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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

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Amazing how small it is. The Panasonic GF-1 and Olympus EP-1 now look...big.

Will TOP's indefatigable Official Roving Editor-At-Large, Vlatko Juric-Kokic, ask if a NEX7 (or 9) is on the way (you know, for the enthusiasts)?.

Cheers,

Tregix.

I have to say I find the design sexy. A 2.8 lens is a bit slow for my tastes, but the high iso samples seem some of the best of all the cheap entry cameras, with the smallest overall size. When/if they put out a full-frame version, I won't be able to give them my money fast enough.

Can a camera be too small or just, may I say, the lady & lens being size challenged?

Mike, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on Sony's choice of 16mm (24mm-e) for its pancake prime, as opposed to he 34, 40, or 45mm-e primes offered by Olympus, Panasonic, and Samsung, respectively. It seems to me that these cameras look silly with anything other than a pancake, but Sony's choice is just too wide to be considered for my one lens. We'll see how quickly they can add to the selection...

IR has a relatively more thorough review of the NEX5 up too.

I keep missing on these cameras a tiny viewfinder like the Canon G11. OK it´s pretty useless only shows perhaps 75% but I use my face to stop camera shake.
I suppose there will probably make an external viewfinder, however suddenly it isn´t such a small camera anymore.
Paul

Clearly Sony has been taking design cues from the original chunky lens/small body camera, the Ermanox! (More pics of Ermanox)

"Sony's choice is just too wide to be considered for my one lens. We'll see how quickly they can add to the selection..."

Will,
For me too, and yes, we'll have to.

Mike

Those are nifty little cameras but maybe a bit out of proportion? Hard to say without holding one. The more the merrier!

I don't get why the lens mount is so huge? It looks like it's even bigger than the camera body's height?

I briefly owned a Sigma DP1 but found it much too small to work with comfortably. What with that, it's lightweight build and lack of optical viewfinder, it felt like you were lifting an empty matchbox up in front of your face.

Hope these Sony Nex's are not like that.

DEVIL? Doesn't have quite the ring of SATAN but it's definitely stepping it up from EVIL. Showing the red model is a nice touch.

Imaging Resource has a full review of a production NEX5. ISO performance is frankly astounding though I suspect usability might earn it a TOP "not recommended" or at the very least a suspect "Hmmm." (A virtual PASM dial? C'mon!)

But Lory does say another thing as well:
METAL BARREL LENSES!!!!!! FOR SUCH PRICES?

As already sent to Michael, prices in Spain are as follows:


NEX5+ Sony E 16/2.8 600 euros
NEX3+ Sony E 16/2.8 500 euros

NEX5+ Sony E 18-55 3.5-5.6 650 euros
NEX3+ Sony E 18-55 3.5-5.6 550 euros

NEX5+ Sony E 18-200 3.5-6.3 1.110 euros

NEX5 Sony E 18-55 3.5-5.6+ Sony E 16/2.8 750 euros
NEX3 Sony E 18-55 3.5-5.6+ Sony E 16/2.8 650 euros

Alpha adapter [LA-EA1] 200E
Electronic Viewfinder: 180 E

"I keep missing on these cameras a tiny viewfinder like the Canon G11. OK it´s pretty useless only shows perhaps 75% but I use my face to stop camera shake. "

C´mon.
We use the CAMERA to stop our FACES from being shown.
It is a good hiding device, let´s be honest. Sort of mental shield, isn´t it?

The design here reminds me most of all of the Sony f717--in that case a big f/2 zoom attached to a camera body that could rotate. I thought that was a great design--I still have it.

Add more manual controls and I'll buy.

--Darin

Tregix, I think it's too early to ask that but I'll keep the question in mind.

In other Sony news they are discontinuing the A900 according to

http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/05/10/replacement.remains.unknown/

The DSLRs needs a video mode to compete today. Is the 850 going to be the flagship DSLR going forward? Being a 5D shooter I was hoping for something like the 850 or the 900 with video as an alternative to the 5D MKIII when it appears. The big 100% viewfinder in the 900 is the one feature that could have swayed me over Canon.

A lack of an EVF in the NEX line kills any interest for me as my next P/S camera.

"full of constraints that will probably bother enthusiasts a lot more than snapshooters"

Will anyone ever get it right?

And to think all I need is right there, just hidden behind a layer of garbage.

'background defocus' ugh! EVIL indeed

May I ask a naive question about lenses?

One of my favourite cameras was the Olympus Mju II ("Stylus Epic" in USA, I think). In digital terms, this was a "full frame" camera, i.e. the lens covered (more than adequately) the area of a 35mm negative. The fixed focal-length autofocus 35mm lens was a nice f/2.8.

