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260 of 269 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good, with some limitations.
People, I LOVE this camera. I bought it thinking there was an 85% chance I was going to return it, but am happy to tell you that as soon as I uploaded my first pictures, I was smitten. I was most worried about picture quality, because I had previously owned a Sony a200 and a700, and ended up selling both for a Canon and Nikon, because the picture quality just wasn't up...
Published on July 2, 2010 by Chris Nibley

versus
124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the NEX NEX
Years ago I was a serious amateur photographer using the best SLR gear available. I've been point-and-shoot for the last decade, largely because professional quality DSLRs were quite expensive and too big & heavy to take along on hikes and trips. The Sony NEX5 enticed me to upgrade from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 (a very good point and shoot). Based on the specs and...
Published on December 4, 2010 by GJW


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260 of 269 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good, with some limitations., July 2, 2010
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
People, I LOVE this camera. I bought it thinking there was an 85% chance I was going to return it, but am happy to tell you that as soon as I uploaded my first pictures, I was smitten. I was most worried about picture quality, because I had previously owned a Sony a200 and a700, and ended up selling both for a Canon and Nikon, because the picture quality just wasn't up to snuff. My most recent camera was a D300s and I would say that the nex5 performs almost as well as it in most situations and even better in a few. And the nex5 video blows the D300s out of the water! Obviously everyone has different needs and preferences from their camera so all I can do is tell you what my needs were and why the nex5 is so great for them.

The picture quality was the most important thing for me, which was more than adequate so the next most important criteria was the LCD. The LCD on my D300s was a complete joke, as I couldn't see squat on that thing in even moderate sunlight. This was extremely frustrating but since it was based on an OVF anyway, I just dealt with it. But I started my photography in this digital age on a Canon S2IS which had a swivelling screen and full-time live-view, and honestly, I've missed that method of taking pictures ever since I moved up to dSLR's. The two things that I wanted most out of the LCD on the nex5 were adequate visibility in bright sunlight, and real-time exposure compensation, so that you know EXACTLY what your picture would look like before you take it. It passed both of these tests with flying colors. The second day I had it, my wife and I went fishing on the river, in the afternoon sun. Live view photography would have been impossible on my D300s but I had no problems with the nex5. Understand that it will get a little washed out, but I was still able to compose as well as I needed and set exposure almost spot on. When I got home and uploaded my pics, this was confirmed for me as they just looked amazing. The best part about it was knowing that I wouldn't have gotten any of those shots with my D300s, simply because I wouldn't have brought the dang thing because I already had a bunch of stuff to carry. The sony just fit in my pocket (cargo pocket, with 18-55) and was out of the way until needed.

The other great things about this little guy are the ISO performance, which is ridiculous (better than D300s) and the high-speed continuous mode. Just to be straight on this, it will take 7, full-resolution photos a second, but locks exposure and focus. If you want it to refocus and adjust exposure, the best it can do is about 2 1/2. Of course there's the panoramic mode (haven't tried it), HDR mode (don't like it), and twilight mode (don't like it). Oh yeah, and I love the detachable flash which is solid as a rock when attached, but since I hardly ever do flash-photography, I love to be able to get it out of the way for the majority of the time.

For me this is the best camera on the market right now. I tested it against the Lumix G2 and thought the picture quality is noticeably better on the Sony (I do think focus is faster on the G2 though - certainly a great camera too), not to mention the form factor is so much smaller! But, with all that said, I fully plan on selling it in the fall when the new batch of cameras come out because there are a few things that the nex5 doesn't have that I desperately want.

