A moment from yesterday’s track day summarised my expeirences with the 5n perfectly. I was signing in for photography duties and it was funny to see the track officials take a second look at my camera when i told them i would like to go out on the track for some photos. Surely not was the look on his face.
In essence then what my biggest findings are of just how far technology has progressed. To see the level of image quality from such a small “consumer” camera is just amazing.
However, this blog post isn’t a how awesome this camera is post. I wanted to outline some of the “issues” or “quirkiness” i found during a full day with the 5n under track conditions.
First of all the battery isn’t strong enough. I took about 1000 images with a fully charged battery and by the end of the day i had to ration what i shot. The batt level isn’t up to dslr par yet. Partially because it needs to power the lcd screen at all times. It isn’t a good feeling to have to hold back due to your batteries running out but fortuanetly this problem is pretty easy to remedy. Just bring 2-3 batts and you can shoot anything you look at without running out of charge. OEM batt is stupid expensive. $100 a pop for a $700 camera seems a little too much so i will just try some of those china batteries. I will only use them if the main batt run outs so they should get minimal use.
Panning shots also seem harder to do without a viewfinder. Viewing the lcd screen and panning is a pretty interesting experience. It is doable but it isn’t the best way to go about it. Because of this reason alone i have added the Sony EVF (electronic view finder) to my wishlist. I am also hoping that i can turn off the lcd screen when the EVF is on so that should save even more batt. Another part why panning with lcd is bad comes from glare. Under the strong sun yesterday it was hard trying to track the subject as the sun would render the lcd almost useless. EVF would cut that problem out too. One positive that i utilised are different angles of panning shots. By tilting the lcd i was able to do panning shots from waist level. Definitely not possible with a viewfinder only system although most DSLR’s now have live view any ways.
Another thing i noticed is the 5n is definitely harder to handle. It is funny as the camera is designed for consumers to handle easily under all situations but for users that like a little more control it actually becomes harder in all aspects. Trying to set up a few little settings take much longer than the jog dial and button infested body of a dslr camera. I ended up taking a fair bit of time in between sessions setting everything up and when i required a sudden change in settings it was often a mad rush to try and figure it all out before the next car comes around. I guess this problem will become less of an issue as you get much more intimate with the camera but in general if you are interested in photography chances are you will find the 5n harder to handle vs a dslr in that critical must take shot now moment.
Those are the 3 main issues i have with the 5n. Hopefully an EVF + 55-210mm lens at the next track day meet would make it perfect. It sure does feel ridiculous to be out in the middle of the track shooting photos with a compact digital sized camera in your hands but i quite enjoy the level of freedom such a compact camera provides.