Sony NEX-5 reviews round-up

March 15 , 2011 by: Daniela Bowker Reviews, Reviews round-ups


We’ve looked at the highly regarded Olympus E-PL2 and the not-so-great-in-low-light Panasonic GF2, next on the list of the market-conquering mirror-less cameras to undergo the Small Aperture reviews round-up treatment is Sony’s NEX-5. Sony hitched a ride on the mirror-less bandwagon after Olympus and Panasonic had already set their sights on the bright new horizon, so did they learn anything from the pioneers?

My overwhelming impression on handling the NEX-5 was that it’s interface was far too fiddly, to the extent that the frustration I felt would actively inhibit me setting down my credit card for one. Every review that I’ve read, to a one, has criticised the interface, so we’ll take that as a given. Everyone was impressed by how tiny it is, the image quality has generally been praised, and everyone was taken by the sweep panorama function, but the clip-on flash was deemed silly and the tilting screen could probably, well, tilt a bit more. Overall? The NEX-5 seems to be a compact camera on speed rather than pocket-rocket dSLR alternative. Take a look.

CNET UK says ‘The picture quality is in a different league to a compact, and features like the sweep-panorama mode and 7fps shooting are unique to this type of camera. But really it’s set up for gadget-hungry newbies, and more experienced shooters could get very frustrated very quickly.’ – Read the full review on CNET UK.

Digital Photography Review says ‘Where the NEXs really impress is the PASM modes where you can take full advantage of the large, very capable sensor. The feature sets are impressive, as are the NEX’s portability and flexibility. They don’t render the DSLR obsolete by any means, but they present one of the most compelling options for someone wanting DSLR image quality without the bulk.’ – Read the full review on Digital Photography Review.

Imaging Resource says ‘The Sony NEX-5 is not a camera for the seasoned pro, but it just might serve anyone wanting digital SLR quality in a very small, pocketable form factor. We were surprised by the NEX-5′s good image quality at all ISOs, and its printed quality was remarkable.’ – Read the full review on Imaging Resource.

PhotographyBlog says ‘While the debutant interchangeable lens camera may not be (yet) the game changer that its manufacturer hopes it will be, there is still much here to admire. You have to give Sony the fact that, even if at times you feel the flair is lacking, overall it’s a competent performer nonetheless.’ – Read the full review on PhotographyBlog.

PhotoRadar says ‘To give credit where it’s due, Sony has designed and built an exceptionally small yet powerful hybrid camera which delivers image quality to match a digital SLR’s, combined with full HD movies, the excellent Sweep Panorama mode (with a 3D firmware upgrade coming soon), high-speed shooting and more. It’s a great little camera, but only if you can live with that control system.’ – Read the full review on PhotoRadar.

Pocket-lint says ‘However, whether its design is a love it or loathe it affair, the NEX-5 really wins where it matters. Firstly its contrast-detection Quick AF Live View system is pretty much as good as they get. It’s not as advanced as a DSLR, yet it is miles beyond what a compact camera could offer. Secondly the image quality is exceptional, certainly class-leading when lined up against its competition and would hands-down give a lot of DSLR cameras a serious run for their money – even ISO 12,800 produces useable image quality.’ – Read the full review on Pocket-lint.

About Daniela

This post was written by Daniela Bowker, who has written 1399 articles for Photocritic

Daniela has written three books on photography, contributed to several others, and acted as the editorial consultant on many more.

Her newest book, Social Photography, is currently available as a digital download as well as in bookshops in the UK and US.

You might also want to check out her exploration of other-worldly photographic creations, Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible, and Photo School Fundamentals, for which she contributed the section on composition.


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