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Which NEX (3, C3, F3, 5) and lens/adapter combo??

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by Rachel Louie, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Rachel Louie

    Rachel Louie New to TalkEmount

    2
    Jul 2, 2013
    3, C3, F3, 5 (used on ebay) are all within my budget $200~300 for a camera body. I'm looking to upgrade from a P&S (Panasonic Lumix LX3) and like the idea of smaller, mirrorless models.

    I'm also looking at lens+adapter combos. There are so many options though. I don't know how to use manual, but from what I've read just about all AF options are so slow it's is near useless, at least for my budget range.

    I also plan on taking mostly portrait/full body photos. For a while I was looking at Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f/1.7, but I know there are infinite options.

    I guess at this point I'm just asking for your best suggestions for model+lens+adapter for my budget range. Maximum I'm hoping to spend for everything is $500.

    Thanks!
     
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    You shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet. :p

    Yes, there are circumstances where the NEX AF system is less than stellar (birds in flight, fast moving toddlers, etc.), but to say that it's near useless is so far from the truth that it's not even in the same time zone. Use center focus (and then recompose), and turn off the AF illuminator, and you'll do just fine with any of Sony's AF lenses.

    And coming from the LX7, I bet you'll find the NEX AF is great.
     
  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The rumor that NEX AF is bad is still around? Especially if you come from a compact camera, you'll find the AF blazing fast. Sure, it's not in the 'instant' range like the OM-D or some pro SLRs, but it good enough for 99% of all shots. And for the 1% - just pre-focus, which works with AF just as well as it did with MF.

    As for a first lens - it depends which focal length you want. Do you want a zoom? The kit zoom is a nice option. Otherwise, the Sigmas (19 or 30mm) can be had for less than 100, and for not too much more there are some nice Sony lenses too.

    Edit: Maybe this guide can help you: https://www.talkemount.com/f11/sony-nex-lens-database-621/
     
  4. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Hi ! I actually traded my Canon DSLR for Nex F3, so I used both types.

    Nex's AF has some limitations, but I think it's typical for all mirrorless. To get a noticeably better AF speed, you would need to get a DSLR. The difference is mostly noticeable when shooting a person going at an angle towards the camera, i.e. when both the distance to the person and their location in the plane are changing. You would need a fast focusing DSLR and a fast focusing lens to keep up.

    The trade off, however, is that when you shoot still objects - or slow moving ones - using manual focus, the output from Nex would often kill the DSLR. That's because manual focus using focus peaking on Nex is much more precise. Also with PDAF type focus used in SLR's you often have calibration tolerances between body and lens stacking up so the lens appears "backfocusing" or "front focusing" i.e. the part of the photo that is actually in focus is not what you "aimed" at. I am not talking about camera getting "confused" and focusing on a wrong spot - which happens - but about the actual focusing spot being slightly off because of calibration tolerances. No such issues with CDAF type autofocus used in Nex cameras. At least I don't see any issues with my e-mount lenses - if I it aims at the intended focus point, it's always sharp.

    The biggest advantage of Nex system, to me at least, is the ability to use old manual focus lenses. There's a ton of great lenses out there, they are inexpensive and fun to use. For that, you really need a camera with an electronic viewfinder, though. So out of the options you listed, I'd say F3 is the best because it has both the accessory port for an external EVF (if / when you decide to get it, it's expensive but really helps) and the built-in flash which is weak but useable. It's also very helpful to have the flash in camera at all times, you never know when you may need to use it.

    If I was buying now, I'd go with either F3 or 6.
     
  5. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    I think it's a good idea not to skimp on the camera body. Typically, you wil use it for a couple of years. If it has limitations, then you will probably be unhappy with your photos until you upgrade.

    Also, the kit lens will probably be a good place for you to start. Then you will have more shooting options from the beginning (zoom, af, oss...). Gradually adding manual lenses after that won't be too expensive.
     
  6. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    On the other hand, you can buy one of the cheaper models and upgrade later.

    The 18-55 is a nice basic starting lens you can get fairly cheap. Also the 19/30 Sigma twins are stellar performers, at stellar prices.

    AF is really not an issue for 90% of the shots out there.
     
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Being unhappy with your photos cos of choosing a cheaper body? Why? The 3 series has the same sensor as the 5 or 6.
     
  8. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    The other models add things like onboard flash and better controls, but you are right. The same sensor resides in them all, except for the 7.
     
  9. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Well, first there are older versions with lower sensor and software performance. Second, the sensor is only one factor, there are more things that determine useability and image quality.

    My advice was just to get the best body that your budget will allow, because it's a big deal to change it if you're not happy.

    Also, I know that it takes a while to move from point and shoot to more advanced photography. If you also only go full manual, it will be a steep learning curve. I have seen new manual photographers grow despondent from aperture problems, focusing difficulties and camera shake. It's easier to take it step by step, going from auto, to controlling aperture to full manual without stabilisation.

    The kit lens should provide considerably better IQ than the previous Lumix. And after that, it's easy and cheap enough to add a Minolta 50/1.7 for instance.

    But each to their own, as we often say.
     
  10. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I think after a few months of getting used with the camera, you will miss not having an integrated EVF (only found on higher-end models like the 6 or 7).
    That's only one of the things you'll miss...

    Bottom line, I personally agree with Jaf-photo: you should get the best body you can afford

    After all, an MD 50 f/1.7 and an adapter shouldn't cost you much more than $50-$70...
     
  11. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Go for the 6 if you can afford it.

    If not, F3 has the same sensor, built in flash, and an EVF can be added later for another $230.

    I think all other models you've mentioned lack either a built in flash or an accessory port.

    The importance of having a flash always available can't be overstated. I think I use mine as often in bright light to avoid harsh shadows in portraits as I do in dark lighting. If F3 did not have an internal flash I would have to either always keep an external flash on - which means I can't use EVF, plus it's a bulky set up - or I couldn't take some photos. I really question Sony's decision to eliminate flash from some of their bodies. This was idiotic. Great low light performance does nothing for you if you need fill in flash in bright light.
     
  12. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    If you are taking portraits with just the shoulders and head, a 50mm would serve you well. Personally I'd recommend two lenses. The Canon FD 50mm 1.4 or the Helios 44m-7 58mm f2. Both would give you very pleasing results. For full body shots maybe the 30mm 2.8 from Sigma or the Pen F 38mm 1.8.

    $60 for the Canon is reasonable.
    $50 or so for the Helios 44m-7 (most likely will have to buy from eastern europe so pay attention to feedback)
    $100 was going rate for plastic 30mm Sigma but now it looks like people are price gouging. There's a metal body version for $200. It's the same optically as the plastic I believe
    $150 for the Pen F seems average price
     
  13. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    I started with the F3, as a complete amateur. I found it a very good learning tool. The basic lens is ok to start... after two months and two books I bought my first manual lenses (50euros each one) and then the nice part started.
     
  14. Rachel Louie

    Rachel Louie New to TalkEmount

    2
    Jul 2, 2013
    Thanks so much everyone. I wasn't expecting to receive so much advice, but I really appreciate it!

    I ended up buying the F3 for a good price. Nex 6 was too out of my budget. I'm going to start with the kit lens and then try to use a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 once I get the hang of things.
     
  15. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Sound like a very sensible plan. Good luck and come back and post some photos when you are up and running.