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Bought a Sony E 55-210mm. How stupid was I?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by addieleman, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    There is a sale going on at a large store offering a discount of 17 % on a lot of products ("we pay your VAT!"). So I went there and bought the Sony E 55-210mm. I've played around with it a bit and I'm beginning to wonder if I did the right thing. :mad:

    It's dark already so I have to use it indoors, but still: wow, the AF sucks bigtime! Most of the time it won't even focus, and "flexible spot" focussing is only possible for less than 5 % of the pics. dixeyk is right, AF on a NEX is just a cruel joke. I'll see if I can get by with manual focus. OSS is nice for sure and the main reason I bought it. Don't know yet about sharpness. Centre seems OK, but the corners aren't always sharp, have to do more testing.

    Looks like this thing is a candidate for a speedy return to the store! Fortunately they have a liberal return policy even if bought in the store instead of online.
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    What did you expect? It's a slow, cheap zoom lens with OSS - did you really think it would be a great use for low light photography? It is okayish in daylight though - even the AF is pretty precise then.
     
  3. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I think it has the reputation of excellent optical quality and pretty poor AF performance. So far, it doesn't disappoint.NEX af really needs an extreme make-over...
     
  4. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    245
    Sep 20, 2012
    Yes, good summary of that lens - if you view the original size of this photo you will see that it is reasonably sharp when stopped down a bit: All sizes | Edinburgh Castle | Flickr - Photo Sharing! The AF is slow even in daylight though - I missed people/performer shots in bright daylight on the Edinburgh Royal Mile in August (fringe festival) due to the slow AF - by the time it focused they had moved - only by inches but enough to miss the shot! :(
     
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I'm using flash now when playing with it indoors. I still am shocked by the lens not being able to catch focus at all; I can live with slow AF, after all I'm using Minolta MF lenses and I'm not that fast with them either.
     
  6. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    182
    Dec 10, 2012
    Netherlands

    Yes Yes Ad, happy that the company with the slogan "I am not kidding" an easy return policy. You can still think of. Actually that is for me also the range what I still search and keep hoping that there's some very good still comes on the market.
     
  7. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I briefly owned the SEL50/1.8, and though it WAS able to lock focus every time, it often was painfully slow at doing so. Back it went.
     
  8. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Yeah, I still have some time to try out the lens further and decide if I'll keep it. I have only one other AF lens for the NEX-6, the Sigma 19/2.8, and that too has difficulty in finding focus in lower light. I have bought stuff at Mediamarkt before and only once I couldn't return it because they didn't accept return with Apple stuff (an iPod in my case), all the other times they just took it back. I always wait for their "We pay your VAT" sales to pick up lenses or cameras, it's a 17 % discount on current items, also the newest products.

    Maybe these NEX cameras are just manual focus cameras. I made some indoor family snapshots the other day with my Minolta 28/2 at ISO 1600 without flash and they came out great, with a little care peaking is very accurate without having to use the enlarged view.
     
  9. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Even peaking has it's limitations in low light, as it seeks contrast in order to work.

    I'm getting weary of this NEX AF bashing... we really do need to understand what the NEX was meant and designed to be. The NEX was never meant to be a DSLR... it wasn't made to compete and surpass DSLRs... and yet we keep expecting it to have the same prowess of professional equipment costing many times more.

    You can't buy a sports car (great as it maybe, for oh so little money) and complain that it can't compete against Formula 1 cars at the race track. We really need to adjust our expectations and perspectives... reality check please...
     
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I beg to disagree here. If you want to see what AF can be up to with a mirrorless camera, try a Panasonic or Olympus; we can leave DSLRs out of the picture. I also have a GH2 and AF performance of that and the NEX-6 are worlds apart. I gave up my Nikon D300s because I got tired of AF errors and AF fine-tune that didn't work for zoom lenses. Maybe this bad experience will cause me to leave Sony NEX altogether, I'm not sure yet which of my 2 systems I'll keep, ยต4/3 or NEX.

    In my opinion Sony is far behind the best competition in mirrorless when it comes to AF performance, simple as that.
     
  11. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yep, i'm satisfied with the AF performance and my NEX-5 too! Don't get all that bashing ...
     
