*Sony NEX5 vs. Panasonic GF1, the showdown.

Hello and welcome to my blog!  For those of you who’ve read some of my other articles I’m sure you know how I feel about the GF1, and for those who are just stumbling across the blog, welcome and thanks for taking the time to stop by.  While I’ve been shooting with the GF1 for over a year now, I have just recently been gifted the opportunity to use, and review a Sony NEX5.  Thank you Sony, and my friends at Lensbaby for making this happen.  While new cameras are continuing to be announced and released, I still feel that these two cameras provide the most compelling overall packages if you’re looking for a high performance compact/pocketable camera.  Getting to extensively use the NEX5 has gone a long way in dispelling some of the shortcomings I’d felt it really exhibited upon my first interaction with one a few months back.  I feel that the GF1 is the best balance of function and size in the micro 4/3 realm, so I was very curious to see how it stacked up against a very cool camera in the NEX5.  I do feel there are some serious pros and cons for each of these cameras and depending on your needs, one may be head and shoulders above the other.

Let me start by saying that I know the GF1 has recently been “discontinued” on a couple sites and Panasonic has announced the GF2 (and 3!), but I don’t see the GF2/3 as a ‘replacement’ for the GF1 and as the GF1 and NEX5 have been the two highest selling mirrorless interchangeable lens compact cameras (MILC) in the Japanese market (which is the main market that Panasonic and Sony seem to market and develop to) I wanted to compare the two cameras which have risen to the top of the heap in this new and quickly growing market segment.

Let’s start with SIZE.

Both cameras are remarkably small and as we all know, even the  GF2 doesn’t eclipse the NEX5 (and the GF3 is close, smaller in some dimensions, larger in others) as the smallest mirrorless interchangeable lens compact camera on the market currently.  While being the smallest is pretty cool, for me, the NEX5 is too small.  I have large hands, admittedly (my 6th grade self would make sure to mention that I can palm a regulation sized basketball), and while the ergonomics on the NEX5 go a long way to sit comfortably in hand, I have a hard time feeling secure while holding it.  How small is too small?  For me, it is the NEX5.  The GF1 is pretty small, and in my opinion, small enough.  With a small lens on it, I can fit it into most larger pockets easily.  Get your hands on both to see for yourself as I feel someone with small to average sized hands will fit the NEX5 much better than mine.  I will say though, even with it’s miniscule size, the NEX5 seems to have been built to allow access to the functional buttons really well as long as your hands fit the camera.  I would think that when you start to use the NEX5 with larger, heavier lenses, the balance might be tricky as I know for a fact that the GF1, when used with some of my larger legacy lenses is a bit awkward balance wise.

The other major consideration when taking size into account is the relative size of lenses.  I am a huge fan of the Panasonic 20mm (40mm e-fov) f/1.7 pancake lens.  It is fast, it is small, and pound for pound it is a beautiful lens.  It is also, almost identical in size to the Sony 16mm (24mm e-fov) f/2.8 pancake lens in weight and dimension.  This to me is where one big decision will come into play.  With an APS-C sensor vs a 4/3 sensor, to get a physically small lens (which to me is the main benefit to keep a small system camera ‘small’) you will inevitably have to sacrifice speed in a lens, the larger the sensor it has to project onto.  To me, this is a pretty big deal and a decision that I don’t take too lightly.  Will the performance of a larger sensor overtake my desire to have faster lenses available in a dedicated mount while staying relatively pocketable?

Next, SENSOR SIZE pros and cons.

What could possibly be a con for a larger APS-C sensor in a compact camera one might ask?  Well, as I touched on above, you will end up with either slower (to accommodate overall physical size), (and)or larger lenses.  While this really isn’t a huge deal for many, it can be a big deal when wanting to eat your cake, and I like cake.  The smallest system camera is only relatively as “small” as it’s smallest lens for all intents and purposes, and to get small, something has to give.  I like fast lenses above most all other aspects of photography.  I’m one that considers f/2.8 to be slow and I can always stop a fast lens down for the times I require a deeper DOF, or need to deal with bright light, but you can only open up a slow lens so far.  This means prime lenses are my preferred optical tool of choice in most applications.  My main reason for purchasing a MILC was to replace my pocket camera.  One that I could carry around in a large pocket, or small bag/lens case for the times I wanted to save my neck and shoulders from the weight of my DSLRs and lenses.  This is my personal need for this type of camera so this shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but something to take into consideration if fast lenses are part and parcel to your shooting style.  Of course, you can get an adapter and use all kinds of fast lenses on the NEX5/3 (or GF1/2), but you then lose auto functioning and the size “benefit” is gone.  This being said, I have really enjoyed the NEX5’s E-mount 16mm (24mm e-fov) f/2.8 lens.  It is slow in low light, but its wide angle of view helps to soften the effects of camera shake as it is more forgiving than longer focal length lenses which means I can feel pretty comfortable shooting down to 1/13 – 1/25 second handheld and as long as I can get my subjects to stay still, I can avoid using flash. YMMV…

The larger, APS-C sensor on the NEX5 outperforms the GF1’s micro 4/3 Panasonic sensor in most every way.  A huge accomplishment for Sony to have built such a small camera with such a large sensor, and when the question of pure IQ is brought up, the Sony will win as long as the exposure allows for the shot to be taken.  For instance, in low light (which while out and about is one of my main reasons for having a small, large sensor camera) you will need good high ISO performance and a fast lens.  The Sony wins the battle of the former but loses out on the latter.  By my eye, the Sony has 1 to 1+1/3 stop high ISO noise performance advantage.  This is good for the Sony when you take into consideration that the 16mm pancake is 1+2/3 stops slower than the Panasonic pancake.  Basically a wash.  The resolution goes to the Sony as well.  I’m a fan of a higher pixel count in most situations as I don’t buy the “only if you print large” argument because there are other benefits to more pixels.  (Cropping and maintaining the ability to print large is one huge one for me)  While the 14.2mp APS-C vs the 12.1mp m4/3 sensor isn’t quite the gap that a 12mp vs 20+mp full frame sensor exhibits, it is still a noticeable difference in image, and file size.

