Words and images by Martin Jordan
Another Sony camera launch? They seem to be more regular than an 80’s band comeback. The gorgeous girls at Borkowski (Sony’s PR Company) always put on a great do, and this was no exception.
The bash was in the heart of Soho. It was a balmy evening so people or should I say guys, were out on the pavement, drinking, preening and flexing.
I arrived at the address which was a vinyl record store, and was ushered through the shop and downstairs. It felt like some kind of an illicit speakeasy. All it needed was a rack of records swinging round to reveal a door.
The whole space was painted white or draped in white, very trendy. On one side was a catwalk with models sashaying down it. I was offered a champagne cocktail which tasted so strong, I knew if I had a second I would be dangerous in charge of a camera.
Sony were launching the new additions to their Alpha range, the Nex-3 and Nex-5. These cameras are filling the gap between Compacts and Digital SLR’s. You can see a full report here
I took the opportunity to try out the Nex-5. I had a good position at the end of the runway with the models walking towards me.
First thing you notice about the Nex is how small the body is in comparison to the lens. Second thing is that it has very few buttons, rather it uses an electronic interface utilising the viewing screen. This worked well in the gloom of the basement, but I did wonder what it would be like on a very bright day.
It felt good in the hand to use and I was soon snapping away. As you might expect with the latest Sony cameras, the Nex is bristling with features, including HD video, sweep panorama and 3D.
I couldn’t help wondering if this type of camera falls between two stools, too-big and complicated for a compact and too much of a compromise for an enthusiastic DSLR user. But what do I know? I don’t really get the iPad and that’s selling by the truckload.
I was told there would be special guests, but I didn’t see any, or maybe I should confess I didn’t recognise any. Sony seems to be aiming their marketing at the wired generation. If you don’t tweet, facebook, or haven’t worn your thumbs out texting, you don’t exist. Or maybe it’s just me turning into an old git by the day.
After the models came some circus acts, dancers, jugglers and a contortionist. I watched in amazement as the rather attractive girl, proceeded to put her ankles round her neck. Was it wrong to wonder about all the interesting possibilities that this flexibility gives?
Later I chatted to Paul Genge, Technical Field Sales Manager for Sony UK, who as usual was incredibly enthusiastic. I was rash enough to mention the C word, in the presence of a man who if you cut his head off you would see the word ‘Sony’ running through him like a stick of rock.
He got very animated and exclaimed ‘wait until you see the next Alpha DSLR, it will blow your socks off!’ He went on to say that he would guarantee that my ‘C’ gear would be making an appearance on eBay, once I saw Sony’s new offering. I wondered if he had drunk that second cocktail? Still, watch this space.
Another bunch of models came down the runway, this time the trendy DJ decided to kill off our remaining brain cells with base. Having had my ears already sensitized by those bloody vuvuzelas, I made my excuses and left.
As I made my way home, I pondered whether mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lens will make large inroads to the DSLR market. Some how I don’t think they will, but it will be very interesting to see how this new product gets taken up by the market. It could be the Nex big thing.
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Words and images by Martin Jordan