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Friday, 21 May 2010

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Once again Sony scores huge points for ugly. That by its self would keep me from buying that albatross. There is nothing attractive about it.

Sony exhibits it's typical tendencies; good technology, shot squarely in the foot by horrid marketing/management decisions.

A fish-eye converter. For an interchangeable lens camera. Really Sony? Really?

An interesting camera. If they release a 35mm-e lens for it, we'll have a digital version of the Olympus Stylus Epic.

Some camera reviews have pictures of buildings, figurines, or wine bottles, and of course the optical chart. I prefer the pictures in this review!

But seriously, in one way it's quite an achievement that Sony have crammed an APS-C sensor into something that small, but they've always struck me as too small. It'll be interesting to see if they bring out a model with an EVF built in and better controls aimed more at the enthusiast.


DPreview has following article on their site:

" All existing examples of the Sony E-mount 16mm F2.8 lens for its NEX system are non-production specification, the company has informed us. Tetsuya Numata, General Manager, Digital Imaging Europe told us: '[Sony] Japan noticed that all 16mm samples were actually pre-production samples and not showing the final performance of the lens. The design was modified from pre-production stage.' "

Looks like Vlatko has to re-test the pancake at a later stage, to see whether the softness has disappeared :)

Vlatko, did you actually manage to get the Slovenian Miss Universe, the Playboy Playmate _and_ the member of the Croatian National Swimming Team all together in the same place - or it just happened that they were all in the water in different places ;-)

mike

Re: The softness of the 16mm pancake lens: DPReview says that all current 16mm lenses are pre-production... http://www.dpreview.com/news/1005/10051801sonynexlens.asp

Interesting for me with this camera is the fact that Sony decided to use APS-C size sensors. This is could be an indication that production yield of those sensors now is big enough to abandon those fingernail-sized sensors at least for p&s with a certain claim for superior image quality. In a certain sense this contradicts the entry statement of Vlatko, so I am wondering what other explanation might be applicable.
The whole setup might make up for a really good DMD, especially with the given raw capability. As a photographer, the video functionality is not that interesting for me, but then, I don't have to use it.

Mike,
Vlatko has...connections.

[g]

Mike

Did Sony mention anything about whether the pancake lens was a production lens or a pre-production sample? I saw a news item http://www.dpreview.com/news/1005/10051801sonynexlens.asp where Sony was saying that the pre-production pancakes had some problems that were going to be fixed in the production lenses.

If that is the way everyone will look when photographed by the NEX5, I will pre-order mine today.

It makes sense for Sony to release the cash-making models first. I wonder if they'll release a "serious" NEX, larger, with in-body IS and more direct access control buttons?

Any news on upcoming primes?

It seems that the stuff Sony expects people to want to step up to is the thin DoF and higher IQ. Most people I know using DSLRs don't even know what those things are.
For those that I know who do want to step up from compacts, they want to do so for the ability to control the camera: shutter, aperture, exp comp etc.
These new cameras seem to bring the inconvenience of the compact with the downsides of DSLR (larger size, lens changing & dust) without many of the upsides.
Who's going to buy these things?

Vlatko--excellent "hands on" mini-review. Looks like the sort of camera that will take off slowly among photo-enthusiasts, but then might gain a cult following when a decent pancake or two are released and people learn how to live with its quirks.

These seem like nice little cameras. If I had to choose my EVIL today (I don't - I have until November !) I'd opt for m43 because of the lack of a more 'normal' pancake prime for carry-everywhere use and because of the UI. But otherwise, they have a lot going for them that anyone could appreciate.

And that's where I don't get Sony's strategy. Or I don't like it anyway. Sony seems committed to providing consumers with cameras-for-idiots while stripping away features that would make them simultaneously suitable for many enthusiasts. I can't believe that Sony, with all its expertise in consumer products (and with successful digicams in the past) couldn't make these cameras consumer-friendly while providing quick access to AEL, +/-, ISO. I'm not sure why they feel compelled to rename aperture priority mode "background defocus control" when any consumer that determined to not learn anything about photography would probably be better suited with a scene mode dial.