Below are 100% crops under controlled lighting at the specified ISO settings shot in RAW.  I shot with the 16mm and 20mm pancakes respectively at f/8.  I’ve included the ISO 6400 and 12800 crops from the NEX5 (as these are settings that the GF1 does not natively adjust to in camera), but for me, they are too noisy to really be all that useful.  I will say though, I’d rather have a noisy shot than no shot at all, so while I feel the ISO6400 and 12800 shots are pretty messy, I’m sure that in a pinch you could get a decent shot after running them through your noise removal software of choice.  Of course, with the faster Panasonic lens, you get a stop and change to also help in low light.   (click on the images to see a larger version)

NEX5 @ ISO 800:

NEX5 - ISO 800

GF1 @ ISO 800:

GF1 - ISO 800

NEX5 @ ISO 1600:

NEX5 - ISO 1600

GF1 @ ISO 1600:

GF1 - ISO 1600

NEX5 @ ISO 3200:

NEX5 - ISO 3200

NEX5 @ ISO 3200 close up (300%):

close up @ 3200

GF1 @ ISO 3200:

GF1 - ISO 3200

GF1 @ ISO 3200 close up (300%):

close up @ 3200

NEX5 @ ISO 6400 and 12800:

NEX5 - ISO 6400

NEX5 - ISO 12800

To my eye, both do fairly well up to ISO 1600.  One thing to note is the control of moire where the GF1 seems to outdo the NEX5 at each setting (see the lines below the color and luminance value charts).  While noisy, there is still decent detail and color and I wouldn’t hesitate to use either with a little NR.  The 3200 shots start to get a bit messier and the Sony, again to my eye pulls away from the GF1.  The chroma noise on the GF1 is more pronounced as seen in the dark areas in the close up crop, but this is also in a controlled lighting setup where I doubt I’d ever need to try and use ISO 3200.  I would guess, in real world shooting, in very low light, ISO 3200 on either camera would produce a noisy picture.  The ISO 6400 and 12800 shots from the NEX5 are what they are.  That the camera can adjust to these settings is cool, but to me, I doubt I’d ever push it that far.  Nice to know that they’re there if needed though I guess.  I’m not huge on pixel peeping so I don’t normally do these types of tests and honestly I think that both do a great job when taking into consideration how tiny the camera in your hand is.  The NEX has the obvious APS-C sensor advantages here, but for me, it doesn’t provide as huge a gap as I would have originally guessed.  Rest assured that either of these cameras will perform on par with most current entry level dSLRs give or take a stop to the average eye I’d say.

Lets look at the INTERFACE.

Sony uses 3 “soft” buttons which have their functions labeled on the screen.  In my opinion, this is the biggest drawback to the NEX5.  While in form, the NEX5 is a beautiful camera, in function, it is challenged from a photographers point of view.  I admit, after shooting with it for a few weeks, I’ve come to know where the settings that I tend to use and change on a regular basis live, but they are buried in menus.  This found me tending to allow the camera to automate more than I usually like to have a camera automate.  Fine if you are pointing and shooting, but not great if you are interested in a more interactive photographic experience.  My take on the NEX5 is that it seems as if Sony had their cell phone design team meet for lunch with the compact camera design team to come up with an interface that they felt would be appealing to a point and shoot convert.  In that way, I think they succeeded and did a wonderful job.  For a photographer coming the other direction and looking for a good companion to, or replacement for a dSLR for instance, will have a lot of relearning to get acquainted with the interface on the NEX cams, and while you can and will get used to it, going back to a dSLR or more performance driven camera, you will realize how much time you lose changing settings on the NEX5.  The NEX5 is also noticeably slower in response, and when wanting to get out of menus by way of a shutter button press (when you want to immediately start shooting) it is slow and requires a near full button press on the shutter to ‘wake’ it up.  The GF1 is noticeably less sluggish in this regard and the shutter button is more sensitive allowing you to get back to shooting more quickly.  The AF on the GF1 is also more peppy.  I didn’t measure it in fractions of a second or anything, but I didn’t need to to notice the difference.  Props to Sony for the beautiful 921k dot, articulating LCD screen as it was a pleasure to compose and review on.  The GF1’s 460k dot LCD is nice, but it is one area that I feel could be improved upon, especially when it is the main compositional viewing aid.  One interesting thing to me was that the LCD on the GF1 (while both are technically 3″ screens, measured diagonally) has a larger viewable area.  On the NEX, the screen is cropped to allow for the soft button instructions.  The GF1, in my opinion wins hands down as far as interface goes.  Dedicated buttons to change ISO, white balance, AF operation, as well as a mode dial and shutter drive switch make for a much quicker and more manageable photographic tool from a control standpoint.  The NEX5 has done well to keep an uncluttered top and rear panel while still offering a dedicated movie button and multi function control wheel, it’s just more geared to someone more apt to have everything set up to be automatically determined by the camera.  The functions are manipulatable in the NEX5, it is just much more laborious to do so.  A matter of personal preference, and honestly, if you’re not looking for this much control over your shooting, don’t mind taking the time, or aren’t one to change settings often it may be very excusable.  Trade offs as it were.

How about the BELLS AND WHISTLES?

I’m not normally one to be swayed by the latest in in-camera tricks and processing, but I must say, the Sony NEX5 has some amazing tricks up its sleeve.  The sweep panorama is awesome.  This feature alone shows how ingenuity and competition between camera manufacturers can produce really cool in camera features.  Allowing to shoot a panoramic series in RAW which is seamlessly processed in camera is just plain cool.  (It’s not without its quirks, but I had a decent success rate.)  This is one feature I wish I had on every camera.  Sometimes, when out and about, having to plan out a properly exposed and panned panorama is just too much trouble, not to mention you should be employing a tripod, spirit level, etc.  While I don’t doubt that a more meticulous approach by someone who knows how to shoot to stitch a panorama in software would be capable of producing a much better image, for the rest of us, it is a really cool feature and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

the panoramic view from the office

The other big whistle is the in camera HDR processing.  While I know this is the latest craze and seemingly the feature that is showing up in more and more entry level cameras, the fact that you have to shoot in 8bit Jpegs, while it would work in a pinch, in my opinion is more gimmick than useful.  I’d rather have a RAW file to work with, and/or capture for HDR in the ‘Old Fashioned Way‘.  With this type of in-camera compression, and only capturing in Jpeg, I found that my results with the AutoHDR were flat and muddled by comparison to an HDR bracketing series processed in software, or a well exposed RAW file later processed to utilize the depth of info in highlight and shadow retention.  I would rather see a deeper bit depth in RAW files which would allow for smoother tonal transition and if coupled with better processors, would broaden the dynamic range in a single file.  It will win praises from those who don’t like to take time to post process to their taste as it will provide you with a quick and dirty, more dynamically diverse image file, but it is a compromise compared to doing it yourself either via bracketing and/or shooting in RAW.

