NEX 5 or G3

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Mrc, May 21, 2011.

  1. Mrc

    Mrc New to Mu-43

    May 21, 2011
    HELP!!! Please.... First post here.

    I am looking to expand my camera and photography skills and am in the market for a M43. I have always had my eye on he NEX's however once I heard about the G3 it got me wondering...maybe this is more for me?? Or! Should I wait even longer for the next NEX to come out on the upcoming months?

    This is killing me! :smile:

    I can't wait to go to best buy and try the G3's out...but what is your honest opinions on this?

    Thanks everyone!
  2. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Welcome, here you will find lots of info. I personally have never used the nex, and honestly am more of an Olympus fan. Which by the way is rumored to have a new edition(s) the first week of June. So now you may have yet another option...good luck with picking.
  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Neither.....the upcoming NEX-C3 :wink:
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I've used the NEX, and although I certainly won't say it's not a nice camera, I would easily say that its capabilities cannot compare with the Micro Four-Thirds system, whether using Olympus or Panasonic bodies.

    Probably the best thing about the NEX is its very fast burst speeds. It can perform 7 fps bursts, and can also use these quick-succession bursts to mold together anti-shake and panoramic frames. Sony does wonderful things with their software, and was even able to turn their original, highly limited NEX-3 and NEX-5 into pretty usable cameras entirely through firmware updates. For instance, their original Alpha lens adapter could not handle Autofocus, but this was fixed with a firmware update not through a new camera or adapter. Their menu system was also incredibly cumbersome, but was completely revamped through firmware as well. The NEX still has no dials though, just like the cumbersome Olympus E-PL1. Ugh.

    However, there are some hardware limitations which simply cannot be overcome. The greatest of these on the Sony NEX is the lack of a hotshoe. Like the Olympus PEN the Sony NEX does allow for optional accessories such as an Electronic Viewfinder and external microphone (although the external mic on the NEX is very limited - unlike the PEN which gives you a standard mic plugin, the NEX only gives you a tiny fixed mic to sit on top of the camera... how does that differ any from the built-in stereo mics that the other cameras come stock with?). However, there is no hotshoe and the only flash that can be used on the NEX is a tiny thing that plugs into the accessory port and doesn't look like it could even get past the oversized NEX kit lens! Any photographer knows that photography is all about the capture of light, and what differentiates professional photography from "snapshots" is the control of light! The Sony NEX has no control of light, whereas the Olympus PEN and Panasonic cameras can all control ALL the professional studio and speed lights that you want. You can mount radio triggers, PC Sync adapters, safe adapters, or whatever you need to fire off any standard digital speedlight or studio strobe. In other words, the Micro Four-Thirds cameras allow you to use the camera as a fully capable professional studio camera... while the Sony NEX takes very good snapshots instead.

    We know that photography is all about the capture of light, but we also can't forget the first thing that allows us to do that - OPTICS. Cameras are a piece of optical equipment, and that is the second biggest advantage to the Micro Four-Thirds system over the Sony NEX. Granted, the Sony NEX system is a lot better since they updated their Alpha lens adapter, as you can now autofocus the entire line of Sony/Minolta A-mount lenses. Not a bad selection... for native E-mount NEX lenses though, you have what... 3 lenses? One prime, one standard zoom, and one superzoom. Three VERY overpriced, standard performance lenses, I might add (like, $800 for a slow f/3.5-6.3 superzoom? wtf? That's about the same price as a Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro prime for Micro Four-Thirds. A slow Sony superzoom for the price of a Leica prime macro lens? Who do they think they are?)...

    The Micro Four-Thirds standard is an open standard and there are lenses made by many contributors. Olympus (m.Zuiko) and Panasonic are the main contributors, but Leica also has some lenses made through Panasonic, and other big names like Voigtlander and Carl Zeiss make lenses directly for Micro Four-Thirds as well (such as the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton prime or the full line of Zeiss cine lenses). Besides that, you also have the full line of Four-Thirds lenses which have complete digital connections for AutoFocus, aperture control, etc. through a Four-Thirds mount adapter. That includes some of the fastest and highest resolving zoom lenses in the world, made by Zuiko, as well as other fine glass by Leica and others. Besides that, there are adapters made for Micro Four-Thirds to adapt just about any type of legacy glass made in the film era! Not just for SLRs... but also for Rangefinders (ie, like Leica, Voigtlander, Cosina).

