Nex 5 as a Street Shooter

Discussion in 'Sony E-Mount (incl. NEX, A7, A7R, A3000) Forum' started by Streetshooter, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I will post my thoughts and feelings about this camera and update this thread as I have more to say either with words or images. If your looking for info about pixel peeping techie jargon, yer waisting yer time here. This is about making images with the Nex 5 on the street.
    Let's get to it....

    First off the camera is a pleasure to start, as it works in 3:2 as a native aspect ratio. That is a big plus as we don't have to loose IQ due to the sensor being cropped from 4:3.

    The Lens (a little)
    I have the 18-55 lens and the 16 is on it's way so I'll just talk about the zoomie. The Panny 14-45 is probably the best KIT zoom ever produced by anyone at anytime. The Sony 18-55 is not as good but it's not bad either and it does one very important thing us street shooters need....it fits in your pocket.

    With a hood on, the camera fits in my coat pocket. You won't do that with too many cameras. Why is this important? Glad ya asked. See, we need to be casual and discreet in our search for the NEXt image. We sometimes like to drink a cup of coffee and the camera can't interfere with the coffee drinkin' or holding procedures.

    The SCREEN.
    It was a very bright day in Philly today, Sunday. I walked for miles thru Center City as I always do and what happens is, the sun comes out from behind and over buildings at different times. So, in shady or normal brightness the screen is fine.

    Then, it happened. I raised the camera to frame an image and the sun was directly on the screen...blindness I tell ya, blindness. All to many times with the GF1 this would cause me to loose the image.

    Eureka. My mind woke up and remembered what Ray told me about the Sunny setting on the screen. So, intuitively, I hit the menu and set the screen to Sunny. OH, MY!
    I could see like never before. I have never used a camera with a screen so easy to see in bright light. I have used them all, well, all the good ones at least.

    The AF.
    I decided to use Center AF as Ray explained how using the Flexible mode interferes with the Button setup. He's right so I used Center. The lens focuses rather fast but very accurate in good to normal light. It hunts a little in lower light but not bad.
    It is very accurate at any rate. I have no images OOF at all.

    The Buttons.
    Here's where we get into issues. Well, that's what I read for 6-8 months. It's said that the Nex is very difficult to navigate. Bulldinky. This is one of the easiest, most intuitive cameras ever designed.
    Hit the center button on the dial and MODE is right there. In A mode, rotate the dial and you change fstops. Hit the lower button and ISO is right there.
    The dial also controls EV, Flash, Drive (single shot etc) and Display.

    So, I don't get all the complaints about how the camera is too slow to operate and change settings. Gimme a break. If I knew how easy the NEX was, I would have had it many months ago. So don't listen to anyone about anything. Get your own mind on things and bunk to all the other opinions...even me...

    Still here huh....ok

    Ok, we're there....
    I used a wrist strap with a tripod socket adapter on the strap. I have the Luigi's tiny in black. The camera and lens is Silver like many of my M cameras and lenses.

    With the strap on the wrist, what happens is..... if your hold the grip of the camera with your fingers, the strap then creates a triangle between the tripod socket area, the fingers on the grip and the wrist supporting everything.
    The hold is very comfortable and SECURE. You will not feel like the camera can get away from you. It's the most perfect design. See, the lens is set to the left of the body, from the rear view.
    This left space for Sony to put the amazing grip there just for street shooters.

    I have the camera set to fall asleep after 1 minute. I never do this but I don't have the spare battery yet. This week. So the only complaint I have so far, and I'm not looking for them, they just find they're way to me, is....the wake up time.
    I wake up faster in the morning than the Nex does.
    Seriously, it seems to take a long time but in practice, it's ok but I'd like it to wake up faster.

    The camera handles beautifully. It's comfortable good looking, well kinda in a strange sort of way. You young single guys. Your not meeting Miss Right with this camera around....luckily it fits in your pocket. Keep it in there for woman meeting procedures.

    So, all in all I think it's a great Street Camera. Everything feels like quality. The fit and finish is really nice with a nice metal feeling. Remember that metal feeling?

    I'll post a few images and the rest are on my Flickr page in the NEX5 Set.

    I'll write more later and get more serious, nah...if this isn't fun for you like it is for me....I'm feeling really bad for ya.
    Remember, never ever take yourself serious...share a little joke with the world...

    Independence Hall Visitor Center
    [​IMG]

    Franklin Mills
    [​IMG]

    Color for BB, but the way I see color...
    [​IMG]

    Subway Concourse. There were about 75 people sleeping down here today as it was cold.
    [​IMG]

    Subway Concourse.
    [​IMG]

    More in my Gallery on this site or at Flickr...
    Thanks
    shooter
     
    • Like Like x 11
  2. AzPete

    AzPete SC Veteran

    404
    Dec 24, 2010
    thanks ss.... i briefly used the nex and personally I had mixed feelings...
    anxious to hear more from ya. by the look of the above shots, tone and contrast
    looks great. seems to be flying well in your hands. just keep your feet on the ground.
    cheers bro.
    Pete
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Those images are superb! I especially like the colour one you did for BB.

