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08-06-2013, 06:58 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Swings and Roundabouts: NEX-6 and X-E1 operation comparison

After a week with the NEX-6 and 16-50, and a weekend with the X-E1 and 18-55 (upgraded firmware), here are a few thoughts on how these cameras support my mode of operation. I'd love to give examples from both, but that will have to wait until I have RAW support (later this week)!

I have an NEX-5n, and a Fuji F600 EXR, and have previously owned a Fuji GA645. The NEX is my travel/ carry everywhere camera, and I was looking for something compact but fully functional. I did consider the OM-D, but feel the high ISO is not quite there (also no built-in flash). Also considered the Samsung NX series, but the high ISO performance, and lack of an Evf in the smaller bodies made me pause.

Things I found to be the same;
= The Evf makes it more of a camera for me again (don't get me wrong, I still use the rear screen).
= The X-E1 now has peaking, so that makes both cameras easier to focus with MF lenses.
= AEL button can be configured to magnified view, which is great for using adapted lenses (once set to MF, the X-E1 “press” setting on the rear dial is also similar).
= Coming from the 5n, I thought I would miss the touch screen. Not so. Better external controls on both bodies. Focus point selection is the only exception to this rule.
= The on/off collar switch.
= “Bounce” flash using inbuilt unit.
= Both save RAW images impressively quick.
= (joint bad) Both cameras take a long time to charge.

NEX-6 pros;
+ Smaller, more compact body, good for prime usage.
+ Very fast focus with PD-AF.
+ Nice EVF and good eye cup. Fast refresh rate.
+” DMF” focus with manual focus/magnified view over-ride to check AF.
+ Top and mode dial make sense, much less menu diving.
+ FN button more accessible, less menu diving.
+ Flip screen – miss this on the X-E1.
+ Video options are better (however feel the output when judged apples for apples is that Fuji is better though).

Cons;
- RAW output is great, but jpgs not in the same league as the X-E1.
- Flimsy feeling screen construction, and screen is in line with hot shoe – difficult to move when camera on tripod.
- Menus still very counter-intuitive at times.
- The central soft key cannot be configured – step down from the 5n.
- The Sigma 30mm is still very slow to start up and wake ~2 seconds to do so.
- Can't configure auto-ISO settings (set at 100-3200). 1/60 default though – suits me.
- No dedicated wall charger for the battery.

X-E1 pros;
+ Logical “classical” layout, only one or two button presses at most for menu items, direct controls for many functions.
+ No pinky off the bottom - all fingers fit on the body and into grip indentations (grip itself not as comfortable/secure as NEX though).
+ Film simulations and jpg quality. Unreal. I'm very impressed.
+ 2 stop estimated high ISO gain (I'm aware that this is probably 1 stop due to measured vs manufacturer ISO). Well exposed 6400 jpg acceptable.
+ In-camera raw conversion. I use it a lot (as I do on my K-7).
+ Q menu. Works.


Cons;
- Can't check focus in magnified view if shutter is half pressed (this may be due to AF/AE lock).
- Some lagging and “tearing” when panning using EVF
- Definitely a shorter battery life.
- No direct movie button.
- Not as fast AF (but closer than you would read, and more than adequate for all except fast moving objects).
- No time lapse option (although have to investigate cable release options using USB port).
- Occasional failure to acquire focus at far distances.
- 2.8” monitor (resolution OK though).
- Charger is compact, but bundled with long lead.

For me though, the elephant in the room is (mainly) the lenses.
I had the NEX for a week, and it was a nice, solid little camera that is capable of nice output.

However, I was reaching for my wife's MD Minolta glass and the sigma 30mm much of the time. Which is not what I want to be doing during my limited off travel time when off on business (your YMMV).

The 16-50 is sharp in the centre, and it was nice to have 24mm equiv back, however, the lens is completely under-designed, and the black corners are plain to see (mount the lens on an unsupported body like the 5n, shake the NEX-6 while the lens is attached, or look at the EVF when starting up to see how bad). Blurriness on the edge of the frame is pretty obvious. Corrections are all very well, but also have implications on the final output. This put me off. So what were the options for zooms? The 18-55 (which I have). Solid enough lens, but with sharpness issues at tele, and definite distortion at wide. Nothing else.

Contrast this with Fuji. As it turns out, a very nice f2.8-4 stabilised “kit” lens that is very sharp, has nice colours, and reasonable flare resistance. Yes it does weigh 300g, but the 18-55 F3.5-5.6NEX weighs a shade over 200g. It has aperture stops on the lens (not marked), and an electronic distance scale/DOF is built into the camera body. The downside ~$500 extra to the price (both bodies are essentially now the same price in Canada).

I hummed and hawed for a few days, and then considered what what I would need to spend for a 2.8 or f4 lens, and would remain compact, and apart from the OM-D with a 12-35 (much more expensive), I couldn't come up with anything.

