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on December 18, 2012
Just received my Sony NEX-5RK/S with the kit 18-55mm lens, along another lens I bought separately - the Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN- Sony E 330965, (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0078ZYBP0/). I've only had a few hours to play around with it, but am already very impressed and happy.

I am not a professional photographer, but have used a wide range of cameras from point-and-clicks, to the Canon EOS Rebel XT DSLR I've owned for more than six years. If you're a serious professional photographer, then I'm sure there are plenty of cameras better suited to your level of expertise. If you're like me, someone who just wants professional-LOOKING photos from my various outings, holidays and special occassions, then you will be very pleased with the Sony NEX-5RK.

WHY I BOUGHT IT

I bought the Sony because my old Canon was simply too bulky and not at all easy to use on vacation of family outings. I wanted something with more of the convenience of the pocket cameras, but with all the professional capabilities of the DSLRs. The Sony, even with the zoom kit lens, is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket or purse - or just use the included neck strap. The camera is so light, you won't even notice it. The shipping weight says 3 pounds, but that includes the charger and manuals. The camera alone - with lens - is probably closer to 2 pounds.

ACCESSORY NOTES

When I purchased this camera, there was a free accessory package offer I added to my order - which included a (1.) 16GB memory card, (2.) a camera bag (Case Logic DCB-304 High/Fixed Zoom Camera Case (Black) - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0039BPG1A/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i00) and (3.) a Pogoplug device. The camera bag is perfect, and also includes a strap. If you can't get it free, I'd still recommend adding it to your order. It's worth it. WARNING: The Pogoplug devices might seem like a good travel backup - but they don't travel, and they're not a backup device. In other words, useless. Don't buy it. You can read my review of that product there.

AUTOMATIC AND MANUAL PHOTO MODES

Back to the camera: Again I'm not a professional photographer, but am familiar enough with various light and focus options. This camera gives you the option to shoot in several automatic, and preset modes, or to go full manual if you want. Either option will meet your needs - but more importantly for novice photographers like me, Sony's automatic modes and presets are WONDERFUL. I was prepared to dig into the guts with all the custom manual settings, but after spending a couple hours with mostly automatic modes, I'm VERY impressed. It's been several years since I had a new camera, and the technology on the Sony is quite surprising and exceptional.

For me, I set the camera to "SLN" mode, and from there you can use the selector wheel on top for two click access to all the presets, including Closeup, Portrait, Action, Landscape, Low light (tripod) or Low light (handheld), and several others. If, like me, you REALLY enjoy a narrow field of focus (where the subject or nearest thing is focused, but everything in the background is slightly or more blurry), you'll LOVE the Portrait and Closeup presets on this Sony. I've never had a small, almost-pocket camera that could do this before - and it's a real treat.

Basically, don't let all the details about manual modes scare you. Or, if those things do scare you, don't worry: The automatic and preset modes on this camera will seriously exceed your expectations, giving you really professional looking photos, with just a spin of the selector wheel and clicking "OK".

TAKING PICTURES

This camera does not have a view-finder like most DSLRs - but interestingly, I'm perfectly happy using the big LCD screen, like you find on most point-and-click cameras. You can buy the EVF (external viewfinder) accessory separately, but I don't think I'll need to. Besides, that same port can be used by the small flash - which is included with your box. Between a viewfinder or flash, you won't miss anything by not having the viewfinder.

My favorite new thing, which I couldn't do before, is touching the LCD screen to focus on specifically the subject I want. The camera has several automatic modes (it can even be set to snap a photo as soon as it "sees" your subject smile!), but for normal photo shooting and all the fancy stuff turned off, it was extremely quick to focus once the shutter is held halfway down, and for all other shots - especially where I used a narrow field of focus - that touch-screen focus capability is really neat.

There are several timer modes (10 second and 2 second), and the camera again surprised me with how smart it is. I turned the LCD screen around so I could see myself while taking a self-portrait. Without needing to click anything else, when I clicked the shutter, the camera automatically knew to give me 2 seconds (and showed me a timer indicator right there) before snapping the shot. Very smart.

USING THE FLASH, LOW LIGHT PHOTOS

By the way, even without a flash attached, this camera does have a built-in orange/red light used to detect distance and focus. Even in lower light conditions, I found the camera was very good at getting the range, focusing, and then automatically adjusting light and exposure as needed to produce very good shots - without any flash attached. I've read the other reviews about pretty good night time/dark photos, but still haven't had a chance to see for myself. Personally though, for every few thousands pictures I take, maybe only one is outdoors at night, with no other lights around - so I'm not too concerned.

VIDEO

There's a movie button on top of the body. Click it. Thats it!

