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Thread: NEX versus GH1 image quality

  1. #1
    curious80
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    NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Hi

    I know there has been a lot of talk about NEX versus G1/GF1/EP1 etc and the comparison there is pretty clear with NEX sensor being clearly superior. However does any one have experience with NEX versus a GH1? The GH1 is claimed to be about a stop better than G1/GF1/EPxx series, and apparently compares well with good APS-C sensors as per DPReview and DxoMark etc.

    I know that this comparison is less relevant for most people with NEX being significantly smaller and cheaper than the GH1. However at this point NEX system does not have lenses that I want and so far I am really liking the G1 + 20mm combo that I have recently acquired. So now I am trying to decide whether I should go an extra step and acquire the GH1 for its better sensor and video capability. If it is close to the NEX in terms of sensor quality than I might just reduce my DSLR gear and invest in a GH1 + more m43 lenses. Otherwise I will just stick with my regular DSLR and keep the G1+20mm combo as a parallel light-weight setup.

    So any feedback from those who might have used both GH1 and Nex?

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Wait to see GH2 tests.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    Hi

    I know there has been a lot of talk about NEX versus G1/GF1/EP1 etc and the comparison there is pretty clear with NEX sensor being clearly superior. However does any one have experience with NEX versus a GH1? The GH1 is claimed to be about a stop better than G1/GF1/EPxx series, and apparently compares well with good APS-C sensors as per DPReview and DxoMark etc.

    I know that this comparison is less relevant for most people with NEX being significantly smaller and cheaper than the GH1. However at this point NEX system does not have lenses that I want and so far I am really liking the G1 + 20mm combo that I have recently acquired. So now I am trying to decide whether I should go an extra step and acquire the GH1 for its better sensor and video capability. If it is close to the NEX in terms of sensor quality than I might just reduce my DSLR gear and invest in a GH1 + more m43 lenses. Otherwise I will just stick with my regular DSLR and keep the G1+20mm combo as a parallel light-weight setup.

    So any feedback from those who might have used both GH1 and Nex?
    Unless you are in absolute need for liveview, stick with the DSLRs because they are cheaper and better.

    I do not own a GH1 but I doubt if it's sensor is comparable to the NEX.

    However, the Gs (G1, GH1, etc) are more useful, IME, than the NEX as they are now for these reasons:

    1. Ergonomics are better with the Gs.

    2. Integrated EVF in the Gs.

    3. The swivel LCD in the Gs (also helps balance the setup for certain orientations).

    4. Choice of lenses- both OEM and adaptable are much much larger for the Gs.
    Last edited by Vivek; 28th September 2010 at 23:01.

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    Senior Member hot's Avatar
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    I've both - NEX5 and GH1. Both are excellent cameras with very good image quality. GH1 has better handling - and EVF.

    With cheap adapters I use a lot of lenses (especially Samyangs, but also Canons) with both cameras.

  5. #5
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    @ TEBnewyork - Thanks for the suggestion. GH2 should be interesting, however I am typically not the one to buy the "latest camera" - can't afford to pay the price premium

    @ Vivek - Thanks for your input. Having the DSLRs for a while and with some experience with G1 and NEX, I have the basic idea of how well each one serves my purposes. I am not dumping my DSLR system for sure. But its a matter of how often can the smaller system take the place of its bigger brother.

  6. #6
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by hot View Post
    I've both - NEX5 and GH1. Both are excellent cameras with very good image quality. GH1 has better handling - and EVF.

    With cheap adapters I use a lot of lenses (especially Samyangs, but also Canons) with both cameras.
    Thanks for your first hand account. I recently tried a couple of Nikon lenses on my G1 with the Nikon adapter. However I am primarily looking for AF lenses which is one of the reasons to prefer the m43 system at this point (when Sony releases new lenses it might change things, but that will be then). And also as you mentioned I really like the handling and EVF of G1/GH1.

    So what are your opinions about GH1 versus NEX Image Quality at low ISO and high ISO?

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by curious80 View Post
    @ TEBnewyork - Thanks for the suggestion. GH2 should be interesting, however I am typically not the one to buy the "latest camera" - can't afford to pay the price premium
    .
    Yes, but there may be used GH1's hitting the market when GH2 is released.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    I have both cameras. From my perspective, it all boils down to whether you want to hold the camera out in front of you (or at waist level), or look through an EVF. Both systems deliver great images.

