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Thread: NEX-5N my first impressions

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    NEX-5N my first impressions

    So I'm on the Sony program.

    Wanting to try more video stuff and looking for a smaller travel option, I decided an EVIL camera was the way to go, and the short-list was:
    Nikon V1/J1
    Panasonic GH2
    Olympus EP3
    NEX-5N
    NEX-7

    Despite shooting Nikon, I ruled out the Nikon 1 based on sensor size alone. I had a good play with an EP3 and while the focus was pretty good, the rest of the camera didn't excite me. I just couldn't see myself owning one. I liked MFT for the lens selection but the small sensors and poor high ISO was a drawback. The NEX-7 is hard to get a hold of, not as good for high ISO. I also didn't really want the high resolution, but I did like the EVF, flash, hotshoe and controls. So it came down to GH2 or NEX5. The GH2 is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it does video very well, especially with the hack. But in the end, a NEX-5N came up for a smoking price and that sealed the deal. The next GH2 iteration might be much better, but the MFT guys need to start working on their outdated sensors.

    So 5N impressions. Firstly, I checked for the "clicking sound" issue. It is audible with strong up and down shaking, but I could it get it to happen with left-right panning, or horizontal to vertical tilting. So it's a non issue for me.

    Straight up, the menus are long and disorganised, and the disabling of options based on current mode is annoying. But once I got my custom buttons configured, most of the settings are easy to get to. There is still a lot of menu diving occasionally though. The touch screen is excellent though. Focus pulling during video with 1 finger press is amazing.

    Image quality wise, I have very impressed with the sensor detail, colour, DR and ISO. It smokes my D300. The 18-55 kit lens is the best built kit lens I have ever used. It is a fine and effective lens, which continues to impress me. The 16mm pancake seems to do the job, but needs to be stopped down.

    Video quality, I was a bit annoyed that the PAL version doesn't do 24p easily and requires a special technique to trick the camera into getting 1/48s shutter speed. But the 1080/50p footage looks very smooth and lush. Also quite annoyed that the PAL version doesn't do 60p. Stupid Sony and region locking. Hopefully a hack will follow at some point.

    I can't go past another killer feature: focus peaking. This does a better job that I can MF on a D700 viewfinder. My eyesight must be bad, but this is a very handy feature. Also handy is the manual focus point zoom, anywhere in the frame using the touch screen. This is a massive time saver for off center composition. Who wants to zoom in then cursor around to get to their subject?

    So overall, after 3 days, I am pretty impressed, but I had to accept the trade-offs with buying into the Sony system: namely limited lenses, proprietary connections (flash and microphone!). The lenses will come, and I will be likely getting a NIK-NEX adaptor as well. I want to spend more time in post processing and printing the images to see how well they hold up to pulling, and printing. Video, I am a total n00b so I hope to learn something of this side of photography and I think I can do that with this camera.
    Thanks,
    Nam

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    update: my search for the perfect bag for the twin kit was successful. the best case is the nikon ss-700 soft case that ships with the sb-700 flash. the camera and 18-55 fit in the l-shape compartment, and the pancake lens sits in the small compartment for the diffuser. it couldn't be any better.


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    update 2: i recently got the f20s flash. ability to bounce and the additional wide angle fresnel lens and diffuser are much welcome. i found the flash to be way to powerful though, and it is set to -2ev flash compensation. it is drastically bigger than the f7s.

    interesting, the f7s does not seem to do any pre-flash for metering and i have had good success with off camera strobing with optical triggers.

    lastly, i also got a metabones nikon f-mount to sony e-mount adapter. i only have one non-G lens with aperture ring (35 f/2) and it was quite fun to shoot with. i will need to get something to hold the aperture prong open on my G lenses.

