45 or so). It only fits the camera with the pancake lens, which is Ok for me. It is very lightweight and I find it works perfectly hanging from the shoulder strap of my pack, or from my belt. Getting the camera in and out is pretty effortless.

I also have the SEL18200 lens and the SEL1855 (the latter never mounted on the camera).

I was replacing a Panasonic TZ with long lens and thought I would want a telephoto lens with the Sony. I tried carrying it on the camera for one hike (around my neck!). I tried carrying in my pack. What I found was that when I used it, it was mostly to take picturs at 18mm. And stopping to swap lenses just was too inconvenient (especially since I'd just be taking shots at 18mm anyway). Now I use the big lens around home or carry it in the car to stop and take pictures when I stop at Olmstead Pt. on the way back home.

Of late, I have started carrying another 300mm (or so) lens: the one built into my old Panasonic TZ. It is way more compact and lighter than the SEL18200. And "swapping" lenses is trivial: I just grab the camera from the other shoulder strap. But the truth is, I never even used it on my last trip, and maybe not the one before that. But if a marmot popped his head up, I'd be ready to snap off a shot.

I experimented with MF lenses. I have a MD Rokkor 45mm pancake lens. But with adapter, it is almost exactly the same length as the kit 18-55. And it weights slightly more, to boot.

If I could find a case that conveniently carried the camera with the 18-55 lens, I might be tempted to try that. But for hiking purposes, the 16mm is all I probably need.

I also fitted my lens with a graduated ND filter which I've left on ever since I got it. I thought that might help with the typical bright-sky conditions I use it in. Not sure about that, but it protects the lens if nothing else.

As to the debate about mirrorless vs. DSLR vs. P&S: I take pictures of what I see and want to have some memory of (not sure why I want the memories, but let's ignore that). That means pictures of what I see in the mountains, and pictures of my grandchildren. A P&S may well work as well in the mountains, provided it has reasonable image quality and a wider lens (24mm). But they suck at taking pictures of kids. I've never put the flash on my NEX. I'm perfectly happy with the indoor shots at ISO6400. There's no shutter lag. With my P&S, I might as well have closed my eyes and shot in a random direction. The odds of catching the kid standing still and in focus when the flash went off would be just as high, probably.

I'm going to try out the 18-55mm around the house for the portraits. When I head out for a hike, I'll put on the 16mm. I hope that will prove to be pretty close to the ideal system for me. Until I upgrade to the next NEX (features of the 7, but with smaller sensor, I hope).

Bill

BTW, one can see most of my pictures at http://williamlaw.shutterfly.com. I've been taking pictures faster than I can post them, fortunately. I've got 3 trip reports yet to be written.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 15:37:32 MDT Print View

From Tony :
Looking at my camera, and I have no idea of what this means, here is what the lens says:

5.0 - 20.0 mm 1:2.8 - 5.8 (Zoom Lens 4xIS)


The 5.0-20mm is the focal length and that gives you the angle of view , the 1:2.8 -5.8 is the F stop (lens aperture)
The F stop is easy to understand . 1 to 2.8 means that the maximum amount of light your sensor gets is 2.8 times less than available at the wide angle end. On full tele you lose 5.8 times.
The 5.0mm to 20.0mm is a bit tricky because to know what it means you need to know the size of your sensor.
My guess is that you have a Canon with a 1/2.3" sensor, that makes your lens a 28mm to 112mm equivalent (in 35mm lingo)
That is the reason why people normally now use that "35mm equivalent" so that you can compare figures.
To verify just go to DPReview and look into the camera data base there.
Franco

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 17:40:08 MDT Print View

Franco,

Thanks for info and suggestion....research really helps give me a sense of how the NEX-5N compares to my Canon SD880IS

The Canon SD880IS works out in 35mm equivalent as 28-112mm.

The NEX-5N 18-55mm lens works out to 27-82.5mm.

The NEX-5N 16mm "Panoramic" lens works out to 24mm.

You were spot on with your estimate on the 35mm conversion- crazy good.

The DPReview of the NEX-5N was really impressive, helpful, and must of it went over my head, but it gave me a lot of good information to get educated.

-TOny

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 18:32:24 MDT Print View

Incidentally knowing the 35mm equivalent also allows you to know how much smaller than a 35mm frame (also known as "full frame" ) your sensor is.
So your Canon 5mm (the wide end) is equivalent to a 28mm. Divide the two and you get 5.6 , your sensor has a diagonal size 5.6x smaller than a 35mm sensor.
The NEX 18mm is a 28mm equivalent, 28:18= 1.5, the NEX sensor is 50% smaller than a 35mm sensor...
Franco

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re:Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/29/2011 20:13:22 MDT Print View

I was able to handle the NEX-5N, the two new Nikons, and the Panny GF3 and G3 in a store today. If I had to choose among them based on ergonomics and the realities of shooting outdoors in direct sun, I'd go with either the V1 or the G3. They're "shooters'" cameras, if you will and the EVFs are brilliant. The Sony probably has the best rear display of the bunch. It's a good thing the Sony has the big grip, as it's pretty unbalanced with the kit zoom.

The Nikons, while small, are bigger than I'd expected given the small format. They're very refined in finish and layout.

cheers,

Rick

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 10/30/2011 00:04:53 MDT Print View

Here is a report from my trip to the Adirondacks earlier this month, shot entirely with the 18-55.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=54665

I also own the 16mm pancake and a cheapo 35mm (51 equivalent) Michael Lens ($47 on ebay) which I actually really like, but didn't bring either along.

I like the shots I get from the 16mm, but it's not that much wider than the kit zoom to warrant bringing it along. Every NEX owner should get the Michael lens, IMO. Here's a link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Michael-Lens-35mm-F1-7-for-SONY-NEX-3-NEX-C3-NEX-5-NEX-5C-NEX-7-NEX-VG10-/180735730585?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2a14b06399

It has a slight vignetting, and at f 1.7 it can produce a nice bokeh superior to that of the 16mm pancake.

I am looking at the 55-210 telephoto next. I'd like to see some sample shots with it first, though. I'm also considering getting a higher-quality non-Sony lens and adapter, as I have seen some impressive results doing that.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
OLED Viewfinder on 10/30/2011 08:41:36 MDT Print View

I have the 5N with the new OLED Viewfiner. I love working with it. I like composing in the viewfinder, seeing the exposure in the viewfinder, depth of field at all times, and various other information, such as shutter speed and aperture. Here's a photo from this week taken of the Double Arch Alcove (lower portion) in Taylor Creek, Zion National Park.Double Arch Alcove, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek in Zion NP

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX on 10/30/2011 11:17:21 MDT Print View

Tony, I appreciate the sentiment but I would not consider my advice as expert, more like friendly words of encouragement. I'm just a dood with an NEX-5N who's excited about it. You and I should go on a hike sometime in the near future, I'll let you carry and use the NEX for a day to check it out.

I readily admit that my trip photos are not amazing, and I'm no landscape photographer. I am highly critical of my photographic gear though and I have worked out an SLR kit that I've grown very fond of using over the years (mostly for family photo journalism, friends, events, etc...) for photographing people, which is my forte I suppose. On hiking trips I either lug the SLR or settle on the P&S (same one that you have by coincidence), which is "ok" but completely uninspiring to use.

I don't disagree with the others that suggest high end P&S cameras can produce some nice results. It's true that making a great photo is all about the photographer, the light, and the subject. Sure, some great photos have been made with all sorts of cameras. Miroslav Tichy even makes his cameras from random bits of trash... that's pretty low-tech :) Sometimes I process grain, noise, vignetting, desaturation, or off-tone hues (in other words, "defects") into my photos to enhance the mood. I've even done some pinhole photography with my 5D; that's one expensive pinhole camera! Having the freedom to do work with photos this way is nice. I own several cameras, film and digital, and most of my favorite photos could have been taking with one or more of them, but I might not have got the shot due to having to adjust to the conditions or limitations of the gear. In some cases I might not have even attempted the shot due to lack of confidence. The gear is not the end-all-be-all, but it can inspire confidence and excitement and those are good things for a photographer to have (regardless of the technical merits of the gear). I would say HYOH, shoot with what inspires you, use what you enjoy, and what you have fun with. If the gear inspires you to learn more about photography, that's an added bonus, if not, don't sweat it.

I think in the context of the thread, which was originally an extension of a conversation several of us were recently having about the NEX and lenses, it's gone a little off topic, but still a good conversation about the NEX which I hope keeps going here.


From those of us here who are NEX users there seems to be a concurrence that the 18-55 kit is a good all-around lens for hiking/backpacking, no? I think this makes for a really simple setup, especially by using the camera in Auto or Aperture Priority (which is a good step towards learning a little more but still in realm of simple to use).

I'm guessing nobody here is using this combo, but Voigtlander makes an ultrawide 12mm lens (Heliar 12mm f5.6) that is fairly compact and gives a true "ultrawide" perspective. Here's a photo of it mounted to the NEX. Here are some photo samples from the combo. I think this would be a sweet lens to have as a companion to the 18-55; although not an inexpensive lens at $550 (without adapter)... well, depending on your perspective this could be also bargain :)

One thing to note about the NEX and non-Sony lenses is anything below 28mm *may* cause some strange color shift at the edges of the image. Some lenses exhibit this, some do not. In addition to that the effect is mitigated with each iteration of the camera (NEX3 being the worst, 5N showing much lesser effect). Just food for thought.

This is a spreadsheet that I started before I bought my NEX. I'm very interested in ALT lenses, so this may not be all that interesting to others but, none the less. This is just a start. Most of these lenses are rangefinder lenses, I think I'll eventually remove the SLR lenses as the idea with the NEX is keeping it small and light.

So do any of the other NEX users posting here have alternate lenses for your camera? I know a few have been mentioned, can we get a roll call?

Edited by JacobD on 10/30/2011 11:34:18 MDT.

Ismail Faruqi
(ismailfaruqi) - F
ALT lenses for NEX on 10/31/2011 00:16:44 MDT Print View

how about Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye? They are planning to release the NEX version according 43rumors.com... To my surprise, after owning both ultrawide and fisheye lenses, i found that the fisheye get out more often than the ultrawide lens. It is simply more... dramatic, although that "dramatic" effect wears out after one-two hikes :p

Fisheye also could be defisheyed, and it makes superb VR panorama with simple setup.

Today I'm only using a fisheye, a 20mm mFT (40mm eqv) lens, and a 100mm equiv macro for backpacking but they cover all my needs, sans long-range wildlife.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: ALT lenses for NEX on 10/31/2011 09:05:51 MDT Print View

I see you do like the fisheye from your avatar (self portrait?) :)

Samyang has shown they can produce some nice lenses, if they came out with a fisheye for the NEX it would sure be fun to try out, assuming it's small and inexpensive.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 10/31/2011 12:02:29 MDT Print View

I purchased the NEX-5 after our 4-year old Canon P&S was dropped by a friendly person taking our photo. I have taken this as a lesson and now carry a tripod (full size or Ultrapod Mini) to take photos of myself. In the search for a replacement I knew that the camera had to have some sort of PASM mode as we had become accustomed to using it on our fallen Canon. I was also interested in using different lenses but was intimidated by a full DSLR. I found the IQ of the NEX camera to be superb and in handling the camera in-store alongside Olympus' offerings I thought that the NEX's menu was more intuitive and the lenses felt like an actual camera instead of a plastic toy. Thus, I became and EVIL convert!

I purchased the NEX-5 with the 18-55mm and 16mm pancake as a package, which at the time was only $100 extra to include the pancake lens. It would have cost $249 separately if I hadn't bought it as a package.

My wife had an old Pentax K1000 with a few lenses that was not being used so I bought a Fotidox Pentax K to Sony E-Mount adapter to use the lenses on my NEX.

My current setup with the NEX-5 is as follows:
Sony 18-55mm/3.5-5.6 with UV filter to protect lens
Sony 16mm/F2.8 with UV filter to protect lens
Fotidox Pentax K to Sony E-Mount Adapter
Pentax-M 50mm/2.0
Pentax JC Penny - 135mm/2.8 ($8 at thrift store)
Pentax JC Penny - 80-200mm/4.5
Pentax JC Penny - 2x Teleconverter


I've also purchased some second-hand lens filters to help with some of my landscape images. A 49mm filter fits my Sony E-Mount lenses as well as the Pentax-M 50mm. These include a Neutral Density filter for longer shutter speeds in daylight (to get those silky waterfall/moving water photos), Closeup filters for pseudo macro work, and a Circular Polarizer that I'm still getting used to working with.