The "before in camera HDR" shot

The in camera HDR adjusted shot

The other various scene modes are similar to most other current cameras (landscape, night time, fireworks, etc) and to me are more limited by the lens being used than anything.  No matter what, unless you’re shooting with a fast lens and high ISO, you won’t get a fast enough shutter speed in candle light to make any shot worth saving unless you like that “artistic” blurred ghosty look of unfocussed night time shots.  I’m more a fan of shooting in a manual mode and understanding what I need to do to get the shot regardless of the light, or scene in front of me, but I also really enjoy photography from a more technical point of view and choose not to use the auto modes as a personal choice. As a result I didn’t fully explore any of these settings in either camera.  Neither of these cameras has in body image stabilization which is a shame.  Especially when you take into consideration all of the cool legacy lenses you can use with these (vs. the very few actual proprietary lenses available) it is too bad that owners of either of these small, easily shakeable, harder to hold steady small cams are required to buy lenses with stabilization.

The NEX5 comes with an accessory flash, which, much like the clever pop-up flash on the GF1, did a good job for fill.  Again, dialing in flash exposure compensation on the NEX5 is a journey through menus to find and adjust it.  Seeing that the NEX5 body didn’t incorporate a flash to maintain its miniscule size, having the accessory flash available is handy.  May I ask one question though, Sony, where is the hotshoe?  Not having a hotshoe on a “serious” camera is inexcusable to me.  I know that Sony uses that crazy proprietary Minolta mount hotshoe thing on its dSLRs, but at least that allows for external flash, and hotshoe mount adapters to use things like wireless triggers, external flashes, shoe mount external microphone, spirit level, etc.  Not a big deal for a casual shooter, but again, this points me to the conclusion that they are strongly targeting cell phone/point and shoot photographers versus enabling a more serious shooter with the ability to compliment their existing setup with a fully functional compact camera.  To me, I’d rather see the camera just a little bit bigger, incorporate a couple more dedicated buttons and a hotshoe.  It would still be functional from a P&S convert’s point of view, but also keep the more serious shooters happy while staying small enough to fit into a large pocket.  Room to grow no doubt as there has yet to be a universally perfect camera released.  Much like my utter confusion when Panasonic released the G10 and G2 cameras, I think that the NEX3 and NEX5 are too similar to really separate themselves from each other and as a result, are resources somewhat wasted when they could have been directed to diversify the respective lines.

I could go on and on about how these two cameras compare to each other, and many folks have.  To me, I feel that just about any current camera can make a nice enough image when you look at sensors, processors and whatnot.  I’m interested in how the handling and feel of a camera’s image making experience suits a particular style.  I’ve been getting asked about these MILC cameras, especially the GF1, and I wanted to help some of these folks see the differences between what I see as two of the best current, compact system cameras.  Both are wonderful little machines capable of killer images that I feel can, and should be improved upon in the future but offer two very different shooting experiences compared to each other.  So, brass tax and my personal pros and cons for the NEX5 vs the GF1…

First the GF1:

Pros:

  • Better functionality and interface
  • Smaller, faster lenses available in m4/3 mount
  • Better size for my large hands
  • More proprietary lens options
  • Accessory port allows for EVF (electronic viewfinder)
  • Hotshoe
  • Quicker response, AF, wake…

Cons:

  • Smaller sensor
  • Currently, lenses are pretty expensive
  • Resolution on the EVF is pretty crummy
  • 460k dot LCD is nice, but it ain’t a 921k dot screen!
  • Noticeably weaker high ISO/noise performance (by one to two stops)

And, the NEX5:

Pros:

  • Beautiful articulating 921k dot LCD screen
  • APS-C sensor
  • In camera Sweep Panorama and HDR are handy tools
  • Small size/light weight, if looking for the smallest camera and use the 16mm pancake
  • The system is more realistically priced

Cons:

  • Menu based interface is clunky and takes too many button pushes to get to important adjustments
  • Lenses need to be slower to stay ‘small’
  • System is still needing more lens options (should be remedied within the year)
  • Is too small for my large hands
  • No hotshoe
  • Wake time/response lag can and should be improved.

Like I’d mentioned above, there is no universally perfect camera and I feel that with a couple tweaks, either of these cameras could be immediately much, much better.  For the GF1, unfortunately my hopes and desires weren’t answered in the GF2.  I’d still like to see the next GF series (or similar camera) include a higher res LCD (and higher res add on EVF), 14 bit RAW files, IBIS and perhaps a little weather sealing while keeping the body about the same size (a boy can dream…).  If Olympus does this with the next EP camera, I’d be happy to give it’s tires a kick or two as well.  While size is an issue, I’d rather have a camera that is 7% larger (or whatever the GF1 is over the GF2) that includes a more performance driven engine below the hood.  A cool panorama stitch would be a fun in camera perk in my opinion as well, but this is more me still riding the high from the NEX5’s cool feature.

In the case of the NEX5, I would like to see the body grow in height just by a tiny bit for better physical handling.  Why not a NEX3 some might say?  Well, add the articulating screen and better build to the 3 and we’re moving in the right direction in my opinion.  Being able to get more than one finger on the grip, to me, would go a long way in stabilizing my shooting experience and when using larger lenses I feel it would help balance the camera overall.  I’d love to see a complete overhaul on the interface with more dedicated buttons for ISO, WB etc and a hotshoe would help, even if needing a Minolta>standard adapter for use with wireless triggers, etc.  An add on EVF (like the PENs and GF series cameras) would also help for another stabilizing point of contact and bright light viewing/composing.  IBIS would be universally welcomed as well I’m sure assuming it didn’t increase the overall body size much, or perhaps better yet, keep either the NEX5 or 3 as the “smallest” and transform the other into a more photographer first camera with the extra functionality, hotshoe, etc.  (***There are rumors that a new NEX camera is on the horizon, so maybe we’ll see some adjustments…)

I can see where a niche following might gladly excuse increased functionality for the best at X, Y or Z or the smallest this or that, but for many of us, I feel that a compromise in a couple ways to gain a more complete image making tool might be the deciding factor in one camera over another.

In conclusion, the more I’ve played with the NEX5, the more I’ve really enjoyed it.  I think that even with its faults, it is a capable image making device.  For me personally, it is too small for my hands and looking at the fact that lenses will have to be larger and/or slower to stay ‘compact’ to me defeats my main criteria for a high end compact camera.  This may be a sticking point in the debate between which camera is “better” as I could argue the benefits/drawbacks to one system either way entirely differently depending on personal criteria.

IQ?  NEX5.

Overall system size without compromising lens speed?  GF1.

Lowlight sensor performance?  NEX5.

Lowlight lens performance?  GF1.

In camera processing, bells and whistles?  NEX5.

Interface and control from a photographer’s standpoint?  GF1.

