SONY’s NEX-5 is the smallest ever micro system camera. SONY’s done well to have managed to put in a APS-C size CMOS into this midget body. Let us take a look at what makes this camera a good buy, if at all.
This is the first model to use SONY’s APS CMOS sensor, all of 14 MP. The camera offers complete manual override when not in the AUTO or scene modes. The lens mount does not accepts SONY’s Alpha lenses (meant for SONY DSLRs), but the optional adapter solves this problem, so no worries there. The 921-dot vari-angle LCD is a pleasure to use. The NEX-5 offers ISO ranges from 200 up to 12800, most suitable to any photographic requirements. The auto HDR mode is a great scene mode, and it combines two frames to give you a true HDR-quality output. Another impressive mode is the auto Pano mode, stitching together images that the camera automatically takes when you simply pan the body!
The NEX-5 has a compact-like body, unlike many competitors who try and look like an SLR. We liked the chunky grip on the right side of the body. However, anything other than a pancake lens tends to make the camera seem front heavy. To put it in a nutshell, some folks will love the design, and some wont (especially people used to a bulky DSLR). SONY provides a detachable flash unit as part of the NEX-5 kit, but we wish it was a regular hot shoe design. The flash can be tricky to attach if you need to do it in a hurry. As for the controls, the buttons on the NEX-5 are much in tune with a compact, so again compact users would be content with these, but definitely not DSLR users.
The NEX-5 is pretty simple to use when you wish to employ it as a point-and-shoot. However, it can be frustrating to have to keep going through menus if you want complete manual control. The start-up time is about 1 second, and this again can be frustrating if you are used to a DSLR. We loved the AF system on the camera, which is as good as any DSLR out there. This camera can capture true HD quality movie files, and this is great to have in such a miniature body. However, we wish there was a provision for an external microphone regular jack. But, you CAN attach a SONY external microphone to the camera through a dedicated connector. Similarly, we wish the NEX-5 had a regular hot shoe and not a dedicated SONY unit. SONY loves monopolizing their clientele!
The exposures turned out spot on, on the AUTO modes. The NEX-5 allows you to shoot in RAW format. Color tones were good, and Auto White Balance settings proved excellent. Image noise is minimal up to 3200 ISO, which is great. The images are definitely usable even at ISO 12800. Sharpness and detail were excellent as well.
The NEX-5 more than proves its worth where image quality is concerned. However the design could be a little bit of a pain for SLR users. It may seem a little pricy at 590 pounds, but it sure beats the competition where image quality is concerned. We recommend this camera!