Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions
KellieO
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Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
Apr 23, 2013

I typically shoot with a Sony a850 and a zeiss 24-70 f2.8. I'm spoiled with it and hate my old P&S now. However, I'm a busy mom with two kids, and there are just some outings where my 850 is just too big and I need something small and easy. I can forego SOME quality, but not all of it! I've been reverting some to my a330, but I want a camera w/ video, and the 330 doesn't have it. My P&S did video, but I lost the camera somewhere and I really miss the video ability! Anyway, I think I'm going to sell my a330 and get the NEX-5R to be more of a pocket. I'm hoping that it has the portability of a P&S, with the quality of a DSLR (although, I know it won't be a full-frame).

Anyway, my family is moving this summer and taking a cross-country drive, so I'd really like to go ahead and get my  next camera. But, with the costs of moving, I can't buy ALL the toys I'd like to get. I'm trying to decide which lens(es) I'd like/need to do what I want. Ideally I'd like the 16mm 2.8 lens, the 18-55 kit zoom, AND the 55-210. But, I can't do that upfront. With kids (who don't always schedule their cute moments to be during daylight with good light around), I also need/want the flash.

So... I was thinking about just getting the 16mm lens. I'm not sure HOW wide-angle it is. It would make the camera a great, portable, "purse camera" because it's so small, but it wouldn't be a good basic option if it makes everyone look extra big. Ok... *I* don't want to look extra big in all our pictures!  I would love a wide-angle option for landscape, but I was hoping it would be a good all-around lens that could just stay on the camera. Any experience with it?

The 18-55 might be the way to go. Everyone talks down kit lenses, so I hesitated with it, but for daily use, a basic zoom might be good.

Eventually I'd like the 55-210, but I'm guessing that it's too big to be my everyday, "stay on the camera" lens.

I know some people just use lenses from previous cameras, but I really want a compact lens that was made for a compact mirrorless camera. My main motivation here is to have a small camera that's easy to carry around.

Help? Experience? Money is tight right now with our pending move, and I can't afford to keep buy lens after lens.

Thanks so much!! (sorry this is so long!)

NEX5R Sony Alpha DSLR-A330 Sony Alpha DSLR-A850
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nevercat
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to KellieO, Apr 23, 2013

the 16mm lens has a FOV comparable with your Zeiss lens at 24mm on the FF A850.

The 16mm lens is not the best lens for the Nex system. Abetter choice should be the new 20mm pancake lens for when you real want a very small lens. Otherwise the much cheaper Sigma 19mm lens is a very good choice.

The kit lens is not bad at all and a good choice for walk around lens. Maybe not top notch but very good for not to critical picture taking. The 55-210mm lens is more a tele zoom lens, not realy a walkaround lens, and it is large for walkaround lens.

When you want a very good lens, not to big,  the 35mm 1.8 is a good choice. The 50mm and 24mm Zeiss are very good too, but bigger.

When comming from a A850 it might be wise to look at the Nex 6/7 too as it has a build in VF

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to nevercat, Apr 23, 2013

nevercat wrote:

the 16mm lens has a FOV comparable with your Zeiss lens at 24mm on the FF A850.

The 16mm lens is not the best lens for the Nex system. Abetter choice should be the new 20mm pancake lens for when you real want a very small lens. Otherwise the much cheaper Sigma 19mm lens is a very good choice.

The kit lens is not bad at all and a good choice for walk around lens. Maybe not top notch but very good for not to critical picture taking. The 55-210mm lens is more a tele zoom lens, not realy a walkaround lens, and it is large for walkaround lens.

When you want a very good lens, not to big,  the 35mm 1.8 is a good choice. The 50mm and 24mm Zeiss are very good too, but bigger.

When comming from a A850 it might be wise to look at the Nex 6/7 too as it has a build in VF

Thanks! I was reading more reviews, and it does sound like the 16mm (or 20mm) is really too much of a wide-angle for a "general use" lens. I really knew that... I just with there was a pancake 35mm-50mm, and that the 35mm wasn't $450!

I can't justify a zeiss lens for this camera... this is my P&S replacement. I've put a lot of money into my a850 and zeiss lens there, but I make money w/ that one. That's also why I'm looking at the 5r instead of the 7. The 7 is so much more money! I don't think I could justify it, even with the built-in VF. Maybe someday!

When people on the board talk about using other lenses, like your suggestion to use the Sigma 19mm... those are just standard sized lenses right? Aren't they big on this camera body? Also, is there too much movement since they don't have the stability control built in?

Thanks so much for your help!

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cmc1
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to nevercat, Apr 23, 2013

I own a 5R along with a good stock of lenses. The 50mm f1.8 is probably the best but the sigma 19 and 30 f2.8's are not bad either. I am not a fan of the kit lenses, they dont seem very sharp at all.

The 50 is my favourite but not very pocketable.

