Give us a flash
Another space saver, and a throw back to film cameras, is the NEX-5’s detachable flash. Given that, unaided, it takes rather lovely images up to ISO 3200, and really excels up to 1600 ISO, if you can't find a light source or tripod to put it on, well shame on you. Still, the pocket-friendly flash, which is about the size of a car key fob, can punch some light onto a scene, admittedly a close scene, if needs must. And if you're keen to experiment, the NEX-5 goes up to ISO 12800, but don't expect miracles at this range.
Having a detachable flash helps to keep the body size down
The flashgun slot also doubles up for use with the accessory microphone, which looks like a decent piece of kit from Sony Pro Audio. The camera’s tiny internal microphone does a good job too, though.
The rapid-fire panorama is fun and delivers the goods. It takes multiple shots and stitches them up in-camera. From the first go you have something that you are hard pushed to improve, unless you swivel too fast. The Handheld Twilight mode – taking three images to produce a sharp shot when there is hardly any light – works a treat too.
I would love to have tried the 16mm pancake prime f/2.8 as I think that would be a super lens for most quirky wide stuff you need to shoot. And if you want things wider still, there’s even a fisheye adapter for it. At the other end of the scale, the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 due in September should satisfy those who only want to own one lens.
If you do opt for a Sony adaptor for Alpha/Minolta lenses or others with adapters from Rayqual and Novoflex, you will lose the autofocus feature – which is a selling point here. Still if you already own some decent glass and want a smaller form factor, then sacrificing the autofocus to consider these options may well be worth it. Talking of options, the card slot takes both SD cards and Sony's Memory Stick, but accommodating both form factors does make inserting a card a little fiddly.
An external microphone is available that also utilises the flash slot
Battery life is rated at around 330 shots, but I was keen to see how long it would survive for video work. Overall, it lasted around 40mins with on-screen monitoring and video recording.
Next page: What’s the charge?
... 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?