First of all, the menu sucks. There's no way around it - if you ever try to change the settings, you are going to be frustrated by it. I could live with that, but there are other things missing. As good as the LCD is, I really want an EVF, even if I have to have a slightly larger body. I also really need just a few more buttons, namely: ISO, Focus lock, AE lock, but I do like the minimalist approach, because I absolutely hate the millions of buttons that Canon and Nikon throw on their cameras. As I mentioned, the video is very good, and although it does have an exposure control, so you can increase or decrease the brightness by two stops at any time (kind of neat), I need full manual control over video. The only other things that I don't really like are just nagging things that I could live with, but I'm hoping will improve in my next purchase, they are: battery life, screen blackout, and shutter noise. Battery life goes really fast on this camera and spares are ridiculously priced at $70, but I can understand that it takes a lot of juice to run that screen, so I could live with it. The screen does black out when you take pictures for what seems just a hair too long. It's not terrible, and for a $700 camera it's actually very good, but it's just something that would bother me in the long run. The shutter is surprisingly loud. The first day I got it I took a picture of my wife taking a nap on the couch and it actually woke her up! I'm not saying it sounds like a freight train, but unfortunately, I love taking incognito pictures in crowded places and would definitely have to be a little more careful with this little guy.

So, all in all, this is my favorite camera I've ever owned. I mention that I plan on selling it only because I know that the evolution will be to bring more and more functions to this small sized, mirrorless style camera, otherwise I wouldn't. If I had to choose between every camera out there right now, I'd choose this one every time. But I'm keeping a keen eye out for the nex7 and gh2 that should be coming out this fall, and guess that one of those cameras will be pretty much perfect for me.

UPDATE

Now that they've started manufacturing adapters for the NEX, I got myself a Canon FD lens adapter which has really taken the camera to a whole new level. Understand that you will only have manual focus with any adapter but Sony makes it very easy by dedicating the bottom button to MF Assist which zooms in so you can make sure that your focus is sharp! Even though some of the lenses dwarf the tiny little NEX, it still handles very comfortably and efficiently. If you love this camera but are frustrated with the selection (or lack of) of lenses, check out the options on ebay - those old lenses are a real bargain now.
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127 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! This is one great camera!, July 11, 2010
I have owned the Olympus EP-1, Panasonic GF1, also have a Nikon d90 and canon s90 so I have seen a lot of pictures from all these cameras. First I would like to say the MENU on the NEX is actually pretty GOOD. Yes, like everybody has said it would have been nice to have a dedicated button for iso, w balance etc..BUT it takes literally 1 second and you can change those settings, what's all the fuss about??? I actually find the Nex's menu LESS complicated than the EP1 that drove ME nuts! So..to all afraid of this camera because so many reviews mention the menu is horrible..to them I say what???

What is blowing me away most is the low noise at high iso plus the overall picture quality. I am one of those DSLR people who wants DSLR type quality in the smallest package possible. I admit I am NOT a pro photographer but I can change every setting on my D90 and I know how to go deep into DSLR settings and what they mean. I say this ONLY because the Nex-5 seems aimed at point and shooters moving up the quality ladder but supposedly don't know all that much about settings. Yes, the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-P1 seem to give you a "little more" manual control than this NEX-5 does..but it's pretty close..re: controls.

What the NEX-5 does in my opinion is especially in raw format Blow the doors off the GF1 and EP1 as to how much detail you can work with. On the GF1 in raw..often I STILL couldn't get skin tones to look right, shadows in lower light always had too much noise..and I ended up with too many grainy pictures. I am simply blown away with the NEX as to how much detail you can get back using raw...where the jpg may look like a total loss..you can often still get a great pic using raw.

For the point and shoot people..the raw conversion software that comes with the Sony is actually VERY good, powerful and EASY to use. Overall this is a SMALL camera that pretty much takes pictures in the same general ballpark as the better dslrs in my opinion. I think this may actually have less noise than my Nikon d90.

What I don't like..manually you can only choose iso 200, 400, 800, 1600 etc. I prefer a bit more control ala the GF1 where you can choose say a 640, 1000, iso or 1200 iso etc. That being said if you choose Auto iso the NEX Will at times choose isos such as 640, 1000 etc..not available manually.

Some of the gimmicks? like panorama or twilight handheld shooting where the NEX shoots about 5 pictures within about a second actually WORK and I think at times "these can give you pictures you simply can NOT get on a gf1, ep1" etc.

