Featuring a 14.2-million-pixel APS-C-size sensor, the Sony NEX-5 is the smallest micro-system camera yet. Is it a miniature marvel? We find out in our Sony NEX-5 review

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sony NEX-5

Autofocus:
Noise/resolution:
Metering:
Features:
AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:
Build/Handling:

Product:

Sony NEX-5 review

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Price as reviewed:

£560.00

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Sony NEX-5 at a glance:

  • 14.2 million effective pixels
  • APS-C-sized sensor
  • New Sony NEX system
  • Currently the smallest interchangeable-lens digital camera available
  • Street price approximately £560 with kit lens

The Sony NEX-5 has an impressively small flange depth of just 18mm between the lens mount and sensor. While this helps to keep the size of the camera to a minimum, it also has the potential to introduce optical problems, such as distortion, edge sharpness and chromatic aberrations. Although the NEX-series cameras use the new Alpha E mount rather than the regular Alpha mount, an adapter will be available at launch to allow existing Alpha-mount lenses to be used on NEX cameras.The main problem for the NEX system is the competition it will face from Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung, as these companies have already launched micro-system cameras.

One way Sony plans to make the Sony NEX-5 stand out from the crowd is by equipping it with Full, 1080p HD video. This video is compressed using the full version of the AVCHD codec, unlike the AVCHD Lite codec that is used in the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds range.Sony has a track record of producing stylish electronic goods, and has a successful range of Cyber-shot compact digital cameras. Add to this a pedigree in DSLRs inherited from Konica Minolta when Sony bought that company’s DSLR division and it becomes interesting to see exactly what influence these areas of the business have had on the Sony NEX-5.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Sweep panorama
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. White balance and colour
  6. 6. Metering
  7. 7. Autofocus
  8. 8. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  9. 9. Dynamic range
  10. 10. LCD, viewfinder and video
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Our verdict
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  • Ojjoz

