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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Comments

I've been going through the same angst about getting rid of Pen and going with NEX-7. The only thing holding me back right now is the lack of availability of the NEX-7. Now Olympus is hinting at a new u4/3 with integrated viewfinder to be introduced soon. I guess sitting on my wallet for a few more months won't hurt too much, but that NEX-7 does look sweet!

I am having similar discussions with myself...

For me, the new Fuji has thrown some interesting options into the mix. Well, to be more on topic, I like what I read about the camera, but it's the lenses that really make the Fuji package interesting.

Maybe there will also be an Olympus or Panasonic body with a better sensor; that would also presumably resolve your dilemma?

Well, Ctein, two things that will not make this any easier, but still:

- There are substantial rumours about Olympus bringing a 'OM-D' to the market in February or March. A weathersealed body that mimics the OMs of yesteryear, with a built-in viewfinder and a new sensor (probably the 16mp one found in recent Panasonics - in any case an upgrade from the 12mp sensor).

- Sony has a 50mm1.8 lens that is also optically stabilised. It's not out yet, but it has been announced and it shouldn't take too long for it be available.

An interesting analogy. I've recently seen a few people asking questions like "I want a prime lens; should I get the 50/1.8 or save up for the 35/1.4?".

That's kinda like saying "Should I get a word processor or a spreadsheet?"

If you already have a working system in your hands, waiting seems to be the right thing to do.

NEX certainly looks like a great system if you don´t mind manual focus and don´t need ultra wide angle. All that legacy Leica, Zeiss and Cosina glass is just spoiling users with too much choice. The Sony branded NEX glass? Why is it so big? Pass...

After it caters to all the die hard rangefinder tiffosi, Fuji will certainly come out with an EVF competitor to the NEX 7. And their lens range is beginning to look a lot better than NEX. Its just not in stores yet, that's all.

Samsung mirrorless is looking close to being mothballed... Lets see what they come up with next.

As for tried and tested systems with a huge range of AF lenses from ultra wide to ultra tele, micro 4/3rds is it at the moment.

Actually, there's a NEX 50/1.8 with OIS.

Bit less expensive than the Olympus 45mm, maybe the performance won't match it. Here's a brief review including shots taken with a NEX-7.

Cheers,

I had a Nex 5 for a bit and sold it for lack of lenses. Nothing wrong with a slow, walk-around 18-55 but it's rather big on that tiny body. Nice camera otherwise. I don't see much improvement in the lens lineup so far.

Sure you can adapt "legacy" lenses that might work well but they are still a bit clunky to use depending on what you shoot and if you have time to diddle with things. I'm surprised Sony hasn't done more to provide lenses for this system as they make some of the most innovated camera bodies around.

I looked at all the options last fall (Ok I've been looking at them for two years) and decided on a NEX 5N.

It has its faults no doubt. But the IQ was clearly better than any competitor and that sold me. The rest I've been able to work around. And don't give me the size argument. Pick them up and compare. It's nothing.

I also believe that Olympus and Panasonic have 0 chance of catching Sony's sensors never mind surpassing them. Sony, on the other hand, has every chance of matching 4/3 on the lens front. And they've announced they are going to do that by re-working the NEX lens roadmap.

In your position, I would not hesitate to make the swap.

"I'm surprised Sony hasn't done more to provide lenses for this system...."

MJFerron,
Sony's Big Mistake.

Mike

Supposedly the Olympus OM-D (m43) will be announced in February, featuring a new autofocus system, new built-in viewfinder, better IS than the Pens, magnesium weatherproof body, and a 16 mp sensor with better DR (how much, who knows). Might be worth waiting to look at, at least.

Ctein, Having met and talked with you a few times, and having gotten something of a grip on your life-style, I can't for the life of me figure out why you're looking at NEX. If all you want to do is walk around with a terrific APS-C sensor and a great lens, look at a Nikon D7000. I got one for my daughter ( and then took it back and played with it for a while) and it's a wonderful camera, and has all of Nikon's lenses behind it. It has a *much* better viewfinder than the NEX will have, terrific handling, a great lens set, the best flash capability in existence, a sensor that's either identical or very close to the NEX7, etc. and etc. The only difference is that it's insignificantly bigger than the NEX body. The lenses are the same size.

On the other hand, if you want smallness, the m4/3 is smaller overall and has a much better lens set. (I now have three m4/3 bodies and seven lenses in a small backpack.)