One other thing I am not thrilled about is overall color saturation is bit too punchy or high. This is not a problem as it takes a sec IF you want a bit less color saturation in your pics with any photo editor.

The NEX feels great in your hand. It feels solid as a brick YET seems to weigh much less than the gf1 and ep1 making the Nex easier to take with you!

There is no perfect camera and never will be. In my opinion though..if you don't need to change settings every 2 seconds..OVERALL this NEX-5 may be your best choice right now as far as mirrorless cameras go. Don't forget one huge reason the GF1/EP1 look so much better than point and shoot cams is the sensor size. Well the full sized dslr sensor in the NEX is MUCH bigger than micro Four..hence the lower noise...better overall IQ in my opinion.

UPDATE: The menu system never really bothered me, however, after updating to latest version 03 this Nex-5 is even WAY WAY better. The menu system now is downright EXCELLENT in my opinion. I am constantly blown away by how great this LITTLE camera is. What a WONDERFUL camera overall!!!
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic camera!, August 2, 2010
By 
David Schnitt (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have had this camera now for 3 weeks and its really wonderful overall.

Pros
- Very compact and light - not quite the size of a compact camera but pretty close. With the 16mm lens you can easily slip it into a jacket pocket or carry it in a small case. But it feels very substantial and has great ergonomics. Carrying around a DSLR is such a pain when I am hiking or walking around a city but this is a piece of cake. It also hangs from your neck with the lens pointed down so you don't bump into things with it.
- Articulating screen lets you shoot from the hip (literally). Screen is also super high resolution and what you see on the screen is pretty much what you get with the picture which is amazing for a non SLR camera.
- Fantastic pictures - great colors, excellent quality, 14m pixels really produces clear pictures. Great depth of field. The same sensor as found in a much larger DSLR. Rarely need to use the flash because the sensor is so good.
- RAW support as well as JPEG
- 1080 videos are beautiful and sounds quality is very good
- All of the controls are just a few clicks away on the interface to change the ISO, aperture, etc.
- Some really neat features such as HDR (takes 3 pictures with varying settings automatically to develop pictures with more contrast and shadows), automatically takes a picture when someone smiles (really!), panoramic pictures with ease (although takes some practice)

Cons
- Battery life is lousy. I may have a bad battery and I called Sony and they are sending me a new one for free.
- RAW files currently cant be viewed by iPhoto, Photoshop, etc. but you can view them using Sony's software. This should change in the near future.
- Limited lens selection right now - again this should change
- Most of the software that comes with the camera is PC-only (including firmware updates!) and not available for the Mac (but the key programs that do come with it are mac compatible)

All in all, I am very glad I made this purchase. I wanted a new DSLR but was tired of carrying around such a heavy piece of equipment. This is probably a great second camera for professional photographers but for everyone else its just a really great camera. Its ideal for people that want better quality than they can get from a compact but don't want all of the downsides of a DSLR.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag of blessings, August 16, 2010
By 
Hengyi Hu (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've shot with both DSLRs and rangefinders for the past 7 years, and I bought this hoping that it would be an easier camera to carry around when I just need to snap a few quick pictures. I've read generally positive reviews and thought I'd give it a try.

It's been a mixed bag from three days of shooting. The camera itself is not meant to be a replacement for a DSLR, or a point and shoot, or a rangefinder. It is not as fast as a DSLR, not nearly small enough to put in your pocket (although the 16mm lens might let you do it), and does not give you manual freedom or "connectedness" like a rangefinder.

The tactile feedback is very limited, and yes, the menu diving is annoying. The options in the menu are inconsistent depending on which camera mode you're on, and some options (like raw shooting) are absent when shooting certain modes like hand-held twilight, panorama, etc. I suppose this makes sense in terms of processing, however the camera doesn't explain that you need to be in another mode first in order to change these settings.

