Sony NEX-5R review
Value & Verdict
Though the NEX-5R is a completely new Sony CSC it must be said that it doesn't offer a vast amount more than what we've seen before in the NEX-5N. It handles very similarly in the hand and other than providing the options to transfer images directly to your smart phone or tablet, the menu system and navigation is much the same. The minor tweaks to the body have improved operation slightly and the new function button beside the shutter is a welcomed addition, however we would have preferred it if the new command dial was designed as a mode dial instead. Left slightly disappointed by the touch screen, there are clearly areas for improvement to make it more intuitive and easier to use.
As for the build, it can't be faulted. Despite it not having the premium metal finish that premium CSC's offer it's no reason to suggest it won't last a long time if it's duly cared for. Available for £669 with the 18-55mm kit lens it works out more expensive than some of its closest rivals. To be precise the NEX-5R is £210 more than Nikon's J2 when you bundle it with the 10-30mm lens and it's £174 more than Panasonic's GF5 if you were to choose it with the 14-42mm Power Zoom lens.
Compared with when the NEX-5N was reviewed there's now a more extensive lineup of E-mount lenses available. At present there are eleven lenses in the range but this number is still less than what Olympus and Panasonic offer for their CSC's. If you're looking at buying into a system that's widely supported by an extensive set of lenses you may want to consider Micro Four Thirds as one of your alternative.
What the NEX-5R remains very good at is capturing excellent images with fantastic levels of detail. For anyone upgrading from a basic compact model there are all the advanced controls you need to take your photography to the next level and the useful help guide display offers a clear description of all the settings in the menu so you can learn as you work. Many will love the way you can pick up the NEX-5R, set it to intelligent auto mode and get great results straight away. As you begin to use it more creatively the little niggles we've discovered will become more apparent.
If you're not concerned about Wi-Fi, touch shutter and the top plate design tweaks, you could save yourself some money by choosing the NEX-5N over the NEX-5R. Currently £280 cheaper, you'll still achieve excellent results and superb image quality from the APS-C sized sensor. Another good bit of news is that more E-mount lenses than ever before support it.