It's just frustrating because these cameras (and Sony's A500 & A550) are so close to being great for everyone, but Sony is hell-bent on segmenting the market and pushing enthusiasts to bigger, more expensive models. (Rumors suggest that a NEX 7 will bring back in-body IS and photographer-oriented controls, but in a bigger GH-1 style body with EVF).

Maybe that will work for them, but I'd take a cue from other camera manufacturers who manage to satisfy consumers just fine with cameras that are friendly to a wider array of users.

I wonder if they'll release a "serious" NEX, larger, with in-body IS and more direct access control buttons?

Rumor has it that the NEX7 is on deck for Sept.:
http://eoshd.com/content.php?183-Sony-NEX7-to-rival-GH2-in-September

ugly, soft, what more could we want or expect from Sony?

Slightly O/T... Vlatko, do you use the OM 28 mm on your E-P1 regularly? Do you prefer it to the Panasonic 20 mm pancake?

I ask because I have one (and the converter), but the 20 mm pancake seems to find its way onto my camera every time I want a normal.

Sony has once again shown their gorilla-like technical capabilities and their utter cluelessness about what makes a good, functional camera. This form factor will soon be a commodity and one of Sony's competitors, without breaking a sweat, will do any number of obvious things to improve the design. It is just so half-baked and lame. Do the folks who design the A850/900 or deal with Zeiss have any discussion with the p/s camera people? Baffling.

Sony put journalists in a spa with women in bathing suits so that they could try out their new cameras? Are we still in the "Mad Men"-era?

"It's also certain that there will be new bodies, too."

Not my cup of tea (much too small), but I can't really see what's wrong with this as a first stab. And Michael - 'huge points for ugly' - what do you want from a camera, an entry in the swimsuit edition? If it does what it's supposed to (and I have no idea if it does), who cares how it looks, except the kind of bloke who buys a camera to hold at arm's length and admire?

While I certainly agree with Vlad's overall premise that the NEX-5 needs menu work, you CAN adjust exposure compensation without going into the menu system. You simply press "DOWN" on the four-way controller/wheel. ISO is the setting that is hard to get to.

Ultimately, as a former pro/current enthusiast, I think this camera will work fine. Throw on an adapted 35mm M lens and go.

Sleek and sexy. And the cameras look good, too. [rimshot]

The NEX-5 would seem to have the makings of a hit gadget/status symbol: precision build, minimalist style, simple to use, and results superior to any other stylish compact.

24mme may seem rather wide to many photographers, but it happens to be an excellent f.l. for being in (and conveying a feel for being in) the midst of many kinds of activities--driving, partying, dinners, perhaps more intimate moments, etc., especially combined with a close minimum focus.

@Markus, the NEX are priced like APS DSLRs, not point and shoots, so I don't know that we can infer anything about yields. And you haven't contradicted Vladko that I can see. These cameras are being pitched as low-skill devices with high-end output and capability.

An adapter for Leica M lenses is rumored to be coming out in July.

Even still, my first criterion for choosing a camera is how I see the subject. And, without a real viewfinder, it's a non-starter.

I see this camera as potentially a perfect companion and alternative to a P&S.

I see the rumors of the next camera — NEX-7 — as nothing more than the constant yearning for the next thing. I'll take a NEX-5 right now thank you. Instead, I'll save my yearning for a BMW 335i at the price of a VW Golf.

swimsuit in the bathtub, and then foam on top. good taste it aint.

It's pretty clear that many of us can imagine the small, take-anywhere camera that we want. For me, we're not quite there yet, but so very very close. I'm expecting to see something that I will actually want to purchase before the end of the year.

Vlatko,
I'm guessing English is your second language, and I commend you on your mastery of it. In particular, your phrase "people who commit consumer photography" is utterly delightful! I shall be using "commit" in this manner from now on (as in, for example, people who commit pet photography -- ugh, cutesy kitten pics...). Thanks for the review,
GKFroehlich

The saddest thing of all is that Zeiss has said that they would not manufacture a digital Zeiss Ikon... in order to focus their energies on making lenses for this awkward mess.

I dunno, I have an Oly Trip35 in my bag every day. Why don't they take that as a template instead of whatever idea this halve-baked attempt was based on. I'd love a good 40/2.8 and scale focus (so fast!). Just add ladies in swimsuits and I wouldn't mind doing a very positive review ;)

Just for the record. The current Slovenian Miss Universe is not the one pictured on te photo above (Sandra) but another girl. Sandra was Miss for one day, because on the show the speaker misread the 1st and 2nd place beauties ...
The (for now) official Miss Universe Slovenia is Marika Savšek.
And Yes, the Sony is uglier than both the ladies.

