Sony NEX Lens Impressions
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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