Why excellent cheap cameras annoy insecure folks

CanalJul13-02NEX 3N, 18-55 older NEX kit lens.

After I posted a review of the cheapest available NEX, the recently released 3N, mostly I received very positive feedbacks on both the review, and the camera itself. People actually owning it are enjoying how good, fun, and capable it is, especially at such an unpretentious price point, and place in the NEX line up (lowest bottom rung).

ClaireJul13-01Be kind. Zero make up, bed hair ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, I also got a couple of rather nasty comment about how 1) the review was boring because it featured pictures of kids and pets. 2) The 3N is a deeply flawed and uncapable camera, not suited to advanced user (that snobbish self righteousness again, lol). While everybody is totally free of not liking kid and pet images (personally street and flower photography, two very popular genres, bore me to tears, while HDR, another in vogue trend, makes me want to spit my guts) this is what this blog is made of. Tough shit, hey ๐Ÿ˜‰

MarlaAug13-06Criticizing the camera though, is unfair. This frame was made in the worst lighting conditions (short of a dark bar or club) that a NEX can face. Dim indoor arena, with crazy amounts of pure white sunlight pouring in from windows at random angles. In such conditions a fast lens greatly helps. Except here I was using, for convenience and versatility’s sake, the old black 18-55 kit zoom from the NEX 7 (weirdly enough I found it a tad better than the silver samples I had of the same model). And that’s a fairly slow lens (even if the aperture slows down much less quickly than it does on the hateful 16-50 powerzoom bundled with the 3N). So, dim light, slow lens, meaning as high ISO as the camera will go (3200). AND, if it weren’t tricky enough. Moving subjects. Not at top speed, not erratically, but moving nonetheless.

MarlaAug13-02Ok, so what do we get from the 3N ?

Well, first of all it does acquire focus in most cases. It does take its time and is *nowhere* near the fast performance of a recent m4/3 camera in this regard, but I missed very few shots. Then, we get freaking awesome DR and excellent color accuracy. And, last but not least, we get very acceptable noise levels with well preserved detail and sharpness. Not too pretty at 100% on a computer screen, but perfectly good enough for normal size prints or web display. And I didn’t do anything fancy. Auto ISO, Auto WB, A mode. Things might have been even better if I’d made the effort to use an adapted fast zoom (any good ol’ 28-70/2.8 would have helped greatly) and zone focused. But even using the 3N like any unknowing P&S upgrader would have, the results were still pretty sweet.

MarlaAug13-10Actually I’ve pondered getting a Canon mount 28-70/2.8 (the L version being absolutely wonderful) zoom and adapting it to NEX, but though it’s been discontinued and will not be supported by Canon if in need of repair, it still sells for hefty amounts of money. Which I’d rather invest in a Sony G fast zoom, if Sony ever gets to releasing one !!!

MarlaAug13-07I also made a couple of vids and they came out beautiful !

CanalJul13-05Another from the 18-55. Overcast day, enhanced in Snapseed.

MarlaAug13-03At this point I’d say Sony offers the best DR in the market.

MarlaAug13-09CanalJul13-03Snapseed again.

MarlaAug13-01The very lowest shutter speed that the 3N picked was 1/50th. Which is obviously a tad slow for moving targets, so I did have to dump a good deal of unsharp shots. Blurred from motion.

ClaireJul13-02PMThat flipping screen is indeed useful for selfies.

CanalJul13-04ClaireJul13-03PMNow I like the ability to do that !

CanalJul13-01PMIf you’re careful to underexpose the shadows *just* a tad (which DRO will lift up anyway) and expose to the right, then the 3N will grace you with very usable and well detailed highlights.

MarlaAug13-12And it you’re prissy about any high ISO noise, just deploy the built-in flash and bounce it off the ceiling (Manual mode here, I haven’t checked out TTL works, but I’d think it goes for 1/60th, which is too slow for freezing motion).

MarlaAug13-05Can’t wait to see how the next gen NEX combo is gonna face this challenge

MarlaAug13-08So some sad and ill spirited folks bitched about (defying any logic) the 3N is not for advanced users, and argued at the same time that ony a minority of people shot mostly Manual. Well obviously, this Manual shooting minority IS recruited among the most experienced users, not using the crutch of semi-auto modes. With the benefit of full time exposure preview, it’s not rocket science to put the camera on Manual, chose an ISO value, and just alter shutter speed by nudging the rear wheel until the LCD (with the histogram displayed if needed) shows proper exposure ? Any gripe about the UI is unfair, since the camera gives you instant access to Shooting Modes via the center button, whatever feature you judge the most vital tru the bottom soft key (WB in my case), and a generous array of SIX frequently used features by pressing the right handside of the thumbwheel. Indeed, this key, labelled “ISO”, might *not* impact ISO if you chose to assign it that ever useful quick menu function. OMG, what a tragedy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t let sad and insecure people put you off this excellent little camera. For a Fuji X or EM-5 shooter, the 3N must feel like almot an insult to the previous choice of how they chose to spend their hard earned money on MUCH more expensive bodies that don’t achieve must more (and in the case of m4/3, actually *less* in terms of IQ).ย Ouch, that hurts…

About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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5 Responses to Why excellent cheap cameras annoy insecure folks

  1. Laurent says:

    Well, the very reason I am following your blog is actually because you take pictures of kids and pets. Trying to learn from your experience, at least on the kid department.
    Nice review IMHO, although I suspect you might be a tiny bit biased toward the nexs (nexes?).

    I have seen that bridge before.

    • marla2008 says:

      Lol, sure, I am totally biased toward NEX, and admit to it, too. I just think despite their various flaws, quirks and annoyances, that I have bitched against vehemently ever since I started using them, they are also the best mirrorless option at that point. Despite all the hype NEX IQ is on par with Fuji X (may actually better it in DR for all I know), and head and shoulders above m4/3 (even the much touted E-M5, they’re not even in the same league). The DR is just unchallenged AFAIK, noise levels just a tad short of Fuji performance, and overall handling (at least on the 7) is brilliant. Not so fast AF speeds and terrible and continuing lack of good lenses are the two true issues with the system.

  2. Andrea Costa says:

    I don’ t understand the hate: you bought a camera, you learned how to use it, you made great images with it and so you love it. Deal done. Just a note: for me, it is not just a question of IQ, for that I still shoot with my medium format TLR…

    • marla2008 says:

      There’s no “hate” involved, just a wink at some slightly grumpy NEX shooter fellows. Some folks have deemed the 3N “crippled” and I beg to differ, there are excellent workarounds to the few external controls and particular UI. Again, zero hate, all the opposite just a lot of praise for an excellent little machine.

  3. Love the second shot

    1) Personal work is the photographer’s best work, and the most meaningful….shoot kids and pets all you want. Wait. Does that mean my photography bore you to tears??!!??? ๐Ÿ™‚
    2) It’s a great camera. Plastic. Screen is inferior, but great camera and can do g-r-e-a-t things with it. Get the Sony 16mm and you are in for FUN!!!

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