The video quality is fairly good. You have almost no control of the recording, however. Everything is automatic - you can tap the shutter to "refocus" the camera, but to me this just sends the camera on a wild AF hunt that blurs the video. The intelligent auto also works well for someone who just wants the camera to do all the work. The other modes, panorama, twilight, and the preset "styles" all work pretty good. Saves me the time of stitching pictures together!

The raw files from this camera are decent - but never on par with my a700, and certainly not on par with my m8 or m9. Most of this is due to the lens, I believe. The kit lens is very prone to all sorts of distortion, and never takes pictures that are exceptionally sharp. And another issue with the raw files is that they're incompatible with photo editing software currently available. (Doesn't work in LR3, Aperture, photoshop, etc) They can only be viewed on sony's software. Eventually the format will be added, but for now you're stuck with sony's proprietary software unless you want to convert these files to adobe DNG.

With all of that said, for $700 you do get value for what you pay for. The camera does take pictures that are far superior to any prosumer point and shoot, and slightly edges out my friend's panasonic GF1. The video is pretty nice for such a tiny camera, and toting it around is a lot easier than carrying a DSLR or a rangefinder. I really liked the tilt screen that reminded me of my old hasselblad. I can recommend this camera if you're looking for an upgrade to your point and shoot, but I can't recommend it as a replacement for a normal DSLR or rangefinder. The tactile feedback, speed, and manual controls simply aren't there.
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124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the NEX NEX, December 4, 2010
By 
GJW (Long Island, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
Years ago I was a serious amateur photographer using the best SLR gear available. I've been point-and-shoot for the last decade, largely because professional quality DSLRs were quite expensive and too big & heavy to take along on hikes and trips. The Sony NEX5 enticed me to upgrade from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 (a very good point and shoot). Based on the specs and the initial reviews, the NEX5 seemed to have everything I wanted and needed: small size and weight, interchangeable lenses including lenses from other cameras with adapters, manual control of aperture/ISO/shutter speed when desired as well as sophisticated automatic controls, big CMOS sensor, reasonable price, and SONY reputation for quality. HD video is a nice feature as well.

I've used the camera for the last month. If I had it to do all over again I would wait for the next version or the next offerings from other companies. It isn't that I don't like the camera -- it is fun and I'm still likely to string it around my neck when I go out for walk. But it falls short of what I want in several areas:

1) No viewfinder. The LCD display is big and bright, but if you're outdoors with a bright sun on the display you simply cannot see what you're shooting. If you're in automatic mode, you can shoot a bunch of shots and probably will find what you want somewhere in there, but if you're making any manual adjustments or using a lens from another camera, forget it. For me this is a fatal flaw.

2) Useability with other lenses. I have a large collection of high quality Pentax k-mount lenses from my serious amateur phase. How great, I thought, to be able to mount these on the NEX -- I'll have great glass and I won't need to buy more lenses. So I bought a K to NEX adapter (about $25 on eBay). I knew would have to manually focus my old lenses on the NEX body, but I had to manually focus them when they were on my Pentax film camera, so I thought that would be fine. In fact, this works well with a short lens and a stationary object. Thus with a 55mm f1.4 Pentax lens and flowers as the subject, I can get some wonderful pictures with the NEX. But I'm mostly a wildlife and landscape photographer where a longer lens is necessary. Slap a 200mm telephoto lens or a big zoom on the NEX and you've got problems of two types. First there is blur because SONY builds its image stabilization system into the lens rather than into the NEX body. So with a 3rd party long lens there is no compensation for hand shake, and your hand will shake with a long lens. Second, you have to manually focus using the LCD display, but see my first point. The only way the NEX will work well with a long lens from another camera system is if you use a tripod, have a stationary subject, and can shield the LCD display from bright sun. This means that if you want to use your NEX for anything that requires a lot of magnification, e.g., sports, birds, many types of landscape, you'll have to pay $800 for the NEX 18-200mm zoom, which isn't available anyhow. When you add $800 for a usable long zoom lens to $700 for the NEX5 kit, you've moved into a price point where you may be better off buying a Pentax or Canon system camera where used lenses and 3rd party lenses are readily available.

