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Sony NEX 5

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:20 pm
by samael9
OK, So after researching everything written on the subject of small cameras, I finally decided to buy a NEX5. I wanted a 7D and all the L glass to go with it, but after lugging around a 1D Mk II for several years, my right arm and wrist had other ideas. The Panasonic DMC-GH2 was the first preference, but at the time I wanted to make a purchase, I could not get one as they were n/a, from anyone, B&H included.

There are some great reviewers out there, such as the almighty DP Review, etc. But, the most *real* reviewer that I found was Steven Huff (see: Cool, intelligent, hilariously funny with lots of great insights and a measured dose of pragmatism. He didn't entirely love the NEX, but was very clear about its strengths and weaknesses. He is a bone-fide Leica M9 guy, so it would be very hard to impress him with a $700.00 digi. However, it was ultimately the size and configurability which was the deal-maker for the 5. Being inconspicuous in Central America is an art form in and of itself. I'm not so worried about getting hit and run for my camera, it's just that an inconspicuous Gringo is more welcomed than a brash 1D-anything-swinging guy-with-camera. Think non-invasive, non-threatening or unobtrusive.

Yet, having been spoiled by my dear old 1D, I wanted something better than my old buddy, a magnesium-bodied Canon G10 (which I am keeping, btw). The G12, which I got to play with is indeed an awesome little piece, but the sensor size is so small. When you go to shoot @ telephoto, and the subject is far away, the IQ falls off sharply when zoomed in. Granted, with the Panasonic/Olympus line up, the lens choices get pretty juicy from the lofty makers like Leica, Voigtlander and even the OEM stuff is fairly pro-esque.

Sony went south with the 16mm f2.8 fixed (no image stabilization) and the 18-55mm f3.5. They're OK, but don't really show off the 5's goodies. I have one of Sony's 18-200mm f3.5 zooms, and this is where the NEX5 fun begins. Not too quick in the focusing dept., but hey, I'm in Costa Rica where everything is muy tranquilo (chill, in English). When they come up with a phat 50mm f1.whatever, I'm buying.

Meanwhile, you need TWO BATTERIES. Yup, she sucks 'em dry in no time. TWO... got it? Got Big Hands? Forget it. It takes time to get used to the button config and not accidentally initiate movie capture while trying to get that priceless shot. Many have whined about the menu system. I find that it works really quite well. But again, if you are bringing your old paradigm in with you when you play with this svelte and sexy shooter, you'll be disappointed and/or frustrated. If you expect greatness and don't cough up the spare change ($800.00 or so) for the 18-200, what you'll get are good shots, out of focus shots and everywhere in between with great file sizes. This camera is *different* than anything I've ever shot with, but that's precisely what makes the adventure so much fun. Sony didn't get to be Sony by doing things poorly, and they chose to do it different with the NEX5.

In the days ahead, I'll put up galleries of stuff I've been shooting. I would love to see other NEX3/5 owners join in the festivities as well! This could be a cult-camera... who knows.

With the advent of Sony's a-mount lens adapter, you can mount other Sony glass. At Steven Huff Photography, he's played with lots of other interesting lens setups, with equally interesting results!

Oh yes... Hat's off to David Holmes Photography for creating his Aperture to Pbase Uploader (see: Oh, the joy of automation :lol:

Happy Monday-Happing Shooting! 8)


Re: Sony NEX 5

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:26 pm
by samael9
Here's a link to a gallery of random shots taken with the 5, using mostly the 18-200mm f3.5. There are some images taken with the 18-55mm f3.5 as well.

I've found that shooting in RAW is the way to go (naturally) and not surprising. The jpg compression in-camera is good, but the file conversion in Aperture 3 is better by far.

As far as settings go... I use shutter priority most all the time in daylight. It gives me the easiest and most accessible control over exposure. I also keep it set to center as far as AF goes. It's easier to get an AF lock on the subject and then compose the shots. In "intelligent auto" (not always too intelligent) the AF doesn't always find the subject and will either fwd or back focus, leaving things a little less than crisp. Also, in IA mode, you always have to adjust for background blur (lens aperture). By default, it will return to the lowest f/stop. This means that you need to check your scene and adjust the setting (easy to do, as it is always on the display in IA). But... if you are in an excited state of mind/capture, it's easy to forget to check. Thanks, Sony. Back to S-Priorty mode.