The other part of the equation is the output and the processing. Having very good output (especially dynamic range) and excellent native Jpgs makes it easy to forget about the camera, and take photos.

Long story short, I went in and exchanged the NEX for an X-E1. I am very happy (I am sure my credit card company is also).

Hope this helps anyone else trying to make the same decision. Comments welcome.

08-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
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This is very helpful, thanks!
08-06-2013, 09:16 PM   #3
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Thanks. I love my NEX 6, but I do have Fuji-envy. All of their lenses are good. Nex is developing better lenses, but it's slow going. The G standard zoom is supposedly going to be announced soon, and a 50-150/2.8(4). I really felt the bug when they had that awesome sale a few months back.
08-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
2 stop estimated high ISO gain
Fuji demosaic procedure includes NR. This means the further NR procedures won't be as effective as ones on NEX-6 files (and Fuji ISOs are inflated indeed). In reality there will be no difference between Fuji and NEX in high ISO department other than bad color signature of XTrans camera
My X-E1 vs D7100 High ISO comps: Fujifilm X System / SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

08-07-2013, 04:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
This is very helpful, thanks!
Welcome!

QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Thanks. I love my NEX 6, but I do have Fuji-envy. All of their lenses are good. Nex is developing better lenses, but it's slow going. The G standard zoom is supposedly going to be announced soon, and a 50-150/2.8(4). I really felt the bug when they had that awesome sale a few months back.
TBH, I think the NEX system could be killing DSLRs right now if they thought better about the higher end lenses for enthusiasts, as the bodies are so accessible costwise. I wonder what those G lenses are going to cost, though... I'm certainly not going to rule out going the other way (especially if the Jpgs get better). I guess Sony has to protect it's own SLT line and high cost lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
Fuji demosaic procedure includes NR. This means the further NR procedures won't be as effective as ones on NEX-6 files (and Fuji ISOs are inflated indeed). In reality there will be no difference between Fuji and NEX in high ISO department other than bad color signature of XTrans camera
My X-E1 vs D7100 High ISO comps: Fujifilm X System / SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Your dpreview posts were actually the indication I had that the ISO was overstated. I made the comment mainly with respect to jpgs, but respect your RAW tests.
I'm still learning how Fuji makes it's exposures, but think that as the output is designed for the DR Auto setting, the camera is natively underexposing to account for this, and pulling up the output. The base noise profile of the sensor must be very low though, as the output is wonderful.

I respectfully disagree on the colour profile - I haven't shot any test setups, but I find the NPH film to be quite accurate, if somewhat saturated due to increased contrast. It looks great on prints!

Last edited by Clarkey; 08-07-2013 at 04:15 AM. Reason: Can't spell, apparently.
08-14-2013, 01:02 AM   #6
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I have the 5n which I use occasionally with the 16-50 powerzoom. I love the small package oif that combo, but the tradeoff is IQ with that lens. The 18-55 was much better, but still only "ok" to "good". When I use my Pentax or Olympus glass with it, especially the primes, it really shines. I am interested to see what the new 16-70, which is set to be announced soon, will offer. I think it will be a G series lens, so expecting a big step up from the kit lenses. Hopefully the size will be attractive. All in all, I love the NEX and just the endless possibilities of lenses makes it even more attractive to me as I dont feel like a slave to any one specific system.

Jason

edit: check that, looks like the new zoom will be a Zeiss: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr5-sony-will-soon-announce-the-zeiss-16-70mm-f4-0-e-mount-lens/

Last edited by Jasvox; 08-14-2013 at 07:34 AM.
08-14-2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
I have the 5n which I use occasionally with the 16-50 powerzoom. I love the small package oif that combo, but the tradeoff is IQ with that lens. The 18-55 was much better, but still only "ok" to "good". When I use my Pentax or Olympus glass with it, especially the primes, it really shines. I am interested to see what the new 16-70, which is set to be announced soon, will offer. I think it will be a G series lens, so expecting a big step up from the kit lenses. Hopefully the size will be attractive. All in all, I love the NEX and just the endless possibilities of lenses makes it even more attractive to me as I dont feel like a slave to any one specific system.

Jason

edit: check that, looks like the new zoom will be a Zeiss: (SR5) Sony will soon announce the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4.0 E-mount lens! | sonyalpharumors
Oh my.... Just that lens with the zoom range of 16-70 might just be the one lens that will push me off the edge and adopt a Sony system!

