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Nex or micro four thirds

Discussion in 'Ask B&H Photo' started by alanmushnick, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. alanmushnick

    alanmushnick New Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    I do mostly general family and travel photography. my daughter has become a bit of a camera bug and does some macro stuff, but with the kit lens on the nikon d40.
    we are interested in a smaller camera, but can't decide on the micro 4/3 or sony nex type.
    which camera is best for an enthusiast?
    what is the best low light hybrid?
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Tough call. The NEX has a larger sensor, and hence, better low light capabilities if we are focusing solely on the sensor of the camera. However, m4/3 is a more developed system, and the choices for lens are much more abundant. Moreover, m4/3 has at least one super fast native lens in the Panasonic 20/1.7. Using the excellent 20/1.7 lens allows a m4/3 user to use lower ISO's on a situation in which the NEX user may have to bump up the ISO because the fastest native NEX lens is the 16/2.8. There are only three NEX lenses in the market so far with a macro lens arriving in the near future. There are over a dozen m4/3 lenses in the market. Ultimately, I'd buy the camera from a place with excellent return policies, and try it out yourself. It may come down to a decision based on ergonomics and how the camera(s) fits in your hand. Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. pictor

    pictor All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    The NEX has the better sensor, especially the new NEX which will be available in August. But the best sensor won't help, if there are not enough lenses. Compared to the NEX, there are a lot of lenses available for µ4/3. There are lenses which are faster. The f/1.7 of the Panasonic 20mm is much faster than the fastest native lens for the NEX which overcompensates the advantage of the Sony sensor in low light by far.

    One does not buy only a camera, but one decides for a whole system. µ4/3 is older and thus offers more cameras, which differ enough from each other to offer the right camera for nearly everyone, and there are many lenses, whose quality is very high. I don't think, there is even one bad native lens for µ4/3, although there are some jewels and some lenses which are just very good. Since you mentioned macro photography, there is a macro lens for µ4/3 and some other for 4/3 which can be used with an adapter (such that even AF works). Sony has announced one, too, but I don't consider 30mm a good choice for a macro lens for an APS-C sensor. To be honest, it is nearly useless for most serious macro work apart from reprophotography. It should have been at least 60mm.

    But at the end of the day one has to buy the camera which fits ones individual needs best.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Chuck-B&H

    Chuck-B&H B&H Photo Specialist

    Aug 5, 2010
    New York

    Not sure why you would not want to get a Macro lens for the D40. Shooting situations like close up photography require good viewing and the optical viewfinder that an SLR has is superior to the LCD on any mirror less camera.

    You are correct, the 4/3rd's family has more lens because it's been around longer. Sony's NEX system is new and has an adapter to use all Alpha mount lens. One nice feature is the larger APS-C sensor size compared to the smaller 4/3.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. BillN

    BillN Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    my G1 with the 20mm f1.7 always amazes me - it is a far far better camera than I am a photographer

    I also find using Nikon, Canon, Leica and other MF lenses with the G1 to be very enjoyable

    I have always liked the swivel screen idea plus the EVF is always useful

    ? "what is the best low light hybrid" - buy a used EP-1 body to add to the M43 versatility, (it is almost pocketable), and use the 20/1.7 and you have the in cam Oly IS to help and you rarely need a flash

    ? "Macro stuff" - used MF Micro Nikkor P Auto 55mm f3.5 - bargain price

    If I were to buy another camera, (excepting the M9 - OK, OK, I know - I know - but I would really like one), I would go for another M43
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Pelao

    Pelao All-Pro

    Jul 11, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I suspect it's unhelpful to say so, but you really can't go wrong with either Nex or any of the M4/3 candidates.

    I recommend that you have a good look at the Pansonic G3. It is small, well made, the image quality will meet your needs and it is very, very versatile.
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 3, 2010
    I disagree. I've owned two DSLRs with better optical viewfinders than most DSLRs, a Canon 5D and a Nikon D700, and neither was as convenient or precise for focusing a macro as the articulated LCD on my Panasonic G1/GH1/GH2 cameras. They were also inferior to the EVF on those Panasonic cameras for that purpose (focusing macro) in my experience.

    As for the original question, it's a tough one. Right now I think Micro 4/3 is better for most enthusiasts because of the better lens selection. It's also a more compact system when you consider lens size.
  8. Janis

    Janis Regular

    Nov 22, 2010
    Central Texas
    Pelao is right, they are both very good. But I use the EPL-1 much less than the NEX5 due to better image quality in low light. The NEX wins hands down in that department. However, I really miss that little pop-up flash on the EPL-1, the (accessory) viewfinder, and the great Olympus colors. You should just go to a store and handle some of these cameras, and preferably take a camera card with you for test shots. If you're going to shoot jpg it's hard to beat Olympus.
  9. The most underated mu-43 is the Panasonic G1. For close up or critical focus/composition it is great. I use my GF-1 /20mm combo a lot for size reasons, but when I get my G1 out I realize what a neat outfit it is. Especially like it with the 45-200 lens.

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