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.
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 announced a new member of its growing NEX digital camera family. The model is called NEX-5R, and is replacing NEX-5N model. Basic design remains the same; all the new features are under the hood. Sensor used is a completely new unit, but it has kept the same resolution as previous model; 16MP is a sweet spot for APS-C size. New exciting feature is phase detection via 99 focus points on imaging sensor, which is supposed to work in conjunction with contrast auto focus to deliver fast and precise focusing. From launch, Hybrid AF is supported with four lenses: 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS; 55-210mm F4-6.3 OSS; 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS and 24mm F1.8ZA. Firmware upgrades will expand the range of lenses supporting Fast Hybrid AF.
Photokina is the world’s biggest and most anticipated imaging fair that takes place every two years in a German town of Cologne (Köln). Industry leaders, traders, professionals and amateur photographers will all gather at September 18 to view and try the latest photographic equipment on the market. I have prepared a short list of expected announcements and rumors. Some cameras or lenses might be announced before the show, but the public will be able to see them for the first time at the fair.
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.