Sony’s NEX-5 (and NEX-3) interchangeable lens compact digitals are the latest additions to a class that has only recently seen competition arrive to contest sales with the class founders. The NEX-5 comes in with competitive ISO and image quality performance, and while a bit light on lenses for its introduction, the arrival of the stabilized 18-200mm zoom later this year will give the camera a decent focal range with the “E” mount glass. An adaptor for Sony and Minolta “A’ mount lenses is due in July and will provide a wide selection of manual focus lens options, albeit without stabilization.
Video quality is good, and the one-button capture combined with auto focus and exposure during video capture gives the NEX-5 the edge over the other guys in the video arena. The AVCHD format that provides the true HD video may require some software to be viewed on your existing equipment. The camera should appeal to a wide spectrum of users as it provides an automatic shooting menu including specific scenes along with full manual controls for more advanced image capture. RAW, JPEG and RAW/JPEG shooting formats are available.
The camera’s menu system, particularly in the manual shooting modes, takes a little getting used to, and settings are a bit labor intensive as everything has to go through internal menus. Shutter lag is just enough to be noticeable (and tie for worst in the class). Battery life at 330 images is OK, but not great. The field is getting more crowded with competitors and Sony didn’t make it any easier on potential purchasers by adding a very capable camera to the mix.
- Good image and color quality
- Dedicated video capture button
- Autofocus and exposure during video capture
- Tilting monitor
- Settings via menus can be time consuming
- Accessory port limits viewfinder/flash/stereo recording options