3) Menu system. Yes, Sony has improved the menu system with a firmware upgrade, but you still have to click your way through menus on the LCD screen to set anything manually, whereas on other digital SLRs and many high end point-and-shoots there are buttons on the camera body devoted to particular functions. This is a killer on the NEX because there isn't a viewfinder. So you've got a nice shot composed on the LCD screen of the NEX and you would like to increase the exposure -- stop, open the menu system on the LCD screen, switch to aperture priority mode, recompose your picture if your subject is still there, stop again, adjust the aperture using the dial on the NEX body and get the readout on the LCD screen, recompose your picture and if the subject is still there: shoot. On a SLR digital camera with a viewfinder and a dedicated button for aperture control you would compose the picture, adjust the aperture with your thumb, and shoot. The menu system won't get in the way of your use of the NEX if you're going to use it only in automatic mode. But if you want to treat it like a real DSLR, forget it.

4) Service. The battery charger that came with my NEX-5 kit, died after the first use. I've spent maybe 3 hours on the phone with various SONY support people and after nearly a month of waiting have been promised that a replacement unit is in the mail to me. Here is a more or less verbatim version of one of my interactions with SONY support:
Me: I was told a week ago that a replacement was being mailed but I've check online with the order number I was given and can't find a record of it.
SONY: We were having problems with our system a while back and maybe your order was lost
Me: Then please place a new order
SONY: Okay, but I'm technical support. You'll need to speak to customer support to get that done.
Me: Can you transfer me.
SONY: You'll have to phone them during regular business hours.
Me: When are regular business hours
SONY: M-F
Me: (It's Saturday morning). Given that you've lost my order and I'm sitting here with a new camera I can't use because the battery has run down, you'll have to do better than telling me to start over on Monday. I would like to speak to a supervisor.
SONY: I understand your concern. It will be best if we move this up to the next level -- SONY customer relations.
Me: Great. Can you transfer me.
SONY: I can't because they're only open during regular business hours.

I gave up and ordered a third party battery charger from Amazon that arrived in two days.

The bottomline: If you want the nicest and coolest point-and-shoot our there and don't need a lot of magnification for distant scenes or sports, buy the NEX. You'll like it. If you want a light DSLR for serious photography, wait until SONY or another company gets it right.
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75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novice First Time with a Nice Camera with a baby too!, July 22, 2010
By 
Sebass (Howell, MI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
I figured I'd share my thoughts for the vast majority of people who most likely purchase some things like I do. We have a 10-month old and my wife and I wanted a camera that would allow us to take awesome pictures. DSLRs were too big to lug around and after reading the specs and seeing the Olympus and Panasonic I decided to hold off until this Sony came out. Very happy that we did. This camera makes you feel like a professional photographer. Don't worry about trying to get that one shot, I just hold the button down and grab tons of photos hoping to get the kid posed with the right facial expressions. We've taken it to the beach, outside in the yard, in the house, etc. and the photos are stunning.

Then there is the absolutely undeniable "coolness factor" of having this camera in your hand as you are snapping photos. It is so small compared to anything else that you are just amazed as to how it feels perfect in your hands. I held the NEX-3 and it's garbage compared to this one. It's not just the difference in movie quality, the NEX-5 has superior quality to the NEX-3 when you play around with them. They shouldn't even sell the NEX-3 when you compare how much worse it feels in your hand. You still hold the lens like a professional would and I love the LCD compared to a viewfinder. Since you can bend it all over the place even in crazy light you can still see the image. Cannot wait to take this on vacation.

The videos are breathtaking. Yes they are amazing. The camera does it's best job trying to auto-focus and there is an occasional time where the video might go out of focus, but even with manually zooming in and out the quality and focus seem to stay extremely well. Keep in mind that since the LCD is your viewing option you may notice your breathing over the audio of the video depending on how you hold it. Didn't bother me though once I corrected for it.

