NEX-7 versus E-M5 resolution comparison…


Image courtesy: DSLR-Check

Panasonic and Olympus marketing guys are stating that their system is better than the APS-C competition because of the better corner to corner sharpness of the Four Thirds sized sensor. The picture from DSLR-Check (Click on picture to enlarge!) shows the bad resolution performance of the 24 megapixel NEX-7 camera used along the 16mm pancake. Yes, it is unfair to use the cheap pancake for a comparison with some of the best m43 lenses! But our friend Klaus from Photozone (Click here) tested many NEX lenses and none can really take advantage of the 24 megapixel resolution. I am not playing down the NEX system, the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 is a superb lens and the NEX-7 definitely an interesting camera (and currently the most sold mirrorless camera at Amazon). But this is just a small post to remind you that the lens quality REALLY matters! Invest in good lenses instead of expensive cameras!

Speaking of good lenses here is another review of the Olympus 12mm prime lens at Admiring Light (Click here): “All things considered, this lens has earned a permanent place in my kit.  In fact, I could be pretty happy with only this lens, the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4“.
Search links to the 12mm lens at Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.

KTF-Turbo (Click here) tested the 26mm f/1.1 Macro Switar C-mount lens on the GH1. This is actually a very expensive lens and you get it for more than $1000 on eBay (Click here). He also compared the Switar with the upcoming new Micro Four Thirds Sonnetar (Click here to see the comparison).

E-M5 (Pre)order links (Click on store name): Amazon, Adorama, B&H, Jessops, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon Japan and Digitalrev.

Today Rankings:
USA: E-M5 on position 6/8/9 (Click here)
UK: E-M5 is on position 2 (Click here).
Germany: The E-M5 is on position 13 (Click here).
France: not available (Click here to see rankings anyway).
Japan: E-M5 on position 6/11 (Click here).

  • MJr

    Great test of lenses on the E-M5. I assume these are edge/corner crops, and not center ?

    Edges and corners are a weak spot for larger sensors like APS-C and Full-frame, so it’s not …completely… fair. I would say it’s the m4/3 format itself more than that the lenses are so much better.

    • Ernest.orf

      Actually the EM5 is totally good for itself, sony is DAMN NEW in Photography i fell really bad , seeing this , sony knows nothing of photography, canon-nikon-olympus-pentax, are all life brands of photography, sony stared making reflex from 2006 or something like that, please dont ever , EVER compare sony lenses to zuiko , i studied medicine i’ve seen OLYMPUS endoscopies & microscopies in all hospitals and clinics, i’ve seen their quality , also i use to work for SONY , and they told me a lot of lies , that sony has carl zeiss optics , that canon and nikon a losing market ‘cuz people has other needs that image quality, that nex system is the future, that they created the idea of mirrorless system and A LOT OF LIES, what can i say , i just need the job- but god damn it, im a photographer , a have a lot of cameras , olympus, canon, nikon, pentax , every cam for every situation, i wow i really really love olympus , but if olympus started to making Cars , sure i will not buy one , cause i will know that Car- brands are totally good , i know that sony make sensor and all that , but in a camera the 70% of the system is the optics , and sony are not a brand of photography, i tested the nex 7 in my hands, and is DAMN HARD TO USE IN MANUAL, like all nex system, and the corners of photo are really degradated, and only for mesuring the light, i need to go a submenu for a submenu and other menu , in my 5DMII all botoms, access and all , are put in the ring place , also in the em5 ( which prove it a week ago) ARE DAMN EASY TO USE SO ERGONOMIC SO SIMPLE , thats the thing that was talking about , with an old 50mm zuiko ( that thing cost me 40€) and an adaptator , the em5 was terrific , buaaaa u cannot conpare 90 years of experience of olympus , zuiko lenses and all .

      • Take a deep breath. Sony took over Minolta in 2006. Minolta started in 1928. Thats plenty of tradition to speak of. The expertise and the portfolio did not vaporize into cosmic dust.

        Like them or not, their Zeiss and G-serie lenses are as good as it gets. Are there enough good NEX lenses yet? I dare to say no, but its a matter of time. It took 4 years for Panasonic and Olympus to jointly offer a catalog that I am satisfied of.

        • Ernest.orf

          Jules my friend please dont make start to the Minolta-Sony thing , Please dont compare minolta cameras to sony cameras please please nooo !!!

          • I would not compare any NEX. Alpha-900 however does make sense.
            Point is, when Sony committed to mirrorless solution, they had more expertise in house than you give them credit for. Some decisions may be questionable, but its not as if the decisions of some said “traditional companies” are less questionable. Pentax Q, Nikon V1/J1, some of the m43’s lenses, the time it took for Olympus to provide built in EVF, etc…

          • Joe

            LOL, if you’re a doctor, I would not come to you. Way too emotional and narrow-minded to be objective. To say that you have a difficulty to use NEX-7 in manual just disqualifies you. If you’re a “photographer,” please show me your work that you think you can’t achieve with a NEX-7. NEX system doesn’t have the best lens selection nor the fastest AF system. But the focus peaking is second to none. It is currently the best platform for MF and Leica users. And yes, I’m using a Canon 5D Mark 3 with a NEX-7 and an E-P3.

