A distinctively-styled, ultra-aryannations88.compact, interchangeable-lens camera that can record Full HD video clips with stereo soundtracks.Although Sony claims its new NEX-5 as the world’s smallest & lightest interchangeable-lens camera, this can only apply khổng lồ the camera body itself, which is similar in form size and shape to lớn Sony’s H-series digicams. Attach the low-profile E 16mm f/2.8 (SEL16F28) ‘pancake’ lens & the camera remains just pocketable; fit the E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (SEL1855) zoom lens and you’d be hard pressed lớn get the camera into a jacket pocket. . .
Although Sony claims its new NEX-5 as the world’s smallest & lightest interchangeable-lens camera, this can only apply lớn the camera toàn thân itself, which is similar in kích thước and shape to Sony’s H-series digicams. Attach the low-profile E 16mm f/2.8 (SEL16F28) ‘pancake’ lens & the camera remains just pocketable; fit the E 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (SEL1855) zoom lens and you’d be hard pressed to lớn get the camera into a jacket pocket.
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The NEX-5 will be offered as a twin-lens kit with a ‘pancake’ 16mm prime lens & 18-55mm zoom. (Source: Sony.)
This isn’t the first time Sony has produced a large-sensor camera based on a digicam design. However, there have been significant advances since the R1 was launched in late 2005 & the NEX-5 is quite a different beast – although its target market remains surprisingly similar.
Like most other manufacturers of interchangeable-lens aryannations88.compact (ILC) digicams, Sony sees the main buyers of its NEX-series products as existing digicam users who only want the unique improvements a larger sensor can provide. (The fact that existing DSLR users aren’t seen as a target market could explain some of the camera’s quirks.)
In essence, the NEX-5 is something of a mixture; while supporting P, A, S & M shooting modes, its user interface has been re-jigged to lớn be more lượt thích Sony’s Cyber-shots, which are essentially LCD-based and designed for point-and-shoot picture-taking. In our opinion, the interface is disappointing.
Build và ErgonomicsThe toàn thân of the NEX-5 looks rather lượt thích a stripped-down Cyber-shot H55. It’s a rectangular block with a moulded grip that is slightly larger than those on H-series models but nevertheless quite aryannations88.comfortable to lớn hold. The mode dial on the đứng đầu panel of the H55 is missing on the NEX-5 because shooting modes can only be selected via the menu button.
Most of the camera’s body is made from magnesium alloy, which gives it a solid, ‘quality’ feel. The grip is finely textured and the texturing runs around onto the side panel. The front of the camera is dominated by the lens mount, which extends slightly above and below the panel. (When the zoom lens is attached, it almost overwhelms the rest of the camera, making it look lượt thích a lens with a camera stuck on the back.)
Front view of the NEX-5 body without a lens. The body toàn thân cap has been removed to show the APS-C sized sensor. (Source: Sony.)
The new E-mount has been designed specifically for the mirrorless NEX-series bodies & is totally electronic. It’s also inaryannations88.compatible with Sony’s Alpha DSLR lenses, although an adaptor is available for an RRP of $199. The short flange-back (the distance from the front of the mount to lớn the sensor), which is less than half that of the Alpha lenses, is responsible for the narrow depth of the NEX-5’s body.
Removing the lens exposes the NEX-5’s sensor lớn the environment – & your view – so it’s as well the camera aryannations88.comes with built-in dust reduction. The system consists of an anti-static coating on the low-pass filter that overlays the sensor chip plus high-speed vibrating to shake off accumulated dust particles. There were a couple of instances when dust settled on the sensor while lenses were being changed & subsequently showed up in shots. But otherwise we had no sensor-related problems.
Image stabilisation is lens-based and not provided with the E 16mm f/2.8 ‘pancake’ lens. It’s only effective when the Steady Shot function is switched on via the thiết lập menu. Up to lớn four EV of shutter speed advantage is claimed for the Optical SteadyShot system.
A sensor for the optional remote controller is located near the upper edge of the grip. Near it – but on the main body itself – is an LED that is used for the AF-Assist, self-timer indicator & Smile Shutter warning. The only other control on the front panel is the lens-release button, which lies close lớn the lower edge on the grip side of the lens.
The đứng top panel curves gently downwards towards the front & back of the camera body. It is sparsely populated, with an on/off switch close lớn the right side and a large shutter button lớn its left, located towards the front of the grip. Behind the shutter button is a small Playback button, while a Movie button lies behind the on/off switch at the junction of the top & rear panels.
Top view of the NEX-5 body toàn thân with the 18-55mm zoom lens.
Dual stereo microphone slots, marked ‘L’ & ‘R’ sit on either side of the ‘Smart Accessory Terminal’, to lớn which the accessory flash (which is supposed to lớn be supplied with the camera but wasn’t provided with the đánh giá sample) is attached. A notch at the front of the plastic cover khổng lồ this terminal enables it to lớn be raised khổng lồ reveal a socket for attaching the flash.
