New camera test

by Raymond Rundelli April. 09, 2017 1041 views

An upcoming trip to Europe, part business and part pleasure, resulted in a re-examination of the family camera "situation."  In 2009, both my wife and I got new cameras, she a new Nikon D40 with kit lens, and me a used Nikon D70 with kit lens.  In the intervening years I migrated to m4/3 mirrorless due to size and weight considerations and she kept the Nikon D40, though for the last couple of years she has relied almost exclusively on her iPhone for social and travel photography.  Because I will be tied up on business for the first portion of the trip, she felt the need for a camera but was hesitant to bring the Nikon because it was so big and heavy in comparison to her iPhone.  I was leaning toward bringing my Olympus and the 12-40mm 2.8 -- the same combo I took to Italy in 2015.  We considered simply bringing both of my cameras but the reality is with my current lens set, the Olympus was not much lighter or smaller than the Nikon and the Fuji is limiting in that it is a fixed focal length.  Never one to miss a consumer electronics purchase opportunity, I suggested we get her something newer and smaller than the D40 -- which ironically in 2009 was one of the smallest APS-C sensor size cameras available.  This would open the door for me to leave the Olympus at home and bring my recently acquired Fuji x100T instead.  While the Oly and 12-40 did a great job in Italy -- some of the indoor low light photography opportunities left me wanting for a sub-2.8 aperture option.  The Fuji, with its f/2 lens and APS-C sensor, could just be the solution.  It didn't take me long to find something to replace the Nikon that would work for both of us on the upcoming trip and into the future -- the insanely small Sony a5000 with the retractable kit 16-50mm lens.  I got a good deal on it -- actually the same price I paid for her Nikon in 2008 -- and a sale of the Nikon offset nearly 40% of the cost.  It is simple to operate, has two excellent "auto" modes but still offers me the level of control over exposure and other settings that I have grown used to with the Oly and Fuji albeit less directly.  And the Sony with lens and my Fuji will together fit in the same small bag that used to carry the Oly and 12-40 in!  The only thing that caused me to hesitate about the Sony was the mixed reputation and reviews of the sharpness and distortion of the Sony kit lens.  So out I went today to start to put the Sony through my test routine.  I like to test my new equipment against familiar subject matter, so I went to nearby Punderson State Park and took some photos of one of my favorite gargoyles (the subject of at least one prior post here) and some landscape shots of the lake.  While I need to do more testing, the initial results suggest the Sony and kit lens will work out just fine.  Here is a portrait of the gargoyle, @32mm (efov 48mm), f/11, 1/250, ISO 100, -0.70 ev.

Gargoyle at Punderson State Park Manor


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