            • Ernest.orf

              Ohh poor joe , that u have a 5DMIII there’s no real diference for the price with the 5DMII , come on i will never pay for it , in fact im selling my equipment , i realize THE FUTURE IS NOT FULL SENSORS, THE FUTURE IS SMALL , sensors with a diferent tecnology ” MARK MY WORDS” in years you’ll have an superb image quality in a small camera with a liquid lense!!!
              IF U CAN SHOW ME THAT , i will give u my FUJI X100 as a gift !!!!!!!!
              Because for u to know in my EP3 , I CAN DO THE SELECTION AND MESURE THE LIGHT IN 3 seconds !!!!!!!!
              ” ergonomics”
              Also jijijijuji lets prove it , i would put my vivitar 28mm 2,8 , in a EP3 and the in a nex 7 , AND U WILL SUPRICE EITH THE RESULTS !!!!!!
              And like that i can prove it to you
              10000.0000000 times , nex 7 is a fashon camera, a simple EPM1 with an 40 € lenses are more USABLE IN EVERY WAY ^^

              • Joe

                First of all, you have demonstrated how childish you are in this discussion. It’s hard for me to take you serious. If you’re like this in real life, I can hardly understand how you are a doctor. Admittedly, the current Oly bodies do have the advantage in touch shutter and focus over most other camera, but I thought we were discussing about how you couldn’t operate the 7 in manual mode. Touch focus and shutter is a convenient feature, but it would not make you a better photographer. For manual, peaking is way more convenient than anything I have used.

                As for the point of you can’t grasp the difference between the 5D mark 2 and 3, I’ll leave it at that. You might not have the need or skill to fully realize the difference, but there are others that do.

                • Ernest.orf

                  Ajajajaja pour joe !!!! The thing is ….
                  1.- i never EVER talked about touch focus- touch shutter and all that , i hope u realize it ^^
                  2 .- sorry for been excited but i really hate posers !!
                  3 .- dispite of sensor and procesador 5DMII are the same , not any REAL IMPRUBMENT, yeah that is important, but i realy hope bigger diferences!!!
                  And the most important !!!!!!
                  YOU DONT ANSWER MY QUESTION , of the ergonomics ^^
                  That is because is imposible to take NEX 7 in manual seriously
                  , do please stop been simple thing is what it is!!!!!
                  Sure u r right peaking focus are important , but all the whole co figuration is important not only that , AND AGAIN EJEJJE
                  I CAN PUT READY TO SHOT MY EPM1 to shot in manual , in only 4 seconds, CONTROL WB IN KELVINS, SPEED, APERTURE, POINT OF FOCUS, MESURE, GRADATION , ISO AND FOCUS , put it 5 seconds ,
                  That in ANY NEX IS IMPOSIBLE TO DO !!!!!!! (
                  Maybe and some several minuts!!!
                  And sure i would not buy an 5DMIII instead of that im thinking in a MARK 1DX , ‘ cause in that camera i can see a real change, only with 18 MP .
                  PDTA .- i would buy a nex 5n to my nephew , cause he likes point and shot cameras ^^

        • Joel

          “Like them or not, their Zeiss and G-serie lenses are as good as it gets”

          What like the Zeiss 24/1.8???? Sorry compare it to the PL 25/1.4 and you will see it is twice the price and not equal in performance.. Sony CAN make nice lenses if they want, I won’t deny that, but they are not cost effective for what you get..

      • Perret cap Joe gear photo blogger

        But you can slap those mythic om olympus lenses on nex and be happy, where the 2x crop of olympus cameras kills all the fun

        • Ernest.orf

          Yeap that’s true, i really hate that part , but well u cannot have it all ^^

        • BLI

          Eh? Yes, the 2x crop factor of the Olympus is muuuch worse then the 1.5x crop factor of the NEX.

      • MJr

        I was simply saying the difference we see here is largely due to the fact that the smaller a sensor gets, the easier it is to get corners that are as sharp as the center. If you would crop the NEX image to the size it would be with a sensor the size of m4/3, and then show the corners, it would be lots and lots better. Which has nothing to do with one brand versus another or their history. But it does make this comparison flawed, as its apples vs oranges, while most viewers most likely believe both to be apples. Magnified by the fact that it is indeed not a very good lens, but not solely dependent on-.

