Sony Alpha NEX-5 Brief Review


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  • 14 megapixels
  • Mirrorless body
  • Interchangeable lens
  • 3-inch articulated LCD
  • ISO 200-12,800
  • 1080i HD video
  • JPEG+RAW image format
  • Sony E-series lens mount
  • Mini HDMI output
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: 2010-05-14
  • Final Grade: 90 4.5 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony Alpha NEX-5
14 megapixels; Mirrorless body; Interchangeable lens; 3-inch articulated LCD; ISO 200-12,800; 1080i HD video; JPEG+RAW image format; Sony E-series lens mount; Mini HDMI output; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
By , Last updated on: 2/12/2016

Sony's NEX-5 is just about the hottest mirrorless camera at the moment (late 2010). The slick, small magnesium polycarbonate body belies the huge image sensor inside, capable of capturing excellent shots in JPEG and RAW format, even at high ISO sensitivities (it maxes out at an impressive 12,800), as well as 1080i HD video. Not only is it the best-looking mirrorless camera, it takes some of the best shots as well. The point of the mirrorless genre when it debuted was to create cameras that could compete with the quality of dSLRs but looked, handled and weighed more like compact cameras. The NEX-5 (along with the NEX-3) is the sleekest incarnation of this idea yet, and is arguably the most likely to attract compact camera to buy.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

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