Lens filters:
ND 4 - At F22 this still lets in a considerable amount of light. Good for fast moving water but I hope to get a ND 6 or ND 8 for better results without resorting to F22. Stacking these filters is possible but IQ suffers with additional glass. Also, stacking filters may result in vignetting at the corners of the image.
Closeup +2 - ok
Closeup +4 - much better for pseudo macro work. A keeper in my opinion. Works great with 18-55 or 50mm lenses.
Circular Polarizer - My newest purchase. It is somewhat difficult to tune it properly with the NEX's screen.

In general, I use my NEX on A/Aperture Priority mode during the day. Only when photographing water features do I turn to S/Shutter Priority. I'll use S or M/Manual mode when attempting to shoot star/night shots. I need more practice in this area and I believe a IR remote would be beneficial here.

I found that on my recent trip to Yosemite that the 18-55 stayed on the camera most of the time. I'll post a link with some images from my trip later this week or weekend. I'll include some unedited images for comparison as well as show the natural vignetting that happened when I stacked my ND 4 and CPL filters.

I think my next purchases will include a Gradient ND filter, ND 6 or ND 8 filter, a Pentax manual focus prime lens in the 24 to 35mm range, a 35-70mm/2.8 zoom (if I'm lucky), and an IR remote.

Edited by cobberman on 10/31/2011 12:08:12 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/02/2011 13:25:23 MDT Print View

Tony and others,

I've uploaded some of my photos from Yosemite last weekend. I primarily used the 18-55mm and my Pentax-M 50mm. Each photo that was taken with the NEX has it's unedited version for comparison. I included a few images from my wife's Canon S95 for additional comparison.

Picasa Webalbum

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/02/2011 13:37:52 MDT Print View

Eric,

Thanks for posting those. I took a quick look, some very nice images you have in there. I think the comparison vs. the S95 is interesting. The level of detail the NEX shows on the Tioga Pass shot is a good example (both were pretty slow shutter speeds... both were shot on a tripod?)

Posting the unedited versions was a good idea too. I'm assuming you shot these RAW and exported them from LR without any changes?

Edited by JacobD on 11/02/2011 13:39:54 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/02/2011 13:58:49 MDT Print View

Jacob,

I would say most of my shots were taken with a tripod. In the Tioga Pass shots you mentioned both cameras used a tripod.

It's hard to get a full comparison as the Canon S95 was at a much higher ISO, but I don't think it was needed as the exposure time could have been adjusted to compensate. Perhaps on my next trip I'll take both and compose each shot myself with similar settings.

Canon S95, ISO1600, 1/6 sec. f/2.8


Sony NEX, ISO400, 1/2 sec. f/3.5, 18mm


You're correct, I always shoot in RAW except where the camera won't let me such as HDR and Panoramic images. I have to change to JPEG for those images. The 'unedited' images were imported to LR and exported to JPEG without any changes other than resolution and the watermark.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Sony NEX-5 Photos Compared to Canon S9 Photos on 11/02/2011 14:18:12 MDT Print View

Eric,

Thanks for taking the time to post the photos up with the link to them.

Really startling the differences between the shots.

More so, to see the difference between using software to edit the photos vs. the RAW/JPG shots straight from the camera.

Really tells me that post processing/photo editing is critical to bring out the best in your shots.

I was struck by how much darker the shots were on the Sony vs. your Canon, but that might be an issue of the len/optics and F Stop used, and sensor size, right?

-Tony

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony NEX-5 Photos Compared to Canon S95 Photos on 11/02/2011 14:30:17 MDT Print View

"I was struck by how much darker the shots were on the Sony vs. your Canon, but that might be an issue of the len/optics and F Stop used, and sensor size, right?"

No, that is probably from the metering pattern.

--B.G.--

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Sony NEX-5 Photos Compared to Canon S95 Photos on 11/02/2011 14:32:57 MDT Print View

I'd be more inclined to say it's the aperture. The S95 is quite a bit faster/brighter than the Sony 18-55 at equivalent focal lengths.

Edited by simplespirit on 11/02/2011 14:36:21 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX-5 Photos Compared to Canon S95 Photos on 11/02/2011 14:48:44 MDT Print View

Well, just looking at the two shots posted by Eric directly above you have...

S95: f2.8, 1/6s, ISO 1600
NEX: f3.5, 1/2s, ISO 400

...(I peaked at the EXIF data) the S95 has 1 full stop EV more than the NEX. If the camera(s) was being used in auto, or any of the modes that give auto exposure then Bob is correct, there are some metering differences going on.

If Eric was shooting in manual, then he just underexposed with the NEX a little :P


FWIW, I don't trust the numbers from the meter on the NEX. I'd have to do a controlled test with a gray card, but it seems to me that the exposure reported by the meter is higher than the actual exposure. This could also be because I'm using non-Sony lenses, I haven't looked with the 18-55 yet to see if the results are similar. Instead of relying on the exposure shown, I use the live histogram which does seem to be accurate (otherwise I would be really unhappy!) and doesn't jive with the metering. I haven't heard anyone else complain of this so I'm guessing it's due to the lenses, but just more food for thought. By the way, I'm referring to shooting in manual mode and I use spot metering.


One more 'FWIW', Tony, the RAW files will look much more subdued than jpeg files directly out of the camera. The camera will apply it's own processing to the jpegs, whereas it leaves the RAWs alone in that respect.

Edited by JacobD on 11/02/2011 14:53:27 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Sony NEX-5 Photos Compared to Canon S95 Photos on 11/02/2011 14:55:56 MDT Print View

I can't remember if this was shot with Spot Metering or Multi on the NEX. I played around with that feature a lot on this trip trying to expose the white granite with the dark shadow covered valley floors.

I do underexpose almost every image on the camera by -0.3 and I find it's easier to recover lost details from dark vs lighter objects. I also think that there was a thread over at DPReview stating that one should underexpose by -0.3 on the NEX.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
exposure & framing on 11/02/2011 17:40:09 MDT Print View

I think if these pics had been taken at nearly the same focal lengths we could draw better conclusions, especially in regard to resolution when pics are scaled for the web. FWIW, having the black tarmac in the frame in the NEX shot only hindered proper exposure of the peaks while doing nothing esthetically for the pic. The only thing that stands out to me is the NEX kit lens shows vignetting in corners at the wide end and needs to be stopped down and/or zoomed in.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: exposure & framing on 11/02/2011 18:22:00 MDT Print View

Rick, for some comparison shots would you prefer to uprez the smaller file or downsample the larger one (or leave them at their native resolutions)? I will make some comparison shots to post from a couple of different cameras vs. the NEX-5N and handle the resolution accordingly.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: exposure & framing on 11/02/2011 19:16:12 MDT Print View

Jacob, only thing you need to do is try to get the lens focal the lengths/FoVs as close to equal as possible. In the above example, I think the S95 was @ ~45mm vs. ~27mm effective for the NEX. Best to shoot both as near to the "normal" fl=50mm as possible to minimize distortions.

Shoot RAW if you want to "standardize" the JPEG on any converter rather than camera's built-in (though it is unlikely the converters for different cameras are "equal" even within the same conversion sofware package like Adobe RAW).

Resize (downsample) both photos to fit the limitations of our displays and upload limitations, in this case max 1200x800 should fill most new monitors @ full screen with little scrolling. Then you can see if the NEX's 16MP sensor rez, higher dynamic range, and better color, and lens quality makes any difference after being rendered onscreen by our monitors when compared to the S95 compact.

My bet is the detectable differences will be nil.

Edited by rmjapan on 11/02/2011 19:29:00 MDT.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Why I am Thinking of Stepping Up to the NEX-5 on 11/09/2011 16:51:45 MST Print View

I went the other way around and moved from a Nikon 880 with a 3x tele and a wonderful wide converter to a Canon s95. I even managed to mount both those lenses to the Canon , but I am thinking I will skip them on an upcoming trip to China. If I take my lightweight tripod I can use stitch assist for any possible wide angle I want . That leaves tele. So I shoot big and crop. I can shoot HDR with the tripod. I use the self timer in low light. My setup will be so small that I won't need a camera bag. You want clarity -image stabilization is much better now. Still not enough? Then a tripod.

j p
(johnnythunder) - F
it fits on 11/09/2011 17:51:11 MST Print View

over here in korea they're pushing the samsung mirrorless camera. hard.

but, you can find the nex (and accessories) if you look hard enough. i noticed that i was never using zoom on the stock lens so i tracked down the wide angle. got it cheap. AND the thing fits in my ULA circuit hip belt pocket...which is really the key.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/12/2011 21:02:21 MST Print View

The Sony NEX series is intriguing, I would be the first to hop on board if it weren't for the ergonomics and paucity of lenses. The Sony feels a bit akward with bigger lenses, which wouldn't be so bad if the lenses were of a higher caliber. I will be the first to acknowledge that I have serious camera lust issues, but I have so far held off purchasing one of the newer offerings of Sony, Panasonic or Olympus.

The Sony, because of the sensor size, would appear to be the best performer, but the selection of lenses is limited and from the testing I've seen, rather mediocre compared to other lenses tested. Now, lens tests aren't everything and certainly, in the hands of the capable photographer, any decent camera can be made to do wonders. But the difference between the lenses offered on Olympus and Sony seem to be worlds apart in terms of vignetting, barrel distortion and overall performance. The Olympus cameras have smaller sensors and do not perform nearly as well in lower light - but the video is excellent and the JPEG quality might be better.

And herein lies the rub - when thinking about cameras, think about the system you will purchase. What systems will be around in five years?? The good thing about DSLRs is that most of the Canon, Pentax or NIkon lenses work with most DSLR bodies (the caveat to this certain lenses will only work with the higher-end lineups). What will the future of the m4/3rds or Sony system bring? Because while bodies may come and go, you want to keep lenses. Good lenses are often far more expensive than the bodies. Re-investing in a new body and new glass every few years gets darn expensive.

Finally, on the entire backpacking subject, what is good enough? How much money do you sink in a system? How important is photography to your trip? Is it the point of the trip itself or does it serve as a reminder? I struggle with these questions. My P&S cameras do not produce nearly the image quality as my DSLR did - but then again, I actually use my P&S cameras while the DSLR often sat in the pack. Oh, the torment.

Dirk

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 11:12:58 MST Print View

All good questions, Dirk. Overall, I'm unconcerned about the relatively small sensor difference between 4/3 and APSC, both of which are leagues apart from P&S sensors while only being moderately different from each other (especially in the Y axis). Noise and low-light performance are more products of chip and processor design than anything else, and each generation yields performance nobody dared imagine two years earlier. Advances in PP software pretty much eliminate any remaining differences.

As a result, I think we can feel free to choose the system that best suits our backpacking needs and stop worrying about whether the image quality will be there. It will. As you note, it's all about the lenses and the ergonomics and the ability to keep the camera at hand at all times. And when in use, can you actually compose and focus? (Not so easy in sunlight with a rear display.)

Having handled them side by side, I would choose a Nikon V1 before an NEX despite the V1's relatively tiny sensor and paucity of lenses. The V1 gets so many things right I was unprepared for how much I'd like it, while the NEX reminded me more of a smartphone fitted with a giant lens. Basically, it was like comparing a tool to an appliance. However, based on lens and accessory selection, I'd be most likely to go µ4/3.

Want even more dissonance? Fuji is informally admitting they're planning on jumping into the mirrorless fray, capitalizing on their X100 and X10 success. An interchangeable lens system with the X100 viewfinder would turn the category on its head, and Fuji color science and lenses have always been strengths. Which leads to the final obvious question: are Canon's marketing folks still at a kegger? DSLR sales are headed for a steep downhill, if not an outright cliff, and they seem remarkably unconcerned.

But it's almost Christmas and I must shop for others. :-)

Cheers,

Rick

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 13:54:32 MST Print View

I've been using the Sony NEX 5 and 18-55mm lens for a year now and I find it fine - and I'm taking photos for print publication. The JPEGs are so-so but the raw files are excellent. I think this camera and lens is excellent for backpacking because of the low bulk and weight.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 14:36:44 MST Print View

"The JPEGs are so-so "

What was weak about them?

--B.G.--

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 14:53:54 MST Print View

I had to go back and look at the JPEGs again! I haven't shot any since my first trials with the camera. They're a bit washed out - which could probably be adjusted for in camera - and they don't have quite the dynamic range of the raw files. With the latter I can bring back some detail in apparently blown highlights as long as they are only just off the edge of the histogram.

