I’m traveling again! Some shots from the road with the M9 and NEX-5n!

I’m traveling again! Some shots from the road with the M9 and NEX-5n!

Earlier in the week on Tuesday I left Phoenix, AZ for Chicago and met up with Bradley Graupner who is helping me set up the Chicago workshop on Sep 24th. I was able to meet with him and tour the space as well as check out where we will all be having morning coffee at Intelligentsia, and it was fantastic! If you want to get in on the Chicago workshop there is still 1-2 spaces left. Bradley also routed out a cool photo walk that takes us through some cool spots for not only street photography but scenic stuff as well. The day will be jam packed, guaranteed.

On Wednesday I left downtown Chicago and headed to visit my sister and my nephew who lived about 45 minutes away. It was hectic as always at her house but it was nice to visit. I shot a few frames of my nephew and his freinds with the NEX-5n and kit zoom.

Next three shots, My nephew Jack and friends with the 5n and 18-55

once again, the 18-55 kit zoom in action on the 5n. This baby was so cute and only smiled when I pointed the camera at her. When I moved it away she cried!

As most of you know, I am not a fan of zoom lenses but the 18-55 is about as good as any other kit zoom, if not better. It’s slow, and I wish it was smaller but it kicks the coating off of the 16mm, which I find VERY lackluster with the NEX-5n. The 16mm just does not produce nice looking images IMO with this camera, unless the copy I have is shoddy. They seem flat, lack color punch and have below average contrast. So the 18-55 I like. Maybe this is why Sony stopped offering the 16mm as a pack in lens with the 5n and upcoming 7. Hmmmm.

So after my sisters house I headed for Southern Illinois where my Mom lives. We had planned a trip into Kentucky to visit some family and take some photos up in the mountains so I charged up my batteries and took along the M9P and 50 Summilux as well as the NEX-5n and 16, 18-55 and Leica M Adapter.

I simply love using the Leica glass on the 5N and using the EVF. The focus peaking rocks (as I already stated in my NEX-5n review) and I am seeing quality just as good as I am getting out of the M9, but with a crop of course. Rich color, great sharpness, and super DR. The NEX and 50 Summilux ASPH is a great combo but so is the old $350 Summitar!

Below are a mix of images, some shot with the M9P and some with the 5n. I may post some side by side M9/5n shots tomorrow evening so check back for more! I have to get to bed now as it is getting late and I am getting an early start tomorrow for more driving and photography! Oh and If you have e-mailed me in the last 2-3 days and I have not responded, I will respond in the next 24 hours!

The next two are of my Mom with the 16mm/5n as we made a stop during our 7 hour drive to take a break…

One of the roads as we entered the mountains…16mm 5/n

I slapped the 1942 Leica 50 Summitar on the NEX-5n for this shot which seems a little oversharp (my fault)

and the M9P comes out for a shot…

The weather was grey, dreary and overcast. No sun, so magic light and it was also pretty chilly compared to Phoenix! The next few shots were all with the M9P and 50 Lux ASPH. All from RAW.

What is also funny is as we were driving we saw all of these interesting signs šŸ™‚ (most NEX-5n and 16)

and a few more random snapshots with the 5N. The cat shot was with the 50 Lux at 1.4 – JPEG

With the 18-55

18-55 again…

…and one more with the 16mm which I edited with contrast and color boost.

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  1. I’m in a similar place to many of you. I have a small but treasured collection of great M mount glass and a M8 that I have used for 4 years and loved. But some of the limitations in focusing, especially the Noctilux and 75/1.4, have me really excited about the NEX7. I like the flexibility of having a customizable state of the art camera with good high ISO capabilities and being able to use all the wonderful M mount lenses in my collection.
    I’d love to be able to justify the purchase price of the M9P, but struggle with the return on investment of the purchase given that I am simply a passionate amateur. The NEX7 hopefully keeps me busy as a good complement to my M8, until the M10 arrives.

  2. The more I see from the 5N the more excited I get about the NEX7. I see very little need for the M9 except for Leica-ness and full frame. But I have an M6 for that!

    November seems like a long time away.

  3. Mark,

    Indeed, it seems the quality of the Nex 5N, at least on the appearance of these photos, gives the impression of very high quality on par with the M9. I guess the “rangefinder experience” and “full frame” as well as “built like a tank” and “object of pure beauty and lust ala M9P (chrome is my favorite) and traditional shutter speed dial, etc,, are the only things making the M9 different. When the NEX 7 comes out, this gap will close even more (the customizable dials on top – When I get mine, one will be for ISO and the other, shutter speed, RAW only, Leica M lenses, that’s all I need. For me, and especially with my economic situation (my daughters needs, home repair, taxes, car repair) I cannot even consider an M9 (My trusty M8 is holding the fort as they say). Frankly, for me, the M9 is not worth the extra $6,801.00 over the NEX 7. In pure performance terms, the NEX crushes the M9 and many other cameras for the price.

    So for me, if I want a rangefinder experience, my M8’s will have to do. If I want video, and want to take advantage of fantastic high ISO, the Nex 7 will be my camera. Nice thing is a NEX is small an light enough that you could carry it with an M (could the NEX 5n be better in this regard? Smaller and more compact, can fit in a small bag with an M8 or M9?)

    One thing: What a great age for photography! New cameras that make the use of old classic lenses practicle again! I am loving it! The down side is used lens values will increase! One thing is sure, I am really happy I went on a used Leica M lens buying binge shortly after the M8 came out in 07. I really did well (cashed in lens wise) when I consider what used M lenses are going for today. One lens I bought as a direct result of Steve’s review of the 50mm Summitar ($150 Ebay)!

