Before we begin, Micro 4/3 is the best, when you're talking about the size and graceful proportion of lenses relative to the cameras they fit on. "Stipulated," as they say in courtrooms. That means: even though we're about to get argumentative, we're willing to concede that point. So no need to argue or prove that.
But we were talking about Sony's "Ex-NEX" cameras the other day (i.e., the Sony APS-C ILCs [interchangeable-lens cameras] that used to be called NEX), and there's something that usually bugs me when that subject comes up. It's that Ex-NEX lenses are "huge" and "extremely large" and "way too big" and other expressions along those lines.
No. Not so.
But it's become an Internetism. (Internetisms are things that are repeated so often that people think they're true.)
What is true is that they're not proportionate. They don't look well balanced or graceful on the tiny Ex-NEX bodies such as the new A6300. They tend (most of them) to look too big for the bodies.
They also look awkward to handle...
...But they're not. I shot with the Zeiss 24mm ƒ/1.8 for several years, on a NEX-6. It's one of those lenses that the Internet always says is "huge." It actually handles very nicely.
Here, courtesy of the ever-useful camerasize.com, is a size comparison. Three lenses of approximately equivalent angles of view on three APS-C-sensor cameras. Left to right, the Zeiss 24mm ƒ/1.8 on a Sony A6300; the AF-S Nikkor 24mm ƒ/1.8G on a D7200, and the Fujinon XF 23mm ƒ/1.4 on an X-T1 (my camera and lens).
Does the Fujinon 23mm look huge too? I don't have the Zeiss 24mm on hand to show you, but here's the Fuji 23mm:
That's just not a large lens. That's a beautifully sized lens. Just right, in my humble opinion—big enough to handle easily, light enough to be portable. (Don't get me started on how perfect the Fuji 23mm is. I can go on.)
The Zeiss is just a little longer than the Fuji (and of course not quite as fast). But they're very close to the same size.
Other Zeiss lenses for the Ex-NEX aren't really much larger. From left to right, the 24mm, the 55mm ƒ/1.8 (an 82.5mm short tele on the A6300, but it also covers FF on the A7 series cameras) and the 16–70mm ƒ/4 zoom. All three are shy of three inches long and weigh less than 12 ounces. They look big. They're not. They look ungainly. They're not that, either—at least I don't think. I always found the NEX-6 with the Zeiss 24mm to handle very nicely and naturally. It never struck me as unbalanced at all. The lens is on the large size but it's not heavy, and it never gets in the way.
In fact (continuing this line of reasoning), I might even argue that the size of the 24mm is a plus, because it allows you to hold the camera in one hand by hooking the fingers of your right hand under the grip and letting the lens rest against the back of your fingers; then, on the NEX-6 at least, you can work the controls on the camera back with your thumb, thus allowing you to change the camera settings with one hand while holding something else in you other hand.
This post will, of course, have absolutely zero effect on the associated Internetism. People will go right on repeating that Ex-NEX lenses are "huge." Sometimes I wonder if people even care what's true any more. Weighing constant repetition of a falsehood on one hand and truth on the other, the zeitgeist seems to think the scales are about equal.
But at least now you know.
(Thanks to camerasize.com)
P.S. May I just say here that I think moving away from the NEX name was, um, the wrong move on Sony's part. "NEX" was a serviceable name that functioned as a name, i.e., a label that reliably distinguished a distinct class of products from all Sony's other products. Sony had worked to establish the name and the name was established. And then it changed, to a word that does not function as a name and does not reliably distinguish that class of products from other different products. In other words, it changed from a useful name that had no drawbacks to a useless name that has several drawbacks. For no reason that I can detect.
I'm just going to go on referring to Sony's APS-C ILC mirrorless line as "Ex-NEX," so that people will know what I'm talking about.
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
Ken Tanaka: "Re 'It's that Ex-NEX lenses are "huge" and "extremely large" and "way too big" and other expressions along those lines.'
"'Internetism' indeed. I have a better phrase for it but you wouldn't print it. So I'll settle for equine byproduct.
"My set of Sony E-mount lenses with a Canon 24–70mm at top for comparison. The A6000 with the E-16mm is in the foreground. The largest E-mount shown here is the 18–200mm.
"Sony's E-mount lenses are the smallest, lightest, and generally sharpest lenses I own.
"Now on to photography!"