The Sony NEX-5N is probably my favorite photography gear for casual photography. The reason is simply because of the nice image quality and the compact size of the camera system. I have slowly accumulated a few lenses for this camera. I found I take this camera out with me more often than taking the Canon T1i. When I use the Sony NEX-5N, I sometimes find not having a viewfinder a bit of an inconvenience. There is something about using a viewfinder to frame a photo that is different from using the LCD screen on the back of a camera. I don’t think the Sony NEX-5N will ever replace a DSLR for me, but maybe getting the NEX-6 or NEX-7 might give me the extra viewfinder option when I need it.
The kit lens (SEL1855) is probably the most used lens of all the ones I have. It has a flexible zoom range (18mm to 55mm) and produces nice bokeh. The included lens hood is great for protecting the lens as well as shield off some stray light. The only complaint I have is that it is not the best at the low light condition as it is not a fast lens. At f3.5 to f5.6, it is best to use this lens during day time. For some sample photos taken with this lens, take a look at my Flickr set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamlau/sets/72157627832117851/
The 30mm f3.5 macro lens (SEL30M35), on the other hand, is probably the least used lens of the collection. I find I am not taking enough macro photography these days. The macro lens is quite slow in focusing and hunts a bit from time to time. However, the bokeh is very nice from this lens so I will have to try to use this more often. The other problem with macro photography without an optical viewfinder is that it is rather difficult to tell if the object is truly in focus from the LCD screen. Even though the Sony NEX-5N has a very high-resolution LCD (921k pixels), it is still very difficult to tell if the object is at its best focus especially the macro lens has a very narrow depth of field.
The 50mm f1.8 (SEL50F18) is my favorite lens of my collection. The wide aperture makes it great for night time photography. The lens is very sharp and produces very nice colour. For the price, it is definitely one of the best lenses for this camera system. I have yet to take more photos with this lens but for now, here are a few I uploaded to flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamlau/sets/72157631736125000/
Here it is with the included lens hood. Looks a lot more serious once the lens hood is attached!
The next lens I have is the 16mm f2.8 pancake lens (SEL16F28). There was a time when pancake lens was popular because of the compact size, but it is not why I bought this lens. It was pretty much the only option to have wide angle photography for this camera a year ago. I actually didn’t use this lens alone, but instead….
I added the Ultra Wide Converter (VCLECU1) to it to make it 0.75x wider. So the 16mm x 0.75 (convertor) x 1.5 (crop factor) gives me an effective 18mm focal length lens in the 35mm film format. That was the widest I could go without using the fisheye converter that gives a 0.62x conversion factor to give an effective 15mm focal length. Today you can get a 10-18mm zoom lens (SEL1018) from Sony to get the full 15-24mm equivalent focal length all in one lens. But it will burn a hole in your pocket at C$899.
The converter makes the lens not short anymore. One thing you might have to be aware of is you cannot mount a lens filter on the Ultra Wide Converter to protect it. The permanent hood helps to protect it a little but it is still possible to damage the glass element of the converter if you are not careful. Also, the converter can only be used with the SEL16F28 lens, it is not a small amount to pay for a wide angle setup with this camera system.
I will be posting photos taken using this lens here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamlau/sets/72157631907477049/
Of all these lenses I accumulated, I don’t have a long range zoom. The 55-210mm lens (SEL55210) is a pretty attractive option. I tried it at the Sony Store a few times. The only question I have is I am not sure if it focuses fast enough. Do you have it and how do you like it?