    Now you could juggle specs between the Micro Four-Thirds cameras and the Sony NEX cameras for hours... If you go to an electronics or camera store and talk to the staff there, that's probably all they'll do. Well, the Olympus has In-Body Image Stabilization, the Sony and Panasonic doesn't (which is funny, since Sony developed that technology but Olympus miniaturized it and perfected it). The NEX has 7fps burst rate, while the PEN only has 3.5 fps. The Olympus and Panasonic have an effective dust buster. The PEN only does 720p video, while the NEX does 1080i. The Sony has a wider APS-C sensor, while the Olympus and Panasonic have a squarer Four-Thirds sensor. But really, do these little nitpicky things really matter? What about the things that actually make the camera a working tool, like lights and lenses?

    Now as far as physical size goes... Sony claims (technically true) to be the smallest camera of this class. This is in body size only, though. the E-mount is much larger and is not engineered like the Micro Four-Thirds system for compact lens sizes. The Sony NEX with kit zoom lens is actually much larger and heavier than the Olympus PEN with kit zoom lens.
    • Like Like x 4
  5. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Go to a store and try out the NEX. Personally, there was no way in he'll I could spend that much money and have a UI like that. Despite it's sensor performance, it was out of the running almost immediately.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Since this is an m43 site, you're gonna get a lot more pro m43 opinions and anti Nex opinions - not out of any malice, its just the audience of advisors you've selected. You might want to try, where there are plenty of m43 users AND Nex users, often wrapped in the same bodies. Its a sister site, run by the same people and populated by SOME of the same people. I'm a fan of both Nex and m43. I personally think the complaints about the Nex interface are silly - I was comfortable with it almost immediately and I also shoot with a Fuji X100 which has a wonderful old-style interface and I prefer the Nex interface in some ways. I'm an old-school photographer and I thought I'd hate the Nex based on what I'd read about it but I was pretty smitten with it right away. Its true it doesn't have a hot shoe or an EVF and if those are critical to you, its not the way to go. But its LCD is sooooo good you may not need an EVF - I don't miss having one at all.

    My personal advice is if you want or need more versatility and particularly if you like long lenses, go with m43. The Nex lenses just aren't there yet and probably will never be competitive at the long end without a real size penalty. But if you want the better camera with just a kit lens and aren't really looking to expand much, I'd go with Nex. Its better in low light (there are better low light lenses for m43, but that's about to change and the Nex sensor does better). For some kinds of photography I prefer the Nex, for others m43.

    Its just not the simple slam-dunk decision you could think it was from asking a group of mostly m43 users. Although there are compelling reasons to use m43.

  7. Kade.Sirin

    Kade.Sirin Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 23, 2010
    Las Vegas
    The best way to decide, is to try both. HOWEVER, I would wait until the G3 is released.
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The NEX 5 is a fine camera which I enjoyed using, but I would choose the G3 over it because I like to work with an eye level viewfinder, prefer the controls, and prefer the available lens selection.
  9. travisennis

    travisennis Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2010
    I've been struggling with this same decision. As a current owner of a GF-1 I know that I will like the interface and handling of the G3, plus it gives me some things that I miss on my current camera like a viewfinder and an articulating LCD. However, I'm intrigued by the Nex cameras because of their larger sensor, which gives me two apparent benefits; it is better in low-light and it makes my adapted lenses of 28mm and 50mm a more useful, in my opinion, 42mm and 75mm equivalent versus the 56mm and 100mm lenses they are on m43. I would give up the viewfinder, but the high-quality LCD that flips up and down might be a good substitute.
  10. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I'd skip the current NEX line. I did not like the UI at all, but if they added a touchscreen, I think it would improve it (to me, the UI screamed the need of one). I also did not like the lack of a real hot shoe and thus, 0 way of getting a VF on there.

    I am also not thrilled with Sony's lens lineup (except for the Zeiss 24, but that will be $$$).

    But, sans the issues I have, the upcoming rumored NEX certainly looks interesting, and continues to give m43 a run for its money given the general consumer they are seemingly trying to target.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    My original E-P1 PEN didn't have a viewfinder either, and I got along fine with it, even though it had an LCD with half the resolution of my current E-PL2 PEN. I think the viewfinder is overrated and the lack of a viewfinder doesn't stop you from doing what you need to do (although lack of light control will, lol). My E-P1 was pre-ordered about a month before they arrived in Canada, and the lack of viewfinder was what made my decision hard. However, after getting the PEN I quickly adapted and don't miss the viewfinder at all. I still don't use an EVF even though my new PENs can take it, because I need the hotshoe for more important things (lighting, of course). The NEX LCD, like the Panasonics and the newest PEN are very good to use.

    I don't like the control interface of the NEX personally, but I didn't dwell much on that topic because I understand it's a matter of personal taste and not a solid "advantage or disadvantage" of the system.

    I will have to agree with this. If you pick up both cameras out of the box without considering lens changes or accessories, the NEX would actually be the better performing camera. It operates fast, and it produces quite clean images.

