NEX System needs Firmware Upgrades

Started Oct 26, 2011 | Discussions thread
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NEX System needs Firmware Upgrades
Oct 26, 2011

Hi have a NEX-5 and have been happy with it for some casual work. The IQ is quite good, even at high ISO and, for those who haven't tried it, the DXO Optics profile for converting RAW files is excellent. However, for serious work, including travel, the system has a few problems that keep me carrying my Canon system, even though I'd prefer the lighter and compact NEX. I think that some of the problems are a function of the target market - upgrades from P/S cameras, but maybe not. All can be corrected in Firmware and, from what I've read, neither the 5n or 7 address these issues. IMHO, the biggest problems are:

1. Lack of auto bracketing control other than + - 0.66EV. This is a deal breaker for me. As a walk around camera, often in cities, but even in the woods, I frequently encounter situations where the shadows are deep, and the sky and other highlights are very bright. The difference being beyond the dynamic range of any camera, not just Sony. The solution is really simple: Set the camera to high-speed shutter and + - 2EV, or more if necessary, hold steady and shoot. The camera fires off 3 quick shots that you can later combine into a nice image with both highlights and shadows properly exposed. Yes, the NEX has auto HDR, but then you're limited to JPGs and no control over how it blends the 3 shots. You know that providing a user selectable range for auto bracketing is just firmware, but the camera doesn't have it. Why, I have no idea, but it's a deal breaker for me.

2. No Custom Shooting Modes. Not a deal breaker, but a huge convenience. I'm not talking about custom buttons. As an example, when I select C2 on my Canon, that automatically selects Av mode, high-speed shutter, f8, ISO 400, RAW, Auto Bracketing with + -2 EV. All I have to do is rotate the dial to C2 and all of those parameters are set - no fiddling with menus. It's a huge time saver in the field. Again, this is firmware.

3. No "My Menu" function. Again, not a deal breaker, but a huge convenience. When I push the "Menu" button on the Canon, the screen that appears contains the functions that I use most often. I don't have to go scrolling for them through other menus. Again, a big time saver in the field and a firmware fix.

Now, I just read the A77 review and see that the 5n has much better low light/high-ISO performance (no surprise there because of pixel size). However, if you look at both the RAW and JPG ratings for the two cameras, there's not much difference. So, the A77, and presumably the NEX-7's 24MP sensor is buying you nothing and providing a big downgrade in high-ISO IQ. To me, that says that the better NEX camera to get would be the NEX-5n. But, if you want the accessory EVF, which is supposed to be terrific, you can't have both that and a flash mounted at the same time. I think that Sony missed an opportunity by not designing the 7 with the sensor of the 5n, but that's just MHO.

I really want to switch to the NEX system because of the great formfactor, size and weight. When traveling, it would be ideal, but it's not there yet.

 Binone's gear list:Binone's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-P5 Olympus E-M1 Nikon 1 AW1 +6 more
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