Mind you I don't much like the JPEGs from my other two cameras - the Canon 450D and the Ricoh GR-D either!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 15:17:29 MST Print View

Yes, JPEGs have some basic limitations. I've been shooting digitally for about nine years now, and the JPEG files amount to about 0.1% of everything I've shot.

--B.G.--

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 15:40:20 MST Print View

I've been shooting digitally for seven years and JPEGs probably account for less than 1% of my images too. At first I shot raw and JPEG together but soon stopped as I never did anything with the JPEGs.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 15:50:07 MST Print View

RAW+JPEG seems to be used mostly by professional news and sports photojournalists. They can rush the JPEG files off to the publisher and then work over the RAW files.

There seems to be a small community of photographers who don't like RAW files. Those are mostly the ones who never learned how to get the good out of the RAW conversion utility.

--B.G.--

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 16:02:11 MST Print View

I've never found raw conversion very difficult. I started out using Capture One - as there was an inexpensive version for my first digital DSLR, the Canon 300D, but for several years now I've mostly used Lightroom.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 16:04:30 MST Print View

You fellows mustn't shoot any kid sports. If I shot RAW of my daughter's soccer games I'd be swapping out hard drives like tortilla chips!

JPEG performance does seem to vary among makers. The worst camera for them I have is a Sigma--they're miserable and shockingly inconsistent. By contrast, Olympus and my old Kodak JPEGs are quite good, once noise reduction and sharpening are dialed back. White balance seems to be a critical component to good JPEGs. My cameras only go wonky in fluorescent and sodium & mercury vapor lighting. RAW is a must, then.

Cheers,

Rick

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 16:15:27 MST Print View

Rick, you're right! I don't shoot any kids sports, or adult sports come to that. I guess JPEGs would be better for that.

JPEGs can certainly be tweaked to look better but I reckon if I'm going to do that I might as well shoot raw and have far more options.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 16:35:12 MST Print View

Hi Chris,

I agree, and tend to shoot RAW for more "contemplative" pursuits. Had to become more comfortable with RAW processing first, and the software today seems much more powerful and intuitive, so there's much less fuss.

Munchkin soccer is all about "run & gun"--technique optional. :-)

Cousin Itt plays forward

Cheers,

Rick

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 16:46:57 MST Print View

Great shot Rick. Most of my photography is "contemplative"! Raw processing software has certainly got easier to use. It'a also more effective. Last year I processed some of my first raw files from 2004 in the latest version of Lightroom and the results were noticeable better than back then.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/13/2011 22:53:26 MST Print View

Rick -

You are the second person with whom I've conversed that has had favorable impressions of Nikon's latest offering. I think when it first came out enthusiasts were disappointed by the sensor specs compared to others, particularly Sony - but since then the Nikon system has developed its loyal following. I am told the big hangup is the system's price point - by most estimates around $200 too high. I very much doubt the ability of Nikon - or anyone in particular - to keep prices high in these times. There has been such innovation and competition in the course of the past couple of years as to negate the early advantage enjoyed by Panasonic in this market niche.

Could you expand upon what you liked about the Nikon and why it surprised you? I think the feel for a camera - no matter how great the optics - can be a real sore point. Poor menus, convoluted shooting modes and poor ergonomics are common gripes. Does Nikon get this right? What makes it such an appealing system?

As for Fuji - oh, Fuji! It is my hope that they can release an interchangeable system, for their color rendition is very nice indeed. I had an F31 for years - loved that camera and broke it hiking. It tooks some very nice players although it could clip highlights (admittedly a problem on most cameras at the time it was released).

I loved what you wrote about Canon "at a kegger", it seems that they are going to be the last people to join this fray, if at all. I wonder if they are obvlious, want to release a full-featured product lineup for this space or most likely, they fear releasing a smaller system would cannibalize existing DSLR sales - a segment which they utterly dominate.

All that much said, I almost wonder if I would be better off just buying a camera that is a year or two old and steeply discounted anyhow. Depending what comes out, am I better off with an Olympus E-P2 or something of that ilk for less than $300, get what I can out of it and move onto the next thing down the line.

Thanks,

Dirk

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/14/2011 10:12:05 MST Print View

Thanks Chris. I'm an accidental sports photog, finding it more interesting than loitering on the sideline for an hour a week. Once I attempted it I quickly found how tough it is--impossible really without some specialized gear and tons of practice. I'd have never even tried before digital, as the same-day feedback is important for learning what does and doesn't work. And let me add, birds are harder still. :-)

Lightroom 3 was a revelation. I used LR2 primarily as a database but the LR3 editing features have cut my PS workload probably 80%. The noise reduction is especially good. I wonder what LR4 will unleash? (It can't be much longer.)

Cheers,

Rick

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/14/2011 10:52:02 MST Print View

Hi Dirk,

I spent more time with the Nikon and some competing cameras yesterday. I don't know exactly what it is about the little V1 that grabs me, so I'll go with "synergy"--the sum is greater than the individual parts. (Last time I was similarly smitten was handling a Contax G2.) I'm convinced the V1 was designed by "camera guys" and not marketing guys or cellphone designers. It's solidly built, fits my hands and the somewhat spartan controls are well placed. It's blazing fast from power up to focus acquisition to shutter actuation. In that regard it's like a tiny dslr. Both the rear display and especially the EVF are bright and sharp and very handily, it auto-switches to the EVF when you bring it to your eye. This camera will be usable even in the middle of a sunny snowfield at 10k feet.

In my brief stints with it I couldn't tell when it was in PDAF mode or CDAF mode--it seems like the sophisticated focusing system is well integrated. IIUC some cunning chip design is behind the hybrid system.

None of this addresses the image quality or the hefty price. I thought Nikon was too timid when they unveiled the system (the sensor is how big?!?) but I'm beginning to think maybe they're right. It's going to easily outperform any compacts that aren't an X100 or X1. Can it compete with µ4/3 and APSC system cameras? Maybe that's not the right question? If they already had a landscape zoom, I'd be considering one right now. How fast can system lenses be and will any third-party makers join the fray?

Also got to try the new (to me) E-PL3. It was a pleasant surprise, especially the tilting display. I could live with this one. The other treat was the XZ-1, which I finally got some extended time with before the battery croaked. Love the controls and the OLED display, but I need to try one with an EVF (which brings it into the price range of several mirrorless cameras).

I like your idea of getting into a system inexpensively with a discontinued model--but which system? Even certain current models are available at firesale prices (GF-3 2-lens kit was on sale for $500). I find it hard not to get mesmerized by forthcoming models, so rapid is digital camera innovation, but unless they have some fatal shortcoming in my list of "must-haves" most of today's offerings will take excellent photos in challenging conditions. At day's end it's still lens first, camera second.

I hereby relinquish my thread-jack :-)

Cheers,

Rick

p.s The Fuji tease is as follows:

...company president and CEO Shigetaka Komori said it will create a mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera built around a larger sensor with ‘resolution and low noise [that] will surpass the 35mm full size sensor.’ We’re not taking this to mean it will be a full-frame camera. More details will be announced nearer the Spring 2012 launch. The X-S1 features a 26x, 24-624mm equivalent F2.8-5.3 zoom and will be available from early 2012.

Canadian Fuji representatives added: "Fujifilm X Series Interchangeable lens system not = M4/3 nor current mirrorless cams. X series will be "premium" cameras!." [from DP Review]

Since Fuji can't build $1200 X100s fast enough, I'd expect this system to be priced pretty far up the foodchain.

Edited by halfturbo on 11/14/2011 11:24:42 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 11/15/2011 00:33:02 MST Print View

Rick -

Thank you for sharing your experience with the new Nikons and others...That's the kind of real-life experience I crave - so often when you go to the forums at dpreview or other sites it becomes an exercise in specs and pixel-peeping. I can't say I blame people - it's fun to compare cameras, lenses and sensors. But none of those things can adequately describe what it is like to use the camera. You did a wonderful job explaining what you like about the varying systems. I really wish Nikon hadn't pushed the price-point on their latest offerings - I would be very interested because of their rich tradition and commitment to photography.

I, too, am easily mesmerized by the "next big thing" to come down the line. The Fuji interests me but I cannot convince myself that if they produce a high-end product (in hopes of grabbing some of the rangefinder audience once the exclusive domain of Lecia) I will be ready to jump on board until I see the extent to which Fuji (or any company for that matter) will commit to a system involving more than a smattering of lenses and a body or two. I wonder if there will be a standard established in the field of smaller cameras. The 4/3rds branch may last, or will be it be usurped by the larger sensor in a smaller body offerings of Sony? Or how about the Nikon sensor? Even if the camera is technically superior in every way, until I learn better technique and become more skilled in the art of composition, the most I can hope for is to have mediocre photographs rendered by the most advanced technology available. And that is the crux of the issue - a new camera won't make me a better shooter. Rather, practice in the art of composition will be of greater benefit than any new camera can provide. I agree that the pictures I do make may benefit from better glass and a better sensor, but no technology can overcome the limitations of the photographer.

All that said, tools do matter in the hands of the skilled. I do recognize the promise better equipment holds. I just struggle with the cost - will I get enough of a benefit from technology to warrant its purchase? And will I want to throw this camera in my back, to be bumped and jostled? Oh, the agony.

Thank you again for all of the good information. I don't think I will ever be able to make a decision.

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 11/15/2011 18:18:28 MST.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
RE: on 11/21/2011 13:24:26 MST Print View

Here are a few shots using the Michael lens 35/f1.7 taken at a wildlife refuge not too far from my house. It has a certain kind of dreamy effect, and the bokeh is not too shabby at all. I like it much better than the kit pancake's.

dsfb


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Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Photos on 11/22/2011 10:17:53 MST Print View

Nice photos, Matthew. I like the 2nd. They have that soft, yet with detail, look to them that tends to be seen with legacy lenses.

I haven't been around the forums lately, good to see the thread chugging along. I think to compare the NEX to the V1 could be looked at in two ways:

1) Apples to Apples: Folks who will use the OEM glass will see them in similar light and choose the camera they like best, for whatever reasons, unless they're "Nikon Guys" then they'll just pick the V1 regardless :D

2) Apples to Oranges: Folks who use legacy/alt glass will not like the V1 as much for it's 4/3 sensor with 2x equivalent field of view.



The NEX's limitation with regard to lens selection is with the OEM lenses offered by Sony, which I admit is a lackluster line up. HOWEVER, the NEX is a great platform to mount just about any other lens that you can imagine on! There are adapters available to mount legacy glass from all of the major manufacturers, even somewhat obscure ones like the tiny Olympus Pen F (half frame) lenses. My interest in compact lenses became renewed again with the release of the NEX, so I started a spreadsheet of course. It's a work in progress, but starting to shape up into a nice little database now. For anyone curious here's a link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkDLVsAmrk_bdHFRdTktaThNeFFaYXVFOHFES2xCdVE#gid=0

Lenses are broken down by focal length, then by weight. Cost is estimated street price. Some of these prices are based on past purchases of mine, some on eBay etc... take them with a grain of salt.

Do backpackers really need autofocus? I rarely use it in 'daily life', but it has it's uses. I think anyone can focus on a mountain, lake, valley, or anything else that's not moving. To me focusing the lens, setting the aperture adds to the shooting experience, the feeling of a well damped focus ring is very satisfying :)

Of course if you don't take photos because you enjoy doing so, or having to 'work' the camera is not appealing, or will simply slow you down too much, then an autofocus lens is probably the way to go, or even a P&S camera depending on what exactly you want to get out of the process. At the risk of blog spamming, there is an interactive survey here that will make some suggestions for the type of camera that would (in theory) fit with your needs.



Getting back to lenses for a second, I have been looking for the holy grail of lenses for the NEX in the 20-28mm focal length (so, 30-42mm f.o.v. on the NEX) for landscape photos. The lenses I've landed on are the Voigtlander 21/4 Color Skopar, Contax 28/2.8 Biogon (for Contax G1, G2), and Olympus OM 24/2.8. I've got the Voigt, the other lenses are in the mail.

The Voigt is tiny, and has nice color rendition and very good sharpness across the frame. The Contax G has a reputation for excellence, at a higher price and higher cost, plus it has to be focused via the adapter. The Oly looks like it should be a stellar performer, at a very good price, but larger overall package. I really hope the Voigt holds it's own against the Contax and that the Oly isn't so good that it's hard to ignore the price difference... in otherwords I really like the tiny Voigtlander and hope that I end up re-selling the other two. Will post some results here when I get a chance... very busy lately....

