Recommendation for new hobbiest: NEX or DSLR?

Started Jun 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Re: Recommendation for new hobbiest: NEX or DSLR?

trax87 wrote:

I have a friend who is interested in getting a large sensor (ie non-compact) camera.  He knows a little about photography and has seen my NEX 6 and is considering buying one.   It would be used casually for family and vacation snap shots, but he also wants to get into photography as a hobby a little.  He's not sure whether it will be a passing phase or if he will really get into it, so he would like a camera that gives him the most options and that he can grow into.

Do you think the NEX 6 would be a good choice or might he be better off with a DSLR?  My only hesitation in recommending the NEX is that there is still a shortage of good zooms and the better lenses generally are a bit expensive.  I wonder if a DSLR might be more cost effective in the long run when taking lenses into consideration and provide more potential flexibility.   I am happy with my NEX and don't own a DSLR, so I'm probably a little biased.

He doesn't expect to be shooting any fast action, so the auto focus difference probably is not an issue and size of the camera (within reason) also doesn't seem to be a concern.   I don't think manual lenses will be something he is interested in.

Any thoughts?

The only limitation I see with NEX is not with lens choices (any more), unless one is looking for pro-quality fast zoom lenses. It is with EVF being optional on 5-series. But, NEX-6 is still priced well. If it is within range, that will be my recommendation.

IMO, NEX is the more flexible and/or economical system, the latter being especially true if you don’t mind looking outside the box. Even better, if your friend can appreciate prime lenses. Consider this:

NEX-6 (body only), plus Sigma 19mm/2.8, Sigma 30mm/2.8 and Sigma 60mm/2.8 would cover the classic 28-90 FF equivalent range at f/2.8. Add, 55-210 OSS for zoom, and for less than $1.5K, you can have it fairly well covered.

Of course, one could also consider 35/1.8 OSS (instead of 30/2.8) or 50/1.8 OSS (instead of 60/2.8) for faster speed and/or OSS, the latter wouldn’t change the budget. Or, skip the trio, get the kit zoom, add either of the fast Sony primes with OSS, and add the telephoto zoom, about the same money.

Or, if you want to build a system for cheap, legacy lenses can do it too (but that will generally mean giving up auto-oriented photography unless exploring the vast collection of A-mount lenses from 1985 onwards). In fact, this is how I started with NEX:

Sony 18-55 OSS (Kit lens)

Sigma 24mm f/2.8 (A-mount)

Takumar 50mm f/1.4 (M42 mount, used chipped M42 to A-mount adapter)

Elicar V-HQ Macro (1:1) 90mm f/2.5 (Contax-Yashica mount)

Vivitar Series I 70-210mm f/2.8-4 (Konica AR-mount)

Sony LA-EA1 adapter

Cost for all of the above: $650, including adapters and the camera body (NEX-3). Of course, I had additional lenses at my disposal (A-mount) which I didn’t list above.

Now, of course, the NEX also serves an expanded role: Sports/Action photography. My Minolta 200mm f/2.8 sees quite a bit of time on my NEX-3 (via LA-EA2 adapter).

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A55 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF +12 more
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