    45 of 45 people found the later assses helpful: Among the world’s finest ways to make photographs, November 26, 2010Bya0 (Long Island, NY) a0a0a0a0 This assses is starting: Leica M9 18MP Digital Range Finder Camera (Black, Body Only) (Electronics) I assume that anyone spending $10-20K for an M9 system (camera and a few lenses) will do their own homework, so I won’t insult anyone with observations in this area the quality of this camera or the pictures it takes. All I’ll say is that in the right hands it is capable of producing stunning images. But at the same time, it isn’t for everyone. I have sweet much the full Nikon pro suite, but it’s not in this area one strain being surpass than the other both take fine photographs. There are many things my D3 can do that the M9 can’t, and sub versa. The M9 is a different tool, useful for different situations. Whether it’s the camera for you depends on whether you run into those M9 sweet stain situations often enough to make it worthwhile. The M9 is best when you’re working in a gradual and methodical way, sensibly composing, adjusting every background, leave-compelling nothing to chance. If you’re the type of photographer who keeps his auto-focus lenses on manual most of the time, rarely letting the camera make valuable exposure decisions, then Leica might appeal to you. You doubtless also use your pet prime lens more than any zoom. For me, the form factor is a huge part of it. The M9 isn’t all that much larger than (say) one of the larger point-and-shoots but this is no point and spurt in stipulations of picture quality. Carrying something around my narrow part that’s water supply under semi the weight and majority of a Nikon D3 with 24-70 lens, while not sacrificing an ounce of image quality, is valuable to me. If you’re on the fence, I’d encourage you to rent one for numerous living to experience the Leica mystique firsthand. You’ll either fall in like, or you’ll be uninterested and keep yourself numerous thousand dollars.Help other customers find the most helpful reviewsa0Was this assses helpful to you?a0 | a0 VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)Mehran Farahmand says: 77 of 86 people found the later assses helpful: The Patek Philippe of cameras ., September 21, 2010Bya0 a0a0 This assses is starting: Leica M9 18MP Digital Range Finder Camera (Black, Body Only) (Electronics) I am not an simple grader, and am a perfectionist. A perfectionist forced to compromise. I give Leica M9 a solid 8 out of 10; possibly 8.5 out of 10. Certainly not higher. Some dumb compromises in Leica M9: e.g. low-expense screen. Why not sapphire screen like M8.2? Leica claims they sought after to meet a specific fee target. Come on, the person who pays $7,000 for the body alone, will pay a couple of hundred dollars more for a surpass screen. Since I have no accept for such small comings, I rather to rate Leica lower rather than higher. Now, place up with in mind i heart Leica tremendously. So far I have had a few leica M6 cameras, M7, R something, M8.2 and now M9. Multiple lenses. Oh, also the lovely D-Lux 4. M9 is by far the best leica camera I have had. In fact, the best digital camera I have owned. It has its quirks. But leica owners tend to be a quirky bunch too (and I mean that with greatest accept). First, i have to caution you that it took me unevenly seven months to receive my leica. While I was coming up, and getting impatient, bought a Nikon D700, multiple lenses, and then a D3S. It is a bit embarrasing and trying to journey with the Nikons. Too loud and draw too much attention to themselves, everyone thinking I am a professional photographer. I despise that as I am just a humble street photographer. It is the speed of D700 and D3S that I fail to attend in my Leica M9. Leica M9 body feels fantastic. Like a gorgeous mechanical watch. I bought the grey one. Frankly the faux leather on it, feels a bit too ice-y cold, and a bit low-expense. Possibly if i were to do it finished, i would have gotten the black body. Possibly not .everyone has those! The battery life is small. You call for an superfluous battery with you for a long day trip with lots of shooting. So simple to use the camera. Menu items not working to bare essentials. The camera is light, simple to carry, does not draw any attention to itself or to you, unless people in the know see that and envy you. My largest conundrum with Leica cameras and the M9 is that I like to take lots of candid street shots. Like on a recent trip to San Francisco I witnessed an arrest in the tenderloin area (what on earth was I doing in one of the most terrible streets in the country? water supply they have incredible Thai restaurants there) . I could have full 20 kind pictures with my D3S. With Leica I did 20 shots, and one or two came fine but not fantastic. Even my D-Lux 4 is surpass in that sense. Mainly because of the lack of auto-focus. Some swear by leica hyperfocal focusing. Water supply, they are ahead of me for sure. So if you have the time, and only care in this area compelling pictures of not moving subjects, then Leica is fantastic. So grandma shots must be fine. If you aspire to take pictures of your outcome or grand kid in succession at the speed of light or even an ancient tire-less VW, then pull out your iphone. Exaggeration up your sheath, you will not regret buying Leica M9, unless they come with 9.2 immediately after your buy. You will not remember the distinguished fee tag. The colors are lively, the black and whites are gorgeous and you do not break your in trade by carrying a gray camera. Leica is a fantastic camera but is not enough as your only camera. You call for a D-Lux 5 or a nikon/canon type as water supply .I am lucky for you that you do not have to wait as long as I did to receive yours. Many camera shops seem to have them in stock now. A friend of mine bought his on Amazon and received it within one day starting his order. Not terrible. Best wishes to you whatever camera you go with.Help other customers find the most helpful reviewsa0Was this assses helpful to you?a0 | a0 VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)T. Kim “TK94111” says: 18 of 18 people found the later assses helpful: Value the wait, October 24, 2010Bya0 a0a0 This assses is starting: Leica M9 18MP Digital Range Finder Camera (Black, Body Only) (Electronics) By the time I could afford a Leica, coat was on its way out. I cultured how to take photos on a Rollei 35S, and shot for nearly two decades with a Nikon FM2. Developed my own B&W prints. Then I had kids. No more chemicals, no more dark opportunity. When the M8 came out, I looked into it but it seemed to have too many problems (not full sensor, weird IR problems ) I waited for the M9. Then I waited for it to be available. And waited. And waited. I have to say this camera rediscovered to joy of photography. Manual focus, manual controls. And the glass is really something else to consider. The images this camera produces, mainly in low light, are fantastic. I would encourage anyone who is interested to go to Flickr and check out the M9 group to see the photos. This camera is not for everybody. But I reckon anyone thinking in this area spending as much money on a camera outfit (body + lenses) as a Hyundai doubtless knows what he or she is getting into. I am only here to confirm (as an actual user and owner for nearly a time) that this camera delivers on everything it promises.Help other customers find the most helpful reviewsa0Was this assses helpful to you?a0 | a0 VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

  • Matt Blonc

    I tested the Fuji X pro 1 camera and was amazed by the images it produced. The only down side was the shutter lag, but this seems to have been addressed, therefore, I will buy the X – E1 as soon as I can get one.

    Noise is amazing on this camera.

    My review with images at http://www.mattblonc.com/2012/08/05/fuji-x-pro-1-camera-with-fuji-18-mm-f2-and-fuji-35mm-f1-4-lens/

    Matt Blonc
    http://www.mattblonc.com

  • Douglas Salteri

    It’s a shame that the camera with such a wonderfully diverse viewfinder display doesn’t have a dioptre correction fitted.

    So far the results are exciting and wonderfully sharp. A wider lens will be welcomed as soon as it becomes available.