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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 10:06 am 
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NEW: 12 September 2010 Sony NEX-3 / NEX-5 Full review!!

Sony today announced their mirrorless NEX-5 and NEX-3 camera bodies along with lenses and accesories. I've included the full press release below. Alternatively, you can read it here.
With their small size, 14.4 megapixel resolution, large ISO range, full HD video capabilities (NEX-5), these cameras will be serious competitors for other EVILs out there. While Sony took a little longer to enter the market for mirrorless large-sensor cameras, they now certainly enter with an appealing line-up for both entry-level photographers and DSLR-users looking to complement their current system.

- Bjorn -

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DSLR picture quality that won’t weigh you down. Sony’s compact, easy to use NEX-5 and NEX-3 with interchangeable lenses and HD video

Image

11 May 2010

  • New α digital cameras with DSLR picture quality and responsive shooting
  • World’s smallest and lightest1 interchangeable lens digital camera (NEX-5)
  • 14.2 effective megapixels Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor
  • 1080i HD movie recording (NEX-5) with stereo sound, fast and silent autofocus
  • Intuitive new interface with Help Guide and Shooting Tips
  • E-mount lens system compatible with α DSLR lenses (with optional Mount Adaptor)
  • Sweep Panorama with 3D capability2

Now photographers can enjoy the superlative picture quality and shooting responses prized by DSLR users in two beautifully compact new cameras that are brilliantly easy to use.

Joining the α family, the NEX-5 and NEX-3 team DSLR-quality imaging with the convenience of interchangeable lenses in a sleek new design that slips easily into a jacket pocket or bag. In contrast with conventional DSLR models, the ‘mirrorless’ construction shrinks the thickness of both cameras to just 24.2mm (NEX-5 excluding grip and mount) and 25.4mm (NEX-3, excluding grip and mount) at their slimmest point. As a luxurious extra refinement, the NEX-5 features a tough yet light-weight magnesium body, making it the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera.1

At the heart of both cameras is a newly-developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with a resolution of 14.2 effective megapixels. Far larger than the sensor inside conventional compact cameras, its key to the extremely low image noise and creative defocus effects that are familiar to DSLR users.

Still and video image quality is further refined by the powerful BIONZ processor that ensures speedy DSLR-style shooting reflexes with quick, precise autofocus and minimal shutter lag. Both cameras can also capture fast-moving action with a high-speed burst of full-resolution images at up to 7fps (AF/AE fixed from first frame).

An elegant, uncluttered user interface – featuring a new ‘never get lost’ menu – makes the powerful creative possibilities of the NEX-5 and NEX-3 accessible to enthusiasts and step-up users alike. Shooting parameters are easily accessed via an intuitive control wheel and two soft keys. Turning the control dial, for example, allows depth of focus changes to be previewed ‘live’ on the LCD3, giving effortless control over beautiful, pro-style portraits. Further help for novice users is provided by on-screen shooting tips and a friendly help guide.

Images and camera settings are displayed on the big, bright 7.5cm (3”), Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack technology that tilts up or down for comfortable viewing in any shooting position. The screen features an auto-brightness function for excellent visibility, even when you’re outdoors. TruBlack screen technology enables an even more vivid, high-contrast view of images and camera settings.

Compatibility with a wide range of interchangeable lenses dramatically expands the artistic possibilities of the E-mount camera system.

Ideal for everyday shooting, the low-profile E 16mm F/2.8 (SEL16F28) ‘pancake’ lens minimises bulk when the camera is being carried in a coat pocket. Its field of view can be boosted even further by the VCL-ECU1 Ultra Wide Converter and VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Converter that deliver high-definition optical performance in a sleek, co-ordinated design.

Featuring in-lens Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation for clearer handheld images, the E 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 zoom (SEL1855) is a perfect travel partner. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are available in kit form with either lens, or as a double-lens kit that provides even greater shooting versatility. The NEX-5 can also be specified as a kit with the optional E 18-200 F/3.5-6.3 zoom (SEL18200) that offers a powerful 11x magnification range plus Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation with Active Mode at wide angle for steadier movie shooting.

An optional LA-EA1 Mount Adaptor extends compatibility to the α family of 30 lenses, plus a huge range of other legacy A-mount lenses (Manual Focus only).

