Sony became a serious contender in mirrorless market after only two and a half years since the introduction of the first NEX model. At this time there are 4 active body models and 11 native lenses. NEX-5R shares many specifications with other NEX models like 16 megapixel APS-C sensor, confusing menu system and 180° tilt-LCD, but brings some new features like Wi-Fi connectivity, application support and a second control dial.
Who else if not Sony? If it were all up to Canon and Nikon, we, our children and our grandchildren would be shooting with a big traditional SLR till the end of the time. And beyond. But Sony has hired several out-of-the-box thinking Japanese engineers with fresh ideas: “Let’s use semi-transparent mirror! Let’s stuff APS-C in smallest possible NEX body! Let’s use 1″ sensor in ultra-compact! And finally, how about a full frame compact with a nice Zeiss F/2 prime lens?” And so we have it. DSC-RX1 hit the shelves this month and it’s different from anything we’ve seen before.
Sony released first of its mirrorless NEX cameras in 2010. Since then, several improved and new models appeared. Sony NEX-7 was amongst the first “serious” mirrorless cameras on the market but it’s price and high megapixel count were a turn-off for some users. At this year’s Photokina, Sony announced the latest member of NEX family – the NEX-6. It is positioned between NEX-5R and NEX-7, but looks and feels more like the NEX-7.
In a rush to publish the Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS review, I omited to mention some important details which are in my opinion actually critical to have in mind if you are considering to purchase this lens. Also an obvious error occurred and I feel I must adjust my conclusions accordingly. This in an update post to the original review with some further elaboration of 16-50′s performance, and why I strongly suggested older NEX body users to stay away from it.
Sony E PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens is a welcomed addition to E-mount lens lineup. It’s a lens most NEX users wanted from beginning – a small collapsible zoom. It is exactly half as big as Sony E 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, has the same aperture range, optical stabilization, but a bit wider angle (24mm vs. 27mm in 35mm equivalent).
SEL16-50 is a good example of tradeoffs; at this price point, being collapsible and covering APS-C sensor, some part of its performance must be below average. And really, as soon as it hit shelves a week or two ago, internet community started complaint threads on 16-50′s performance. You surely know how it looks like; endless trolling, (usually) without samples to back-up stated points and a lot of confusion amongst potential buyers. That’s why I rushed to get it reviewed and clear a situation at least a little bit. So let’s begin with SEL1650 review.
Sony had announced first NEX series cameras exactly two years ago, introducing their vision of mirrorless digital imaging solution built around new E-mount lenses. First two models, NEX-3 and NEX-5 were basically the same camera with slight variations in design and features, required to justify the price difference. They both suffered a criticism of bad user interface, but survived and actually sold very well due to compact size and high image quality. A big surprise were no less than five firmware updates, which granted these cameras better control customization, some new options and functionalities and a small but important feature that made NEX cameras desirable in the eyes of photo enthusiasts – focus peaking.
So far, Sony produced three generations of cameras, almost all of them basically a variation of the same product. Notable exception is last year’s appraised NEX-7 model, aimed at professionals or any type of advanced and demanding users.
This time, I reviewed the new basic model – a NEX-F3 with kit lens. Its design resembles that of NEX-7 but with simplified interface, has an excellent 16 MP sensor, and a brand new 180°tilt LCD screen.
Current retail price is around 600 USD or 550 EUR.