…etc.

I am one who will do a lot of personal research before deciding on a camera, lens, strobe, etc and know that my decisions may not sync up with anyone else.  For my compact camera, I will sacrifice a larger sensor and all that it brings with it for an overall size reduction in the system as long as that system provides physically small, fast lenses, which the m4/3 lot has in the 20mm f/1.7 lens (I don’t consider the 17mm f/2.8 or the 14mm f/2.5 to be notably “fast” but they are very small, and at least as ‘fast’ as Sony’s 16/2.8.)  For the NEX system to have an f/1.7 (or faster) lens, it would be noticeably larger which to me starts to negate any size advantages.  I am looking for a supplementary compact ‘pocket’ camera to replace an LX3/5, G12/P7000 or S95, et al though, not my “main” system camera.

Can you live with slower, or physically larger proprietary lenses?  Then the NEX system should certainly be looked at.  Sony supposedly has 3 new NEX cameras to be announced in 2011 if we listen to recent rumors, so I hope that they address the interface and give photographers the option to deal less with menus, and give them access to quick buttons to change integral functions quickly and easily.  Sony isn’t resting as they continue to make waves in the DSLR and mirrorless markets which I think is great.  I love innovation and the competition it produces.  I see the NEX cameras appealing most to people who are not coming from an existing DSLR system, but the folks looking to get into their first interchangeable lens system camera.  I’m an old dog and the NEX requires too many new tricks when it comes to interacting with a camera to make a photograph for me, but after using the NEX5, I don’t think I was in the target market anyway.

Regardless of my personal opinions, I do feel that the NEX5 is one of the most progressive compact cameras available today.  It provides great image quality in the smallest body giving a shooter access to an interchangeable lens system.  The GF1, in my opinion, is the best all around, pound for pound camera in this new MILC category.  There are areas that it is bested, but I feel it has balanced its benefits and drawbacks into a camera that will keep a serious shooter happy for a long time.  Depending on which site you search it out on, it is close to being discontinued and at the current prices, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick one up if I were on the fence.  There will inevitably be new cameras on both platforms that will respectively raise the bar, but it will not take away from these two groundbreaking cameras.  Both the NEX5 and GF1 have found places in my heart, but for me, I’m not going to be selling the GF1 off anytime soon.

There are many differences in approach to the way that these cameras interact with the shooter, and to me, that is entirely a personal choice.  What works for one may not for another.  One thing to take into consideration when overall size is a deciding factor, is to look at the available lenses.  It’s one thing to have the smallest body, but that may go out the window if you start plugging the bulkier zoom lenses on there.  (I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn’t buy a NEX5 just to be able to say I have the “smallest” MILC camera, but as long as it fits your hands, you’ll have a great, small, camera)  I also don’t feel that the tiny MILC cameras are really all that well balanced with the larger zoom lenses anyway and if you are wanting to replace a dSLR system entirely, or really want a 100-300 style zoom, maybe look at the larger bodied (yet still fairly light weight) dSLR style bodies like the G2, GH2, Samsung NX10/11, etc as they will be better balanced with the larger lenses (not to mention give you that extra point of physical contact for stability when looking through the EVF pressed firmly against your brow.)  While I was very critical of the NEX5 originally, getting to use one extensively has certainly softened my stance.  While I feel it isn’t quite the camera for me, it is a better performer in fashion and function than I had originally given it credit for.  While I focused in on the two most successful 2010 MILC camera sales leaders, there are many others out there and more coming, so get your hands on as many cameras as you find interesting to see how they feel, and interact with you.  You can read internet articles until you’re blue in the face, but it really comes down to your individual set of criteria and how a particular camera fits those needs and feels in hand.  Feel free to fire off an email or comment and I’d be happy to try and help answer any questions from my personal experience.  Also, if you’re interested in receiving email alerts for new articles, tutorials or general blog posts, just enter your email at the top right of the page.

For further info on the NEX5 and other Sony Cameras, check out Sony’s website HERE.

Panasonic still, as of this writing, has the GF1 listed on its website HERE.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

Tyson

For further reading on Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Compact cameras, here are a couple other articles…

Sony NEX5 + Lensbaby Tilt Transfomer = Unadulterated Fun!

Which MILC Camera is best for me (updated)?

Who are they for anyway (an open letter to Panolympus)?

Micro 4/3 and NEX dedicated mount Lensbabies are here!

Using FD, and legacy mount glass on new MILC cameras!

Using your existing lenses with your Micro 4/3 Cam.

My Panasonic GF1 obsession.

41 thoughts on “*Sony NEX5 vs. Panasonic GF1, the showdown.

  1. Love that built in panorama! Thanks for the great review. You know that I’m stuck on (or with) my GH1 which I think answers the question of the viewfinder resolution and also a bit on the balance for longer/heaview/zoomier lenses by giving you the third point of stability. That articulating viewscreen is big.

    Truth be told, I cannot palm a basketball, so the small size of the NEX5 would probably be a benefit as would the extra 2M pixels and the larger, more sensitive sensor.

    But honestly (I can never tell from screen shots which IQ is better), to me the GF1’s resolution on the letters is still better at 3200. Maybe it’s just my eyes…

    Seems that Sony must have faced the decision to go APSC instead of joining the M43 bandwagon and that’s something I would have hoped for: another manufacturer, that is.

    For me, I’m experimenting with my 300mm Prinz (only $40 + $10 for a tripod mount) lens. Pretty much impossible to hand hold that beast but maybe it’ll let me get “closer” to my prey in the rain forest or wherever.

    Anyway, cheers and thanks for all the work of the review, Tyson.
    -Terry

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    • It’s not a bad place to be stuck whatsoever Terry. Being that the GH series has higher performing sensors compared to the G and GF lines, I’d be interested in doing a similar test with a GH series camera. I am actually contemplating picking up a GH1 for video stuff if I can come up with some money (and find one around). The rate that cameras are updated now it would make it seem as if a one year old model is outdated when in reality has so many years ahead of it with which to make beautiful imagery. The Sony panorama feature is just cool. Not a reason to ditch one system for another by any means, but I’d love to see this type of feature in any future cameras. It’s one feature that I actually think most anyone could enjoy.

      One thing this has helped prove to me, is to really see the differences on a pixel level between any current cameras, you need to really pixel peep. Yes noise gets to be an issue with the GF1 at high ISO, but not so much that I cant account for at least a stop or so without losing much detail through NR software. The performance gap seems to me to be a pretty standard, incremental increase in performance for a camera released 6 months or so after another (which also has a larger sensor).

      I look forward to seeing some shots with the Prinz!