Don't open the box and just expect to start taking amazing photos if you've never had a camera like this before. But it doesn't take long to get adjusted and make your wife wonder why you ever wasted money on a professional photographer. It'll pay for itself within a few years.

As far as I am concerned the target audience for this camera is families or individuals who are sick of crappy photos with a point and shoot. If you want to be a camera snob and dissect the features it has or doesn't has, that's your choice. But I'll never use half the stuff on here and if I do figure it all out, then I'll probably be obsessed with a really nice DSLR and photography as a whole. But I'll always love this camera.

The panoramic mode is really nice too and this camera has taken it from gimmick feature to legitimate. Haven't had a chance to play with 3D yet but that's a gimmick right now and I really could care less.

If you want a small, really cool, well built camera that takes unbelievably awesome pictures and 1080p video...buy the NEX-5!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENGINEERING MARVEL IN MINITURIZATION, September 30, 2010
The SONY NEX-5 (and NEX-3) has shaken the entire digital camera world because for the first time it's possible to fit a APC size sensor (just like most of the DSLR cameras) into a body of a point-and-shoot camera. The result is a camera that's capable of producing pictures that rivals or even better than some of the DSLR cameras. I have the NEX-5 for over 4 weeks and am amazed what this little camera can do compare to my Nikon D300 DSLR.

GOODS
---Amazing picture quality for such a small camera; high dynamic range at base ISO, and low-noise at ISO-1600 and ISO-3200 (better than my Nikon D300)
---Beautiful, pleasing, saturated color but not over the top.
---Very good automatic white balance (better than my Nikon D300)
---Large high resolution, super-sharp, tilting LCD screen (how SONY able to squeeze a tilting screen in a such small camera is beyond me)
---HDR mode, sweep panorama mode (a sure crowd-pleaser), smile detection (gimmicky but great for taking kid's pictures)
---1080P AVCHD high definition video with stereo sound
---Sturdy, magnesium alloy body
---Infrared port built-in allowing the NEX-5 to be controlled by a wireless remote (not an option for NEX-3)
---Optional adapters available which allows you to use Nikon, Canon, or other SONY Alpha lens; however you must use manual focus and manual aperture control
---Decent kit zoom lens (18-55mm, effective focal length 27-82mm); very sharp if you pick aperture close to 8.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS
---Menu interface, although easy to use, need to be streamlined (too many button pushing to change settings). SONY promises that the next firmware V3 will address some of the interface issues by adding the ability to assign shortcut to two of the buttons
---The small detachable flash is underpowered compared to my D300. No flash hot-shoe on NEX3/5. No other options at this time although there are rumors that more power flash units are coming.
---The focus speed, although pretty good, is slower than many DSLR including my D300. The NEX-5 is not the best choice for taking sport pictures due to focus speed and lack of good selection of large aperture zoom lens.
---The auto-exposure is programmed to expose shadow areas which makes it prone to over-expose the bright areas. Use P mode with -1/3 exposure compensation if necessary.
---The video can look grainy and noisy at night (or in very dark environment).
---The battery life is lousy esp when taking picture outdoor during the day because when shooting outdoor, the LCD became much brighter to compensate for bright surrounding at the expense of the battery life.
---HDR mode not available when shooting RAW
---The shutter sound is LOUD and no way to quiet it down (hello SONY, what are you thinking?)
---Need to use air-blower from time to time to clear out dust on sensor (a common issue among all interchangeable lens cameras)

TIP
If you have a Mac, install Aperture 3 demo (free), then install Pro App update which then allows you to decode NEX3/5's RAW file in PREVIEW and also IPHOTO.

ADDENDUM - V3 FIRMWARE UPDATE 10/14/2010
V3 Firmware allow you to assign specific function to the center dial button and the help button which dramatically make the NEX3/5 more usable - Now I can easily access ISO / AUTO FOCUS AREA / METERING MODE / FLASH COMPENSATION / CREATIVE MODE / HDR with only a few clicks which greatly enhance the usability of both NEX5 and NEX3. Hats off to SONY for its recognition of the usability problem and remedied it with the new firmware.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best camera of its size., July 2, 2010
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
I've had the Sony NEX-5 for a little over a week now. I have it with both the 18-55mm and the 16mm. I chose the black body which I think contrasts well with the silver lens. I prefer the 16mm because it has a nice 2.8 aperture which gives me better low light performance.

