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NEX Please

Sony NEX-5 with 16mm f/2.8 (24mm - equiv).

Sony announced the rumoured NEX-5 and NEX-3 this week, but I for one can't help but feel that, like many of Sony's cameras*, they miss the mark somehow. Perhaps not by much, but enough for them to be bypassed by those who have taken to the Olympus Pens and Panasonic GF1.

Sony NEX-3 with 18-55mm(28-90mm) f/3.5-5.6

Both NEX models are 'mirrorless' and feature a 14.2-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R, APS-C size CMOS sensor, which Sony somewhat confusingly dub 'APS-HD' format. The NEX-5 boasts a metal shell while the more affordable NEX-3 model uses a plastic outer.

Although few have picked up on it, Sony's NEX cameras have been launched with a 16mm f/2.8 (24mm equivalent), see above. That's a smart move. It's not enough mind, but it's smart. Let's hope there's more to come. Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung and Ricoh (with their GXR) each have one prime, but we would like more choice please.

Sony NEX-5 with thumping great 28-300mm equivalent zoom.

It's not rocket science, but to my mind, to appeal to photographers looking for a camera to use discretely (who'll almost certainly have a DSLR at their disposal), there must be a range of lenses in the 24/28, 35/50 and 90/100mm focal lengths, with an f/2 maximum aperture, ideally. You only need look at the Leica M range, or perhaps the discontinued Contax G system.

Contax G1 with Carl Zeiss 45mm f/2 Planar

Just how difficult can it be for Sony, or the others, to add an electronic viewfinder that apes the coupled rangefinder, at least in body design?** Lets move away from the scaled down DSLR-style bodies and viewfinder-less compacts, that's not what's needed (nor ridiculous size 28-300mm zooms). What we're crying out for is the digital equivalent of the Contax G1 (or G2) and a few choice primes, isn't it? I know I am.

For more information including the press release, please see here.

*Not all, the Alpha A900 is is right up there, IMHO. Unfortunately, Sony have no plans to do anything worthwhile with it. According to one source within the company, there are no TS-E / PC-E type lenses planned, for instance, and they insist the lower-end of the market, the so-called "Soccer Mums" is where their priorities lie. Shame.

**Seems Sony do listen, please read our editorial here.


  1. Fuji were listening and have since introduced the X100, if you haven't heard.


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