NEX5 Six Weeks Later

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by olli, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    After six weeks with the NEX5 I thought it would be good to complement my earlier first impressions post. I have been using the NEX5 almost exclusively for the last six weeks both here in Tbilisi and on a short trip to Prague. The bottom line is that I'm very happy with this camera and can easily see it being my main camera from now on.

    There has been a lot of discussion on various forums about how compact the NEX cameras are, especially with the kit zoom lens. Most of this tends to focus around the question of whether it can fit in a pocket. For me personally this is all irrelevant - I don't carry cameras in my pocket since I don't want them covered in the kind of crud that gathers in pockets (at least in my pockets). The real significance of the NEX format is not so much size as weight.

    While in Prague I carried the camera either round my neck or in a shoulder bag all day long and never noticed it. In contrast, after a few hours of carrying my A200 DSLR - which isn't that weighty as DSLR's go - I have a sore neck. The ability to have a high quality camera to hand throughout the day without even noticing the weight of it is one of the great benefits of the format for me.

    I mentioned in my earlier post that the large lens on the small body felt a little awkward at first. After a few days of continuous use the camera now feels completely natural and my hands have found a comfortable and effective way to grip and control the camera. I also find that the camera controls fall very naturally to hand now and I am generally very happy with the UI using the version 0.3 firmware. For my current set up I have assigned 'Shoot Mode' to soft key B and 'ISO', 'Metering Mode' and 'Autofocus Area' to soft key C.

    I have been very impressed with the articulating screen. It is both clear and bright. I had never used an articulating screen before and did not know what I was missing. Having this available has been something of a revelation and I have made a lot more use of it than I ever imagined I would, especially for shooting from lower levels.

    The lens, which has also been the subject of endless forum chatter, is fine. It is a kit lens and it performs as a kit lens should - that is, it is good enough without being brilliant. Talk on forums alleging that it is 'mediocre' or 'rubbish' is itself rubbish.

    (As an aside, I'm not convinced that there are real variations in performance as a result of poor quality control. These lenses are designed by computers and manufactured and assembled by machine. The scope for wide variations in performance among individual lenses is practically non-existent. As the old saying has it, a bad workman blames his tools.)

    The optical stabilisation built into the lens is very effective. I have been able to shoot comfortably at 1/15 and occasionally 1/10 of a second, though I find it useful to use the supplied strap and use this to brace the camera against my neck for extra stability. Autofocus is quick enough for me, silent and seems to me to be very accurate. Most of the time I have been using the centre autofocus area, with occasional use of multi.

    My battery life has improved significantly. After the first three or four charges I was still only getting around 250 shots per charge. After a few more cycles the battery appears to be getting into its stride. One very cold (-5C) evening in Prague I got 112 shots including a couple of panoramas and ten or more shots in hand held twilight mode and still had 71% left on the battery. Though, while this is a significant improvement, it is still not wonderful. I have bought a second - Sony - battery, but I think two should be sufficient whereas at the start I was wondering if I might need to carry three.

    The camera coped well with the cold temperature and the snow. While it did not get very wet it did get some surface moisture from the snow but showed no ill effects.

    As well as a spare battery I also acquired a couple of extra Transcend SD cards, rear lens and body caps, and the rigid screen protector that Sony offers in Europe but apparently not in America. This latter item is permanently on my screen and works very well. I don't believe it is strongly scratch resistant, but it is good enough and keeps the screen safe.

    I have posted a number of images from my Prague trip on my smugmug site and there are other images taken with the NEX, including panorama, high ISO and HHT images on other threads on Serious Compacts where you can judge performance for yourself. Suffice it to say that I am satisfied.

    Finally, I should mention a couple of aspects of the camera that could be improved. First, as I mentioned in my previous post, the flash capabilities of the camera are very limited. It would be good if Sony could come up with a wireless flash trigger that could be attached to the accessory port that would enable the camera to trigger Sony Alpha flash guns. Alternatively, they should enable the supplied flash to act as an optical trigger for the Alpha flash system.