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are also the first α cameras to offer the extra convenience of HD video recording. At the touch of a dedicated Movie REC button, both NEX-5 and the NEX-3 shoots HD video with stereo sound as compact MPEG4 files that are ideal for PC storage and web sharing. Full HD (1920 x 1080i) video captured by the NEX-5 as high-quality AVCHD files can be enjoyed on a connected HD television. As an option, the smart accessory terminal on both cameras accepts the compact ECM-SST1 Stereo Microphone (optional) that captures a high-quality soundtrack for your HD videos.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first α cameras featuring Sweep Panorama. Just press the shutter button and swing the camera side-to-side or up and down. A high-speed burst of frames is stitched together automatically to create detail-packed 23 megapixel panoramas with a 226 degree effective angle of view4. Panoramic files can also be enjoyed in stunning 3D on compatible BRAVIA™ 3D televisions.5

As previously introduced on the DSLR-A550, Auto HDR has been further refined. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 can now shoot a high-speed burst of three images at different exposure values that are electronically combined in the camera. This produces a single High Dynamic Range image with extended highlight and shadow detail.

Both cameras come supplied with a super-compact clip-on flash that attaches via the smart accessory terminal when needed for low-light shooting. Other optional accessories include the FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder plus colour coordinated cases and shoulder straps.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 system cameras from Sony are available from summer 2010.

Notes:
*1 As of May 11, Sony research. Among the interchangeable-lens digital camera bodies.
*2 Via firmware update available summer 2010.
*3 Effective only when an E-mount lens is attached.
*4 At maximum with E 16mm F/2.8 lens in wide mode setting.
*5 3D is only available via firmware update available summer 2010 at users' option.

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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 10:37 am 
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Thanks Bjorn. I've retitled the thread to make it "Official" and also made it Sticky as I have a feeling we'll be discussing this new camera system from Sony for quite a while. 8)

Sony have pulled off a remarkable trick, producing an APS-C body smaller than the equivalent micro four-thirds model from Panasonic. CNET Australia have produced this hands-on article which includes plenty of product shots. It's very easy to think that Sony have bolted a tiny body onto a standard sized lens because the body looks so small in comparison. But then you realise that these lenses are themselves quite compact and the effect is remarkable. Can't wait to see one in person. In the meantime here's the CNET Video.

But having said that I'm actually left looking forward to the time when Sony produce a slightly bigger body for the new lens system with a less minimalist approach to ergonomics and maybe even an integrated electronic viewfinder.

But however that works out I have to say "Chappeau" to Sony for an extraordinarily good job. C'mon Gordon - where's the NEX-5 review. :P

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:33 am 
I agree Bob, I don't like the minimalist approach either. For some reason it just looks wrong. It would have been better if the body was a bit more substantial and maybe even had in-body IS, which makes more sense on a mirrorless than on a DSLR. Plus, I miss the dials for manual control without a menu.

While the performance so far seems very impressive, I would probably still buy an E-P1 before a NEX-5. (Although I think I would like the mirrorless segment to mature a bit further before I buy anything.)

Anyway, I still think a lot of people are going to love it. Sony certainly has produced something special.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:44 am 
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Bob, the old mirror is why E-mount and similar wont go into a DSLR.

To answer Will Bueche's question in the previous thread "Why would you want stabilization on a 16mm?" the answer is simple, it makes a huge difference when you don't have much light to work with. As a specific example, with a C-mount 12.5mm f/1.3 lens mounted on the E-P1 (body IS on), I can handhold sharp images to beyond a second. It makes truly dark areas light again. Not all fast lenses have to be premium models.

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:10 pm 
Had a quick play earlier today with both the NEX-3 and NEX-5 and the build quality of the NEX-5 and the lenses is fantastic.
I sadly didn't have much time to play with them and it wasn't possible to get to see any results. The menu system is very graphics orientated compared to what you get on a DSLR and some previews are concerned about how fiddly it is to use. I guess it comes down to which end of the market you're coming from and I think Sony is targeting point and shoot owners with these new cameras.

Even though the NEX-3 is slightly larger and made from plastic, they're both tiny cameras, but the lenses are actually quite chunky in comparison.
However, the aluminium construction of the lenses is to die for compared to the plastic crap I have for my 500D. The lens rings moves really smoothly and the entire construction makes you want to get one of these cameras just because of the lenses alone.

I wasn't overly keen on the tiltable screens though, as the hinges were very stiff and due to the screen being very thin, it felt like you had to use excessive force to make it move. On the other hand the screen itself looked fantastic.

