The NEX-5N has a wide range of finely crafted effects that will surely appeal to the enthusiast photographer. From the clever Defocus Background, which lets you produce professional-looking and user-defined shallow depth-of-field images, to the smooth Sweep Panorama mode that allows you to create perfectly stitched panoramas just by panning the camera, although for some reason the camera tends to overexpose in this mode.
Besides tilting, the display features touchscreen focusing
Additionally the NEX-5N offers a choice of 11 Photo Creativity modes, including High Contrast Monochrome, Partial Colour, Retro Photo and Soft High-Key, and another 11 art effects available in PASM mode and including Toy Camera, Pop Colour, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome and Miniature.
Image quality is not the only outstanding feature of this camera. If you want a fast CSC shooter the NEX-5N is up your street. With a shutter lag of mere 0.02secs and continuous shooting speed of 10fps at full resolution, the NEX-5N is as fast as it gets. Although the 25-points contrast-detection AF system performed well both in daylight and available light, it was not as fast as I’d expected it from the general performance of the camera. Having said that, the system is reliable and accurate in all situations.
The NEX-5N captures Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels videos in AVCHD or MPEG-4 file formats at a maximum frame rate of 60fps. Video quality is smooth and sharp with very good sound reproduction. Video recording also benefits from full exposure control in PASM modes and excellent AF performance.
Eye spy: the FDA-EV1S optical viewfinder
Battery power has increased to 410 shots and the availability of optional accessories such as ECM-SST1 microphone and crucially Sony's new FDA-EV1S electronic viewfinder (EVF) make this camera a very versatile and customisable tool, although at extra cost. The NEX-5N has a sensor cleaning system but judging from the dust specs I found on some of my photos it does not work perfectly and I had to resort to manual cleaning several times.
The niggles I mentioned earlier might not be major sticky points for all users but they did put me off from recommending this camera wholeheartedly. It is quite unfortunate because in all other respects this revamped NEX model is very much the business, improving on its predecessor in sensible and efficient ways. ®
More Compact System Camera Reviews…
Sony NEX-5N 16.1Mp APS-C compact system camera
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.
From the article: "I found I was mostly handling the camera by the lens barrel of the 18-55mm kit lens, despite their being a rubberised front grip. Not exactly the most ergonomic grasp if you want to make swift use of the lens zoom and focusing rings."
So you have to have your hand at the lens barrel, where the zoom ring is located? How is this slowing you down? That's the way you usually handle cameras with protruding lens barrels, especially those with controls on the barrel, isn't it?
This is like making it a negative point that you have to hold on to the steering wheel of a car, when you could also just as well be playing PSP Vita while driving. Yes, what a bummer.
Otherwise a really nice review once again.
The selection of E-mount lenses is still quite small, but with the widely available 3rd party lens adapters I can use my old manual focus lenses with this little gem.
The exceptionally short flange distance of the E-mount allows pretty much any lens to be easily adapted to it, from m39 to middle format mounts, and anything in between. No lenses needed in adapters, so optical quality won't suffer, you only have to take the 1.5 cropping factor into account.
Touch screen 100% optional - you never need touch it.
The NEX 5N has the same menu system as the cheaper NEX C3 and the more expensive NEX 7. All of its functions are available without ever needing to go near the touch screen.
Use of the the touch screen is entirely optional, thus makes your entire point about usability null and void.