        • curiousburke

          that would be fine if NEX owners framed their photos by imagining the size of the 4/3 sensor. Actually, that might make a nice option, to be able to choose a small digital zoom and aspect ratio to view that cropped out the nasty edge bits. The you would just need an m43 to NEX lens adapter :)

          • MJr

            Just means m4/3 lenses can be crap and you wouldn’t even know it. And means NEX lenses have to be twice as good to even see it. There are disadvantages for both, it’s up to you which are worse. For one, sharpness isn’t everything, especially in the corners. Tho it might be difficult to get over that fact for all pixel-peepers out there.

      • Leu

        yeah right. That oly green line on the edge is horrendous, absolutely horrible. To the discredit of oly, it totally voids this test so that even the soft (probably out-of-focus) f4 sony photo looks better than the EM-5 on any of those quality lenses. And I use m43rds

  • Vivek

    Admin: Nothing will help your cause against the NEX-7 (vs the m43rds).

    Invoking photozome “tests” actually would help the NEX-7 sales. ;)

    • Bobby

      I totally agree.

      Admin: Stop making NEX-7 bad. I have a GH2 and an NEX-7; the Sony pleases me very well. Take the tomatoes from your eyes admin. Haven’t you seen that the E-M5 suffers severe chromatic aberration? Just plain ugly, disgusting…

  • Pancakes are, in general, a severe compromise. The Sony 2.8/16 is more compromised than most. If Sony actually had a good lens in the 84° format, I would be more interested in a comparison with the 2/12 or the 7-14 at 12mm.

    • E-1

      I love my 7-14, but the 12 is a prime, the 7-14 a zoom. So the Sony needs to be a zoom too, if compared to the 7-14. And a 9-18 I’d think.

  • nya

    It’s unfair to use the photo from the site without translating original Japanese blog message.
    It contains many important information such as 7-14 zuiko lens + mmf-3 was not good because 7-14mm zuiko lens was too heavy and the axis of the lens was a little skewed combined with mmf-3.

  • Think the NEX pancake does surprisingly well when stopped down. Not also the abcense of cromatic aberations on the NEX side. The Zeiss 24mm is the only NEX lens that utilises the quality NEX-7 has.
    Having said that I recently travelled with my G3+ 12/25/45mm lenses. Quite nice to work with. It was glove-cold and there was a problem with un-intentional change of settings :-) (WB and ISO). Light was crisp with some haze – very nice conditions for photo. Sadly images out-of-camera did not convey lighting conditions very well. Lack of tonality/dynamic range… After four days of photo, I spent four days post processing to recover that special light.
    This is the reason I will leave m43: The performance from the heart of camera (sensor-processor) is not good enough in terms of tonality and dynamic range. Looking at what Canon and Nikon has done to significantly improve their high end cameras one understands they have budget + competence that the m43 consortium lacks. m43 makes marginal iterations every six months instead of spending on real improvement.
    Fuji is neither Canon, nor Sony or Nikon. But they have innovation capacity to deliver HQ images from the heart of their new system. Yeah I know you will now scream about slow AF! – But it is actually better than thje first Oly E-P1 and is easier to improve compared to develop a sensor.
    For me; Fuji X-pro (silly name), Nex-7 (use Zeiss, Voigtländer, Leica lenses) and Nikon D800 (heavy, but nowadays I spend most of my time with photo) are on the shortlist. Would there be a Pana with new sensor sans AA-filter that could be in the equation… Will decide after Photokina.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      > Think the NEX pancake does surprisingly well when stopped down. Not also the abcense of cromatic aberations on the NEX side.
      Covered up in software.
      That NEX pancake has high CA.

      • Vivek

        The NEX 16/2.8 equivalent is the Olympus 17/2.8. Both 5/5 construction made of plastic and no glass. :(

        • Darko

          Nex equivalent of 16 mm lens (24 mm in FF cameras – crop factor 1,5) is 12 mm FT/mFT (24 mm in FF cameras – crop factor 2,0)

        • I imagine these two lenses have cramped your creative output considerably, sorry to hear that. Alas, I find them both to be excellent performers.

          • Vivek

            They were OK when I bought them new and the image quality deteriorated after several months to the extent they are simply unusable. This is not a matter for a joke or sarcasm. Good money down the drain. :(

            • If your claims are valid, they both come with a 1 year warranty, and will be replaced by the manufacturer. But you didn’t send them in, did you? Otherwise, yes, it is a joke. BTW, I have used my Oly 17 and Sony 16mm under the harshest conditions for many months now (think yacht racing), and both blow me away with their price/performance ratio. It’s not impossible you got duds, but for every dud there are 10 people like me who got perfect, sharp, durable copies of these lenses.

              • Vivek

                I am uninterested in the presumed 90% gamble. Both are crap.

                I do not think even the manufacturers will defend them!

                • I feel bad you got such duds. For me, they are two of the best lenses I own… which include zeiss, nikkor, pentax, CV, and various other “legendary glass”.

                  I am happy to defend them, and I have no love of either Olympus or Sony.