Lastly, there are lots of great NEX images here, using various alternative lenses.
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/969329/120#10105969

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Photos on 11/22/2011 10:23:48 MST Print View

I've been wrapped up with things at home, so no more backpacking shots with the NEX, but here are a couple from around the local troll bridge.

(images removed due to re arranging my flickr account)

Edited by JacobD on 08/30/2012 11:31:26 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Photos on 11/22/2011 11:15:00 MST Print View

Hi Jacob,

Have fun with your legacy lens experiments. I'll be interested in the Contax G results since I still have my G kit. I've gazed at the adapters available for µ4/3 and they all seem to have their plusses and minuses, especially those that focus using a tiny thumbwheel. I didn't realize any were available for NEX. (FWIW I'll recommend hunting down a 45 Planar G--one of the sharpest lenses ever made for 35mm.)

FWIW the Nikon 1 system uses a "CX" sensor with a 2.72x conversion factor. It's rather smaller than 4/3.

Cheers,

Rick

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Contax G on 11/22/2011 11:29:57 MST Print View

Rick,

If you have a Contax G kit then I think you owe it to yourself to get a NEX. Just get the viewfinder and all will be well! ;)

Seriously they're outstanding lenses. I can sometimes get the nice 3D-pop with my 5D and 35L... but those lenses have that rendering in spades. I've always wished I could adapt them to my 5D but it can't happen. Options are; either pay big bux for converted Contax N, or "settle" for the Contax/Yashica version. I still wonder how much difference there really are between them, it's hard to know without using them all extensively.


There have already been quite a few images from the G 45 posted on the NEX Images thread I linked above, as well as from the G 28 (and 90). The focus feel with them on any other body ain't perfect... but it's what you trade off for the superb optics. When I have all the lenses in hand I will take photos with adapters included for size reference, as well as whatever comparisons/conclusions I draw.

p.s. thanks for the info on the V1... I thought it was 4/3 all this time.

Edited by JacobD on 11/22/2011 11:31:20 MST.

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F
Could be used on Nex on 11/23/2011 09:08:03 MST Print View

What about:

Minolta AF 16mm f2.8 (fish-eye)
Rokkor 20mm f2.8
Minolta AF 20mm f2.8
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24/2
Minolta AF 24/2.8
Minolta AF 28/2
Minolta AF 28/2.8
Sony Alpha DT 35/1.8
Minolta AF 35/2
Minolta AF 50/1.4
Minolta AF 50/1.7

Sigma and Tamron will get on the action at some point, as long the line isn't abandoned by Sony (which it wont).

Plus Sony knows they need to release higher quality wide-to-normal lens. This is where they are likely to introduce 18-50mm with Zeiss name for Nex mount.

Considering how new Nex line is, the lens selection is not bad...

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Could be used on Nex on 11/23/2011 09:24:11 MST Print View

Yuri,

For sure any of those lenses can be used on the NEX. As far as I know *ANY* 35mm SLR lens can be adapted because the registration distance will be greater than the NEX. Of course modern digital lenses don't have an aperture control, so that is a limitation. There is a Canon EF > NEX adapter in the works right now. It allows aperture control and focus by wire for lenses that operate that way. At this point it's only some wide angle rangefinder lenses that can actually be problematic on the NEX.

For me the NEX is about having something compact, so for the most part the SLR lenses aren't all that appealing, with exception of some of the specialized systems such as Olympus Pen F and Contax G, and certain pancake style lenses. From what I've seen though there are plenty of Rokkor users who are putting them on the NEX. If I owned them I'm sure I would too! I wouldn't hike with them though, but that's just me :)

I believe that this is the first time that Sony has open sourced their digital system for 3rd party lens manufacturers. It will be really interesting to see what Sigma comes out with, or if Samyang decides to jump into the mix!

Edited by JacobD on 11/23/2011 09:26:56 MST.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: NEX + Samayang on 11/23/2011 11:57:45 MST Print View

Jacob,

Samayang does have a 8mm fisheye lens for the NEX system already. Though not a native E-Mount lens it appears to have it's own built in adapter. Sounds like they will progress to a native E-Mount lens in the future to have automatic aperature control and in a smaller package. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/665-samyang8f35nex

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
What Filter Do You Use? on 11/23/2011 12:21:33 MST Print View

Been spending some time to get myself educated about photography since Jacob introduced me to the NEX5.

I am seeing prices all over the place for filters.

The Sony filter for the NEX has no stats on it, but I think that another website listed it as a ND8?

What do people use for filters....just looking for, if this exist, a general purpose do all filter for outdoor photography.

Are people using a graduated filter or a filter that is "tinted" the same way all the way through?

Thanks!

-Tony

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: What Filter Do You Use? on 11/23/2011 13:38:33 MST Print View

Hoo-boy Tony, unleash that can 'o worms! :-)

Probably 80% of filters are simple "UV" filters folks use primarily as a first line of lens defense to keep debris off the front element or sacrifice in case the lens bashes against something (it happens, just not to me so far). Very good quality surface multicoated UV (or skylight) filters can under very narrow circumstances improve image quality, but most will slightly to noticeably degrade IQ, especially if sunlight strikes the filter directly. They were more helpful in the days of film.

What you want at all times is a lens hood, and should consider a UV filter optional.

Polarizing filters can enhance scenery by blocking light scatter, deepening skies, cutting surface reflections off water, making plant colors richer. They cut light transmission by at least a half, so that needs to be taken into consideration, and don't have much of an effect on cloudy days or early and late in the day. Certain cameras need so-called circular polarizers, which are quite expensive.

An "ND" filter is neutral density to allow you to open your aperture or lengthen your shutter speed for certain visual effects. They're available in different densities, and are specialty items.

Graduated ND filters help tame bright skies when there's a shaded or dim foreground. They can be super expensive and are available tinted and plain gray. To an extent, they can be replaced by HDR (image stacking) techniques on the computer.

To have different lenses of different diameters means buying multiple filter sets (or at least using step-up rings). This rings up hundreds of dollars in filters very quickly. If you buy yourself a new camera, make sure you get a proper lens hood right away and skip the filters until you decide you really need them. And I wouldn't buy "Sony" branded filters, as they're surely made by somebody else.

Cheers,

Rick

Ismail Faruqi
(ismailfaruqi) - F
Re: Re: What Filter Do You Use? on 11/24/2011 01:25:03 MST Print View

as rick said, three primary outdoor filters: circular polarizer (CPL), neutral density (ND), and graduated neutral density (GND).

If you can only have one filter to stay on the lens, choose CPL. It is also somewhat acts as ND as it cuts light entering the sensor, although not as much as dedicated ND. IIRC, the optyczne published CPL round-up (including high-end ones) and the winner is Marumi Super Circular Polarizer DHG. Avoid cheap CPLs: chances they blur your precious pics :(

If you have NEX-5N, probably you also can nix the GND. Just shoot RAW, expose to the brightest part of the scene, and push the shadows in RAW converter. Or use Sony's excellent HDR or DRO features. You wont get much noise in the shadow because the SNR of NEX-5N sensor at base ISO is that good.

(ref: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/page17.asp)

Edited by ismailfaruqi on 11/24/2011 01:28:36 MST.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Re: Re: What Filter Do You Use? on 11/24/2011 11:04:24 MST Print View

I wouldn't leave a polarising filter on the lens all the time. As Rick says, it cuts light transmission, which means slower shutter speeds or larger apertures. Also, it doesn't have any effect much of the time. With wide angle shots it can have a negative effect with unnatural shading in the sky as it only affects part of it.

I do carry a polarising filter as it's useful for darkening blue skies so they don't look washed out and for cutting reflections in water and on shiny surfaces.

I keep a UV filter on the lens except when using another filter. I can't see any difference between shots taken with and without the UV filter and it does help protect the lens.

I used to use graduated neutral density filters quite often with film. However I don't so much with digital as the graduated filter in Lightroom has the same effect of darkening the sky.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Anything NEX news? on 12/17/2011 17:15:26 MST Print View

Has your NEX been good? Will Santa be bringing anything new for it this holiday?

I just thought I'd bump this up to see if anyone has had the opportunity to try out new lenses or other NEX related fun?


I've been poking around with some different lenses... to summarize:

CV 21/4, 35/2.5, 90/3.5
- All very good on the NEX 5N.
- 21 and 35 have a little purple color shift at the edges, which can be corrected in cases where it stands out.
- All are lightweight, use 39mm filters, and can be found for under $300 used.


CV 12/5.6
- Good on the NEX 5N.
- Not much color shift, but a little to be sure.
- Corners are soft, but probably 80% frame is sharp (much better than Sony 16).
- Expensive at ~ $550 used.
- Too wide for my taste, too much edge distortion for my taste, I didn't keep it.


CV 40/1.4, 75/1.8
- Very good on the NEX 5N.
- No colorshift to mention.
- Classic glowy wide open, very sharp from 2.8 onwards
- Lots of CA.
- Small but heavy.
- SLR lenses may be more economical, lighter, but slightly larger.
- I didn't keep them.


CV 15
- On my want-to-try list.
- Lightest of all.
- Looks to be better than the CV 12 in all aspects.


The Contax G lenses are a good alternative. I gave the 28/2.8 a shot but focusing via the adapter was not for me. The image quality on those is outstanding though (people such as Rick that own them already know this), better than my CV lenses and probably as good or close to as good as any Leica lens on the NEX. They're a little larger than the CV's and a little more money. If someone develops a good adapter I think the G's are going to become scarce and expensive!


I had a chance to try out a couple of Olympus lenses also. The 24/2.8 was not good. Not sure if there was a problem with the lens, or something else. The 50/1.8 was surprisingly good, very close to the CV 40/1.4 in terms of IQ... and they can be had for less than $40.


edit: I almost forgot to add, the 18-55 kit lens is very good from 28-35mm. Not so bad up to 28 and not so good after 35. In the sweet spot though it's just as sharp as anything else I used, but its downfall is CA, even when stopped down :(

Just thought I'd share. It helps to have friends who are into photography to borrow lenses from and what not :)

Edited by JacobD on 12/17/2011 17:20:12 MST.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Sony NEX on 12/18/2011 07:01:41 MST Print View

Jacob,
Love your site and this discussion has been great. I just got into 4/3 but went a different route. I got an OLY EPL-1 with a 14-42 and a 40-150 lens. I will be adding a
Panasonic 20mm 1.7 for Xmas. So far I really like it and hope to have the system figured out by the time our Spring backpacking season opens up in Minnesota.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX on 12/18/2011 13:02:43 MST Print View

Thanks David.

It's nice that there are so many options now in semi-compact cameras. I have not tried 4/3 yet, when I first delved into digital even APS-C felt a little confining, and moving to FF just felt natural... but it comes down to personal preference. The NEX was different enough from anything else that I was tempted back to the evil APS-C again :)

I don't see myself hanging up my 5D any time soon, but definitely not backpacking with it any more!

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Sony NEX on 12/19/2011 21:21:55 MST Print View

Jacob,

Thanks for the testing! What didn't you like about the OM 24mm/2.8? Any chance you'll be getting a OM 21mm/3.5 to test out?

I've found through Lightroom that my favorite photos are leaning toward the wide end when using the kit 18-55. Mostly at 18mm, some between 24-28, and again at 55. I'm thinking that I might be better off getting some primes in these areas instead.

Have you heard anything good/bad about the E-Mount 50/1.8? Or do you think I'd be better served getting a manual 50 at 1.8 or 1.4?

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: Re: Sony NEX on 12/19/2011 22:48:40 MST Print View

Hi Eric,

When it comes to being a guinea pig I don't mind at all as long as it's camera lenses or beer we're talking about.

The Oly 24/2.8 I had was spanked in sharpness, contrast, and color by every lens I put it against. Based on photos I've seen taken with it, it should have done better, so it could had been an issue with my sample.

I doubt I will have any Oly 21's over here. I've got the CV 21 (thread mount) which is quite a bit smaller, several ounces lighter, and roughly the same price in the used market.

The Sony 50/1.8... I don't know. There are so many good 50's around $300 seems like a lot. Contax/Yashica (Zeiss) Planar 50/1.7 comes to mind. Ok no AF, but a little lighter, less money, and very nice optics! Buy a Rokkor 50/1.7 for $20 and try it out before you commit :) ... wait don't you already have a nice 50?


Have you considered if the 18-55 has enough reach for you at 55?

