use what you have — the sony nex-5n

The genesis of this post was an earlier post by Marc Beebe ( ) where he mused about camera G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) and if he should and how he would afford it, or even why. That got me thinking about all the gear I’ve got scattered around my home, and how I’ve collected it over the decades going back to the 1970s. I won’t go back that far. I’ll limit my personal musings to digital only, specifically with my lone Sony camera, the NEX-5N. It was released in late 2011, a good 12 years ago.

I’ve written about this camera before, back to when I purchased it and used it a bit before it wound up sitting on a shelf in my cabinet. I purchased it as a closeout sale from Amazon, with the 18-55mm all plastic Sony kit zoom. I later picked up a pair of Sigma primes, a 19mm/2.8 and a 30mm/2.8. They are all plastic with metal mounts, and they were on sale for $99/each. They’re not the fastest focusing, and at a maximum of f/2.8, not the fastest for gathering light. But they’re still quite good for what they offer, which is a lot. And for $400 total for the camera and three lenses, it didn’t produce a budgetary hit the way other camera bodies and lenses do. The only other cameras that good and that inexpensive were the few Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras from that same period, the E-PL1 to E-PL3. For me, that period in time from 2012 to 2015 was a golden age of digital photography when you could buy quite good cameras for very little money. It reminded me of the film days from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s.

So I pulled out the 5N and checked the batteries. Yep, the batteries were all discharged. I have three, one being an original Sony NP-FW50, the other two being Wasabi BTR-FW50-JWP. Let me say right now that the Wasabi batteries are absolute junk. They might be less than half the cost, but you get what you pay for; they’re less than half the Sony batteries. I was able to fully charge the Sony battery, but neither of the Wasabi batteries would charge to 100%, and I could watch the Wasabi batteries discharge right before my eyes by just turning on the camera and looking at the rear LCD. While the original Sony battery is still good, I’m going to pick up a second from a local store and recycle the two Wasabi batteries. These are the last Wasabi batteries I still have. I had the same bad experience with Wasabi batteries for my Olympus cameras.

So let’s get into a bit of photography. These are all black and white, out of the camera, not post processing, and JPEG. I’m tired of RAW processing, and in spite of all the “expert” opinions from the “influencers” across YouTube, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of those black and white JPEGs. Sony was really beginning to hit its stride with regards to image processing, and they’ve never ever gone down in quality since, only up.

Sweet girl Ruby
Nicholas Behind the Furniture
Nicholas Behind the Outdoor Furniture
Zoë Says “Boo!’
Zoë says “Boo!’
Beau Entranced
Beau Entranced

If you’re wondering why the odd aspect ratio it’s because I like 16:9. That’s a kinda-sorta cinematic aspect ratio, and it’s something I’ve just gotten used to over the decades. I like to compose in that aspect ratio. As is typical of my photos these days they’re various snaps of the little characters around the house. Ruby was taken with the 30 mm, all other photos were 19 mm. All of them were wide open at f/2.8. I have center auto focus enabled because I learned early on that Sony’s adaptive autofocus made decisions I was never happy with. Exposure and sharpness are Good Enough all around.

Sony NEX-5N
Sony NEX-5N with a Sigma 19mm

As you can see the camera with lens, compared to my hand, is quite compact. The fact it’s an interchangeable lens camera is amazing, even now in 2023. It’s not blazingly fast with regards to autofocus, and from 2011 it’s not the most accurate, but I can put it in manual mode if I have to and stop it down and use zone focusing to take the photo. That’s what I would do outside in an urban or field settings. And to be blunt, a maximum aperture of f/1.8 to f/2 is about all I really want. I’ve paid for my fast lenses and while they’re good, I’ve come to the decision they weren’t worth the speed price premium for me. The two Sigmas are remarkably sharp wide open at the center third. In dark situations I’m more than happy to trade shutter speed or higher ISO to make the exposure.

This entire setup is my Mary Poppins camera, practically perfect in every way. Not in absolute terms, but in practical affordable terms. I’m quite satisfied with that.

stalking the wily pool float

Another cold front came charging through central Florida this weekend. It dumped a lot of rain on Saturday. Today it left behind cold, cloudiness and constant windiness. The wind was strong enough to blow a pool float into our pool. Little Danï spotted it right off.

Danï Stalking

Because the pool float seemed to be moving on its own power, Danï was very careful to keep a respectful distance. You never know if a wily pool float will reach up and pull you into the water.

Danï Getting a Closer Look

Danï instinctively lowered her body toward the deck to present as small a profile as possible, to make it more difficult for the wily pool float to see her, or if it did, to try to get her.

Danï Getting Ever Closer

As Danï grew ever close, she raised her head up just enough to get a better look at the pool float. She stayed in that position for a good minute before she made her final inspection.

Danï Getting Too Close?

As Danï grew as close as she was willing to go, I could almost hear her think, “Is this thing even alive?” It was after this that she turned and bounded back inside the house to play with her sister.

End Notes

  1. Because of all the wind and the rain I’m going to have to get in the pool and clean up the water line. The pool floats are cloth with a removable buoyant interior, so they’re going into the washing machine.
  2. The camera was my Olympus OM-D EM-1.2 with a Lumix 30mm/2.8 macro lens on it. I would have put on something “more appropriate,” but I was afraid the moment would pass if I screwed around changing lenses, before I got back outside again.