The NEX has always seemed to me to be a much unneeded compromise, with neither system smallness nor walk-around goodness.

Then, of course, there's the upcoming Fuji...

(For those of us who are hoping for marvelous new Olympus, I fear our hopes will be crushed again. That's just what Olympus does...)

It took some time, but as a mFT user you can now have a very nice lens kit:
Panasonic 14mm F/2.5
Panasonic 20mm F/1.7
Olympus 45mm F/1.8
This is 28/40/90mm in 35mm-format, fast,
affordable, lightweight and two of these lenses are even pancakes!
Yesterday I had a shooting to document some teaching situations (candid, nothing posed). All I took was this lens kit and two mFT bodies. Man, that was fun! After a minute everybody forgot about being photographed, and I think the reaseon for this is that my cameras and lenses didn't look like a monster DSLR.
So the question is: Where are the nice lenses for NEX and Nikon 1?
Leo
P.S.: Of course you can adapt Leica or other lenses to NEX, but there are a lot of times when I love to have autofocus.

Dear Benjamin,

Good points in general. For me, personally...

I am very much not susceptible to the "latest/greatest" thing. An immunity born from years of product reviewing. As for identifying deficiencies, you should read the four (implicit-bullet) items between the two photos as areas where improvement over my existing camera would matter to me. I'm not going to waste my word-count calling out features that don't.

UI? Gee, I very much dislike the UI on my Pen, compared to the one I had on my Fuji S100. It actually makes me waste photos (lack of a live histogram I can pop on and off with just a touch, combined with a short exposure range). The NEX could be worse, indeed -- the specific UI problems reported with the Fuji X100 killed it for me-- but my bar has been set awfully low. That's just an area where I figure I'll likely just have to grit my teeth and soldier on.

~~~~~~~~

Dear David J, Peter, Kevin, Paddy, & Ivan,

If that 50mm tests decently, well, then yeah! I'm not very FL-sensitive (50? 60?, much the same to me). I do value really uniform image quality, so the sample photos posted on line tell me utterly nothing. I'll wait for the PhotoZone test.

I certainly think the NEX system has promise, or I'd not even consider the move. But until the pieces are actually in place it's a case of "bird in the hand..."

~~~~~~~~

Dear PLM, David, Kevin, & John,

I've no doubt that Olympus has new stuff in the works. Probably would have even seen some solid info last year, were it not for the major disasters. I don't sense it's a case of Sony being technologically superior, as Paddy does. It's that Olympus is still relying on a three year old sensor/signal-processing engine. All could change.

16MP, by the way, would not be a reason for me to rejoice. That's only a 15% improvement in resolution, a barely detectable amount. It's why I tell people to hold out for at least 50% more pixels. But majorly more exposure range and an improvement in low-light performance would be very big wins for me.

In any case, nothing happens until I can get hard performance data rather than design specs.

pax / Ctein
==========================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
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All this talk about this camera over that camera it reminds me of the youtube video called "Battle at F Stop Ridge". The latest one is out now, a sequel so to speak. Check it out it's a gas. http://youtu.be/3PovspE6IVg

Eh, that Sony 24 mm doesn't look to be any great shakes in the published testing so far; it certainly doesn't seem to hold a candle to the m4/3 20 mm. Extra pixels or not, I guess I'd have to see tests before I believed that the NEX 7/24 mm combo outresolves a PEN/20 mm combo. That, combined with a very meaningful size penalty (an E-PM1 with the 20 mm and the EVF is about two-thirds the weight of a NEX 7 with the 24 mm, as well as being about half as thick in the dimension parallel to the optical axis), I just don't see the former as being a real replacement for the latter.

If that upcoming 50 mm proves to be as glorious a lens as the Oly 45 mm, though, the verdict could become a lot less obvious. For my purposes, I'd still really want a good wide zoom (I like my Oly 9-18 mm a lot), but...

Dear Nicholas,

Can you post a link to that review for the Sony Zeiss 25mm lens? Thanks!

My size/weight issues aren't as tight as some. I don't need a "pocketable camera. I do really like one that fits comfortably in my Skooba shoulder bag, along with all my other crap.

I really love it that my Oly and a reasonable kit fit in the bottom of said bag.

