SONY vs. Micro 4/3

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by rrobinson, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. rrobinson

    rrobinson New Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    I own several Micro 4/3 cameras (EP3, EP2, GH2) and lenses (9-18, 14-45, 20, 45, 100-300). Like a lot of people I am very intrigued with the new SONY Nex 7, but availability and high price is holding me back. In the meantime, I am looking to move into SONY with the Nex 5n. What lenses would you recommend for the SONY? Is the kit lens decent? Would moving from micro 4/3 be a step forward or back?

    Thank you for your opinions!
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  2. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Hi rrobinson, welcome to serious compacts! Hope to see some of your work here :smile:

    The answer to your question really depends on what you'd want to do with a system. Looks like you have a pretty extensive set of m43 lenses, and most of them can't be matched by Sony's NEX system / E mount lenses yet (9-18, 20, 100-300).
    If it's high ISO performance you're after, the NEX sensors will easily improve on your m43 sensors, but m43 has more fast lenses available so the advantages of the NEX's larger sensor would be largely negated by its lack of lens choice.

    If you do decide to go NEX already, your lens choice depends completely on your wishes. Personally I find the 16mm pancake the most tempting, despite people bashing its sharpness, since it's relatively fast, pretty wide and very small, and in real world performance it's good / sharp enough for me... but I really can't tell you which would be best for you.

    From what I've read and seen, the kit lens, despite being bashed from time to time, is good enough for most real-world situations. In any case, it's my opinion that once you've reached a certain level of image quality, real world usability (size, weight, aperture range, zoom range, ergonomics) is more important than pixel peeping ultimate quality, and for me I'm pretty sure the kit lens offers enough image quality but your mileage may vary...
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  3. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    I've owned NEX twice now (NEX 3 and 5n). Dropped them both for m43, but I think it's worth exploring. Get one used, or buy one with a good return policy. Try them out. The issue, though, is lens selection, IMO, and some of their recent pricing (NEX 7 and 24mm)
  4. tdekany

    tdekany Veteran

    Dec 21, 2011
    Portland OR
    I am a newbie with a G3 into this M4/3 world so I can't tell you if going to a 5n is a plus or minus. Personally I'd only step up to the NEX7 because of the viewfinder. I need one. However, I have seen pictures with the NEX5 (not even the 5n) that are mind blowing. If the lack of lenses or a viewfinder are not an issue for you, the 5n could be a step forward IQ wise, but I don't really know.

    Check these pictures out
  5. Michael

    Michael Rookie

    Sep 7, 2010
    Western Australia
    Hi WT21,
    I am curious to know why you dropped your NEX cameras? I am quite serious about a NEX 7n because of the viewfinder. I really like my EP-2 but that detachable viewfinder does get in the way in most small bags and cases...
  6. serhan

    serhan All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    I have been using the both systems for a while since they both have adv/disadv as a system. Sony has the best sensor for crop cameras, but it lacked the lenses that m43 has. I used Sony for more landscapes and m43 for the rest since I have similar m43 lenses. Sony kit lenses, 16mm & 18-55 are decent for their prices and I recommend to get them as a package unless you have old manual lenses or Sony dslr lenses which can AF with the new expensive adapter.

    Newly released Sony lenses are filling the gap with m43, but expensive 24mm ($1000) & 50mm ($300) lenses are similar size to kit 18-55 lens (which is a little smaller then my Oly 14-150mm lens). For long zoom, longest lens is 55-210mm which was released couple months ago. There are also two 18-200 lenses if you go to one lens option. In comparison M43 has faster AF and smaller lenses. Sony is catching up but still they have dslr business that they need to share their resources.
  7. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    I try not to bash other gear, and I think it's all personal. So, I'll jot my thoughts down, but this is for me, and there are lots of folks taking great shots with NEX, I'm sure.

    4 issues:

    1) The lenses are not even close to m43. What's their answer to the 9-18, let alone the 7-14. Do they have a fast normal (i.e. about 35mm) to compete with the 25/1.4. Do they have an outstanding travel pancake like the 20/1.7. I believe the 14/2.5 to be better than the 16/2.8, though I never did test them side-by-side. Do they have a reasonable macro (at least 90mm)? How giant are those long zooms? Their best lenses are the overpriced 24mm and the 50mm 1.8. For me, I've never liked the 75mm FOV equivalent, nor am I a 35mm shooter. I prefer wide, normal and telephoto and a macro. YMMV.
    2) I don't like the cheap build of the kit lenses or the 5n itself. The 7 might be different. It certainly looks solid in the videos I've seen.
    3) Menus are not easy to use, IMO. The Super Control Panel on the Oly is very good.
    4) The price of the newer gear is quite high. Makes me question where they are going in pricing. I understand that for Leica lens shooters, the 5n is very nice, but I can't afford the Leica lenses, and I prefer a mix of 85% AF, 15% MF, not full time MF.

