Customer Review

244 of 262 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisite hot cake to mirror-less market.(Update Jul-27-2013), October 21, 2012
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This review is from: Sony NEX-5RK/B 16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lenses (Black) (Electronics)
Length:: 1:33 Mins

This review is for both new NEX adapters and exist NEX members wish to upgrade to 5R.

I'm a active NEX users and very fond of NEX-7 for it's whole package. I bought this 5R as a backup camera to my NEX-7. So here is some conclusion of my 2 weeks extensive experience with NEX-5R, hope it can give you some ideas:
The NEX-5R is the 3rd generation of Sony NEX camera line:

2010-2011
Entry: NEX-3
Intermediate: NEX-5
Enthusiastic: None

2011-2012
Entry: NEX-C3
Intermediate: NEX-5n
Enthusiastic: NEX-7

2012-2013
Entry: NEX-F3
Intermediate: NEX-5R
Sub-Enthusiastic: NEX-6
Enthusiastic: NEX-7

2013-
Entry: NEX-3N
Intermediate: NEX-5R(update soon)
Sub-Enthusiastic: NEX-6
Enthusiastic: NEX-7(update soon)

Thus, the NEX-5R is the successor of NEX-5n.
If you have don't have a extensive knowledge about NEX-5n or NEX family, here are the highlights of my field experience:

1. APS-C sensor size, 1.5x crop for lens DOF and focal calculation, very popular and balance sensor size, give you enough shallow depth of field but still keep lens in a affordable weight, seize and price.
2. Sony CMOS Sensor, the most widely used and acclaimed sensor in recent days, even Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Fujifilm put Sony senor into their highest level DSLR cameras. It gives you the lots of dynamic range, color depth and top notch low light ISO performance.
The field benefit is I can live with jpegs directly come from the camera w/o tweak Raws and struggle for more detail and dynamic range.
3. Compact size, well designed simplistic camera body is very easy to handle and grasp.
4. Relatively long battery life compare to similar specs mirrorless cameras.
5. 20ms shutter release latency and articulate LCD makes it perfect for street snap shot.
6. Handheld twilight, Panorama photo, Auto HDR is best in its class, easy to use and boost creativity.
7. High-definition (640x480) quality LCD with fast refresh rate and wide view angle, color reproduction is very good and accurate.
8. Highest movie record profile: 1080 60P 28Mbps more than the requirement of Blu-ray and have extensive control over movie recording.
9. High speed focus, comparable to DSLR in daylight but suffers at night. Face detection and scene recognition.
10. For experienced users, NEX system have a 18mm flange-to-sensor distance, so basically you can adapt almost any camera lens in human history to the NEX and enjoy the old style creativity with high technology: Zoom-in focus and focus peaking.

If you already own an NEX and want to know the difference about NEX-5n and NEX-5R, here are the upgraded areas:

1. CDAF+PDAF hybrid auto-focus system, provides both CDAF's accuracy and PDAF's focus tracking capability.
2. Focus speed improved, even with CDAF, the new focus algorithms in those 3rd generation NEX makes them hunts less and more intelligent.
3. More consistent control style, fixed some button and make the Fn as standard button in all modes and apps. (detail list below)
4. Add a new dial, provide more flexible control.
5. Combined shutter release button with power switch similar to other Sony/Nikon/Pentax DSLR shutter release button.
6. Articulate screen can provide 180 degree self-portrait and also gives you 45 degree downward view and still keeps the screen slim.(more photos please see my gallery uploaded to the production page)
7. Wifi function can share photos to mobile device and PCs.
8. App function provides more capability to this camera.(detail list below)
9. New minor improvements added and bug fix: Electronic level gauge, Movie button can be turned off, AEL lock with shutter release, Bracketing range increased from previous +/-0.7 to +/-1,+/-2,+/-3
10. White balance is more accurate.
11. In-body Macro-USB charging.

The problem still exist:
1. PDAF needs lens support, right now all Sony NEX lens support PDAF functions, some need a firmware update.
2. App store is a great concept, but it also exposed the hardware limitation of NEX: app experience not comparable to modern mobile devices.
3. NEX operation system have been improved, but still lack of pro menu functions and it's more family-oriented, such as separate of Movies and Photos libraries. and "world record super long setup menu".
4. Still using the Smart terminal 2 proprietary hotshoe, limit the studio wireless flash and create useless proprietary waste.
5. Wifi function is a little hard to setup and not easy to use for many causal no geek users.
6. App store is just the 1st step for Sony, and what's the future of it is still unknown.