    • Atto

      recovering the lights? Buenos Aires certainly have a very different atmosphere to the rest of planet earth, and the transmission power of light is different. No, wait.. I remember I’ve used my GF1 in Europe and US, winter and summer, snow and intense light, even darkness. People know how to ‘expose right’? and finally … are your photos printed out on paper? amuses me a lot of comments, the need for more stops of dynamic range, talk about D800, blah blah. Print on paper with the GF1 and Mamiya 7II with drumm scanner, and I can judge the results of m4/3, I can compare to FF prints, they are not the same but we are not talking about IQ like a huge difference, sometimes you have to leave the computer monitor for a while.

    • E-1

      Wow, what a shortlist. Fuji $2000, NEX-7 $2500 (only with the Zeiss, what Leica lenses?), D800/14-28 $5000. Nearly $10.000. If you have more to money to spend, please – sent – it – to – me – please – will – you?

      • Ernest.orf

        Ee eee dont forget about me!!!
        give me money to buy some voitlanger lens^^

  • MP Burke

    I am surprised that the NEX-7 was so highly rated by many people, who seem to have been so mesmerised by its shape and specification that they didn’t bother to ask what lenses were available and how well they performed (the same thing is being repeated with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1).
    When I bought an mft camera lens tests were available for several of the lenses I was, or may have been, interested in. I would much rather be in that position than be buying an expensive camera before I know how its lenses will perform.
    Photozone seem to be ploughing a lone furrow here by testing lenses on the NEX-7 (slr gear for instance have tested lenses on the NEX-5 whete the edge performance appears to be better). The fall off in performance with the 24 MP sensor is significant with the 30mm macro lens (mostly at wider apertures), yet seems to be more pronounced with shorter focal lengths.
    If I was interested in a NEX-7 or X-Pro 1, I would delay purchasing until a wide zoom was available and it had been tested.

    • MP Burke: Good remark to wait for wide zoom! The Fuji current lens line-up with 18, 35 and 60mm – the 18mm is not wide nor excellent (but very good). The 35 and 60 are excellent though. My thought is if I always bring the 12/25/45 with my G3, that is probably what I need :-)
      Fuji will have more lenses coming 2012/13 and they are aiming to another customer category compared to m43. – Meaning they will not waste time on myriads of decent kit zooms. Instead go for the quality that more demanding customers are willing to pay for. Fuji lens roadmap suits me well – as opposed to the Sony NEX road map which seems to look at p&s upgrader needs only.

    • E-1

      Sony has the same problem as Canon and Nikon: Several mounts. So they need to spend on APSC, FF and E mounts. One also can’t get a whole set of lenses for Canon APSC, you need to get FF lenses (same for Nikon DX)

      Fuji has not the problem, the will focus only on the XPro mount.

      Panasonic has also only one mount to support, and I’d guess there will be no upcoming 43 lenses from Olympus, only m43 (and the E5 successor will have m43 + P AF)

      I’d guess you will never have the number of E mount lenses as m43 lenses – the focus on only one mount from Panasonic and Olympus is the real m43 strength.

  • chris

    This test demonstrates nothing beyond the fact that this person has access to lots of great m43 glass and the crappiest Nex prime lens. The issues with the 16mm on the Nex7 are well documented, its not up to the 7’s resolution. The 24/1.8 or 50/1.8 would have been a better comparison and would have topped the m43. I hate tests that place a low end lens on one camera to compare to others, it only shows the flaws in that lens.

    I use a Zeiss C/Y, Rokkor or a Contax G 45/2 adapted to various cameras so I’m testing with the same high quality lens. The differences are more obvious when the same lens is used on different bodies. Its so easy to do, it removes lens shortcomings and individual biases from the equation. This looks like a poor attempt to make m43 look superior to the Nex7.

    Tests should be shot in RAW as well to maximize resolution and detail and eliminate in-camera processing. Sony’s JPEG’s engine isn’t as refined as Fuji or Olympus, but RAW’s clearly reveal more detail.

    I look forward to my EM5 arriving so I can put it to the test against my Nex7 and GH2.

  • Mike1

    I’m sure the EM5 will win over any camera in the world that uses a lens as bad as the Sony pancake.

    • So there goes a “just for fun” kind of comparison:

      – On top, the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Asph, at f/1.4 on a Leica M9.
      – On the bottom the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica DG SUMMILUX, at f/1.4 on an Olympus E-P1

      (Note that the crops are from near the center, not from the corners. Taken from

      Yes, a fair comparison would be using the Leica lens at f/2.8, and then the images might look similar. But then what about the price? Where would the Leica advantage be if you have to stop down to f/2.8??

      • Anonymous

        I don’t “buy” this test. No way that the M9 and Summicron has worse resolution than the EP-1 and Panny 25mm – much less that much worse.

        Somebody doesn’t know how to use manual focus…

      • RW

        @Zonkie: I don’t “buy” this comparison. No way that the M9 and Summicron has worse resolution than the EP-1 and Panny 25mm – much less that much worse.

