Of all third-party lens manufacturers, Korean Samyang was the first to launch a new lens lineup for the recently announced Sony A7 and A7R full-frame cameras. There are five of them – as many as Sony announced themselves, but unlike the Zeiss lenses these were not specifically designed for mirrorless cameras. Rather, they are tweaked Samyang prime lenses designed for the most popular DSLR systems and are also known as Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar and Pro-Optic.
It has been a little over a year since Sony announced world’s first fixed lens 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sony RX1. Shortly after, Sony released another version of the same camera without an anti-aliasing filter and gave it a slightly different name – Sony RX1R, similar to what Nikon did with the D800 and the D800E. And with Sony’s hard push on the NEX-series cameras, we thought that it was a matter of time until Sony announces a full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera system. Back in 2012, we predicted that Sony would release a full-frame camera in 2013 and it seems like our predictions were indeed true. Today is a very exciting day for the world of photography, because Sony has just announced world’s first full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera with autofocus capabilities. Sony is shaking up the industry once again with a breakthrough product that will lead the way for others in the future. Some might say that this is the beginning of the end of DSLRs. Read on to see what we think.
This is an in-depth review of the Sony NEX-7 mirrorless camera that was released on August 24, 2011, so this is obviously a long delayed review that I have not had a chance to publish due to time constraints. I decided to finish it up and get the review published before the highly anticipated full-frame Sony A7 and A7r are announced later this week. The Sony NEX-7 is considered to be the top of the line NEX-series camera, with the highest resolution 24 MP APS-C sensor, built-in OLED electronic viewfinder, tilt-screen, three dial interface and the highest price tag in the line. In this review, I will go over the features and capabilities of the camera and compare it to other mirrorless options, including the Olympus OM-D E-M5, Canon EOS M and other Sony NEX cameras.
Along with the two new lenses and a black version of the E 50mm f/1.8 OSS, Sony has also introduced two new mirrorless cameras. One of them might make it to our list of new old products, as the NEX-5T adds very little over its predecessor and is more of a mild refresh than a new model. At this point, I would be slightly annoyed at Sony for reasons already discussed, but the second camera might just attract enough attention for NEX-5T barely to be noticed at all. In a strange and bold move, Sony has introduced the A3000 – a mirrorless camera with Sony E mount that looks like a DSLR.
Sony has just announced two impressive new zoom lenses for its NEX cameras and a black version of its current Zeiss 50mm f/1.8 lens. The first of the two lenses is a Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm f/4 OSS designed by Zeiss. The second zoom lens has an even more impressive focal length range of 18-105mm whilst also sticking to f/4 aperture throughout and being optically stabilized. Both new lenses instantly make Sony NEX compact system cameras that much more attractive to serious amateurs and enthusiasts.
1) Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS Lens Overview
The new Zeiss lens is designed for APS-C sensor cameras and features a 24-105mm full-frame equivalent focal length. This is the first lens in this class for APS-C cameras that also has a constant f/4 aperture throughout the zoom range. And you know what? Finally. Much older APS-C DSLR systems lack important lenses with similar parameters, not to mention a number of primes. Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR DX instantly springs to mind – it is very capable, but the slow variable aperture leaves something to be desired. The addition of the Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 OSS lens makes the whole NEX system quite a bit more inviting to serious photographers unwilling to sacrifice versatility and quality over small size. If Sony keeps up with such serious lenses, it is well on its way to providing both.
As you would expect from Zeiss, 16-70mm f/4 OSS has lens coatings to minimize flare and aspherical and ED glass elements. Lens barrel is, traditionally, made of metal and should feel very solid.
Most photographers, whether professional or amateur, as much as they love their photographic gear, loathe the notion of lugging around tons of heavy equipment. What’s the solution, you may ask? Well, some would say, “why don’t you get a portable point-n‐shoot”, or “invest in one of those smaller mirrorless cameras”. Others disagree amusingly and grab their bulky DSLR with a smug on their face!
You might have found yourself in one of those tricky scenarios, where you really wanted to carry your bulky camera and yet you wished it was a few pounds lighter, a tad bit smaller but still gave you pleasing results. Thanks to technology whiz-kids in the camera land, we have had a ﬂurry of compact cameras being introduced recently that oﬀer plenty of bells & whistles to satisfy even the most demanding consumer / prosumer, and professionals alike for their speciﬁc needs. Having said that, I admit these cameras may not entirely deliver quality that rivals pro level DSLR’s yet it’s suﬃce to say they pack quite a punch for intended purposes.