So,if you wants more details:

1.control style evolving:

Historically, NEX-5 are criticized for it's awkward menu and lack of Quick-menu for quick adjustment. So Sony upgrade NEX-5n with a custom center button, which used to be modal change button, provide a custom menu of 5 functions, but leave with a mess and contradiction menu style: If you set the 5n's center button to Quick custom menu, you have to assign either right arrow or down arrow to modal change function in order to change modes(P A S M...), but if you jump into Panorama or Handheld twilight, the center button will recover to model function. thus you lose your Quick-menu function. It's so awkward and makes the your NEX is very different to your friends' NEX after the learning curve. So in 5R Sony made a great decision to it:
Sony makes the center button fixed and cannot to assign any functions, which means in any NEX w/o dedicate modal in future, the center button is fixed to change the camera mode(P A S M...). And add a dedicate Fn button, to trigger the previous Quick-menu.
I know it's a little frustration at first glance: 5R added a new Fn button, but fixed the customization of center button. But if you consider this in a more brighter way: it's good to have the modal button fixed and the new Fn button is easy to trigger with your index-finger, plus you won't lose your Quick menu in any situation even in app mode. it's not a loss. And a little comfort is this qucik-menu can assign 6 functions.
Another control style change is fixed right arrow to ISO and down arrow to exposure compensation. This modification is also accompanied with the previous discussed: make the NEX camera more canonical, so everyone touches a new generation of NEX can play with it and enjoy the new feature without dig into menus system and assign your own style. I can understand their effort to make NEX family standalize but lose the customization of control style still makes me feel NEX become obsolete and inclined to traditional DSLRs (with tremendous dedicate buttons).

2. PDAF do have some limitation:
PDAF is mostly benefit in the AF-C mode (Please watch the movie within this review), AF-S didn't improve much compare to previous CDAF, still hunts for focus.
PDAF can only be activated when aperture value is no greater than f/6.3 (e.g: f/1.4-f/6.3 works, f/7.1-f22 won't work)
PDAF is only works with still image, not for movies.
PDAF won't work when it's dark.
PDAF won't work when AF illumination turned on.

3.The NEX-5R have two kinds of wifi usage:

a. link to a exist wifi hotpot, and

surf the web and download apps

upload the photo to photo sharing site: play memory, facebook,flickr(possibly) you name it...

b. create a direct hotspot by itself, and

Let your cellphone/device to collect to this personal hotspot and wirelessly using live view/ shutter

Let your cellphone/device to collect to this personal hotspot and the camera transfer its photos to your cellphone/device

4. Welcome to App world.

I really welcome this, but my feeling is a little mixed: promote such a important function in camera is quite a innovation. but does the users ready to accept the concept that they have to pay for a function in future?
When iPhone opened the world of mobile apps, it have a most important conviction: user-centered. Every app is around user: satisfy user needs. Does Sony fully understand this and through the app to improve their user experience? It's a little early to place any conclusion.But I expect Sony understand why Google play and iTunes are successful app stores because they satisfied user needs and improve customers experience.
For example, at present, the NEX-5R app store have 4 apps: 3 free 1 for sell with $4.99.

Those free apps:
Remote control is just works, using your smartphone as live view and control the camera shutter.
Direct upload needs some updates, it's only function is upload photos to facebook or play memory gallery, hope it can support flickr or picasa in future.
Fliter+ is provide more filters, like the newest watercolor or blend two filters effects together, a welcome addition to NEX users.

The only app with price is multi-frame noise reduction app. It works like Handheld twilight but with more controls over aperture, iso, shutter speed. Sony provide such function in their Alpha cameras, but not in NEXs, NEX only have "lite version" as the automatic Handheld twilight.

I end up give MFNR a try, and here is the interesting part: You buy the app once and it can gives you 10 licenses to any camera associate with your Sony account.

Because I cant upload full-size photos to give you the illusration, So I just give you the conclusion:
In MFNR, the ISO 12800 is comparable to standard ISO 3200, ISO 6400 is comparable to standard ISO 1600, etc... and it's also makes the ISO 400 to ISO 800 noise free when 100% zoom-in, So I'd say it provide 2ev improvement over normal ISO shots.

In some sense, it's still seems like a steal money from us. but like someone said before: you have the choice. However, please understand not everything from a camera manufacture "should" be free, Nikon charges it's Capture NX 2 for $130 and Camera Control Pro 2 for $180, can we say "because you a my camera's manufacture, so everything software associate with your camera should be free?" Software is a intellectual property, manufacture have the rights to sell it or bundle it in some camera. So it's a decision made by Sony, and it's your decision whether buy it or not.

If this works like the way app store on mobile. For real example: I purchased goodreader when it came out on year 2009, it still on my newest mobilephone and upgrade twice a month from 2009 to 2012. it's quite a bargain when you consider this app cost $1 when it came out. So does this apply to many successful apps and great thanks to those hard working programmers. They treat old customers well, and we recommend those app to our friends. a win-win situation.

If Sony treat apps like MFNR, time-lapse in this way: constant upgradeable and compatible on all future cameras. people like me are willing to pay for it.

