Sony NEX

It was all going so well on the mirrorless camera front. When Panasonic and Olympus were the only players, with their interchangeable m4/3 system, there didn't seem to be as much of the "My cameras better than yours" "No its not" "Yes it is" "No its not" "Yes it is".........  level of debate around the forums. Sure there were the odd, "Olympus blows Panasonic away with their sensor" type statements from people desperate to demonstrate their purchasing prowess. But on the whole it was polite, with lots of cross manufacturer combinations being shown and unusual for photographic forums a genuine appreciation of the merits of the different product lines. Many of us even own both!!!

When Samsung appeared on the scene, things got a little more heated. The appearance of the "evil empire" got some people in the m4/3 camp somewhat excited. All of a sudden it wasn't the same cosy mutual appreciation club. There were some fairly "robust rubbishings" of this new "competitor". However over time it emerged that the NX10 was actually a rather decent little camera, and once again a truce emerged and the general consensus seemed to be that we could all benefit from this expansion of choice.

Then Sony appeared with the NEX cameras.

Suddenly the Dark Star was hovering in the atmosphere. There were rumbles of thunder in the clouds, lightning bolts were appearing from the sky. It was time to "lock and load!"

Sony were not helped by their somewhat hamfisted attempt to announce the camera. The mocked up cameras looking like bars of soap and the infamous stuck on lens debacle, wasn't a great start. Samsung appearing on the scene was barely tolerable for some people, but Sony was definitely a step too far for many.

For reasons that escape me, Sony seem to attract more than their fair share of hatred. They got criticised for making the "wrong decision" in the Betamax vs VHS video format market, but as is well known Betamax was the format used by professionals and TV companies for many years after. In the music market, DAT and Mini Disk never took a mass market share, but were again used by professionals, who regarded them as quality products. Their acquisition of various music catalogues and their inclusion of copyright protection codes on their CD's succeeded in alienating them from many "music lovers". Finally their entry into the DSLR camera market, after a promising start, seems to be floundering with a confusing range of similarly specified offerings in the middle range of the market.

Despite all this they are the worlds leading supplier of sensors for digital cameras. Most of us at some time or other have probably taken pictures with a Sony sensor. They have enormous experience and expertise with video and have established themselves as a competent, if somewhat unexciting, camera manufacturer. 

When the final NEX cameras appeared in their finished form, they seemed to be quite appealing, and offer something of quality at a competitive price. For me personally the recently announced camcorder based on the NEX sensor/lens system looks very exciting.

However, they have been attacked from all sides in the forums. "NEX disaster" "NEX is doomed" "NEX has confusing menus" "NEX lenses not good enough" Positive reviews of the camera are treated to comments like "Doesn't know what they are talking about" "Written by a gadget freak, not a photographer" "Sony must have bribed them"

Everything I've seen from the camera seems to indicate its a decent performer, for both stills and video, and user reports coming in are generally positive. So what can be causing this hostility?

There's always a certain amount of "justifying your purchase" going on. Some people seem desperate to prove that they have the "ultimate object of desire" and will go to any lengths to trash the "competition". Some people feel disappointment that their recent acquisition may not be the current hot item and they are constantly disappointed that there is always something better appearing on the horizon. They get angry with and resent the companies who always seem to torment and taunt them with announcements of newer and "better" products. There's always the wish "I've just bought this, please let all new development stop, so I've got the latest" 

This is not the case for everyone of course. Those not caught up in the never ending spiral of consumer catch-up, will assess any new product to see if it offers them more than what they already have. Like many others, I'm very much in that situation with the NEX system. It may be something I can use, it may not. Like m4/3, like the Samsung NX10, I see the NEX system as an encouraging sign for the future. If a product appears that offers something new and exciting then I will always consider it. Whether its made by Sony or Fisher Price is of no importance to me.