Sony NEX-5 - The Next Generation of Digital Compact Cameras

Launch SRP: S$1199

Imaging Performance

Imaging Performance

Shooting JPEGs, the NEX-5 pulls an impressive 14LPH vertical by 16LPH horizontal on our resolution test chart, comparable to the Olympus PEN E-P2, Panasonic G2 and Nikon D5000 cameras. ISO performance is impressive; at ISO800 noise begins to show with the G2, while the NEX-5 remains clear. Noise is apparent with the NEX-5 at ISO1600 but still usable. At ISO3200 and beyond, pictures are too noisy for comfort. All this means the NEX-5 outperforms most compact cameras on the market, which rival it in size but not performance.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

The NEX-5 packs a wealth of features to help you with your photography. Take HDR Auto, it auto-brackets a shot and combines them in-camera to recover details in shadows and highlights. Sweep Panorama lets you sweep a scene and auto-generates a panoramic shot. Hand-held Twilight and Anti Motion Blur combine multiple exposures to produce a single shot with noise and shake respectively reduced. In general, each feature works better with still subjects, as moving subjects produce ghosting effects, and Sweep Panorama will sometimes cancel out half-way while shooting if you're going too fast or too slow.

All these features unfortunately, are buried underneath the menu, which means a few clicks of the button to get to them before you can start shooting - another reason why leaving the NEX-5 on iAuto is so attractive.

Using HDR Auto, the NEX-5 brackets a shot and combines them together in-camera to give you shadow and highlight detail, as you can see in this shot with HDR Auto on (below) and HDR Auto off (above).

Artifacts can happen though, as you can see in this close-up and the wavy outlines of the camera. The mode is best used for still subjects and with a steady camera.

Sweep Panorama is a fun feature to have, but it doesn't always produce perfect results. It gets this shot mostly right, but look closely and you can see places where strange things happen like people's arms getting chopped off and faces blending into each other. Like HDR Auto, Sweep Panorama is best used for still subjects like landscapes and architecture.

If you shoot heavily, the NEX-5 is quite a battery drainer, going flat on us after only 373 shots and approximately two minutes of video. It tends to get warm after extended use although a disclaimer on the body says it's nothing to get worried about.

Overall rating 9/10
Read 1 Review
Write a Review
The Good
Excellent image quality.
Very compact camera body.
Wide photographic features.
The Bad
Hard to change settings manually.
Large lens makes heft feel unbalanced.
Low battery life.

Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.