    I will continue to follow NEX. I wouldn't mind the 1-2 stop improvement in ISO but for me (your mileage may vary) I shoot mainly in good light, and for the occasional low light, the 25/1.4 is outstanding. I think it's all personal, but that's my opinion/experience. I still think it's worth a test drive, if you can do it in a way that you aren't risking much cash. Maybe even check out (or other rental stores)? I think I'll be sitting on m43 at least until next fall. I don't see anything coming along that would completely supplant this system. Although, in all honesty, I am more interested in the rumored Fuji CSC than any NEX developments. If something real comes from Fuji in the spring, I may be opening my wallet sooner than expected.

    Last comment: CES is coming soon, and there will be likely some camera/lens announcements. It's not that far away (Jan 10th), so unless you have some burning reason to move, I would think waiting a little more than 2 weeks might be worthwhile. Just a thought.

    Happy Shooting!
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  8. Pelao

    Pelao All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    You might consider coming at this from a different angle. A couple of questions to ponder:
    - Are you happy / unhappy with your current cameras and lenses? Do they limit you in any way?
    - What do you like to shoot, what might you like to shoot that you haven't yet tried, and under what lighting?
    - How do you output your photographs: do you mainly publish online and view on a screen, or do you print? If the latter, how large?

    You have some nice gear. But it may be limiting you. Find out how and that will point you to what you need.
    • Like Like x 4
  9. retow

    retow All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Sensor versus lenses. Camera bodies come and go, we have seen already about 6 NEX(T) in 15 months or so. Lenses stay, especially the excellent ones. Sony has demonstrated to be a competetent electronics giant, the e-mount lens lineup stiil leaves a lot to be desired, though. Panasonic learned from Leica to design excellent optics, Olympus always knew how to do it and together they have created quite remarkable mft lenses: 7-14mm, 9-18mm, 14mm f2.5, 20mm f1.7, 100-300mm, 12mm f2.0, 45mm f1.8, 45mm Macro f2.8 just to mention a few of the outstanding ones. If the Samsung NX200 had an EVF, I'd prefer it over the Sony Nex, because of Samsung's pancake lenses. I jumped on the Nex 5 when it came out, used it for a few weeks and had it gathering dust for almost a year before selling it. I didn't like the menu system, user interface, ergonomics, haptics, shutter noise, cheap feel , and lastly the lenses, or better the lack thereof. Just my two cents.
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  10. Xuereb

    Xuereb Veteran

    Nov 5, 2010
    W. Australia
    I use both m4/3 and the Nex 5N. The latter produces files that are easier to work with than m4/3, & have deeper shadow and highlight detail. Sony's kit zoom is slightly soft and the sharper apertures in my experience are at f8 and above. This doesn't allow one to isolate a subject using limited depth of field in the same way as the fast m4/3 primes.

    The Sony, even with legacy glass, does not produce the crisp image sharpness that a 20mm f1.7 lens produces on m4/3. Legacy glass is easier to use with the Sony than with m4/3. Older lenses can give sharper images than the Sony kit zoom. My impressions: . However, the Sony does retain masses of detail and has a 'creamy' smooth look which is appealing in its own right. Comparatively the Sony files lack colour saturation but this is, in my case, remedied during processing in LR3
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  11. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I think the NEX system is fine for most people who will only use the kit lens as their first and the 'nifty-fifty' for portraits and low-light stuff.

    Currently there is no direct replacements for your 9-18, 20 and 100-300 mm lenses in the NEX lens line-up. The Olympus 45/1.8 probably can be replaced with the Sony 50mm f/1.8 lens (although I think it's rather short for head and shoulder portraits). I think the 20mm pancake can be adequately replaced with the 24mm Zeiss - it's wider than the 20mm pancake but not dramatically so.

    Contrary to what many report, I think the 16mm f/2.8 lens has adequate performance for its price. Wide open it is very good in the center of the frame and very poor in the corners, but it doesn't matter. Stopped down to f/8 it is excellent across the whole frame except the most extreme corners. It has strong chromatic aberrations, but they can be fixed automatically in Lightroom.

    What I don't like about the NEX-5N and the NEX-7 is a fairly large number of small handling issues. There is a great list compiled by Bjorn Utpott here: Bjorn Utpott Photography - Journal - NEX-7 Continued

    I can add a couple of my own personal issues with the NEX-7 as well:

    - no bracketing (+/- 0.7 EV is not enough or most practical purposes, sorry)
    - only one custom WB setting
    - no mode dial
    - bracketing can not be triggered with the remote control (they are implemented as separate drive modes)

    For me, every NEX offers a great sensor inside an entry-level point and shoot camera. I think I prefer slightly inferior sensor of the GH2 housed inside a serious and well-handling camera body.
  12. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    This is good advice.
  13. rrobinson

    rrobinson New Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    It is good advice! I am sticking with my EP3. If the NEX7 ever comes down to earth on price, I may get one, but for now, the m43 and Fuji are enough for me. Thanks for all the input!!
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Can you even consider Micro4/3 and NEX to be directly competitive systems? It was the obvious comparison initially due to each being mirrorless but the NEX still offers little as a system, unless you start adapting Alpha lenses at which point it's worth considering a DSLR body. The gap has actually widened further this year when you might have expected it to close. That may yet change, but right now I'm taking photos now, not a year or three into the future. If you're happy with using the existing small line-up of E mount lenses, or even using legacy lenses, consider NEX. If not, I don't think the comparison is really valid once you very far beyond the basic kit.
  15. I sold my GH2 and bought a 5N and I'm pleased I did so. That said I'm unusual in that I predominantly use manual focus legacy glass only. Had I preferred AF lenses then the decision to leave m43 would have been a tough call.

