Customer Review

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorely Lacking Lenses, December 22, 2010
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX NEX3A/B Digital Camera with Interchangeable Lens (Black) (Electronics)
This could have been a very positive review, except for one very significant issue. I bought the NEX-3 after months of reading and researching. I chose it over Panasonic based on its sensor size, unique features, form factor, weight and several very favorable reviews in professional newsletters. I think the firmware upgrade in the Fall made the user interface and navigation much better and easier, and I have not experienced the battery issues that some have reported. Overall, I like this camera and I want to like it more and use it more, but Sony's lack of lens support for the platform thus far should be a red flag to anyone considering the NEX series. There were reports of a Sony NEX 5 telephoto lens SEL 18200 earlier this year. One report even said it was shipping. But no retailers have the lens and I could not find it mentioned in the lens section on Sony's NEX website. That leaves just two lenses in the entire NEX series -- a 16mm wide angle lens and a less than satisfying 18-55 zoom lens. Instead, there appears to be a strategy to push NEX users toward the existing Sony Alpha lens series, which requires purchasing an adapter plus using lenses that are reported to be ridiculously slow in the NEX autofocus mode. That is NOT why I bought this camera and would have stayed with my trusty Panasonic LUMIX point-and-shoot and Canon digital SLR if I knew that Sony was going to offer so few NEX lenses. Meantime, I am beginning to regret buying a promising platform that once seemed like the ideal solution for me. I am watching enviously as competitors I had compared to Sony expand their offerings while Sony seems to be standing still or falling backwards.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 4, 2011 2:13:50 PM PST
Amipat says:
what cameras would you recommend instead?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2011 6:49:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2011 6:55:08 AM PDT
Matt Eye says:
Panasonic G3 and Olympus E-P2 would be much better (picture clarity, hotshoe/flash, EVF, many more lenses), but they don't have 1080 (just 720) video that the Sony NEX-5 has (it does just fine for me--the NEX-3, as this review pertains, is also just 720 video). Not having 1080 (full-HD) on Olympus or Panasonic was a dealbreaker; even though the image sensor in those cameras is smaller than on the Sony Alpha series, the pictures are better, or as good, mainly because of better lenses. You just have to live with barrel distortion and vignetting with this series of Sony's lenses, but most cameras with wide-angle ability will be mild to moderate. Good thing the human eyes don't have that problem--I guess it is a matter of not even a Hasselblad or Mayima could compare to the human eye (but in low-light, they might surpass our poor cones/rods in the dark), but clarity-wise, perhaps (especially the $25 grand kind). Maybe that could change someday. If video isn't important, consider the Olympus or Panasonic. I think the Olympus has the best image clarity and sharpness, based on (my) pixel peeping judgment on Photographyblog.

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 10:22:57 AM PST
Iaso Nikko says:
It is true, Olympus has uncommonly good lenses for the cost and a solid bunch to chose from. My E-PL1 also came with a surprisingly good 14-42mm Zuiko kit lens that I will not be replacing after testing on my Japan trip. I have both clear shots of rushing Geisha that we waited for by their tea house forever to catch, and 720 HD video of the 5:00am sunrise above the clouds from our 2-day Mt. Fuji hike/climb, that despite being pointed at direct sunlight, compensated incredibly well and on the fly. It got me a silhouette shot of myself against that sunrise that's to kill for.

Keep in mind though that the Olympus advantage in price competition and lens quality is also due to their less proprietary standard.. Olympus, Lumix, and Panasonic 4/3 lenses are 100% interchangeable and compete with each-other -- my 2nd lens for it thus ended up not being an Olympus but actually a Lumix 45-200mm, on the E-PL1 body, and the focus speed and quality is a little "nuts" for a ~$250 lens, that is IN the 4/3 form factor and no adapters.

Speaking of which, also, to your point about the Sony using an adapter to hook up the older lenses and having focus speed problems -- Olympus has the same damn issue.. I also own an Olympus e-500, and I bought the Panasonic DMW-MA1 mount adapter for my E-PL1 to use lenses from the e-500 on the E-PL1 and even my best lenses are slow as molasses to focus AND have visible distortion roughly ~18% of the time, which is beyond unacceptable and cost me every attempted shot I took from across the peaks of Mt. Yufuin on the same trip, when I tried to pair it with an "adapted" Olympus 40-150 lens, that by itself is amazing when non-4/3-adapted.

What I had thought at first was an awesome idea to recycle great lenses from a camera I already had, didn't go so well, and I'm selling them all now along with the e-500 that the E-PL1 is replacing.

So I'm going to say that both systems suffer in the same respect, but your case is a bit worse in that Sony is lagging in putting out better native form factor lenses.

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 8:26:35 PM PST
A year after your comment, there are a lot of lenses available now. Does this change your review?
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