The Sony and lenses would fit the bill, but a DSLR is fundamentally too lumpish (vis JC's comments) so I'm tending not to consider them at the moment unless they are truly amazing.

My moods could entirely change next year. I'm an artist; I get to be mercurial in the job description. [vbg]

pax / Ctein

This is quite funny, as after reading your article, it seems that a post I made at my blog was like a direct reply to your questions.

In case somebody might be interested, that post is entitled "Fighting the computer-like frenzy in the world of photography", available here:
http://catetoblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/fighting-computer-like-frenzy-in-world.html

Excuse me for posting it here:

Fighting the computer-like frenzy in the world of photography

Many fields, in the world of consumer electronics, are getting more and more similar to the world of computing: we are getting fast replacements of former models, and the new ones are often small variations with a number of improvements which might, or not, justify the jump.


The manufacturers are always selling their new models as a significant replacement, one which deserves the expense. And every year, users are confronted to new models tempting their credit cards.

Computers have been suffering this situation for a long time. But in the world photography, prior to the arrival of digital cameras, you could be fairly sure to use SLR model for many years without significant drawbacks.

And something tells me that, looking quietly, it might still be the case, despite the manufacturer's propaganda.

Let's use my personal example for description.

In 2005 I got a Fujifilm Finepix F30, after reading extensive information on its capabilities in the net. At the time, its main quality was a peerless reply to low light, and a ver high image quality in most situations, for a compact camera. It is a 6 megapixels model, and it is limited to jpeg, no raw shooting.

In 2006 I got a Pentax K10D, for many reasons, the main being the very good image quality, the large number of features, and the huge compatibility with all kind of Pentax lenses. The problems were a somehow spotty autofocus, and a less than stellar response to low light.

Since those dates, both kind of cameras, compacts and digital SLR, have made tremendous advances, so that today you have compacts which blow away the F30 and K10D. Furthermore, a new category of cameras, the mirrorless models with interchangeable lenses, has appeared in recent years, mixing the best of both worlds.

But if we go to the key question: are those new advances significant, so that I should replace those cameras? Moreover, are the prices of the new cameras going to be compensated by their better features?

I honestly am unsure, and rather I would say "no".

I am an amateur photographer, who works in different matters for a living. I shoot as often as I can, usually on weekends when we do trips to other cities, or doing sight-seeing in the countryside. Under those conditions, both the F30 and K10D keep on doing a fine job for my needs.

6 megapixels are more than enough for most of my casual pictures, taken on the fly while walking around. And the F30 really shines in low light, even if there are current models that far outcompete it. It is a pleasure to use, the focus is nailed most of the times, and it is a simple, no brainer camera to make a quick, great shoot without any further consideration. It still leaves you some manual controls, and I have done some truly stunning shoots at night using them with attention.

Something similar happens with my beloved K10D: 10 megapixels seem ridiculous in front of today's crazy contest for more megapixels in every generation. But to me it is largely sufficient, and if you add the countless possibilities of this camera, I have plenty of opportunities to play and have fun. I swear I have not yet discovered all its capabilities, despite having utilized extensively since its purchase. But for an advanced amateur, I think it easily exceeds your expectations. I could obviously do with a better autofocus, and also with an improved sensor for very dark shots. Yet I managed to make some absolutely terrific shots with it and, most importantly, it has been great fun to use and learn how to use the Pentax K10D. The picture of the Mezquita on top of the Guadalquivir river, in Córdoba, which illustrates this post, is one of my best shots and it was done on a rainy night with the K10D. Furthermore, thanks in significant part to the articles posted by Mike Johnston at The Online Photographer, and to the back catalogue of inexpensive prime lensees from Pentax, I started playing with primes and I think I have been hooked for life.

In short: the camera manufacturers will keep on trying to hook up users to switch to their very last impressive model. But yours truly is planning to contradict them and keep my cameras for a long time, before switching.

Interesting. Like others, I have bought into particular digital systems because of the lenses, or even because of a single lens.

In olden times (I mean really old, like the 1970's) if you decided to switch from Nikon to Olympus, or vice versa, it was almost entirely because of the bodies. (and maybe because of the general reputation of a company's line of lenses.) Why? Because everybody's lens lines were the same. Everybody had a 50/1.4 and a 100/2.8, and so forth. Even secondary brands, like say Fujica, had to have the most popular options covered before they came to market.

