Features & Controls

Sony's NEX models use their all new E-mount lens system, which allows them to offer a smaller camera body while maintaining the use of an APS-C image sensor and interchangeable lenses. Sony's NEX cameras are in direct competition to the Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds offerings. The NEX-5 uses a Sony 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS imager (23.4x15.6mm), which is the same unit offered in many of their Alpha dSLRs, like the the A560, A550, A290, A390, and A33. The focal length multiplier with this system is 1.5x.

For those how have an investment in Sony Alpha or Minolta A-bayonet lenses, Sony offers their LA-EA1 lens mount adapter. When using this adapter you are limited to manual focus only, however it does offer Auto Exposure support as well as a detachable tripod mount for your longer telephoto lenses. Update: Sony's latest Adapter firmware now allows Minolta or Sony SSM (Supersonic Motor) or Sony SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor) lenses to Autofocus on the NEX-5 with the LA-EA1 adapter attached.

Here you can see the NEX-5 in its most compact form, with the 16mm (24mm equivalent) pancake lens attached. This gives you a compact and capable low-light combo, thanks to the MEX-5's larger APS-C imager that handles noise well and the f/2.8 maximum aperture of the lens.


Next we can see the 18-55mm standard zoom lens attached. While the lens is not that large when compared to similar optics for dSLRs, when attached to the NEX-5 it looks HUGE. Although awkward looking, this combo feels extremely nie and well balanced nice in your hands thanks to the large hand grip on the camera and the lens barrel for your left hand.

E-mount Lenses


Currently, Sony offers three E-mount lenses to choose from, two of which (16mm and 18-55mm) come in kit configurations from Sony when you purchase the NEX-5. They even offer a twin lens kit which includes both models; which we tested.

Below is a break down of each lens and its specifications.


The SEL16F28:

  • Focal Length - 16mm
  • Equivalent Focal Length - 24mm
  • Angle of view - 83°
  • Aperture Blades - 7 - circular
  • Max. Aperture - f/2.8
  • Image Stabilization - No
  • Min. Focus Distance - 9.4 inches
  • Elements - 5 with 1 aspheric
  • Filter Diameter - 49mm
  • Dimension - 62 x 22.5mm
  • Weight - 67g

The SEL1855:

  • Focal Length - 18-55mm
  • Equivalent Focal Length - 27-82.5mm
  • Angle of view - 76 - 29°
  • Aperture Blades - 7 - circular
  • Max. Aperture - f/3.5 - 5.6
  • Image Stabilization - Yes; Optical SteadyShot
  • Min. Focus Distance - 9.8 inches
  • Elements - 9 with 4 aspheric
  • Filter Diameter - 49mm
  • Dimension - 62 x 60mm
  • Weight - 70g

The SEL18200:

  • Focal Length - 18-200mm
  • Equivalent Focal Length - 27-300mm
  • Angle of view - 76 - 8°
  • Aperture Blades - 7 - circular
  • Max. Aperture - f/3.5 - 6.3
  • Image Stabilization - Yes; Optical SteadyShot Active
  • Min. Focus Distance - 11.8 inches
  • Elements - 17 with 5 aspheric and 1 ED
  • Filter Diameter - 67mm
  • Dimension - 75.5 x 99mm
  • Weight - 524g

Flash Unit

Sony includes a handy little external, pop-up flash unit (HVL-F7S) with the NEX-5. It's housed in a nice compact plastic case which helps keep the tiny unit safe while not in use. While small, the HVL-F7S boasts a decent flash range with a guide number of 7m (ISO 100). This should be sufficient for most of your flash type photography, thanks mostly to the NEX-5's low-light capabilities; especially with the 16mm pancake lens attached.

NEX-5 + HVL-F7S Specs:
  • Flash coverage - FOV up to 16mm
  • Guide Number - 7m (ISO 100)
  • Recycle time - up to 4 seconds
  • Flash modes - Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction
  • Flash metering method - Pre-flash TTL
  • Flash Compensation - ±2EV in 1/3EV steps
  • Flash Bracketing - 3 frames, 1/3 or 2/3EV steps

To mount the HVL-F7S onto the NEX-5, you first open the small port door located on the top of the camera, and insert the HVL-F7S's connector into the slot. With the HVL-F7S in the down position, there's another small port door that can be opened which exposes the locking nut for securing the flash to the body of the camera. Overall, I felt that the flash was simple to install, and it seems to have a pretty solid mounting system.

Here you can see the HVL-F7S attached to the NEX-5 in the Down position.

Above you can see the HVL-F7S full extended and ready for use.

External Accessories

Like we mentioned above, the NEX Smart Accessory port allows you to attach several Sony NEX accessories that can be purchased separately. These include the high-quality ECM-SST1 external stereo mic above. This unit is a perfect match for the NEX-5's 1080i AVCHD video capture option. The unit includes a nice wind screen and offer selectable 90 and 120° sound direction settings.

Lastly you can see the optional FDA-SV1 Optical Viewfinder. This is an all glass unit that boasts a 15mm eye relief, large eye pupil (5mm), and low reflection multi-coating. This is solely for those who prefer using an OVF over the LCD to frame their photo.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.