NEX Thoughts from Canon DSDLR User (17 SFW images)

Started Nov 29, 2011 | Discussions thread
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A Owens
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NEX Thoughts from Canon DSDLR User (17 SFW images)
Nov 29, 2011

Long time photographer having used Nikon 35mm film gear, Mamiya MF film gear and for the last few years, Canon DSLR equipment since the digital age. Currently have 5d and 1ds MK2 with a lot of top quality L prime and zoom glass. I like innovators and I am attracted by the idea of a small camera with big camera IQ. Have been watching Sony for a while as I see them as the real innovators right now. Their sensor technology has saved Nikon and Pentax who had the insight to pick it up and will do the same for Ricoh who has recently followed suit.

So I picked up a C3 to have a play with along with Voigty 15mm, Zeiss 21/4.5, Zeiss 50/2.0 and Lieca Elmarit 90/2.8. I also have the Sony 18-55 which I do not use. Following are my initial thoughts followed by some samples. In particualr I was interested in comparing with 7 year old 1ds MkII full frame sensor which has an almost identical pixel count.

My main interest is fine art, landscape, portrait and street, and I am only interested in printed output. For screen output one needs to go no further than a Nikon DHs, Canon D30, Canon S30 or any 3 or 4 mp camera from that era. I use an Epson 7880 to output to.

Initial thoughts:

  • By comparison the Sony is NOISY. Even at low ISO's there is noise in the shadows that is just not there in the old Canon FF sensors. That said, this is only really shows itself in 100% screen shots and is NOT AN ISSUE in most printed output. Noise as an issue is overstated IMHO.

  • On the other hand the Sony sensor is far more capable of lifting shadows without pattern noise. Again, IMHO, this issue is overstated. This is not a capability that I have ever used. I take care to expose correctly.

  • Overall the 1ds Mk2 gives better image quality given ideal exposure. But the NEX is not far behind. So good on the grizzly old Canon dinosaur and cudos too to the cheeky little Sony in taking on a pro class granddaddy and not being disgraced in any way.

  • Highlight recovery performance is about the same.

  • The old Canon sensors are sharper at a pixel level but the Sony can handle more sharpening in PP.

  • The C3 is unusable for me as a landscape camera. This is due to the lack of viewfinder which for me is essential in bright light. It these conditions the screen is hopeless. Maybe it is an age issue as my eyesight is not what it used to be!

  • The C3 is brilliant as a discreet street camera. Especially using the tilt screen. The Canon is hopeless for this type of work. Too big and obvious.

  • Focus peaking is brilliant. I cannot overstate the usefulness of this functionality. It makes legacy lenses totally usable and renders AF lenses for my purpose, without advantage.

  • Long exposures with C3 are not good. Do not know why this is and I need to do more to unpack this some more.

  • The pixel density of the NEX means that critically sharp images handheld are only possible at 2x focal length or faster. The days of 1x focal length are gone. Wonder what the 7 is like in this regard.

  • Diffraction is kicking in one stop earlier that full frame 1ds sensor. Somewhere between F8 and F11. For the NEX7, this will occur another stop earlier still. At that point it may start to become problematic.

  • The ability to use Leica and Zeiss lenses is worth the modest price of admission to NEX world. The hype around these lenses is real. They are special and the NEX brings out the look. Take a look at the separation and character in the images below. It shows up even more the in full bit images and in good prints.

  • The shutter noise of the C3 is too LOUD!

  • Handling of C3 is quite good due to configurable buttons.

  • It is still too early to make any more definitive judgements on this camera. Will need another 20,000 exposures at least to do that. In the meantime I am enjoying it and here are some recent images.

Some landscapes (not many due to reasons stated):

Some Street:

And a couple from 1ds MkII which I could not get with NEX due to lack of VF in bright light.

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS D30 Canon EOS-1Ds Nikon Coolpix S30 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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