When it was time for me to buy the Canon 600D I was thinking about buying an EVIL camera. EVIL camera stands for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lenses and the way that I see it is that this is a step forward from the old technology of cameras having a mirror inside them. It seems to me, to be a little bit weird that there is this bulky mechanical structure inside a camera that flips a mirror up and down so that you can see what the sensor will be seeing in a viewfinder. To be honest though, it is only since the advances in the video screens being able to show at a very high resolution that these electronic viewfinders have really become properly useful. I have recently bought a Sony NEX-6 and the Sony cameras have the best of the electronic viewfinders that are available. The other camera that has the electronic viewfinder that is very good is the Panasonic GH3 and I would suspect that the Olympus cameras also have decent electronic viewfinders. It wasn’t that it was something new bright and shiny and more modern than the old way of doing things with the mirrors that drew me towards a mirrorless camera, it was more about the size and weight. On our last trip I took my Canon 600D and I used it quite a lot. However, there were a number of times when I didn’t want to carry it with me because the camera is so big and heavy. I really didn’t want to have to lug around a huge lump of a camera in my small rucksack.
Choosing which mirrorless camera to buy
There were one or two cameras that took my fancy, I had been thinking along the lines of a Panasonic -GH3
. This is because it had gained a very good reputation for being good for shooting video and it even has an input for a microphone which is very important for video. I had also been looking at the Sony NEX7 Digital Compact System Camera with 18-55 Lens Kit
because this also has a microphone input. In the end my decision was based upon the quality of the camera that I could afford. The Sony NEX6 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera 16.1MP with 16-50mm Zoom Lens
which is the camera I bought is newer than the Sony NEX 7 model and has a few features that the 7 doesn’t have, such as Wi-Fi. In the end I found that I’m not particular bothered about the microphone inputs because I can record myself using a small clip-on microphone recording into my iPhone. It is very easy for me to be able to match the audio from that microphone to the audio being recorded simultaneously with the microphones directly on the camera. Thank goodness we have this synchronisation available in Final Cut Pro X.
Shooting photos with the NEX-6
When I first got the NEX-6 the biggest problem that I had was to change the menus from Chinese to English. I couldn’t read the Chinese characters in order to be able to know where the setting was within the huge set of menus within the camera. What I had to do in the end was to find a listing online of the menus and then to start out either the top or the bottom and do some counting. When you have a new camera with a different menu system even when it is in your own language it all seems a little bit Chinese anyway. So I needed to spend two or three days just fiddling around with the settings for the camera before I could really get into properly taking any pictures.
I even bought a book from Amazon which had a more readable version of the facilities and what the camera could do than is available with the official manual. To a large extent the manual just tells you where things are and what they are called, but doesn’t go anywhere near to explaining what these different settings can do and what you would use them. This is where the book which is called ‘Sony NEX-6: From Snapshots to Great Shots
‘ by Jerod Foster came in handy. There was some information in the book which I didn’t really need where he talks about some of the basics of photography such as how to deal with Aperture, shutter speed and ISO setting. Nor did I need that much information about why you would use shutter speed priority or aperture speed priority and when you might decide to go for full manual settings. However, it was very useful in terms of there being a fair amount of detail with regards the settings specific to this camera. I found a number of things on the camera that were useful to me due to this book.
Out with the old and in with the new
When you make a drastic change from one manufacturer’s cameras to another is that often you will have to do also change a load of other photography extras at the same time. So you might normally have to sell all of your lenses along with the camera bodies and to start fresh with the new lenses that work with the new camera. Fortunately with this Sony camera NEX system this is not necessarily the case. I have been able to get an adapter which will let me use the Canon mount EOS lens that I only bought a few months ago and still be able to get good use out of it. There are adapters available that will let you connect up to the electronic parts of the lens, but they are quite expensive. I bought one that cost about 10 Euro and I can use it by manually focusing. The manual focus is made very easy by the use of helpful focus zebra marks. These are colourful lines that appear on the edges of things when they are in focus you can choose to see these in either red, white or yellow and I prefer the yellow colour. This makes it a cinch to get your photograph in focus just where you want it to be completely sharp.
Not only can I use lenses which are relatively new it is also possible to use vintage lenses, once again by using an adapter. The advantage of this is that you can get good quality fast lenses within a F stop of 1.8 or even 1.4 and the best of all, is that you can get them very cheaply from eBay. I have a Canon FD 50 mm 1.8 and adapter and I expect to be able to use this to get some very good photographs with very good bokeh. All in all the Sony NEX6
is a very versatile camera indeed with software that at first seems quite complicated, but is actually very easy to use. It is also possible to buy a specific Sony LA-EA2
which allows you to use the Sony Alpha amount camera lenses. Lots of options for lenses for the Sony NEX system.
Hello mirrorless and goodbye forever DSLR
So what I have now is a camera which technically is as good as the Canon 600D
. Specifically it is the same size sensor exactly, but with better software in a body which is smaller and lighter. The best camera in the world is the one that you have with you and with this camera being so easy to put into a bag and carry you can understand why some people would say that this is the best camera. I can see that this camera will be just the job for a good number of years and the only camera which is otherwise lust worthy at the moment is the Sony A7 which has the full frame sensor.