Monday, 18 July 2011

NEX in Amsterdam

Yesterday, I had the chance to take the Sony NEX-3 for a spin around Amsterdam. It was very interesting and I actually liked the little NEX more than I expected.

It is not a pretty camera and too small for my liking, the 16mm pancake lens feels pretty horrible with the thin metal covering the plastic innards and you always have the feel to hold a flat can in your hand. The focusing won't win any speed records either and is slower than the GXR A12 modules with latest firmware but seems usable even in lower light.

The controls have drawn a lot of complaints when the camera has been released but to everyone's surprise, Sony did listen and has improved them. Sure, it could still do with a few extra buttons or even better an extra wheel in the front but if (like me) you shoot in A-mode 95% of the time and only realy need access to EV compensation and ISO it is pretty good. It works surprisingly well to change the EV compensation and ISO as well as the AF mode.

The best parts about the NEX are undoubtedly the fantastic flip up screen and the great peaking mode, both features that I want to see adapted by Ricoh and Panasonic in the future.
The screen is great for street photography and is so much smaller and thinner than the one on the GH2. I was worried it would feel flimsy once flipped up but it's actually very sturdy and allows for being very discreet when taking pictures.

The peaking mode on the other hand is great and the best way to manually focus and I really want to try this with a legacy lens. I really hope Ricoh takes notice of this and implements it on the upcoming GXR Mount A12 module. During my tests it seemed to work very well but the 16mm pancake is not a great MF lens so the real test will come with a legacy lens.

So overall I did enjoy my time with the NEX-3, would I buy one? No, I like my cameras to feel and handle like cameras and not like toys but there certainly are things about the NEX I like so I will keep my eyes open of what Sony is doing with the NEX-7 and if it will look and handle more like a real camera. Right now the biggets problem with the NEX are the poor native lenses so it's more a legacy lens only camera in my view.

This series is from the NEX-3, all pictures have been developed from RAW with RAW Therapee so without any corrections applied.


  1. I thought I would like the last photo and I do. It makes excellent use of the wide lens to draw you into the scene and towards the 2 men. Also the first one with the horizontal line dividing the scene. A nice set from a "toy."

    Your assessment of the NEX-3 mirrors my thoughts as well. Image quality is another aspect, especially dynamic range. That does seem to be an advantage in high contrast scenes.

  2. Thanks for your comment Björn and for letting me use the NEX-3!
    It was great to go and take pictures with you in Amsterdam and have some pints in between :).

    I think we agree on quite a few things when it comes to photography and the NEX-3 is certainly a toy in some respects but at the same time can be a proper camera.