Topic: Sony NEX-3N: an affordable digital body for manual focus lenses
I used to contribute to this forum a lot in the past, when I had several Zeiss, Olympus, Sigma manual focus lenses and a Canon EOS 30D. Then Leica bug bit me and I sold all my gear to fund the purchase of a Leica M2 and three Leica prime lenses about 4 years ago. It was good investment since Leica gear doubled in price. I use solely film now, but I sometimes miss the convenience of a digital body with manual lenses. I got myself a 400D with kit lens, but it didn't cut.
So I have long been contemplating digital mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras as a digital solution next to my Leica M2 and Leica M lenses. I still shoot film and love it, but it wouldn't hurt to have a digital body to utilise those beautiful lenses that I have.
Sony NEX series cameras have always attracted my attention due to their tiny dimensions, 1.5x crop factor large sensor, high capacity battery and very good image characteristics. However, I've never gotten one since they were not ticking all the boxes for me. For example the earlier kit zoom lens of NEX was both very large and not stellar in image quality, so I wanted a better and smaller one. I also wanted a good video recording capability with a power zoom option, which I use very often. I needed peaking support for manual lens use. And as a final point, since this camera will replace my compact digicam and will be shared with my family, a simple built in flash and a zoom rocker control next to the shutter release was an important need from usability perspective.
NEX-3N delivers all these points with style, and for only $500, such a good deal! It comes with a wonderfully tiny power zoom lens which has a very useful 16-50mm (24-75mm eqv) range. It is a no-frills camera. Many Sony fanboys complain about the cost cutting features, such as reduced LCD resolution, or omitted flash hot-shoe. But for me, these are not deal breakers.
I have purchased the cheapest Leica-M to NEX adapter from ebay (~£8) and tested my Leica lenses right away. Wonderful results. I have also bought a slave flash trigger with red-eye setting, so omission of flash hot-shoe will not stop me from using studio lighting with my Leica M lenses, which I look forward to! I did a quick (and dirty) test of each of my Leica M lens with NEX-3N, browse the folder by clicking the photo below, you can download full size copies from Photobucket:
I have sold all my other compacts and my Canon 400D and EF lenses. Now this tiny Sony NEX-3N replaces all of them. I just wanted to share this experience with you. Of course, I would love to own a Leica M8 or M9, but with my current budget this seems to be the best choice.
CZJ Werramatic + Flektogon 35, Tessar 50, Cardinar 100
Sony NEX-6 + Konica Minolta Dimage Scan Dual IV