Apr 082014
 

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Year of the Alpha – 52 Weeks of Sony Alpha Photography

by Toni Ahvenainen

Introduction

My name is Toni Ahvenainen and I am a 37 years old photography enthusiast who works as a graphics and web designer in Finland. I bought my first own digital camera, Sony Nex-5N, about two years ago and was immediately bitten by a photo bug. During my first year I took over 26,000 pictures, but as much as I liked it, after year and a half I found myself going in circles. I felt I was taking same pictures repeatedly and that there wasn’t anything new to shoot. I could take a couple of interesting shots every now and then, but never found a real reason to do it, because I didn’t have any meaningful place to put them – even in my hard drive I never found appropriate folder name for them. In short, I had locked myself inside my own perception and I needed to find a new direction to my photography.

Late 2013 I decided that the year 2014 would be my year of photography, in which I would concentrate in developing my own photographic eye and also get some publicity to my work. With some planning and inspiration from various ‘365 days’ projects I decided to put up a similar photo blog. After couple of months of hard work Year of the Alpha – 52 Weeks of Sony Alpha Photography’ was born and I started my year of photography at January 1st (and will end it at 31st December). So far it has surpassed all my expectations. In first month my photo blog gathered over 40,000 page views, which is quite nice considering that couple of months ago I was just taking pictures on my own and never sharing them with anyone. I’ve also received so much encouraging and positive comments from friendly photographers that it has really affected me deeply. Starting a photo blog has really been a magic carpet ride for me and my photography.

In this article I will introduce my photo blog and share some of the photographs I’ve taken during the first three months. I will also discuss some methods and ideas I’ve found useful while trying to develop my photography. I hope it will be an inspiring read because one of my goals has been to share inspiration with others.

What is Year of the Alpha?


Year of the Alpha – 52 Weeks of Sony Alpha Photography’ is a photo blog where I share my work on a weekly basis at least two images per week and often more. Name of my the blog refers to Sony Alpha brand (no affiliation with Sony corporation) and with this conscious choice as I’m searching for followers who use Sony Alpha photography equipment – but as photography is pretty universal I believe anyone can enjoy it. Chronologically Year of the Alpha is divided into five seasons. With every season I will explore a different theme, all of which are attached to my subjective taste and perception of photography. So far only the first season has been completed. Season of Blackness concentrated on lo-key photography with creative edge and most of the photographs you see here are from that season.

You can find my photo blog here: http://www.yearofthealpha.com

As I said earlier, Year of the Alpha has surpassed all my expectations. I’m mostly surprised about the way it has triggered my creative spot and make me take photographs I never dreamed of before. It’s been a good start and since it’s all about sharing inspiration, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

1. Being able to create photographs continuously is a state of mind 
When I started my endeavor the first thing came to my mind was, how I’m going to find something meaningful to shoot every week continuously for full year. It takes a fair bit of commitment to keep on working with your photography for full year and that’s what the most people are afraid with similar photography projects. Before I started I had, like everyone else, different concerns regarding why it might be difficult to find anything to shoot. You know the story, it’s the lack of ideas and inspiration, bad weather and lighting conditions, mundane close environment, not enough time, bad camera gear etc. Now when I look back after three months of shooting, I’ve come to realize that these reasons are not really about circumstances, they are about state of mind.

If there is one lesson that I’ve learned so far, it is that active photography creates new opportunities and great photographs by its own weight. If you just take your camera everywhere you go and keep on shooting even when circumstances don’t seem fruitful at first sight, you’ll be amazed how much there is good photography to be made. It’s not about ‘finding good subjects or circumstances’, but expanding your own consciousness regarding what you think is good photography. Learning to find new creative possibilities is a process which will happen in one’s mind, not by acquiring new gear or just wandering about in hope of a good situation. Limitations are good, because creativity happens if it has framework which it can challenge. If there is no framework, in other words limitations, there is no creativity either. It’s a self-strengthening process, first you just need to let go of perception that there isn’t anything to shoot – there is, you just have to shoot to see it.

2. Finishing your photographs will close the feedback circuit
The second thing I’ve learned with my project is to finish my photographs. With today’s digital cameras and their massive memory storages, it’s easy to keep on shooting actively but never sit down to really look what you have done. The problem with unfinished photographs is that you are not truly engaged with your photography. Not selecting the best shot, not cropping it for best composition, not post processing it and not declaring it ‘ready’ is same as leaving your work halfway. Half-cooked pictures will not provide you enough feedback neither will they guide your learning process, because they will leave backdoor of your mind open for all kinds of excuses. 

Once I started my photo and was forced to finish my photographs properly, I quickly learned that finishing them will essentially close the feedback circuit of my own mind. After I’ve selected my shot, post processed it and declared to myself ‘it’s ready’, I can evaluate my success and failures more clearly. I would also recommend to put your finished photographs in a special place where you can see them all at once. When you see them there next to each other, you can finally start asking questions. ‘Why I like these shots better than those ones’, What’s common with most of my photographs’, etc. This kind of evaluative view over your own work will help you build up understanding of yourself as a photographer. But it requires that you have engaged with your photographs, which rarely happens if one doesn’t them finish in the first place.

3. Develop your photographic eye with goals and limits
The third thing I’ve learned with my photo blog is that I can develop my photographic eye by setting myself different tasks with goals and limits. My tasks are related to five different seasons which I’m carrying out, but they can obviously be anything from single photographs to total body of work. Setting yourself goals and limits will greatly benefit your photography. First of all, they will give you a guideline which to follow. Persistently diversified paths of endless possibilities will narrow down to something meaningful one can actually hope to realize. Having a goal makes it possible for you to plan your photography and planning means that photographs are something you make, not just randomly take from your surroundings. Secondly, the limits you impose will determine if you are succeeding or not. It’s soothing to have at least to some extent a clear indicator for succeeding. Of course you can make great pictures without limits too, but it’s easy to shoot too diverse stuff and not have a clear understanding of what makes them great in the end. Thirdly, the goals will make your work ready. They will define the stage when you’ve done your job. Without the goals defining the limits, one will easily splash across different objectives and nothing gets done to an end. And finally in the end, how you solve these tasks will shape you as a photographer. Starting a 365 days or 52 weeks project is great way to concentrate on developing your photographic eye, but one still needs to guide it with goals and limits to make most of it.

4. Anyone can do it
If I would have to raise up one thing from this lengthy article, it would be that anyone can do it. Internet opens up a new ground for creative ideas and it’s not meant just for big software developers like Flickr or 500px. It’s also a playground for single individuals who want to find new ways to refresh their photography. With all the diverse services available, one can build up their ideas and get them running very fast with very little costs. It’s been quite fascinating to see what I’ve achieved with my photo blog so far, but it’s not anything unseen before – others have done it before me and with much larger scale. In fact my photo blog was very much inspired by Italian photographer Luca Rossini, to whom I need express my gratitude for all the inspiration and help. But the bottom line is, anyone can do it.

What’s next?
I’m currently running my second season, Season of Tilt, in which I will try to guide my photography to more personal realms. Season of Tilt could be described as a psychologically tilted season which merges things from my dreams, memories and inner feelings. Name of this season also implies to Lensbaby which has been kind enough to support me with their most interesting lenses. With Season of Tilt I’ll be using exclusively Lensbaby Composer Pro with three of their most sought after optics: Double Glass, Sweet 35 and Edge 80. If interested, you might want to follow it through just to learn more about them. 

Thank you for reading my article.

Now, get inspired, create your own project and enjoy doing it!

Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO400, f/4.0, 1/1250sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO200, f/2.8, 1/13sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO3200, f/4.0, 1/400sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO640, f/1.8, 1/80sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO100, f/6.3, 1/800sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL1855, ISO1600, f/11, 1/4sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO200, f/2.8, 1/30sec

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Sony Nex-5N, SEL50F18, ISO250, f/4.0, 1/80sec

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Sony Nex-5N, Lensbaby Edge 80, ISO400, f/4.0, 0.8sec

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Sony Nex-5N, Lensbaby Edge 80, ISO100, f/2.8, 1/80sec

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Sony Nex-5N, Lensbaby Edge 80, ISO100, f/5.6, 1/1250sec

Image-11Sony Nex-5N, Lensbaby Edge 80, ISO100, f/5.6, 1/1250sec, Raw

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Aug 302012
 

Olympus OMD 95% – Leica M9 5%

By Neil Buchan-Grant

It’s been about a year since I last sent you anything Steve and a lot has happened in that time. I sailed to New York on the Queen Mary and had christmas in the big apple, just me, the M9 and a Sony NEX5n. I visited B&H for the first time, (what an amazing place) and picked up the last EVF they had for the NEX. Needless to say the M9 didn’t get too much use for the rest of that trip, but I had a great time with the NEX.