Once you set the movie quality in the Settings menu, you never have to worry about it again. I held the camera, clicked the movie button and walked around for a few minutes, putting various subjects into view. Again, for you novice photographers out there - or even the professionals who don't want to bother with all the manul settings, taking videos on this camera is a real pleasure. I've had numerous camcorders before of varying quality, but it's been several years since the last. The Sony gives me better video than anything I've ever used before - definitely professional quality. And my favorite part, again, was the ability to just click the button and walk around - the camera automatically moved things in and out of focus as I aimed the camera at them, or moved away. And in those cases where I wanted to override the automatica stuff, and focus say on an object off to one side of the frame, all it took was a touch of the LCD screen while recording, and the Sony would move the focus to that object in less than 2 seconds. Brilliant!

APPS, SOFTWARE, WIFI, AND SMARTPHONE CAPABILITIES

Wow. Just wow. The Sony 5R has wi-fi and app capability - which means it can connect to any local wireless network AND it also acts as a wireless connection for your smartphone. This is big. I can already tell this will make a HUGE difference in how I use cameras, store and share photos and videos. The process goes like this:

(1.) You create an account on Sony's PlayMemories website. Remember this login.
(2.) When you're within range of any wireless network, you go into the Applications menu of the camera and connect to your network.
(3.) Now, the camera itself can act like a wireless computer, and can download apps, filter effects and connect with your PlayMemories account. Download and install the Sony apps for your camera shown in the camera's Applications area.
(4.) Make your smartphone even smarter. If you have an Android or iPhone smartphone, search the app store for PlayMemories and download both apps. One is so your phone can mange your local photos and upload to the PlayMemories site or Facebook to share photos. The second app is the REALLY neat one. It makes your smartphone into a remote control and storage device for your camera. Once you've installed the PlayMemories Mobile app on your smartphone, and the Smartphone Remote app on your camera (which you do in the previous step), you connect your smartphone directly to your camera, via the Wireless Network Settings on your smartphone. The camera itself gives off a wifi ID and gives you a password, so you can connect to it with your smartphone, like you woudl connect to any other wireless network. Neat.
(4.A.) The best thing about this Remote is that I can be holding the camera or place it anywhere within range - and whatever is visible through the camera's lens will appear on my smartphone. In other words, not only can you finally be in your own pictures - and NOT have to run real fast once you click the timer button - but you can be part of almost any picture you can imagine. Just set the camera, and use your smartphone to click the shutter and often as you want. Brilliant. I can finally get good photos of me sitting with my wife in the park, or of me and the kids *while* we're playing together. Every time you want to connect the remote, you just connect your smartphone to your camera's wireless transmitter, and open the app.

OVERALL

It's amazing what you can do with this camera - the quality and range of both automatic and manual modes, having both high quality photo and video capability, its compact size and light weight, with options to change lenses, plug-in other accessories too, aloing with the Wi-Fi, smartphone app and remote operation capabilities. There simply are no "CONS" for me. Thumbs-up, 5 stars.
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on February 7, 2015
I absolutely love this camera. I do wish I would have gone with the 24mp version but this thing still takes fantastic pictures. The built in filters are really cool and easy to use, even for a complete newbie to photography. The wifi is pretty quirky and sony could have made it a lot easier to use. The only other gripe I have is that when the flash is installed you can't flip the screen around to the "selfie mode", otherwise I'm absolutely hooked on this camera.
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on December 16, 2013
I just love this camera. I bought this to replace my old original NEX-3. There is a lot to love.

-Great battery life. My old NEX-3 eats up battery pretty quick. To my surprise, the NEX-5R lasts significantly longer.

-Function button and extra dial on the top. One of the challenge in using the NEX-3 outside auto mode is the minimum amount of physical control available for you. There is only one rotating dial, making things harder when you want to adjust things. On the 5R, there's an extra dial on the top right and a function button, allowing you to access a quick menu for common settings. This makes the shooting experience in other modes, even on manual, much more usable.

-Wifi. Yes, this camera has wifi that allows you to upload a resized JPEG shot to the Sony PlayMemories app on your smartphone/tablet. Even better, you can set up your phone/tablet to be a wireless viewfinder for the camera. Refresh rate is fairly low because of wifi, but it's a great thing to have. Imagine having the camera in one corner of a room, and you are taking pictures from the other side of the room using your iPad. Not much controls you can do from the app though, but it's a neat concept.

-180 degrees screen swivel. The screen swivel 180 degrees up so you can take selfies easily. Well, it's not just for selfies, but it makes things easier in certain situations, allowing you to keep seeing the viewfinder instead of guessing when composing.

-Touch screen. Touch screen allows easy focusing. You can also interact with the menus via touch (unlike some Olympus micro 4/3rds).