The camera is fantastic. It feels solid in your hand and the sound of the shutter and vibration of the camera make you want to shoot photos with it. Overall build quality is great. (The body is metal with a plastic grip.)

The controls on the camera are good, but not great. The dedicated video button is nice and I like the location of the playback and power buttons on top. The LCD screen on the back tilts but I haven't had a need to use it much.

The LCD menu controls are probably the biggest limitation on this camera. It is not easy to work with this camera in manual mode and getting to a particular feature can take a lot of scrolling and clicking.

The photos I produce with this camera are excellent. The video is also quite good.

Low light performance is good and I've never had a need for the supplied flash.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big performance in a small package, November 15, 2010
By 
TK (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
After several months and a trip overseas, I love the Nex-5!

I've shot at every level from pro to family fotog with hundreds of shots of the dog and kid. This camera does it all and IQ is much better than anyone has a right to expect at this price point. Yes, it is spendier than a point-and-shoot, but that is comparing it to the wrong end of the spectrum. It comes close -- indeed, very close -- to much higher-end cameras in performance and flexibility.

I've shot for for news media and magazines, and still like to take a lot of shots on the street in a "discreet" manner. This camera works beautifully in that it is not intimidating. Unless, maybe, when you use the long tele which makes it look more like a lens with a camera attached.

I use all three lenses available (the pancake 16, the 18-55 and the 18-200). The 35mm/full frame equivalents are 24, 24-82, 24-300.

This is a pretty darned good starter set of lenses. I tend to prefer a wider range and would love to see a wide-angle zoom, say 10-20 (15-35mm). The 18-55 is lightweight and a good walking around lens. It's advertised for wide-angle through portraits. Most of my friends prefer a 105-135 film or full-frame equivalent for portraits. I liked 135 as it allowed a little more distance, which is often critical for discretion in candid situations. So I'd hope for an 18-70 or 18-90 down the road from Sony. There is no one lens that does it all, of course, but the 18-200 sure works its heart out trying. It's considerably more weight, however, and one loses the discretion factor a bit. My "normal" range for a tele that I like to shoot is 200 film equivalent. I got this lens figuring it would very sharp where I needed it, knowing most long zooms of this type tend to fade at the ends of their limits. But this lens is surprisingly sharp at both ends of the spectrum.

The built-in image stabilization for the camera means all your lenses are stabilized. This system works splendidly. I am getting on in years, now, and not as stable myself as I once was, and I'm surprised that with this system I am able to shoot amazing low-light photos at speeds considerably slower than expected.

Video? Ohyeah. Way better than I thought it would be. But I admit I don't buy a camera much for this feature. I also worked in Hollywood, so video is something I get very picky about. I'd rather use a dedicated video camera for anything in motion. And the video version of the Nex is also interesting for its ability to use interchangeable lenses at a price point that is surprising for cameras with this feature. I figure the idea of video in a casmera like this is so if something happens in front of you, you won't miss it and the end result will be of credible quality.

Everything has advantages and disadvantages, and this camera is no exception.

The Good:
Very easy to carry all day.
Stunning quality from a small package.
Great autofocus capability.
Great image stabilization.
LCD screen highly adjustable and terrific for awkward situations.
Choice of cards.
Manual flexibility.
Intelligent Auto surprisingly good.
Incredible coolness factor.

The Not-So-Good:
Lenses are a bit slow.
Menus kinda clunky and not always intuitive.
Flash is good, but the mount is kinda flaky.
Manual focus can be slow using adaptive lenses.