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Greenspan
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to KellieO, Apr 23, 2013

NEX-5R/L? NEX-5R kit with the 16-50mm pancake zoom? A lot more compact than the 18-55

Personally I think the 16mm prime pancake is too wide for everyday use, but it does make the camera very compact

Also, there is a small flash that comes with the NEX-5R. When I was ordering mine I didn't think it came with a flash and was trying to figure out how to juryrig my F56AM, but it does come with a small flash that works pretty well given it's size.

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leemanho
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Greenspan, Apr 23, 2013

I'd say the 1650 kit zoom should suit your needs. Whether the quality is acceptable is very subjective, but I found it adequate for daily snapshots or gathering pictures. Why not just go to a store and try it out?

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isvana
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... 16 vs 16-50
In reply to Greenspan, Apr 23, 2013

Greenspan wrote:

NEX-5R/L? NEX-5R kit with the 16-50mm pancake zoom? A lot more compact than the 18-55

I got my NEX-3 with the 16 with the same idea as a compact quality-sensor camera. Although the 16 is fine and small, its reach makes it a bit specialist (the 20 would be better for sure; a pancake 24mm would probably be best).

I ended up getting the 18-55 within 3 months, and then 18-200 within 8 months! I've also kept the 16 for indoor use and the UWA adapter...

But I agree that the 16-50 makes lots of sense. Surprisingly the 2x (not "digital zoom" in the conventional sense, although the NEX does offer that as well) built in converter works surprisingly well, so you end up with a 16-100 capability "good enough" for email and web use.

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Pi lover
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to KellieO, Apr 23, 2013

With the kit 18-55 zoom you've got a decent lens.  It's not likely to be the Zeiss though.  The size of the Nex5 is great and the picture quality impressive.  I find the 55-210mm lens great bang for the buck too.

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

The video is great on the 5R.  I use Premiere Elements software to edit and put bits together and title them so I'll know what they are years from now.

Grant.

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D Cox
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Pi lover, Apr 23, 2013

Pi lover wrote:

With the kit 18-55 zoom you've got a decent lens.  It's not likely to be the Zeiss though.  The size of the Nex5 is great and the picture quality impressive.  I find the 55-210mm lens great bang for the buck too.

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

I find the screen is perfectly visible when set to "Sunny Weather" brightness. This does drain the battery faster, however.

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Pi lover
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to D Cox, Apr 23, 2013

D Cox wrote:

Pi lover wrote:

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

I find the screen is perfectly visible when set to "Sunny Weather" brightness. This does drain the battery faster, however.

I've had it on maximum brightness and couldn't see a thing, regardless of which way  I tried to shoot.  Snow and a bright day may be something you never get where you live.  Battery life isn't a concern since I have 3 batteries.

Grant.

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dpmaxwell
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Pi lover, Apr 23, 2013

Pi lover wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Pi lover wrote:

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

I find the screen is perfectly visible when set to "Sunny Weather" brightness. This does drain the battery faster, however.

I've had it on maximum brightness and couldn't see a thing, regardless of which way  I tried to shoot.  Snow and a bright day may be something you never get where you live.  Battery life isn't a concern since I have 3 batteries.

Grant.

I live in the desert where sun is a near-constant.  Snow, not so much, so maybe that is an issue. "Sunny Weather" mode works great for me; I rarely feel the need to use the EVF.  I think Sunny Weather mode changes some other settings besides just brightness, it apparently does something with the color and contrast of the screen as well.

I'm very surprised that you can't see "a thing" if you are using the Sunny Weather setting.

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*Disclaimer: the above post is just my opinion. No offense was intended. Please don't freak out - I'm just some random dude on the internet.*

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Kiichiro
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to KellieO, Apr 23, 2013

If you just want a P&S and not spend a lot of money then get the NEX3N with the pancake zoom.  I'm picking one up to go with my 5R soon.

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davect01
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to leemanho, Apr 23, 2013

leemanho wrote:

I'd say the 1650 kit zoom should suit your needs. Whether the quality is acceptable is very subjective, but I found it adequate for daily snapshots or gathering pictures. Why not just go to a store and try it out?

The 16-50mm is a great option if space is a concern and you still want some zoom.

Bang for your buck, you might want to look at the (last years) 19/30mm Sigma's.  Both run about $100-125.00 and are very nice.

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davect01
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Pi lover, Apr 23, 2013

Pi lover wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Pi lover wrote:

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

I find the screen is perfectly visible when set to "Sunny Weather" brightness. This does drain the battery faster, however.

I've had it on maximum brightness and couldn't see a thing, regardless of which way  I tried to shoot.  Snow and a bright day may be something you never get where you live.  Battery life isn't a concern since I have 3 batteries.

Grant.

I have a pop-up screen shade which helps out a lot.

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Pi lover
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to dpmaxwell, Apr 23, 2013

dpmaxwell wrote:

Pi lover wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Pi lover wrote:

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

I find the screen is perfectly visible when set to "Sunny Weather" brightness. This does drain the battery faster, however.

