Sony NEX-5N + LA-EA2 + SAL1650 thoughts, impressions

Started Jan 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Hamilton NYC
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Sony NEX-5N + LA-EA2 + SAL1650 thoughts, impressions
Jan 11, 2012

I got a lot of questions in a previous thread about this setup, so I've decided to move my post into its own and do as best as I can answering inquiries and helping out.

Here's my mini review and some thought:

Handling:

Obviously, one of the immediate differences was both the addition of the adapter and the increase in weight from the lens. Coming from the SEL1855 this is about a 22oz increase in load and it's noticeable. Having come to the NEX system from a Nikon D7K and fast glass, however, this is very manageable and nothing I haven't dealt with -- so, I'm not bothered by it. The adapter gives the camera a more robust feel and makes it seem more substantial, though after having grown used to the smaller setup, I do feel like I have to relearn my grip when using the adapter.

Overall, this combo feels great -- albeit very front-heavy -- and is very well put together. There are no obvious hurdles I've encountered so far and it rests comfortably even when slung over my shoulder, connected to the BlackRapid RS-7.

Performance:

The biggest, most substantial difference with this setup is that it gains focus much, much quicker. Shooting in low-light feels about 3-4x faster -- the difference is night and day. I don't know if I can go back to the CD-AF knowing that the camera is capable of this with the adapter. Not that the NEX-5N isn't a monster without it -- and I know someone is bound to get mad this statement -- but this setup makes the NEX-5N feel like a legit DSLR.

The SAL1650 is substantial glass, as well, and pairing it with the NEX-5N has put a huge smile on my face. I suppose the best way I can put it is that this lens and setup makes me want to call the SEL1855 a cute gadget. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the NEX-5N demands optics worthy of its sensor and that you won't truly be driving the system until you get something great in front of it. This was a similar discussion I saw many times with the Nikon D7K and it's very much true here, as well.

The Sony 16-50 2.8 itself is a very, very nice lens -- it feels solid, has great ergonomics (in this setup, as well) and most important of all: takes great photos. This is a huge step up in IQ against the 18-55 (which isn't surprising). I feel like once it gets a little wear into it and the zoom/focus rings move with ease, there will be no thought in the process of making excellent captures.

Sample photos:

After purchasing the lens I took a couple of shots from the office to test a very dimly lit, indoor setting. Please mind the partial blur, as it's USER ERROR; I was too giddy to have a steady hand. A lot of this was mostly testing the AF and being so happy that I got shaky. Here's one in the office:

After I left the office, I decided to stop for a moment and grab a shot of the Limelight Church/Mall. I was very, very impressed with how fast the lens gained focus -- it was almost instant:

Then I went to get a haircut and asked the owner if I could snap some shots of his shop, which is beautiful. Here are some of them:

And when I got home, I decided I would show off the lens to the lady and snapped this off while she was looking at some photos on her P&S. This is 6400, in my dimly lit room:

This is what the setup looks like:

Hopefully this was helpful and by all means, ask questions if you have them and I will absolutely get back to you.

Sony Alpha NEX-5N
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