After a Week with the 5N and 18-200

Started Dec 8, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Herschel
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After a Week with the 5N and 18-200
Dec 8, 2011

Came from Canon S95 and Nikon DSLR. The 5N is a wonderful camera - the biggest impact Sony has made for casual photographers with the 5N is taking advantage of High ISO performance to allow the camera to cover a broad range of lighting conditions without coming out of it's default iAuto mode. This also allows Sony to offer slower lenses to get the same results as faster lenses on noisier sensors. Building an f2.8-5.6 18-200 would have been even more expensive for Sony, so choosing to focus their innovation on sensor technology to make their lenses more affordable is an interesting trend for Sony.

A few other observations:

  • Yes, you must use the 18-200 zoom lock to prevent the lens from extending while walking around, particularly while hanging from a strap like a Black Rapids. No big deal, that's what it's for. Need to remember to unlock before shooting.

  • Yes, the 18-200 is big. Shooting is a 2-handed exercise, but that's the case with any mechanical zoom setup. Zoom precision and smoothness is good. With the 18-200 mounted, carrying the 5N is not much different than carrying a DSLR in terms of weight and bulk. While the range is good for the weight, it is slow at the upper end and will require higher ISOs.

  • Yes the 18-200 focus time is relatively slow. Not for sports/action, particularly in dim lighting.

  • I don't have the EVF, but probably will get it. In bright light, it's difficult to see the LCD and get the proper composition.

  • I have a Nikon 28mm f1.4 with an adapter. In dim lighting, peaking works OK, but I found myself taking multiple shots back-back while adjusting the focus to make sure I captured the intended areas. Fabulous results for static/studio images, but the setup is bulky and forget about capturing moving objects with manual focus in dim light. Will continue to hope for a fast 24-28mm E prime from Sony in the future.

  • I hit the Video button several times inadvertently, resulting in a few lost opportunities. Same for the control wheel - the area for your right thumb is very small, so it's easy to hit the wheel accidentally. I resorted to turning the camera off and back on to restore it to defaults. This is more prominent with heavy lenses like the 18-200 that really do require 2-handed operation even when not zooming.

  • Wish AutoISO went to 6400. 5N's 6400 is more like 800-1600 for many point-and-shoots, some perfectly good results. My guess is Sony will change in a future FW update. You can get 6400 if you use Anti-Motion Blur but you lose some speed since it takes a while to fire 6 frames and post-process.

  • Panorama mode can yield remarkable results. A few years ago, aftermarket software with complex workflow was needed to do what Sony can now do in-camera.

Summary - I can still see a market for Sony DSLRs with this sensor for journalists or for capturing sports or moving subjects particularly in dim lighting. But this sensor really is a competitive differentiator for Sony.

Canon PowerShot S95
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