Not so flash
Another annoying design flaw is caused by the accessory flash unit mounted on the hotshoe. When not in use it folds flat but gets in the way of turning the zoom ring. The result is quite frustrating – if you want to travel the whole focal length of the zoom with the flash attached, you have to do it in several progressive movements.
And if you force your hand past the flash unit in one sweeping movement, as you naturally would, you inevitably hit the flash and make it unfold and engage. Shame, as a retractable or fixed flash unit would have solved this problem.
I encountered other issues that prevented me from fully enjoying using the Sony NEX-5N. For instance, the on/off switch is extremely stiff while feeling rather plasticky – an altogether unpleasant combination. Also, the flash unit is rather tricky to screw on and off, as the screw dial is buried so deep within the base of the unit that your fore finger struggles to reach it. And I certainly don’t have large fingers.
Minimal controls will suit some, but not all
The Sony NEX-5N is quite devoid of physical buttons. All that's on offer are the shutter release, on/off switch, playback and direct video recording buttons on the top plate and a four-way control dial plus two unmarked flat buttons on the right of the screen. Take a moment to customise those two buttons and the camera can be fully operated from these sparse physical controls.
The NEX-5N now utilises an intuitive and well-organised touchscreen interface. On the right of the LCD screen there is a menu option with large icons that gives you access to all camera settings organised in scroll-down lists that are very fast to browse, if a little long. There is also a cute virtual PASM dial to replace the lack of a physical one with its own scene sub-menus easily accessible.
The two plain buttons on the back are user assignable
All in all, this entire dual control solution works really well, as the screen is responsive and the menu layout intuitive enough. At least once you get used to Sony’s odd naming of some of the menu folders. The brightness/colour menu, for example, does not actually deal with either brightness nor colour per se, but instead with settings such as ISO, Exposure Compensation, WB, Metering Mode, Picture effects and Creative Styles.
Next page: Sample Shots
Re: ISO Test Images
"I am not a photgrapher ..."
Neither am I, but I've been in the industry for a long time first on the processing side and these days in software, and I'll try to explain.
ISO is a measure of light sensitivity. In the film days you basically achieved higher sensitivity (ie ISO) by using larger grains of silver halide, hence the grainy appearance of high ISO films (this is an oversimplification, but will suffice). In digital you increase the sensitivity by turning up the gain on the photosites (again a simplification) which introduces noise into the image. You can compensate for this with noise reduction, but this tends to introduce "smearing" so has to be applied carefully. The advantage of a larger sensor is that you can have larger photosites for any given pixel count, which means greater sensitivity, which in turn means you will get better results at any given ISO setting than a smaller sensor.
"For a static target wouldn't it be better to keep the exposure time the same (0.1 - 0.05 seconds?) whilst increasing the ISO. The images would then display an improvement in quality rather than a reduction!"
Doing this would simply result in grossly overexposed images - think about it: you turn up the sensitivity of the sensor by, say, a factor of 4 from ISO 100 to 800. If you keep the exposure time the same then the sensor records an image that is 4 stops overexposed.
The bottom line is that a high ISO image will always be less good than a low ISO image in decent lighting. A large sensor will have better high ISO performance than a small sensor (all other things being equal), and will generally be better in low light but to get a properly exposed image you can't just "turn up the ISO" and leave everything else the same, and expect magical low light performance.
This being the Reg I'm sure someone will be along at some point to tell me I'm wrong about everything in an amusingly cynical way, but I think i've got the basics right...
Re: Touch screen 100% optional - you never need touch it.
No, no it doesn't, unless your reading comprehension and understanding of how one uses a camera in modes other than program auto are entirely lacking. Have a nice day.
Re: Re: Included software
"The Sony camera group is producing excellent, innovative products."
Have you used a HX9V? The pictures look great until you zoom in and you see the awful washy watercolour effect from compression/noise reduction. Awesome video capture though :/ It has put me off buying another Sony camera for quite some time.