From "a bar of soap" to my system of choice.

Discussion in 'Sony E-Mount (incl. NEX, A7, A7R, A3000) Forum' started by soundimageplus, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Unlike you, I liked the Nex 5 pretty much right away, at least once I'd updated the firmware to version 3. I loved the handling, found the operations just fine once I'd customized the buttons to my liking. And I was very impressed with the sensor in that camera. Although I'm not much of a pixel peeper, just working with the files seemed a lot easier with more DR and much more latitude. I suspect I'd be even more impressed with the 5N sensor. And for a camera BODY, the Nex 7 basically has the exact features I'd want in a camera - I wish the EP3 could turn into an EP4 with the same feature set. But I'm less sure about the 24mp sensor. I haven't used one, but everything I've read suggests the 16mp sensor in the 5n and the lower A-series cameras (I'm not up on them, A65 maybe???) may be the sweet spot in APS sensors, at least so far. Then again, the 12mp sensor in the X100 turns out the best results of any camera I've owned thus far, so as you say, its not necessarily about the mp so much as the quality.

    I got out of Nex because of the size of the lenses. The 16mm isn't bad, but everything else on the previous roadmap was bigger than I wanted to deal with, given the excellent lenses now available for m43. And I don't see myself wanting the Zeiss 24 f1.8 as long as a similar package is around in the X100. If Nex continues to improve its cameras and is serious about coming out with some smaller pancake type lenses, I might give them another look in another couple of years, depending on all of the other variables. For now, I'm very happy with m43 as a primary system and a couple of other "specialty" cameras. If I was a professional and had to concern myself with the finer points of image quality, as you do, I might very well make a different choice. But I'm not, and I love the compact nature of the m43 gear I'm shooting with to consider the current or near-future Nex options. But I never say never!

    Glad you're liking this system. I'll be interested to see where you are in another six months though!

    -Ray
     
  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    David, many thanks for posting your links and your transformation into a NEXite. No matter which camera and lens combinations you employ, I always enjoy your photographs, as well as your "conversion" stories. I've always appreciated your ability to change your opinions along the way...never say never, right? Once a "bar of soap" to a trusted and admired camera system.:drinks:

    So when is the NEX 7 arriving?
     
  3. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    I'm somewhat perverse in that I actually like the size of the lenses. I'm actually more comfortable with them than with something smaller.

    6 months is a lifetime in terms of my cameras!!

    Whenever they are available, though that might be some time with the Thailand tragedy.

    This "disposable income" is due to my having sold my Leica M9. Wonderful camera but an economic disaster. I worked out recently that it cost me £1 every time I pressed the shutter!! I was either going to have to use it more or sell it. Since it never covered everything I shoot, I chose the latter. Leica being Leica, when I took my tax allowances into consideration I broke even, so not a bad outcome.

    The big thing that made me a NEX enthusiast was the viewfinder. Suddenly I had a different camera. Felt different, responded better, allowed me to shoot in the way I'm comfortable with. Suddenly those big lenses got smaller, lighter and easier. Holding a NEX with the 18-200mm on it, braced against my head looking through the (extremely wonderful) OLED viewfinder is totally different to holding it out in front of myself and squinting in sunlight to see the screen. No its not a compact size and weight, but its not a DSLR either. And I must admit I'm falling in love with those metallic tubes that Sony call lenses. Sleek, minimalist and beautifully engineered, they are a treat to use.

    On Rays point about the 5n sensor, I'm using an a77 as well, and while its very useful for me to have the large files size for my stock sales etc. I think the 5n sensor produces sharper cleaner files. Blowing up the 5n files to a77 size, I can't really see a difference. However I work in a field where size does matter and I'm able to sell an a77 file for more than a 5n file, since a lot of places where I sell my work won't accept interpolated files. The fact that these larger files may not be as good is unfortunately irrelevant.

    Since the NEX-7 has the same sensor as the a77, I'm expecting the files to look much the same. Personally I prefer the 5n images, or m4/3, as they look sharper and cleaner, but then peole like pixels, or at least the people I sell to do.
     
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  4. Bill Gordon

    Bill Gordon SC Regular

    I have read your review of the camera and the lenses and then I had a look at the images that you illustrate the quality of the system.......really...it isn't the system that created those beautiful images it was the photographer......any camera in your hands will produce great images. I have always said that it is the person behind the camera that is responsible for great photographs, not the camera.
     
