My Two Week Mission – Finding the Perfect Camera

Photographing kids is one of the most pleasurable things to do as a parent as we love showing off pictures of them to all our friends and family. On the other hand, those with kids know that photographing them is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially babies and toddlers. The problem is that they never want to hold still long enough for you to photograph them properly. I’ve run into the problem where normal point-and-shoot cameras can no longer do the job as most of the images I capture consist of clear backgrounds and what appears to be a child that is blurred beyond recognition. Don’t even get me started on low-light photography either as that’s even more of a mess.

Since my wife and I just had our 2nd  child not to long ago, we’ve come to discover that she will just not hold still for photos so a majority of all her photos are blurry unless we were lucky enough to catch her sleeping. Because of this, I’ve been on the hunt for either a new DSLR or the newer mirrorless style cameras. It’s a tough decision finding a camera of this nature because there are so many good choices out there. You have cameras like the Nikon D3100 and Canon T3 for entry level DSLRs or the slightly mid level Nikon 5100 and Canon T3i. It’s even tougher when you get into the mirrorless category as there are so many more cameras in that category like the Olympus PEN series, the Panasonic Lumix, Nikon 1 series, and the Sony NEX series.

It’s been a rough 2 week search for the perfect camera and I’ve even gone as far as borrow an older Nikon D5000 to get a feel for using a DSLR. I’ve used old school film SLR’s in the past in my younger days and using a DSLR was like second nature. I found that shooting with these was super fast and I was able to get the type of shots I’ve been looking for but couldn’t get with a point-and-shoot. After using it for about a week, I came this close to buying a Nikon D3100, except for one thing that kept me from pulling the trigger – the bulk. Don’t get me wrong, the camera feels great in your hands but DSLRs are just so hard to transport on a daily basis.

Lately, a lot of these camera sites have been raving about the new mirrorless style cameras that employ DSLR sized sensors. Basically they have all the advantages of traditional DSLRs but in a much smaller package with more compact interchangeable lenses. The main cameras in this category I was looking at were the Olympus E-PM1, the Nikon J1, and the Sony NEX-5N. Each are very different in nature, yet similar in what they are trying to accomplish. These are small bodied cameras with DSLR styled interchangeable lenses. Each of these has their own strengths and weaknesses, but after looking at what each had to offer, I finally settled on the Sony NEX-5N.

Based on reviews, the Sony NEX-5N produced some of the best photos in the bunch with little to no noise and has an ISO range of 100-25600 which is almost unheard of. One of the main factors in my choice is that it seemed to take really great low-light level images and is able to capture 10 FPS which is really fast. Another factor was the build quality and feature set on this camera. Unlike the DSLRs I was looking at, the Sony NEX-5N is build mainly out of magnesium alloy and feels quite solid in your hands. There’s an industrial retroness to the camera too that modern DSLRs don’t have.

I could go on and on about this camera but instead, I’ll be breaking down my review of this camera into sections as I use it. This is going to be one of those long term things and I don’t want to just throw up a quicky review. In the meantime, check out the images below of what the Sony NEX-5N looks like.

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