    However... I would also have to suggest for people who are looking for a camera like this, to use out of the box without expanding it, to consider a fixed lens, large-sensored compact like the Fuji X100, Leica X1, or Sigma DP2. The Fuji X100 in particular has made incredible headway in this arena and does produce stunning images, very comparable and in some ways even better than the Leica X1. I don't know much about the Sigma DP2, even though they were there first. The Fuji X100 is set up a lot like the Leica X1, but includes a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder.
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'm sure I could have learned to use the NEX UI, but, to be honest, just didn't want to when the Panny UI was so intuitive to me. Even the EPL1 UI was a tick in the "con" column, admittedly, based on the same short "counter top" experience.

    The point here is we can debate the technical aspects of each of these cameras ad nauseum, and in the end, none of it matters. The camera is simply a tool for recording your vision, and each person will have a different camera that "fits" them. Just like clothes, it's not something you can buy on the Internet - you have to go and try them on.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    lol, I hate the E-PL1 controls just as much as I dislike the Sony NEX controls. :D The E-PL2 however, did everything right the way the E-PL1 should have.

    PS, on the E-PL2 you can activate the Super Control Panel just like on the Olympus E-system DSLRs. Sweetness... Why they ever changed that in the first place, I don't understand.
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Linh, I agree with you that the NEX UI will be much improved when it operates via touchscreen. For those who feel that an eye level is overrated, I submit that it is a personal matter. For some of us, an eye level viewfinder is a requirement.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, I totally agree with you Amin, that a viewfinder is a personal matter.

    However, I also have to say that for those looking to switch systems they should keep an open mind even if they think that a viewfinder is a requirement for them. I also thought the viewfinder was a requirement for me before the PEN came, as that is the only way I have ever shot a real camera (ie, not my phone or something, lol). I didn't think I could get by with just an LCD, but now I'm not even sure which is more comfortable for me... unless I'm trying to manually focus in the dark - then a large pentaprism viewfinder on a pro body is definitely a requirement. ;)

    Some may not adapt to the LCD as easily as I did, but you don't know until you've actually done it for a while. It was weird at first, and I kept instinctively putting my eye up to the camera only to find nothing to look into, lol! Going from an LCD to viewfinder is quicker, but going from viewfinder to LCD requires some habit-breaking. In the end though, both my Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds cameras get the job done the same.
  16. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I feel that to call complaints about an interface silly, is, um, silly. Interface is a very personal thing. I like the build and screen of the Nex cameras, but the interface was, and is, miserable for my purposes. The quick update to the firmware after the initial release was some acknowledgment of the certain challenges. If the rumors of an increase in dedicated buttons and a built-in EVF in the Nex 7 are accurate, they show Sony respect some of the preferences. I will certainly have a good look at the camera when it arrives.

    The Nex lens roadmap certainly looks OK for many users.

    I suggest you think through what type of photography appeals to you and how you are likely to really use the camera. Then spend serious time with each, working with the settings you are most likely to utilize. There are almost always compromises to be made, and it can be a matter of prioritizing.
  17. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've used both M43 cameras and a NEX. For me, the NEX is the hands down winner. The UI being difficult is grossly exaggerated. I find it much easier to use than the interface on the Oly E-P1. I get things done easier and quickier. Also, I've never even cracked the manual on my NEX but I definitely needed to in order to figure out how to do certain things on the E-P1. I tend to shoot adapted lenses and manual shooting on the NEX is better than on the E-P1. I do miss the IBIS though. The IQ of the NEX is better than the E-P1. That was obvious from the get go. The more advanced shooting modes on the NEX are welcomed as well. The twilight, HDR, panaroma and 3D modes are very nice to have. Shooting at night flashless with an high ISO, the twilight mode averages out the noise. Also, the NEX just fits better in my hand. Given the fact that I got my NEX 3 at half the price of the M43 cameras, it was a downright bargain. If you can find it, Target is clearing them out at $150. Not all Targets have, but most have. Unfortunately, I jumped the gun at $300 and missed the next leg down by a couple of days.
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Holy... that's a totally different ballgame than up here! In Canada you can buy the NEX-3 for $650, or $800 for a NEX-5. On the contrary, you can buy an Olymus E-PL1 here for $400 or an E-PL2 for as low as $550 ($600 regular price). That's a $250 savings for each "tier" of comparable bodies to get a more expandable system with Micro Four-Thirds... which is great for me as I was a Four-Thirds user before :43: existed, so that's where I had my lens collection.
  19. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Dell has put the NEX 3 w/16mm lens on sale for $400 a couple of times. had the NEX 3 with both the 18-55mm and the 16mm lens for $520 today. They are OOS.
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Ikes... that's still grossly overpriced for that lens. You can get the sharper and faster Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 for $400 at the highest retail cost. I remember when they were $300.