Sony NEX-5 review

June 5, 2010

Overall Rating:


Sony NEX-5

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Price as Reviewed:


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


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.

  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, plus custom and Kelvin settings
  • Dioptre Adjustment: N/A
  • Built-in Flash: No, external supplied – GN 7m @ ISO 100
  • Viewfinder Type: N/A (optional optical viewfinder for 16mm lens)
  • Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Memory Stick Pro Duo
  • Output Size: 4592x3056 pixels
  • LCD: LCD 3in widescreen TFT LCD screen with 921,600 dots
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • AF Points: 25 automatically selectable points, 187 selectable single points
  • Field of View: N/A
  • Sensor: APS-C-size CMOS sensor with 14.2 million 
effective pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/160sec
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, iAuto, 8 scene modes
  • Weight: 229g (without battery or card/s)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (supplied)
  • File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3 steps plus B
  • Dimensions: 110.8x58.8x38.2mm
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: 2.3fps for 14 JPEG or 7 raw images, 7fps for 7 images in Speed Priority mode
  • Metering System: 49-zone multi, centreweighted, spot
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed/HDMI
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±2EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • RRP: £594.99 (18-55mm kit lens)
  • Lens Mount: Sony E mount
  • ISO: ISO 200-12,800 in 1EV steps
  • Focusing Modes: Auto, manual, DMF, face detection
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Tested as: Micro-system camera

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