A 16.1-million-pixel sensor, LCD touchscreen and increased shooting rate to 10fps are just three of the upgrades to Sony’s NEX-5N compact system camera. We put it to the test

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Sony NEX-5N


Sony NEX-5N review


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Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity

The 16.1-million-pixel sensor of the NEX-5N has been used in a number of different cameras, made by three different manufacturers, so we know what to expect.

Colour noise is well controlled in JPEG images, with virtually none at any sensitivity. Of course, if you shoot raw files, or lighten the shadow areas of JPEG files some colour noise is revealed, but it is as well controlled as in other cameras that use this sensor.

Luminance noise is visible in the shadow areas of JPEGs at the maximum sensitivities. Noise reduction at higher sensitivities also decreases the amount of detail and texture, but this means even the highest sensitivities are usable. Sony is obviously confident enough with the image quality of the NEX-5N as the maximum sensitivity matches that of the Nikon D7000 (which uses the same sensor) of ISO 25,600.

There are a few new features that help image quality. Included with the in-camera software is automatic chromatic aberration, vignetting and curvilinear distortion correction. Each of these can be turned on or off individually, giving users as much control as they wish. Although these features are nearly always available on other cameras and are applied to some level automatically to JPEG images, well done to Sony for making these visible so that photographers know exactly what is going on behind the scenes.

  1. 1. Features
  2. 2. Build and handling
  3. 3. Metering
  4. 4. Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
  5. 5. Dynamic Range
  6. 6. White Balance and Colour
  7. 7. Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
  8. 8. Autofocus
  9. 9. Verdict
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