    There are still a few quirks with the UI that Sony should iron out with a new firmware. If shooting panoramas, HHT and HDR the camera only works with jpeg files. In the case of the first two, even when the camera is set to RAW and JPEG, the camera will automatically switch to jpeg to produce the panorama and HHT files. Yet for some reason it requires the operator to manually switch from RAW and JPEG to JPEG only before it will enable the HDR option. It's hard to imagine any technical reason why this should be so (though since I have no technical knowledge whatsoever there may very well be sound technical reasons). Unfortunately, it is not possible to assign the 'image quality' setting to one of the soft keys so changing from RAW to JPEG requires a trip into the Settings menu.

    Also, even though the 'anti-motion blur' mode is on the shoot mode dial, the 'hand held twilight' mode is not. Instead, you have to select scene mode and select HHT from there. Perhaps Sony assumes their customer base will be more likely to use the AMB mode but I would still like to see HHT on the shoot mode dial.

    All in all though I'm impressed with this camera and am looking forward to seeing how the system develops.
     
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  2. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Thanks Olli for a very comprehensive review of your time with the NEX5. My 2nd one should be turning up at work today (Shame I'm not there!) and I'm more excited about getting this one than I was about getting my first!

    The issue with the kit lenses in my case is based on the fact that the 16mm lens that i had was not a good lens. I have owned many many lenses in the past and know whats good and what isn't. It was also pointed out to me that there does seem to be differences in the same model. How true this actually is I do not know but it does happen with all manufacturers from time to time. I am going to order another 16mm f/2.8 and see how i get on with this one.

    As said many people worry or moan about the larger lenses being too bulky or difficult to use but what people have to remember is that the lens will be larger than the camera body so all you have to do is think that the lens is the main part of the camera and hold it as such. I'm going to use my NEX5 exclusively on holiday this year which should prove to me one way of the other if the NEX is the camera for me. With new lenses on the horizon and the ASP-C sensor how can it fail!!
     
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  3. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Thanks Andy. Just to clarify, I'm not saying there is no such thing as a bad sample of a given lens, just that such samples are a lot less common than a trawl through photography forums would suggest. For the most part I think these claims tend to reflect false expectations and poor technique. Bad batches may be more common than bad individual samples but I think it's not good when people end up thinking that buying a camera is essentially a lottery.

    Good luck with the new one. Looking forward to seeing some pics.
     
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  4. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    olli, thank you for your 6 weeks later wrap up - and for linking us directly to your Smugmug page to see those great photographs from Prague. Someday I would love to visit Prague, but until then I can get my architectural/cultural fix by gazing at your photos.

    I'm especially taken with your panoramic photographs and would love to see them much larger so I could appreciate all the details of that beautiful city. Have you printed any of your photographs - the twilight and the panoramic, in particular? I'd think they'd be stunning framed.

    Sony is certainly bringing quite a few photographers into its NEX fold!
     
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  5. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo! Subscribing Member

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Real Name:
    Andy
    Yes they are a lot less common, this is true and i hope to get a better one this time :wink: Just need to organise some time out so i can get some shots in!
     
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  6. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Thanks BB. Glad you liked the Prague pics though I noticed when I was checking the gallery url to link that some of them show a little dust spot so I'm going to have to re upload a few of them.

    I haven't printed any of the nex pics yet. I think I'm going to start small with a couple and see how they look before printing anything bigger.
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    olli, I can't remember if you have used any "legacy" lenses on this camera? If so, what did you think and/or do you have any interest in this?
     
  8. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    I am so close...

    olli, you have just about pushed me over the edge! I have a Nex 5 in my shopping cart right now, mainly because I do so much low-light shooting I think it will serve me the best of the smaller cams available right now in my price range. But to justify it I have to sell my epl-1 and I really love that camera! Can't keep them both because I have other cameras, too, and at some point it gets ridiculous. This is hard . . . !
     
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  9. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    OK, I did it!

    I found the silver NEX5 with kit lens for 614.00 at 42nd St. Photo, and couldn't resist any longer. I always buy black cameras and thought I'd try something different, esp. since it's cheaper! It's almost wildflower season here and I hope to give it a good workout on bluebonnets if we have a good season. Can't wait to get my hands on it!
     
