A staunchy film user will try out digital camera: NEX or 4/3 system?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by pensacolaphoto, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. I am torn between buying a SONY NEX-3 and a 4/3 camera by Olympus. One has a 1.5X crop factor while the other has a 2X crop factor. One have no viewfinder while the other does. I want to use most of my manual lenses from film cameras on my digital camera with adapters. Focusing easily is important.
    Balancing between overall quality and cost, what would you recommend based on your own experience with such a camera and why?
  2. I would buy a Canon 5D (the original one) and install a split screen for focusing. You can use almost any lens on the Canon camera and you won;t have to make as many compromises as with the other cameras you mentioned. Think about it: Full frame goodness and a real view finder with split focusing. Anyway, that's how I have my 5D configured - works beautifully.
  3. Juergen,
    Can you use lenses for any camera mount with adapters on the 5D?
  4. Raid,

    The huge advantage of Micro 4/3 is that the mount to sensor distance is very short, shorter than any 35mm camera
    with a mirror, including the half-frame Pen F, and nearly every full-frame rangefinder, too. So, there are numerous
    adapters. This is not the case with a DSLR.

    The NEX cameras have a greater distance (bigger sensor) and are less popular, so fewer adapters.

    Micro 4/3 is what you want.

    I have a Fotodiox (I think that's the name) adapter for 39mm LTM, and it seems to be excellent. Cheap, too.
  5. There are Canon adaptors for just about any lens ever made.
    If you tell us which system you are currently using, we can guide you in the right direction.
    It would also help to know what you intend on using it for.
  6. ive had a nex 3 and currently a epl1 with vf2. id say if you want a conventional experience and is concerned with cost factor get m43. if you want smaller and dont mond the interface and want more speed and maybe better video but with less access. at this point get the nexes. bear in mind any lens larger than the 18-55 is overkill on the camera. you really cant go wrong with either cam or system. i chose m43 epl1 cause it had a more conventional interface and more access. and larger lenses werent detrimental to the ergonomics of the camera. go to store and try them out in hand. there will always be tradeoffs in use. speed of sony faster. colors better on oly. high iso better on sony really seen at nite but under right cond. high iso is very manageable with oly. sweep panorama a plus for sony. try em out in store. ll
    both take many brands of lenses and adapters a plus for both systems
  7. I have never held in my hands a NEX or EPL, but I have seen images of both, and the NEX seems to be looking strange when using a larger lens on it. I want mainly to bring back to life some older lens systems that I own. The Zeiss lenses for the Rolleiflex 35mm system are wonderful lenses (often large in size)and the Rolleiflex 35mm SLR bodies are unreliable, so having either system that accepts such lenses would be a major advantage. The higher ISO capabilitiesof the NEX would be useful here and there during trips, but I usually use ISO100 in my photography, so the Olympus would be suitable.
    Your tips are very useful. Thanks.
  8. @Morten: "There are Canon adaptors for just about any lens ever made."