        Somebody doesn’t know how to use manual focus…

        • Yes, it looks so bad that it seems to be out of focus… However, these images are taken by expert reviewers with over 10 years of experience. Wouldn’t it be strange that they didn’t know how to focus in the first place, and even after seeing the images they didn’t double check?

          This is what they say about the Leica regarding sharpness: “Unfortunately, for a $4,000 lens, results are somewhat soft when used wide open at ƒ/1.4; however, if you look across the field of offerings produced by Canon, Nikon and Carl Zeiss, you’ll note that it produces the sharpest results between them all at this aperture. To produce sharp results at ƒ/1.4 is an engineering challenge, to say the least.”

          And yes, any other f/1.4 lens on a full frame camera looks as bad, if not worse. Which means that the 4/3 format does have an advantage when it comes to optical performance. And it must have it, since it needs to compete at f/1.4 with full frame lenses at f/2.8.

          • RW

            Whatever. We are not talking about a “slight” difference in softness here. The alleged M9 photos are completely unusable and according to the same reviewer, that lens is the best of breed. It just doesn’t make sense. Bad test.

            • MJr

              It actually makes perfect sense when you know a MFT lens at F1.4 only equals about F2.8 on full-frame, and thus performs as such.

              • Jonas

                It makes no sense whatsoever. A 25mm f/1.4 lens performs as a 25mm f/1.4 lens regardless of what you put behind it. Film, a full frame sensor, a 4/3 sensor, a banana, it doesn’t matter.

                In terms of DOF and FOV, it is true that a 25mm f/1.4 m4/3 lens will produce the same look as a 50mm f/2.8 lens on a full frame sensor, but it is still f/1.4 and performs as such.

                • MJr

                  It’s not just the DoF. The MFT version may be labeled F1.4, because that is what it will act like on MFT, but were you to spread out that same amount of light over a larger area, the intensity gets lower, and so you have F2.8. Meaning that if you would focus the amount of light gathered with a full-frame F1.4 lens onto a m4/3 sensor, not using a adapter and throwing away everything that falls outside the frame, but actually modifying the lens and refocusing it on a smaller area, you’d have something like the Voigtlander F0.95 lens. Have you seen how that one performs wide open ? That is what you should be comparing it with.

      • Perret cap Joe gear photo blogger

        Compare an original summilux on a decent ff sensor vs a fake summilux for small sensor camera lens is kind of pointless

    • “This test demonstrates nothing beyond the fact that this person has access to lots of great m43 glass and the crappiest Nex prime lens. The issues with the 16mm on the Nex7 are well documented, its not up to the 7′s resolution.”


      I fully agree here. These kinds of test are absolutely useless and a waste of time for any reader.


      “The 24/1.8 or 50/1.8 would have been a better comparison and would have topped the m43.”


      Here, however, I’m not so sure. ;-)

      • chris

        Resolution “tests” with JPEG’s are every bit as worthless as cherry-picking lenses to try and make one camera look better than another. I realize its early in the game for proper RAW processing on the EM5, but pitting JPEG’s against each other shows nothing other than the fact lazy photographers can get similar results from both cameras without any PP work.

        I have the Nex7 and the 24/1.8 + 50/1.8, along with a GH2. The EM5 *could* resolve a little more detail than the GH2, but with same sensor size and similar MP count it can’t be very significant. Shooting RAW’s on both, the Nex clearly shows more detail and is sharper in the corners than the GH2, as well it should with a larger sensor and more MP’s.

        I’ve compared them with the above lenses and the fine Oly primes along with my Rokkors and a Contax G 45/2 – one of the sharpest lenses you’ll find anywhere. I’m in the U.S. so I still have to wait another week or so to get my EM5, but I’ll put it to the test with the same lenses to eliminate lens biases.

        Of course something huge from Panasonic this week at NAB could push the EM5 out the door, but I doubt it. I will get the GH3 if it ever surfaces, till then the EM5 will suffice.

  • twoomy

    I guess if Sony finally releases a wide-angle zoom or ultra-wide angle zoom, we could have a fair test!

    Until then, I think the test is fair. m43 has more native and semi-native lenses which makes it the winner. :) But boy, do I with there was a native m43 12-60mm. The Oly 12-50 and 9-18 for m43 are convenient, but not that impressive. (I have the 9-18 and I love it and hate it at the same time.)

    • Ernest.orf

      +10000000000000 and more 1000000000000000000000

  • Tulio

    Another stupid test, If you are testing sensor, you have to use the same lenses on both. Is that too much to ask from a respected Blog-zine?

  • furb

    Any rumors on when the E-M5 will start shipping in the U.S.?

    • Freddy


  • Boooo!

    The 12-60 still reigns supreme…

    • Perret cap Joe gear photo blogger

      The 12 60 is so overrated every ff lens beats it and so does the pana 14-50 leica

      • E-1


      • Boooo!