This is growing by the way:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkDLVsAmrk_bdHFRdTktaThNeFFaYXVFOHFES2xCdVE#gid=0

Edited by JacobD on 12/19/2011 22:49:51 MST.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Adapter Weights on 12/22/2011 20:11:53 MST Print View

Jacob,

When you talk about lens weight, you don't seem to include the adapter for the Nex. I know the adapter I have for the MC Rokkor lenses is quite heavy. Are there really lenses that are lighter than the SEL50F18's 202g when you include an adapter? I guess I'm curious what adapter you use?

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Sony NEX & Backpacking on 12/26/2011 23:43:40 MST Print View

What a great thread! My apologies for being late to the game and perhaps missing its critical mass of interest.

The NEX-5n is a fantastic camera. It has the same quality as the much heavier Nikon D7000 (which I own), because it has the same sensor in it. Whaddya know.

Unfortunately, I think the system lenses that ship with the NEX are only "sufficient", with the exception of two: the 16/2.8 pancake and the Zeiss 24/1.8. The latter is too big. The former is a perfect backpacking/snapshot lens, but its strength is only its form factor (small and light), not its IQ (it lacks corner sharpness, but not outrageously so if you're presentation is limited to flickr et al.). I own the 16/2.8. I like it, but it's pretty much relegated to snapshooting, or when I need to hand the camera to somebody else to take a picture of me.

I own a NEX-7 but haven't taken it backpacking yet. I'm still trying to learn its nuances.

The real reason I own it is that I have a 20 year old investment (that I've flipped a few times) into Leica M glass (I still own and shoot my old M6), including the two best lenses that I've ever owned: the Leica Elmarit-M 28/2.8 and the Leica Tele Elmarit-M 90/2.8 (and these aren't even Leica's best lenses). I have a few other M lenses too, including (what I think is) the spectacular little CV 35/1.4 and the two Zeiss ZM "C" (compact = light = small) lenses, and the best bargain in M lenses today: the CV 15 Heliar, which has miraculous IQ.

I've shot these lenses mostly on my M6, which, if you get good scans and use slow film and a tripod, you get great images. I had a several-months long affair with an M9 two years ago (loaner) but the darn thing is a brick to wear around your neck, has a terrible screen, bad high-ISO performance, a bug in SD card writing that causes image corruption (I was one of the unfortunate few that experienced it and lost quite a lot of images from one of my treks), doesn't shoot video (yes - today - this is stupid), has this terribly narcissistic aura about it (is it the red dot?), and weird colors in environments with a lot of UV (high altitude).

But my Elmarits - these are really my personal dream lenses - they have charming character, are very small and light, impeccable sharpness, and beautiful smooth (not "swirling") bokeh. So I tried to pair them through the mFT revolution with a number of "sensors" to try to get those sensors to capture what these lenses were capable of. So, through a series of Oly and Panasonic bodies in mFT formats, I remained disappointed. The sensors were the limiting factor, and the images were ho-hum.

Then one day, I shot them on a NEX-5n, and voila! A sensor (other than an M8/M9) that could capture the beauty of microcontrast in the Elmarits. The shots were gorgeous - as gorgeous as anything I ever got out of the M9.

Now, for a number of reasons I didn't like the UI of the 5n, the lack of a built in viewfinder, and getting good audio with video was more than tricky, and video is important to me. However, when I started studying the UI of the NEX-7, as well as its video capabilities, I knew that this was the body that I was finally looking to pair with my Elmarits for digital use.

So, I'm now in that period where I'm studying the NEX-7, learning its UI, and the nuances with its sensor, which certainly behaves differently than the 5n (including slightly poorer high ISO performance - ah well), and I suppose in January sometime, I'll post some images from the NEX-7 with my M lenses.

In conclusion, for me, it's all about the glass, and the digital body is only a necessary (and depreciating) evil. And finally, with the NEX-5n and NEX-7, I think we have - for the first time ever - a body that can capture what some of the really fantastic lenses out there are capable of - which means that the body may now start to transition (a little) towards a piece of gear that lasts for a little bit longer period of time without fear of rapid (months-long) obsolescence...

FWIW I'm still nervous about taking a computer (NEX-7) rather than a camera (D7000) into hostile environments. I've taken the D7000 through rain, snow, dust, etc. I don't think the NEX-7 will fare as well. And, so far, the Leica M6 is still the only camera I've ever owned that I can keep around my neck at 20 below and it still keeps on clicking just fine (although I find my own abilities to still keep on clicking at 20 below are waning).

For Christmas, my wife gave me a Holga 120N. I just may reserve that for my next trek, as my middle finger to the establishment: this whole digital obsolescence thing is such a scam!

Edited by ryan on 12/26/2011 23:52:54 MST.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 12/27/2011 04:28:50 MST Print View

Ryan, thanks for adding your experience to the mix of opinions here. I think hit the nail on the head when you talk about investing in a system, since the cost of quality glass far outweighs the cost of body. With all the changes in this space, it will be interesting to see which companies and systems emerge.

Dirk

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Adapter Weights on 12/27/2011 09:43:36 MST Print View

Craig, you're correct I don't factor the adapter weight into the lens weight because I share it between the lenses, but of course it still needs to be added to the overall carried weight.

At the end of the day there are a handful of 50's that come into the ballpark of 200g with adapters, so nothing really lighter than the Sony E 50 (not by any significant margin if at all). The Sony is probably the no-brainer, but at the price point there are options, and if you don't mind a slightly heavier 50 then there are even more. The Sony does look pretty good optically from reviews I've seen so in interest of keeping things simple it might be the way to go if you have the $300 to spare.

I think an important point to make for anyone considering using legacy glass is that adapters weigh between 60 and 90 grams (give or take depending on the make, model, etc...) and you don't need one for each lens unless you're carrying lenses of different mount types, which is not very efficient but might be desirable if you have certain favorites.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX & Backpacking on 12/27/2011 10:07:51 MST Print View

Ryan,

Thanks for sharing your insights with the 5N and 7. Definitely people like yourself who have fallen in love with rangefinder lenses find these cameras attractive. It seems to be a little bit of a happy accident that many (not all) RF lenses work well with the 5N whereas they didn't with the 5, and early reports are showing that 7 takes a step backward in that respect (hence the happy accident theory). I think I have finally sworn off using SLR glass on the NEX simply because once you've used a quality RF lens on it, everything else feels too big.

The Elmarit 28 and Tele Elmarit 90 are sweet lenses. I spent some time trying to locate a TE 90 that didn't have rear element rot and was in good condition for a decent price... sort of like trying to find a warm, light, and inexpensive sleeping bag :) As Leica's go they're actually pretty reasonable though. The Voigtlander 90/3.5 APO Lanthar is a nice, inexpensive lens in this range.

The longer RF lenses don't seem to have many (if any) issues with the 5N or 7. It's the wider lenses that can. I know the Elmarit 28 works well with the 5N, so I'll be interested to hear if it works as well with the 7 (i.e. how do the corners/edges look? are you seeing any detail smearing?)

The 15 is known to be very good on the 5N, I have heard it doesn't translate well to the NEX 7.


The biggest "issue" for the RF lenses with the NEX seems to be in the 21-28mm range, where not many work well, even on the 5N. I know a few guys who have said screw it and shelled out for the Leica 28/2 or 24/3.8... but I'm not quite ready to drop $3000+ on the Summicron or Elmar, especially not for backpacking use where I might have an expensive spill or two. Then again, as you mentioned, Leica is built to survive, maybe it's the best option after all!


As an aside, the Ricoh GXR with its M-module handles the RF lenses better by design. All of them work as they should, no corner smearing or color vignetting that we get with (some lenses) on the NEX 5N and 7. A new M-module based on the 5N sensor (presumably without AA filter) is expected for 2012, which should maintain the performance of the lenses and provide the resolution and DR of the 5N. It should be quite a combination. Now if they only release a body update to go with it!

There are also rumors that Sony will release a full frame NEX7-like body in 2012

Happy Holidays everyone!

Edited by JacobD on 12/27/2011 11:06:39 MST.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Sony NEX & Backpacking on 12/28/2011 12:43:06 MST Print View

I'm also a bit late here, but as a Nex fan I figured I might as well chime in with some input.

I got myself a Nex-5 last summer, and it's what I used for all of the shots in this gallery. When I went to Africa, I took only a Sony Nex 18-200mm lens, and a Nex 16mm f/2.8, the pancake. I shot more images with my 4x5 than I did with the 16mm pancake, but that was mainly because of a reluctance to change lenses all the time, partly due to the weather conditions.

As far as the quality of the images I've been very pleased. I sold a copy of one of them (the sunrise shot from Kilimanjaro), and printed at 10x15 inches, its native resolution, the person who bought it was blown away when I received the matted and framed print.

Most of the images that I have up on display are big 24x30 prints made from drum-scanned 4x5's. The Nex images fall short only in resolution, even with that superzoom lens. It's pretty big, but still quite a bit smaller than the Nikon lenses for my D300, which I'm planning on selling, now that I have a Nex-5 and a Sony Alpha a77. I'm planning on selling the Nex-5 when I'm able to get a Nex-7, but in the mean time, I'm using the a77 which has the same sensor that the Nex-7 does (but it's available here, which the Nex-7 is not) for a documentary film project, and it's also what I've been using for my film projects for my video production classes.

If my budget allowed, I'd love to use those gorgeous Leica lenses on it, but that's the breaks. The Zeiss lenses that Sony has in its Alpha lineup are great lenses -- the 16-80mm Zeiss zoom is reasonably sized and has excellent image quality. I only wish that it were faster, but if it were, it would also be a lot bigger, so you can't have it all.

BTW, it's also worth noting that the image stabilization that Sony has in the Nex lens lineup is phenomenal. Although I always have a tripod with me for the 4x5, I don't presently have a SlideFix rail for my Sony, so I've been using that handheld for the most part, and it's been giving me excellent results.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX + Canon EF on 12/28/2011 16:00:41 MST Print View

Here's a new tidbit...

Conurus, a cottage industry responsible for developing a lens conversion process to allow Contax N (Autofocusing Zeiss lenses) to be used on Canon SLR's, has been working on a Canon EF to Sony-E mount adapter. Until recently not much information has been forth coming from Conurus, however a video has now surfaced showing that they have the communication issues solved for aperture control, and according to a forum post by them, also for image stabilization. Whether or not AF will be included is yet to be seen. There is no information yet as to the development status of their adapter... however they mention via the forum that the adapter has an integrated tripod mount... so you can bet that something exists beyond the rough prototype seen in the video!

This will probably peak the interest of anyone who already owns canon EF, and especially EF-S lenses since they will soon be usable on the NEX via the Conurus adapter.

Here's a link to their forum post at dpreview.com (there is a little confusion from one member at the beginning of the post).

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1042&thread=39258520

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 12/28/2011 16:42:46 MST Print View

I'm going to commit heresy here and say that I don't think the difference in quality between budget or kit lenses and expensive glass is really that significant in real life unless you're into pixel peeping or billboard size prints. I've been using kit lenses for over a decade and not one publisher has ever complained about the quality. Last summer I had a photographic book on the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland published. The majority of the images were taken with Canon 18-55 kit lenses, some with the Canon 55-250 lens and a very few with a Tamron 11-18 lens. The book has had good reviews and the images look fine. I don't think heavier, bulkier lenses would have made any noticeable improvement.

Next year I have a book coming out on my Pacific Northwest Trail hike. This will have over 90 images, all taken with the Canon 450D and 18-55 lens. The roughs I've seen look excellent.

For the past year I've been using an NEX 5 with 18-55 lens and the image quality is better than with my Canon 450D and 18-55 lens - due to the sensor not the lens.

Kit lenses have the great advantage for backpacking of being light weight, low bulk and inexpensive. The last means damaging one isn't a costly problem.

The latest digital processing software - DxO Optics Pro and Lightroom 3 - can overcome lens deficiencies too.

Sometime next year I hope to get an NEX 7 and the Sony 55-210 lens and then ditch my Canon stuff. With a wide angle zoom as well, which Sony say should come out next year, the NEX system will provide everything I need.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 12/28/2011 21:43:09 MST Print View

Hi Chris.

First, congrats on your books! That's awesome.


I wouldn't call it heresy :) To clarify one point straight away, I'm not advocating heavier/bulkier lenses and definitely not claiming that a heavy lens is a good lens. I'm not sure that anyone here has suggested that, I don't believe so. On the contrary, the lenses that I'm using are lighter (even with my adapter figured in) than the 18-55 kit lens, and more compact.

