Top positive review
42 people found this helpful
Utterly amazing piece of kit
on 28 July 2010
I'd been on the lookout for a better camera for a while but didn't know exactly what I wanted. My point and shoot (an olympus tough) was great on sunny days but really very average at other times. I didn't want an SLR - they seemed far too complicated, and besides you needed a rucksack for all the kit. I toyed with "better" point and shoots (Canon IXUS) and bridge cameras but nothing really caught my fancy. Then one day while internet browsing I saw a preview of the Nex, and I knew that I had found what I was looking for. Back then I didn't even know how good it actually was!
I plumped for the twin lens kit, on the Nex 5. The Nex 5 has a better build quality than the Nex 3 (magnesium vs plastic) and higher quality HD video (1080 vs 720). It just feels nicer in your hand - I think it's a better shape - and also it is remote shutter release compatible - the Nex 3 isn't. So I felt it was worth the extra ££.
What Sony have done is put a full size sensor from an SLR into a beautiful tiny shiny case - so you get superb quality pictures without the SLR size. Add to this the ability to change lenses, shoot in RAW and access manual controls or just be entirely lazy and let the camera work for you, and you have a recipe for success.
I've had it for 3 weeks and have taken photos everyday. Of everything. Kids playing on swings - kids are pin sharp with lovely action blur. Badminton game - sorted. Landscapes and sunsets - I have a different screensaver each day. Macro - pin sharp bumblebees. Portraits - I've snapped some amazing ones. You name it, it shoots it. Perfectly. A lot of my 'best" shots have been on intelligent auto mode - imagine what you could achieve if you knew what you were doing!! I was at a party the other week and ALL the men came to have a play - even those who own pro quality DSLRs were impressed - and everyone wanted one! There is an active sony nex community on flickr - so you can see the shots it is capable of.
So 3 weeks in I'm still not bored (I was photographing blueberries this morning!) and I've really started to experiment with stuff that I'd never have attempted previously. I now - just about - understand shutter speeds, depth of field, f numbers, manual focus, all the different modes and priorities - sometimes i can even set them up right. But the brilliant thing is that I don't have to as the camera will happily do as much or as little as you want. Having all the manual settings probably means I won't get bored for quite some time - and will continue learning!
The lenses are superb - I'm glad I got both. The 18-55mm is great for most snaps - simply a good all-rounder. The 16mm adds some interesting effects (which I'm still learning about) and makes the camera so superbly compact that it goes down to point and shoot size (but DSLR quality).
A few tiny cons (IMHO far far far outweighed by the pros of this amazing camera)
1. The menu system. Because it is so small and neat sony have put all the settings into an electronic menu system. This is a bit irritating initally, as you can't always find the menu you want. I'm getting used to where to find stuff now but it still takes longer to click-click-turn-click-turn-click than to just press a button on a conventional SLR. If they'd put this stuff on the outside however it would have to be a lot bigger and uglier - so I guess that's the trade-off!
2. Limited lens choice - the Nex range use e-mount lenses - as yet only made by Sony, which means they're damned expensive. The proposed 18-200mm zoom has an RRP of £700! The exact same sony alpha mount lens is £500, or about £150 for a generic brand. You can buy a lens adapter (£150) so you can use sony alpha lenses, but you won't have auto-focus or image stabilisation (another reason why the camera is so small - the image stabiliser is in the lenses). Other manufacturers are bringing out adapters (check out ebay) but you then lose aperture control as well. Still hopefully in time Sony will bring out more lenses, and who knows even tamron or sigma may have a go too. The 2 that come with the kit are awesome, so I can't really complain! And I suppose that will always be the problem when you have new technology.
3. You'll turn into a photo geek. I never would have believed it, but it seems to have happened.
I have a lot of toys, but it's a long time since I bought something so "different" and indeed so brilliant, and dare I say, almost life-changing in its ability to enable me to take amazing shots of whatever I choose. I can't urge you strongly enough to buy one, you won't regret it!