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    i have since added the sel55210 and the sel50. fair bit of CA in both when wide open, but having a stabilised 50mm is awesome. i have also been printing a lot of 6x4s lately, as well as some 40cm x 50cm canvas prints, and have been very happy with them. iso 3200 is totally acceptable at that print size, so i can shoot with auto iso without a worry.

    my nikon gear has massively reduced. i've offloaded the 24-70 and 70-200, as i no longer have any pretense of shooting professionally. i'm now happy shooting for fun with basic primes the on d700. the nex-5n covers off all general purpose needs. if you feel at all encumbered by your heavy FX DSLR and lenses, have a go with a mirrorless camera. don't look at the 100% crops, just compare prints. sure you make some trade-offs, but it's not as bad as you think.

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    i am still shooting my 5N prolifically. also still doing a lot of 6x4 prints, and some 16x20 canvases. these small prints make every camera & lens look good. but i am enjoying a workflow that ends in rifling through handfuls of physical prints. i have added the sigmarit 30 to the kit bag and it's my go to for walk around. now i need to get a pelican type case for all the bits and pieces. might also get a small fly cam type stabiliser as i have been messing around with video.

    i've also got an RX100 too. that camera deserves its own thread because it punches well above its weight. i will say that the RX100 has sated my need for new gear so much so that the D800 and D600 have not really piqued my interest.

    i think i'm just over big heavy bodies and lenses. i've hardly shot with the D700 lately. the last time i shot with the D700 and 5N together, the D700 images just didn't seem to have the wow factor anymore. it's a bit painful, but my old friend is getting very little usage nowadays. i'm almost to the point of deciding between selling it or packing it away for storage. how times have changed. i must be getting old.

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    well the D700 is gone, but the 5N is still kicking. i finally decided to get the EVF after spending too many days shooting in bright daylight. the sunny weather LCD brightness helps to see but messes up the colours and contrast too much. the EVF solves that problem. i convinced my old man to get a 6 with 16-50.

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    Awesome, thanks a lot for this thread - looking at investing in either Oly or Sony for myself and my partner later this year, so I'm loving this sort of info!!

    Any limitations you find? Any times when you shot with the Sony but wish you had your DSLR?

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    the only time i wish i had my DSLR is for shooting motorsports. i was spoilt with nikon's AF tracking and F/2.8 lens.
    but other than that, i love the raw files that i get out of the sony. the skin tones and gradation is so much better.

    the SEL1855 is better than the AF-S 16-85. not as good as the 17-55 obviously, but comparing the weight, size and cost it's a great bang for buck lens.
    the SEL55210 is the weakest. compared to the 70-300 VR i had, it's poor.
    the SEL50 is as good as the new AF-S 50 f/1.8, but with stabilisation.
    the two sigmas are great, but can't think of what to compare them to right now.

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    Interesting thread thanks - I've just ordered a Nex 6 with the twin lens kit, 16-50 & 55-210. Should be an ideal size for everyday & travel use. Like you I'm getting over carting heavy camera gear around, though I'm keeping my gripped 7D & 300 F4L for sports for the moment - after a day hand holding that you know it with the weight. I have looked at the Sony A77 for sports but feel the 7D has the edge at this stage - will be interesting to see what the replacement for the A77 brings though.

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    Hi Russell
    I've had the NEX 6 twin lens kit now for 6 months and love it, in fact I haven't used my Canon since buying it. I took it to Indonesia in December and loved the "weightlessness" of it, it certainly increased my travelling pleasure. Photo quality is excellent. The 16-50 shows some distortion with RAW files but JPEGS straight from the camera show none and the distortion in the RAW files is easily fixed with a little PP.

    I'm sure there'll be some who can give a more in depth review but all in all I'm very pleased with the NEX 6 and now face making a decision on whether to sell my idle Canon setup.
    Carole

    Canon 550D|Canon 15-85mm|Canon 70-300mm|Canon 100mm f2.8 macro|50mm f1.8 II|
    Sony NEX 6|Sony 16-50mm| Sony 55-210mm|Sony RX100
    www.carolelloydphotography.com


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    Yes, so far I've been impressed with it. Files are way cleaner / noise free than my Canon 7D. Only issue I've had is trying some night star photography I find it almost impossible to focus. Tried manually etc with pretty ordinary results - at least with the Canon I could set the lens to a whisker back from infinity and it would be fine.
    Some pics here taken with it as well as my 7D.
    http://500px.com/quickshot

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