Another accessory that can be fitted here is an external stereo microphone (RRP $199) that’s specific lớn the camera. No viewfinder is currently offered. The terminal cover is flimsy aryannations88.compared with the rest of the camera. The only other features on the vị trí cao nhất panel are three tiny speaker holes just right of the R microphone.
Most of the rear panel is covered by the 3-inch monitor, an attractive screen with a resolution of 921,000 dots, which is, sadly, quite prone to lớn finger-marking. Twin hinges on the camera body and rear of the screen allow it to be tilted upwards through 80 degrees or down through 45 degrees to tư vấn low or over-the-head shooting.
Rear view of the NEX-5 body. (Source: Sony.)
To the right of the monitor are the main camera controls, which consist of a tilting control wheel with central button plus two ‘soft keys’. The operation of these keys is explained in the Controls section below.
Tucked in behind two small plastic hatches on the lens side of the camera body toàn thân are two interface ports. The upper is a USB Mini-B terminal for connecting the camera to a aryannations88.computer or printer, while the lower houses an HDMI mini-connector for connecting the camera to lớn an HD TV phối so users can view đoạn clip clips & images from the camera. A separate cable (not supplied) is required to utilise this port.
Between the two ports (and exactly half-way down from the top panel) is one of the strap lugs. The other lies roughly a third of the way down the opposite side panel. When the neck strap is attached, the camera hangs with the lens pointing down on the user’s chest.
A aryannations88.combined battery và card aryannations88.compartment is located inside the grip & accessed via a locking panel in the base of the camera. The rechargeable InfoLithium battery is CIPA rated for approximately 330 shot/charge and the camera will accept both SD và Memory Stick Duo cards.
The only other thành công on the base plate is a metal-lined tripod socket, which is located on the optical axis of the lens, mid-way across the depth of the panel. It’s nice & solid & its location is ideal for shooting panoramas when the camera is tripod-mounted.
The electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter in the NEX-5 operates with an audible double-click. The NEX-5 supports a shutter tốc độ range from a fast 1/4000 second khổng lồ the expected long exposure limit of 30 seconds. A Bulb setting is also provided in the Manual Exposure mode. It keeps the shutter open for as long as the button is held down and works with most settings, except Smile Shutter and tự động HDR. Bulb exposures are best done with the optional remote aryannations88.commander.
ControlsA number of modes developed for Sony’s Cyber-shots have been ported across to the NEX-5, including the multi-exposure Sweep Panorama, Anti Motion Blur, Hand-held Twilight and tự động hóa HDR modes. In each of these modes, the camera defaults to lớn automatic focus and exposure as it records a burst of shots và processes them khổng lồ achieve the specified kết thúc result. We’ve covered most of these modes in our reviews of the Cyber-shot DSC-HX1.
A new addition is the Background Defocus setting, which appears to lớn work by selecting the widest available lens aperture – although the aperture setting displayed on the monitor doesn’t change. It’s only available in iAuto mode and accessed by turning the control wheel. This lets you adjust the degree of unsharpness in the background. It only works with E-series lenses.
The dearth of button controls and the fact that most buttons have multiple uses makes the NEX-5’s interface relatively clumsy lớn use in the PASM shooting modes that appeal lớn serious photographers. Throughout the reviews period we were constantly frustrated by how long it could take lớn locate and adjust settings that can be changes with one or two button presses in most manufacturers’ cameras. Simply changing the ISO setting requires at least four button presses, while formatting a memory thẻ requires you khổng lồ locate the Memory thẻ Tool page in the cài đặt sub-menu and can involve up to 34 button presses!It’s clear Sony has designed this camera for point-and-shooters, who will operate the camera exclusively in iAuto mode, which takes care of everything. But that begs the questions: why include the PASM modes if you don’t expect photographers khổng lồ use them? And, having provided them, why make them so frustrating khổng lồ use?
Like the arrow pads in other cameras, the vertical & horizontal edges of the control wheel access specific sub-menus. In shooting mode, these include (clockwise from top) Display Contents, Flash mode, exposure aryannations88.compensation and drive mode. For playback, only the vertical directions are used, the vị trí cao nhất handling Display Contents và the bottom Image Index. (The horizontal directions toggle between one displayed image và the next.)
The rest of the camera’s functions are accessed via the two ‘soft keys’, which have different functions, depending on the other settings engaged. It can be difficult to keep track of their operations if you swap from one shooting mode to another and you often require the on-screen messages khổng lồ confirm what to bởi next. The explanations in the on-screen help are easily understood, but reading them is time-consuming & may cause you lớn miss shots while you’re fiddling with camera controls.
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When the camera is first switched on, pressing the vị trí cao nhất key opens a thực đơn screen with ‘buttons’ indicating various sub-menus. You can move from one setting to the next by pressing down the edges of the control dial. Then, once a sub-menu of settings is selected, turning the control dial lets you select the setting you want. Pressing the button in the centre of the control dial engages the setting.