    Cheers,

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    I am in the process of selling off all of my DSLR gear. I will be using only NEX for my digital photography. NEX-5 + manual lenses = great for me.

    p.s. I would like the occasional EVF option, though.

  10. #10
    hardloaf
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    NEX is a better imager, has significantly better color and DR. For me it all boiled down to lenses though - as always
    I want fast 35 and 50 primes at least. Those new m4/3 equivalents (17, 20 and so on) didn't impress me at all - just a few, most are not fast enough and all exhibit extremely mediocre optical quality, i.e. require very heavy software corrections for distortions and CA. The same goes to sony 16/2.8 for NEX by the way.
    There is a selection of quality manual lenses in M mount though from Zeiss, Voigtlander and Leitz and those are true joy. In this case NEX is a much closer match to them since it has bigger sensor and 35mm lens will work as 50mm and 50mm as 75mm. In m4/3 that would be 70 and 100 and this is definitely not what I want. Going wider than 35mm FL with current state of sensor and lens designs is a bumpy road, but they are working on this.
    From usability standpoint NEX is as good as you can get in this size - it's really small, but very easy to use for manual focusing and allows extremely precise focusing, i.e. shallow DOF is much easier to work with (DSLRs are nowhere close to that!).
    Waist level shooting is also very convenient and makes my life a lot easier.
    Screen is a true finger magnet though (Sony should patent it as such) and this makes it almost unusable in bright sun. Salvation came with a $10 screen protector though - some hard and very clear plastic film, doesn't attract fingerprints as much and makes screen actually usable in all needed circumstances.
    After all - when NEX is inadequate I just take my A900

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Thanks for all the input everyone! Greatly appreciate that.

    I think I phrased my question somewhat wrong and made it into a GH1 versus NEX thread To be very clear I am NOT considering buying a NEX at all at this point. The choice is only between keeping my current G1 versus getting a GH1. And what I primarily want to know is whether the GH1 sensor is really close to good APS-C sensors as most review sites suggest? (dpreview, imaging-resource, dxomark....). Which is why I asked for feedback from those who have used GH1 as well a NEX. And to be even more clear I am not really talking about ISO3200/6400 level performance. I just want to know if at ISO1600 the GH1 is significantly better than G1 and closer to NEX/D5000 type sensors in terms of noise characteristics? And also at low ISO's say 100 / 200 does it come close to APS-C in terms of DR.

    I think it might be more appropriate to post this query in the 4/3rds section

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    FWIW I've used all three and I recall the GH1 being somewhere in between the GF1 and NEX, although closer maybe to the GF1 than NEX, w/r/t dynamic range and color depth. I like them all.

  13. #13
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Thanks MPK2010 for the feedback. Thats very helpful!

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    The GH1 is generally acknowledged to have about 1 stop better higher ISO performance than the G1/GF1. I would judge my NEXs to yield at least 1, if not 2 stops better performance than the GH1. (I.e. if you accept ISO800 as the top you'd want to use on the G1, then the GH1 would yield about the same performance at 1600, while the NEX is going to be 3200, or possibly 6400 under some circumstances.)

    At base ISOs, I wouldn't expect to see much of a difference at all. The NEX does offer better DR than the m4/3 sensors though.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

  15. #15
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Thanks Simon. Appreciate your feedback.

  16. #16
    meilicke
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I am in the process of selling off all of my DSLR gear. I will be using only NEX for my digital photography. NEX-5 + manual lenses = great for me.

    p.s. I would like the occasional EVF option, though.
    Douglass, can you comment on how exactly you hold your nex plus lens, and manually focus? I am having a hard time trying to imagine using a waist level finder and:

    1. photographing people
    2. manually focusing, considering how small the body is.

    Thanks!

    -Scott

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    Douglass, can you comment on how exactly you hold your nex plus lens, and manually focus? I am having a hard time trying to imagine using a waist level finder and:

    1. photographing people
    2. manually focusing, considering how small the body is.

    Thanks!

    -Scott

    +1

    Only, in my case, I have actually tried with many different lenses (> a dozen pen F lenses, several Leica lenses, and several c-mount lenses) and have come to the conclusion that if I want something reliable and reasonably quick, I should avoid using NEX with manual focus lenses.

