Quo Vadis Nex?

Started May 16, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Re: Quo Vadis Nex?
In reply to Michael Kaminski, May 17, 2011

Michael Kaminski wrote:

Just saw the new lenses that should appear on the market during the next years. If the rumor site ie right, then the new high quality standard zoom is nearly as long as the E18-200 lens. The front element looks quite large, so it might be a 2,8 lens. However what's the point of havng such a huge lens on a nex? I likeed the Sony R1 a lot, but at least it was a relatively cheap fixed lens combination.

The "NEX-7" might be bigger as well. But then again we are in SLR-size interchangeable lens mount world. The Zeiss lens isn't probably going to be cheap either. So we have a huge body with Contrast AF, a big and expensive lens with a new mount, and a very small lineup. How does this positopn on the market? What's the point of buing this camera over an D-SLR, (the A77 for exmaple)?
Any constructive comments are appreciated.
Many greetings

Fact is, the APC-C sensor dictates focal length versus angle of view (or crop factor).

So unless you choose a smaller sensor size (larger crop), you are stuck with the focal length derived from the sensor. P&S have a crop of 6x or higher. MFT are at 2x, and APS-C at 1.5x, versus FF at 1x.

Or, to say the inverse, P&S cameras reach the same angle of view with a focal length that is 6x shorter than FF, MFT 2x shorter, APS-C 1.5x shorter.

Pancakes are nice, but for APS-C they are somewhat restricted to wide-angle lenses.

Example, the Panny 20mm becomes a 27mm lens on APS-C. Or, compared to the SEL16F28, which is a 16mm lens on APS-C, this 27mm lens would become 10mm 'thicker' in width. Or, it would double the protrusion of the SEL16F28.

We are somewhat dissappointed that both the 30M35 and the CZ 24mm will be larger (towards the 1855 size) and not pancake-like (towards the 16F28 size). So, it is unlikely that we will see many compact lenses, unless Sigma and others find a way. [Note, the Fujifilm X100, with 23mm lens, is 54mm in width - ie. same as NEX with 16mm lens]

To the best of my knowledge, you can make a lens longer than its focal length with special optics, but you cannot make it shorter than its focal length, unless you resort to mirror (tele) lenses, 'collapsible lenses' and sorts.

See the upper right in the first pic - notice that the Minolta 28mm is taller than the Minolta 50mm (adjacent to it). You can also see this in the second pic: the SEL16F28, coupled with the ECU1, (third from left) is almost as tall as the SEL1855 right next to it. Yet this combinations makes for a 12mm focal length!

Lenses can be made smaller- e.g., in the second pic, compare the Fujinon C-mount 35mm f1.7 (second from right) next to the CV Nokton 35mm 1.4 -- but only in diameter, not in length. The Fujinon is also a simple lens - from the front of the lens (slightly inset from rim) to the sensor (center of NEX) is just about 3.5cm, i.e. the 35mm focal length.

As a comparison, the NEX at the right is mounted with the OM 50mm f1.4 lens. This combination is still shorter than the OM camera itself with this lens - albeit only by a few mm. But notice that this length is almost identical to that of the SEL18200, including lens mount and lens cap. In other words, the NEX with the 18-200mm zoom is no larger than a traditional SLR with 50mm mounted.

A 55-200mm zoom, a faster zoom, or the G (high quality) zoom - assuming that they are all 200mm - will all be equally long to the 18-200, they may just vary in diameter.

And in all fairness, for longer focal lengths, the size of the body is less significant, and the features matter more - this is were the smallish NEX looses its compact advantage and dSLR begins to make more sense (viewfinder and PDAF).

Of course, smaller sensor cameras can get the equivalent field of view that the longer focal length lenses provide with a much shorter actual length.

Having said all that, a camerabag with NEX and lenses is still significantly more compact, and lighter, than a similar bag for dSLR cameras. I think that the compactness without compromising IQ will remain the NEX strong point. FWIW, the NEX does come along easier than a dSLR and furthermore, the NEX is far less intimidating than a dSLR when used around people.

I would like to see more dSLR like features on a NEX-7, such as AE/AF lock, ability to trigger external (fill) flash, and so on. The NEX 3/5 have a socket, but no clear follow through on what we can plug in.

  • and in leica tradition (1.3x and 1x crop), it would be nice if the NEX-7 had a larger sensor, e.g. 1.3x crop or larger, for it changes (widens) the lens' angle of view and it makes more sense to keep two different cameras.

I will keep using the smallish NEX over a dSLR, but I am no professional. I see the NEX useable as a P&S replacement , as a rangefinder aternative (without OVF) type of camera and as a dSLR replacement for most dSLR usages.

The fact that it enables use of legacy lenses is also a big plus, imho.

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