    I had a Nex 5 and didn't get on with the 16mm STD lens so exchanged it for the E-PL2 which I love to death!!. I thought the image quality was poor but was superb when using quality manual older glass. I have now ordered another NEX 5 body and will use it exclusively with my Manual lenses. I love the sensor in the NEX as very high quality images can be achieved quite easily. I never had a problem with the menu system but after upgrading the firmware it has made life much easier and now the NEX is a super camera to use.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. 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...
    Andy, I think you got a bad copy of that 16mm lens - I saw your shots and I've also seen some other bad examples, but most folks have had better luck. Regardless, the only thing I find uniquely compelling about the Nex is the rear screen, which some people (ME) love so much they don't know how they got by without it and others are relatively indifferent to. Other than that, I'd stil be shooting only with m43 (and LX5). You seem thrilled with the epl2 and that's all that matters - it feels right to you.

    Don, those definitely look like you! The Franklin Mills shot might not have happened with a different camera - that one has a nex perspective to it. But the others are just YOU, so good the camera felt right and clearly didn't get in your way. Glad you like it. When I got it I was really taken aback by how easy and intuitive it felt. And I almost didn't trust it because I'm a little bit of a traditionalist myself and Sony just started from the ground up on this one - no old rules need apply. Kind of the opposite of the X-100 which was attempt to take the best of the old and meld it with new tech - the Nex designers just seemed to say screw the best of the old, we just want to figure out what works. And with the new firmware, I think they're onto something. The Nex 7 or some future model is rumored to be targeted more at the DSLR step down market rather than the P&S step up market, so it might be even better/more intuitive. Then again, I hope they leave the essence intact because it works so well as is...

    My only note on the review is that I actually find this camera more comfortable with the strap on my left wrist. All of my other cams are on the right, but since this one usually stays lower with the screen pointing up, its a two handed operation for me with the lens held in my left hand and then I bring it "up" (so to speak) to shoot and my right hand meets it and works the controls and shutter button. Its another way in which I interact completely differently with this cam than any others I've used. I don't use a tripod mount strap on it though - so its attached at the left lug...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    I must say that the rear screen is THE BEST rear screen of any camera i have ever seen. It is superb and a joy to look at. I'll enjoy using mine. I'm going to take My Nex5 to Tenerife on holiday exclusively this year as it will be very sunny so i will be able to test the screen. :thumbup:

    I'll also look at getting another 16mm too and hopefully i will be luckier with this one. I didn't know there were problem lenses!
     
  6. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Thanks guys for reading and posting.
    Ray, your right. The Franklin Mills is from a sitting position and the tilt screen. The camera was way off axis from me on a steep angle. I could see the screen like it was an HD TV. Sony...HDTV hmmmm?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Good morning, Don, and thanks so much for your detailed, enthusiastic and entertaining initial write up! I saw it last night but was too tired to get my brain focussed properly...must need to reset a control somewhere.:wink:

    Your observations about the greatness of the LCD in bright sunlight are compelling! I know others have mentioned this, too... I wonder how it might work with polarizing sunglasses?

    Your first foray out certainly was successful, Don. My first reaction is that I am in love with your first, "The Independence Hall Visitor Center". Each one of these photos offers a really good feel for how you've been able to use this camera on your own terms, and I appreciate the different post processing (including Color for BB!) effects in each, as well. The color image's glow and reflections, for me, emphasize the alternate world that the homeless live in. I know you're not a big color shooter, however I think this time it was the right way to go. And finally, for me again, your last one with the ray of light cutting a swath down from on high, to the city's Municipal Building with the doors locked and the poor lying outside...hits deep inside.

    *****************

    Don, I'm so happy that you're so stoked by this camera! I can also see that this camera is offering you a "negative" (image file) that holds out many more options. Strictly from my own needs and wants, that is the thing I miss most and am still looking for and hoping to find you know where, but it's good to know that the NEX is there, ready and waiting.

    P.S. I'm going to ignore Andy's GAS attack.:tongue:
     
  8. Penny

    Penny SC Veteran

    384
    Aug 26, 2010
    Outside Liverpool Uk
    First off welcome back to the Nex5 fold Andy; now I have said in earlier postings that I love the Nex5 but use both the S95 as well because it fits in my pocket! I doubt that the Nex5 will fit in any of my winter let alone summer jacket pockets especially with the lens hood on, so conclude you have very big/deep pockets streetshooter.
    The LCD as been said is brilliant and its versatility to move 'up' so it can be used at waist level 'does it for me'.
    There is one point which is annoying I occasionally press the menu with my thumb! when raising the camera to view; does/has anyone else had this problem? it maybe it is something only I have; the reasons I won't go into.
    Oh I haven't forgotten my Leica which hasn't been used much throughout the winter; but will be during the spring/summer months I'm sure.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Hi Pennyann. I too have had this problem from time to time. It is quite easy to hit some of the buttons by accident. I did have a 2 minute video of my walking feet on the streets of Prague as a result of accidentally pressing the video record button while the camera was hanging round my neck. I deleted it, but it only occurred to me later that I could probably have won the Turner Prize with it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Penny

    Penny SC Veteran

    384
    Aug 26, 2010
    Outside Liverpool Uk
    Ha ha; good one olli; glad to hear someone else has had a similar problem thought it was just me!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I haven't had the illegal button press issue yet.
    I find the grip natural with my wrist strap. Because of the tripod attachment, the thumb doesn't need to be in place until image making procedures.