        I feel sorry for your mother. Must be hard to raise an idiot.

      • What planet do you live on?

      • Haha, yeah right.
        If you lift that stone you’re living under up a bit, and let some daylight in, you might discover another story! At least I hope you do… :)

    • I wait for a mFT like the FT 12-60… One of the best lenses ever.

  • ProShooter

    The best sensor is useless when you only have a coke bottle to hang in front of it.

    • Perret cap Joe gear photo blogger

      The best lens is useless if you have anold obsolete sensor with 12 mp max (e5)

      • If you’re not able to take good pictures w/ an E-5, I really do pity you.
        I’d say it’s way superior compared to the NEX samples above, where you must crop half the picture away to remotely obtain some acceptable IQ. So why have those extra megapixels then, when they are useless anyway? If you have to both crop and stop down to maintain IQ, I believe you’re better off w/ m4/3. That said, the NEX is a nice blur tool though ;)

  • I still think that Sony did a crappy job on NEX system, because for me it was something like: we need to counter the existence of m43. But they never thought it would sell so well in their 2nd generation, because their flagship were the SLT cameras. So while they were designing and developing the NEX they were a bit sloppy in the optical engineer part, which end up being a big flaw, because they now have a hard time to come up with small lenses and optical quality. As they were not so concerned nor did have a big expectation about the NEX system, they only cared about aesthetics, which is the fact that they can create an appealing compact body, but they overlooked the fact that serious photographers would also want it and of course, they want quality glasses too.

    I was thinking that Sony was doing a horrible job because they weren’t listening, but maybe it’s not that, but more like they are having a hard time trying to make it possible – because Samsung, even though they have not been selling well, they have an excellent lenses lineup AND road map.

    And sincerely, anyone that overlook this fact or try to come up with an excuse about the crappy lenses are stupid. I am a NEX owner myself and I feel kind of disrespected because without lenses I cannot commit to a system like that. I’ve been using old glasses with adapters but c’mon, that can’t be real solution here. Everyone serious about the NEX system is pretty aware that Sony has been saying that they are going to change the road map, that they are going to make more glasses, etc. but nonetheless they have been just talking because so far no new relevant popular focal distance lens was announced nor another pancake, which are the most requested lenses for the NEX cameras. MEX-7 is an excellent camera, NEX-5n has an excellent IQ and high ISO performance, but yeah, where are the lenses?

    • As I cannot commit to this NEX system, I’m still waiting for a mirrorless camera that satisfy allmmy interests, which still doesn’t exist, but I think that in the next 2 years this camera will appear. I want a decent AF, global shutter, electronic shutter, touch shutter, good video quality with at least 1080p60, around 8~10 fps, nice IQ/high ISO performance and good controls – lenses too, of course. Except for global shutter, the rest already exist out there, just not in the same body.

      Fuji XPRO1 – good controls, more than nice IQ and ISO performance, but it doesn’t have a good AF, the manual focus ring is not snappy, you have to make too much turns and the video is crappy
      Sony NEX – overall good IQ, video and AF, but no lenses and the ones that exist are all big
      Samsung – it seems that the latest gen has a decent IQ, I don’t know about the video part, but the camera has other types of problems like small buffer, laggy processor, etc.
      Panasonic/Olympus – nice video quality for Panasonic but the IQ is not as good as Olympus’ side, I’m still waiting for real studio comparisons for the E-M5 sensor, but m43 is still a step behind when it comes to sensor and ISO performance – why no peaking focus?

      • NOone

        Why do people use manual focus? It’s because they don’t trust the AF. Manual focus with focus peaking is basically AF. When you use manual focus, you have to trust your eye and don’t let the computer tell you when it is in focus because that really is basically AF.

        • one of the wonders of mirrorless cameras is the ability to use adapters and manual focus old lenses and peaking focus is a heck of a helper and in cases like Fuji, when the AF is slow, to be able to use a decent MF with peaking would be nice. so no, this is not basically AF.

      • Brad H.

        So am I. I bought the Ricoh GXR as a stopgap and still nothing has come out that tickles me 100%. The OM-D and X-Pro 1 are close though. I’m still waiting for the mythical modular Olympus hah.

      • Renato, look at the DSLR-check link above and scroll down the page. (I always do interesting items are found) Or The NEX7 is fitted with a Tamron 17-50mm It gives the best resolution of all the combinations here including my beloved 12-60. The Tamron also got excellent writeups from photozone as well.

  • pitrak

    The lumix g7-14mm is very sharp, first time I see it compared to other lenses.
    What bothers me about the test is that the perspective lines looks almost identical on all focal lenghts. If you want to take the same crop on those different focal lengths, the ‘shooting distance’ should be very different – and the perspective lines as well. I didn’t read the article, so my apologies if this has been adressed in the text.

  • jocky scot

    M4/3 is crap compared to four thirds. Why is thaat?

  • Bob B.