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  5. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    First of all, thank you. I do appreciate your kind comments. I would of course agree with you, how could I not!, but as a photographer I do have to be "comfortable" with what I use, and also feel that the camera is producing a flle that will "do justice" if you like to what I saw. For me thats probably the main reason I go for one system over another.

    Michael Reichmann (a man I quote often) wrote a piece where he said that there is probably very little qualititive difference between a lot of cameras. The important thing is how you relate to them in terms of handling, responsiveness layout etc.

    For me thats always been the problem. I've never yet in the digital field found the "perfect" camera, that suited me and the way I work. Thats the main reason I chop and change so much. That the NEX 5n is currently my best solution is a surprise to me, since when I tried a NEX-5 I hated it. Not the IQ, far from it, just the handling.

    Yesterday I went out photographing with the 5n and at the end of it realised that for the first time in a long time, I was back pain free. Whether this has anything to do with the lighter body, lens heavier set up I don't know, but it was an interesting discovery.

    Now, rambling back to your original point, I might be able to produce a decent snap on an iPhone, but I really wouldn't be happy with it, because of the inadequacies of the format, and of course I do have my living to think of. So the pieces on the blog are about this functional fit and my endless quest for the small, light, yet beautifully handllng camera system with the stunning IQ. I think I've got in my head some ridiculous notion that once I find this photographic "holy grail" I will be able to throw off these imaginery shackles that my less than satisfactory gear is imposing on me, and soar like a bird in creative terms. Total nonsense of course, since I'll probably be taking the same old stuff.

    However, I've always taken this sense of disatisfaction and used it to experiment with lots of different cameras and lenses and therefore constantly challenge myself to come up with the goods, with what I mistakenly I'm sure, perceive to be an unsatisfactory solution. Its probably the case that once I get my hands on something I see as 100% compatible for me , my standard of work will promptly nosedive, so maybe its good that I'll never reach that goal. I suspect I'll never find out anyway.
     
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  6. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    David, I know you're not alone in enjoying the challenges of something new nor feeling dissatisfaction with various cameras, but I sincerely doubt that your photographs are ever going to take that nosedive.:wink:
     
  7. AzPete

    AzPete SC Veteran

    404
    Dec 24, 2010
    This conversation is interesting. Bill said it best I believe. You are a talented person David. And even an iphone in your hands (God forbid) would do wonders.
    But you are right, you have a business to take care of and that makes a huge difference. But good luck in your effort (I believe it will be fruitless) to find that
    one system that you can live with. I only say it like that because I could never be satisfied with all the new and better stuff coming out now-a-days.
    Cheers,
    Pete
     
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  8. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    Thank you also. It is genuinely appreciated.
     
  9. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Stephen
    Very interesting.

    In some of my shooting I have hit the limit with my current M4/3, and am not convinced that future iterations will deliver. My preference would be to have one camera system. I also want a built-in VF. Nex is looking increasingly attractive. I have long hesitated because of the lens size, especially compared to the M4/3 primes. But in watching a recent video review of the Nex 7 and the 24, I was pleasantly surprised at how compact and unobtrusive the gear was in the users hands.

    This is the review referred to above: it's actually not much of a detailed review, but it really shows the size and balance of the Nex 7:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2waPaTwM94
     
  10. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    It's always interesting to me -- folks who expression passion about new systems, yet switch them regularly, though I can understand the "new gear" experience driving fresh productivity. There are a lot of good photographers, who are good at their craft, yet switch gear often (more than I can keep up with, at any rate :)

    For me, I need a fast 50 (or normal lens), so I can't touch NEX until they deliver that. I've not liked the Panny 20/1.7 that much, but I just picked up the PL25/1.4, and it's really helped me settle in. I'm getting a 3D "pop" that I haven't had since my 5D.

    Until Sony produces an AF 35/1.4 (or at least a 35/2, and either with preferably close focus), I won't be doing anything more than dabbling with NEX.

    Good luck with your new system, and I'll be watching your blog and posts for more great photos!
     
  11. Pelao

    Pelao SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Stephen
    Yes, I wish Sony would cover the 50 territory. Nice to hear you are pleased with the 25 - your comment in comparison with the 5D is especially telling.

    After film I only changed gear type once, from DSLR (Canon) to M4/3. I had both for a while, but decided to narrow things to push my skills a bit and sold my Canon FF stuff.

    As I wrote elsewhere, the M4/3 limits are hitting a bit, and I am keeping an eye out for an addition or replacement. I am in no hurry though, and am curious about the Fuji rumours.

    Right now though, the Nex 7 has me more curious than any camera in a long time.
     