Sleek and sexy, shame about the camera [rimshot]
…for the Sony aesthetics detractors

Funny, before the official Sony anouncemment, I've expected to be more insecure about my recent Olympus EP-1 purchase than I am now.

I don't find these new Sonys very appealing as a photographic tool. But still, I don't underestimate Sony. More than any other company, they have the capacity to do it right.

PS: The photo of the two cameras reminded me how good the OM Zuiko 24 looks and feels on the E-P1. Too bad the image quality compared to the kit zoom doesn't justify carrying the extra weight.

Miss Universe. Playboy playmate.
And was there something about a camera?

Does no one else think the NEX-5 is going to look pretty good in the metal? I'm expecting part of its appeal to come from the way the slightly comical and cartoonish lens-to-body ratio is made cute by the camera's tiny size. I'd probably enjoy one of these and would put up with a lack of buttons as a trade for the portability. Output seems promising, lens softness aside.

I have a Yashica T4 Super (Zeiss-licensed Tessar 35/3.5) that still gets some use. It has the centimeter P&S viewfinder as well as a right angle periscope for framing, a bit harder to use than the NEX's flip up/down screen.

Perhaps there might be an affordable quality 24mm or 35mm prime, maybe even a Zeiss.

I guess Sony has done market research for this, but I would rather they have made a package about the size of the Olympus which included the things that are missing in the Olympus...a built in flash and viewfinder specifically. I hope that the rumored body to be released this fall is that combination...perhaps with a newer sensor.

All-in-all it is encouraging that Sony have entered the EVIL fray. Perhaps Nikon and Canon will "get with the program".

Why the need for new bodies? These look OK to me.

--Marc

To all the naysayers, this reminds me of a line from Seinfeld:

No soup for you! NEX!

:)

I'll probably grab an NEX 3/5 asap, if Sony fixes the softness of the lenses.

These cameras are perfect for what I do, which is a lot of underground club/music scene photography.

I get by doing this sort of photography just fine with a Fujifilm S200 EXR at the moment. However, I would like something with better image quality and better high iso performance at a reasonable cost.

@GKFroehlich
I totally thought that was on purpose!
(BTW, I'm not a native speaker either.)
Anyhow, great review, Vlatko!

7 fps does NOT change the resolution. It's still 14 MP with 7 fps. What it does, however, is fix the focus and exposure with the first shot. In other words, there is no continous auto focus with 7 fps (that's due to contrast detect auto focus being slower).

Very nice photos, Vlatko. We are looking forward to your future reviews!

It is good to have such a hand-one review and cheers for that.

However, one may have to take into consideration:

- this is the first round and in digital era this is really only a promise what is to come
- it is a APS-C; have tried the micro 3/4 and the picture quality is not there and sold the one I have
- miss the viewpoint of the major target group and how this fair (and hence any chance of success)

But more importantly, is this camera could be a good second camera and the question seems not answer.

***

My take is that I am still waiting for a good enough go around leica M3 like camera to come. My two favorite camera are my Deardroff 8x10 and my iphone 3gs. Both are for a very different purpose. One is like a painter system with result with on guarantee - you take 1 hour to take 1 picture which may not turn out right. The other one is everywhere and the only miss part is you cannot turn on the camera on instantly (like a Nikon dslr since D70).

But the gap is a bit big. Try G1 not good and sold it. Try M8 but a bit too expensive to carry around and did not take movie and sold that as well. Try Olympus PEN in the shop and do not even touch it as it is very big. Got Nikon D300 but too big. Just go to the shop to try Pentax k-x and K7. Seems still too big but close. Also fix well my switch to Pentax 67 at the moment.

Here comes Sony. Initially I think that it is too small. But the pic above showing it vs Olympus Pen seems to show it to be the right size (can put in a pocket), APS-C, video, ... it seems within 1-2 year, there is an ideal camera.

Really hope that Nikon and Canon can show us what is in their box before commit. Already sold one G1 and one M8. Do not want to buy and sell again.