I do think the 18-55 is a good lens; at some focal lengths it can be very sharp. It doesn't control distortion or chromatic aberration very well though. But those can be mitigated to an extent by processing the photos, as you noted. It doesn't have a prominent signature which is either good or bad depending on personal preference.

I try to avoid debating subjective issues, this is one that surfaces often in photography forums. The only way to quantify differences is to directly compare lenses, and even then the whole issue of subjectivity rears its head.

Personally I don't have a set requirement for a lens to be "good" to me. I don't look at MTF charts in deciding whether or not a lens is up to snuff. I use the lens and when I look at the results, if I like the way it renders then I consider the entire package; size, cost, how it controls various aberrations, the build quality, how it handles etc... No doubt there are some lenses out there that are hard to find flaw with, but not most. I might choose to forgive certain "issues" if there are aspects that I really like. Lenses come in so many flavours, I like to try a few to find the ones that I like best.

I DO pixelpeep when evaluating lenses for sharpness and resolving power, and don't see any reason this should have a negative connotation associated with it. The only other way to quantify resolving power is to look at MTF charts and I try to avoid making decisions based on those. I look at the image at 100%, if what I see does not look like an enlargement (i.e. it does not look mushy and I can make out details that I expect to be there) then I deem it good. At this point I know that only the sensor resolution will limit the print quality (putting print device and media aside). To make an analogy, before I made strides toward UL packing, I would say my gear is light enough, and I thought weighing it was for nut cases. This is true of course, we are a little nuts! But we are better for being a little nutty. I think a little time putting a lens through some trials is time well spent. I have years of enjoyment from my SLR lenses which I have not sold/changed/bought since intially settling on them.

If we are only talking about resolving power of the lens, I think to say that "billboard sized" prints are needed to see differences in resolution is to exaggerate the point a bit, but I do get the point and agree to an extent. Differences in resolution can be seen starting at 8x10, 11x17, 13x19, etc... It can be subjective though.

I guess my questions for you are: Why do you attribute the better image quality with your NEX over the 450D to the sensor and not the lens, or combination of? .... and what is better about the IQ between the two?

Edited by JacobD on 12/28/2011 21:48:03 MST.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 12/29/2011 02:27:57 MST Print View

Another congratulations on the books here :)

> I wouldn't call it heresy :) To clarify one point straight away, I'm not advocating
> heavier/bulkier lenses and definitely not claiming that a heavy lens is a good lens.

It's not really heresy, and in fact doesn't even contradict most of the lens sharpness weenies' findings. The differences in sharpness from lens to lens are most noticeable when it's wide open. Pro lenses tend to be sharper wide open, and often have larger maximum apertures than non-pro lenses. Stop them down to f/8, and it's going to be hard to tell the difference.

Unless you're mainly photographing wildlife, I don't think you need big, fast lenses in the wilderness. If you ARE mainly shooting wildlife, then faster lenses are probably an asset, as is a lot of reach, so you're probably stuck with big, honkin' lenses then :)

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Sony NEX lenses, sharpness, etc. on 12/29/2011 11:45:53 MST Print View

Good comments to put this all in perspective, Chris, Rakesh, et al.

I loathe sitting in front of a computer and fooling around with post processing software. That's not to say that I don't like the *option* of doing so when I'm trying to achieve, say, some sort of artistic effect, like the following image, for a small print on my wall.

Beargrass

Beargrass. Big Mountain, Whitefish, MT. Nikon D7000 & Nikkor 85/1.8.

This was taken with a nice sensor and a crappy lens. But post processing can help me squeeze out good quality in the image, and allow me to get the look I want, because I've captured the information in the good sensor.

If you have a small, or crappy sensor, and either a good, or crappy lens, then what you are able to do in post processing is more limited than what you can do with a good sensor and a crappy lens.

With a good sensor, and a good lens, then your options open way up in post - and perhaps more importantly - you can capture phenomenal out of camera images *without* fooling around with them in post, because a high quality lens already has outstanding microcontrast and sharpness - two effects that are nearly impossible to replicate with post processing sharpening, contrast, and definition algorithms without imparting icky digital looks to your images. Sharpening is certainly getting better in the big ones (especially if you shoot RAW) but contrast and definition algorithms are rudimentary at best.

Obviously, photography that is published online or as complement to text (like we do here) or otherwise for "documentary" or "photojournalism" is more a function of the photographer's eye for capturing a scene - much more so than the gear (camera, lens, sharpness, etc.).

Ski

Free Heel. Bridger Foothills near Bozeman, MT. Panasonic TS1.

And then, at some point, it's a pretty good thing to simply throw out everything you know about photo gear, break all the rules, blow out your highlights, and just goof around. This allows you to skip the process of being a technical photographer and enjoy the art of capturing the moment and framing the scene. This is one of my favorite photos that I took in 2011, and it came from my phone (crappy sensor, crappy lens):

Family

Mom and Son. Sypes Canyon Trail near Bozeman, MT. iPhone.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 12/29/2011 17:21:13 MST Print View

Jacob, I was more commenting on Ryan's comment that the NEX lenses are only 'sufficient'. I've found the 18-55 excellent. I think it's an almost ideal backpacking lens. The improvement in IQ is in the amount of noise visible at higher ISOs. With the Canon 450D 400 is just about okay. At 800 much noise is visible. With the NEX 5 800 is okay and 1600 not too bad. Only at 3200 does noise start to become intrusive.

Like Ryan I don't want to spend time doing post processing. I especially don't like all the fine tuning needed to reduce noise whilst not losing detail. I prefer images without noise problems in the first place. Coming from many years of using transparency film I am used to getting the best shot I can in camera. I always use manual exposure controls and use the histogram as the guide. Almost all images are at f5.6, f8 or f11. I adjust the speed or ISO rather than the aperture. This way I usually get files that require little post processing.

Whilst many of my images appear online or as adjuncts to text I always take them assuming they might appear in a photographic book or as a standalone print. And having had one photo book published this year I am hoping to do more in the future.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/02/2012 22:31:57 MST Print View

Bumping to accompany the BPL article.

Edited by kthompson on 01/02/2012 22:45:41 MST.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Another Detailed Review: Sony NEX on 01/09/2012 11:33:51 MST Print View

Check out this very detailed review that Jacob from BPL put together on the NEX.

Lots of photos to illustrate the abilities of the camera in use, with different lenses from other manufactures, and comparitive photos showing different visual effects from different lenses.

Definitely helped with me my education into "real" digital cameras as I transition from my pocket "idiot" camera to something better.

http://hikeitlikeit.com/2012/photography-and-backpacking-8/

-Tony

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/11/2012 01:34:03 MST Print View

Stir again...

The real difference between cheap lenses and good lenses is light fall off in the corners of images along with several other factors. If this is not a concern in your landscape then kit lense or the cheapest thing you can buy is perfectly Good IMO.

If you want to stitch your images together to be able to print BIG with high resolution, then you must have a lense with little light fall off in the corners so banding does not occur. This means either you MUST use a crappy lense at its optimum setting if it even has such which means more stitching lines usually, or a Better lense.

As for CA/Sharpness/Resolution... Doesn't really matter on today's camera bodies as they all resolve about the same until you start printing HUGE and everyone has easy access to post processing capability.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sigma Lenses for NEX on 01/13/2012 10:22:25 MST Print View

A few days ago Sigma announced a couple of lenses: 19/2.8 and 30/2.8.

At first blush I took these as four-thirds lenses, but it looks like Sigma will be making them for both the four-thirds cameras, as well as the NEX. They appear to be fairly small and light, the 19 is the larger of the two and is spec'd at 140g and 45mm long, with a 46mm filter size... not too bad.

I have not searched around for any specs on the 30mm, but it should be smaller and lighter, which would also make it smaller, lighter, and about a half stop faster than the Sony 30/3.5 macro lens, although it will lack macro capability.

These might be the first two interesting options in native NEX mount from a third party manufacturer, pending cost and performance of course.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Sigma Lenses for NEX on 01/13/2012 13:28:21 MST Print View

Sigma has a less than stellar reputation, but their lenses have been improving consistently, and a lot of their professional lenses have gotten pretty good reviews. Personally, based on what I've seen of Sigma's lenses over the years, I think Sigma is underrated, but then I don't shoot test charts, I make pictures. :)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/14/2012 16:56:37 MST Print View

Sigma even made a 28-70mm for Leica (that is sold with the Leica name on them) many years ago.
Not that good mechanically but OK ( for Leica standard) optically.
( I sold some)
Later on the same optics (Sigma made)were encased inside a lens made by Kyocera (same part of the factory that made Contax stuff)
However I don't see much love here for the very nice 200-500 F 2.8 .
Great for wildlife with that amazing aperture.
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/200-500mm-f28-apo-ex-dg-sigma
(you will need one of those packs with a built in frame for this)
Franco

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
a few questions on 01/14/2012 17:39:17 MST Print View

Is it worth the extra $600 or so for the Nex7? Is using the bulb mode easy, what do you have to buy to make it work? Where can you buy the converters for the legacy lenses and does one converter for work all older lenses?

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 19:18:35 MST Print View

The choice between the NEX5n and NEX7 would be up to you. Some adapted lenses do not produce as good results on the 7 as on the 5n. If I were to upgrade I would probably purchase the 5n and save the extra cash for some better lenses. Bulb mode on my camera is easy to use. On my model, NEX5, I have to hold the shutter down for the duration of the exposure. I received the Opteka IR remote for Christmas and it eliminates this issue. Pressing the shutter button on the remote begins the exposure, pressing it again stops the exposure. You can buy many of the adapters off of eBay or Amazon. Each adapter will work with a certain lens mount. For example you'd need a one adapter for Pentax-K mount, one for M42 thread mount, one for Sony/Minolta A-mount, etc. Some camera lines have more than one mount type. Some lenses have an aperture ring which functions fine with a standard adapter. Some modern lenses have electronic controlled aperture and require an adapter with it's own aperture ring. I don't have any experience with the latter type of adapter.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 19:59:56 MST Print View

Thanks for the info, I found an adapter by Metabones for $90 on Ebay for Leica M lenses and the IR remote on Amazon. Now i just need to decide on either the 5N of waiting for the 7. Also need to decide whether to get the pancake 16mm or a wide angle legacy lens.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 20:15:54 MST Print View

If you haven't looked at Jacob's blog yet I would definitely recommend it. His latest entry in photography is specifically about rangefinder lenses on a NEX5.

http://hikeitlikeit.com/2012/photography-and-backpacking-8/

From what I have seen from samples on the web, the pancake 16mm is a convenience lens. It's optics are inferior to something like the Voigtlander 15mm/4.5. Which is also a bit wider than the pancake.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 20:35:13 MST Print View

Is it hard to find these lenses, of just check EBay?

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 20:43:50 MST Print View

What lenses?

Try: eBay, KEH, Adorama, B&H, local photo shops, I'm sure there are others I'm missing.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: a few questions on 01/14/2012 20:53:15 MST Print View

I was speaking of the Leica M Mount lenses by Voigtlander, I thought these were older lens but found them on Amazon and Adorama new. Sorry for all the questions but this type of camera and using non OEM is new to me. I currently own a Canon 5D with several L lens and was thinking of switching to one of the Sony Nex cameras and trying to learn as much as I can. Thanks for all the help.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Any 10mm lens? on 01/14/2012 20:55:43 MST Print View

Are there any 10mm lens that will fit the Nex line of cameras, I want to find something that will match the field of view of my 5D on the ultra wide end.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/14/2012 21:37:31 MST Print View

I don't know much about what is available in the rangefinder class. Otherwise, you can look at a Sigma 10-20mm/f3.5 Sony A-Mount.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/15/2012 00:26:13 MST Print View

If you dont need auto focus then any 10 mm apsc lens will work eith an adaptor and there are adapters available for virtuallly every mount ever made. Your only autofocus option right now would be to get that giant a mount adapter and the use the sigma described above.

I would suspect that the sigma 10-20 wpuld one of the first few lens reegineered for the nex system. The only mirrorless system with a native 14 mm fov lens is u4/3

Edited by GregF on 01/15/2012 00:28:06 MST.

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/15/2012 08:01:19 MST Print View

Autofocus on a wide angle is not important to me, keeping the weight down is, that is why I would be getting the Nex system.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/16/2012 00:29:43 MST Print View

Exactly. Landscapes shooting, set focus to infinity and click. Lead pipe simple. Its why real lenses have a focus ring on them even if most have never used it.

Old Manual focus lenses plus EVF = GOLD IN MY POCKET!

Justice Baker
(jkokbaker)

Locale: Central Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/16/2012 11:33:16 MST Print View

Brian, what manual focus lens would you use for landscapes?