    One thing I haven't figured out but maybe I did. Sometimes the camera hunts for AF even when in idle mode.
    I mean, sometimes I see it trying to focus by itself.
    I think it's because it remembers the last AF distance. Then it try's to focus without a press of the button.
    No big deal but this could be annoying.

    I'm waiting on the 16 and extra battery.
    Then I'll have a better understanding about the cameras future.
    So far, it's looking real good. Unfortunately, real good.

    I never bonded with the Panny 14-45 but it was a great lens. I just couldn't see on the far end with the m4/3 cameras.
    With the Nex, the 18-55 is a clear option that I really enjoy.
    I know, I know...shooter with a zoomie....
    Who woulda thought....?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Not sure what you mean by idle but the NEX's continually autofocus all the time unless you are in manual focus mode. So even if its hanging over your shoulder it will still be focussing. And you're correct that the camera will try to search for focus around the previously used focusing distance.

    Regarding the slow wake up time, this is one of the worst features of the camera. But the battery does improve over time. It probably took about half a dozen charges before mine got near to the suggested charge life. Using it in cold (-5C) weather and using the HHT and Panorama modes for around 10% of the shots it gave me 112 shots and still had 71% remaining - not wonderful, but a lot better than I first thought. I too acquired a spare battery and in the first week or two was thinking I might even have to pick up a third, but I think now that two should suffice.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Thanks Olli...I didn't want to call my Nex mentor about this.
    I'm not a heavy shooter. If you look at my images, the number shows the capture time sequence. So, 30-40 or so images a day is a BIG shoot for me.
    The battery seems fine and it holds power when off.
    I just love the Sunny setting on the screen and will no doubt use that most times. Thus the need for the extra battery.

    The AF always working should be addressed in a firmware update as that will draw power also.
    The camera exceeds my expectations. I sent files up to get printed.
    Mostly 11x14 but a few 16x20 just to know...
    I'll post my findings. The 16 is due weeks end...
    That will cement me in or whatever.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    For me at least i think it's the excellent APS-C sensor that is going to give the longevity of this camera. If Sony/Zeiss or whoever bring out some quality glass then this camera is going to be pretty awesome!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Don, I'll be very interested to hear what you make of the prints since I haven't printed anything so far.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. 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...
    Yeah, the continuous AF thing seems to be considered a feature rather than a bug. With it going, I'm not sure of the difference between AF-S and AF-C, but i guess they figure that having the camera always automatically getting you close, the actual AF "moment" will be quicker??

    Don, at 30-40 shots per day, I don't think you need to worry too much about either the sunny weather setting or the continuous AF. Or energy saver for that matter. Just set it to 10 minutes or whatever instead of one minute and you won't have to worry about feeding it all of that coffee to wake it up... :cool: And if you've got a spare battery, you shouldn't even have to think about conserving power.

    This whole little episode has my head rather spinning around as if involved in an exorcism - the zoom is the least of it! You were about the last person I'd have expected to take to a Nex. But then I was probably the next to last person and I took to it immediately. An odd thing when preconceptions get tossed out the window...

    I guess the rubber will hit the road when the X-100 appears and you have to CHOOSE! Or maybe you'll have one of each... :eek:

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Andy,
    The sensor is all that and more. Sorry for the Philly talk.
    It makes files that have very creamy tones and great accutance.
    Of course I mess things up in PP to get what I want the image to be.

    Olli...prints by Thursday afternoon.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Ray, for the moment the choice is as clear as the Nex screen.
    I just thought I had something set wrong regarding the AF.
    Maybe I'll read the manual tonight.

    I never liked a zoom lens because I can't see the image on the far side.
    With the Nex and the zoom... It's a entire new world for me.
    I like it and hope the 16 will perform as well...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Hey Don -- I like what you said about "fits in pocket with kit lens"

    It's odd, but I find the off-center placement of the sensor and lens mount to be very useful and for some reason to make the NEX (I have a NEX3) more portable than my EP1, in terms of getting it into a jacket pocket. I've even mounted a Takumar 135mm 3.5 on the NEX with adapter, and it still fits relatively well in my jacket pocket. I don't know if the "L" shape the off-center lens produces is just easier to pocket than the "T" shape of my EP1. Of course, the NEX is also a bit shorter in height, but I still think that "L" shape helps a lot.

    I just wish it had IBIS and some more lens options. For me, I find the NEX over-saturates (even in RAW), and so I have to pull back the levels. I also prefer the B&W on my EP1. But the NEX is a handy little camera! I especially like the 16mm with the Fish eye attachment (though I know that's anathema to many).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    I find the raw files as good as it gets. They convert well to my versions of what B&W means.
    The 18-55 has very manageable contrast.
    The mid tones really are there. Play with the clarity slider in LR or PS and you get to see what a lens is really doing.
     
    • Like Like x 1