In March I finally got hold of an Olympus OMD just in time for a number of European trips I had planned. I liked it so much that the Sony and all of its lenses went straight on eBay! On each trip I religiously packed the M9 into my slingshot with a 50mm and a 35mm. In France, Portugal, Montenegro, Ireland and on 2 trips to Croatia, I carried it everywhere but only used it a handful of times. I had started to wonder why I bothered to carry it everywhere. Then I had the opportunity to shoot a theatrical company visiting my local theatre. Although I used the OMD for most of the shoot, the pictures I took with the M9 really stood out and added a genuine touch of class to the set.

So the numbers in the title of this piece roughly show the usage for each camera over the last 6 months. The main reason for this has been the wonderful Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux lens which has been almost welded to my OMD for most of that time. Wide open, its has excellent sharpness and micro-contrast and a tiny bit of CA which lightroom disposes of in a click of the mouse. Okay, you don’t get the same level of subject isolation as you would with the 50 lux on an M9, but it’s still a dreamy looking result with a sweet bokeh. I’d say the pictures look just like my 35mm lux ones on an M9, but with a 50mm perspective.

As a system camera for travel photography the OMD has to be the best I’ve used so far. I won’t go over the same ground you and so many others have already covered but its a joy to use. As for the M9, its still the daddy with a great sensor and the best glass on the planet. When you want special results and you have the time, the pictures it makes are quite unique! So I’ll continue to pack it in my bag wherever I go. Hopefully one day there might be a full frame Leica M body with a great EVF and a rangefinder.

The other thing that has changed over the past year is my growing interest in black and white photography. So I’ve been finishing a lot of my work off in Silver Efex Pro 2. I’m afraid I won’t be in the market for an MM though as I love the flexibility the colour channels give me in processing and I’m more than happy with the resolution the M9 or for that matter the OMD give me.

Here are some of the black and white pictures I’ve shot over the past 8 months with all the cameras mentioned above.

NYC with the NEX5n and the Leica 35mm Summilux

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NYC NEX5n Leica 35mm Summilux

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NYC Leica M9 50mm Summilux

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Galway, Ireland OMD PL25mm

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Dubrovnik, Croatia  OMD PL25mm

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Dubrovnik, Croatia  OMD PL25mm (an Italian tourist, I told him he looked like a bald George Clooney:)

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Dubrovnik, Croatia OMD PL25mm

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Dubrovnik, Croatia  OMD PL25mm (sorry about this one but I think its just ‘the dogs bollocks!’

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Manchique, Portugal OMD PL25

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Rovinj, Croatia OMD PL 25mm

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Galway, Ireland OMD Olympus 75-300mm @85mm 

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Oxfordshire OMD PL25mm

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Rovinj, Croatia Leica M9 50mm Summilux

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Winchester, Leica M9 50mm Summilux

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Winchester Leica M9 50mm Summilux

More can be seen as usual at my website www.buchangrant.com (and click on the ‘Unique’ tab to see my new ‘portraits only’ site)

Thanks again Steve, wish I could join you all on that boat, sounds like a lot of fun, maybe next year!

Kind Regards

Neil

 

Jul 202012
 

Review of the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 on the Sony NEX-5

Introduction:

I recently purchased the Sigma 30mm F/2.8 lens for my NEX-5 since I really was looking for a good prime lens that met my budget range. I wasn’t impressed by Sony’s 16mm lens due to their lens distortion being a turnoff and their 30mm & 50mm lens didn’t really meet my ends. After searching online for lenses, I came across the newly released M 4/3’s lens by Sigma, both in 19mm & 30mm. I decided since there weren’t many options available, I would try one of them which ended up being the 30mm f/2.8 lens

 

Construction:

Its made mostly of plastic so it I wouldn’t expect it to be made of superior quality but it is however nice and comfortable. The lens looks very nice attached to the NEX-5 and it isn’t bulky or heavy at all. It’s very light-weight that does not pose for any problems for anybody who wants to carry this lens attached to the camera all day, especially for street photography which is what I do.

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Optical Quality:

For a lens that is listed around $199 dollars, My fear was that it would not meet my expectations, boy was I wrong. Nearly every photograph I took was sharp even when stopped at F2.8. Clarity is excellent all around and in terms of chromatic aberration, the lens handles it quite nicely to the point where I can’t even spot it on any of the photos I took since purchasing it. From F2.8 all the way to F22, it is still very sharp especially at center range. The auto focus on this lens is very impressive. Almost instantly it focus on a subject and can shoot away with no worries unlike my other Micro 4/3s camera the Olympus E-P2 with the Panasonic 14-42mm zoom lens.

In terms of manual focusing, I find the focus ring on the lens itself to be excellent. Not too loose nor too tough to turn should anybody decide to turn off the autofocus feature inside the NEX-5.

 

What I liked about the Lens:

Excellent Optical Quality

Excellent Sharpness

Good Build Quality

 

What I did not like about the Lens:

Kinda wished that Lens was F2.0 but its really not a big concern

 

Would I recommend it:

For $199, it is DEFINITELY a budget friendly lens with excellent result. If you’re interested in the M4/3’s camera from Sony but not keen on their lens then I would recommend it no question. Granted it isn’t a Leica or Voigtlander or even Zeiss Lens but this is really a solid lens for anybody who is not really set on breaking the bank for lenses.

Esmir “Simon” Kucevic

 

 

Aug 222011
 

The SLR Magic 28 2.8 “E” Mount Lens Review using the Sony NEX-5 and Sony NEX-C3

Yet another lens real world use review using an SLR Magic lens! This is a company that in the last year has brought out some interesting lenses for Micro 4/3 and Sony “E” or NEX mount. I reviewed their fun Toy Lens for M4/3 and their equally fun “SLR MAGIC” lens for the Sony NEX and the reason I enjoyed those lenses so much was due to the fact that they were tiny, light and CHEAP! Plus the results were pretty cool and unique. Recently they sent me their new more serious lens for the Sony NEX mount. A 28mm f/2.8 lens made of metal. This is a manual focus lens and has aperture click stops from 2.8 up to f/22.

I had this lens a while and did not get to use it much but did manage to get a few shots in here and there. I finally have shot this lens enough to give it a fair review so here we go! Keep in mind that this is a real world review. The same type I have done for 2 1/2 years. The images you see here are all snapshots. Images I captured during my use with the lens to test the output and character of the glass. Nothing more, nothing less :)

The SLR Magic 28 2.8 equals about a 42mm on the NEX. A not so fast 2.8 aperture would make this lens seem good for landscape or maybe even portraits but this lens has a unique character just like most SLR Magic offerings. No, this lens will not give you funky swirl or crazy bokeh but it will give you a rendering that is a bit soft when wide open and with softer corners. It is a lower contrast lens as well when shot at 2.8 but when you stop it down, watch out! It sharpens up and the contrast gets a little higher as well. Also, tweaking the image in Photoshop or Lightroom easily fixes and lower contrast issues that may arise.

One unique thing about this lens is that it has a new “Revolver Style” aperture ring which gives you circular bokeh at every aperture. It also helps to cut down on size. SLR Magic also sent me the image below that helps explain the best aperture to use for certain situations.

The Build, The Look, and Feel

This lens is pretty solid. It comes in a box with a metal screw in lens cap and a rear cap. The lens is made of metal and has a good feel about it. It does not seem as “polished” as something that would come from Nikon, Canon or Leica but look at the price. A measley $169 on their E-Bay page. For that price, I can not complain about the build at all, only praise it.

I shot with this lens on a Sony NEX-5 and a Sony NEX-C3. The lens is small enough that it felt good on both cameras. It’s not long and it’s not to heavy. When manually focusing the new peaking feature worked GREAT. I was able to shoot without using the magnification, and 95% of the time the focus was spot on. This is a manual lens folks, so that means no auto focus and no turning the dial on the back to choose aperture.

NEX-5 and the 28 2.8 wide open

The Character of the 28

This lens is NOT going to be a lens that gives you perfect corner to corner sharpness. This lens has a but of unique character and even a little bit of a classic draw. I found it good for people and if you stop it down to f/8, good for landscapes when the lens does sharpen up considerably. I love lenses with character though this lens was not so easy to use when I first started shooting with it on the NEX-5. I had many out of focus shots due to the complications of shooting manual lenses on the NEX system. Once Sony did the focus peaking update, the lens became SO MUCH better and easier to use for me.

On the NEX-5 with the new firmware. Messing with the new color effects…

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Using the NEX-C3 with the 28.28  at ISO 1000 – rich color wide open here but I adjusted contrast in Photoshop. Shot in Vivid mode on the C3.

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Shot during a gloomy “funny” day in Amsterdam on the NEX-5 – 2.8

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CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW FOR A FULL SIZE FILE FROM THE NEX-5 and 28 2.8  – This is wide open and shows the softer corners.

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Low light portrait…wide open

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This shows a hint of the slight dreaminess you can get from this lens…

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…and by f/8 it sharpens up considerably. The next two are JPEGs from the NEX-C3,  f/8

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ISO 1600, NEX-C3 – JPEG – f/2.8

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below, f/8 in the full Las Vegas sun

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Wide open at f/2.8 indoors – NEX-C3

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The tree below was shot on the NEX-5 with the 28

The corners are soft when shot at 2.8 but the lens is sharp in the center wide open…see the sample below with 100% crop at 2.8 – MUST click image to see 100% crop


Full Size Samples from wide open to f/11

Some of you may want to see full size samples wide open and stopped down. The following images are all right out of camera JPEGS, saved as a “9” quality in Photoshop. Click on each image to see the full size version.

