Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T

Started Oct 20, 2013 | Discussions
Andreas Lemson
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Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T
Oct 20, 2013

Hi,

I'm looking to get into the mirrorless market after years of using a DSLR. I've tried to do as much research as possible in the shape of various reviews and the forums here. As a result, I've narrowed the choice down to two systems.

Primarily I will be using the system for photographing kids in the family, handheld. Yes, they move quick, but from what I've read, mirrorless systems aren't really up to this task (well, certainly compared to a DSLR), but that's a drawback I'm willing to accept. They do sit still at times, so will have to be ready for those opportunities!

Here's what I'm looking at, and some points I've been considering:

* Sony NEX 5R/T with 50 1.8 and 35 1.8

What appeals to be about the NEX system is the OSS on the lenses. Most of my photo opportunities are in natural light, which can get low, so OSS would be very helpful in this regard. Reviews suggest both these lenses perform well.

The electronic first shutter curtain allows be to forget about issues like shutter shock, which is the main reason I ruled out the Micro Four Thirds system.

I do like the option of flash, as it's something I do use occasionally (and I would like to learn more about it). I don't like the idea of Sony's proprietary connector; the flash options for these cameras is very limited.

With the recent announcement of Sony's new full frame cameras, I'm not quite sure where this leaves the NEX system. That's obviously a concern.

* Fujifilm X-A1 with 35 1.4

This combo doesn't support any stabilisation but the focal length is shorter, so I don't know if i would benefit from it with the 35 1.4 (never used this focal length before, hence the uncertainty). Fuji appears to be good with firmware updates, improving overall performance, even with older cameras. Standard hot shoe is also a bonus too.

I've read about some shutter shock issues on the Fuji forums (though nowhere near as widespread as with Micro Four Thirds), so that is a concern.

So there you have it. Thanks for reading if you've made this far, and apologies for the long post. I would very much appreciate your opinions, experiences, pro and cons, etc.

Andreas

oly-pl1
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Re: Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T
In reply to Andreas Lemson, Oct 20, 2013

"photographing kids in the family"

buy Sony (simply because of AF)

EDIT:
You should also consider e-pl5 (superb AF, in-body stabilization)

Image quality is the same (small prints, web)

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Randy Benter
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Re: Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T
In reply to Andreas Lemson, Oct 20, 2013

I have owned both NEX and Fuji cameras. I highly recommend the X-A1.

IQ: Both cameras have the same sensor, but Fuji has better lenses and a better JPEG engine.

Flash: X-A1 built-in flash can be tilted back for bounce and Fuji's flash system does a great job of balancing with ambient light. Sony's accessory port flash seems like it was an afterthought. Images taken with NEX flash have that bad look that people associate with on-camera flash.

AF: Fuji continues to improve AF and the X-A1 is one of the better performers. It still doesn't match DSLR AF, but it is just as fast as the Sony NEX cameras.

Natural Light: With the fast aperture of the 35 f/1.4 and excellent Hi-ISO performance, stabilization isn't needed. Additionally, stabilization does not help if you have people in the shot because slow shutter speeds result in blurry images, even if the people are trying to be still. When I shoot an event indoors, I set the shutter speed to 1/125 (fast enough to freeze people and eliminate camera shake) and I turn on Auto ISO; the results are great.

Shutter shock: This is not an issue with the 35 f/1.4 because it has no IS and therefore no moving elements. Shutter shock is possible with stabilized Fuji zoom lenses, but it has not really been an issue for Fuji owners; nothing like some m43 cameras/lenses.

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marike6
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X-A1
In reply to oly-pl1, Oct 21, 2013

oly-pl1 wrote:

"photographing kids in the family"

buy Sony (simply because of AF)

EDIT:
You should also consider e-pl5 (superb AF, in-body stabilization)

Image quality is the same (small prints, web)

If the X-A1 AF system is anything like the Fujifilm X-M1 (and it's likely 100% identical), it's quite fast, more than fast enough to capture kids playing in the yard or doing some kind of athletics.

Fujifilm X-M1 AF Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTXCJ9TmUIg

The X-A1 comes with a far better kit lens than the Sony 5T. The Sony doesn't even ship with the 18-55 kit anymore, but it includes the absolutely terrible 16-50 PZ.  I've used this lens back when I took a chance in the Sony NEX 3N.  Needless to say I lasted 4 weeks before I sold both the camera and lens on Ebay for a loss.  I would not recommend any kit that featured the Sony 16-50 PZ.  If you shoot uncorrected RAW, the distortion is a whopping 8% at 16mm, almost a fisheye.

And in general, the overall lens lineup for Fujifilm is far stronger especially since most of the decent Sony lenses are astronomically priced Zeiss branded lenses.

And more superficially, the X-A1 is a far nicer looking camera.

That said, there are only a couple of reasons to prefer the Sony 5T:

  • if you need an eye level VF, the 5T accepts an add-on EVF.  
  • if you are interested in video, the Sony tends to do video very well, although I haven't tested the 5T to see if it has some of the moire / aliasing issues of some of the other NEX cameras.  The 3N I had was not a good video camera at all because of extremely strong moire and aliasing. 

So overall, the X-A1 kit is really hard to beat for the price.  It's anywhere from $100-150 less than the 5T kit, and it comes with the excellent Fujinon 16-50.  And 35 f/1.4 which you mention is just an amazing lens, to me reason enough to buy into the Fujifilm X system.

Best of luck, Markus

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Orion12
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Re: Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T
In reply to Andreas Lemson, Oct 21, 2013

Andreas Lemson wrote:

Primarily I will be using the system for photographing kids in the family, handheld. Yes, they move quick, but from what I've read, mirrorless systems aren't really up to this task (well, certainly compared to a DSLR), but that's a drawback I'm willing to accept. They do sit still at times, so will have to be ready for those opportunities!

Hi Andreas,

Digital Sensors have a Natural Affinity for Mirror-less Designed Cameras. . .

Speed of Operation is Not Much of a Barrier with the Newer Generations of Photographic Digital Technologies. . .

My Fuji HS50EXR with it's SMALL 1/2-inch EXR CMOS II with primary color filter Sensor is capable of Hand-Held Shooting at ISO-100 @ F7.1 / 356mm FL in Low Light from a Vechicle Moving 65Mph and Still Manage to Capture a View-able Image is a Testament to this. . .

Plato Sunrise on WarmSprings Indian Reservation - Filtered by the Heavy SMOKE of a Large Forest Fire. . . Re-sized for the Net. . .

The Cameras You are Looking at Have FAR Larger & Faster Sensors than my HS50EXR so it doesn't appear to be a problem from that point of view. . .

My Little Spidey Buddy says to Research the Best Camera You can Find that Does ALL the Stuff You Want. . .

Good Luck, Good Shooting & Cheers from Orion 

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marvin t martian
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Re: Fujifilm X-A1 or Sony NEX 5R/T
In reply to oly-pl1, Oct 21, 2013

oly-pl1 wrote:

You should also consider e-pl5 (superb AF, in-body stabilization)

While the E-PL5 has very good AF, there are reports that it suffers from shutter shock and that its IBIS can ruin shots taken at safe shutter speeds.

YMMV.

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