      Thanks as always Terry.

      t

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  3. Hy Tyson,

    Thanks for this nice review and interesting point of view !

    Just a few points regarding the NEX :

    – have you installed the latest firmware on the NEX-5 ? It gives you the possibility to assign shortcuts to the main functions to the soft buttons on the back of the camera. So you can have direct access to the functions you use most (like ISO for example) in one or two presses of a button.
    This could answer help a bit with your concern of the interface😉

    – The NEX-3 does have the same articulating screen as the NEX-5. The only differences are in the form factor, the build quality and the video functions (NEX-3 is 720p only). So it could be an option for your large hands :-))

    Thanks again for this article !

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    • Hello Emeric,

      Thanks for reading!

      Unfortunately I don’t have the NEX5 anymore, but that does seem to be a great firmware update, and one I wish that I’d been able to utilize. (ISO adjustment was a biggie for me.)

      Another thing that I wish that I’d been able to really play with would have been an adapter (I use a lot of older FD lenses on the GF1) which open these platforms up so much. A HUGE selling point to these small MILC cameras for me.

      I didn’t realize that the NEX3 had the articulating screen, so thank you. Yes, my hands would work better with it I’m sure.

      All the best,

      Tyson

      Like

      • This is a nice firmware update for sure. Also gives you the ability to choose aperture in video mode😉

        I also use Canon FD lenses with my GH1 before, and now with my GH2 ! I have an adapter for the NEX-5 too but haven’t really used it much for the moment😉

        Like

  4. this review is amazing. you makin’ me want a new camera…seriously, your review is so comprehensive (love the picts, too) that i could cry tears of joy. i do feel quite excited about the panorama option….

    Like

  5. Awesome review Tyson! Holy cow!

    Eventhough my new GF1 is exactly that (new), I’m really, really pleased with it. We’re still in first gear, so I’ve got room to grow!

    For me (average sized female hands) – I like the GF1 size and metal feel – I know when I add the Lensbaby adaptor and some old manual Nikon lense it’ll be OK – I think the Sony would be awkwardly too small….

    In anycase — you gotta give Sony cudos for the sensor (that new Fuji looks sweet too, but no changing of lenses!).

    Congratulations on a fabulous piece of work!

    Enjoy your weekend : – )

    Like

    • Thank you Andree. I love the site redesign btw. Yes, the sheer engineering feat involved in wrapping an APS-C sensor in such a scantily clad ensemble is amazing. I just think it needs a small lens to stay amazingly functional balance wise. Yes, the Fuji x100 looks really, really cool, but as you mention, the lack of interchangeable lens makes it a tool for an entirely different segment, but I think Leica is going to have its hands full dealing with it (vs the X1).

      In all honesty, I’m sure if I was being truthful with myself, I will not have outgrown my original rebel from 5 years ago… There is just something about newer, cooler cameras that, through better performance and tools, can enable a nicer image file. I feel like I will be wearing my GF1 out before I really ‘need’ to upgrade (but I’m sure that I’ll end up with a new compact-ish camera before the GF1 is up for full retirement…) This is one thing I do appreciate with the cameras that make the extra effort for longevity (in function and performance) is that even when they become “old” they still create the same beautiful image files that we are all drooling over and talking about today. Of course there will be slightly better high ISO performance, better s/n ratios and deeper bit depth, but really, at this point, a good camera will continue to be a good camera until it ceases to be a camera period.

      Thanks for reading through this one, it was a long bugger🙂

      Like

  6. As ever Tyson, you have published a very thorough, easy to read (and understand) piece – one which I suspect will be useful to anyone contemplating either of these cameras.

    It’s definitely a case of ‘pros and cons’ for sure, but I can’t help feel that despite offering pseudo-DSLR-esque image quality, there seems to be a trend to simplify and automate in this category. Just look at the new GF2 – not an upgrade in my very humble opinion, but still a camera that I’m sure will sell in large quantities.

    OK, so appealing more to the point-and-shooter moving up the chain as opposed to the enthusiast/pro downsizing is perhaps no bad thing. I just wonder if when we finally (hopefully) see Nikon and Canon enter the mirrorless segment of the market, we’ll finally see the full potential of the MILC format realised. That ought to shake things up a bit😉

    Recent rumours inspired me to write my own little blog post on the MILC format. Here’s the link if anyone is interested…
    http://t.co/pDNnSWF

    Like

    • Thanks Alisdair and great write up yourself!

      Looks like Nikon will show up to the MILC ball before Canon. With Sony building their sensors, I think we will see the Alpha dSLR/SLD merge into a mirrorless hybrid itself while the NEX/E mount might just hang out as a consumer point and shoot option (albeit with interchangeable lenses). I mentioned a while back that I thought all major dSLR manufacturers would eventually merge their entry lines with a mirrorless option which may or may not be the case with Canikon as it seems that Nikon are building these new cameras with a separate, new mount. This I think is a mistake. I know that the E-mount in the Sony system is compatible with the A mount, but it still requires new adopters to buy new lenses and adapters to use their already purchased lenses. I “get” why they’d do this, but if Nikon or Canon were to introduce a mirrorless line that proprietarily used the existing F or EF/EF-S mount, while bringing to market a couple small, pancake primes to compliment it, would instantly KILL this new mirrorless market. I doubt they would cannibalize too much of the m4/3 or NEX folks initially, but anyone looking to get into a Rebel or Dxxxx camera that may be on the fence vs a G or GH, NX or similar camera would certainly have a compelling alternative, AND they would have access to so many AF ready, optics. I guess getting folks to have to reinvest in a new set of lenses looks better off the bat to the bottom line, and I’m sure there are some logistical manufacturing challenges, but c’mon! The flip side to this is backwards compatibility with the already established dSLRs. Had Sony taken this route, could you imagine how cool it would be to use that 16mm pancake on an Alpha dSLR? It would make it an almost pocketable option in and of itself! Of course, by design it would have to be APS-C only, but still, an A700 with a 24mm equivalent pancake? That would be sweet.

