Monday, 9 April 2012

Amsterdam Meet

(Taken with the NEX-5n and the Sony 50mm f1.8 lens) 

Yesterday, I met with Björn in Amsterdam for some drinks, photography and some gear talk.

We met at the Hortus in Amsterdam where we had a coffee to start off the meetup and give us time to play around with the cameras and enses we brought along. I had my GXR with A16 zoom and the A12 Mount with Voigtlander 12mm, Ricoh GR 28mm and the Jupiter 50mm lenses and Björn brought his Sony NEX-5n, NEX-7 and the Sony 50mm, Zeiss 24mm and the Zeiss Sonar 50mm M-lens.

It was a great and fun meetup as always and I enjoyed the conversation very much. We are quite similar in our view of cameras and photography and while we don't care too much about gear, we do like to discuss it.

We then set off to take some pictures around the botanical gardens and while Björn was using my GXR to get a feel for it, I was using the NEX-7 to see how it performs. I think we were both quite surprised as to how much we enjoyed the cameras and how easy it was to use them.

The NEX-7 with the Zeiss 24mm lens is a very nice and light combo and the AF is fast enough and does not really get in the way. The tri-navi system is very easy and fast to use and takes only a little getting used to but works as intuitive as the Ricoh interface with all the main controls easily reachable. I ended up accidentally changing settings at times but this should not be a problem in longer use.

What is a problem on the NEX-7 is the use of M lenses. While it performs well with the 50mm lenses, it does not really work with the 12mm and GR lenses and the corners and sides are very soft and lose details next to the purple colour shift.

I also found the Sony peaking not as easy to use or as accurate as Mode 2 on the GXR, at times it was not easy enough to see on the edges and other times it seemed to overwhelm the picture, this should however not be a problem with more practice and still remains one of the easiest ways to manually focus.

After my experience with the NEX-7, I would say that it is the best handling camera next to the GXR at the moment and it is quite impressive how much Sony has managed to get into such a small package, the LCD and EVF are fantastic and being able to flip the screen is great and something I want to see in more cameras, especially the GXR.
Unfortunately as nice as it is, the performance with M lenses is not very good so it will not work for me in it's current form. The Zeiss 24mm and Sony 50mm are both nice lenses but I would hesitate to buy into another electronic system after the m4/3 and don't really need interchangeable AF lenses, here the GXR A12 28mm or 50mm modules would do the job for when I am to lazy to manually focus.

So a thanks to Björn for showing me around and for the (as always) interesting conversation.

(Taken with the Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 24mm lens)

(Taken with the Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss 50mm f1.5 M-lens)

(Taken with the NEX-7 and Voigtlander Heliar 12mm lens, the corner and edge smearing is quite obvious and makes this lens a no-go on the NEX-7)

(Another shot with the Heliar 12mm but here the corner smearing is not too distracting)


  1. Nice pictures of amsterdam. Funny thing is that i was born behind the hortusplatsoen and the first 12 years of my life looked at that garden in those times part of amsterdam university. Hope you have enjoyed your visit.

  2. I really like the close up shot of the bamboo. Nice semi-abstract feel to it. Lovely dark green colours and depth.

  3. Thanks for your comments!

    S.C., I think you need to arrange a meetup with Bjoern, you would have a lot to talk about with interests in photography and architecture. Hope we can meet up next time I am in Amsterdam.

    Bill, I do like the colours of how it came out with the NEX-7 and the Zeiss lens.

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  5. I think Sony 5N is a better choice for M lens, if the user are looking for a Sony camera. Of cause the GXR + M mount init is much better the the 5N on M lens.

  6. Alan, the NEX-5N is a very nice camera and seems to work well for M lenses but it is not quite there with the NEX-7 in terms of handling and controls so it's a shame Sony did not use the same sensor in the NEX-7.