The Bad:
The strap that comes with it is not great.
You can buy a replacement, but ain't nothin' cheap from Sony.
It makes a lot of noise for a small camera.
Accessories can add up. And you want to add stuff because this camera is so likable it becomes more like a pet than a camera.

Well, I've not always had great luck with Sony service when it comes to computers. Actually, they're terrible. Not sure how they will be with their cameras, but so far their responsiveness is encouraging. They put out software updates very quickly and there is every indication that they are listening to consumer complaints and recommendations.

Too often, folks search endlessly for the perfect camera for all situations. Stop looking. There is none. But this little jewel does a surprising number of things very very well, with the flexibility to meet many needs. Look at some of the serious discussion groups online and you'll find a lot of dedicated fans, including a surprising number of pros.

Another point. There is little point in reviewing every camera as if it should be ready to shoot for National Geographic and Universal Studios right out of the box. With Sony, we have very interesting first offerings with revolutionary capabilities and technology in the Nex-5 and the recently released A55. For products right out of the gate, judging from user response, they could be considered home runs. As rookie products, they will certainly evolve within a year or so. Considering the pedigree and the performance of their rookie seasons, these two products are likely to evolve to become solid become superstars.

As for the Nex-5 now? I love it every time I reach for it, and I reach for it a lot. I'd rank it Best in Class, but I think it created a new class by itself.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overheats when shooting video!, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Sony Alpha NEX5K/B Digital Camera with 18-55mm Interchangeable Lens - Black (Camera)
Length:: 2:10 Mins

Let me start by saying that I LOVE this camera... as a still camera. The photos it shoots are very impressive. The lenses, though currently limited in range, are very nice (I have them all.) I love the small, compact size, the progressive engineering and innovative technology. As a still camera, I think the NEX 5 is a thing of beauty.

...The problem is that they also promise that it shoots video - and it does - in short bursts that aren't too close together. The Sony spec states that you can shoot 29 minutes of video at a time. What they don't say is that the reason you can only shoot in limited amounts is because the camera is prone to overheating. They also don't tell you that to get 29 minutes of shooting time out of it you have to shoot in a refrigerator.

I took it to a Mardi Gras Indian Jazz Funeral Second Line in New Orleans yesterday to try out the video feature. I chose this camera over my NEX VG10 because the NEX 5 is smaller, more discreet and easier to manage in a crowd. It's summer in New Orleans and about 100 degrees so I made sure I kept my shots short - under 5 minutes - and I tried to give the camera some cooling time in between shots. I thought my conscientious method of shooting would prevent the camera from even coming close to overheating, but I was so wrong. After about an hour of shooting on and off, the procession stalled and I found a perch on top of some stairs with a great vantage and waited in the direct sun for the procession to start up again. I had been waiting about 10 minutes with the camera on standby when the procession started rolling. I shot for about 6 minutes, getting the best footage I had gotten all day. I hit the record button to turn off the recording and I got a message that the camera had overheated. It lost my footage!

I took the lens off so it would cool down faster and ran five blocks to get ahead of the procession again and to try to find another high vantage point. Finally I found a pick up truck and jumped up on the back bumper, reattached the lens and hoped for the best when I turned the camera back on. I shot for about three minutes, but the moment was lost - it was so hot that the crowd had dwindled considerably.

I'm sure that under better conditions the results would be much better, but I would never try to push 29 minutes of video out of this camera - I'd be afraid it would melt the sensor! If you're considering this camera because you want a high quality still camera that you can also use for HD video, be forewarned that you'll have to manage your video shooting very carefully and it may crash in the middle of your video shot. I certainly wouldn't use it to shoot video for anything important.

I would only consider it usable for video in optimum conditions - cool weather conditions or indoors - and only for very, very short bursts with plenty of cooling time in between with the lens off the body to help dissipate the heat.

I've attached the video that I shot yesterday. The quality is very nice: good saturation, adequate auto white balance and decent audio if you buy the Sony ECMSST1 mic that fits on the smart shoe. Though the NEX lenses have image stabilization, for video it's minimal at best.
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