Now it takes two companies to generate a complete lens line for m4/3, and others, like Sony, seem completely in the woods. The fact that I can adapt a 30 year old lens that will have a manual aperture (for Pete's sake!) does not make me want a Nex 7.

Just an observation. Too tired to turn it into a rant.

Been there, thought that. Currently, I don't see a perfect mirrorless system (for me) in the market.

My mirrorless of choice has been the Samsung NX10 because it has good ergonomics and an onboard EVF. It lacks great high ISO performance or a deep buffer, but it attaches to...the NX 30mm f/2 pancake lens. LOVE that tiny lens! The NX system also has a 16mm f/2.4 pancake out, and an upcoming 50mm f/1.8 pancake. Perfect prime lens trio!

Now if only I could use them on the Sony NEX-7, which doesn't have any equivalent lenses in such a small size.

Morale of the story: Pick your poison, Ctein!

Ctein,

Are you sure it's not just GAS? Just kidding, I did read your points. But just how insufficient is the current sensor for you, are you routinely running up against it's limitations, are you frequently losing shots that coulda been had you used a bigger better more whatever sensor? Granted, the low ISO performance is not as good as the Sony or other competition, and this would be my biggest need/want (though I am have been pleasantly surprised in this respect so far with the ep3).
Two big issues you face with the Sony system besides the important lens selection issue. First, you give up portability with the size of the lenses. If you don't mind large lenses, why not just go for a DSLR? (no need to debate this one here). Second, and this is very subjective, is user interface. The Sony and Olympus represent practically opposite philosophies when it comes to design and control, if you like one you probably won't care much for the other.
No camera or system is perfect, it's more whether you can live with the compromises imposed on you by someone else.
Maybe the new OMG will make the decision easier, won't know til it's no longer just a rumor. But here's hoping.

Nex-7 what was that?
OOOO, I remember that was the camera hyped before the X-Pro1. Why should I want Sony no lens selection and a PSP body? 18, 35 and 60 seem so right, and bright. I am 100% sure next year we will have something better than x-pro1, but fujinons XF are here to stay. If You think of it the 60/2.4 is relatively brighter than 45/1.8, and is also macro. And fuji dares to compare it with zuiko 50/2.
I guess no m4/3 for me, and I have never been impressed from sony zeiss, 135/1.8 aside.

"If You think of it the 60/2.4 is relatively brighter than 45/1.8"

An f/2.4 lens is not brighter than an f/1.8 lens, regardless of how much thinking about it anyone might do.

Mike

Precisely the reason I've held on to my Pentax bodies:)
- Pentax A-50mm F/1.2
- Pentax A*-200mm F/4.0 Macro

I just have to have a body for these lenses, and for the life of me I can not even think about selling them.

Here is an idea, choose your lens, and buy a camera for each lens! For me that would be:

Macro: Pentax K-5 with A*200mm Macro
Wide: Panasonic GH2 with Panny 7mm-14mm F/4
Telephoto: Canon 7D with 300mm-IS F/4
Portrait: Canon 5DII with 135mm F/2

And everyday camera: Fuji x100

I guess you could add a few Pentax Limited primes for "fillers" ;-)

On the web, or with the size prints I usually make, I really doubt I would see any noticeable difference. If I needed huge prints that would be viewed close up I would rent medium format gear or at least go full frame DSLR.
The tiny body/beer can lens form factor does not appeal to me. NEX needs some good compact/pancake primes.
Pixel Peepers live in a different world than I do.

And to make a new purchasing decision even harder Fuji announced the X-Pro1 with three fast primes!

Hi Ctein,

A couple of (rambling) thoughts from a PEN user considering his options, who is also excited by the NEX-7:

In the realm of the practical and immediately available (yes, I realize this is not really what this exercise is about), a GH2 body gets a PEN user several improvements in trade for losing in-body IS and gaining some lumpiness. Most importantly: a viewfinder, articulating screen, and more external controls. Minor gains include incrementally better dynamic range and low light performance. Mileage will vary re gaining a touch screen and arguably the best video capabilities among still cameras, and re trading tasty Olympus jpegs for bland ones.

What would not be lost is one's m4/3 lenses. Though the loss of IS makes that less sweet. On the other hand, I haven't been spoiled by the 45mm.

