NEX-5 Early Impressions

It’s been a week since I’ve had my baby camera, i.e. the Sony α NEX-5 and I’ve been enjoying it so far. Here’s a quick low down of the ups and downs I’ve encountered with the camera.

The Good

  • Outstanding IQ in any shooting conditions that can only be trumped by careful, deliberate shooting with a DSLR equipped with high quality optics
  • Small enough to fit in my laptop bag, if not the jeans pocket
  • Excellent iAuto mode for quick snapshots
  • Fairly easy to use controls, esp. with button customisation offered by Firmware v03
  • Auto HDR and Hand-held Twilight Modes really work!
  • Sweep Panorama works really well for hand-held shooting. You can’t do better with a DSLR until you mount it on a tripod.
  • Focuses almost as fast as an AF-D type Nikkor with D80/D90 body
  • Optical Steady Shot (OSS) on the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Kit Lens is outstanding
  • Movie making is super easy and fun!
Top Left: ISO 12800 shot. Top Right: “Hand-held Twilight” shot @ ISO 6400. Bottom: Sweep Panorama

NEX-5 ISO 12800 Mega Performance

The Bad

  • JPEGs tend to be a little less sharp by default
  • Chromatic Aberration is visible in high-contrast scenes, though not unusually excessive and removed in one click with Nikon ViewNX
  • Zooming while composing is cumbersome due to missing support from the forehead as with an OVF equipped DSLR
  • Cumbersome MF adjustment despite on-screen MF assist. The electronic focus ring twists indefinitely so you’re not really sure if it’s locked at minimum/infinity focus, when you need it

The Ugly

  • Excessive battery drain if you take time while composing a shot due to OSS, continuous AF and LCD
  • Fingerprint -magnet of an LCD and screen protector not provided as part of the kit

I’ll probably add more to this post as I get more familiar with the camera, especially when I start shooting RAW (+JPEG, of course).