There also some bad examples: GPS device charges you fee for map upgrades(hopefully, they're dying because mobile devices.), antivirus software charges you year by year(they're dying too),Microsoft, Adobe charges quite a amount for upgrade version.
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Comments

Tracked by 13 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2012 7:47:19 AM PDT
Great review - thanks!
I'm really interested in the NEX-5R or NEX-6 cameras - but I want to use it for both stills & video (about 50/50 usage); I'd be very interested to know how it performs when shooting 1080/60p video for extended periods of time. (Previous NEX cameras seemed to suffer from overheating - and I notice that the NEX-5R and NEX-6 manuals still refer to this possibility).
Have you tried shooting much video - and how did things go?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 12:03:10 PM PDT
Z. Wu says:
Still the same old problem, I tried 1080 60p, overheating with 22min.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2012 5:37:28 PM PDT
Thanks for the heads up! Appreciate your quick response.
If it can do 20 minutes consistently then I'm probably OK. Anything less than about 15 minutes and I'm going to go with Panasonic G5 - or wait for their GX2.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 9:39:42 AM PDT
mtechnic6 says:
Now that you had the NEX-5R for a week, knowing what you know now would you upgrade from an NEX-5N? As I have one and am still on the fence with the NEX-5R. I cannot look at the NEX-6 as I have accessories like the viewfinder and the upgrade flash to replace the stock one.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 7:22:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012 1:49:19 PM PDT
Z. Wu says:
If you read through the benefit part in my review upgrade from 5n to 5R, and love at least half of them, I think you can pull the trigger on 5R, just sell the 5n and get some $ back, otherwise, keep your 5n, there is no real big benefit in image quality. But I also like the way to jump on 6, If I don't have a 7, I would jump on 6 w/16-50 kit and pass the 5R.

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 11:03:00 PM PDT
Hi Z Wu. Really appreciate your review. I am also looking forward to this camera. I have some lateral concerns as well. I would appreciate if you could provide your feedback on this.

1. Connectivity: I recently came across Samsung Galaxy Camera promotion, and found out it has GPS, 3G/4G connectivity (geotagging + instant sharing without wifi spot)
2. OS: Again, Galaxy Camera is giving Android 4.1 JB out of the box. I am considering that to be a really major factor to have in Camera as I can install all the camera apps in Play store and make use of them

I am a total photography amateur and have never got a high end camera.
My question is that should I wait for Android based cameras in 2013 or go ahead and purchase this one? Do you see any actual/practical benefit of having 3G/4G/GPS/JellyBean in your camera or its just an initial marketing gimmick?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2012 2:05:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2012 2:14:02 PM PDT
Z. Wu says:
Personally, I think android is the future in camera world, but I won't consider that camera at present.
1st,I don't get the idea of how important to put a 3G/4G network inside a camera, to me, it's just a Android phone without phone call function.
2nd, The 3g/4g connection needs your put another contract on a camera, for just upload the photo to facebook and pay $15/month seem redundant to my mobile phone.
3rd, The android camera is promising, but actually it's no better than a smartphone with decent camera. And can't compete the flexibility of real camera with image quality. because the image quality it mostly depend on sensor size and lens, and Samsung camera limited to a 1/2.3" sensor size which means it's no better than an Galaxy S3 or iPhone. Far inferior to NEX's APS-c size sensor, that's about 10x in sensor size different. And for the lens, samsung have a decent range of zoom-in, but the aperture is small and limited to f/2.8-f/5.9, any $200 P&S zoom camera can do that.

For your interest, if you'd like to practice more about photography, I recommend a cheap CSC camera like NEX 5n or 5R, or xz-1, S100, RX100 for serious P&S shoot, or just get a decent smartphone, like S3 or iPhone

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 5:57:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 28, 2012 6:02:12 AM PDT
Wu. Really appreciate your detailed and quick response. I am planning to take this Camera (while talking about Android, I was referring to the new breed of Mirrorless cameras to hit market in 2013 but I am willing to take this now as I have a small kid and these moments are priceless and indeed need to be captured).
Could you please suggest a really nice Memory Card + any other essential/recommended accessories for this? I am totally new in this area and want to make sure that I get the right advice. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2012 12:48:35 AM PDT
Z. Wu says:
I agree that the moments is more important than image quality, so most of the time, I recommend a decent P&S camera or just a smartphone for the mobility.
A CSC camera like 5R is still a little large for everyday usage. I only recommend it if you really prefer to keep both moment and image quality as your priority. And 3rd reason is you want to keep the photography as a hobby, then I fully recommend a CSC camera like 5R, 5n.
If you fit this category, the SD card is easy to find, but I must say Sony's camera media library is a messy when you keep all your photos in camera.
because it's separate the movie and photos and there is no chronological view of photos. thus if you took a photo in last month, it's took you hell out of time to find that photo because you have to scroll back page by page. Thus I always transfer my photos back to PC and manage them with free but very sufficient Picasa software, and format the card ever time. So I prefer fast card with low capacity, and choose those UHS-I high speed card for fast photo transfer.

Posted on Nov 3, 2012 5:15:04 PM PDT
Great thorough review. I appreciate you tracking the older models for me as well. As much as I want this purchase for me, my wife will also take pics I'm sure too! So it's important for me to find something that can be used by novices as well, but weight was a concern also, and I notice that Sony is coming out with a power zoom option/attachment- 16-50mm What are your thoughts on such an action? The footprint seems significantly smaller- do you think it's worth the 50 additional dollar cost? Thanks in advance!
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