The anti-motion blur feature for shooting in low light is Phenomenal! 6 successive images composited in-camera yields some super juicy images.

It would be really cool if Sony made a battery grip to clip on the bottom plate like Canon, etc. does with its 5 & 7D's. It would be Soooo worth it. Meanwhile, I love this little camera. It's really a lot of fun.

It's nice to see that there's other NEX5 shooters posting stuff :P Paco's lens test are wonderful and really shows the flexibility of this body: He also has a gallery up using the SLR Magic 35mm lens:
(Ebay: ... 942wt_1141)

Re: Sony NEX 5

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:00 pm
by samael9
So, it's been about 6 weeks living and working with this little baby APS-C camera... In all honesty, my old Canon G10 focused faster and the new G12 is even better. When the NEX5 nails the focus, there's no comparison, in terms of IQ against the G10. None. The video is truly great on the NEX5, especially with the inclusion of Sony's dedicated external mics. To get the best out of the NEX, you really have to use it well, meaning knowing about exposure and how to control it. I personally find the menu system very easy to work with, now that I've learned it. Taking low light shots is easy and produces some really warm and wonderful images. Like everyone says, and I agree, composing a shot in bright light is very difficult on the screen; point and pray... An EVF feels like an inevitability, as we don't really know how much usability the dedicated accessory plug has, until Sony announces it. It would seem like a natural extension of what the system has to offer, in terms of potentiality.

Shooting fast moving subjects is also hit or miss. This thing focuses fairly quickly, but it will not impress a seasoned DSLR user. But, this is the case with any P&S camera. It can be done, but it takes a lot of concentration and *anticipation* to get the subject locked and sharp. Not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your shooting style. My old 1D MkII was quick, and the newer 1D's are even faster focusers. Manual focusing on the NEX is cool, provided you have the time to do it, and the clarity of vision in the LCD screen.

Having only the 16mm f2.8 as the only piece of e-mount "fast glass" is kind of *too bad*. Although, things are moving in the e-mount world with Zeiss and others announcing product becoming available in the not-too-distant future...

What I would like to see:
A Sony-designed or similar EVF *or* a hoodie with loupe for the screen ( makes one, but not a dedicated NEX unit.
A high quality 24-70mm f2.8 IS zoom (think: Canon L IS USM)
A high quality 50mm f1.2-ish prime
**Could you make 'em in BLACK, Sony? Pretty please?!?!?**
External mic jack
Battery grip with secondary shutter button (for portrait)

My conclusion: This is a wonderful piece to work with, despite its minor idiosyncrasies. It feels good to hold with the smaller lenses, but using the 18-200 takes some getting used to; using a different set of muscle (motor) skills to oppose the force needed to zoom the lens in and out *while* maintaining shot composition. The ability to change lenses makes this camera what it is. The G12 is super easy to use and captures beautifully at closer distances, but falls apart when the subject is farther away. Also, when working with RAW files (which is always how I capture) zooming in to 100% in Aperture 3 reveals nice detail, most of the time. Such was not the case with the G10. The image was inexcusably messy at 100% and made cropping a sorry exercise. Noise levels are decent in low light-high ISO on the NEX. Only at the farthest extreme do things get nasty enough to forget about trying.

Having never been a mainstream type anyway, this rig fits me well. I live in Central America, where being low-key has its merits. It's very easy to be stealthy on the street with the NEX and not draw too much attention... I see people all the time swinging DSLR's around in San Jose and more rural areas, and they look so out of place, not to mention they scream: WooHoo! I've got a big camera! Lots of money, too! Please steal me!

Size, APS-C sensor, interchangeable lenses, AVCHD 1080i video. Yup, I'm in love.

Re: Sony NEX 5

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:26 am
by samael9
So... Is the NEX5 the next great sports shooter? Nope. But, with the 18-200mm mounted shooting at approximately 150' it's not too bed either!
Sorry about the dust spots in the frames. My bad... should have cleaned everything before heading to the beach. Very little correction on these in Aperture, never even opened P/Shop.



Re: Sony NEX 5

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:38 pm
by samael9
Things moving slower in Granada than out in the waves. All images are straight off the camera with no post.