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So, What do I think of the SLR Magic 28 2.8?

This lens is cheap at $169 (plus shipping). For your cash you get an all metal manual lens made for your SONY NEX camera. Shipping from SLR Magic is quick, and they are a great company when it comes to customer service. I have had several lenses shipped to me from SLR Magic and never had one issue. Well, that is not true. One time they sent me a lens and it never arrived. They sent me a replacement and then right after the original came. They told me to just keep both and give one away. Pretty cool.

This 28 2.8 lens is somewhat classic in its rendering when shot wide open and when you stop it down to f/8, forget about it! It sharpens up and gives really great results. When shooting on the NEX-C3 the color seemed better to me over the NEX-5 which seemed duller but that could have been the color mode I shot in as the NEX-5 shots were RAW and the C3 shots are JPEGS.

I had a love/hate with this lens from the get go though. For the first month of shooting I disliked it as I found it a chore to use on the NEX (but I found ALL manual lenses slow and cumbersome on the NEX). I did enjoy the SLR Magic 35 1.7 on the NEX-5 but that lens was made to be imperfect, like a toy lens so missing focus wasn’t such a big deal. But when you use a lens like this, which is a bit more serious, you want your shots IN focus. Not until Sony released the focus peaking feature did I really start to appreciate this lens, and again, at $169 there is NOTHING here to complain about.

My Pros and Cons? Simple really:

PROSPrice of $169, well made, manual aperture ring, rounded aperture, sharp center

CONSA but dull in the color right out of the camera, lower contrast and soft corners until stopped down a bit. 

They even sell a version of it with a Macro adapter on their E-Bay page for $100 more. (which I have but have not used yet. I will update this review with MACRO pics as soon as I get something decent with it)

After spending $899 for an E-P3 and $799 for the 12mm f/2 lens, paying $169 for a lens like this seems like a steal. BUT!!! You must remember what this lens is and is not. It is an ALL MANUAL lens. This means you have to manually focus it. You have to set the Aperture on the lens. These two things are very “Leica Like” but the quality of the lens, and it’s rendering is somewhat classic wide open. It’s one of those dual personality lenses…wide open you get a softer glow at times and stopped down you get plenty of contrast and sharpness. I like it but it is what it is. A great lens for $169. if you like the look of the photos above and do not mind a manual lens, you will probably really enjoy the SLR Magic 28 2.8. At the asking price, it’s worth it! You can buy the SLR Magic 28 2.8 direct at their E-Bay page HERE.

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Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

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Aug 152011
 

ISO WARS: The Olympus E-P3 vs The Sony NEX-5!

When Olympus released the E-P1, the camera suffered from slow AF, poor high ISO performance and it always lost out to the Panasonic M4/3 camera (slightly) and other larger sensor cameras. The E-P2 did nothing to improve upon the high ISO but the AF did get a speed boost and the video control improved. With the new E-P3, Olympus claims better high ISO performance, and if you read my review you would have seen that I loved the AF speed boost, and just about everything else about the camera. But I did not really get into high ISO performance so much and I recieved a few e-mails asking me  to pit it against the Sony NEX-5 at 3200, 6400 and 12,800.

It was just over a year ago when I reviewed the Sony NEX-3 and 5 cameras. At that time, their high ISO capability was unheard of! 12,800 ISO in a small camera like that was a first, and everyone raved about the quality of low light shots, even me!

With its APS-C sized sensor (not quite full frame, but larger than the Micro 4/3 sensor) the Sony was able to do better at high ISO and low light than other small cameras and it competed with larger DSLR’s. The E-P3 is here and still has the 4/3 size sensor of course, so I wanted to see how it would stand  up to the NEX, not only in noise, but in detail. I used the 12mm f/2 lens on the Olympus at f/3.5. On the Sony I shot with the higher end 18-200 at 18mm, f3.5.

I did a quick and dirty test, using the STEADYSHOT  of the 18-200 and the built in IS of the E-P3. I turned OFF the Noise Reduction on the E-P3 as you can. The Sony does not allow you to turn it off but it does let you switch it to “WEAK”, so this is what I did. I wanted to let each camera give the most detail without letting Noise Reduction get in the way and smear it all up. I shot JPEGS as there is still no Lightroom or Photoshop support for the E-P3 RAW files.

The first comparison shot of a couple of books was taken in my living room, at night, with a very dim lamp shining in from my office. Here we go!

FIrst I will show you a couple of resized images from each camera – ISO 3200 and then ISO 12,800. After that I will show you the crops from each at 3200, 6400 and 12,800. You can click on the images for larger 1800 pixel wide versions.

The E-P3 at ISO 3200 – 12mm – f/3.5 – 12mm (24mm)

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Sony NEX-5 – ISO 3200 – f/3.5 – 18mm (28mm)

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Ok, let’s go to ISO 12,800

BELOW: E-P3 at ISO 12,800 – Click image for larger version – scroll down for 100% crops

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NEX-5 at ISO 12,800 – Click image for larger version – scroll down for 100% crops

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CROPS

E-P3 1st, NEX-5 2nd

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ISO 6400

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ISO 12,800

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What happens if you convert the JPEGS to black and white?

First the E-P3 at ISO 12,800 – Click image for larger 

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NEX-5 at ISO 12,800 – Click image for larger

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How about another subject with a little more light. I my Kitchen area…

The E-P3  – ISO 3200 – This time I had it set to F/2 though. MUST CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL 100% CROP VIEW!

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and the NEX – ISO 3200 – MUST CLICK IMAGE FOR FULL 100% CROP VIEW

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and one more…

Oranges

BELOW: E-P3 CROP

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BELOW: NEX-5 CROP

What I see in all of the images is that the Noise Reduction in the NEX is hindering the detail. Also, the Olympus 12mm lens is a sharper lens than the $799 Sony 18-200. I actually prefer the grit and grime of the E-P3 versions over the somewhat dull and mushy NEX versions. Olympus did a good job with the E-P3 and when NR is turned off there is still plenty of detail in the files, even at high ISO. Next test should be against the X100 :)

Also, if you have been on the fence about the 12mm Olympus Lens. I HIGHLY recommend it. It is simply SUPERB. B&H sells it HERE.

HOW ABOUT MORE VIDEO SAMPLES WITH THE E-P3? Even a low light video that is pretty free of grain!

I’m still waiting for the “PRO PEN” with a built in EVF. Also, the rumored Sony NEX-7 with built in EVF should up the stakes yet again. Below are a couple of high ISO shots taken with the E-P3 this evening just to test it out. Enjoy!

ISO 6400 – spot metered on the can – in camera B&W JPEG (not the art filter grainy B&W, but MONOTONE color selection. Click for larger.

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ISO 3200 – NIGHT – OOC JPEG, NO NR, NO PP

ISO 3200, night..f/2 – 12mm


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E-P3 – 12mm,  f/2 – ISO 6400, in camera B&W, NR OFF, evening, no lights on.

HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT’S EASY TO HELP OUT & I CAN USE ALL THE HELP I CAN GET!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Be sure and visit the all new forums on the site HERE.

Apr 202011
 

 

Is the Sony NEX-5 the poor mans Leica M9?

Testing the Noctilux on both!

Many of you have been asking me for a quick test like this, and since I have a Leica M9, Noctilux and Sony NEX-5 on hand I decided to snap a few shots in my backyard to see just how much difference there is between the two cameras, when using the same 50mm Leica lens. I spent yesterday and this morning grabbing some quick shots with the Leica Noctilux ASPH f/0.95 lens on both the M9, and the NEX-5 with Adapter. The big question…Can the NEX-5 give results equal to or even close to the M9 when using the same lens? Many think that yes, it can. Some feel that the NEX can do better and others will say NO WAY, not possible! Others will say “WHO CARES!”.  I would like to personally believe that the M9 would wipe the floor with the NEX-5 using the same glass because let’s face it, those of us with a Leica M9 have paid dearly for it and for some $600 camera to come along to match it would be kind of upsetting to some. Honestly though, It wouldn’t be to me as I love the whole RF shooting experience and the NEX doesn’t even come close to that experience when shooting with it. STILL! I have written quite a bit on the NEX-5 as it has been quite the popular little gizmo due  to the fact that you can use almost any lens on it, when using the correct adapter.

I have seen some lovely shots with the NEX with Canon glass, Leica glass, Zeiss glass, etc. But still, when I look at these shots they all have the Sony NEX “look”. I do not mean this in a bad way, just that the NEX-5 has a certain feel to the images it puts out. The color, and overall smoothness of the file always tells me what was shot with the NEX-5. When I shoot the M9 and nail focus, the files still make my jaw drop to this day. Gorgeous.