    I guess I could have bought an M9 instead if I waited and did not buy lenses, but something tells me I made the right choice. I have no buyers remorse, and the actual photos I am producing are improving vastly with more lenses. The NEX 5n and NEX 7 are a Godsend for me!

    • Ed you are correct, cameras will always lose money but lenses (if you buy good ones) won’t lose much and may even appreciate. I sold my canon gear at a profit (new lens prices are more than they were when I purchased them a few years ago, and all my L lenses I sold netted me more than I had spent). I’m curious though if possible the NEX 7 will have too much noise and megapixels. I purchased my M9 used and glad I did. I can’t imagine spending $8k as some are on the M9P now!

      • Hi Jonny,

        Again, thanks for your reply and comments, they are appreciated! Let us hope the NEX 7 will have great high ISO. Even if the best high ISO were limited to no more than ISO 3200, I would be very happy, as I am sure you would be as well. I am a fast lens addict and on the street, I only have 3 lenses with me, Leica f1.0 Noctilux, Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 Nokton and Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide Heliar. This setup has worked well with my M8 and my feeling is APS C is not that much different. If I could get clean 3200 at f1.0 and f1.2, I will be beyond excited. I have not done any video with these particular lenses, but I would imagine they would have a great look!

        You know I am excited most about the future photos I am pre visualizing and what clean high ISO with these (lenses I own) will mean to be. I guess it is all about extending my artistic vision.

        Another thing: I am one of those people who thinks about what the actual photographic print will look like when I shoot and not pixel peeping. I have been in photography since 1986 and have gotten my hands wet more than I can count with D-76, etc,, I print exclusively with an Epson 3800 and Exhibition Fiber 17″ x22″ and 17″ x 28.5″ cut from 50 foot rolls. I used to be a darkroom fiber base glossy and dye transfer guy and the Exhibition Fiber, I swear, gives me the look of both materials! Also, print wise, I tested the M9 3 times and compared prints with my M8 on Exhibition fiber and I swear, I could not tell! I am sure it will be the same with the Nex 7.

        What I am looking forward to the most is using focus peaking with my beloved Noctilux at f1.0 at ISO 3200. I am sure, photographically, it will come close to a religious experience!

        Another issue: The pre visualization thing is big with me. I have always selected cameras and lenses based on the photos I had in my brain before I bought the equipment. Come to think of it, I have never returned any lens or camera. My choices just worked! It is like when I am inspired by others by the images they make, I say, wow, I can see myself taking photos in a similar way but with my vision, then I ask, what do I need camera and lens wise to accomplish that!

        One thing is sure. On the camera end of things, our options are getting more affordable in price with much greater performance! What a wonderful time to be alive and experience all of this great stuff!

        • Great point about printing Ed! I recently started printing using an Epson 2880 and has found it’s improved my photography as now I’m also thinking about a) will this image be print worthy, and b) what the final print will look like.

          Exhibition Fiber is a great paper as well but have you tried the matted epson cold press natural? It’s become my favourite paper, I’ve found it’s not as forgiving as the Exhibition Fiber and some images don’t work with it, but when you really nail a print with it looks Amazing, much deeper blacks.

          The other thing I’ve found about printing is an image I’d consider noisy or grainy on my screen looks great in a 13′ x 19′ print when viewed from a couple of feet away, which has made me worry less about pixel count and more about ISO ability so I can use faster shutter speeds in dark situation to freeze movement better.

          • Also agree with you about what a great time it is for photograpy! I just bought a M6 and figure it will go great with my NEX-3 allowing me to shoot film/rangefinder but use the same lenses on a digital camera. The NEX cameras are such a great thing for rangefinder users that can’t afford a M9! (Although still annoyned that the viewfinder isn’t backwards compatiable, booo sony, build a system around the cameras like Nikon/Canon does!).

            The only down side being this is going to make M mount lenses even more hard to find!

      • Jonny, I think you’re right, the NEX7 will have too many mega pixels and it will show the flaws of so-so lens, which the current sony E lens are. From reading about the Nikon D3x, which is 24mp, only the best nikon lenses really work well on it, all of the kit lens turn out worse pics then they do on the D90, because the extra mp in the sensor really shows the flaws in the lenses.

        In a recent LL interview with Leica, they said they aren’t going to up the mp in their next M camera.

  4. Steve,

    I’d like to ask your honest opinion. As of today, (excluding the M9) what would you say is your favorite camera and why?


  5. I don’t think the 18-55 OSS is good. I own the previous NEX-5 and the 18-55 lens, and I think the lens doesn’t do the camera justice. Colors are not as they should be, sharpness could be much better, and that horrible lens distortion can only be fixed in post (but the NEX-5N can fix it internally). I also think it limits the resolution a little. I haven’t tried other lenses, but from pixel-pipping many photos that have been posted online, I can see that when with a good lens – the NEX-5 can really shine. And I’ll bet the NEX-5N even more so.

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. Agreed, the 16mm is very very soft. I was amazed at the IQ quality of the nex-3 with a zeiss m-mount lens after only using the 16mm. But I’d still take the nikon 18-105 kit lens over the sony 18-55mm, the nikon kit lens can be very sharp.

    Also just bought a M6 and an older 50mm Summicron from my local camera store today! šŸ™‚ (although I think I paid too much for the 50mm Sumicron…We’ll see what the pics look like but I’m debating returning it depending on the re-stocking fee, ugh buying local can be a pain in the ass some days).

  7. One thing the NEX would be nice for is using some of the longer Leica glass like the 135. There you have more difficult focusing and with the crop you get what amounts to be an even longer Tele focal length!

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