      Thanks as always and also, I’d suggest to anyone who’s made it this far through the comments to check out Alisdair’s post in the link above ^

      Cheers,
      t

      Like

      • Thanks for recommending people pay a visit to my blog too Tyson – much appreciated😉

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but if Canon (or Nikon) brought out their own mirrorless body, none of their existing glass would be compatible because of the shorter back focus distance surely? That’s a marketing mans dream….. Roll up, roll up – here’s the Canikon micro camera you’ve all been waiting for: full-frame sensor in a weather-sealed body half the size/weight of a 60D/D7000 announced today either body only, or in new single and double kit lens bundles! Want to use your existing Canikon lens collection? No problem – all you need is this £300 mount adaptor (which is just really a tube with some contacts at either end)……

        Like

      • They certainly ‘could’ build a mirrorless body with the EF or F mount for an APS-C, it might just require a slightly deeper body profile at the lens mount. If they went full frame, as far as I understand, to enable the proper projection, they’d need to go even further which would bulk it up even more. To build a full frame mirrorless camera (or even an APS-C as we’ve seen with Samsung and Sony) in order to keep them thin, they would need to re-engineer the flange and mount distance I believe which would translate to a new lens mount and … dun duh duh dun! A new adapter to ‘use’ EF or EF-s (or F) mount lenses.

        Because I am personally invested in lenses for the EF mount, I would be interested in seeing a ‘compact’ full function mirrorless camera. It may just be me, but I’d love to see a rangefinder style body with a hybrid viewfinder a-la the Fuji X100 which would enable the body to remain boxy and small-ish, use an APS-C sensor and hopefully maintain an established mount. There is no reason we couldn’t see a couple pancake primes accompany this in an EF or F mount either (as there are a couple that exist currently…) that would not only be cool for these new smaller bodies, but a great compliment to the larger dSLRs too. The short of it though is the larger the sensor, the larger the lenses will have to be unless some new fold in lens physics is discovered. How realistic this is from a production (or marketing) standpoint, I do not know, but if I were in charge of the world, this is what I would develop.😉 I think, more realistically, we might see the entry level dSLRs be replaced with mirrorless/SLT models (assuming they can keep the mount) kinda like Sony is doing with the A55 pellicle/translucent mirror, as removing a pentaprism and mirrors has to be cheaper to manufacture and as we’re seeing, are an easy step up from a point and shoot as an entry into an interchangeable lens system. Now the murmurs about Nikon’s new mirrorless being a “pro” style camera kinda blows my theory out of the water, so I guess I just have to wait to see how this all pans out. Exciting times though!

        Like

      • I guess I’ve always thought that any Canikon mirrorless would need to compete with existing G-series, PENs and NEXs from a point of view of size, but I see your point about a new boxy mirrorless entry level APS-C body that can use existing lenses…. just not sure what the selling point would be? Perhaps that’s why Nikon rumours centre around a ‘pro’ model – we shall see soon enough I guess!

        Here’s another crazy thought – multi-crop full frame sensor! Bear with me…. Compact full-frame mirrorless with dedicated prime and short zoom maybe (due to restrictions of physical size), stick on existing lenses and the cam automatically switches to APS-C mode (i.e. a crop of the sensor, and a bit like the GH2 tele-con mode). Just a cheeky wee thought😉

        Like

      • I’m sure they could build a body not much larger than an existing GF1, it may just need to have a slightly extruding lens mount to achieve the proper flange distance. Sticking with Canon (which I am more familiar with) they could build an EF mount to utilize an APS-C or APS-H (why not, they already have them engineered and are seemingly looking for somewhere to use them) sensor, and have any “pancake” lenses built as EF-S mounts which would only utilize an APS-C portion of the sensor, but enable smaller physical lenses, all the while maintaining compatibility with the larger EF optics. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ‘digital crop’ mode incorporated in a sensor in this type of camera, as it may be a good development ground for what I see as the next possible 1Ds sensor (31mm x 31mm square multi aspect sensor). I think the next year to 18 months are going to see major shifts in digital technology. Not that a year span doesn’t normally produce some amazing advancements, but I think the past few have really ramped up to something spectacular in the fairly near future from the big boys… I’m excited.

        Like

  7. Pingback: Appareil photo hybride- Tests : A55 NEX-5 GH2 GF2 NX100 NX11 | hybridcams.fr

  8. Pingback: *Sony NEX5 + Lensbaby Tilt Transformer = Unadulterated Fun «

  9. Good comparison, if a bit overly wordy.😉

    I’m torn between the GF1 and NX5. Personally, the articulated LCD on the NX5 is fantastic and I’d buy one in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for the dearth of native lenses! Sony has 3 available?

    And as you say, what’s the point of having such a small camera and having to resort to an adaptor and larger lenses?

    What I really want is a good macro lens, equivalent to the Pana/Leica 45mm and Sony doesn’t have one.

    The desire for an articulated LCD is pushing me toward the GH2… if I could manage to ever find one!

    Like

    • Hello Mr. Reeee,

      Yes, I’m preparing myself in case I start getting paid by the word🙂

      Depending on where you’re coming from, and based on what any individual needs from a compact system camera are, I think these two are both compelling choices (as are the Pens and even the NX100 as long as we’re sticking to the smallest of the small). For me, I needed a replacement for my compact point and shoot all the while not wanting to compromise function. For me, the NEX system is a cool point and shoot system, the GF series is a cool compact full function system. If overall system size and lens speed is a concern, the micro 4/3 will win, if body and/or sensor size is a priority the NEX will win (as of now). Both have their downsides and an individual just needs to see which compromises they’re willing to make I guess.

      As for macro lenses, I would buy an OM, FD or F mount macro lens and get an adapter. The Panaleica is overpriced for me, and honestly for real macro work you’re going to want to manually focus anyway, so I’d say at least entertain the idea of going manual, save yourself $800 and buy a used, manual focus ‘legacy’ lens and an adapter over the pany 45mm if macro is the main reason you’d be looking at that lens.

      Thanks for the read,
      tyson

      Like

      • Paid by the word? You’ll be able to afford all the gear you “need”.

        Thanks for the advice. The Pana/Leica does seem like a ripoff and I prefer manual focus! Right now I’m still using an old Nikon CoolPix 4500 for some macro shooting (okay, laugh). I also have a couple of old Nikon AI manual lenses (20mm f2.8 and 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 macro-zoom) that I’d love to use, but the M4/3 2x crop is a downer there.

        I’m long overdue for a “serious” rig, but loathe the weight/size/bulk of DSLRs. I hike, bike and travel a lot (and lightly) and really want a small system camera with different lenses. The D7000 looked good on paper (especially with my old lenses), but when I tried one the other day, all I could do was laugh! And I’d REALLY like a full-frame camera (that’s weather-resistant)! Whatever happened to reasonable-sized cameras (like my old FM2)?

        I guess I’m mostly sold on the GH2 (tried and liked at B&H yesterday) mainly because of the articulated screen. I shoot bugs and frogs and things and don’t want to lie in mud and water and spiky vegetation to frame my shots!

        Excellent site, BTW!