I'm not in the same league as some of you guys here, but I really think this is a camera that will bring Sony a lot of new customers. Most likely not professionals, but as I said, those that are looking for something to upgrade to from a point and shoot or a super zoom. The pricing is also very competitive, albeit not much cheaper than getting a decent DSLR.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:41 pm 
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5A.HTM


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:51 pm 
I think these two are the most promising of the mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

thelostswede, what did you make of the ergonomics of the body? It seems to me like a case of form over function in they way that that it's all smooth and quite minimal with the controls.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:53 pm 
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Hi folks,

UK pricing, courtesy of AP, has the NEX-5 kit, with the 18-55mm lens, at about £550-£600 and the NEX-3 about £100 cheaper. They suggest the new 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom will be about £500-£600 and the 16mm f/2.8 pancake lens will be about £200-£220 when sold separately. Looking at the US prices from the SonyStyle site the NEX-5 kit, with the 18-55mm lens, is marked at an SRP of $700 with a $50 reduction for the 16mm as a kit lens. Not cheap but it's good to see that after factoring in sales tax and the exchange rate Sony UK are apparently not taking advantage. Hopefully street prices will settle rather lower once the initial rush dies down.

@popo: Thanks. I actually woke up and corrected my post sometime before Dutch made his own contribution and, of course, your own but it's nice to see you're keeping me on my toes. :lol:

Bob.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 1:44 pm 
Well, you're holding the camera more by the lens than the body, although I have to say for such a small camera, the hand grip is really rather good.

There are some definite differences between the two cameras though, as the NEX-5 has a dedicated power switch, while the NEX-3 has the power switch fitted around the shutter button. The NEX-3 also has a flatter, but wider grip, albeit only marginally so.

The mode dial was easy to use, but as pointed out in a video by cnet it seems to be geared a little bit too fast against the software, but this can obviously be fixed in a firmware update.

As you're holding the lens, even the 16mm, you won't need any space on the far left side, as you do with most point and shoots. The NEX-5 also has a very odd tripod mount, as the camera isn't flat on the bottom.

Oh and the 18-55mm lens doesn't appear to rotate when you zoom or focus. And yes, the screens are very prone to smudging.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 3:12 pm 
I think that these look quite nice really. Not really sure the need to release both, or how one can justify the price difference for the extra video ability.

Its a pain the flash is separate, however good of sony to include it with the camera.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:10 pm 
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Hi folks,

This afternoon I rather idly wondered what a NEX-5 would look like if paired via a (mythical and maybe not quite long enough) M Mount adaptor to, say, a Leica Summilux 21mm f/1.4 ASPH. It's been a couple of years since I had a go at a fake (an EOS 40D rear LCD with a windscreen wiper, if memory serves) so maybe I'll be allowed another one and viewers won't be too critical of its defects? The dimensions should be about right:
      Image
Manual focus only, I'm afraid, but with a combination like that in ones hands who'd want to autofocus anyway. To my jaded eyes this looks like pure camera erotica. 8)

OK, I've wiped the dribble from my chin and I'd like to make the serious point that the NEX deserves some adaptors to allow the use of third party glass. It's happened with micro four-thirds and with a crop factor of only 1.5x, as opposed to the 2x of the micro-four-thirds offerings, it seems to make even more sense. Nothing can be perfect but if the IQ is up to snuff then with the stated 7fps burst speed (JPEG L size, Fine: 16/14 images, RAW: 7 images, RAW+JPEG: 7 images) the NEX-5 is looking better and better...

@thelostswede: How'd you fancy having that combo in your hands? :lol:

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:49 pm 
[whipes dribble away] Yes Bob, that looks sweet.

You are of course right, the conversion factor makes the NEX bodies much more interesting for mounting m-mount lenses. As long as there is a decent way to manually focus those.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:18 pm 
I feel that ergonomic wise, it will be hard to handle especially with long lens or APS-C lenses.

But I'll need to try it myself before making further judgment about the handling.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:26 pm 
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I assume one would hold this camera by the lens most of the time. Could make a nice back-up (living in the glove compartment) to use with current alpha lenses, but without compatibility would be useless to me.


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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:41 pm 
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Tiny question: isn't it some sort of a Minolta custom to use the 3-series as entry-level, 5- as intermediate level and 7- as top-notch camera ? When you look at the KM7D and KM5D, they are actually on the very same level as the A700 and A100 (currently A450/500/550) cameras.

It may be just an odd theory of mine, but I'm starting to think there's still a higher model to be released, just like Sony did back in 2007 with the A700. I don't believe everything on Wiki, but...:

"On March 8, 2007, at the PMA Trade Show, Sony announced two new α cameras, both positioned to be "above" the α100 in the Alpha line-up. One model was referred to as a "high amateur" model, with a release date of late 2007."
Quite frankly...the NEX-7 would seem plausible to me, although I am not sure whether it will ever exist...and would there be a market for it ?

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