    I don't understand this. It is physically impossible to focus a lens at infinity when mounted on a camera with a larger
    mount-to-sensor distance. That includes most, if not all, rangefinder lenses.
  9. Maybe the SLR lenses are meant for macro use with the Canon?
    I have many Leica mount RF lenses which I want ti use with a digital camera. It is wonderful that we now have such possibilities available to us.
  10. I don't understand this. It is physically impossible to focus a lens at infinity when mounted on a camera with a larger mount-to-sensor distance. That includes most, if not all, rangefinder lenses.​
    That does not mean the adaptors do not exist. And some have correction elements that makes focus to infinity possible.
    Here are a few:
    That was just one of the first pages that came up on google. There are many more.
  11. These adapters may have lens elements that may degrade the image quality. Maybe not. I really don't know, but I know that not having any glass added is always better.
  12. These adapters may have lens elements that may degrade the image quality. Maybe not. I really don't know, but I know that not having any glass added is always better.​
    I can't speak for them all, but the one I have with a corrective element (for FD) works very well.
    It tends to be a little soft at wider apertures. At f/3+ it is perfectly sharp. I like a bit of softness, so this is good for me.
    In any case. They are cheap as dirt, so a bit of experimentation is affordable.
  13. >>>and the NEX seems to be looking strange when using a larger lens on it<<<
    You should see my bridge camera when I add the Raynox 2020 and my home made 'drainpipe connector lens hood' :) You simply hold the lens and let the camera be the 'attachment'. Togs have been doing this for years with extreme long focal length lens/camera rigs.
  14. The nex is a fine concept. Image quality is superb but AF lens choices are limited, and that big kit lens is somewhat obsurd killing the otherwise compact size. Oh and the battery life is the worst I've seen on any camera ever. The EPL2 is sold with a good quality kit lens that is both small and light. Battery life is better than the Nex (but not great either) and for me the best solution for a compact camera. The optional electronic viewfinder is the best in the business. (but not cheap)
  15. Raid, I know ye, from your many RF posts. You'll need a m4/3's camera so you can mount all your RF lenses (with appropriate adapters.) I've got a Panasonic G1, and it's lots of fun, allowing me to use LTM, FD, and EOS lenses, all on the same body. The electronic viewfinder is not great, compared to a decent RF viewfinder, but it's turned out to be entirely functional.
    However, Juergen is also right: a 5D1 is as close to a film SLR as any digital is ever going to get, with a very simple, direct interface, a good viewfinder, and the biggest, best pixels you can get. And it will mount almost any SLR lens -- except of course, Canon's own FD/FL lenses. Their registry, and that of all 35mm RF lenses, is too short for infinity focus.
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The NEX system was discontinued on February 23. This might be a factor in your choice.
  17. "The NEX system was discontinued on February 23"
    Both models or just the NEX 3? I see no reference to the NEX 5 gooing away.
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Sorry, I should have been more clear. The problem is that the NEX 3 was discontinued rather abruptly and it's not clear what is happening to the rest of the line.
  19. E-P2 + viewfinder, and you get image stabilization for every lens you own. But the biggest hurdle will not be the fancy features, it'll be the change in format size. To keep sanity, I'll highly recommend to get the full frame digital version of whichever brand you own.
  20. If I had money to burn, I would get a Leica M9. I will aim at the EP2 + electronic viewfinder. The investment is not that large,and if I find some use for it,then it is worthwhile trying it out. The loss of format size is not small, so I will have to put aside comparisons with film cameras and having a "full sensor", and I will look for useful applications instead.
  21. The e-p2 (I have the e-p1 that I use with nikon primes), is good for most things, except fast action like sports and birds. The 24mm perspective is very good on it. The olympus software gives the best colors although it's a drag to work with. And I believe the strange height of the supposedly excellent viewfinder will enable you to maintain eye contact for portraits, and allow two eye shooting.
  22. Hello Indraneel,
    I have stopped taking photos of birds for many years now, but I may try using my Canon 500mm/4.5L FD with the EP-2 when I get it. We have herons that just sit there on a tree branch, so it would not be any fast action photography.
    What make sit a drag to work with the Olympust software? Do you mean that colors don't come out well from the EP-1 that you use?
  23. Raid, sitting ducks are not a problem. I have one here http://www.photo.net/photo/12514692 but the blackout and manual focus (or slow contrast detect autofocus, which is same for all live view cameras) will make it difficult to track birds in flight. The good thing is that it'll get you a 12Mpix image on a 2x crop sensor! That's kind of like 1000mm with your lens.
    The olympus cameras have a very pleasant color rendition, especially light pastel tints... but you'll only get this with their raw converter (the better version of which, olympus viewer 2, is now free). It's a bit slow (although not as slow as Sigma software for the foveon), somewhat non intuitive, and does not save raw settings. You have to process and export to tiff if you want to process it further. Lightroom 3 comes with only a single profile for it and can't get the colors OV2 can. If it's any help, I often use photivo to process the e-p1 raw files and it does a better job than lightroom, as well as save raw processing settings. I really have no complaints with my camera except that olympus released the e-p2 (which takes a evf) just five months after they released the e-p1.
  24. Indraneel,
    I had no idea about having a special raw converter or Lightroom. I have Adobe Photoshop, but that's all. So getting the [free] Olympus Viewer 2 is a good move then. I am glad that you see the EP-1 (and EP-2) as being good cameras. Thanks for the useful tips. Imay have to try things out, and learn with time.
  25. The NEX system is NOT discontinued. Sony will likely update both models very soon, and may add a third (rumors only, at this point). Also, Sony will make the lens mount specs free on April 1 allowing third parties to make lenses that will work on the E mount. As far as adapters go, there are lots of adapters available right now.
    Regarding the advantages of the NEX over M4/3: the sensor. Image quality from a NEX is superior to any 4/3 camera. Once the additional lenses start flowing the system will flourish (I believe). To suggest that Sony has discontinued the NEX is simply ridiculous.
  26. I think the main difference between Olympus m4/3, especially EP-2 and Nex 5 is that the Olympus is like a traditional small camera while the NEX is like a small digicam. EP uses more direct controls while NEX is more based on menus. For a traditional film user, I would recommend Olympus on this basis alone. EPL is a bit more menu driven than the EP. EP1 cannot take the finder, which is useful for manual focusing. m4/3 is a bigger, more established system and therefore has more adapters from a wide range of manufacturers. This can be useful if you need to mount strange lenses on it. I would not claim that one is superior over the other. High ISO noise is probably a bit better with NEX than m4/3, due to the bigger sensor, but that is unlikely to be so important. It all depends on your specific needs. Neither one is an action camera, or a birding camera.
  27. This is a valid point. It is important to many film camera users to have the digital camera be somewhat similar to a film camera. I may prefer to use high ISO B&W film for night scenes. I want to use these lenses in particular:
    Nikkor 55mm 3.5 micro [extremely sharp]
    Carl Zeiss 50mm 1.4 QBM [beautiful rendering overall]
    Canon 19mm 3.5 FL [beautiful rendering... may not work due to being a non-retro focus lens] 7.5mm 5.6 FD [maybe it will become my wide angle lens with digital]
  28. My nikon adapter for the m4/3 is 25mm deep, so it probably should be 23mm for the canon adapter. non-retro lens may technically work on digital, but there may be vignetting (something to do with sensor topology, I guess). ISO 1600 is very usable on the e-p1, the highest a sane person would push hp5+ (I have one at 6400 here). Also, Lightroom 3 is amazing with noise reduction.
    Nex does not have image stabilization (in camera).
  29. I've used both systems. I've owned a Panasonic GF1 and the Olympus EPL1. I currently own the NEX 5.
    Both are great systems but the reality is the NEX files are substantially better than any m4/3s offerings. High ISO and dynamic range are not even a contest...NEX wins easily.
    That's not to say m4/3s are bad. They are not, and they are perfectly usable. The NEX 5 with the new firmware update makes it very easy to use. The interface is very fast. Manual focusing is very easy. I've been using Voigtlanders' 50/2.5 Skopar and the the 75/2.5 Heliar along with the 16/2.8 that came with the kit.
    Large lenses do make the camera awkward. I don't use them.
    It's not true that more adapters are available for m4/3s. You'll find any adapter you need for NEX as well.
    Only the NEX 3 has been discontinued.

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