Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sony Alpha NEX-5N : Questioned

Is the Sony Alpha NEX-5N considered as four thirds or micro four thirds? From what I've read, the NEX was said to have a bigger sensor. As for lenses, does the NEX have its own or can I use a different one? (eg, Nikkor and other lenses) and lastly, if its not included in the four thirds category,  what is its advantages over them?

1. APS-C sensor is the same as with DSLR but mirrorless
2. It has its own E-Mount lens. There's a Sony adapter to use Sony Alpha mount lens and there's auto-focus
3. There is also an adapter for legacy lens
4. It all depends on where you're going to use it.

I will just give a slight correction to number 1 and give some answers on number 4. That number 1 statement is a generalization. A DSLR does not necessarily sport an APS-C sensor. It may sport a Four-Thirds sensor or a Full-Frame sensor or a Medium Format sensor. The difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless is the mirror box sported by DSLR cameras whereas the mirrorless obviously does not sport a mirror box, the sensor does not matter in this case.

As to whether the NEX series is a Four-Thirds camera or not, it is not part of the Four-Thirds consortium, and also not part of the Micro Four-Thirds consortium, therefore it is not a Four-Thirds or a Micro Four-Thirds camera.

The NEX sports a bigger APS-C sensor than the Four-Thirds sensor used on Micro Four-Thirds cameras. However with the recent help of Sony to provide new 16MP Four-Thirds sensors for the Olympus OM-D, E-PL5 and E-PM2 (and the Panasonic GH3 which is also rumored to use the 16 MP Four-Thirds Sony sensor), the performance difference in terms of DR and hi-ISO is minimal between the 16MP/24MP APS-C Sony sensor and the 16 MP Sony Four-Thirds sensor. The only apparent advantage of the 16/24 MP APS-C sensor is the better DR at base ISO, but from ISO 200 onwards, performance between the two sensors are pretty close.

As for the advantages, the APS-C sensor should provide around ~0.8 stop more shallower DOF than the Four-Thirds sensor. In return however, this results in a usually bigger lens than a similar Micro Four-Thirds lens due to the bigger imaging circle (with the exception of the 16mm f/2.8 pancake and 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake lens).

As for the cons of the NEX series compared to the Micro Four-Thirds series, the lens lineup is the apparent big disadvantage of the NEX. There are more lens choices for Micro Four-Thirds as of this time compared to the NEX series, and smaller lenses compared to the NEX series as well.

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