Sony NEX-5 ? First Impressions

Sony NEX-5I spent several hours using a pre-production NEX-5 and came away very impressed at just how much Sony has crammed into such a small camera. In fact it’s so small that it looks a little odd with the zoom attached – like an Alpha lens attached to a Cybershot – and with the larger, forthcoming 18-200mm attached I imagine it will look like one of those little Remora fish that cling to the sides of sharks. With the 16mm pancake lens attached the NEX-5 looks more proportional, and more importantly I was able to put it into my Blazer pocket with ease.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the NEX-5 handles more like a compact than a DSLR, so those preferring a more DSLR-like experience, and a viewfinder, may favour the excellent, but larger Samsung NX10 or Panasonic Lumix G2.

Sony NEX-5
Start up is somewhat slow, but once up and running the camera is a smooth performer, with fast and accurate AF that only faltered a couple of times, in very low light. The user interface, especially in the iAuto and Scene modes, takes beginner-friendliness to the next level, with plenty of on-board advice and help available from a single button press to those who need it.  The background de-focus control is especially good.

Where the camera falls down, from a usability point of view, is in the cumbersome button pressing and scrolling that more experienced photographers have to go through to change the ISO, White Balance and other image settings. This quickly became incredibly frustrating, and I found myself yearning for some kind of short cut button to these menus. This could possibly be addressed with a firmware upgrade, by adding the option to turn the soft key buttons into custom functions, though more realistically Sony may release a more enthusiast-oriented model (NEX-7?) with a couple more buttons. These are after all, just the first two models in what will grow into a much larger system.

The omission of a viewfinder was not a problem in overcast light, and there is an option to boost the LCD screen brightness and contrast for use in bright sun, but long-sighted users may still yearn for something they can put to their eye, like the rival Samsung NX10 and Lumix G2/G10, and the option of an electronic viewfinder attachment for use with the zooms would be an appealing addition.
Or perhaps Sony will introduce a slightly larger DSLR style model featuring a built-in EVF in the future.

Sony NEX-5

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Page 2
  3. 3. Sony NEX-5 ? First Impressions
  4. 4. Sony NEX-5 ? Image Quality (with sample images)
  5. 5. Sony NEX-5 ? ISO comparisons
  6. 6. Sony NEX-5 ? ISO comparison with Lumix GH1
  7. 7. Sony NEX-3 ? The differences
  8. 8. Sony NEX system - Lenses and Adaptors
  9. 9. Sony NEX system - Packaging, Pricing, Availability
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  • darimarc

    Nikon D90 Professional??? 😀
    NEX is first pocket digital camera with usable high ISO values

  • Rob

    I think D90 is a very good and light weight also good quality pic. It do anything for shooting. It’s a great

  • BPJ

    It looks like the camera and lenses were designed by separate teams who never liaised with each other at any point.
    Not a serious alternative to MFT or NX.

  • Viv

    Will it blast away the professional Nikon D90 and the Canons ?

  • featherandhay

    A camera of staggering, breathtaking, unprecidented ugliness. A baked bean tin of a lens bolted onto a nasty slab of a body. Nasty nasty nasty.

  • Steve Solomon

    I agree…certainly the GH1 (or ANY) m4/3 system is capable of better than what’s represented here!

  • Gavin

    This is a seriously ugly looking camera! Good for those who want to play a bit more and not go to a full on SLR I guess

  • waxy

    Cool!! this is going to blow oly and lumix out of the water.

  • Bryan T

    This looks perfect for what I want. can’t wait to get my hands on one.

  • Voconce

    I don’t understand why even at 200 ISO the GH1 is not crisp ! Therefore, the problem with this camera is not its high ISO performance but your settings (bad focus ?).