So what I wanted to do was take some random test/snapshots with each camera using the $10,495 Leica Noctilux lens. The Sony has a 1.5 crop factor so the 50 will become more like a 75mm. That means that these images will not be exactly the same in regards to the focal length appearance, but hopefully you can get an idea. I have to say that when going over the images I was surprised how well the NEX-5 did, but at the end of the day, the M9 pulled ahead and it is mainly due to the color signature, the lack of an AA filter and the fact that it is using a full frame sensor.

This also made me wonder if there is anyone out there who bought an NEX-5 and a lens like the Noctilux to use with it. IMO, it would be a waste as the NEX sensor can not take full advantage of this masterpiece lens. My money would be on something like a Zeiss 50 Sonnar or 50 Planar if I wanted to shoot M glass on the NEX-5.

Ok, onto the test snaps…

 

The first test snapshot – Just an image of a door handle. Actually, the NEX-5 did great here. It took me approx 3X longer to manually focus the NEX accurately than the M9 but it wasn’t so bad. Just takes some getting used to.

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and now the M9 image. See how it looks a bit more dreamy and with what appears to be more shallow Depth of Field? This is the full frame sensor at work and we see some vignetting of the lens as well. Shot wide open as was the Sony shot above.

What I see in the two shots above is the NEX-5 shot is very sharp and looks like a crop sensor image to me. The M9 image is showing me the classic 50mm focal length and has the Nocti signature where the NEX really didn’t have it. BUT, the $600 camera did quite well I think! Some will probably even prefer the NEX-5 shot here with the more clean rendering. Hmmmm.

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Here I had my friend Mike do a quick pose so I could shoot both cameras. First the NEX-5, pretty much straight out of the camera, converted from RAW…

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and now with the M9. In this set, I much prefer the look of the M9, Just has that Nocti look and glow IMO. Again, straight out of camera RAW conversion.

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NEX-5, shot at f1.4. Testing for color and DOF…CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER

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and now with the M9. Both are very good…which do you prefer the look of, or do you even see a difference?

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More DOF – The NEX-5…

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and the M9 – both shots were at 0.95

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Here is an F2 snap and this one seems neck and neck. If you click the images you will see a larger version with a 100% crop. The NEX-5 seemed to equal the M9 here for detail…

The NEX-5

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and now the M9

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one more..NEX-5

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M9…

So even with these silly test snaps from my yard we can see that the NEX-5 does fairly well when shot in good light against the M9. Still, for me at least, the M9 holds the edge with its full frame sensor and color signature and most of all, the shooting experience. When shooting the Noctilux on the NEX-5 it was sort of a pain due to me having t o magnify the screen, dial in exact focus, then un-magnify the screen so I can compose and then finally take the shot. It’s a lengthy process where you can forget about ANY sort of action shot when shooting like this. Even the M9 is slow when compared to the AF monster DSLR’s BUT I CAN get some action shots with the M and Nocti.

Also, the RAW files seem much more hardy from the M9 meaning I can push them farther before they turn in to a digital mess. The NEX files seem to break apart pretty quickly when pushed to the extremes. With test shots such as these some will say the $600 NEX-5 does just as well as the $7000 M, but in real world shooting I found the M9 to be much better for me and my style of shooting. But with that said, you can’t really argue about the results that the little Sony NEX can pump out. It’s more capable than I previously thought though it is cumbersome  to use with manual lenses. Then again, it all depends on what you are shooting and your personal style. If this little NEX had a full frame sensor I think the results would be pretty damn similar to the M9. So imagine…a pro level NEX with a FF sensor and no AA filter coming in at $1199. Now that would be SWEET.

One more, out of camera JPEG. ISO 1600, B&W.

NEX-5

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M9


In the shots above, both were shot as in camera JPEG, ISO 1600, B&W mode. To my eyes they look pretty similar except for the fact that the M9 is using ALL of the lens. if  you crop the M9 shot, the results would be similar to the NEX-5! Interesting!

Check back in the next day or two as I will be reviewing the Sony 18-200 Lens on the NEX-5. Think I will take a stroll to the Phoenix Zoo today and give the lens a workout. If any of you missed my NEX-5 review, you can take a look at that here. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Steve

 

Apr 122011
 

In Zermatt Switzerland with the Leica M9 and NEX-5

By Steve Huff

WOW. That’s about all I can say right now. In the past 4 weeks I have been all over South America, spent a few days in Mexico City, MX, flew to Cape Town South Africa after sitting in the very cool Terminal 5 in Londons Heathrow Airport for a few hours. Then yesterday I flew in a freaking helicopter to Zermatt Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn Mountain! Yea, like the one at Disneyland but this is the real deal. Being on the road with Seal as tour photographer sure has its perks. Sure, it is exhausting at times, but days like this make it all worthwhile.

When we left Cape Town we were all just BEAT. Jet lagged out of our minds from the previous journey, many of us just dragged our feet at the airport..

Marcus Brown, Seals Bass player. Here he is after a day and a half with no sleep…waiting to board the plane to Geneva from South Africa which ended up being a 15 hour journey.

Once we landed in Geneva it was a three hour van ride to Zermatt for the band and crew but I was lucky enough to hitch a ride in the helicopter with Seal, his manager Ric, and a few others. My 1st time and it was really interesting. It’s an all different experience than flying in an airplane obviously..almost like you are hanging by a wire and being pulled along. I brought along the Leica M9 and 28 Elmarit and the NEX-5 and 16mm lens for the ride.

Getting ready to board…NEX-5 and 16mm

Me and Mike (Security) in the Helicopter…NEX-5 and 16mm

from the window as we flew over the mountains…Leica M9 and 28 Elmarit

Ric, taken with the NEX-5 and 16mm

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Upon landing in Zermatt I headed straight for my room and relaxed a bit with lunch and some TV. I couldn’t call back home as it was still the middle of the night in Arizona so I waited for the rest of the crew to arrive, along with my bags. Once the gang all arrived we headed out for a walk around town for some sightseeing, some beer and some dinner. Everyone seemed to gather at this bar called the “Hexan Bar”. There was a cool vibe going on and we had some beer, pizza and I ordered some of the guys a round of Absinth, which they (almost) made the proper way with water and sugar.

Absinth being prepared – M9 and 35 Cron, ISO 2500

Mark and Marcus hanging out…M9, 35 Cron, F2, ISO 2500

After a few drinks and with our bellies full we all went back to our rooms for some much needed rest. We had a big day ahead of us as a few of us were heading up to the Matterhorn Mountain to take some pictures. Seal went up to Ski but since I never had a pair of skis on in my entire life, I decided to play it safe and just do some sight-seeing.

Left to right – Mike, McBob, Marcus, Sid and Chris with the Matterhorn behind them in the distance. M9 and 50 Noctilux ASPH

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Sid – NEX-5 and 16mm

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Planning out our route…NEX-5 and 16

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On the lift headed for the Mountain, which took just under an hour to get to – NEX-5 and 16mm

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Me and Sid on the lift having a blast. NEX-5 and 16mm

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The little NEX with the 16mm is great for small spaces

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Marcus as we approach the mountain – M9 and 50 Noctilux ASPH

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M9 and 50 Noct…The M9 files look much less digital with more DR (to my eye) than the ones from the NEX.

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and another from the M9 and 50 Noct – WOW…this is what the Nocti was meant for. This was inside the glacier and it was extremely cold and the air was very thin. Some of us had a hard time catching our breath.

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But how would the NEX-5 and 16mm do in the same tunnel? I used the twilight mode which works great in low light and helped bring out the mood and color. Not bad…

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Sid in the Glacier Palace – NEX-5 and 16mm

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Mike in the Glacier Palace – M9 and Nocti ASPH

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We were tired from the walking, the heavy breathing and also pretty hungry so we decided to head back down to the village for some lunch. I snapped a few more shots along the way…

M9 and Noctilux

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M9 and Noctilux

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NEX-5 and 16mm

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Cloud coverage all day so no really great shot of Matterhorn Mountain…M9/Noctilux ASPH

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one more…

So far this little Ski town,  Zermatt, has been awesome but for me very hectic. It seems like I have been on the go since I stepped foot off of the helicopter, but hey, I’m not complaining! I have to see and do as much as I can while I am here because who knows if I will ever be here again, right? Tomorrow night is the show where Seal plays the “Zermatt Unplugged” festival and it should be a great night overall. We all leave to head back home at 4AM the night of the show so I’ll soon be back home in AZ and will probably sleep for two days straight :)

Some of you have e-mailed me asking for me to post a full size file from the M9 and Nocti (even though this combo has been out for quite a while now). Today I snapped a shot from our cable car as we were heading up the mountain and for some reason, my focus issues that I had with the Noctilux were no longer there today! Maybe the cold Swiss air healed the lens, lol. Anyway, below is a full size image, just click on it to open it up in another window. I love the M9 files and the Dynamic Range which beat out the NEX-5 sensor in my experience of real world shooting.