  12. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I'm with the OP here, I come from a GX-1 and the AF performance was awesome. That being said, one gets handy with Peaking even in very low light. I've done it for seven months with pretty good success.
     
  13. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    470
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    I would certainly pay DSLR prices though for a NEX or other EVIL camera that had DSLR performance. I get what's being said though...for half the price you can't expect all the performance.
     
  14. applemint

    applemint TalkEmount Veteran

    245
    Sep 20, 2012
    Sorry, but I also disagree. :) I don't expect Nex AF performance to be dslr like, but as pointed out by addieleman, even when compared to other mirrorless cameras it is poor (at least with some e-mount lenses).

    I think it is refreshing that people in this forum "tell it like it is" - it's not a case of bashing, but of being honest about the pros and cons of the cameras and system. Much rather that, than the blinkered views, hostility to any criticism and 'my brand X camera can beat up your brand y camera nonsense' you get in some other forums. :)

    The Nex cameras are great, which is why I still own and regularly use one after 2 years - but surely it also better to be honest about it's shortcomings while also praising the good points. And the many excellent photos posted here speak volumes as well of how good the camera is, particularly in good hands.

    As an aside - the way Sony market the Nex (at least here in the UK and in the US too) is as an alternative to a dslr - "dslr performance in a compact package" or words to that effect. Of course all marketers are liars (or at least 'storytellers') and as owners we know better - but that is how it is marketed and it's good that potential purchasers can come here for less of a marketing view and more of an honest, warts and all view from current owners - rather than making an expensive purchase which they may regret later. In terms of pricing, most of the models are more expensive than entry level dslrs, so the sports car/F1 analogy does not really work. :)
     
  15. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    The Panasonic and Olympus m4/3 latest generation bodies have DSLR AF performance in single AF mode. But they sport a smaller sensor, that's the catch... The newly announced Fuji X100s looks like it has very fast AF as well, from tests seen on video.
     
  16. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Well, maybe I'm not the right one to ask as I only use AF for infinity focus e.g. landscapes because it's spot on there always - in all other occasions I prefer MF with peaking anyways.
     
  17. Derichuk

    Derichuk TalkEmount Regular

    59
    Dec 5, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Deric
    I bought my Nex-6 as a value alternative to the Leica Rangefinder styles of cameras. As far as I am concerned I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
     
  18. gio

    gio TalkEmount Veteran

    382
    Sep 12, 2012
    Manchester, uk
    hear hear, I will never be swapping my dslr for these very reasons, anybody thinking the nex system is replacing the dslr is up s*** creek without a paddle, the nex for me is the best of the rest as an overall package,and a convenient/excellent camera; if you swap cameras and lenses on a whim, all the while waiting for that next piece of marketing jargon to come along and tell you, "you bought the wrong thing, take a look at what we've got", you will never be happy with any equipment,technology moves too quickly, don't be a sucker for it. Use the contrast focus to it's strengths,if you focus on somebodies face in low light you will have great difficulty autofocusing, the strength of contrast focusing is contrast, find something on that face that has contrast, ie the corner of an eye and the skin next to it, or different materials on the same plane using the centre focus option, if focus is critical I would not even use autofocus on the most expensive camera, however critical focus is normally on something that does not move anyway,or you can ask a model to stay still, and more importantly use faster lens if you are doing serious stuff.
    It's better being patient and shooting 20 shots and getting 5 good keepers than the "scatttergun approach" , shooting a hundred and hopefully getting 3.
    My take is the nex system was never introduced by sony to replace a dslr, so why buy into the idea that it will, then, be disappointed because of overexpectation on your behalf.
    The nex is a great camera for what it was intended, we all bought into it knowing all about the autofocus capabilities, and if the autofocus surprises and disappoints you, then you never done your research before parting with your hard earned.

    "CAVEAT EMPTOR "
     
  19. Frank Teurlings

    Frank Teurlings TalkEmount Regular

    182
    Dec 10, 2012
    Netherlands

    Maybe long known I do not know, but focus your using AF assistance illuminator. If yes then check this out. Focus than once again. I notice a clear difference with focus without and with use of the AF assistance illuminator.
     
  20. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    I consider my 55-210 an outdoor lens and for that its been great for me. Trip to the zoo and some walkabout shots. I've been quite happy with the results. A nice lens.