Sony NEX-5 interchangeable lens camera
Review I have to admit upon opening the box and finding a silver-bodied version of the Sony NEX-5 with the 18-55 zoom, my first thoughts were: this is the coolest camera ever.
Sony's NEX-5 with the new E-mount 18-55mm zoom lens
Why? Well, Sony has applied some rather simple notions here: put a load of decent glass in front of a good-sized sensor, tack on a operating system that gives you basic control and great auto programs, make the flashgun a pocket add-on and finish it all in brushed metal. The upshot of it all is a camera that looks and feels the business.
With a crowd-pleasing 14.2Mp APS-C CMOS sensor, when married to its E18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens – which is deadly silent when in AF mode – the NEX-5 produces images to rival DSLRs, much further up the food chain.
Unlike the NEX-3 (its 720p sibling), the NEX-5 records 1080i AVCHD HD movies and, with quality lenses, produces footage to rival devices with even larger sensors. Currently, there are only a handful of E-mount Alpha lenses available, but there’s an official adapter for Sony Alpha and Minolta optics, as well as third party offerings for other makes.
With no viewfinder, the 921k dot, 3in articulating LCD screen takes care of business and gives a very high contrast image preview. The panel feels solid with a great finish round the edges. I grew to like the Background Defocus Control – being able to adjust depth of focus with a scale on-screen live, instead of using f/stops. Thankfully, this mode’s starting point is at the best extreme for this effect.
The articulating LCD panel reveals most of the controls, as buttons kept to a minimum,
Choosing not to have a dial for the shooting mode is inspired. Many never move that dial anyway and it is the first function of the NEX-5’s jog wheel, by default. The menu system is very simple and easy to navigate, once you’re on Sony’s wavelength. When you’ve determined that the ISO would probably fall under Brightness and Colour, rather than say Camera settings, then it all starts to make sense. We are in a RGB/YUV world, after all.
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... its a Sony.
We don't do Sony any more, do we?
Shame they shunned the four thirds format
They seem to have moved to the APS-C sized sensor, not sure why, the micro four thirds format was designed for this type of camera and all the features, such as no view finder, external flash, etc, are the same as the Samsung NX1, Olympus Pen and Panasonic G series.
Shame really because the mocro four thirds lens collection is expanding and this camera could have provided some more. Also, reading the review, manual control seems to be a dog, which is also against the grain for this type of camera.
For anyone interested, (I have an Olympus Pen 1), these are street cameras, lighter than an SLR, more descrete, full manual control and shots with the same resolution and dynamic range as SLR shots. I still love my SLR's but my Pen has replaced and supassed my point and shoot for casual shots.
Personal opinion, but the proportions of the NEX-5 seem to be wrong, the lens is too big. The Panasonic and Olympus offerings, especially the silver and white versions, have a lovely retro style, but that's my taste.
What we all need to know....
All these pictures are very nice, but what we really want to know is what the signal strength is like, how does it function as a *phone* above all else?
Interesting to read about this, but I'm not sure how you could possibly describe this as 'compact'.
Confused about the target market?
Yes I agree with the review, there is something quite cool about this camera and it illustrates that sometimes Sony does produce the goods. I am still a little confused though as to who is buying this type of camera and also other interchangeable lens cameras such as the Olympus Pen? I can only presume that they are trying to offer DSLR quality lenses on compact backs? Is that it?
Because I can't find in the review any statement of this camera offering any standard DSLR functions that allow REAL creative control over the photographs taken. Sure it has a fairly high ISO level, but where is the statement around maximum and minimum aperture stops for control of DOF/selective focus and the high and low limits of shutter speed to control motion blur and the clear capture of things moving at high speed?
I just don't get it. Sure.. it's cool. Sure... the flash and mic add ons look kind of neat. But that's it. For the £600 wanted by Sony I could buy a Canon EOS 40D or similar with a decent 18-55 lens with memory card and holdall - and get MUCH MUCH more control over my photography.
I know there will be the argument that - "well an EOS 40D is more dedicated bit of kit and you would expect it to have better creative features" and I understand that, but on the other hand - if this camera is not aiming for that space, then who is it aimed at?
Surely it's not just a new marketing angle?