Also, here is a quick shot that I happened to take with each camera. One with the M9 and one with the NEX. I did not do this to make any kind of comparison but rather so I could have one with more compression (M9 and 50) since the 16 was so wide on the NEX. BUT one thing I notice is how much more richer the M9 files look, and hell, they should be since the camera costs 10X as much but I see many people who do not own an M9 and they say the NEX has better Dynamic Range than the M. Well, from everything I have shot with each camera I can easily say the DR of the M9 exceeds that of the NEX. I’m sure someone will come along telling me the numbers say differently, but I go by real world photos.

This shot was in the sun, taken about 20 seconds apart. First one with the NEX-5 and 16…

and as previously posted..the M9 version shot with the Noctilux

These are pretty much straight out of camera shots here. IMO, the NEX shot looks more digital, has more digital color and the highlights are blown in several areas. The M9 shot is smooth, rich, and it was a much more robust file. Yea, the M9 sensor still rocks. Believe me! For those looking for an M9 in stock, Ken Hansen has some in each color – you can email him here. Also, Dale Photo has them as well. B&H Photo, at the time of this writing is sold out of the M9.

Check back in the next couple of days for the Seal show report in Zermatt as well as some new Daily Inspirations and Guest articles!

Steve

 

 

HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT”S EASY TO HELP OUT!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!

Apr 102011
 

Here I am in my hotel winding down my two days in Cape Town South Africa. THIS has been the absolute best stop of the Seal tour over the past month, for me at least. HANDS DOWN! I mean, I could live here and be happy. The weather is gorgeous, the people are friendly and happy, the food is delicious, and the beach…WOW. The beach is incredible. Food and clothes also cost about HALF of what it would cost me back home in the USA. Yes my friends, Cape Town is a place to visit for a week or two, chill out and just unwind.

We only have 2 1/2 days here total so I am making the best of it while I can.

Seal and the guys doing sound check at the private show last night

Seal played a private show here last night so it was a very small group, and a small club style venue and stage. Even though it was a much different vibe it was still a blast! Not only did I meet yet another reader of this blog, who happened to be the paid photographer for the person throwing the party, I also met another awesome photographer who was shooting the whole event. I had a lovely time. After the show me and a couple of the guys went for a late night snack and beer, and the streets were hopping, even at 2AM.

But let me rewind a bit. Earlier in the day, after the guys did their soundcheck, we took a quick walk to the beach and I brought along the Leica M9 (In stock at DALE photo now) and Noctilux f/0.95 ASPH, as well as the Sony NEX-5 and Leica adapter.

The M9 and Noctilux on the Beach

Next 5 shots, the M9 and Nocti/35 Cron combo on the beach in Cape Town – click images for larger and better versions

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The next two shots are from the M9 and 35 Summicron


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and back to the Nocti…

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THE NEX-5 with Leica Glass…

We all know how good the Leica M9 and Nocti combo is, but how about the little NEX-5? I did not shoot it too much last night but did manage a few shots. I prefer shooting my M as that is what I am so used to, but the NEX-5, at $699, did a decent job. It will not..and I repeat, WILL NOT beat or even challenge an M9 file (I tried really hard) for sharpness, detail and snap but at 1/10th the cost of an M9, and being able to use Leica lenses on it, the NEX-5 is actually a tiny little masterpiece of a camera. The color can be gorgeous…

The next three images were all with the NEX-5 and Noctilux ASPH

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SHOWTIME with the NEX and the M9

The show last night was intimate, personal and was also a private show for a great guy who has been a HUGE Seal fan since day one. The crowd was small but everyone had a great time. I mostly shot the M9 and Nocti as this gig was low lights. No huge stage or elaborate lighting setup so I had to go with what worked, and the Nocti just works!

I did take a few with the NEX-5 and Leica 50 Summicron and I really like the results. One thing to note…I shot the M9 and Nocti combo at ISO 2500 in B&W JPEG mode. What you see here are all OOC JPEGS that I tinted with a Sepia tone. ISO 2500, low light…where is the noise?

My goal for the night was to capture the energy, emotion, excitement, sweat, grit, and passion of the show. As I already mentioned, there were two other photographers there and I am excited to see some of their images as I always love seeing how others “see” through the lens.

Hope you enjoy the shots.

First, the M9 images from the show…

The M9 and Nocti ASPH wide open…

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I always love the way the Noctilux renders every little detail.

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Even though this was a small private show, the guys took this on with full energy

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Sid tearing up the drums…

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Probably my fave shot of the night. I went behind the drums to get this one.

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Gus on guitar…

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Always love taking shots of the crowd. This is a direct OOC, JPEG. Again, as with ALL of the others, ISO 2500.

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This one was underexposed and I brought it out which is why there is noise in this one. With the M9, even in  VERY low light, if you expose properly you will get a semi clean file even at max ISO. Underexpose though, and you are in trouble. Even so, I LOVE this shot!

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One thing I learned from shooting Leica at live performances. You do NOT always have to be up close to get a nice performance shot! If I had a SLR and Zoom I would have been trying to zoom in here. Nope, just me and a 50 is all I need to cover a full show. Bringing the audience and surroundings in to the image gives the viewer a better sense of what it was like to be there.

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Audience Participation is always fun…

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Mark Summerlin was rocking last night…

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The friendliest, most cheerful guy I know…Steve (Sid) always has a blast when he plays..here he hams it up for me while playing.

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A happy fan snaps a shot of Seal…

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After the show Seal always meets with the fans.

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Some NEX-5 Shots with the Leica Summicron 50, all at f2

Ok, so some of you asked for me to shoot the NEX, with Leica glass at a Seal show. I admit, I BARELY used it and of the 20-30 shots I took, I really only liked 2-3. Here they are…

The NEX does great at high ISO as well though the files are not nearly as “Robust” as the M9 files. Also, these did not look nearly as good in B&W as the ones from the M9. Why is that?

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The rich color from the NEX-5 even at ISO 1600

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Focus was hit or miss with the all manual Leica lens. Using the LCD magnification would have solved that but man, it’s a slow process during a live performance that would lead to many missed shots. I can focus 5X as fast (and with 98% accuracy) with the M9 as I can manually with the NEX/Leica combo. Also, with the NEX sensor, there seems to be less “WOW” than with the M9 sensor…

Thoughts on the NEX-5 and Leica combo

The NEX and Leica combo can give better color and image quality over the two Kit lenses that Sony offer BUT spending the big bucks on Leica glass for your NEX will not get you into Leica territory when it comes to flat out IQ. It’s slower to focus than an M, has less sharp and dynamic files than an M, and in all honesty, the M9 does just as good as ISO 2500 as the NEX does in the same range. Still, for $600 the NEX is a little powerhouse that is one of the coolest buys at the moment (still) for those not wanting the bulk of a DSLR and for those who do not want to spend the big bucks on Leica.

Still, I can’t see myself going out with the NEX and Leica glass when I own an M9. If I did not own an M9, I do not think I would spend $2-$3000 on a Leica lens to use with my NEX camera. I’d probably go for a Zeiss 50 Sonnar in the $1000 range instead.

I’ve written several times about this little NEX but I still enjoy it. Also, don’t forget J-Tec! They offer some unique accessories for your NEX and they are a site sponsor!

Where to next?

We are leaving Cape Town in a few hours and heading to Switzerland for 3-4 days before heading home. I will try to shoot the NEX more with the Noctilux in the next few days. Also, the Matterhorn mountain is calling my name..should be fun. Stay tuned!

Steve

HELP ME TO KEEP THIS SITE GOING AND GROWING!! IT”S EASY TO HELP OUT!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new

 

Feb 212011
 

More fun shots with the Sony NEX-5

It was a slow weekend for the site huh? No posts Saturday or Sunday which is unusual for me but hey, it’s allowed sometimes.

Yep, I took a 36 hour “leave” from the site as I was driving west with camera in hand. I was in Los Angeles attending a birthday party of a close friend and for the trip I decided to only bring one camera with me and it was not even a Leica! Yea, call me crazy and insane, but I am in a mood lately where I just want to have fun with my photography so I brought along a small camera to serve as a serious point and shoot :) Not that I do not have fun with Leica cameras, quite the opposite, but for this trip I wanted small, light, and no muss or fuss. Besides, I would just be shooting for fun and it would give me a great chance to try out the Sony for some street shooting again.

I wanted to bring along a camera that would be light, quick, take good video AND give me decent image quality. I was browsing old articles on the site on Friday and many of the Sony NEX-5 posts made me pick up this little camera once again and take it out for some fun in the California sun. There is just something about this little NEX system and it also seems to be gaining in popularity. I keep coming back to it just like I do the Olympus E-P2.

“A Break For The King”

I blew the dust off and decided that the little NEX and somewhat mediocre 16mm lens would be my only companion for the overnight trip. Last weekend I shot the Olympus E-P2 and 14mm at the Renaissance Fair and enjoyed it for its sharp contrasty images with nice color that popped. This weekend I decided to give the NEX-5 some love so around my neck it went, and stayed.