Why then must the lenses of these new "compact" digital cameras be so large, relative to the body size? There obviously IS a reason, or I suppose Olympus would simply recycle the design!

VT

Cool to see them pushing the small size end of the scale; that's interesting.

I'd prefer wider lens interchangeability. Even Nikon and Canon aren't actually closed ecosystems, thanks to Zeiss and Tokina and Tamron and Sigma (I did that just so I could put Zeiss on the same list with Sigma). I keep hoping the MFT will take off for that reason, and that more people will join (and be accepted).

I haven't forgiven Sony for a series of infractions including rootkits on CDs, though, so it's outside the zone of consideration for me.

I think the intro of the Leica killed off the Ermanox. Salmon was an excellent photographer in any age. But despite the portability of this camera he was said to use mono pods, chest pods and whatever he could to get the descrete photos of the major figures of his time. I don't know of many photographers with such complete access now.

When/if they put out a full-frame version, I won't be able to give them my money fast enough.

When/if they put out a full-frame version, I won't be able to pick up the huge, heavy lenses fast enough.

"Will TOP's indefatigable Official Roving Editor-At-Large, Vlatko Juric-Kokic, ask if a NEX7 (or 9) is on the way (you know, for the enthusiasts)?."

Blah. That's not good enough, I want at least NEX11 or 13!

But seriously, I'm very impressed with the camera format. Such a miniscule camera body with an APS-C lens. Wow! (Now if only Pentax came up with something similar that would let me use my pancake lenses...)

I love the small size of these cameras-- that’s an impressive bit of engineering on Sony’s part. The lenses though look a bit unbalanced on such a small camera, in particular the zooms. I see Sony has chosen to put stabilization in the lenses instead of the camera body, so that may be contributing to the size, both ways.

must admit it looks very, very awesome if you look a little bit into it ... reminds me that Sony is one of my favorite brands :)

These cameras have tilting LCD screens, which I wish my Canon G9 had.

EVIL, DEVIL, tomayto, tomaato.

Whenever I look at one of these very small cameras, the ergonomics leave me scratching my head. The Lumix GF-1 is the smallest thing I can imagine getting my mits around, and its small buttons are a real challenge. Many of these newer 'devils' are even harder to use. Critical functions are buried deep in the menus because of the lack of exterior "real estate" for traditional camera controls, so stabbing at those small buttons becomes a frustrating necessity. My wife has had several small Canon zoom lens digicams, and in her petite hands they're apparently easy to use. To me, using them always feels like trying to disarm a bomb wearing oven mitts.

What happen with the flash? Looks like it's an accessory.

Eh? if they can't engineer a lens that doesn't distort, how can they ship a 'next gen' camera that doesn't apply in-camera lens correction? fail.

The bar has been raised again against the GF1 (larger sensor)and the Samsung NX10 (smaller body).
Sony is aiming not a replacing DSLR's with this but encouraging P&S enthusiasts to upgrade. This doesn't interest me as I already have a 5D and LX3 but it sure is promising from the body/sensor size ratio. I like many others will be hoping Canon follow suit to enable us to use EF lens.

The c'net review at the link above is more damning than praising, describing the kit lens has having the most severe distortion seen outside of the P&S world. Sounds like the coverage circle of the lens is just a tad too small for the sensor area, despite its size. No sensor-based IS, either. And the default settings gives you inaccurate colors?

Meh.

I can imagine what it would feel like trying to work with that superzoom, like a large (and full) beer can attached to something around the size of a 2.5" external drive.

Meh. I'm ... underwhelmed.

This is just about exactly what I have wanted since I switched to digital.
For years I used a 24mm lens almost exclusively until I switched from 35mm to medium format with a 47mm. It's pretty small. It has a waist level finder, live view, and interchangeable lenses.
I think I'll get one ASAP, and adapters for the manual focus Nikon and Pentax lenses I'm using on my Canon 5d mk2.
None of the disadvantages cited in the reviews are things I care about at all, as long as the shutter lag is not a problem with manual focus. The form factor is just perfect and the automatic image stacking is icing on the cake.
I wonder how the Voigtlander 12mm lens will look on this. The only thing that would have been better is if it had a 24x36mm sensor and or antishake in the body, but that would be an entirely different class of camera.

This system has promise, but I'm going to hold off until they have a few prime lenses (i.e,in addition to the 24, a 50 and 85 would be nice - FF equivalents), and an electronic viewfinder that is as good as the one on the Olympus EP-2.

BTW, did anyone else notice that the text in the cnet ISO comparison pictures is from "Brave New World"?

"Oh, for Ford's sake, be quiet!" he shouted. Lenina shrugged her shoulders. "A gramme is always better than a damn," she concluded with dignity, and drank the sundae herself"

A little subliminal editorializing about the camera's relationship to the Alpha line of Somas, I mean Sonys? At least they didn't call it an Epsilon.

