The Best Compact System Camera?

Having used the GX-1 during my Florida trip it was quite evident that there were a few flaws with the system. I wanted a Compact System Camera (CSC) with a built in viewfinder as I used this nearly all of the time and the bump that was the viewfinder on the GX-1 created wasn’t the best idea. I looked at the Panasonic G3 but this was almost a step backwards, the GH2 is (was?) long overdue for a replacement and the G5 hadn’t been announced when I was looking at the cameras.

Just prior to the trip, I had a NEX-7 system but there were some big gaps in the lens line-up, I had had a 55-210mm lens on order for many months but I could not get one of these lenses except from a few merchants that were charging extortionate amounts. This was why I let the kit that I had built up go – this was a mistake particularly when I realised that for holidays you want a one lens system most of the time and Sony already had an 18-200mm lens (albeit quite large).

So not long after I got back I sold the Panasonic GX-1 camera and lenses and purchased a Sony NEX-7 with 18-55 black zoom lens from the local London Camera Exchange, they did me a good deal.

You can read some of my initial thoughts about the NEX-7 in the following posts:
Lincoln and Photo Optics Show here.
Sony Day at London Camera Exchange – Lincoln here.

I also ordered the Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Zoom Lens – Black (SEL18200LE) and a Samyang 8mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC Fish-eye Lens (Black) from UK Digital:

I must admit that the 18-200 pretty much lives on the NEX-7 as my go to lens and only telephoto lens that I have <55mm. This is the newer version that some say is a re-badged Tamron, I don't really care about this as the quality of the images I get is great and being a black lens it looks really nice on the NEX-7 too.

I haven't used the Samyang as much as I would like to but this really helps with the wide-angle shots and it's a really well made lens with manual focusing and manual aperture selection too.

Next I added the SEL30M35 as this is a nice (good quality not excellent) lens for shooting things really close up. It isn't really suitable for shooting wildlife such as butterflies unless the aren't moving too much and are not spooked by being a bit close:

At the same time I also purchased a lens from a company that I thought could not make decent lenses (well not consistently anyway). The Sigma 19mm f2.8 EX DN lens:

I have to say that I am amazed about how good the Sigma lens is. This is only made better by the low cost of the lens (around £169 or less). Both the Macro and the Sigma were purchased from WEX Photographic.

My most recent acquisition (from LCE in Lincoln) was the SEL50F18 50mm f1.8 lens with OSS; this is a fantastic lens and can show the true potential of the NEX-7’s sensor:

I have also purchased a few accessories such as lens caps, spare viewfinder eyepieces, etc and also a Kata DR-466i Digital Rucksack to hold the entire kit from Amazon:

The entire kit weighs less than the D3S and one lens, it takes up less weight and performs about 95% of what I used the D3S for. Can the NEX-7 replace a D3S? No it cannot, but for the pictures that I take it comes really close – but my back is thanking me for the reduction in weight and the NEX system is only going to get better.

I have also just got hold of the SEL24F18Z – Sony 24mm f1.8 Zeiss NEX lens, this has been a difficult lens to obtain:

This lens is really going to allow the 24MP sensor on the NEX-7 to shine. I shall be using this lens to do some shooting this weekend and we’ll see what it can do.

Sony have announced a whole bunch of cameras, lenses and accessories today – I will talk about some of these items in a separate post.


One thought on “The Best Compact System Camera?

  1. Richard

    Its now getting the lens needed to make it a viable system. Looking forward to trying the NEX-6. Looking forward to what else is announced for Photokina, come on Nikon update the V1 with decent controls and Leica come out with a Budget M body for us with some Leica glass, if not people are going to buy Fuji X1Pro, and Sony NEX with adapters.

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