I shot maybe 20 images all weekend as I was too busy enjoying myself, shopping, meeting up with friends and all kinds of other fun stuff. Still, the little NEX-5 proved itself again and again. Sure, the 16mm lens is soft wide open, has soft corners and distorts worse than Joan Rivers face…BUT the easy going style of which you can shoot the NEX-5 is very nice when walking the street. I actually saw 3-4 people with NEX cameras (mostly NEX-3 cameras) taking street shots and I was only on the street for about an hour! NEX mania seems to be hitting hobbyists everywhere it seems. Even J-Tec, a site sponsor makes cool products for the NEX cameras (with more cool stuff on the way I am told).

BTW, ALL images you see in this post were shot with the NEX-5 and 16.

I did review the NEX-5 HERE a while ago, as well as talked about the 16mm lens HERE as I shot it at ISO6400 on the NEX-5 and came away with some cool results. As I walked down Hollywood Boulevard yesterday I just fired away some quick snaps which is easy to do with the 16 as it is so wide! With the APS-C sensor in the NEX-5, the 16mm becomes a 24mm Equivalent 2.8 lens, so it is pretty wide allowing those who use it to get more of the good stuff in the shot.

“Spielberg admiring the NEX?” Lol..

I was finding that even my snapshots were looking pretty fun and I started to realize that I am becoming more and more used  to shooting wide angle. I’m liking it because I am enjoying shooting and getting more of the environment of which I am shooting into the photo. I also have the 18-55 zoom with the NEX but I have to say that the little Sony and the 16mm make for a great take anywhere and shoot system.

This next image was shot “from the hip”. It’s not a perfect image but I love the boys facial expression and his “lucky shirt”. Fun :) I also enjoyed converting these into black & white. Once again I used Alien Skin Exposure 3 which is my fave B&W conversion software these days.

Love the look on this kids face PLUS he is wearing his Lucky Shirt!

I’ve had some questions over the past 3 months or so from many of you asking advice for a “first” serious camera under $1000. Some of you ask if Micro 4/3 is the way to go. Others ask about the NEX or Alpha DSLRs. All I can say is that choosing a camera is all about personal preference and choice. The NEX-5 has crazy high ISO ability for its size and will always beat Micro 4/3 for ISO noise and Dynamic Range, but as of this writing the NEX lenses kind of SUCK for serious photography. Probably why I use it for fun snapshots like  you see here.

I do know that new lenses will be coming out and there will be Zeiss lenses coming in the near future. Once this happens I think the NEX-5 will go up to a whole new level IQ wise as I have seen some great stuff from it with Leica glass. Imagine the Zeiss 3D pop and warm colors in an Auto focus NEX mount lens. Wow.

Until then, my NEX will be fitted with the 16mm for those days where I want a light, swivel LCD –  fast camera to take along. Besides, it is great as is for those gritty B&W street shots many of  us like so much.

“From The Hip”

All of these small body/big sensor cameras are starting to get pretty popular, and for good reason! They offer almost everything a mid range DSLR offers but in a TINY package. The NEX-5, Ricoh GXR and Leica X1 are all small and all offer superb image quality with the X1 besting them all in overall IQ, but the NEX-5 and GXR are right behind the mighty $2000 X1 as they all share the same sensor size. Micro 4/3 has more limitations in the Dynamic Range and high ISO dept. because their image sensors are quite a bit smaller than an APS-C size sensors but honestly, after shooting ALL of these cameras, any of them..and I mean any of them can create wonderful photos for you.

Do I have a favorite? Not really as I truly do enjoy them all. The X1 is beautiful with flat out image quality that beats ALL compacts big and small but damn, the thing is so slow that for street shooting it is VERY hard to use. I’m really hoping that Leica has indeed sped up the AF with the X1. The new firmware is supposed to drop in March so we shall see soon enough. If Leica can get the AF speed up to NEX-5 or Olympus E-P2 levels I would easily say the X1 is king. Due to its sluggish AF I find it more enjoyable to shoot with the other cameras these days but if shooting stationary object, the X1 would be my choice in a smaller body camera. Other than that I always seem to reach for Micro 4/3 or the Sony NEX for my small camera needs.

“The King Has Risen”

or has he?…

The pictures here are just snapshots really but I had great fun just snapping away with the NEX as my experience was different than the E-P2 and EVF from last week and also different from shooting a Leica or a small sensor Ricoh GRDIII. It’s funny because I find myself shooting in a different style when I shoot the NEX-5 due to it’s swivel LCD. It’s a bit more versatile and so easy to hold with my thumb at the shutter button while I hold out the camera in front of me, usually holding it lower rather than higher up.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some photos from it that I shot this weekend as well as let everyone know that I still thoroughly enjoy this little Sony camera. I find it was one of the most unique and important camera releases of last year due to its design, style, quality, features and future potential. I can hardly wait to see what Sony does in 2011 and 2012 for it’s NEX line. A pro body would be cool as well as those sweet promised Zeiss lenses. More for us photo nuts to wait for and drool over :) BTW, I bought my NEX-5 from B&H Photo.

I will have some cool posts this week and yes I am still waiting for a Fuji X100 to be sent my way. Someone emailed me and said I should do a showdown between the X100 and Leica X1 in Tombstone AZ so that is what I plan to do as soon as I get the X100. I can’t wait!

In any case, I am back home from the trip and it’s 1:17am. I have to get some sleep. I will leave you with a few more shots, even a couple in Color.

P.S. – I may be planning my next Meet Up for Los Angeles, and soon. Stay tuned!

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Dec 272010
 

The Leica M8 vs The Sony NEX-5 with the Leica 50 Summarit Lens

Happy Monday to all, and again, Happy Holidays! Today I decided to do a quick comparison between two cameras that are still pretty hot. The Leica M8 and the Sony NEX-5. Many say the NEX-5 is a better buy than the older M8 because with the Sony you can use an Adapter to mount Leica M lenses and from what I have been hearing, many are saying that this yields better results than using the Leica M8. First off, shooting these cameras will bring you two TOTALLY different experiences. With the M8 I can shoot MUCH faster and with superb precision over the NEX-5 with the same lens via an adapter. The M8 is a rangefinder and the NEX-5 as we all know, is NOT.

I also know there have been articles here and there about the NEX-5 with Leica glass, but this time I wanted to see the NEX go head to head against the M8 in regards to image quality using the same lens.

So this comparison is only about image quality. Is the NEX-5 capable of better image quality than the M8? It does have more megapixels at 14 vs 10. It does have better high ISO performance as well but the M8 has the advantage (or so it seems) because it does not have an AA filter, so we should get more detail from an M8 shot than a NEX-5 shot with the same glass, right? Or is it ALL BOUT THE GLASS?

I wanted to find out! So thanks to SLR Magic who sent me their very well made Leica M to Sony NEX Adapter, I was able to try yet another Leica lens on my NEX-5. Also, thanks to Leica Dealer Ken Hansen I was able to shoot the M8 along with the 50 and 90 Summarit lenses. He sent them to me to try out for a while since I never reviewed the 50 or 90 Summarits lenses, so that was VERY cool of him! Ken seems to always have used M8’s in stock as well as the Summarit lenses, and he always has amazing service and prices. If you are looking for any new or used Leica, send him an email at [email protected] and he will get back with you pretty fast.

OK! On to the pics!

First, a straight comparison. These two images are full size files out of the camera from RAW. No PP involved. What do you see between the two?

First up, The M8 file…click on the image for the full size version – 50 Summarit at F4

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now the file from the NEX-5 and 50 Summarit at F/4

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In the images above it seems the NEX-5 edges are TEENY BIT softer than the M8 (when viewing the full size image at 100%) but the NEX-5 is still pretty detailed and sharp. This is not meant to be a good picture, just a test shot. Plus, it was mid day and the AZ sun is pretty hard. Still we can see the same image shot with each camera and the same lens.

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Here is one more comparison between the two using the same 50 Summitar lens. In this one, the M8 file seems much sharper when viewing the full size file. Each camera has the 50 Summarit mounted and I shot these at f2/5

First the M8 file…

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and the NEX-5 file…

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In this one the M8 file is sharper and more vibrant with much more detail. This was all it took for me to see that the M8 is superior in regards to detail and even color. Also, the shooting experience for me was funner and faster with the M8. You do lose the high ISO capability, you lose the size advantage as the NEX is tiny, and you lose all of the whiz bang features of the NEX. Also, you would lose some cash. A used M8 is usually around $2200-$2600. Add the Summarit lens and you are at about $3600-$3800. The NEX-5 is $649 with a 16mm lens. Add adapter and lens and you would be at $2200 total. Still a load of cash huh?

One more quick “for fun” comparison…

First is from the Leica M8 with 50 Summitar at F/2

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Now the NEX-5 with 50 Summarit at F/2.5

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I did not add the M9 to this test because I usually see people comparing the NEX-5 to the M8. Yes the NEX can use Leica glass and YES it can provide awesome results, but the old M8 still stands above it just a bit for flat out IQ IMO. The NEX-5 and Leica glass combo is still pretty sweet though and the 50 Summarit lens is great on the camera. This is Leicas cheapest lens (that you can buy new) at about $1400 and it is a great little 50. It reminds me a little of the 50 Summicron but with a more modern signature. I still have not found a Leica lens I did not love :)

Below are a few more snapshots from both cameras.