08-14-2013, 09:15 PM   #8
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The Zeiss zoom lens is estimated to cost ~$1000. It had better be very good, better than the new Sigma 17-70 2.8-4($499), though it doesn't have to be with the Zeiss logo on it . It's still good news though.
08-18-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
Also considered the Samsung NX series, but the high ISO performance, and lack of an Evf in the smaller bodies made me pause.
That's too bad you decided against Samsung. I got a Samsung NX20 for $389 and scored a used 20-50mm lens for $40. This lens got a very good review on photozone, and they said that optically it's one of the best mirrorless zooms they've tested. I have gotten great shots with it. You can't beat that combination for the $429 I spent!

I also bought a new 45mm f1.8 (which has very pleasing bokeh) and plan on eventually getting their exceptional 85mm f1.4 (also nice bokeh) when I save enough pennies.

NX20 pros:
Long battery life
Superb EVF, I often forget it's not optical.
Lens selections are excellent and cheap as not a lot of users compete in bidding wars (hence the low price I scored the lens for).
Fast autofocus
Image quality (20MP)
Flip out screen
Super lightweight
Looks like a small DSLR
WiFi built in for instant emailing of photos

Cons:
Long write times using RAW
Lots of menus to scroll through when you want to change options

I don't shoot higher than iso 1600 and those shots have been fine for me, so I do not list the iso performance as a con for me. If I want high ISO shots, I'll just grab my Nikon.

If the NX30 comes out and improves the RAW write times, I don't think you'll find a better mirrorless camera out there, but for the price and quality, you won't find better than the NX20 at this price. I don't shoot action or a lot of frames per second, so the write times have not been an issue for me while shooting, it's just a little annoying when I want to quickly review a shot I just took and it's still writing to the card. I expect to have this camera a long time.

Last edited by K-9; 08-18-2013 at 04:35 PM.
08-18-2013, 06:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-9 Quote
That's too bad you decided against Samsung. I got a Samsung NX20 for $389 and scored a used 20-50mm lens for $40. This lens got a very good review on photozone, and they said that optically it's one of the best mirrorless zooms they've tested. I have gotten great shots with it. You can't beat that combination for the $429 I spent!

I also bought a new 45mm f1.8 (which has very pleasing bokeh) and plan on eventually getting their exceptional 85mm f1.4 (also nice bokeh) when I save enough pennies.

NX20 pros:
Long battery life
Superb EVF, I often forget it's not optical.
Lens selections are excellent and cheap as not a lot of users compete in bidding wars (hence the low price I scored the lens for).
Fast autofocus
Image quality (20MP)
Flip out screen
Super lightweight
Looks like a small DSLR
WiFi built in for instant emailing of photos

Cons:
Long write times using RAW
Lots of menus to scroll through when you want to change options

I don't shoot higher than iso 1600 and those shots have been fine for me, so I do not list the iso performance as a con for me. If I want high ISO shots, I'll just grab my Nikon.

If the NX30 comes out and improves the RAW write times, I don't think you'll find a better mirrorless camera out there, but for the price and quality, you won't find better than the NX20 at this price. I don't shoot action or a lot of frames per second, so the write times have not been an issue for me while shooting, it's just a little annoying when I want to quickly review a shot I just took and it's still writing to the card. I expect to have this camera a long time.
The Samsung lenses are indeed good, and in general I agree that the system is currently very good value for the money. I picked up an NX20 and had a look and if I had to replace my SLR I would really consider it as it is a mature product.

I (currently) find myself reaching for a single lens solution more often that not, and that is the main reason I went with the 18-55. Prime lens-wise I agree all of the available systems (especially micro 4/3) have matured and have a lot to offer. Fuji is quite pricey in that regard.

I am still keeping my 70mm and 15mm and hope like heck that Ricoh/Pentax will introduce a compact body with an EVF so that I can use them to their full capacity!
09-02-2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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X-E1 Images

All right. So here goes with some OOC Jpgs from the Fuji X-E1. The most I have done with them is shoot raw and process in camera. I have now gotten LR 5, but have not yet started into looking into Raw processing. I will do so, but looks like the learning curve will take me in different directions. The base sharpness of the images is very high compared to my K-7.

Other thoughts are that I really like the B&W that the camera can do, am enjoying having a "fast standard" zoom again and really like the hands-on controls - the focus may not be the quickest, but changing settings is easy and does not take your eye from the finder.

These pictures were taken at Awenda provincial park after a lot of rain!


















Last edited by Clarkey; 09-02-2013 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Edit: Flickr niggles.
09-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #12
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Can anyone verify whether they can see the pics?
09-02-2013, 05:50 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
Can anyone verify whether they can see the pics?
Can't see them.
09-02-2013, 07:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Can't see them.
Thanks! Fixed.
09-04-2013, 07:15 PM - 1 Like   #15
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NEX-6 Examples

And now some NEX-6 examples. A mix of OOC jogs and processed Raws. I'm still very new on LR5, so go easy on me.... Lot of learning going on right now.

JPGS












RAWs











Last edited by Clarkey; 09-04-2013 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Remove IMG tags.
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