Sony NEX-5 ? Image Quality (with sample images)

Image Quality

Bearing in mind that this is a pre-production model, the image quality from the jpeg files looks impressive. (I haven’t yet been able to assess the raw files yet.) The jpegs are a little flat right out of the camera (at the default settings) but they’re sharp and well detailed and only need a little Levels adjustment to make them pop. Colours are natural in the Standard mode, and even the Vivid mode seems to stay on the right side of garish. The noise in particular is kept well under control. At ISO 1600 it’s barely visible and although the noise is fairly course by the time you top out at ISO12800 the images are still usable. In my ISO comparison with the Panasonic Lumix GH1 that I also had with me the NEX-5 was a good two to three stops better.

To be fair, having a much larger sensor than the micro four thirds system (23.4×15.6mm compared with 17.3×13.0mm) you’d expect the image quality to be better, but how the Sony stacks up against Samsung’s NX10, which has the same size sensor, we have yet to find out. Of course the downside of the larger sensor is that, like Samsung’s Hybrid system, the lenses will always be a bit bulkier than comparable MFT lenses.

On paper then, when compared with existing rivals the Sony NEX-5 has a lot to recommend it: its size, its high res flexi screen, the simple interface, the host of clever but useful high-tech features, the general build quality (which on the NEX-5 is first class) and, from my initial impressions, the image quality. Best of all the aggressive pricing is significantly below what I was expecting from a Sony product.

Image Samples (from a pre-production NEX-5)

View the Full Size High-Resolution Images


Sony NEX-5Above: Taken using the 18-55mm zoom. Below: a 100% magnification of the image above
Sony NEX-5Sony NEX-5Above: Sweep Panorama mode. Unprocessed jpeg (top) and with Levels adjustment (above)

 Sony NEX-5
Above: At the Vivid Setting

 Sony NEX-5Above: B&W Setting

Sony NEX-5Above: Auto HDR Before (top) and After (above)

Sony NEX-5

Above: Auto HDR in B&W mode (before and after)

Sony NEX-5Above: The shallow depth of field possible using the 18-55mm (@50mm)

 Sony NEX-5Above: Macro Mode

 Sony NEX-5Above: Portrait Mode   Below: 100% detail
Sony NEX-5

 Sony NEX-5Above: hand-held in Twilight Mode

Sony NEX-5Above: Using the accessory flash in Slow-Sync mode




  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 ?).