I've had it on maximum brightness and couldn't see a thing, regardless of which way  I tried to shoot.  Snow and a bright day may be something you never get where you live.  Battery life isn't a concern since I have 3 batteries.

Grant.

I live in the desert where sun is a near-constant.  Snow, not so much, so maybe that is an issue. "Sunny Weather" mode works great for me; I rarely feel the need to use the EVF.  I think Sunny Weather mode changes some other settings besides just brightness, it apparently does something with the color and contrast of the screen as well.

I'm very surprised that you can't see "a thing" if you are using the Sunny Weather setting.

-- hide signature --

*Disclaimer: the above post is just my opinion. No offense was intended. Please don't freak out - I'm just some random dude on the internet.*

I can step out in the sun today on a spring day and seeing the screen is a piece of cake.  Out in the sun with the white snow was brutal.  I can't remember if I had the Sunny Weather setting on but I remember finding something about brightness and it didn't help.  The screen just didn't cut it.  I'm sure the EVF will.

Thanks for pointing out the Sunny Weather option.

Grant.

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to cmc1, Apr 23, 2013

cmc1 wrote:

I own a 5R along with a good stock of lenses. The 50mm f1.8 is probably the best but the sigma 19 and 30 f2.8's are not bad either. I am not a fan of the kit lenses, they dont seem very sharp at all.

The 50 is my favourite but not very pocketable.

Thanks... I'll have to buy my everyday lens, and then start making a wishlist of lenses I would use for special occasions. Mostly, I want it to be pocketable, although I could see toting along the 55-210 to have more flexibility. Thanks for the tip on the 50!

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Greenspan, Apr 23, 2013

Greenspan wrote:

NEX-5R/L? NEX-5R kit with the 16-50mm pancake zoom? A lot more compact than the 18-55

Personally I think the 16mm prime pancake is too wide for everyday use, but it does make the camera very compact

Also, there is a small flash that comes with the NEX-5R. When I was ordering mine I didn't think it came with a flash and was trying to figure out how to juryrig my F56AM, but it does come with a small flash that works pretty well given it's size.

The 16-50mm zoom sounded like a perfect range, but I thought the reviews on that were pretty bad. Do you have it? How do you like it? If it's a good lens, it really would be perfect for me!I thought that was the perfect solution until I started reading about it. I'd love to hear from someone that has it.

I didn't realize that about the flash... is it just a pop-up (forward facing) flash, or can it rotate? I always bounce my flash up/back, so I think I'd still need an add-on flash.

Thank you!!

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to leemanho, Apr 23, 2013

leemanho wrote:

I'd say the 1650 kit zoom should suit your needs. Whether the quality is acceptable is very subjective, but I found it adequate for daily snapshots or gathering pictures. Why not just go to a store and try it out?

Thanks! I've looked at them in the store, but without taking it out with better lighting, it's hard for me to really decide. I wish I knew someone local with this camera and a few lenses.

Thanks for your help. It sounds like the 16-50 probably is the way to go.

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... 16 vs 16-50
In reply to isvana, Apr 23, 2013

isvana wrote:

Greenspan wrote:

NEX-5R/L? NEX-5R kit with the 16-50mm pancake zoom? A lot more compact than the 18-55

I got my NEX-3 with the 16 with the same idea as a compact quality-sensor camera. Although the 16 is fine and small, its reach makes it a bit specialist (the 20 would be better for sure; a pancake 24mm would probably be best).

I ended up getting the 18-55 within 3 months, and then 18-200 within 8 months! I've also kept the 16 for indoor use and the UWA adapter...

But I agree that the 16-50 makes lots of sense. Surprisingly the 2x (not "digital zoom" in the conventional sense, although the NEX does offer that as well) built in converter works surprisingly well, so you end up with a 16-100 capability "good enough" for email and web use.

Thanks! I think I'll probably end up starting with the 16-50, but then need to decide which is the 2nd most important...the wide angle or the zoom.

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KellieO
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Re: Buying the NEX-5R but deciding on a lens... want a portable GOOD camera
In reply to Pi lover, Apr 23, 2013

Pi lover wrote:

With the kit 18-55 zoom you've got a decent lens.  It's not likely to be the Zeiss though.  The size of the Nex5 is great and the picture quality impressive.  I find the 55-210mm lens great bang for the buck too.

One thing you're going to find with the 5R is that you only have the back screen to view your pictures.  I'm waiting for the EVF kit (just under $300) because in brighter light the screen becomes totally useless.  It's frustrating to want a shot and not be able to see anything.  The EVF is one advantage the more expensive Nex's have.

The video is great on the 5R.  I use Premiere Elements software to edit and put bits together and title them so I'll know what they are years from now.

Grant.

Good point about the viewfinder. I will probably end up getting the attachable viewfinder for those rare days when it's THAT bright out (I'm moving away from Seattle, so it's hard to imagine... but I have heard of that thing people call "sunshine").

Good to hear on the video. I really miss having a video recorder for those random times when I want to take video of my kids.

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