Sony Alpha NEX-5 Review

Review posted 11/22/2010

Quick Take

  • Great Build Quality
  • Very Comfortable size and weight
  • APS-C Size sensor allows for high quality images
  • Ability to record 1080i video with Stereo Sound
  • Fast and Quiet Contrast Detect AF system using NEX lenses
  • Superb High Resolution LCD
  • Intuitive Intelligent Auto Mode
  • Featured packed with Sweep Panorama, Auto HDR, Face Detection and more
  • Class leading performance at higher ISO speeds
  • Default Metering settings give brighter than desired exposures in some conditions
  • Limited Lens Availability without using an Adapter (only 3 NEX lens models so far)
  • Limited External Controls compared to some competing models
  • No Viewfinder (although the LCD visibility is very good in most lighting)
Bottom Line
Sony has entered the market for smaller interchangeable lens cameras with a bold design that incorporates an APS-C size sensor for great image quality in a smaller and lighter package with superb build quality for it's class, combined with a new lens mount system to allow fast and silent Autofocus for shooting HD video. If you want a feature packed camera that doesn't weigh you down, consider the NEX-5. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
During PMA 2010, Sony unveiled several new concept models under glass, including some EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) units that looked like direct competitors to the popular Olympus/Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

On May 11th (2010), Sony announced two of those models, the NEX-3 and NEX-5. The NEX label stands for Next Generation in their Alpha line of powerful interchangeable lens cameras, and these models boasts dSLR performance, HD video options, and a whole lot more in their compact frames. Both models share almost identical specifications, with only the body design and video options differing.

The NEX-5 key features include:
  • 14.2-megapixel Exmor APS-C HD CMOS image sensor
  • Sony's New E-mount lens system
  • BIONZ image processor
  • Focal plane shutter mechanism
  • Sweep Panorama functions
  • Full HD (1080i) AVCHD video recording (720p MP4 option also available)
  • JPEG and RAW image capture (RAW+JPEG too)
  • High-speed 25-point contrast AF system
  • Auto HDR mode (3 frame)
  • Face detection and Smile Shutter options with Child and Adult priority modes
  • iAuto, Program , Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure options
  • Anti Motion Blur and Handheld Twilight multi-frame modes (use 6 images to produce a single photo)
  • 2.3fps burst in normal mode, 7fps using Speed Priority mode
  • 49 segment metering system
  • New user friendly GUI
  • 3.0-inch tilting LCD with 921k dots and Sony's TruBlack technology
  • Clip-on external flash unit
  • Li-ion battery pack
  • MS Duo Pro, SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory card compatibility
The NEX-5 is available now in two kit configurations:
  • NEX-5 + E 16mm F/2.8 (SEL16F28) lens for $649 US
  • NEX-5 + E 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL1855) lens for $699 US

What's in the box?:
  • E-mount lens; depends on kit purchased
  • Case for flash
  • NP-FW50 Lithium ion rechargeable battery
  • CD-ROM
  • Lens cap
  • BC-VW1 Battery Charger
  • Shoulder strap
  • HVL-F7S detachable flash
  • Power cord
  • USB cable (Mini B)

Additional product photos






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