1st Day With NEX-C3, Few Observations

Started Feb 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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larrytusaz
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1st Day With NEX-C3, Few Observations
Feb 26, 2013

As I mentioned in this DPreview posting, I purchased a Sony NEX-C3 kit for $330. I was not sure how I'd do with it, as I've pondered NEX before but always ending up staying with Olympus for different reasons, but having found a C3 kit for $330 & not wanting to spend $500 on the E-PM2 and $100 more on LR4, I decided to try the C3 out.

It arrived today, and none of the fooling around pictures I took are worth posting, at all, I really haven't yet gotten any "killer" pictures with it, but I will be seeking to go somewhere the next couple of days to get some landscapes with it. However, in the fooling around with it which I did, I did get some observations.

(1) My first concern--I've heard how the 18-55mm dwarfs the body, would this fit in the case I've carried my E-PM1 in for months? This case is a Lowepro Apex 60 AW which I can in fact fasten to a belt or my fanny pack & just wear it everywhere I go, versus having to carry the camera on my shoulder etc. I was delighted to see that the NEX-C3 fit, absolutely delighted. Had it failed this test, it might have failed everything altogether.

(2) I shoot landscapes a lot & used a hot-shoe bubble spirit level on my E-PM1. Thank goodness I had gotten a tripod-mounted spirit level, the Joby GP2-41EN, a few months back. I wish there were a hot-shoe based solution, though, as it's quicker to remove quickly, and in case of being lost they're more quickly found when I look around online. Still, this concern had, in the past, been a reason why I hadn't gone for the NEX before. Turns out, with having the tripod-mounted spirit-level, all is fine.

(3) Ergonomics--it will take some time to get used to, not because it's necessarily bad, but because it's so different than the Olympus I've used for so long. I shoot in aperture-priority typically and change ISO and active AF point all the time. I already knew about the ability to program the soft buttons, and did so as follows:

Left---ISO
Right--White Balance
B----   MF Assist (manual focus mode) active AF point (AF mode)
C----   Custom:
   (1) AF/MF mode
   (2) AF Mode (center only, multi-spot auto-selection, "spot" mode)
   (3) Creative Style (I think I may change this setting later to something else)
   (4) DRO (I don't know that I will use this)
   (5) Drive (maybe this should be slot #3?)

I change active AF point a lot, AF area tends to be "spot" so I just press B and arrow-key where I want it to focus. I wish I could spin the jog dial for this as I can on my Olympus, it's quicker, but then the Sony's green square is easier to see to me.

(4) Two things I wish I could assign quick-access to--image quality-size and image stabilization off/on

(5) ISO is in full-steps, my Olympus was 1/3 steps (so is my Nikon D5100). F-stops and shutter speeds (assuming E-lenses) are in 1/3 steps.

(6) Image playback--on my Olympus, scroll zooms in-out immediately, left-right navigates. It's been hard to get used to pressing OKAY first before scrolling for zooming-in vs navigating, and I'd rather it not immediately jump to such a large magnification but just left me zoom-in myself as I see fit.

(7) I can see that I am going to enjoy manual-focusing legacy glass on this thing. Focus peaking looks like it is going to rock. I can see details better on the Sony LCD too. I can't wait for the Nikon to NEX adapter to arrive so I can put the 1980 Nikkor 50mm 1.8 through its paces.

(8) By contrast, I don't like "magnified" manual-focusing with E lenses. I do NOT like it zooming-in the view without asking and not allowing me to view the entire scene while focusing if I feel like it & just zooming-in when I say so. It's not a problem except with macros where AF focuses on the wrong thing.

(9) JPEGs don't have the "Olympus magic" to them but they don't look as "flat" as others I've seen (Nikon DSLRs especially).

(10) OSS on the 18-55 seems to work better than IBIS with the 14-42mm on the Olympus. Other people have complained that IBIS on some of the older 12mp Olympus models is hit or miss (the new models may be better). I took a shot at 1/8 and even 1/4 second at 18mm and it looked just fine. 1/25 second at 55mm looked fine. The Olympus IBIS with my manual-focus 50mm Nikkor seemed pretty good, but based on what I saw today, if I ever get the Sony 50mm 1.8 OSS, it may be better.

(11) My Olympus E-PM1 seemed to focus faster, but the C3 wasn't bad, it was at least as fast as my old E-PL1 I owned earlier, which usually was fine for me.

I have a Nikon to NEX adapter, 49mm filters (CPL and UV) and a spare battery on the way. I'm looking forward to taking this for a spin at a good spot for landscapes, and trying portraits with my 1980-era Nikkor 50mm 1.8 when the adapter arrives. Then I can really know if I will like this. So far I think I do. It ROCKS having this level of quality on my hip at all times.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha NEX-3N Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 +2 more
Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Sony Alpha NEX-C3
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