Which leads to the second thought:

Thinking lens-centrically, those of us who prefer our adapted legacy lenses on our PENs are much less fettered in our upgrade options. Re native lenses, I notice that NEX lenses tend to run large; perhaps unnecessarily. That won't bother some people. It does me.

OK so there are three thoughts, because the main--perhaps only--reason I hesitate is the PEN's in-body IS. It's a biggie. So I hope the next generation of PENS is worthy. 16MP is more than enough for me.

P.S. I didn't mention the incremental gain in resolution, which, however, is more substantial for those who shoot other than 4:3 aspect thanks to the GH2's oversize sensor.

I had a look at a Nex 7 in Sydney yesterday (Foto Reisel has one on view but not for sale yet) and easily resolved the dilemma for myself. The Sony Zeiss 24mm is huge compared to the Olympus lenses. As compactness and portability are important to me I'll stick with the Pens.

Like another poster, I have a NEX-5 but I haven't sold it yet; I've only considered it. When I bought it, Sony's road map promised a portrait prime, while micro 4/3 users were still bemoaning the lack of such a lens. Fast forward a year - Oly's 45/1.8 is lovely and Sony's choice of 50mm for APS-C is uninspired.

It's amazing to me that Sony can have 7 lenses for NEX, yet little of interest. Three zooms covering 18-200 (no brainers) then 50/1.8 (does anyone really go around asking for a 75mm equivalent ?), the 16mm pancake (fine, except for the lack of other lenses), a 30/3.5 macro that's big, slow, soft, short for a macro and focuses to 1:1 really close, and then the $1000 24mm Zeiss lens that's also very large. Who's behind these decisions ? (Of course, Sony is a consumer electronics company, not a camera company).

I've thought about dropping it in favor of a micro 4/3 kit which would be perfect with the 20/1.7, the 45/1.8 and a zoom (probably the Panasonic 14-140 for video, though I think the Sony 18-200 is a better lens). But the problem is the camera body is too big a tradeoff. No tilting LCD (one body has it, but not one I'd want), no built in EVFs in a compact body like the 7 (granted, I only have the 5 right now, but I won't consider upgrading to the 7 until there are better lenses), and subpar sensors (mostly poor dynamic range). So I can answer lens v. body for this specific case, but I don't think it extends to a generalization.

What's happened is that the mirrorless cameras we all dreamed about for years passed us by on their way to the soccer mom. And I'm resigned to sticking to my DSLR for most of my shooting. At least until they throw us a better bone. Fuji's system looks great, but too big (no IS, no tilting LCD) and it would have to be closer to perfect for the price. The NEX-7 is a camera I would genuinely love to own and shoot (I had a chance to try one firsthand) but I really don't see Sony designing lenses that make sense. And the latest m43 sensors are getting better in the SNR department, but the dynamic range still isn't there. Maybe I'll revisit that if the right body comes along (built in EVF in a compact design and a tilting LCD).

Maybe Ctein would consider both deficient in their own ways, but there is a Voigtlander 58/1.4 manual focus for Nikon (I think there's a Nikon-to-Nex converter) as well as the Tamron 60/2. Both would require converters, so I don't know how much functionality would be lost. This is assuming they're optically up to Ctein's standards to begin with.

slrgear.com has tested the 24/1.7
They also have their interactive chart up for the 50/1.8, but nothing written up yet, so it's not marked as tested:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1451/cat/82

A reasonable alternative to the first gen E-P1 would be the E-PL2 with its currently low price and very light anti-alias filter. Resolution's better but there's still the dynamic range issue. Still, even the E-PL2's mere 10.4 stop dynamic range is still noticeably better than what we got from Zone System BW and color slide film.

I just read a little preview at DIGLLOYD.com site about the NEX-7... I guess it's a cause for concern !

http://diglloyd.com/blog/2012/20120117_1-SonyZeiss24f1_8.html

So glad I'm happy with my current equipment. I have found my new favorite lens for APS-C bodies though. The Sigma 17-50 f2.8 OS. Sharp, sharp, sharp even wide open and the corners aren't bad. Way smaller and lighter than the Canon 17-55 and $400 less scratch.