  12. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Real Name:
    Kyle Krug
    I always enjoy reading your blog, David, and I thought your explanation of why you went NEX was expressed very well. It sounds like you gave a lot of thought to your decision and it would be hard to argue based on your needs! But what does the crystal ball say about 2012? We have CSC announcements/releases coming from Fuji, Canon and possibly even Pentax/Ricoh.

    Outside of your needs, yes a smaller sensor will never be able to deliver the same performance (i.e., mpx, DR, noise) as a larger one. A smaller sensor-based CSC, though, will also always be able to operate with a smaller lens versus one based on a larger sensor. I don't see that as evidence that m4/3 has stalled.
     
  13. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran S.C. Charter Member

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    As I said, for my particular purposes and preference, I'm not that concerned about smaller. Lighter yes.

    I'm just wondering where m4/3 can go from here, other than improving on what is there already. More lenses - great. Slowly improving sensor performance - great. But do you see their version of the Fuji X100, the Sony NEX-7? A camera that gets everybodys attention and creates a real buzz. Both of those cameras have created a huge demand, and yet the people who essentially started this whole CSC thing off are coming out with Pen Lite and GX1.

    I don't know about you, but I'm very much convinced that Panasonic, and to a certain extent Olympus, see their future as producing what might be described as "superior compacts". Also I feel that photographers like myself and the people who are involved here don't really figure in their future plans. I may well be wrong but they seem to be have some mass point and shooter upgrader market in their sights and are ignoring, to a large extent, the enthusiast market that championed them so strongly.

    The two companies are in different situations. As far as Olympus is concerned, who knows? The situation there could go in any number of directions. If the allegations are true, then the Olympus camera division, often quoted as loss making, could well cease to exist. Whether it gets picked up by another company is anybodys guess.

    There's no doubt m4/3 is a quality system, that what attracted me to it in the first place, but I can't say I've got any sense of anticipation any more as to what they might come up with, which is not true of what was going on a while ago.

    I don't doubt that they will continue to sell cameras, nor do I doubt that those cameras will do a good job, but certainly speaking for myself, my expectations have been raised by others and I see an innovative and market leading system becoming bogged down in a cycle of recycling and gadgetry to mask the fact that the system isn't really significantly evolving or improving.

    When I had a G1 and an E-P1, I always thought that it would be m4/3 that came out with the X100 and NEX-7 type cameras. That retro (ish) upmarket, highly specified, rangefinder styled lightweight DSLR alternative seemed to be almost an inevitable step from Panasonic, with their technology and Olympus with their style. That other companies have gone in that direction while the two originators are just restyling and accessorising is disappointing to me.

    However, ultimately it doesn't matter that much. I have no loyalty to any brand an I'm perfectly happy to go elsewhere if it suits me. If Panasonic in particular are wedded to the idea of small at all costs, then fine, I'm sure there are many who will appreciate what they come up with and those who don't will go looking for what they want somewhere else, as I have done.
     
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  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I don't think Olympus and Panasonic would be bringing out the quality (and priced accordingly) glass they've been producing recently if they were ignoring the enthusiast. I think they're betting on sensor advancements bringing m43 IQ up to the very impressive levels that APS is at today a lot sooner than physics will change enough for the folks betting on APS to produce a truly compact system. I think we might have to define our terms too. In my eyes, I'm an "enthusiast". You, OTOH, are a professional. I'm happy with image quality that's very good but not quite good enough to get into the magazines and stock houses you submit your work to. As a professional, you have to care about that last percentage point or two. I'd guess that m43 IQ will get to the level that both Sony and Fuji have been at over the past year or two, maybe or maybe not to the level that Sony is approaching with its new sensors. But at a certain point, good "enough" for the vast majority of "enthusiasts". Its already good enough for a lot of us! And, for sure, APS will continue to get better too, but at a certain point, the differences get too small to matter. As they're starting to between the best of APS and the almost-best of full frame.

    So I suspect both the m43 crowd and the APS crowd are going after a growing and somewhat overlapping audience. Some will value that last .XX% of IQ over being truly compact, others will value even smaller size over that last dwindling percentage of IQ. You and I already fall on opposite sides of that line, but in time I think m43 probably gets good enough for it to get a lot blurrier on the IQ differences but probably easy to spot on the "compactness" front. Now, if Sony can produce really good glass for the APS world in more of a pancake form, the equation changes, but I suspect if they come out with more compromised lenses like the 16 (which I was OK with but many weren't), it'll just confuse people as to what they're going for.

    Time will tell though. In any case, we've never had more good choices and I expect over the next few years, the choices are only gonna get both qualitatively and quantitatively better...

