A different perspective on NEX lens roadmap

Started Jul 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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zackiedawg
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A different perspective on NEX lens roadmap
Jul 21, 2012

Since I continue to see comments in numerous threads that Sony has a poor lens selection for the NEX, and a poor roadmap, especially it's noted compared to M4:3's lens lineup (though usually overlooked that M4:3 comprises two seperate manufacturers)...I decided to just take a look back at the lens release history and offer my own perspective on it. It's not right or wrong, noone else's opinions are wrong either - and you may be happy or disappointed with the lens roadmap and availability because YOUR favored lens is or isn't there, or some other line has the lens you wish you had. This is what it is: How I look at the NEX lens lineup, release schedule, and future roadmap and how it compares to M4:3 so far.

First off, I seperated Panny and Oly, just to help clarify at what pace each single manufacturer has been releasing lenses. Secondly, I did not consider third party lens providers, who make lenses for NEX and M4:3 - I just wanted to look at how the camera makers are releasing lenses. I also considered all lenses released from Oly and Panny through current date, not future releases - while I added another year to NEX considering their releases as roadmapped through 2013 year-end...I did this because Olympus has had a 1-year head-start on Sony with their Pen series, and Panasonic has had a 2 year head-start - I wanted to see how many lenses have been released over roughly the same time period (Panny had a 5-year consideration, Oly and Sony a 4-year consideration).

OK - so looking at total lenses, Panny from 2008 though current has 14 lenses listed as current. Olympus from 2009 to current has 10 lenses listed as current. Considering Sony's roadmapped releases still listed for 2012 and 2013, if they stuck with that schedule at the end of 2013, they would have 15 lenses...over roughly the same 4 year time period as Oly from 2009 to current. Of course, as Panny and Oly keep releasing lenses, they're likely to stay ahead of Sony due to the extra year or two years on market. But the gap to me doesn't appear that big.

Comments on Sony are often that the 2 different 18-200 models don't really count because they are the same focal range. However, do note that Panny's lens lineup includes two 14-42mm lenses, one 14-45mm lens, and Oly also has a 14-42mm lens...that's 4 lenses covering roughly the same focal range. Several other lenses in the two manufacturer's lineups in M4:3 have fairly close overlap too: a 12-35mm and a 12-50mm, a 14-140mm and a 14-150mm, and a 100-300mm and 75-300mm. They do count as different lenses, but there's no reason for me to not also include Sony's two 18-200mm lenses that overlap as seperate lenses.

Though they don't actually count as lenses, it's worth noting that Sony's 16mm lens was also released with the two converters available, that effectively created two additional focal ranges - an 8mm-ish fisheye and a 12mm F2.8. One of the Panny lenses included in their lineup is an 8mm fisheye, so more a specialty lens itself.

Note that Panny hit the market in 2008 with 2 lenses - 14-45mm and 45-200mm. Olympus hit the market in 2009 with a 17mm f2.8 and a 14-42mm kit. Sony NEX hit the market in 2010 with a 16mm F2.8 and 18-55mm, as well as the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3...and the two 16mm adapters.

Note that by the 2nd year on the market, Panny had released 4 additional M4:3 lenses, bringing their total to 6. Oly had released 4 additional lenses in their 2nd year as well, for a total of 6. Sony had released by its 2nd year 4 additional lenses, for a total of 7.

In the 3rd year, Olympus released 5 additional lenses (note that some of Oly's releases have been new-gen versions of now discontinued models, such as their oft overhauled 14-42mm). Panny's 3rd year saw 4 more lenses added. Sony's 2012 current plus roadmap shows 1 lens released already, with 3 more scheduled (standard zoom, wide zoom, and large-aperture standard), for a total of 4. Sony's 2013 roadmap shows 4 more intended (high performance standard zoom, mid-magnification zoom, middle telephoto, and snap pancake)...so far, Oly and Panny have each released 1 lens this year.

Again - anyone can argue that this lens is better, that lens would be preferred, more primes, more pancakes, etc...that's a seperate argument. I just wanted to offer my perspective and how I see the releases and roadmap so far: to my eye, it doesn't look so different to M4:3. On a manufacturer-by-manufacturer basis, Sony appears to be spot-on with Oly and Panny over the same time period, if not even slightly ahead of Oly. Combined, of course M4:3 has more lenses - double at least, because of the combined efforts of two manufacturers. But I don't consider Sony's release to be so 'horrid, slow, behind', etc. as often described. Everyone's entitled to view it as they wish of course - it's only my opinion and worth no more than 2 cents.

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