H for Superzoom

A few days ago, I came across the NEX-5H package – the NEX-5 with Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS!

The FA-EX1S flash extender comes with the NEX-5H package.

It is meant to extend the flash forward and above the large 18-200mm, like so.

From the front, not raised (above) and raised (below).

It does look funny with the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake…

The FA-EX1S flash extender has two nubs next to the screw hole. This prevents the ECM-SST1 external microphone (above) and FDA-SV1 optical viewfinder (below) from being mounted on the FA-EX1S.

Left-to=right: Sony A850 with Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM, Sony NEX-5 with FA-EX1S flash extender and HVL-F7S flash and Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS in its shortest 18mm position with lens hood stored backwards.

Left-to=right: Sony A850 with Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM, Sony NEX-5 with FA-EX1S flash extender and HVL-F7S flash and Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS in its longest 200mm position with lens hood stored forwards.

So how does the flash extender work?

Top-left: 18mm without FA-EX1S flash extender; top-right: 200mm without FA-EX1S flash extender; bottom-left: 18mm with FA-EX1S flash extender; bottom-right: 200mm with FA-EX1S flash extender.

If you are going to use the HVL-F7S on the NEX with the Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS, the FA-EX1S flash extender is a must!

The FDA-SV1 optical viewfinder.

It matches the field of view of the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake only, without the VCL-ECU1 ultra-wide converter or VCL-ECF1 fisheye converter.

Since there is no way to turn off the NEX-3/NEX-5 LCD screen, you will have to get close to the viewfinder to avoid glare from the screen!

Honestly though, I thought the FDA-SV1 was optically crap. It had massive smearing away from the center, and only if you placed your eye exactly in the middle, with the 3 dashes getting illuminated, then you’d be in perfect alignment. Even then there was parallax error and there is no way to see depth of field in the viewfinder.

The rare NEX body cap makes an appearance in the NEX-5H package!

The Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS is Made in China. Nevertheless, it is a very solid lens.

18mm F3.5 ISO1600 yielded 1/30s with EV +1. Obviously, this is no indoor lens!

200mm F6.3 ISO3200 1/25s with EV +1. Still a bit too slow for indoors!

Remember that the average camcorder that cannot change lenses has a F1.8 zoom lens even on the telephoto end! So before buying this, make sure you know what you are getting into.

I also tried the Sony Cybershot WX-5, a proper replacement for the WX-1 (which I have.) F2.4 at 24mm (35mm equivalent) with Exmor-R backlit sensor means it is the low-light champion of the Cybershot series!

One new feature that it adds is Background Defocus, which takes two shots and blends them.

This is the same shot in P mode (which chose F2.4).

It is not perfect though, as you can see it didn’t work so well on the wire and the lens on the right.

What if there are many subjects in the picture? It states that it cannot perform Background Defocus, but takes a picture anyway.

I tested the A33 with Sony 50mm F1.4, while looking at it from the front. In video, when looking from the front, it appeared to be wide open, but the moment I started recording, it stopped down to F3.5 as expected whenever AF was on. When MF was used, it could record videos at F1.4.

Yes, ISO and menus can be accessed from the viewfinder, exactly as you would from the rear LCD screen.

This is the optional AC-PW20 AC Adapter (for NEX cameras) dummy battery. The battery cover has a flap just to allow the cable in.

Hmmm the NEX-3/NEX-5 doesn’t have this flap! However, interestingly, the NEX-3/NEX-5 can operate just fine with the battery cover open, as I’ve just tried.

The A560 is delayed to 2011, while the A580 would only come to Malaysia in October 2010 (but if other places are only getting it in November 2010, I can’t be too optimistic.)

According to this:


The A560/A580, which has contrast detect AF in Focus Check Live View, will not be able to use contrast detect on screw-drive lenses. This limits contrast detect to SAM/SSM lenses. However, you can still use phase detect AF in Quick AF Live View with screw drive lenses.

Also, video is strictly manual focus only on the A560/A580.

In other news:

What the heck man, the Samyang 35mm F1.4 UMC in A-mount is 111mm long!


Fortunately the MFD is 30cm like all other 35mm F1.4 lenses.

Minolta/Sony 35mm F1.4G – 55mm filter thread, 510 grams, 30cm MFD, 1:5x maximum magnification, 76mm long
Canon 35mm F1.4L USM – 72mm filter thread, 580 grams, 30cm MFD, 1:5.5x maximum magnification, 86mm long
Nikkor AF-S 35mm F1.4G SWM – 67mm filter thread, 600 grams, 30cm MFD, 1:5x maximum magnification, 89.5mm long
Samyang 35mm F1.4 UMC – 77mm filter thread, weight N/A, 30cm MFD, maximum magnification N/A, 111mm long (Alpha mount)

To give you an idea of how long 111mm is – the Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8 SSM is 111mm long, and the Carl Zeiss 135mm F1.8 is 115mm long!

Finally, here’s a picture from a roadshow:

The Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is starkly a lot higher in price than I expected. 🙁 I was hoping it would be around RM3000 street price, even taking into account that these are retail prices!

More reading here:
Tracking with the A55
More Than Meets D.I.

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