This sort of reminds me of the 1970s when Speed Graphics were the choice of the "If it refracts light I'll take a picture with it, and if it records light faster than diazo paper I'll load the camera with it." crowd. A block of wood mounted between a Mamiya 23 back and whatever you wanted to use for a lens/shutter/and something to determine focus worked if the Graphic was too civilized. I remember the Konicas and Alpas being popular for similar reasons. (mainly because they got dumped on the market for pennies on the dollar)

The NEX is the digital equivalent of the old Graphic (baby with the 23 holder thank you) The perfect camera for people who love lenses and kind of hate cameras. I have 24 lenses that I have been using with my NEX 3 but if I had to stick to one lens on the NEX , the Nikkor 28mm 2.8 ais is the one for single image photography.

The only three things that I would change on it would be to put a flash synch terminal on the thing or at least sell an adapter, Some sort of provision for a wired remote (and what's the point of those TV style IR-remotes anyway? They surely cost more and take up more room than a wired remote socket.), and the shutter release is in almost the worst place I can imagine if you are trying to use it as a waist level camera. Once you get used to using the base of your thumb to release the shutter it's ok at the higher shutter speeds you might use for taking pictures of people, but since you are essentially squeezing the camera against your stationary palm the camera moves towards your body not the other way around.

Hanging on the neckstrap or with the help of some sort of grip I can handhold at slower speeds that I did with my Pentax K10. It's in the twin lens reflex range of hand hold ability albeit something in the Leica-Pentax range of shutter racket. I rarely run into a situation where camera shake is the factor keeping me from using a slower shutter speed.

When I went to the most recent Photo Expo to look at the NEX 7 , it wasn't that compelling an upgrade except for the flash , and slightly better ergonomics. On the other hand , the a65 has been calling to me. Same sensor as the 7 but with anti-shake for time exposures in a moving car and walking and photographing at the same time. I understand that you can temporarily remove the mirror , and there are lots of possibilities for lens swapping, and the ergonomics are vastly better. Oh , and it's cheaper too, so I'd keep the NEX to continue sampling as many lenses as I can find (rangefinder mount Sonar formula Nikkor 50mm 1.4 ! Retina Deckel mount Schneider Xenons !)

If you think of the NEX as a tiny medium format digital back with a rudimentary camera that can adapt it to hundreds of interesting lenses, you will be happier. Well maybe not you but certainly me.

Oh except you can't run it tethered. That sucks too considering how simple it ought to be. So make that a tiny medium format digital back with a rudimentary camera that can adapt it to hundreds of interesting lenses as long as you don't use strobes or need tethering or even a simple cable release.


I don't yet have my NEX-7 (could be tomorrow, could be next month) so can't offer any firsthand experience but, as pointed out, it comes down to how vested (financially/emotionally) you are in your current system and whether the perceived advantages of something new are worth the switch. (Though NEX is only a "system" if you need autofocus.)

I never bought into Micro 4/3 (it never attracted me) and don't adhere to a "second camera" approach. Though I might have specialized cameras or old film bodies that I'm attached to, having more than one general purpose camera is an impediment. This in turn requires knowing what one's requirements are and sitting it out until something that meets these comes along. It's too easy to be caught up in the enthusiasm of reviews/comments and overlook the fact that the latest wonder lacks something important to each as an individual. While sometimes you just have to invest in gear to see how it shakes out, most things are pretty obvious (like the lack of viewfinder and exposure compensation dial above). There's no need to compromise. If a feature is perceived by many as worthwhile eventually there will be a camera that has this. It's not a though your current camera(s) can't take decent photos. Procrastination is often the best strategy.

Of course, if you buy one of everything, feel free to ignore all of the above. Churn is great for the industry, maybe less so for one's own photography.

In regard to the comments by Benjamin Marks, I have the same aversion to the arms-length interface of the NEX-3 and NEX-5 as he does. I thought about and rejected the Hoodman as an acceptable (to me) corrective measure, but part of that rejection was also the poor user interface of the NEX-3 and NEX-5.

The NEX-7 is a completely different animal, and one that may well end up in my camera bag when it is more widely available. The user interface is a night-and-day improvement, and the NEX-7 combines an eye-level finder with the possibility of using the LCD screen as a waist-level finder - which I occasionally find to be VERY convenient.

Not to mention some of the other features that others have mentioned . . .

BTW, if the NEX-7 did not exist, I would be looking seriously at the NEX-5N, which is also a very different animal than the NEX-3 and NEX-5, although you would never guess it from the minor name variation.

"Here is an idea, choose your lens, and buy a camera for each lens!"

