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Review from a long time NEX user
on September 13, 2013
I have been shooting with the NEX system for a couple years now, starting with a NEX 5n. I am thankful I found this system because NEX is the reason I am so into photography today. Since the release of the original NEX 3 and NEX 5, Sony has done an excellent job at building a strong ecosystem with high and low end models for every type of shooter and every budget. The NEX 5 series is famous for being the best compromise in price and performance of all the other NEX cameras.
Standard for the NEX 5 series the 5t has the following advantages vs. other cameras in its class:
-Small size, yet powerful "big camera" performance.
-Some of the best low light capabilities thanks to the Exmor sensor and 16 megapixels
-High speed 10 FPS shooting for action/kids
-Wifi and apps
-Very fast auto-focus
-Excellent video performance
-A great lens lineup that keeps getting better each year
This model, the NEX 5t, is another incremental upgrade for the NEX 5 series. It brings some cool and innovative features to the table. This year's model take all the great features from last year's 5r and adds NFC and changes the kit lens to the 16-50 power zoom, making this system even more compact. The NFC is really cool because for those with android phones equipped with NFC, it means quicker pairing between the two devices. The only real drawback is for those NFC equipped laptops, windows doesn't support large file transfer. The new kit lens is a welcome edition.
Now the NEX isn't a perfect system, but Sony has worked hard to introduce new features with every new release. The only problem with this is Sony decided it would be a good idea to release these features in incremental upgrades every year, rather than release big upgrades over a longer period of time. Those looking to upgrade from a NEX 5r will find themselves with mostly the same camera. Going from a NEX 5n, this may be a worth upgrade however. I really think the 5r and the 5t could have been the same camera.
Sony's aggressive release cycles don't affect the performance of this camera, which is nothing short of amazing. Sony put a DSLR sized sensor in this tiny body, making for a potent but tiny camera. It has 10 FPS, faster than most canons/Nikons. It has quick autofocus. It has extremely good dynamic range (most people call this better picture quality). Sony's sensor has some of the best low light noise performance of any camera in its class, largely due to its 16 mega pixel count. One mostly unknown fact is that lower megapixels tend to have better low light performance, and high 24+ mega pixel sensors are historically nosier due to pixel density. I applaud Sony for keeping it at 16, and do not wish for the NEX line to move to 24 any time soon (excluding NEX 7).
The NEX also has a very small distance between the lens mount and the sensor. This is a huge advantage because it allows for a wide range of adaptors to be made for the system. The Sony A mount adaptor offers all functionality of the alpha lenses on the small NEX. After market dealers have even created canon/Nikon mounts for the NEX, allowing the use of those lenses, minus the electronic functions (like autofocus). This is important because older lenses can be found for cheap on the used market, and gives the NEX one of the largest list of lenses to date.
But no, even the NEX 5t isn't perfect. There are some small, but noticeable flaws with this system.
-Small buffer, it can take 10 photos each second, but it can only do this for about 2 seconds before it slows down to fill the memory card. This is historically a problem with all Sony cameras, or any camera of this class.
-Occasionally inaccurate auto focus. The AF system isn't quite up there with DSLR's, but its getting closer and closer each year.
-Average battery life. I recommend a spare battery for long days.
These shortcomings are all pretty minor and expected in a camera of this class, so I do not hold them against it. All 3 of these problems are due to its small size, which alone makes up for it.
If you're coming from a smart phone, or a standard point and shoot, this camera will be a HUGE upgrade. Size alone makes this a worthy choice over larger DSLR's. The 5 in particular is the best price/performance compromise in the NEX line. For those a little strapped for cash, but still want similar performance look at the NEX 3n, mostly the same camera just much slow, plastic build, and weaker video performance compared to the 5t. If you want a little bit of an upgrade, look at the NEX 6, offering a viewfinder and a hot shoe.
Feel free to ask me anything regarding this camera or any other NEX camera in the comment section, and I will try to respond quickly. I hope my review helped with your buying decision.