I had the same attention focus problem as Jim.

This DMD business intrigued me until my latest purchase - a Pentax K7. I don't have big hands by any means, but this little beauty is, er, as little as I think I can handle. I'm sure that, eventually, someone's going to find a way of putting an FF sensor into a Minox sub-miniature-sized body, but what exactly would you do with it? (I mean, apart from snap the blueprints for Blofeld's space-laser while he's downstairs playing high stakes poker). There's a limit to the usefulness of shrinking stuff, and Sony may have edged past it with their NEX bodies. Unless they're after the Hobbit market, of course.

Camera makers please listen...We want an APC camera slightly smaller than an FM3a. We want the same type of viewfinder as well.

Manual focus alone is fine, but if you can squeeze in AF, and HD movies...that's fine as well.

We want all the necessary controls at hand and not buried in menus. All we need are 12 MP.

For lenses we want small, high quality glass in these 35mm equivalents...24/2.8, 35/1.7, 50/1.7 and 90/2.8.

Why is no one getting this?

I don't usually comment on TOP, but this is a topic that's near and dear to me.

I work as a product specialist for Sony in Australia, and unless the Croatian Sony people have some information I don't, they've given Vlatko a bum steer on a few features of the NEX-3/5;

  • The 7fps mode is not reduced resolution. It's very similar to the shutter-priority mode on the A550; focus and AE lock on the first frame, but full res at your chosen quality until the buffer fills.

  • EV adjustments don't require you to go into the menus. The rear jog-dial provides one-touch access to EV adjustment, or in Manual mode, toggles between shutter speed and aperture adjustment. Vlatko is correct about ISO adjustments, however; they are accessible by menu only.

Housekeeping aside, I've been using the NEX-5 primarily with the 16mm f2.8 or the A-Mount 50mm f/1.8 via the adapter, and shooting black & white candids, typically in very low light. It's a camera uniquely well suited to the job; the manual-focus assist and continual high-quality B&W preview make it easy to see what you're doing, the tiltable screen makes an excellent waist-level viewfinder, and high-ISO performance is excellent.

They could have called it the Sony RIP-Minolta.

[OT]Sorry Vlatko, I think it somewhat distasteful to include the last photo in with the others. Not that the first two photos were in bad taste, but I doubt that the young girl (third photo) expected to be placed along side a Playmate and Miss Whatever. The article, placing the photos "in-line" as such, was a mistake in my opinion.

Since I'm cut off from the Internet, ie on a very slow other people's connection, I just skimmed through the comments.

Yes, my mistake. I misunderstood the Speed priority mode. The camera fixes autofocus and exposure and then fires seven shots in 14MP. Again, my bad. EV adjustments, it has to be me not really seeing what was there. I could probably argue that it's not really what it should be, but let's leave it as my mistake, again, because I simply could not adapt to the interface. No blame on the Croatian Sony. (I'm appalled that I made such mistakes. Sorry, all.)

The swimmer is a member of the Slovene national team, btw.

David, we were told she was Miss Universe. But she is still beautiful. :)

Yes, I use OM 28/2.8 almost constantly on Pen. But I never really tried Panasonic 20/1.7 except for a couple of shots at a presentation.

BTW, GKFroelich, thanks for the compliment. But "commit" is not the matter of not knowing the proper phrase. I chose the word intentionally and deliberately. :)

Jim: because we don't in fact all agree on that, or anything close.

Lots of us are old enough that AF is important; and f/2.8 is 1-2 stops too slow for 90mm :-).

Slovenian Playboy models and Miss Universe runner-ups don't have names?

Nate, I don't think the swimmer suffers in comparison with the "professional" models at all. She's cute and pretty. The photo suffers from a slight lens distortion, though. :-/

And no, they don't have the names. We hadn't been told.

OT: I heard the details of the Miss Universe story last night. The MC got a paper with the girls ordered from the second runner-up towards the winner. And he read the list as if it was from the winner down to the second runner-up. Reduced resolution is nothing compared it with it. :)

Thank you for the upate, Sean. Happy to learn that EV adjustment is available without having to access the menu. B&W candids is exactly what I was hoping to do with this camera. And the waist-level viewfinder sounds just perfect for that. No other serious compact camera offers that feature.

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