Monday, January 23, 2017

Well, that worked and yet it didn't work...

My experiment with the NEX-5T as a replacement "go anywhere" camera for my crippled Nikon P7000 has been a failure. The reason is best explained pictorially:

While the P7000 is wider and taller, even with the smallest zoom lens available, the NEX is dramatically thicker. In fact, its depth is about equal to its height, and that makes it ride terribly awkwardly in the "document pocket" of my gun burkha.

Sony makes a reasonably fast fixed prime 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens that would reduce the bulk of the camera dramatically and make it even more portable than the Nikon, but that gives me a fixed focal length, fairly wide-angle lens. Do you know what else has a fixed focal length, fairly wide-angle lens? My phone.

The end result of this is that I've stopped carrying an actual camera with me everywhere and have been relying on my cell phone for pics like most people. But there's a whole lot of photography that's hard to do with just a 24mm lens, and I've been passing it up. I can't tell you how many times I've seen something, thought I might like to take a picture of it, and then realized that the iPhone, good as its camera was, was not the instrument with which to do it.

Now don't get me wrong, my infatuation with smart phone cameras has grown over the years. The difference in quality from the thoroughly "meh" 3.2MP camera on the LG Optimus V to the 8MP Galaxy S II to the really quite decent 12MP camera on the iPhone 6S has been night and day. They all remain crippled, however, by their fixed focal length, slow and awkward interfaces, and lack of manual control over many basic elements of photography.

So, it's back to the drawing board in the quest for a replacement for the Nikon (and I may just buy a replacement used Nikon) as a "take everywhere" camera.

Now, where the NEX-5T really shone has been as a very portable camera for work stuff. It has a sensor every bit as big as the one on my Nikon D200 DSLR, and with better than half again the resolution. Between it and the Hasselblad Lunar (*coughNEX-7cough*) I didn't really feel like I was lacking anything in picture-taking ability roaming the floor at SHOT versus the Nikon D200 and D1x I lugged around NRAAM. The only things they give up to my "prosumer" DSLRs are in speed, both speed to power up and speed in shooting. For some reason I just don't compose a shot as quickly with a screen on the back of the camera as I do looking through an eyepiece.

So now I'm seriously thinking about full-frame DSLRs...