Why are:
- An integral OVF
- Focusing scales
- A truly fast normal(ish) prime
Such difficult concepts?

Give me this camera, with a 30mm/1.4, a tiny glass window in one corner, and a focus scale engraved into the lens barrel, and I'd pay a C note more. And be happy to do so.

I think it's nifty. A way better crop factor for M mount lenses than m4/3rds. The only problem I see if NO ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER! Ugh, Sony, C'mon!

I've been waiting for this to decide about an EVIL kit. I think the p&s design (lack of direct controls) and lousy lens selection (for my tastes) tells me it's the Panasonic 20/1.7 on some m43 body. 16 is way too wide for a carry-everywhere camera. And while high ISO results are impressive, the lenses are not, based on what I've seen so far. The tilt screen looks nice, but I'd much rather a fully articulating screen like the bigger G's. I'm an Alpha user and could contemplate picking up the 30 & 50mm SAM primes if Sony 'fixes' the Alpha adapter at some point (the sonystyle product page for the adapter states AF with SAM/SSM but apparently they weren't able to get it working well enough to put it in production). But even then, either lens with the adapter would be about 2.75" long each. Perfectly fine in the case of the 50 for a short portrait prime, but too long for the 30 as a carry-everywhere prime. m43 would make the decision a lot easier if I didn't have to use a non-m43 lens on an adapter to have a portait prime, but you get what you get.

Vinegar Tom -

It's not a naive question at all! But rather has a lot to do with the fact that the light rays coming off the back of the lens onto the film could be traveling at quite an angle when the film was struck. The silver grains in the film didn't much care what angle they got hit at, just that there was light.

Digital pixels are very different, the light must hit them straight-on, or ( less-optimially) at a very acute angle. So modern "designed for digital" lenses actually are different - the light exiting the back of the lens is going in as straight a line as the designer can make it, striking the sensor perpendicularly to the surface. This is called telecentricity, and for the most part, is an entire additional assembly required on the lens, driving the bulk of the total package up.

If you were to have a full-frame sensor magically put into a mju II/Stylus Epic, the net effect would look like lots of falloff on the image sided/edges.


It's...freaking ugly. It looks like a prototype. Not a lot to hold onto there.

My question is who is going to buy it? I can't see P&S users wanting to move up to these cameras. And the controls are for P&S users, not serious users. Do enough P&S users care about IQ?

"Eh? if they can't engineer a lens that doesn't distort, how can they ship a 'next gen' camera that doesn't apply in-camera lens correction? fail." Isn't the final picture what counts, not what happens in between? Photographers have often manipulated the output, e.g., dodging and burning. I don't want them adding cost and weight to a camera that results in no change in the photograph.

Summing up: the only lens that takes advantage of the NEX's diminutive body size--the pancake--is too wide and not very fast. Nor do early reports suggest that it is equal to the potential of the sensor.

And did I read that the optional converter for using Alpha-mount lenses is...$200? I think I did. That seems wrong. And no auto focus with these legacy lenses? Wronger.

I wonder if any photographers were consulted during the concept and design phases for this camera?

Based on the accounts of the UI at dpreview, the NEX cameras smell like gigantic misses. Is anyone else wondering who's going to buy these? What's wrong with Sony? What's the point of reducing the camera body size to a pinpoint when the body + lens isn't more compact than m43?

The more I look, the more I'm curious where this is headed. The lack of direct controls and the general shoddy lens design suggests a product line aimed squarely at non-enthusiast consumers. The announcement of a dedicated video body, in a video prominently featuring Zeiss but claiming this new E-mount, suggests there may be more on the way. At worst, the whole affair is either a disaster or simply wholly uninteresting for me. At best, Sony has become completely wretched regarding communicating their plans to hold my interest. An enthusiast body (same specs, same tech, but with real manual controls) and a good lens roadmap (with Zeiss all over it) would hold my interest. As it stands, I'm left feeling Panasonic has a much better understanding of how to make a useful camera system.

I'll echo any comments suggesting Panasonic was on to something adding in-software lens corrections. If you want to sell me cheap lenses in this day and age, make them feel pricey in the camera.

I had my attention drawn to the fact that the NEXes seem to be geared towards video - for instance, the movable LCD is limited for photography, but is perfect for video where you don't change the orientation of the camera.

Does anybody else think the NEXes kinda look like Cybershot P100? Which was quite a nice compact, btw.

Well that about does it for me. My next camera is not going to have a swinging, slapping mirror. It'll be sad to give up the Pentax "limited" lenses for equivalents but I'll cope.

No need for an elctronic viewfinder...
But something to clip on the screen, like the Zacuto finder...
Or a folding one like on the Rolleiflex...