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/16/2012 13:28:22 MST Print View

Landscapes shooting, set focus to infinity and click.

Things seem a little more complex than this to me. However I would agree that having a manual focus ring with markings is very useful.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Any 10mm lens? on 01/16/2012 17:02:28 MST Print View

Huh? I am being stupid here? See below. =)

Weather you have focus or not is determined entirely by the camera body you have in question, so giving a recommendation is rather odd unless you are talking about lenses that have focus/aperture/shutter dials on them made for large format cameras?

It seems lense compatibility keeps increasing with time at least in "pro" or semi pro bodies anyways with the plethora of camera adapters out there. Finding an exact match for what you are looking for is time consuming, but can save you some serious coin if you are shooting landscapes and don't care about focus speed.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/16/2012 22:04:28 MST Print View

I don't know if I'm following the latter part of the conversation here.

There were a few things asked. My $.02...

- NEX 5 (or 5N) vs. 7? They are very different cameras in terms of handling, cost, and to lesser extent, overall size/weight, and resolution offered.

- 10mm lens? The widest rangefinder lens I know of is the Voigtlander 12mm (equivalent to 18mm on the NEX). It performs well on the NEX 5N, not as sharp in the corners as the Voigtlander 15, but it also pretty much lacks the color shifting issue that some of these rangefinder lenses have, so it's more user friendly in that it won't require additional processing. I don't have a way to quantify how much better the CV 12 would be vs. the Sony 16/2.8 + wide angle adapter (which effectively makes it 12mm). 18mm equivalent view is pretty darn wide, which is something else to consider - do you really want to work with a lens that wide? The 15-18mm range (22-24mm equiv) is already pretty wide, and of course you can always stitch shots together for wider FOV.

Here are a couple of recent images from the 5N and CV 15...

edit: removed images, put them in next post


- Where to find manual focus rangefinder or SLR lenses? All of Eric's suggestions are good, in addition there are a few forums (and buying from photog comuunity members is always my preference if buying used)... RangeFinderForum.com, GetDPI.com, FredMiranda.com, Photography-On-The.net, Photo.net... eBay prices are usually way inflated on these lenses, especially the rangefinder lenses.

- APSC Lenses... assuming this means for digital APS-C bodies, then not any of them will work, only those designed for Sony E-Mount or (A-Mount + LA-EA1 adapter), unless they happen to have an aperture ring for manual control (I don't know of any that do). When Conurus releases their Canon to NEX adapter the NEX will be able to control the aperture of all Canon EF and EF-S (the latter being specifically for APS-C) lenses electronically. I've almost lost interest in using any SLR lenses on the NEX, but that's just me... and of course I did say "almost" lost interest :)

- Landscape focus at infinity... that might work, then again if you want some foreground objects in the shot to be in focus, it won't work out. Learn the hyperfocal distance for your lenses at the common apertures, or get an app, or make a note :) Which brings me to...


PITFALLS of Rangefinder Lenses
A few things to consider before jumping in without having all of the facts...

- The focus scales on adapted manual focus lenses will not be accurate because of the APS-C sensor (this also applies to SLR lenses).

- Minimum focus distance with most rangefinder lenses is between .7 and .9 meters. This is much more than SLR lenses which can sometimes focus on objects a few inches from the front of the lens. There is a solution, the Hawk's helicoid adapter. It provides the means to adjust the lens-sensor distance on the fly allowing the lenses to close focus. I have not tried it yet as some users have reported problems with certain lenses not focusing properly at infinity with this adapter.

- Many rangefinder lenses 35mm or wider will have some amount of color shift that you'll probably want to fix in some or even all of the photos you take. One way is to use the Cornerfix program, which is free, but requires a separate step in processing each photo. It also requires you to be able to create DNG files (which Lightroom can do, not sure which other processing software can) as it only works with files of that type.


Why bother with rangefinder lenses then?
- Size
- Weight
- Build Quality
- Ergonomics
- Cost (arguable, some are very expensive, others not so much)
- Beyond 35mm there are no color shifting or corner smearing problems, so the 40-90mm range is full of good performers.

Edited by JacobD on 01/16/2012 22:06:25 MST.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 01/16/2012 22:10:24 MST Print View

.

Edited by JacobD on 06/11/2012 21:30:57 MDT.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Canon EF lenses for NEX on 01/18/2012 09:35:28 MST Print View

The adapter is now available, and is a joint venture between Conurus and Metabones.

http://conurus.com/sony/buy-eos-nex-adapter


I don't know how practical this is for anyone looking for a small and/or light camera system, but none the less, there it is.

Ryan Krause
(rmkrause)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
New Sigma Options on 01/18/2012 22:59:20 MST Print View

Sigma is coming out with two new options: a 19mm/2.8 and a 30mm/2.8

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/boring-lenses-coming-from-sigma-for-nex-and-a-new-alpha-mount-lens/

Ryan Krause
(rmkrause)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
The Sigma's are available now on 04/04/2012 21:41:03 MDT Print View

The Sigma's are available now - just got the notice today from B&H:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/852002-REG/Sigma_400965_19mm_f_2_8_EX_DN.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=844952&Q=&is=REG&A=ShowProduct

If you check the DPreview Sony Nex forum there are numerous threads with shared photos for both lens.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX Lenses on 05/28/2012 13:17:18 MDT Print View

Been awhile since this got a bump.

To update regarding the Sigma lenses - I know several people who have the 30 and love it. Some of the lens testing blogs have reported on the quite amazing optical performance of the 30.

I decided to give the 19 a shot to see if I might replace my CV 15 with it. I have not decided yet. The image quality is very good, but I haven't compared enough with the 15 or the kit 18-55 at that focal length.

I've been seeing some inspiring images shot with the kit lens that made me want to use it more, so I've been taking it and the 19 out with me. Unfortunately the 19 tends to stay in the bag. I mostly use the kit between 18-24mm. I really wish Sony offered a quality (or any at this point!) wide angle zoom, like a 12-24.

One thing I have taken away from using the AF lenses lately... most of the time I prefer MF operation. With the NEX adjusting the aperture via the lens is just easier and faster... no need to switch between adjusting shutter speed and aperture, much less fiddling with the control dial. I also admit that I'm not super familiar with using the AF system on the NEX :) Sometimes it comes in handy but I have gotten so used to the simple direct approach with MF that it's faster for me at this point.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Samyang 8mm Fisheye on 06/11/2012 21:37:04 MDT Print View

Looks like Samyang has an 8mm / f2.8 fish coming out for the NEX. 180 degree angle of view... could be a fun lens.

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/samyang-announces-the-8mm-f2-8-fisheye-for-the-nex-system/


Anyone else add or been lusting after any lenses for your NEX lately? I had an opportunity to purchase a Leica Wide Angle Tri Elmar for a 'good' price not too long ago but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I've seen some samples from this rare glass on the 5N, and it performs very well at each of the focal lengths, but it's a huge chunk of change to plunk down.

I've actually been tinkering with the kit lens lately. It's got pretty good sharpness from 21-28mm, and not too bad beyond that except at the extreme ends of the zoom.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 11:31:14 MDT Print View

The 5R was just announced today, looks to be an incremental improvement over the 5N. The AF is reported to be about as snappy as the OM-D (which is excellent).

http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/08/29/Sony-announces-Alpha-NEX-5R-Wi-Fi-capable-mirrorless-camera-with-hybrid-AF-and-in-camera-apps


What's more exciting to me is the NEX-6, which is rumored to be announced next month. Some photos have been leaked. Essentially this is what a lot of people wanted when the NEX-7 first released - a 5N in a 7 body. The sensor should be much friendlier with alternative lenses than that of the NEX-7.

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/tag/nex-6/


We are also supposed to get an 11-18mm zoom (or at least an announcement) for it sometime this year. This is probably the most exciting news of all since native lenses have been scarce.

Edited by JacobD on 08/29/2012 11:32:48 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 12:59:21 MDT Print View

Jacob,

Thanks for the update....I was just searching around for new info on what the next version of the NEX will be.

The 11-18 mm zoom lens sounds like it would be perfect for outdoors shots in the Sierras.

-Tony

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: NEX 5R and 6 on 08/29/2012 16:04:14 MDT Print View

Hi Tony.

If you're still in the market for a mirrorless, then you'll probably want to wait until at least the 5R is out. There's a big photo show/event coming at the end of Sept which is where just about all of the major annoucements for the year are made by all the manufacturers; I think Sony will have both of the new NEX's ready to show off, and I'm hoping a new lens or two.

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F
Not that exciting... on 08/29/2012 17:10:55 MDT Print View

5R is not any better for landscape photographers/travel than 5n. The major improvement is the focusing system. The apps are nothing more than a gimmick.

6R will be interesting, but again - the design defeats the purpose. A new hot shoe mount (rumor) and still large lenses just kill the appeal of NEX for light-weight travelers. At this point, Sony RX100 is a better choice.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/29/2012 17:34:58 MDT Print View

I picked up a NEX 5n about 6 months ago and have been slowly learning my way around its various settings and options as well as putting together a small collection of native mount lenses and adapters. So far, I'm very pleased with the results from the camera. I find the image quality to often times exceed my expectations (of course I'm coming from a Canon G10 as opposed to a full size DSLR) and I appreciate that I can carry a kit of several lenses and adapters in a relatively small, lightweight package.

Anyway, here's my current collection of lenses along with some general thoughts.

SEL 18-55 kit lens
SEL 16mm f2.8 pancake lens
SEL 55-210 lens
Sigma 30mm f.28 pancake lense

SEL Fisheye Adapter (for 16mm)
SEL Wide Angle Adapter (for 16mm)
Raynox DCR-250 Macro lens
Panasonic 1.7x Telephoto Conversion lens (telextender)

Overall, I'm happy with this kit at the moment. The kit lens has been a pleasant surprise and has been servicable for me. The 16mm pancake works fine (with certain well known limitations) and the two adapters for it are a lot of fun to play with. The Sigma 30 is excellent, especially for its price. The 55-210 has also produced very acceptable image quality for me. Combining the 55-210 with the 1.7x telextender gets a little unwieldy and suffers from vignetting and light issues at certain times but once you learn its limitations, it can produce some good results with an impressive amount of reach in a small(ish), light(ish) and inexpensive package. I haven't played around much with the Raynox yet, but so far I find it works very well with the Sigma 30. I've had a little trouble using it with the other lenses though (particularly the 55-210). I think the next lens I'd want to add would be a faster lens, something around 1.8 (or faster), just undecided on the desired focal length.

Anyway, here's a couple of recent non-hiking examples (downsized in quality/size). All shot this weekend while escorting for a friend's 32-mile paddleboard race. I enjoy the versatility of my collection of lenses:

55-210 w/ 1.7x telextender, shot using in-camera tilt shift mode:


16mm + wide angle adapter:


Sigma 30 using in-camera BW setting:


Sigma 30 using in-camera tilt shift setting:


55-210 + 1.7x telextender at 1600 iso:


18-55 kit lens:

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/29/2012 19:13:02 MDT Print View

Nick, nice summary on the 5N. I liked your 2nd 3rd images.

I've had my 5N going on a year now and have found it to be an excellent camera for travel and landscape use. I guess after using it for a while I feel like it's a well rounded system if you take advantage of alternative lenses, or perhaps a middle of the road system with native lenses.

I DO think it's quite a light and compact system, but then I'm not a P&S user. Although the lenses aren't as small as some of the four-thirds lenses, they're still quite light. While wearing my camera across my chest I can fit several lenses, extra batt, and remote in a ZPacks hip belt pouch.

I still mostly use my rangefinder lenses with it. Their size, feel, and image quality is hard to beat. Sometimes I feel like having AF and grab the 18-55 kit or the Sigma 19.

We had considered replacing my wife's digital Rebel with an OM-D but have been holding off. A NEX 6 might end up being the replacement depending on how it performs.


These are not my shots, but thought I would link it anyway, 5N travel photos with various rangefinder lenses (and converted Contax G lenses)
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1144124

and of course the NEX Images thread, which is over 400 pages now! (It was under 100 when this thread was started)
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/969329

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Nex 5N Impressions on 08/30/2012 05:59:42 MDT Print View

I bought a Nex 5N last October and an SLT A77 in January. I have a large variety of lenses for both cameras, including quite a few older manual focus Minolta Rokkor lenses. I have the viewfinder for the Nex 5N, which I almost never remove. When I'm backpacking, my preference is to take the Nex 5N, most often with just the 18-55 lens. The rumored lenses for the Nex look interesting. I agree that the 5R doesn't look especially interesting for landscape photography over the 5N. It's strongest advantage seems to be the AF, which could be very fast (could be useful for wildlife). I often take the A77 for day hikes and some backpacking trips. It weighs a lot more but the A77 has a GPS. I like that. It also has the electronic level, which I find useful for the panorama shots. I like the in-camera HDR and the panorama capability of the Nex. Both are quite useful. I agree that the RX100 looks interesting for super lightweight backpacking. However, right now I'm satisfied with the Nex 5N when I want to lighten my load.