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  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Janis, I bet that articulating screen and super sounding LCD screen in "sunny mode" (or whatever it's called) is going to be fantastic for those wild flowers! Do you live in the hill country? I'm sorry that I can't remember.
     
  11. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    Yes, we moved to the hill country a few years ago and enjoy it a lot!
    Janis
     
  12. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    I had the pleasure of visiting friends down there once - more years ago than I really like to admit. They lived in Dripping Springs at the time - we swam in a grotto under a waterfall and had a great time.

    Looking forward to those photos, Janis!
     
  13. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    I lived near Dripping Springs for several years but we're further west now. Dripping Springs has been pretty much swallowed up by Austin. It's incredible. I posted a link in a separate thread to my Epl-1 images.
     
  14. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Congratulations Janis. Hope you enjoy it. I went with silver too in the end - I would even have gone red if they did a NEX5 in red. To me it's all part of being discreet in a place where DSLR's stand out. Looking forward to you pics.

    Don't forget to update the firmware to 0.3 if its not already installed.
     
  15. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    BB I don't have legacy lenses. I was briefly looking at some old Olympus OM system primes but the ones I was interested in (wide 24 or 28) aren't that cheap and their compact size was offset by the size of the converter. I'm not big into multiple lenses. I've never owned more than three at a time so I think I'll wait for a fast wide, a high quality, faster standard zoom and a probably a wide zoom. I might go crazy and buy a 'just in case' tele zoom too. I don't really care who makes them; I just hope someone does.

    What I would love is the Zeiss 24 (on the asumption the optical quality is as it should be) and an E mount equivalent of my A mount Tamron 17-50. Then I just need Sigma to do an E mount 10-20 and I'm set - and, of course, wireless triggering for my flash. (Maybe if I mention it often enough Sony might hear.)
     
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  16. Janis

    Janis SC Regular

    145
    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    I will check the firmware first thing, olli, and I had the same thought abt the silver being discreet. I seldom have the nerve for street photography, but maybe this will help. I just checked out your blog and really enjoyed your images and thoughts, as well as links. Thanks again for posting your thoughts on the NEX.
     
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  17. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Ahhhhhh the discreet Silver Nex....hmmmmm That's my choice also....
     
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  18. 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 saw a rumor yesterday that, in addition to the Zeiss 24 f1.7, they're working on a Nex version of the 16-80mm Zeiss that they have for their DSLRs and DSLTs. I shot with one of those for the few days I had an A33 and its an INCREDIBLE lens. I'm not usually one to even notice such things, but there was a clarity and resolution and sharpness (I realize I might be saying the same thing with 3 different words here) to that lens I've never seen from anything comparable. Since the sensor in the Nex is the same as the A33, that could be quite a pairing. The thing I have to wonder about, though, is how big it will be - the existing version is as heavy as the Panasonic 14-140 or the Nex 18-200 (although not as wide as that one). If its anything like the current version, its too big for me to want to use with a Nex. But if they can find a way to bring it down to close to the kit lens, I'll pay whatever they want for the damn thing. The current version is expensive, except in the context of Zeiss, where its downright a budget model (about $750). I can't see them going any higher for the Nex market unless they can make it a lot smaller with similar quality, which might just cost more to design/make?

    -Ray
     
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  19. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    olli
    Can't see it though. Sony's road map indicates a fast standard zoom G lens is coming. This would be too much of an overlap. No doubt the optical quality is superb but it's not exactly fast. Right now I would rather have a 16/17/18-50/55 f2.8 from Sony or Zeiss or anyone else who cares to make one. Are you listening Tamron? Sigma?

    There was also a rumour a while back about a revised version of the Zeiss 16-80 2.8-4 with SSM. I could imagine this being launched as a premium kit lens with the A7?? high end SLT/SLR that Sony have been showing recently. Maybe someone is getting their rumours confused.
     
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  20. 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...
    Maybe. Rumors are rumors, after all. But here it is...

    sonyalpharumors | Home

    -Ray
     
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