Micro four thirds camera for street and general work

Started Aug 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
viztyger
viztyger Veteran Member • Posts: 3,278
MFT vs NEX on a Budget

If you want to stick to a budget of around $800, something will have to give. One thing to compromise on might be the built-in electronic viewfinder. I often find it preferable to compose street shots via the screen anyway. First of all, using the screen is less obtrusive than raising the camera to your eye - even better if you can frame from the hip using a tilting LCD. Secondly, I like to alternate back and forth between keeping an eye on the framing and having direct eye contact with the subject(s). I find that easier to do when using the rear screen than when peering through the EVF.

As to which system to invest in, I've used both Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX. Currently, I'm using neither system and am shooting everything at 35mm with my Sony RX1. In terms of focus speeds it's slower than what I was able to achieve with my old GH2 and roughly comparable to what my previous NEX-7 + Zeiss E 24/1.8 was capable of. In low light, you need to anticipate where your focus is going to be and/or use the focus and recompose method to be sure of getting your subject in focus.

I suspect that the newer NEX bodies with on-sensor phase detection (NEX-5R and NEX-6) have quicker AF than the older NEX-7. Of the two, I might consider the NEX-5R which has a touch screen instead of an EVF. A touch screen is very handy for quickly moving the AF target over your subject and even simultaneously releasing the shutter. If a manual focus (legacy) lens is attached, tapping the screen will enlarge the relevant portion of your subject for fine tuning focus.

The character that some of these MF lenses add to your photos is well worth the effort of manually focusing them. Over time you will get better at manually focusing and Sony's focus peaking feature helps a lot. To that end I would consider looking at the the NEX-5R ($500 body only). The price of the NEX-5R body should drop as its successor, the NEX-5T, is announced in the coming days.

Then you could invest in an M-mount lens and use that on the NEX-5R via an adapter. The advantage of these lenses are that they can be used on any mirrorless camera mount via the appropriate adapter. In fact, I have a Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 ZM that I've used on both MFT and NEX bodies. 35mm M-mount lenses (52.5mm equivalent on APS-C) start at around $400 for the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35/2.5. As an added bonus, some of these M-mount lenses are very compact.

Alternatively, you could get the NEX-5R with the stabilized, autofocus E 35/1.8 lens ($450) and you're not that far over your budget either.

Of course this is the MFT forum, and there are good choices there as well. If you really want to stick with your budget, then I'd get the best lens with an older and cheaper body. To that end, I'd recommend the wonderful Panasonic Leica 25/1.4 ($600). Not only does it feature a larger aperture but it also focuses faster than the 20/1.7 and has a more attractive rendering style. If you get that with a previous generation body like the Panasonic GX1, you won't be that far over your budget either. You can always upgrade the body later, but you'll start with an excellent lens.

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 viztyger's gear list:viztyger's gear list
Sony RX1 Sony Alpha a7R II Voigtlander 20mm F3.5 Color Skopar SL II Sony FE 35mm F2.8 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 +3 more
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