    Yawn. MFT has it all. Small size. Great files. Fast focus. Incredible prime lens selection. LOT’S of body styles to choose from. Unless I am shooting with my full-frame camera…. MFT has everyone beat for a well-rounded complete system. Every other manufacturer. End of story. In the present. Right now. Don’t give me no dope talk! LOL!.

  • Jak

    I spent today trying my Zuiko 43 lenses on the G1. I have to say i am stunned at the quality. The M43 17mm is a dog, the 20mm 1.7 great. The 43 glass is in a different league and even manual focus is easy and pleasent.

  • Mar

    Haha, just goes to show how much better 43rd glass is over micro.

    ZD 7-14mm beats Panasonic 7-14mm easily, just look at the foliage/branches and corners on full sized samples.

    And ZD 7-14mm is the “worst” SHG Olympus 43rds lens.

    I can’t but giggle at a thought of what would happen with RAW results of this test including other SHG lenses such as 14-35mm or 35-100mm vs m43 lenses – it would be a slaughter :D

    This just goes to show that no m43 lnes can really resolve old 12MP sensors except maybe in the center and that using higher MP models is just a marketing trick with no real benefit in detail.

    Don’t get me wrong – there’s improved noise at high ISO, but for low ISO shooting difference is minimal or non-existent.

    • MikeH

      From the full size samples, looking at more than one sample point, I think the Pany 7-14 wins that battle, both clobber the 9-18, and all are better than the Sony lens.

      It is nice to have 43 and m43 glass avaliable however and that is why m43 is such a treat.

      • Brod1er

        I agee. The Panny 7-14 is better than Oly. It is also 3x size and weight and 50% more expensive. The 43 teles are excellent and built like tanks (no mft lenses come close in IQ) but they are also too heavy and expensive.

        • Mar

          You must be looking at some other photos and not the originals from the post.

          Just look outside of center at f5.6 samples

  • Luke

    these 2 systems are both great for using adapted lenses. Can anyone explain to me why this test wasn’t just done using the same exact lens on both cameras?

    It really is like comparing apples and oranges. Ridiculous.

  • Miroslav

    I agree that that resolution comparison is pretty much pointless. Neither camera has system’s sharpest lens on. Dpreview comparison tool is much more objective. The image above can be a good lens resolution comparison though.

    • Mar

      Of course bigger, higher resolution sensor will deliver better performance in “ideal” conditions with an “ideal” lens.

      However, real life is what it is – real use and not some benchmark tests like putting on a macro lens and photographing under studio lightning.

      Here we have test of E-M5 with lenses which support AF and aperture control vs Nex-7 with it’s lens(es).
      Desired focal lenght – 24mm equivalent.

      It’s not the tester’s fault there’s just one lens in Nex lineup.

      What would’ve happened if it was a test of ultra wide angles, 50mm primes, 180° fisheyes, 600mm equivalent teles? Nex wouldn’t have been featured at all.

      • Miroslav

        I agree with your point. I wasn’t aware it’s the comparison at 24mm equivalent FL, thanks for the explanation. It should have been written somewhere in the post or in the title. Yeah, all APS-C ILCs are for some reason really crippled when it comes to wide angle lenses.

  • Mice

    This is hearsay… but I heard someone say that the resolution on the Nex-7 was so high, that if you so much at twitch on low shutter speeds, it would blur out.

    Of course there are other high res cameras out there, but I guess the Nex-7 suffers from bad/inadequate IS?

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Some truth in that higher resolution makes camera more prone to any shaking:
      It means smaller pixels which “detect” smaller movement of image projected by lens.

  • “Invest in good lenses instead of expensive cameras!”

    Really agree with you.. lenses are way more important than bodies!

    • Anonymous

      Unless you invest in Olympus 4/3 lenses. Then you’re bent over and no lube is used.

  • awaler

    As much as I hate to say it, the NEX lens may be losing on corner sharpness, but given a choice I’d rather suffer that than the ridiculous blue-greenish CA of all the m43 lenses.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      That NEX image would have even stronger CA without it being covered up in software in those random settings processed images.
      Only thing that NEX pancake does optically well is distortion which is low.

  • Gabriel

    I wish they have done three test:
    1. With their kit lens
    2. With the best lens of each system
    3. With the same high quality third party lens

  • OK. Have you really looked at the shots here?
    Most of the 5.6 shots are softer than the 4 shots.

    If you want to see a NEX7 showing its resolution go here

    and I love my 12-60 but this link????

    • E-1

      I’d say the 12-60 is quite good on the E-M5, the GX1 is the worst with that lens, bad that the GX1 is right to the NEX. For the Tamron: I’d guess it shows the 24mp vs. 16mp resolution, though it’s not that much better as one would suspect than the M5.

