UT Gardens

Had a few minutes after a meeting today, and decided to stop by the gardens here at UT. Not bad. Was good to take some macro shots again. Perhaps will do video at some point, if I have more time.

Sony NEX-3 – First Thoughts

Christmas came early in the form of my Sony NEX-3. One of the recent trends in SLRs has been a new class of small, light, mirrorless SLRs that bridge the gap between point and shoots and larger SLRs. Panasonic and Olympus have a variety of bodies in the Micro Four-Thirds mount, Samsung has the new NX-100, and Sony has come out with the NEX-3 and NEX-5. After some deliberation, I decided one of the smaller cameras would be a nice addition to my gear, and that I would get significantly more use out of it than a smoker, at least between now and my birthday. At any rate, I placed an order for the NEX-3, and thanks to Amazon Prime it showed up this morning. Fantastic.

So far, it’s a definite case of the good, the bad and the ugly. Thoughts and pictures below.

The Good:

There’s a lot to like about this camera. Sony has managed to cram an APS-C sensor into a body almost the same size as a typical point and shoot. The sensor isn’t bad either – 14MP, well controlled noise at high ISO, and nice dynamic range. Several of the shots below below were taken handheld at 6400. Whatever else it is, the NEX-5 is an impressive technical achievement.

The Bad:

Lenses. There are currently only 3 of them for the entirely new E mount, and none of them are terribly good. The 18-55 kit lens has quite a bit of distortion (there is a Lightroom profile, so less of a concern), the 16mm pancake is interesting, but too wide to be useful as a walkaround lens, and the 18-200 is amazingly expensive and currently unavailable. To be fair, I’m used to shooting with lenses that cost 2-3 times what this camera kit does, but the kit lens is far from the best piece of glass I’ve ever used. Sony has an aggressive roadmap for the E mount, but for now, there’s a severe shortage of good glass.

The Ugly:

The user interface. People have commented on this quite a bit, and I won’t rehash it here, but I will say it’s not as bad as reported. There are some definite awkward moments while using the camera, but it’s certainly not unusable. The battery life leaves quite a bit to be desired – if you were going to be using it all day long you’d probably need a spare. The autofocus is generally good, but has moments where it just doesn’t get it. Metering can be a bit poor, though again I’m used to Nikon’s class-leading meter.

I’ll have more thoughts in the coming days, especially after I get my M39 adapter and throw some rangefinder lenses on the body.


So for those of you who don’t know, we recently picked out a dachshund puppy, who came to live with us today. We’ll try not to be those people who take way too many pictures of the puppy, but to be honest, right now he’s too cute not to take pictures of. So without further ado…

San Antonio Botanical Gardens

We spent this weekend in San Antonio for John’s graduation, and our morning entertainment was to head to the Botanical Gardens for a quick walkaround. It was the first time I’d had the macro lens out in quite a while (not counting our trip to the bluebonnets, not posted), and I was perhaps a bit rusty. All in all I was surprisingly pleased with the general facility – while it doesn’t have the size of the Dallas Arboretum, it’s close to being in the same league in terms of landscaping and plant variety. There are, of course, the general staples (pansies, lilies), but also some more unique things (a desert section, and some nice orchids). Definitely worth dropping by if you get a chance.

Full gallery available here.