  18. #18
    meilicke
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    +1

    Only, in my case, I have actually tried with many different lenses (> a dozen pen F lenses, several Leica lenses, and several c-mount lenses) and have come to the conclusion that if I want something reliable and reasonably quick, I should avoid using NEX with manual focus lenses.
    Why Vivek?

    I used to have a G1, and wish I still had it to try focusing out in front of me and down low. I only held it to my head, which seemed at the time, the "only way".

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Scott, Looks like you missed out on all the fun.

    Often, for me, there isn't much time to bother even with AF (in whatever form it is and not only CDAF) or move out of the way, as in this shot:


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr


    Here (another tricky situation/place) you see how I normally hold the cam:


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr


    and it is such a pleasure to actually see (there aren't enough active neurons in my brain to pre-visualize my captures in B&W) what you will capture like this:


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr

    ...



    NEX, no go

    [Some people appear to take offense on certain word usage, even if I were to describe my own experience with something that I own. So, "no-go" replaces something else but the message is the same.]

  20. #20
    meilicke
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    In the second picture, assuming that is you in the reflection to the right, it looks like you are holding the camera at waist level. That would be the same as the nex, right? If so, then it must have something to do with how the camera operates, vs. where to hold the camera at your body (waist, eye, out in front).

    I think I just need to go to the store. That should answer a lot of my questions.

  21. #21
    meilicke
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Curious80, I apologize for hijacking your thread! I'll stop now...

    -Scott

  22. #22
    curious80
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    No worries meilicke, these are all interesting discussions

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    Douglass, can you comment on how exactly you hold your nex plus lens, and manually focus? I am having a hard time trying to imagine using a waist level finder and:

    1. photographing people
    2. manually focusing, considering how small the body is.

    Thanks!

    -Scott
    I've manually focused 16mm, 20mm, 35mm, 50mm, 135mm primes and a 70-200 zoom with the NEX-5, and I find it relatively easy. Of course, "waist-level" is a bit of an overstatement. It's more like slightly-below-sternum level. I flip the screen up and press it against my (or slightly below the) sternum area. I primarily shoot the 35mm, and I have a decent hit rate at around f2 or smaller without focus zooming. However, for when I need very quick shots on the street, I keep the 35mm zone focused to either 5 or 10 ft. at f5.6.

    Have you used a waist-level finder camera before? IMO, it's ideal for people photography. Platon uses them to great affect, because he relates to the subject well by not having a big piece machinery in front of his face.

    That being said, and EVF would be a great addition.

    p.s. i should mention that i had Lasik at the beginning of the year, so my vision is pretty good now.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by meilicke View Post
    In the second picture, assuming that is you in the reflection to the right, it looks like you are holding the camera at waist level.

    That would be the same as the nex, right?
    When you put it in words, it may appear similar (definitely NOT the same).

    Where you would hold the NEX and keep the fingers on the focus ring and the picture clicker button is big mystery to me. The swivel LCD (this has been discussed a lot when the G1 came out) actually extends as an addition support and would rest in your palm and wrist in portrait orientation. In landscape also, similar holding patterns- sort of cradling a baby- comes into play.

    One of my early shots (that sample still had the LUMIX logo, etc since it was brand new- I killed that sample trying to modify it, etc, etc) of the cam itself with my (then) newly made m4/3rds to Leica M adapter:


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr


    When Sony actually think thing through, perhaps in a NEX7 or 11, I hope to see something useful. Not just firmware upgrades to make the use of a NEX less complicated and less frustrating but actually useful.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    While some do wish for more buttons on the camera, most that I hear from find the camera a joy to use, outside of software issues that will be largely fixed soon.
    Last edited by douglasf13; 30th September 2010 at 05:27.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Which 35 are you using, Doug? I find the Leica cron is easier to use than the Contax G.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    While some do wish for more buttons on the camera, most that I hear from find the camera a joy to use, outside of software issues that will be largely fixed soon.
    I hope to see lots of photos after the software issue fixes that will reflect this overheard "joy to use".

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I hope to see lots of photos after the software issue fixes that will reflect this overheard "joy to use".
    Tom, I use the Voigtlander 35/1.4. I'd love that Summicron, though.