Sam - That's great and I think it would be a lot of fun. But for an average outing shooting, I'd need to carry all 4! Right now I carry a 12mm - 300mm range with 2 lenses.

Reading all this, I'm sure glad I stuck with full frame 35mm and learned to stop worrying about camera size

Dear David M,

Yes, sufficiently insufficient [s] to have me wishing for something superior. And the second photo in this article is an example of a failed photo due to the limited exposure range of the camera.

The resolution of the EP-1 is adequate to produce very high quality 17"x22" prints, in my hands, but it pushes the camera to its limits. If the photo ain't pixel-level sharp, the print won't cut it. It's workable but uncomfortable; I would appreciate a bit of breathing room.

For me, the improved ISO and viewfinders are not musts, but they are certainly nice bonuses.

Yes, a new 'pro' Olympus *might* make a difference. Just as the Fuji X-pro *might*. But I entirely ignore product announcements/rumors. Until I see actual performance tests from folks I trust, like dXo or Photozone, a product does not enter into consideration for me.

~~~~~~

Dear Joe Kashi,

I disagree that this is a reasonable upgrade. The difference between the two cameras in every aspect of image quality is either nonexistent or insignificant. That is true of the entire current line of EP-xx cameras.

A 10-stop exposure range would not be vexing if it failed gracefully. I quite agree it's more than what any but the very best of the film photographers ever made use of. But, as Mike and I have discussed at some length in recent columns, digital camera exposure ranges simply slam into a brick wall when they're exceeded, creating aesthetic carnage.

~~~~~~


Dear Robert e,

I would not consider a three-stop improvement in exposure range to be minor, considering that the EP-xx cameras fall near the low end of any of the pro cameras while the NEX-7 falls near the high end.

~~~~~~

I know someone who bought a 5Dmk2 for the sole reason that he wanted the 17mm TSE lens. Having seen what it is capable of in good hands, it was a very wise decision on his part.

He did buy a couple of other Canon lenses - the 24-105 that came with the camera and a 70-200 F4 IS. Quite a nice system overall.

"All at no special penalty in size and weight."

I'm not sure about that. Yes, the cameras themselves are almost the same size and weight despite the bigger sensor of the NEX, but NEX lenses are considerably larger than m4/3.

By the way, what about the Panasonic GX1? It doesn't have IS, but the sensor is quite better than the Olympus one. Or, they say, by April, the new Olympus OM-D should be out.

In any case, I understand it's a hard decision

@Steve Jacob - :-))

I have the 24mm TS-E for the 5DMk11, which is a special lens in many respects, but more extraordinary is the results from things like the (cheapo) 85mm F1.8 and 50mm f1.4 (oh, and the 35mmF2, and the.... etc etc etc)

Dear Jorge,

But this is a dwelling on the insignificant.

The GX1 is in no measure "quite better." It offers only 15% more resolution, which is at the very low end of what's even visible. As for other image quality aspects, see:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/News/DxOMark-news/Panasonic-Lumix-GX1-the-latest-Panasonic-micro-four-thirds-to-the-test

A half stop more exposure range? A third stop more low light capability? Why would one deeply care about any of this?

Similarly, by absolute measure the NEX lenses aren't much bigger and heavier. Oh yeah, they weigh twice as much. That's 4 ounces. And some of my lenses ain't ultra-lightweights, like the 45mm. The camera body weighs the same (and is only minimally larger in size). Adding it all up and assuming all my half dozen lenses had equivalents (they don't) if I upgraded my whole kit to NEX 7 I'd add less than a pound to my shoulder bag.

That matters to some people. My housemate is an avid hiker-- she does care about ounces. Some people really need a pocketable camera, so the pancakedness of the Panasonic 20mm is signficant. I don't. And tossing that outlier out of the mix, the other NEX lenses typically run, oh, a cm longer than the ones I have. Relatively speaking, much bigger. Absolutely speaking, not much at all.

pax / Ctein

Hi Ctein,

Sorry for the confusion--I'll blame my writing--but I was comparing the EP1 and the Panasonic GH2, as a possibly worthwhile upgrade within the m4/3 family.

The GH2's sensor is better in every way than the EP1's, but not by very much. However, the improvements in ergonomics, usability and video capability (if it matters) would be significant. On the other hand, losing in-body IS is also significant.

And, obviously, if it didn't fit in your bag, that would be highly significant.

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