Come on guys!
With the flipping screen,it's maybe the new Rolleiflex...for discret chest level shooting... and an equivalent 28-300mm access!
Don't think Leica or DSLR (wich I love and use)...It's a different tool!

Re: adapter.

It has to contain a motor to do mechanical aperture control. I don't know about the pricing for sure - there are two different models, one "plain" and the other with a pretty substantial, removable tripod base plate. (You wouldn't really want a lens of any substance hanging off one of those little NEX bodies on a tripod).

Optical viewfinders are HARD. Most especially on interchangeable lens cameras. You can't make a "tiny glass window" in one corner that tracks the range of lenses likely to be used on a modern body and provides a reasonably accurate view at a range of focal distances. Especially if the body and lenses support macro focusing.

And while some people clearly feel really strongly about optical viewfinders -- most of us don't care. I consider the prism and mirror mechanism in my DSLR an unfortunate price I have to pay for the excellent AF performance (that can't be matched, yet, by off-the-sensor contrast detect systems).

Blah. That's not good enough, I want at least NEX11 or 13!

A little bit of Minolta lore: the 7 and 9 series have always represented the prosumer (7) and professional (9) market in the Minolta system of the AF era (before that, it was a bit more esoteric, although arguably the X-series was kind of in line). Sony has more or less paid attention to that heritage in the way they numbered their dSLR cameras and it appears they are at least paying lip service to it here. On the other hand, even a Maxxum 5 wasn't as stripped down and un-camera like as a NEX5, so who can say for sure?

As much as I was looking forward to this line of cameras, I must say the final result has been a little bit anti-climatic. I too would like to see if they have a concrete road map to bring out more camera-like 7 and 9 series models before I buy anything.

Optical viewfinders are HARD. Most especially on interchangeable lens cameras. You can't make a "tiny glass window" in one corner that tracks the range of lenses likely to be used on a modern body and provides a reasonably accurate view at a range of focal distances.

Yeah, because every rangefinder manufacturer in the history of the universe has been stumped by this problem.

Ideally, a really good built-in EVF would be the answer, but since no one seems to be able to do that w/o emulating the SLR form factor, a glass finder with scribed lines for a few common focal lengths...

Aside: I really don't see the point of a huge zoom lens on a camera built for portability, so framing lines for 28, 50, and 70 would be fine for me. Actually, if I were to get a GF1, the 20mm would go on and never come off, so just 40mm FOV would work for me. But I digress.

...a drop-in, no need to reinvent the wheel, solution. It doesn't need to be super accurate, or a rangefinder for that matter, provided the autofocus was good and/or the lens has the aforementioned focusing scales. I just want to be able to work unobtrusively in the dark. I shot a jazz show and the crowd looked like a carpet of lights, as everyone waved around their iPhones and P&S's, composing on the LCD.

And I shoot Pentax, so I'm pretty much beyond caring what other people don't care about.

Well, I'm still not ready to complain yet, but...!

1. The kit lens package is actually kind of appealing compared to the micro 4/3, because the high-ish ISO performance is pretty nice by comparison. This is a better combination for people coming off of point and shoots by quite a bit!
2. The pancake lens makes some sense to me. It shows that Sony is aware that wide-angle loving photographers have no options in micro 4/3. The relatively slow aperture (2.8) seems pretty reasonable given the short focal length, and combined with the high-ish ISO performance is kind of nice. What is not so obvious is that 24-28mm equivalent focal lengths are really good for taking pictures of small children you are sitting right next to. Very important for a certain Grandfather! Likewise, the deeper depth of field on a 24mm-equivalent lens is a good fit for the large sensor. People coming over from point and shoots are accustomed to not having to deal with focus errors!
3. The bizarre user interface is just fine for people like my Dad who are not tech savvy.
4. The adjustable waist level finder option is charming. I want this on every camera I own.

Dad takes really nice photographs with attention to color, texture, and composition with his point and shoot, and has no desire to fiddle with buttons. I can't blame him - life is short, and technology is frustrating. I think for all of the reasons listed above, I might have to buy this for him for Christmas.

Now, what I want is...

Yeah, because every rangefinder manufacturer in the history of the universe has been stumped by this problem.

Depends on what you want out of a viewfinder. A rangefinder's VF has some very specific compromises built into it. You implicitly conceded that these compromises are OK for the way you work when you decide you want to use a conventional (50's era) rangefinder. Depending on what you want out of an optical viewfinder, it seems perfectly reasonable to say that they're hard to get right.

What is not so obvious is that 24-28mm equivalent focal lengths are really good for taking pictures of small children you are sitting right next to.

Similarly this focal length is also good for taking pictures of people sitting right next to you, or across from you at a table with some context. Although depending on the length of a table I prefer a 35/40-ish FOV for the latter.

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