    Vivek, I'm not sure I've shot anything with the NEX worth showing anyone, yet.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    [QUOTE=Vivek;250128

    When Sony actually think thing through, perhaps in a NEX7 or 11, I hope to see something useful. Not just firmware upgrades to make the use of a NEX less complicated and less frustrating but actually useful.[/QUOTE]

    I don't know how you define 'useful', but the A33 is certainly a joyful thing to use, with all the options in the right place.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I don't know how you define 'useful', but the A33 is certainly a joyful thing to use, with all the options in the right place.
    Good to know that, Jono, especially you being one of the ex-Nex owners.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post

    Vivek, I'm not sure I've shot anything with the NEX worth showing anyone, yet.
    Well, that does not prevent me from posting images, does it?

    Just to reiterate that point...


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr

    NEX-5, Olympus pen F 40/1.4, ISO1600, 1/60s, LR3.2
    Last edited by Vivek; 30th September 2010 at 13:47.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Ah, don't be so modest. Nice shot!

    The truth is, I just adopted a new dog, and I refuse to bore people with all of the puppy shots I've been taking. lol.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Douglas, I agree with you ....... the NEX with legacy lenses has brought the fun back into photography for me. I also have the a33 and still use my NEX for 80-90% of my shots. Not that the a33 is bad because it isn't it's a good camera and it is doing exactly what I wanted it to do (be on my side with a long zoom mounted to it with minimal weight and excellent IQ)

    I am not a street/wedding or sport photographer so I rarely need formula 1 speed out of my cameras to get a shot. I am more of a "one shot one kill" kind of photographer. The NEX is perfect for that held waist level and shot from the tilt screen. I almost never use continuous exposure modes and have found I like the tilt screen much better than either optical or electronic view finders.

    There are numerous types of photographers doing an infinite number of different things with cameras that is why there isn't just one format or camera for everyone to use thankfully. Some love large format, some medium format, others like dSLR's or whatever. Some have stuck with film others went to digital .... there are no definitive right or wrong choices in this game just use what fits you the best and makes one happy and that is the right choice. For me it is the NEX and legacy lenses for my portable rig of choice and will be for many years (though the past couple months appear to say different I avoid chasing technology and I am now done buying for the next 3-6 years if history proves itself again as I have just retired my Minolta 7D) with the a33 and a long zoom on my other shoulder when needed.

    I could not be happier ........

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I don't know how you define 'useful', but the A33 is certainly a joyful thing to use, with all the options in the right place.
    I got my A55 and 35mm f/1.8 yesterday and do agree with your comments.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by roweraay View Post
    I got my A55 and 35mm f/1.8 yesterday and do agree with your comments.
    Where did your A55 come from? I didn't think they were out yet.

  36. #36
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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Vivek, Douglass, Jim, everyone , thanks for the comments on usability. I think I need to reacquire the G1 and then a NEX to compare. Surely my wife will agree to preserve my mind?: Or maybe not...

    -Scott

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    mellicke, I have no comment on how the NEX does in comparison to the G1. I never owned or handled one so please don't base my preference due to a comparison of these two. I can only state what I have used and liked and with that premise I can say without question I enjoy almost every aspect of the NEX5 for the type photography I enjoy. I like the fact that with adapters the NEX allows me to use every lens I own and essentially is a very small universal digital lightbox with IMO excellent IQ. It's only weak spot is flash photography and using long zooms without in lens stabilization. That is why I bought the a33 to use in conjunction with the NEX5 for those rare times I need either of these aspects in my photography.

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    mellicke, I have no comment on how the NEX does in comparison to the G1. I never owned or handled one so please don't base my preference due to a comparison of these two. I can only state what I have used and liked and with that premise I can say without question I enjoy almost every aspect of the NEX5 for the type photography I enjoy.
    Fair comment, Jim.

    I can say that IME (again) that the G1 rocks and the NEX is unusable for me for street and such genre.

    (The NEX sensor does not suck at all. In fact, it rocks when time is of not essence.)

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    Re: NEX versus GH1 image quality

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Where did your A55 come from? I didn't think they were out yet.
    Bought it from our local premium Camera store, here in Minnesota (National Camera Exchange - natcam.com). They typically get brand-new and hard-to-find Sony gear before even sonystyle or B&H gets it.

    Even the 35mm f/1.8 is listed as being on "pre-order" on Sonystyle, while these guys had at least a few of them on hand.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

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