    And you'll make ANY of it look good!

    -Ray
     
  15. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    David, as always you speak for many with the right thoughts and words.
    I think the future is in the APS-C format. Of course Sony will lead the pack as they have proven over and over they are more than capable of turning out a camera that works well.

    If Sony could adopt the Ricoh interface and design ethic, well that would be the camera.
    I am with the GXR for many reasons I discovered by accident.
    The sensor delivers better then expected and compared to m43, there is no comparison.
    I loved my Nex 5 but the glass was way under par. That is changing in the short time Nex has been on the market. It won't be long before Sony is the benchmark to look at....
    well of course excluding Ricoh and the GXR. I mean after all.....

    The fact that Ricoh and Sony allow M mount pushes them to surpass almost anything...
    Not naming names here....This fact will continue to draw a migration from other formats.
    The size is close to m43 and yet smaller than FF.
    It's the future and I'm glad more shooters are seeing that.
    Thanks David.... Don
     
  16. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Real Name:
    Kyle Krug
    The future of what? High-end enthusiast, semi-pro and pro?

    Unless physics change, [insert well-beaten dead horse] native lens are bigger on APS-C than with smaller sensors like m4/3, 1/1.7ish", 2/3", etc. It seems like part of the market, even enthusiast, is willing to take that size versus ultimate sensor IQ trade-off. I see it more as different market segments, rather than one format will "win." I mean, the Pentax Q and Nikon 1 don't necessarily work for me, but I assume those companies did a little market research?
     
  17. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Sony is no more a camera company than Panasonic. It would not take much to produce an Oly or Panny NEX 7 style body, and is only a matter of time. Companies like Panny and Sony just move to where they think the dollars are.

    The challenge for m43 is the sensor manufacturer -- Panny -- is not a leading sensor maker. Samsung makes an APS-C CSC with a better lens selection than Sony, with more lenses available earlier than Sony. Why haven't they taken off (part of it is that their Sensor isn't keeping pace).

    I'm sorry if this is offensive, but several folks around these here parts are prone to say "this is it! This is my new camera! I don't need another, ever. This one just fits me perfectly" and then the next thing comes out, and we're off to that one. There's nothing wrong with that, because lots of folks can be inspired by new gear, but you do learn when to take a cry of the "best thing ever" with a grain of salt.

    Fuji will play some CSC cards in the start of the year, and Nikon has rumored that the J1/N1 was only a warm-up. Canon has yet to release anything. Also, don't count out Pentax/Ricoh. CSC IS the future, so everyone will get in. There are inherent issues with the NEX (short flange-back being one), and Sony has a long reputation of sometimes really flubbing products. It's the hot thing for now. It won't be forever. I have trouble visioning a future where Sony is THE king of the hill, supplanting Nikon and Canon. Look at the reception the expensive, tiny-sensored Nikon CSC is receiving (in sales numbers, if not critical acclaim). Just because it's Nikon! It seems Sony is already showing weakness in new products, with the NEX 7 sensor potentially being poorer than the NEX5 ( in a grab for megapixels). At any rate, my guess is it won't matter. Don't tell me that many on this board who are current NEX users (or GRX or GRD or X100), won't jump to try a Fuji CSC, Canon or Ricoh/Pentax CSC system! I know I will, lol.

    If NEX works for you, then great. The GRD for others. m43 for others. X100 for others. A rotating line up for others :) All the CSC options have strengths and weaknesses, and the next shiny camera will attract everyone's attention when it's released. I know if Sony released a 35/1.4 NEX lens, I'd have a 5n tomorrow!
     
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  18. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    So true, there's always something new comin' 'round the mountain.
     
  19. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I'm guilty for moving from camera to camera. Why do I feel it necessary? Easy answer.
    Photography is not a hobby to me. I am not an enthusiast. I do event work for money and... I have collectors, galleries and museums that buy my work.
    So when I see that an issues is in my finished work, meaning prints mostly, I have to resolve it.
    If that means trading cameras, then so be it.
    Sure, for my personal work almost anything is ok until....
    it has to go to print. If I show a series to a collector and the images are say 11 x 14 and the collector ask for 16 x 20.... Well what should I do?

    David is a seasoned pro also. If he's moving in a direction, I for one pay close attention.
    There's a reason for everything. Next to IQ, interface is key. I can't do an event and worry about interface getting in the way. So I guess I'm guilty of being a seeker of the camera that helps me find and capture the light.
    Photography is my life's work. This forum is my hobby....