For quite some time now photography enthusiasts have been very eager to know what Carl Zeiss has in store for Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount cameras. Ever since the legendary optics manufacturer announced that it will be making autofocus lenses for the two mirrorless camera systems, they’ve never stopped receiving requests for more details on their blog. What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, the only photographers able to enjoy autofocus Carl Zeiss lenses were Sony Alpha and NEX users. The rest of the world had to make do with manual focus lens lineup. Carl Zeiss has been known for their extremely high quality optics for many decades, but avoided implementing AF motors, which many consider an essential in a modern lens. DSLR shooters are still left wanting, but Sony NEX and Fujifilm X series owners will now have a chance to enjoy possibly some of the sharpest optics around (assuming CZ lives up to its name).
The new CZ Touit Lenses
Carl Zeiss states that “Touit” (that’s how the line is named) is designed to take full advantage of the size potential offered by APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras. The new lenses are designed to be much more compact than their SLR counterparts. I, for one, am very glad to see such an initiative. We are yet to see if what Carl Zeiss promises turns out to be true. Fujifilm has been doing a pretty good job at keeping its lenses reasonably small, but quite a few Sony NEX lenses are rather large and feel poorly balanced when mounted on minuscule NEX cameras.
Following Nikon’s announcement of the D7100 DSLR, Sony introduced a new SLT camera, called A58, along with their newest entry-level mirrorless offering, NEX-3N. As before, Sony is pushing a lot of innovative, consumer-friendly features into both cameras to attract customers. Not having all that much pedigree as a camera maker (at least when it comes to DSLR or, in their case, DSLT), features and numbers is their surest way of shifting attention of a potential buyer away from better-known camera manufacturers, such as Canon, Nikon and, perhaps, even Pentax.
1) Sony SLT-A58
The new SLT-A58 is a replacement for two older Sony cameras, A37 and A57, which is a good thing – I’ve always found they had too many models not that different in their positioning. Luckily for current Sony users and temptingly for potential new ones, however, the camera fitted with the usual 18-55mm kit lens will cost around $600, which is on par with Nikon’s lowest-end D3200 camera (while on $100 rebate program). Mind you, on paper, SLT-A58 is no slouch against its competitors.
This is an in-depth review of the Sony NEX-6 mirrorless camera that was released on September 12, 2012 during the Photokina event, along with three lenses for NEX cameras: Sony 10-18mm f/4, Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 and Sony 35mm f/1.8. Just like the Sony NEX-5R that we reviewed last year, the NEX-6 also comes with WiFi capability and the new hybrid autofocus system, offering both phase and contrast detect for quicker focus acquisition and accuracy. The camera is the first from the NEX series that offers a real PASM control dial, along with an ISO standard hot shoe for triggering on and off-camera flash. In this review, I will go over the features and capabilities of the camera and compare it to other mirrorless options, including the Nikon 1 J2, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Canon EOS M and other Sony NEX series cameras.
Back in September, just after major Sony announcements, we predicted an upcoming full-frame Sony NEX mirrorless camera. We are not usually ones to speculate and spread rumors, but this time evidence was rather convincing. First of all, NEX-VG900 35mm sensor camcorder, the first of its kind, was launched. As it packs NEX E mount we now know it’s compatible with full-frame image circle. This cleared out any technical reasons why a large sensor NEX would be out of question. Secondly, with the launch of latest NEX-6 camera, Sony decided to specifically write “APS-C” on the front of the camera, something they have never done before. And the only reason for such an indication we can think of is the existence of a larger or smaller sensor. Now, a smaller than APS-C size sensor doesn’t make all that much sense, of course, and recently many other photography websites have been reporting rumors of the upcoming full-frame Sony NEX camera.
Of course, it’s hard to say for sure. We can only guess it will be a sort of a merge between Sony NEX-7 and RX1 full-frame compact camera. Expect 1080p/60 video, 24 or more megapixels, great screen and small size despite the large sensor. Hopefully it will have a hybrid AF combining both contrast- and phase-detect systems. And please, please let it have a good EVF! RX1 would have been it for many photographers if it wasn’t for the silly and irrational omission of a viewfinder, be it an optical one or an EVF.