        Like

      • Thank you much Mr. Reeee. It is for this type of interaction that I really enjoy writting, so, I appreciate it. No laughs here, I still miss my old G9 for its macro capabilities. And for macro, I actually prefer a smaller sensor for the inherent deeper DOF at a given aperture. I think the GH2 is the tip top of the m4/3 realm in most every way (with the only exception being overall size reduction). If I were going to invest in a micro 4/3 model to replace my larger dSLR system cameras, I would get the GH2 (or even possibly a GH1 for the going rate). The wide end is the bugger with the 4/3 sensors, and I’m still waiting for Olympus to release (or even formally announce) the 12mm pancake. Hoping it is a good performer, I will get it over the 14mm Pany pancake. Personally, if we see a 40-50mm pancake-ish f/2 or faster lens from PanOly, between it, a wide prime and the 20mm pancake, I’d be happy. Landscape/Standard/Portrait set up in my pocket. For all the other stuff, I like using legacy lenses and have really had a blast. If you do go the way of a m4/3 or a NEX cam, grab a cheap adapter for your Nikon glass. You get a nice standard 40mm lens, and a 70-270 zoom for very little investment🙂

        Like

  10. Ever notice why there aren’t a lot of people pictures with the Panasonic m4/3 on reviews? Pinkish skin tone anyone? This is the main reason why I sold my GF-1. The lens is sharp, but that was it. The color and noise was a disappointment. Sure people will say to shoot RAW and you can easily fix the color. Uh, you expect me to fix 300 pictures in one sitting? What about if my friends wants the jpeg copy on that day? I tried with LR3, but no luck of getting a true skin color.

    The Sony, on the other hand, gave me true color and cleaner images pass ISO 800. It gave me smile as I don’t have to sit on my computer fix every portrait shots. As for bokeh, the NEX kit at 55mm gives me clean blurry background compare to the GF-1 20mm. The Lumix with its smaller sensor has very dirty or ugly bokeh IMO.

    Its clearly the lens on the NEX is what’s holding the NEX back in therms of IQ. I say wait for the Zeiss and see the true potential of this gem.

    Like

    • Hi Rhico and thanks for the comment,

      Great to see you’ve found your photographic mate! The NEX5 is a really cool camera and I think Sony got a lot right with this iteration.

      Actually, I have tons of people portraits taken with my GF1. And to answer the 300 shot processing question, a button push to batch process is a handy tool which I end up doing whether I’m shooting with my GF, the NEX or my larger system cameras🙂. I shoot RAW though so I work it into my post production workflow. If JPEGS are the flavor to savor, then look at the Olys. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the Sony’s don’t come close to the out of camera JPEGS from the Olys. We’d have a whole new list of pros and cons between the NEX and Pens though I think.

      I think your point helps me understand exactly who Sony is looking to go after with these cameras. You don’t want to spend time at the computer, and you’re happy to with the kit lens as well as the ^800 ISO performance, which are very valid points, and points that I feel many people share with you. It’s great to have the options honestly and if you’re comfortable with what the in camera processing provides, then that is great. That both cameras offer RAW capture is what is important to me. I prefer to take the time to cook my images over having a nice premade meal as it were, so to me as long as I have the option, that is the important part.

      I agree that the lenses are what is and will ultimately hold the NEX (and any APS-C mirrorless system) back. The fact that they will be slower, or larger is a compromise I’m just not willing to make for my pocket camera. Yes, Zeiss making (or overseeing the production of) lenses will be nice, but you will pay a premium for the name and quality. Much like the “Leica” branded lenses for the 4/3 and m4/3 systems. To me, if I’m gonna drop a grand on a lens, it will be for my full frame cameras. If it were my main system camera, it might be easier to justify, as I wouldn’t mind physically larger lenses to gain the ever important (to me) speed or investment. I want to keep my small camera small which means pancake primes and when I want to have fun I use old lenses with adapters. But, that is my personal choice and like I’ve said a few times in the article, there really are many different ways to personally justify any camera over another. The fact we have so many great choices is really cool.

      I appreciate your comment and taking the time to read through. Enjoy the NEX5, it’s a sweet camera.

      Tyson

      Like

  11. Well, you did it again (again and again really, as I had a chance to just glance at your other blogs, particularly the Lensbaby stuff). And you are the only one, and I mean only (other than the comment by one of your readers) that mentions manual focus in macro. I would have thought that was a given, in addition to probably having a focusing rail as standard equipment, but in other lens reviews I read, which are too many, I am surprised that people criticize the auto focus or whatever on macro lenses. And the whatever would apply to lens stabilization. On macro photography! Has anyone ever heard of a tripod? I guess I just can’t picture doing macro (not that I do much, but I love the thought of it) without a: a tripod; b: autofocus turned off and using manual; and c: stabilization turned off and using a TRIPOD! But I surely do digress, as macro was mentioned more as a passing comment, but an important one nevertheless, so I apologize.

    So, regarding your comparison article, how excellent! And I read a lot of comparison stuff, much bordering on silly (I read one just today, but I will spare you), and you did a spot on job I must say. The problem is, that while picking up my latest obsession (thanks for nothing for letting me use your 17-40 lens in Amsterdam!) I saw a Leica X1. Or is it X-1? What difference does it make, it looked more “M” than M Leicas. I hope I never see it again, and thank goodness I never handled it. I still need to figure out how to pay for the new lens. So please don’t do any road tests on that contraption, which fortunately, I guess, doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, or there would be no point in continuing, a SWAT Team would have to remove me from the store.

    Regarding the GF1, for some reason I was rather stunned when looking through the lcd finder, as it had something that the view through my Canon G10 or my 7D (never mind about the 7D, I hardly ever use the live view, and even then I’m not paying attention to resolution) doesn’t seem to have. It may have been the pancake (?) lens at the time, or I don’t know what, but I was impressed. And the build quality/weight/solidity (am I being redundant?) was also impressive, but I must speak similarly of the Sony. Both quality instruments. Did I say I want one of each?

    Enough of my ramblings, an excellent job by you once again and keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next project.

    Dan

    Like

    • Hey Dan,

      Thanks for the read through. Yes, there are certain things that get built into marketing campaigns that I feel are more a marketing necessity than an actual necessity. AF and overall AF performance on dedicated macro lenses is one (although, to be fair, many current macro lenses are great portrait/short tele lenses which benefit from the AF operation) and the other biggie, to me, is IS/VR et al, on wide angle lenses. To me it is just a catch phrase to appeal to folks who think they need, and are willing to pay 20-30% more for a wide angle lens because it has image stabilization. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s crazy and it is something I hear people calling for in many current lenses. Not better optical performance, but IS. silly (to me).

