Sony NEX Lens Impressions
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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 ยต4/3.

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.