Henry, tell me it ain't so!

Started Jan 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
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SootyOarsman
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Henry, tell me it ain't so!
Jan 24, 2013

Henry! You have put me into a tizzy. Since your comprehensive response to my question last week I've been like a man on a mission!
Which NEX to buy -- relative to: IQ (most important), usefulness (very important), price (not un-important!).
And here is where I am -- leaving me with one last (subjective) question:
1. The NEX-5N seems like the bargain of all times -- Sony no longer sells them, and I'm not keen on paying some upwardly-mobile shooter $380+ for his tired old camera body (though I believe it when you when you tell me these things are rugged). The *find* if you will, is sitting at my local Sony store (55 minutes away in nearby Wrentham, MA). They have a few last refurbished NEX-5Ns selling for $349.99 with a three month warrantee (longer if desired). Just amazing! And I love that the camera is diminutive -- one it's greatest assets (when compared to my other conspicuous vehicle).
2. I'm beginning to think that the crop-frame Bionz sensor on the 5N is a freak of nature! I realize that upping the Megapixels on that sensor may not be a guarantee for success. Apparently, this may be the case with the NEX-7. I do like the larger body and the robust manual controls of the 7 -- and I am truly spoiled by the A99 for time-lapse/video work where I can drift and zoom around the 6000 x 4000 pixel playground while extracting my 1080HD video. But, from what I've read, the IQ on the NEX-7 is suspect. I've concluded that having both the 5N and the A-99 will give me the best of both worlds (stealthy and full-bodied) with lots of overlap and flexibility.
3. The Alpha E-mount (and mirror-less body) looks like the Swiss-Army knife of lens support. Ten-to-forty dollars provides it's cropped-sensor the benefit of almost any combination of photons (i.e., my newly acquired CZJ Flec 35/2.4, CZJ 50/1.8, CZJ Sonnar 135, and heck, even the wonderful Minolta 100mm f2)!   
4. As I mentioned to you earlier, I shoot 94% manual and I never use a flash. I will, however, want to get my eye closer to the image as I've realized that even wonderful wonderful focus-peaking requires the occasional back-n-forth scrutiny sometimes, and the add-on EVF is *really* pricey -- as it turns out, more then the camera itself! So, here I sit, again wondering why I am pursuing a camera that does considerably less than my A99 straight out of the gate... and then... I stumble on this wonderful little video (in Japanese) with this delightful old photographer who, in a calming soft voice, describes a plastic slide-viewer he's attaches to his NEX-5N's LDC screen! -- and for 20 bucks... he has it all! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCQi5qlIfoAPragmatic  (Quiet ingenuity makes me grin like the devil!). So, I would direct you to this site: http://www.clearviewer.com/ -- and enough has been said about that!
5. Well now we've got the right camera... at the right price... with the best lenses... and with the right lens adapters (with even an improved tripod base)... and goll-E, this affordable add-on VF! Yes, we are now convinced that we can live with the (paltry) 16 Megapixel camera while enjoying some sneaky extra reach... but wait, there is one little detail that gives me pause -- one very annoying discovery (can you see what a difficult customer I am?):  It's the final product. The WHAT-on-earth are you talking about? You know... those intangible aspects. My former business partner once labled me the "image-nazi" (nice guy, that former partner), but to be honest, I do tend to "gaze" at (make that over-think.... ahhh, OK, practically "worship") the image sometimes. I'm frantically searching that soft Renaissance bokeh... that corner-to-corner crispness, that amazing clarity I enjoyed in the post-college years with trusty Summicron and plus-X fine-grained film (sigh... why did I ever sell that lens)? There is this slobbering discussion, especially coming from a certain YouTube reviewer claiming that the NEX cameras all have a certain *look* (and he's not being flattering when he says that). He compares congruent photos made with his trophy lens, concluding that the NEX-5N camera does not produce the same image that his beloved "Leica" lens gets with his actual "Leica" body (tisk, tisk, Sherlock, that Fuji F-100 look-alike costs about ten times more then the 5N!)  But, could this mean the little camera is really not a poor-man's Leica? ...The wonderful Bionz sensor... is NOT the crop-crown jewel? Might I have I whipped myself into frenzy for nothing? I *love* my full-frame Sony (really), and, unlike many old-school aficionados, I'm not whack-o for the perfect photo... I'm searching the perfect "stream", beginning with a story that demands that my hardware and technology convey it's message clearly, without bringing attention to itself... you know... the magic! But, if there is no magic... ?  Don't get me wrong, after all this investigation -- and for a few meager shekels, I'm certainly not going to let a few "Internet reviews" de-rail my enthusiasm. But I am curious to learn your thoughts. What do you think Henry? Given the limitations of the photographer, will the combination of hardware advanced in this diatribe make magic happen? Will old Zeiss lenses attached to the little 5N create a neo-Stradivarius?
You intimated in one of your responses that the 5N was becoming legendary... and much of what I've read would sustain that notion. But I've not used the camera... but you -- you are (to my mind) the ardent NEX proponent -- are you not?
Your thoughts?
Salvy

 SootyOarsman's gear list:SootyOarsman's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony SLT-A99
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