The most skilled photographers in the business don’t survive only on their inherent talents and their eye; even they would tell you that. Sure, those components are key to setting a photographer apart in what is a very competitive industry, but the best photographers get ahead by using the best equipment available. It doesn’t matter if a photographer has the eye of Margaret Bourke-White or the concepts of Diane Arbus, if that photographer is using the camera on an iPhone, that photographer is never going to make a name for him or herself. So if you’re looking to be serious about photography, it’s important to get the best camera.
But of course in this economy, the price tags on this grade A equipment can be pretty intimidating. Fortunately, there are two stellar cameras on the market currently that have received outstanding reviews and have been made by reputable companies, and they come at a price that’s not totally exorbitant. Those two cameras are the CANON EOS 5D Mark III and the SONY NEX-5N. So which is the better of the two?
Well let’s explore the advantages that each holds over the other first. Owners of the Mark III have the benefit of having a significantly larger screen than owners of the NEX-5N. At 3.5” versus 3”, it’s about 20% bigger. The Mark III also has a larger sensor, which allows for typically higher resolution. There are actually many components of the Mark III that allow it to have consistently better image quality than that of a NEX-5N, including a faster maximum shutter speed and higher true resolution. Apart from image quality, owners of the Mark III reportedly enjoy the long battery life, the availability of more lenses and the weather sealed function that allows photographers to shoot in the rain.
Although the above listed benefits are quite significant, the SONY NEX-5N is by no means a shoddy camera. A lot of the best cameras can be rather tasking to carry around, whereas the NEX-5N is small and easily portable. For such a small camera, it still is able to capture some pretty exceptional quality photos. Even if the general quality of a photo is better on a Mark III, the Mark III does not take 3D photos. The NEX-5N does. While the screen on the NEX 5 may be smaller than that of the Mark III, the NEX-5N screen can flip-out, which many photographers will tell you is a useful perk when composing particularly tricky shots. The NEX-5N is also a touch screen, which should tickle the fancy of those raised in the smartphone generation.
The NEX-5N has one more sizable advantage over the Mark III that cannot be overlooked: Affordability. The NEX-5N typically runs at around $549. A Mark III is going to cost anywhere between about $2,900 and $3,500, depending on the distributor. That may sound like a lot of money, but there are a lot of cameras designed for professional photographers that run in the area of five digits. However, $3,000 is steep for a lot of people understandably, so if you are in a situation where you need to be as frugal as possible, the NEX-5N is a superb model. But if affordability is not an issue, then there’s simply no question: The Mark III produces higher quality pictures and can adapt to more environments. It is the superior brand.
Photography is one of the best habits a person can pick up. It can lead you down several mysterious avenues, it keeps you creative and it leads to a different vantage point of the world at large. You might as well have the right tools around if it’s your passion.
Thomas Wendell is a California native, blogger, and photography addict. He recently quit his day job to pursue his passions of photography and writing full time. He currently works with Nathan Petty, a San Diego wedding photographer.