Links to August backpacking photos are below. Almost all were taken with the Nex 5N and the 18-55mm kit lens. The star picture at the cirque was taken with a Minolta Rokkor 24mm F2.8 lens.

Backpacking in the Southern Wind Rivers Range: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigshelley/sets/72157631023011344/

Backpacking in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigshelley/sets/72157630877660704/

Here's a variety of pictures I've taken while hiking with one camera or the other: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150783702298001.418507.672508000&type=3

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Nex 5N Impressions on 08/30/2012 08:16:59 MDT Print View

Craig, fantastic set of photos. You just made my mind up for me that I need to prioritize getting into the Wind Rivers Range next year! 04147 was my favorite.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Nex 5N on 08/30/2012 09:59:11 MDT Print View

It was the first time I've been to the Wind Rivers. I plan on going back next year too. It is a fantastic place.

I should mention that I've used p&s cameras for the last ten years and waterproof p&S cameras for the last 7 years (I think that is when Pentax came out with waterproof models) - except the last 10 months or so that I've had the Nex 5N and A77. After quite a bit of research last year, I decided to go with the Nex 5N for my hiking. I bought the A77 largely for other purposes as I became immersed in photography over the last 10 months since getting the Nex.

In my younger life I was a photography enthusiast (I'm 60 now). The 5N with the viewfinder is an excellent camera. But I don't have experience with any of the Micro 4/3 rds cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, which looks impressive. I'm pretty committed now with all the lenses I bought for the Sony systems. However, it looks like Sony is pushing the envelope with it's cameras. I'm not disappointed with my choice at all.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 08/30/2012 10:14:57 MDT Print View

Great shots Craig! Like Jacob, I really want to get out to the Winds sometime!

I'm intrigued by the idea of getting some faster, better quality lenses for the NEX. I at one time had a small collection of canon lenses but lost them all in a theft about a decade ago, so when I decided to commit to the NEX system, I was starting from scratch. The native E-mount lens options were lacking but I was really impressed with everything else about the NEX line itself. In a hurry to build up a quick collection of basic lenses that could get me up and running, I chose to stay within the native mount offerings rather than taking the time/expense to research other options.

But now for future lens purchases, I'm willing to consider picking up older MF and/or rangefinder lenses, but I'll be honest, I'm not sure how best to figure out what I'm looking for or where to find them.

Do you guys who go this route tend to stick with one brand or mount-type so that you can get by with just having one adapter or am I concievably looking at having to purchase multiple adapters to fit multiple other mounts? Any recs on which other mounts work best on the NEX?

Thanks for the help. Glad to see this thread is still going.

Craig Shelley
(craig_shelley) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Older lenses for Nex on 08/30/2012 10:32:36 MDT Print View

Jacob has a spreadsheet listed earlier on this topic. It's useful.

I decided to focus on Minolta lenses. The focus peaking feature of the Nex is very nice for using these lenses. There are many sources on the internet. Here's a good site for old minolta lenses: http://www.rokkorfiles.com

I've also checked eBay completed listings so I could build up a database on pricing. It's really a time-consuming task to decide on old lenses and buy them. I'm not sure I recommend it. Of course I always want to pay less than the lens has recently sold for (finding a good lens like the 24mm F2.8 in a bunch of junk on eBay is rewarding but it takes too much time).

You might just want to see what lenses Sony introduces next month for e-Mount.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Older lenses for Nex on 08/30/2012 11:27:54 MDT Print View

I'd agree with Craig to wait until the end of Sept and see what Sony announces. The 11-18 (or whatever the ultrawide zoom turns out to be) could be a promising lens. If Sony screws it up... well lets just hope they don't!

If the ultrawide zoom is a winner, I'll be moving away from my CV 15mm, and maybe a step closer to moving away from using rangefinder lenses all together (we'll see).

Here's the spreadsheet that Craig mentioned.

It includes SLR and rangefinder lenses. Not a complete reference by any means, but encompasses a lot of the small-ish lenses, and some not so small/light. If you have an idea of the focal lengths that you want it should give you some ideas. You can find lenses for sale on eBay, photo forums also work. GetDPI and Rangefinder Forum have classifieds, as well as Fred Miranda, Photography on the Net, and Photo.net.

Someone on Fred Miranda maintains a lens price database which he updates yearly (or more often) I don't have a link handy unfortunatley. Google maybe.

I also have a little more info here.
http://hikeitlikeit.com/2012/photography-and-backpacking-8/

Ad far as what works etc... pretty much anything with the 5N. If you end up looking at any RF lenses wider than 35mm do some research before buying as they may have issues with color shifting and detail smearing. SLR lenses don't have that issue.

Edited by JacobD on 08/30/2012 11:42:31 MDT.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
flagged on 08/31/2012 14:37:03 MDT Print View

.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Sony 10-18 on 09/06/2012 07:55:30 MDT Print View

The rumor mill says the ultrawide zoom for the NEX is will be available in Nov (2012). Reportedly, it will be a 10-18mm f4 constant aperture lens with a street price of around $800. Steep price tag. Sounds like it's a high quality lens; constant aperture isn't usually found in 'consumer grade' lenses... that may mean it's going to be quite large also.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
New NEX Lenses on 09/12/2012 08:04:54 MDT Print View

The new lenses are in the store (pre-order only).

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=8198552921644718503

The 16-50 pancake is interesting, however reports suggest this is going to be a new 'kit lens'. I don't expect the quality of it to be better than the current 18-55, but who knows.

The "52.5mm" 1.8 is actually a 35mm 1.8, not sure why they decided to list the equivalent focal length of that lens.

The 10-18 is larger than the kit lens, but not as large as I imagined. It's actually about the size of the 18-55 kit lens. Same length, 1/2 inch wider at the widest diameter, and 1.1 ounces heavier. The 62mm filter is sort of a downer, but it is an UWA zoom afterall.




So what do you guys think? The wide angle zoom we've been waiting for is finally here. Is it too large? Is it too expensive? A NEX + 10-18 essentially makes for a $1400 P&S with an excellent sensor and the option of adding additional lenses and/or VF. In the camp next door is the RX100 for $650 with a longer (but not as wide) zoom lens, smaller sensor, no lens options, smaller overall package, and about 4 ounces lighter.

Sony definetly gives us some things to think about, and this is not to mention the RX1 (which is quite a niche machine)!

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: New NEX Lenses on 09/12/2012 14:21:25 MDT Print View

Jacob,

Thanks for being the go to guy on the NEX system.

The new 16-50mm lens really makes the NEX appealing for backpacking as the general do everything lens that I would likely take on the trail.

Two issues that I have with the NEX are:

1. Having to mess around with switching lenses on the trail

2. Not being pocketable

The smaller 16-50mm lens make the NEX more appealing.

However, the RX100 is likely the better choice because of the form factor...is is a pocket camera with a larger sensor.

The question is this....does anyone have photos they took with the RX100 that they can post here so we can compare the image quality of both cameras?

Is the NEX5 that much better than the RX100 to warrant the extra bulk?

The negative to the RX100 is the high cost...getting awefully close to the NEX5, but buying extra lenses will be the cost killer for the NEX vs. RX100.

For me, given that I might be completely fine with just using the 16-50mm lenses, might not be an issue.

Anyway, my circular thinking keeps going and going and going.....

-Tony

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: Re: New NEX Lenses on 09/13/2012 08:34:39 MDT Print View

Tony, at web sizes the RX100 looks as good as the next thing. As tempting as it is to compare it to other cameras, I wouldn't do that. Take it for what it is, a high end P&S with a sensor that rivals or bests anything else in the P&S world. If you want a camera to take great pics of your trips, the RX100 should satisfy.

If you have some specific reason to want a NEX that's another story of course.

The 16-50 has not been proven yet. Judging by the size, weight, and price it might not be any better than the 18-55 kit lens, and still not a very pocket sized system.

It seems like the RX100 may be the answer for you.

Edited by JacobD on 09/13/2012 08:35:56 MDT.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sony NEX Lens Impressions on 09/13/2012 09:11:05 MDT Print View

The 16-50 is appealing for its very low weight and wider angle than the 18-55. If it's as good as the latter I'll be very happy with it. I've been using the 18-55 for two years, on the NEX 5 and then the NEX 7, and it's a fine lens.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: 16-50 on 09/18/2012 15:40:44 MDT Print View

Hey Chris. I think the kit lens is pretty good too (for a kit lens anyway). At 24mm it's hard to beat for the cost. Not terrible at 18mm either.

Some early sample photos I saw from the new 16-50 looked very promising. At 16mm I'd say it easily looked better than the 16/2.8.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Zeiss to release AF lenses for NEX on 09/18/2012 15:45:09 MDT Print View

So the latest interesting development, Zeiss will be releasing a new line of lenses specifically for APS-C mirrorless cameras. NEX E-Mount is included among these, and the lenses will have AF to boot!

Ultimately, this should be awesome. Sounds like the first of them will trickle out summer 2013. Long way off... enough time to get ready for the sticker shock.

http://blogs.zeiss.com/photo/en/?p=2864

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
rx100 vs. nex kit on 09/20/2012 06:49:03 MDT Print View

I'm considering the rx100 vs. nex 5r and 16-50 for backpacking too, and I came across this comparison of the nex 7 with kit vs. the rx100

http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/p66599906

Obviously the kit lens doesn't do the nex-7 justice, but that there is any comparison is pretty impressive. I opened the files up in photoshop, and some I guessed wrong. Nex with kit has the slight edge at widish angles, but not by much. RX100 has a huge advantage at telephoto.

Now just waiting to see some sample images from the 16-50. Anyone have any links? thanks.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: rx100 vs. nex kit on 09/20/2012 08:09:58 MDT Print View

Serge, if your primary interest is using the kit lens, then you're probably best off with the RX100.

The NEX 18-55 is not a bad lens, it's best in the middle of its range and worst at the long end. There were just one or two sample photos I saw from the 16-50 and I don't have a link handy, but at 16mm it looked better than either the 16/2.8 or 18-55 @18mm, in my opinion. By better, I mean much better detail in the corners.

Unless you need high iso (or plan on lifting shadows much in post), thin depth of field, or interchangeable lenses, the RX100 makes a lot of sense.

Serge G.
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
thanks jacob on 09/21/2012 00:35:25 MDT Print View

your talking good sense. As someone who hasn't taken a camera out backpacking for a while, I can see the lighter smaller RX getting brought along more often. I was working as a photographer for a while, but I really like the casual nature of just 'taking snaps' rather than really 'working' a scene, especially on fast and light trips.

Curious to see how that 16-50 works out. Sony is certainly stepping up to the plate. Sort of makes other camera co's look bad.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Fujian 35mm ƒ/1.7 CCTV Lens on 12/05/2012 23:30:38 MST Print View

I just picked up a lens originally designed for security cameras from Amazon for $30. (edit: can't get html link to work, so here it is:)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004WIK6KU/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789
&creative=390957&tag=kylmey-20&creativeASIN=B004WIK6KU&linkCode=as2

I just got it tonight and, in short, it's amazing! It comes with an adapter for your NEX camera and looks ridiculously small and out of place when it's on. It weighs 4.9oz with the adapter, lens cap, and rear lens cap (not included), so it's perfect for a second lens.

It's performance is really strange and makes for delightful photos, especially wide open. It's sharp in the center and soft on the left and right sides, giving a bit of a tilt-shift look to photographs. If you search the internet for this lens, you can see many examples of really interesting photos that result.

Definitely worth the $30 for a 52mm (effective) large aperture manual focus lens.

Edited by kylemeyer on 12/05/2012 23:33:35 MST.

Matthew Marasco
(BabyMatty) - F

Locale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
re: on 12/08/2012 21:25:02 MST Print View

I'll second that, I love the CCTV lens on the NEX 5n. I recently got a Canon FD 50/1.4, but before that I rarely took that lil guy off. It's so light! It makes for some interesting shots, and I find the bokeh to be pleasing.