NEX-5 – 50 Summarit – F/2.5

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NEX-5 – 50 Summarit – F/2.5

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Leica M8

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Leica M8 at ISO 1250

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Leica M8 and 50

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Both camera combos offer great IQ and the Sony color can be very rich and deep when using Leica glass. But for me, the shooting experience goes to the Leica M8 and the overall versatility goes to the NEX combo. I like ‘em both!

Again, thanks to Ken Hansen for sending me the M8 and lenses to try out for this test. I believe this used M8 that he sent me is for sale and it’s in perfect condition, box and all. If interested email him at [email protected] and ask him about the M8 I have right now. Ken is a great guy and he doesn’t pay me to mention him.

PLEASE HELP TO SUPPORT THIS SITE TO KEEP IT GOING AND GROWING! I CAN’T DO IT ALONE!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or facebook! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!

Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Dec 202010
 

From Steve: Yet another cool Guest contribution! I have been down and out the last two days (sick) so these guest articles have been a huge help. By the end of the week I should have my Pentax K5 review up so stay tuned! Enjoy!

Using The Sony NEX-5 with Leica Lenses

By Paul Barclay

I have been following this site daily for the last several months and decided to buy the Sony NEX-5 camera with 16mm kit lens based on Steve’s Arizona State Fair photos and the links to other images made using Leica lenses. Once I received both the camera and lens adapter, and had the battery charged, I set off to a boat dock near where I work to make a few images to see how things work and possibly get an image worthy of a daily inspiration. I knew going in that the Sony lens was not the sharpest, but I was not prepared for the disappointing results I got from my Zeiss and Leica lenses.

IMAGE #1 – Sony NEX-5 and the Zeiss 25 ZM Leica Mount lens

Image #2 – Sony NEX-5 and the Zeiss 25 ZM Leica Mount lens

Image #1 is one of these images and as you can see it is a little soft. I went back the next day because the light was better and I would have more time to put into focusing the camera. Looking at the second set of images, some of them were better but not all. Image #2 was also taken using my Zeiss 25mm f2.8 ZM lens. The first impression of this image is it is better than the images from the previous day, but when enlarged to 100% it is not as good as hoped for from a Zeiss lens. Because of these results I decided it was time to go into the studio (a.k.a. garage) and make the dreaded test target shots to try to find out what is going on. I won’t bore everyone with these images, but I did learn some things that may be helpful to anyone interested in a Sony NEX-5 camera with lenses from other manufacturers.

First, the tables below show that my Rainbow NEX-Leica lens adapter does not position all lenses at the correct position in front of the sensor. In my test shots I set the camera on a tripod at a fixed distance from the test target, measured the distance from the front lens element to the target then focused optically using the focus assist; I focused the Sony lens both using the camera and manually. For lenses with an actual focal length 50mm and wider it is necessary to focus closer than the actual distance to the subject, and this adjustment increases significantly as the lens gets wider. For lenses longer than 50mm the adjustment would be to focus farther than the actual distance, but this adjustment is so small it won’t be worth the effort. Since estimating the distance to a real subject won’t be that precise. It may be that the adaptor manufacturer decided that the ideal lens for most users is a 50mm lens or longer, or there may be some variation in the camera and adapter mounting distances working together. So it will be worthwhile for a wide-angle user to test their lenses on their camera to learn what adjustments are needed for their camera and adapter combination.

Image #3 showing the base of the Sony NEX-5

Image #4 – The Size of the Tripod Mount

Since I generally want to maximize image sharpness and I also use large format equipment, I prefer to use a tripod for most of my photography. Unfortunately, as image #3 shows, the base of the NEX-5 is not flat. It is “V” shaped where the lens mount meets the base with the portion holding the tripod socket extending below the rest of the base by about 1/8 inch. Due to how narrow the base is this gives us a flat surface to rest the camera on a tripod about the size of a dime. (image #4) Which means that if the camera is on a tripod it will be very easy to rotate the camera and change your image composition and not notice it. It also means that the camera can be very prone to vibrations from shutter bounce, which is possible since this camera is very lightweight and does have a noticeable “bump” when the shutter closes, opens, and closes again during an exposure. In this case I think it might be desirable to use the camera hand held unless a dedicated adapter plate is available from one of the specialty manufacturers. Even with a dedicated adapter plate it will probably be desirable to keep both hands on the camera body to dampen the vibrations.

Manual focus is a challenge with 50-year old eyes and wide-angle lenses, even on a tripod. This is caused by the low magnification from the lenses and the small size of the rear LCD screen. Add in bright light and the value of an LCD shade or accessory viewfinder (either an electronic finder or a finder that uses the rear LCD) becomes apparent. As expected, manual focus gets easier with longer lenses since magnification is increased. Now that I have a bit more practice, manual focus is almost easy provided that you can see the screen, your subject has a pattern that is easy to see, and you hold the camera steady enough. I have found it easier to hold the lens with my left hand over the top and my thumb under the lens, on the focus aid if the lens has one. This gets my left arm out of the way of the back of the camera and lets me hold the camera out far enough to see with my glasses. In addition, this lets you use your left hand to support the weight of the camera and focus using the camera’s first manual focus assist feature. When you have achieved focus, pressing the shutter release half way will reset the screen to normal so you can adjust the composition before making your exposure. So far, trying to use the exit button just causes me to move the camera and shift the focus on the lens. So doing anything to reduce your hand motions is a good thing.

Finally, there is good news to share from these experiences. First the Sony 16mm lens is better than it is given credit for. Its optical focus limit is probably close to 10-12 Ft, and the test images looked pretty good up to 50% enlargement; at 100% the lens is still a little soft. Though I do get better results viewing J-Peg images on a PC using the Windows viewer or using iPhoto09 on a Mac, rather than using the Sony software on a Mac; Capture One does not convert the NEX raw files yet. Second, as the remaining images show, using Leica, Zeiss, and Voightlander lenses will provide very good results once you have a chance to practice your focus and distance estimating techniques. Even when used handheld at ISO 800, which includes many of the images shown here.

Leica 35 Summicron and the NEX-5

Leica 35 Summicron and the NEX-5

Leica 50 Summilux Pre-ASPH and the NEX-5

Leica 135 f/3.4 and the Sony NEX-5

So, in conclusion, the NEX-5 is a worthy experiment at this time. But it will need some aftermarket accessories to be a worthy user with non-Sony lenses. Also, while I did try using this camera with my 90mm and 135 mm lenses on a tripod, their size and weight suggests that the camera mount may not hold up to much use with these lenses. So, using long lenses with an integral tripod collar, or making sure the lens adapter is supported by the tripod quick release plate is a good idea. If using these lenses handheld, using the lens to support the camera body will be necessary.

Paul Barclay

From Steve – Thanks Paul! For those that are interested there is a 3rd party tripod mount for the NEX-5 sold by one of our sponsors over at J-TEC online! Be sure to check it out.

Nov 292010
 

THIS IS NOT MY RICOH GXR REVIEW! It will be up THIS WEEK!

The Sony NEX-5 vs the Ricoh GXR

I am currently shooting with the Ricoh GXR along with the 28 and 50mm modules and have been finding out the strengths and quirks of the unique GXR. My full detailed review will be coming this week but until then I thought it would be fun to take some comparison shots with the GXR and SONY NEX-5. On the GXR I mounted the 28mm module and the Sony was equipped with the 16mm, which is a pretty cool lens.

This is a image quality only comparison as body wise, these two cameras are very different. The Ricoh has buttons, dials and controls with a very rich user interface. The Sony has a couple of buttons but all in all, it’s a bit different shooting it over the GXR. The Sony is shorter but not that much smaller. For those who have not seen my Sony NEX-5 Review you can see that HERE. The little NEX is a versatile powerhouse with its tilt LCD, it’s superb HD Video capabilities, its ability to mount Leica glass with an adapter AND it’s amazing high ISO performance. The Ricoh has its solid feel and build, its superb user interface and the image quality is stellar as is the auto white balance and color. BUT… it is lacking a tilt screen and decent video capabilities.

The Ricoh is all about the lens/sensor modules though. With its ability to swap out lenses with the sensors it has a lot going for it but many potential buyers are a bit nervous to invest in such a camera. I’ll have all of my thoughts in my full review next week with tons of images, tests, and commentary.

For now, let us get to the comparison shots! I just went out today to enjoy the nice day and snapped some of the same scenes with each camera, using the same aperture and ISO on each. To see the full size out of camera images from each just click on the image itself below. You can then see the full size untouched file from each.

Many will say “Why do this comparison? The Sony lens is known for being soft in the corners”. This is true…but I love doing these type of things AND I get emails all the time asking for more comparisons! Also remember, the 16mm becomes a 24mm on the NEX and the Ricohs 18mm becomes a 28mm. Close enough. Besides, I was curious to see how the Ricoh would stand up to the Sony because I really enjoy the NEX-5.

