Bought a NEX
Bought a NEX
Sep 9, 2013
NEX-3N was on sale for $329 - over $100 less than my original XZ-1. Too much temptation. Just to see what it is like on the other side...
It is a mixed bag.
The NEX-3N body is near identical in size to my XZ-1. And the included 16-50mm kit lens is really very compact. But while XZ-1 can barely fit in my pants' pocket, the 3N has to wait until winter to be in my jacket. I still haven't get used to carrying the lens cap.
What makes the 3N an all round camera is the video capability. It shots in both AVCHD and MP4. But most importantly, it is free of focus hunting. XZ-1's video is only for emergency!
The first shock is the interface. My last Sony is the DSC-W1. So clearly the interface has changed a lot. What comes as most awkward is the placement of the review/play button. It is at the exact location of XZ-1's power button. I found myself constantly hitting the review button after taking a shot. But there is less chance to turn the camera on by accident than XZ-1. I still have a lot to learn about the NEX system and I definitely have not unlock its potentials.
The lack of physical buttons is also an issue. No more friendly mode-dial. But being able to do manual focus with the lens dial feels great. Especially with the focus peaking feature.
NEX-3N's LCD screen has a resolution of 460K, less than XZ-1's 614K. On top of that, the NEX-3N has a 16:9 LCD which means your practical preview area is even smaller. I prefer my XZ-1's OLED for practical use. But the ability to flip the screen 180 degree for self portrait must not be overlooked. Yes, I am looking at your, XZ-2!
Both have great battery life. No complains here.
But it is becoming clear that the SELP1650 kit lens is no match with the XZ-1's Zuiko lens' sharpness. Bokeh appear to be slightly weaker as well. But the image stabilization feature (OSS) of the kit zoom seems to be better than XZ-1.
For some reasons, the NEX-3N really like ISO 3200. Maybe it prefers fast shutter speed (1/60). Technically speaking, the NEX-3N's APS-C sensor should have 3-4 stops advantage over the XZ-1. But the XZ-1 has an F1.8 lens that beats the F3.5 kit lens with a 2 stops advantage. So the overall advantage of ~2 stops. The gap can be reduced to 1 stop if you compare 3N's jpeg with XZ-1's raw. (Sony did not include RAW processing software, the 1650 kit zoom also needs a lot of lens correction). Of course, you can spend $$$ to get a F1.8 E-mount prime. But you will soon have to deal with a shallow DOF due to the much larger sensor.
It is only after using an interchangeable lens camera that I become more appreciate of what XZ-1 has to offer. The 1/1.7" sensor size is almost perfect - it allows a fast zoom lens that is practically useful. Even with an ND filter to compliment its fast lens for bokeh.
I said it before and I will say it again. For portable still photos, nothing beats an XZ-1 under the sun!