NEX-5N with legacy lenses -- first results

Started Sep 10, 2011 | Discussions thread
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ebrandon Regular Member • Posts: 459
NEX-5N with legacy lenses -- first results

I intend to post several parts to this thread over the next couple of days. Please post your comments and observations in the interim, as each part is self-contained.

PART I - Introduction
PART II - Examples with legacy lenses on NEX-5N
PART III - Very good dynamic range examples
PART IV - High ISO examples
PART V - Surprising differences versus m43 and conclusions

Part I - Introduction

I use a lot of different systems for different purposes (Nikon for action, X100 for street, m43 for lightweight hiking and travelling, etc.) and have now picked up an NEX-5N for the sole purpose of having a (possibly) better body for my alt/legacy lenses.

One of photography's many pleasures for me is collecting & using beautiful old manual focus lenses on modern digital bodies.

Adding an APS-C camera with reportedly good high ISO capability, good dynamic range, good corners, and focus peaking makes sense when I already get so much pleasure from using these lenses on m43 bodies.

I have now had the camera for three days and have shot about 500 images with it, using a variety of lenses in a variety of settings. It's too early for any final judgements, especially since the EVF has not yet arrived and since I have no good way of processing RAW files. But it's not too early to share some preliminary observations and examples with the DPReview community.

My initial observations are:

1) This is a very good camera for legacy lenses.

  • The great dyamic range, even at higher ISOs, is real

  • The corners and edges are remarkably good -- the Sony microlens magic is real

  • Images are incredibly well exposed (much better than using legacy glass on a Canon body, for example) and the colors are wonderful

  • It is super-convenient to touch the screen to magnify the part of the image you want to manually focus on, and then do a half-shutter press to return to the full image to recompose and take the picture. It is also super-convenient, when reviewing a picture to check for focus accuracy, to just touch on the part you want to check and have it magnify that part.

2) Not everything is perfect, however

  • To my eyes, the high ISO images are best of breed for APS-C, but still not good enough as rendered by the jpg engine. ISO 800 or higher looks fine at web sizes, but pixel peeping reveals an unacceptable amount of "watercolor" type noise reduction. I fully expect that more careful noise reduction using more sophisticated algorithms on raw images will yield better results.

  • Focus peaking is not a panacea. It often shows nothing on images without high contrast edges, and even when it is active, magnification is still required for critical focusing of fast or long lenses.

 ebrandon's gear list:ebrandon's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Ricoh GR Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Nikon D600 Canon EOS 6D +2 more
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