I set each camera to Aperture Priority mode, the same ISO setting and I let the camera choose the exposure. The images are untouched with no Post Processing.

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First image in each group will be from the Ricoh GXR and 18mm (28mm) A12 Module. The second will be with the Sony NEX-5 and 16mm (24mm equiv) Lens

ABOVE: RICOH GXR and 18mm (28mm equiv) at f/8. Click the image to see the full size file from RAW. Untouched, no adjustments.

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ABOVE: SONY NEX-5 and 16mm (24mm equiv) at f/8. Click the image to see the full size from RAW. Untouched, no adjustments.

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Ok, so here is another…1st is the Ricoh, 2nd is the Sony

ABOVE: Ricoh GXR and 18mm (28mm equiv) at f/5.6. Click the image to see the full size from RAW. Untouched.

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ABOVE: Sony NEX-5 and 16mm (24mm equiv) at f/5.6. Click the image to see the full size from RAW. Untouched.

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Here is an out of camera JPEG, untouched. AWB was used on both cameras. Seems like the Ricoh is warmer, the Sony is cooler.

ABOVE: The Ricoh GXR and 18mm (28mm Equiv) at f/5.6 – Out of camera JPEG – Click image for full size

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ABOVE: The Sony NEX-5 and 16mm (24mm Equiv) at f/5.6 – Out of camera JPEG – Click image for full size

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now, each camera set to f/2.8

ABOVE: The Ricoh GXR and 28 at f/2.8 – click image for full size file

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ABOVE: Sony NEX-5 with 16mm at f/2.8 – Click image for full size file

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ISO 3200 Low Light – STRAIGHT FROM CAMERA IMAGES – CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER WITH 100% CROP

1st, the Ricoh and 28 at 2.8 – ISO 3200

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Now, the NEX-5 – 16mm at f/2.8  – ISO 3200

The above comparison? RICOH wins all the way. I much prefer the richness of the color and even the noise and the way the camera exposed the shot. You can also see the superiority of the 28mm Lens on the GXR.

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and one more…just for giggles. I could not get the NEX to focus on the glasses for some reason. Out of 5 shots, this was as close as it got BUT here you can see the richness of the tone and color of the GXR file. This one is NOT scientific at all. Different aperture, and focus was off on the NEX but I liked the color of the Ricoh shot here.

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So what do you guys think? These were just plain and boring snapshots to test color, white balance, sharpness and detail between these two cameras. Like I stated earlier, these two cameras are quite different. The Sony can be had for $649 with the 16mm lens, and the GRX comes in at about $1100 with one Lens module.

In my full GXR review coming this week, there will be many many real world samples and also my opinion on what makes this camera strong and unique among the smaller camera market. For example? GXR or X1? Similar sensors but the Ricoh can be had with both the 28 and 50 for less than the X1. I’ll go over which I like better in my review in regards to the GXR, Sony NEX, Leica X1 and Micro 4/3! I’ll also have full size nigh time ISO 3200 image downloads and the flaws and weaknesses of this one of a kind camera. Stay tuned.

BTW, I bought my GXR from Amazon and it appears they only have two bodies left in stock and the 50 is also in stock through Adorama on Amazon. The 28 module is only available for Pre-Order.

A COUPLE OF PROCESSED SAMPLES FROM THE GXR

Here are three processed samples from the GXR and the 28…many more in the upcoming review! Click the images for LARGE size and better quality…when shooting RAW, you can get some nice, rich files from this camera…

ABOVE: The GRX with 28mm at 2.5

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ABOVE: The GRX and 28 at f/8

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ABOVE: The GRX and the 50 2.5 – 1/30s – ISO 1600 (missed focus on eye – instead focus was on eyelash)

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I NEED YOUR HELP! YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT THIS SITE TO KEEP IT GOING AND GROWING!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or facebook! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader! Also, the new forums are NOW OPEN on this site so get involved if you like! Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Nov 062010
 

More Sony NEX! This will be my third article on the past week on this little camera, but I have been enjoying it more than ever lately. So here is more, especially for those who e-mailed asking for more!

The other day I posted some samples with the NEX-5 at ISO 6400 at the state fair. Tonight I wanted to post more at high ISO with this camera as it is being used in real world scenarios. I was on the light rail in Phoenix last night and grabbed a few snap shots from my seat. The cool part? No one even realized I was taking photos. The NEX-5 is so discreet with the 16mm lens that it’s easy to grab shots. Anyway, this is for those who e-mailed me asking me for more high ISO. I even added one at 12,800 for kicks. This site has always been about the passion of taking photos. The NEX-5 is another camera that I feel brings the passion to photography.

ALL photos below: ISO 6400, 16mm at 5.6 and converted to B&W with Alien Skin Exposure 3 – click any image for a larger version

and I decided to get wild and crazy and try ISO 12,800…

The NEX-5 allowed me to get these images without being noticed, allowed me to shoot ISO 6400 and get usable results and is super lightweight. All for $649 WITH 16MM lens. This is a HUGE bang for the buck camera when you think about everything that it does for so little.

UPDATE: As requested by Elaine in the comments section here is an out of camera (from RAW) shot in color, again, this is ISO 640o. Click image for full size file. I saved it as a level 10 JPEG in Photoshop so it is 6.9MB

and a few more I found at 6400 while on our way to get  to the Light Rail…

HELP SUPPORT THIS SITE TO KEEP IT GOING AND GROWING!

Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page or talk about it in the forums HERE where you can talk about all kinds of cool photography related subjects. Also be sure to join me on twitter or facebook! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!  Thanks so much for visiting my site!

Nov 052010
 

Just snapped off some random images today with the SONY NEX-5 and the Leica 50 Summitar attached (using an adapter). Lovely combo! It doesn’t focus close, just like when its on an M8 or M9, BUT it can provide some nice looking files on the NEX. I will have a big write up soon on various M lenses on the NEX-5 but until then, here is a mish mosh of images taken with the combo this morning…

BELOW: and a 100% crop from the palm tree shot above – shot at f5.6

Nov 032010
 

Wow what a day! After taking a bunch of heat for posting the article earlier by David Babsky I decided to get out of the house and hit the AZ State Fair again! This time with two Sony powerhouse cameras…the A33 and the NEX-5.

So away I went with my buddy Mike.  I had  the 16mm on the NEX-5 and shot at the State Fair with both cameras. Upon coming back and viewing my shots, I found that I shot quite a few at ISO 6400 on the NEX 5 and that they looked pretty damn good for night shots at ISO 6400! I am really starting to get back into the NEX-5 and feel that after Sony released the latest firmware update it has improved the usability. I now have the lower button set up to change ISO and it works out great.

I will be writing more soon on the NEX 5 as I will be shooting some Leica glass with it. From everything I have seen, once this camera gets some good glass on it then it does VERY well. But for tonight at the fair, I was really digging the high ISO capabilities with the NEX-5! SO much so, I am starting a new series..”Life at ISO 6400″ with all images shot at 6400!

For now, here are a few at high ISO and then some at various lower ISO’s from tonight. All with the NEX 5 and 16mm. If anyone out there has been thinking of this camera, I am more enthused about it than ever due to the endless lenses you can mount to it via adapters. My next NEX article will go in to it more but after seeing the new GF-2 by Panasonic (and feeling slightly let down by the specs) I think the NEX is the better buy just due to versatility and future possibilities.

You can buy the NEX-5 at B&H Photo as they now have the 16mm kit back in stock…Enjoy!

ISO 6400 – Click the image for 1500 pixel wide version

ISO 6400 – Click the image for 1500 pixel wide version

ISO 6400 – Click the image for 1500 Pixel wide version

ISO 6400 – Click the image for 1500 pixel wide version

ISO 6400 – Click the image for 1500 pixel wide version

The camera also does very well at lower ISO’s (of course). In case you are wondering, all of these images were run through the kodachrome slide filter in Alien Skin Exposure. Love that plug in! Other than that, no NR outside of what the camera may have done. Here are some at lower various ISOs…MAN, I love  the look of these files, especially for the low light. I am working on a “My Fave Cams of 2010″ and I think the NEX-5 may have creeped up into my list….BTW, if you click on any image below you can see the larger versions and the EXIF should be intact.

It’s funny because after processing these I took a look through my old folders and found some Canon 5D images from the state fair many years ago. The images from the NEX 5 blow away the quality of the images I took with the 5D and 50 1.4 back then in color, ISO noise and feel. SO much technology in this little NEX. The User Interface is not the best and was my biggest complaint in my review for this camera (can be seen HERE) but it grows on you. Anyway, just giving the NEX 5 some love tonight :) If you shoot a NEX camera or are thinking about it, you can post in the new Sony forum here on this site!

For those who emailed me asking about the A33, I am still working on that review. I did get some VERY cool video tonight with it. The A33 seems to give me the same IQ as the NEX-5 but oddly, the ISO seems a little better on the NEX but more testing needs to be done for me to really see if that is the case. But the A33 review should be up VERY soon!

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