After my father past away this February, I have taken his NEX-5 not to be forgotten in a closet. As an option to my Nikon D750, it brings me back to the joy of mirrorless that I always loved about my Samsung cameras. Light weight, small size and discrete shooting. The last point is only discrete compared to my Nikon. The old Sony shutters have been damn loud even prior to the hunking clunking A7 and A7r.
We had planned a short trip to Maastricht without our kids this year. I decided to only take the Sony and three lenses and leave my big "gun" at home. The lenses I took were the 16mm f2.8 with the wide Adapter (changing it to 12mm), the first gen Sony 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 and a Minolta MD Rokkor 35mm f2.8 on a Zhongy focal reducer, thus retaining roughly the 35mm field of view on my APS-C Sony.
Most of the time I shot with the manual 35mm as it is a breeze to focus with peaking, even though the display on the old Sony is hard to see in direct sunlight and is much smaller, than I'm used to with my Nikon. At f2.8, speedboosted to about f2, the image is a little hazy but much less so, than I feared and from f4-f5.6 (f2.8-f4) onwards, it is clear and sharp in addition to the minolta colors, which have always been pleasing to my eye. A little bit like the desaturated, normal look, I got from my time with the Leica T.
Even with the 18-200mm beast on the small body, I enjoyed every bit of the carrying experience. I had forgotten how light those systems are in comparison to my DSLR. With the 16mm without the converter, the NEX-5 fits nicely in a small jacket or Hoodie pocket and dangeling from my Sunsniper I don't really notice it at all.
There are three elephants in the room when talking old Sony cameras: the menus, the autofocus and the image quality. The menus are as awfull as ever but when used only for vacation on the street, set to A and ISO to auto, it works perfectly fine. The details that I hate are that you have to go to the menus to change exposure compensation and that you have to choose a setting first, to move the focus point. On the streets of Maastricht though, I rarely had a problem with operational speed to be honest.
The autofocus isn't nearly as good as my D750 and struggles way earlier when the light goes down compared to my last Samsung cameras, which is no surprise. It worked perfectly usable in good light and as expected mediocre in bad light, which is something you can cope with on vacation.
The image quality is good enough, especially with modern editing software, in my case Lightroom 5 and Luminar 2018. It is noisier than my D750 and my last Samsung, the NX300m and the dynamic range isn't there either but it is perfectly usable and can create great images. It is a great time, we live in where an "old" camera with reasonable Software can perform great today!
Quick Notice! The jpgs are awfull and full of noise reduction. I do only shoot raw and would advice others to do the same.
This short trip really inspired me to use the Sony more in my daily life and has lightened the spark of love for mirrorless again.
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