The Sony NEX-5 is the smallest interchangeable lens system camera on the market, using a new APS HD CMOS sensor. Is the NEX-5 the new king of 'hybrid' cameras? The What Digital Camera Sony NEX-5 full review takes a look...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Sony NEX-5

Overall score:90%
Image Quality:95%


  • Image Quality, small system


  • Slow start up time, options tucked away in menus, accessory port fiddly to use


Sony NEX-5 Review


Price as reviewed:



Sony NEX-5 product image Although compact-like in appearance, don’t let the exterior fool you – the Sony NEX-5 produces class-leading images that outshine some stiff competition in the Micro System Cameras sector. Many will love its pick-up-and-shoot ease of use, though it’s not without its errors – the lack of buttons for control and amount of menu digging required to adjust options may frustrate more advanced users. Otherwise the AF system is relatively fast and accurate and the variety of creative modes are all very accessible. However, for those looking for a more DSLR-like model with an electronic viewfinder and multitude of function buttons then the NEX may not suit; for those looking for the smallest camera of its type with HD movie capture capability and superb image quality then this is where the NEX-5 really hits the nail on the head.


Built-in Flash:Included (attaches via accessory port), GN 7 at ISO 100 (equiv)
Max Flash Sync:1/160th
Cable Release:No
AF Points:25-point system
Colour Temp Control:2500 – 9900 Kelvin
DoF Prview:No, Background Defocus control available
White Balance Bracket:No
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
Exposure Comp:Yes, ±2EV (in 1/3 stops)
Focusing Modes:Continuous, Single Shot, Direct Manual Focus, Manual Focus
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No, lens based where applicable
Dust Reduction:Yes, Low Pass Filter and Electromagnetic Vibration Mechanism
Weight:593g (no battery or card)
Live Mode:Yes
Power:Rechargeable li-ion battery
Dimensions:110. 8 x 58.8 x 38.2mm
Movie Mode:1080i (60 fields per second) AVCHD maximum. Motion JPEG also available. Lower 720p recording resolution also available.
Connectivity:HDMI (c-type), USB (standard mini connection)
Field of View:100% approx
Memory Card:SD (HC/XC) or Memory Stick Pro
Viewfinder Type:N/A
Drive Mode:Single, Remote Commander, Bracket, Self Timer, Self Timer (Multiple Images), Speed Priority, Continuous Advanced (to 7fps)
Metering System:49-segment metering
White Balance:Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Setting the color temperature
Shutter Speeds:30 – 1/4000th second (plus Bulb)
Compression:Not adjustable, ‘Fine’ quality only
Exposure Modes:P, A, S, M, Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Scene (Portrait, Hand-held Twilight, Night View, Night Portrait, Sunset, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape), Intelligent Auto
Output Size:4592 x 3056
Focal Length Mag:1.5x
LCD:3in, 921k-dot, tilt-angle TruBlack LCD
Lens Mount:E-mount
File Format:Raw (ARW), JPEG, Raw + JPEG
Sensor:14.2 megapixels Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor
  1. 1. Sony NEX-5 review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality & Value
  5. 5. Verdict
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