      The X1 is a cool camera, but to me, for what it is, is (not unlike other Leica products) overpriced. I’m sure it is capable of beautiful image files, but so are many cameras. I don’t know if you’ve read up on the newest underground rockstar in the fixed lens digital camera world, but the Fuji X100 looks really, really cool and it is being seen as a direct competitor to the X1 (for $800 less!). I will apologize in advance for turning you on to it as it is ‘almost’ reasonable as a tertiary pocket camera, but: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10091910fujifilmx100.asp

      Thanks again for the read and we’re looking forward to seeing you in a couple weeks! I cannot say for sure, but I may have a top secret lens to show you…🙂 Also, not sure if you’ve seen, but Aperture3 is now only $80 via the new Mac App Store! We’ll chat soon.

      t

      Like

  12. Now whadichahavta tell me about that Fuji thing for? It looks pretty cool, why, almost Leica like! Oh brother, why must something always be compared to something else? Well, I answer my own question when I enjoy reading your, uh, comparison tests so much.

    This looks like another contender in the “new” rangefinder type small camera market that, even while having a larger do-everything dslr, is equally appealing for a number of reasons. I hope you get to do a road test on that one soon. I just hope I never find out about it, see one, or hold one. I thought Fuji was kaput? Shows what I know, and now here they are with a vengeance!

    Keep up the great work, and I look forward to finding out about that top secret thingie. Au revoir.

    Dan

    Like

  13. Pingback: Test du Panasonic Lumix GF2 – Partie 1 : présentation, prise en main et ergonomie | hybridcams.fr

  14. Pingback: *Your Micro 4/3′s camera + your existing lenses = limitless fun. «

  15. Should I sell my GF1 for the Nex-5 or Nex-7?

    I’ve been really debating this for the past couple of days.

    First off, I love the GF1. The 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens is amazing. But it sounds like a couple of formidable cameras are entering the market:

    Sony Nex-5n – LOVE the size. It’s a bit smaller than the GF1, making it a little bit more pocket-able. BUT, no hotshoe. I like to trigger wireless strobes and use wireless timers, switching to continuous lighting would defeat the “lightweight” advantage of mirrorless. But unlike the Nex-7, it should be on sale within the next few days🙂

    Sony Nex-7 – Bigger, but comes with many attractive features. My biggest issue, like you pointed to above, is lenses. Overall, Sony’s lenses are bigger or slower. It’s fastest pancake is the 16mm f/2.8. Comparing both lenses, does the Nex-7’s bigger sensor and higher ISO performance trump the GF1 w/ the 20mm in low light situations?

    I know you probably haven’t had the opportunity to play with the 7 yet, but I’m still curious to hear your thoughts.

    Also, what’s the best portrait lens under $1000 for the Nex (including legacy & A-mount)?

    Like

    • Hey Jay!

      Well, that is a question only you will be able to answer for yourself. The new NEX cams look like they’re going to make serious waves. The 5n to me still looks kinda meh, but the 7 looks like a killer camera and (almost) exactly what the mirrorless community has been pining for. To fire strobes via the 7, you’d need to research the Minolta mount to Hotshoe converter as Sony uses that weird mount. The thing that gets me is that both the 5n and 7 are still completely hobbled by the interface. Sony obviously thinks that the three ‘soft’ button system works, which for many must I guess. I think it is the only issue (aside from available optics) that would deter me from switching. The IQ looks as if it will trump anything else in the mirrorless realm which is awesome, but only you can determine if the cost of the switch will be worth it. I’d have figured by now Sony would have more/better optical choices, and to an extent they have with the upcoming Zeiss 24/1.8, but at a serious cost, and relatively bulky option for a “compact” system. I dunno man, it’s your money. The GF1 is getting long in the tooth, and I too am eager to upgrade within the next year or so, but until Sony fixes it’s menu heavy interface, and lack of small, quality lenses, the NEX system just doesn’t appeal to me personally. The NEX 7 is almost exactly the right camera for me, but I’m also looking for compact over almost all other factors with my mirrorless camera, otherwise, I can get equal or better performance from my other “old” full frame cameras if I’m going to have to tote around a camera bag and bulky lenses. That’s me though… If you’re interested in portrait lenses, have you checked out the new Oly 45mm f/1.8? It would be my choice if I were shopping right now. Relatively affordable, and looks to be a serious optical performer.

      If I weren’t already lightly invested in the m4/3 system, I’d look very closely at the NEX7, but the cost, and limited available optics would probably deter me. If cost isn’t an issue, I’d say give it a test to see if the system does what you’re looking for. Otherwise, I’d hold tight and look at the sub $400 45mm/1.8 from Oly. Optics are going to get you way more bang for your buck anyway.

      Good luck and let me know if you end up with a NEX cam, I’d be interested to hear how it works out for you.

      t

      Like

    • As would I🙂

      If I ever decide to get actual corporate backing and monetize the blog, I’d love to do more of these types of comparisons. As is, I have a hard enough time convincing my wife that I should buy what I do. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to contact some more manufacturers though right? I am going to be looking more closely at the G3 vs the GF1 though in the very near future as the G3 has come down to a decent price, has about as good IQ as the m4/3 system is capable of currently (same sensor as the GX1) and has access to the larger library of lens offerings vs the NEX5n right now which I see as the GX1/G3’s closest realistic competitor…

      Thanks for the comments,
      tyson

      Like

  16. i was really excited about the NEX-7 until i heard that it has some not so insignificant corner purple fringing issues. nothing that can’t be fixed in post processing but you’d think sony would not have released it with this issue.

    Like

    • I’ve not seen that, but I’d imagine that would be as much down to the lens being used. I think that an APS-C sensor with 24+ mp is going to always have a few tradeoffs as well (diffraction, corner performance/light falloff, etc) as getting light to such small pixels creates some pretty challenging engineering issues and fringing might just be one of them. I wouldn’t be too thrown off by that though as what it loses in certain areas, it seems to be making up for in others. I think the big cost for the NEX 7 is going to be in the lens category as a sensor with that kind of resolution is really going to shine with quality glass and be somewhat unnecessary with lesser lenses if that makes sense. Not much point in buying a Ferrari and using a 1.8L 4 cylinder engine in it as it were.🙂

      Like

  17. Pingback: *Lumix G3 vs the mighty might GF1, or why I chose to upgrade my MILC. «

    • Yes, getting light equally to so many small pixels on a large sensor is a tricky thing to do and certainly not a challenge specific to the NEX 7 but hopefully the NEX system lenses have been engineered to minimize any of these types of issues. I wish that I could personally test the NEX 7 to see…🙂

      Like

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