Sunny, 25 Degrees, Light East Wind.
With the bright sunshine today, photography was always going to be marginal, so I used the day to experiment with shooting Jimmy with my compact interchangeable lens camera, a Sony NEX 7. This is a high end camera that cost a pretty penny when I bought it several years ago. It’s an incredibly cool little camera. It is tiny, high resolution, has really cool and flexible controls, and tiny lenses that make it effortless to carry.
Unfortunately, I find it to be a virtually useless camera. The small lenses are fixed focal length wide angle lenses, not a very flexible or useful choice. There is a medium focal length zoom, but I don’t have it. I have a slightly larger fixed focal length 50mm lens, which has a little more reach, but still offers no zoom for flexibility or handy framing. I have a wide range pretty long zoom lens for it, but it is way too big for the tiny camera and eliminates most of the compact easy to use pleasure of a small camera.
Worse of all is the electronic viewfinder. It is very contrasty and unnatural looking. It makes seeing what you’re shooting virtually impossible, especially in a high contrast situation such as a sunny day. With my DSLR I see a crisp, clear image that tells you exactly what the photograph will turn out like. It’s the thing that lets you visualize your image and it’s the thing that draws you into the photograph. It’s not there on the Sony. You can use the back display on the camera in low or moderate light, but it’s useless in the outdoors on a sunny day, so you’re stuck with the terrible viewfinder.
On top of that, the auto-focus is pretty slow, so shooting a fast-moving subject like Jimmy is marginally effective at best. I’ll see how it worked when I edit photos later today. I’m sure I got some things, but not what I would have gotten with the faster DSLR.
So, all in all, it was fun to mess with the camera in preparation for my walk today, but I feel like the camera is a failure, at least for me. I’m sure there are situations where the camera would be good, but shooting outdoors at a fast-moving subject is not it.
These compact interchangeable lens cameras have been all the rage for years now. They have been touted in the camera magazines as the future of photography, and as a legitimate replacement for the big bulky DSLRs. The digital viewfinder was raved over by the camera magazines and full page ads tout professional photographers who are switching to these small cameras. In my opinion thats a complete crock of you know what. This camera is not even close.
With all that said, I really should sell the darned thing. It’s probably still worth some money, especially with the three lenses I have for it. But oddly, I still cling to the dream of a tiny camera that is technically sophisticated, takes high resolution pictures and can fit in a coat pocket. Only with the tiny wide angle lens, by the way.
I even want to buy the latest versions of this camera (though I have no intention of doing so) that offer full frame sensors for even better image quality. How can that be? I know it will still suck to use and I could never use it for serious photography. If the viewfinder could match a DSLR, I would do it in a heartbeat. If it could match the resolution of my Canon 5ds, which I don’t believe they can. So, it’s a lost cause, at least until they accomplish all that.
Maybe they will one day. In fact, they probably will, but I don’t think they’re there yet or even close.