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Maybe NEX Time

When I purchased a Sony NEX-5 camera in 2010 I assumed that good lenses would be on their way soon. Almost three years later, and NEX users are still waiting. I loved the cameras. So much that I owned the 5, 5N, 5R and NEX-7. Unfortunately Sony has only been able to produce a few decent lenses for the system. Let's take a quick glance at what Sony is currently offering priced at B&H on 2/18/2013.

10-18mm f/4 OSS $850 I have not owned it, but it reviews decently well.
16mm f/2.8 $250 Small, light, and almost no resolution in the corners faster than f/5.6.
16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS $350 Small, tons of distortion, slow to turn on, mediocre performance.
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS $300 Light, small, terrible in the corners, one expensive kit zoom.
24mm f/1.8 Zeiss $1,100 Big & fast but not terribly good wide open. No stabilization in an expensive lens.
35mm f/1.8 OSS $450 No comment, reviews show once again a lens not particularly good wide open.
35mm f/3.5 Macro $280 Really?
50mm f/1.8 OSS $300 Great lens, should have been 58mm to be a better portrait lens. Too bad it's the most fragile lens I've ever seen.
55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS $650 An exceptionally slow kit zoom lens that performs worse than Canon or Nikon counterparts while costing an extra $400.

Here we have seven options covering the standard range, one mild telephoto and one nice wide lens. Thankfully Sony just announced a 20mm f/2.8, just to make sure that range is well covered with mediocre performers. 

After a lot of thought, I switched to the Micro 4/3 system. Image quality is not quite as good as the 16mp Sony sensor in the NEX-5N and NEX-5R but it's close enough. If I was going for ultimate image quality I'd be dragging a Nikon D800E down the river, but we all know life & photography is a game of compromise. What it comes down to is that the m4/3 lens options are fantastic. Fast primes, fast zooms, cheap light kit zooms, all the options are there. The Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 give full frame equivalent coverage from 24mm to 200mm with a constant f/2.8 aperture, yet they are the same size as Sony's kit E mount zooms. On top of that, the E-M5 and both Panasonic lenses are fully weather sealed, which is great for handling with wet hands, aka while kayaking. There is no doubt the Panasonics are expensive, but judging from Sony's 24mm Zeiss pricing, if they ever do make a fast zoom it will be considerably more expensive. As always, go with the glass, and don't get stuck on the camera(s) like I did.

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