Why I love APS-C E-Mount

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Wordsmith9091
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Why I love APS-C E-Mount
3 months ago

I bought my Nex-5R (though I later traded up to a 6) without a lot of understanding about cameras or photography. I read a few reviews comparing it to the Samsungs. I knew I wanted a bigger sensor than the Micro 4/3s. I've always liked to do things a little bit differently (I root my phones and run other ROMs, I mount CPU coolers to my graphics card with zipties, etc) so something that wasn't a DSLR but might give similar quality had a certain appeal. But I mostly bought it for price. The 5T was about to come out, and I got it with the kit lens for just over $400.

Man, what a great decision.

Here's what I love:

* It's compact when I want it to be. Toss my Sigma 30/f2.8 on it and I've got a great indoor camera you'd barely notice me carrying.

* It's trivial to adapt old MF lenses to it. If I'm particular with what I buy, I can get great glass for very little money. I think I paid about $70 for my Canon FD 50/1.4 (and $20 for an 50/1.8 before it -- not a perfect lens, but amazing for the money). My Vivitar Series 1 70-210 (paid around the same as the 50/1.4) is a heavy beast, but is sharp and constrasty as all get-out. Beautiful.

* The LA-EA2 adapter, now that it's discontinued, is getting cheaper. I got mine for $200. It opened up the world of old AF Minolta lenses to me. And so far, I'm loving my beercan ($70) and mini-beercan ($45). $200 ain't chump change, but it's a lot less than a separate DSLT. Though if I ever want to buy one, I now have the option of getting into that ecosystem of lenses.

The versatility is outright amazing. Sure, there are plenty of holes in the Sony lineup. But you can work around them with lenses from other systems (with tradeoffs) with more flexibility than you can working with almost any other line.

There's a legitimate concern that there's no great options for stabilized, bright telephoto lens. That's true, and E mount's not your best bet if that's your biggest priority -- but there are options to work around it if it's only a sometimes-concern. The old Sigma 18-250 OS works well on the LA-EA2. Is it the sharpest or fastest lens? Definitely not, but it gets the job done when reach and stabilization are what matter most. I'm a journalist, and it's already come in handy for me on a number of assignments as an all-purpose lens. It's good enough for casual/low-end-pro video, too.

In the wider range, there are decent E-Mount stabilized primes. If you want a sharp zoom on the cheap, old Minolta + LA-EA2 will get you pretty far. You lose stabilization, but that doesn't matter as much for short focal lengths, where you can usually compensate with shutter speed.

So I've got most bases I care about covered:

* Outdoors: Mini-beercan, Beercan, MF legacy lens or E-mount prime, depending on the situation. Stretching the telephoto range to the point where shake is an issue? I've got the Sigma for handheld or a the Beercan with a monopod, depending on what fits the situation better. A TCON-14B gives me a smidge more reach, though the quality will suffer a little. I don't often shoot further away, but if I did, I could get a longer A-Mount lens -- no OS, but I'd want a monopod or tripod that far out anyway.

* Indoors: Typically 30mm Sigma or either beercan. No OS, but if the lights are on, there's no reason I can't keep the focal length fast enough for sane indoor distances. If they're off, I've got a nice bouceable flash, making hand shake a negligible issue. Sony has OS primes available for the situations where neither of those things are true.

Is the system perfect? No, no system is. But I'll take the tradeoffs for the range of options any day. The more I learn to work this system's strengths and compensate for its weaknesses, the more I'm convinced it was the best possible choice for me.

NEX5R
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