      • Yes, its still good (12-60) but just look as the softness as the lenses (all round ) get stopped down. You have to admit that the Tamron on the NEX7 looks good but its only one little shot. The Tamron ultra zoom with special focus motors (can’t remember name) also had a great following with the D7000 and similar canons about a year ago. I was toying with D7000 or K5 but stayed with my E30 and EP2. (luckily) Also we will not bet the world on one little shot that looks good.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          > get stopped down.
          Stopped down to where?
          In 4/3 sensor and (and basically NEX-7’s 24MP APS-C) F8 is smallest aperture before diffraction starts blurring resolution so to get any kind meaningfull comparison lenses can’t be stopped down to some random aperture.

          • Look at the shots then see what I am on about. F8 or diffraction has nothing to do with anything in this conversation. Read what the item is before commenting please.

  • Keith

    The Sony 16mm is a joke and isn’t worth bothering with.
    If they had used a Sigma 19 or Sony 24 the nex would kill the m43.

    Sorry, I have both nex and m43.
    The NEX7 sensor is in a different league to anything m43.

    However m43 Olympus ergonomics, autofocus and OOC Jpgs are the best in class IMO which is why I keep Olympus for people photography and NEX for travel / hiking / landscapes in RAW

  • Olaf

    All modern system cameras with 10m pix including Sony, has more than enough resolution to make as large prints as you want. (You have consider viewing distance.) The rest is just hot air from marketing people.

    DR exceeds all output media. (Screen and print)

    If you want really high ISO you may have a reasonable reason to want something with a larger sensor.

    • Adriaantie


  • carlito64

    I have bought several mirrorless cameras in the last couple of years: Panasonic GF1, Olympus E-PL2 & E-P3, Sony Nex 5N & Nex 7. I sold all of them, except the Nex 5N whose quality/price factor is high and I decided to keep it for my son, who is learning photography. I was quite unsatisfied basically due to the lack of viewfinder and bad high-ISO performance in the GF1 and Pens. I have now received the OM-D E-M5 and I really love this camera: this one I’ll keep it for a long time. There is no need to say how good it is: there are several serious internet reviews that prove this fact, see for instance the Dpreview’s one.
    I have owned Sony’s Nex 7 for a couple of weeks, a very good mirrorless camera (it has about the same quotation on Dpreview) but I decided to shift in favor of the OM-D. Most of you who are thinking to buy the OM-D have for sure compared it to the Nex-7. Both have good controls, good behavior with high ISO, good image quality…it may be difficult to make a choice. So here are some points that have been crucial in my preference:
    – I like to use a long focal length. Olympus Zuiko 14-150 and Sony (or Tamron which is slightly lighter) 18-200 are both equivalent to 28-300 mm. The weight of body + lens is more or less the same, though Sony’s lenses occupy a bigger volume . But there is a huge difference in their usability: the weight of Sony’s (or Tamron’s) 18-200 lenses are about 150% (resp. 130%) of the weight of the camera: 524g. (resp. 460 g.) on a body of only 350 g. Opposite, Olympus Zuiko 14-150 (280 g.) is just 66% of the weight of the OM-D (425 g.). Thus the barycenter of the OM-D+14-150 is much nearer to the body of the camera. You can feel it as soon as you take the cameras with two fingers, at the attachment point of the lenses: the OM-d+14-150 stays horizontal, in a perfect equilibrium whereas the nose of the Nex 7+ 18-200 goes down dramatically: it takes a lot of effort to force it to stay horizontal.
    – The sensor of Nex 7 overheats during movie taking: after 20-25 minutes an icon says it overheats. Then you have to shut off the camera (otherwise it does it itself) and wait for some minutes, otherwise you are just allowed to take just 2-3 minutes in the next movie. Now Sony does not recognize this as a problem, in spite of lots of websites reporting it (Sony: this is worse than the problem itself!). Actually this fact occurs even with my Nex 5N, the problem is clearly due to the fact that the sensor is too big for the chassis. This is not a big problem for most of users but it may be painful occasionally when you have to take long movies for some reason (wedding, son’s concert..)
    – One of the reasons to buy a mirrorless camera relies on the fact that they are smaller and lighter than traditional DSLRs. Well, the incredible 5 axes stabilization system of the OM-D allows you to take sharp pictures in low light situations with a low shutter speed without using a tripod. This stabilization system is perfect for travels or street photography. Now both Nex 7 and OM-D have a good behavior in high ISO but in many situations where you need a tripod with the Nex-7 (and many other DSLR) you can leave it at home with the OM-D: this is portability to the square!

  • Yoda

    I don’t really understand the point of comparing a cheap Sony 16mm kit pancake that has a really bad reputation to expensive lenses that cost around a thousand dollars. In fact, I don’t understand the point of this article at all. It’s kind of an open door. We know a good lens is very important for any camera system. This article says absolutely nothing about the resolution of the NEX-7 compared to a micro four thirds camera. Try a scene that requires a large print and a high dynamic range. Bye bye micro four thirds, hello Sony NEX. As long as you use good glass of course…

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