    Another factor for me was also the sensor size and the differences in DOF. I found full frame sensor in my Canon 5D tough for manual focusing. The DOF was so thin and my eyes are failing. m43 seemed to go too much the other way. Nice DOF for street work but for most everything else I felt an APS-C sensor was the best compromise.

    Size & weight are also considerations. m43 will always win out when you compare like with like.
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  16. wt21

    wt21 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    If you had ever tried, e.g. the 25/1.4, you would have found a VERY nice balance in DOF. This is the one lens that will make it hard for any other system to supplant m43 in my bag, then combined with the other excellent offerings, that's what does it for me. But if you are a huge fan of MF and compactness, then it seems the 5n rules.
  17. Michael

    Michael Rookie

    Sep 7, 2010
    Western Australia
    Thanks Pelao,
    I appreciate and thank you for your comments I see where you are coming from. I agree with you that less is more especially if one is his own master! I like David du Chemins ideas with this movement, however...
    For the last eight years EOS digitals with L lenses have gotten larger and heavier. Up until comparatively recently I have used them exclusively for my work which is mostly gardens botanical, agricultural and some architectural work. I often work in 40 + degrees C (in the shade) and sometimes have walk considerable distances in those temperatures with a largish tripod and (I try to set limits on) three or four lenses. Early and late shoot times are not always possible either (thank heaven for HDR). Wheeled lowe pro's are out of the question - rough ground! so its a backpack. In an attempt reduce the weight and ultimately the strain on my aging body I recently switched to an M9 which I like very much, Its good for most of the work but I also need another light camera for macro and a small amount of telephoto work, I have been using the EP2 with an assortment of lenses for some time, but the file size is just a bit small - editors crop and crop again! I also find the EP2 a bit slow. I would like a Macro Elmar for the M9 but there are none available in Oz to even test drive and then there is the cost... So with all the above taken into account the Nex 7 looks very promising especially after the recent comments from Michael Reichmann (NEX-7 vs M9 Part Deux) Then there’s also promise from Fuji, Canon and then next year perhaps the M10...
  18. flash

    flash Veteran

    May 6, 2011

    6 months ago I did almost exactly the same thing (Canon to M9 with m4/3 for macro/tele). And I agree with you on almost every point. I too have an EP2 and it's not quite enough. In order to shoot at an acceptable pixel count and noise level I have a GH2 and it is a superior camera in every way to the EP2 and still tiny compared to the Canons. It also has a native 3:2 ratio which is vital to me. I've ordered an NeX7 but I do wish that m4/3 would make a Pen/GX sized body with a built in EVF and the GH2 sensor. Somewhere I between the NEX bodies and the m4/3 lenses is the perfect camera.

    What are your thoughts on the GX1? It's the right size and has the G3 sensor which is a noticable improvement on the EP2 sensor. I'm tempted to try one of those. If it had the 3:2 native ratio instead of cropping I'd be sold. And as you said, the upcoming Fuji/Leica announcements could be very interesting.

    It's frustrating to be so close to these ideal cameras but with every manufacturer falling slightly short of their potential. But it's also exciting to see what's coming this year.

  19. Michael

    Michael Rookie

    Sep 7, 2010
    Western Australia
    Hi Gordon
    I have not even seen a GX1 here in Western Australia yet but I did capture a series of images with Panasonic's first offering G1(?) and I found that the in camera s/w was quite aggressive, even the raw files seemed to have been more highly processed in comparison to ORF's. I downloaded some G3 sample raws and there did not seem to be a lot of change. The Olympus EP3 certainly seems to have less noise and greater clarity compared to Panasonic's results. But from what I have seen thus far the NEX7 seems to be a step ahead again. I want to see more images from the NEX7 with the lenses I use before I shell our for one. But you are right in saying that something in between could be the holy grail. Quite a number of correspondents have panned the quality of the Sony/ Zeiss lenses that is cause for concern as my past experience with modern Zeiss lenses is all good, the 50mm ZE planar on my 5d was as good as anything I have ever used.
    I learn't much of my camer craft on two and a quarter square film, Autocord and Rollie and the square format still has a lot of appeal to me I've used it a lot on the EP2. Mike Johnston on the The Online Photographer mentions monochrome sensors and square formats from time to time and that also works for me - photographers of a certain age! But the reality of owning one would I think only be for a small number of photographers.
  20. retow

    retow All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Olympus is overdue for a body with the newer generation of mft sensors. An EP4 with the G3 sensor and NEX 7 type of integrated VF would come close to an ideal camera for my needs. With the excellent Oly 12mm, Panaleica 25mm and Oly 45mm primes, of course.
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