-Phase detection auto focus. A firmware update adds phase detection auto focus. It's supposed to allow faster auto focusing. I'm not technical enough to notice any differences though. Also, some lenses' firmwares have to be updated too to take advantage of this.

-One weird thing is that Sony is selling "apps" for this camera. Yes, there's an app store. I doubt people would be willing to pay for any though., and I also doubt we will see 3rd party developers doing anything for this really niche app store.

-Also an annoying thing is how Sony design the settings menu. It takes too much scrolling just to get to some settings. Luckily there's that function button.

-Lastly, it didn't come with an external battery charger. Yes, just like most modern smartphones, Sony wants you to charge the battery in-camera, via USB charging. This makes charging a spare battery highly inconvenient. On the bright side, if you are low on battery, you can simply charge it with your phone charger or many USB external battery packs out there.

An awesome camera. Coupled with some of the great E-mount primes, like the 35mm f1.8 or the 50mm f1.8, you can get stunning pictures, on a device that is a fraction of the size of a typical APS-C DSLR. The only concern I have is that Sony considers the NEX as a consumer lineup, so don't expect long term support in terms of firmware updates. The NEX-3 stopped getting any further firmware updates fairly quickly. Sony already release a newer version of this, the NEX-5T.
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on August 30, 2013
I've toyed around with 7D's, D3100's, Canon's new 6D...I sent them all back mainly because I wasn't thrilled with the images. I'm a film guy and never really made the switch to digital full-on until recently. Don't be fooled by the size, weight, plastic, touch screen, it's actually a serious camera that produces excellent images on all factory settings. The white balance is always perfect. There is more dynamic range and subtle color reproduction than the 7d or the 6D. Throw a Zeiss Contax or Voigtlander ASPH lens on with an adapter and you've got a poor man's Leica.

Of course it's not suitable for most professional work, but it's fully capable of producing comparable images.

Manual focus assists are a life saver, image mag. and focus peaking are great. Battery lasts quite long.

Video: looks as good or better than Panasonic's $4,000 AF100 (maybe 5R not built for pro's but gives comparable results)

You may want the NEX 7 if you demand the absolute best image possible from a NEX camera, but I'm satisfied with the 5R.
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on May 9, 2014
I needed a great quality camera for filming videos. It has auto focus and I can see myself while filming+++. I film videos for youtube. After seeing video reviews and reading reviews on Amazon I bought it for $450+tax from SammysCamera. I got it within a week. (longest week ever due to excitement) I'm totally happy with it. I haven't bought additional lenses for it, simply because I feel it's great as is with the 18-55mm. If you want to see the auto focus in action with beauty tutorials look me up at TashChynna on YouTube. All my videos from the last 6 months have been with this camera :)
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on March 20, 2016
This is the best camera I have ever used. It is fool proof and very easy to use. It is lightweight but the picture quality is stunning. The only con I can find about this camera is how fast it drains the battery. I now have 8 batteries total so I dont have to worry about it though :)
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on May 24, 2013
I upgraded from the original Sony NEX-5 to this.

The speed is awesome (shots per second) and I really appreciated the upgrade to 1080p video. The 180° tilt of the screen is awesome and makes self-portraits much simpler.

The touch screen is fine for normal menu navigation, although I often just use the click wheel/hard buttons anyway because it's usually faster and I was already familiar with them from the previous camera. Where it truly excels, though, is the feature that lets you tap the screen to take a picture (I don't remember what they call it). It makes it drastically easier to focus on the exact spot you want – no centering the focal point just to focus and then reframing your picture. This, combined with the recharge speed, makes it really easy to capture exactly what you want.

The apps are alright. They definitely add some useful functionality (time lapse, non-exposure bracketing, etc.), but take a bit to load. It would be nice if these fairly common features were just included in the default software so they worked more smoothly. One app that is pretty cool is the remote app. This is one of the better uses of the camera's built-in WiFi. My first trip after buying this camera included a visit to Arches National Park. I was able to use the camera's remote app + iPhone app to climb onto a rock formation and position the camera about 50 feet away from one of the arches, then climb back down and get under the arch with my fellow travelers, watch a live stream of video from the camera to help us pose correctly, take a few pictures, review them, and then finally retrieve my camera.

The main improvement I think I would still like to have in these cameras is GPS. I love being able to explore my pictures from a map, but there's not a great way to do it with this camera. I've tried Eye-Fi cards with their pseudo-GPS tracking as well as using iPhone apps to create waypoints and merge then with the pictures later, but the overhead is still enough that I usually don't end up tracking it and resort to manually adding geotags later, if I desire. I realize adding GPS could significantly decrease battery life, but this camera isn't exactly made to excel in that department (no optical viewfinder results in a lot of power spent on the LCD). I would rather carry a couple extra batteries (I already always have one spare) than hassle with geotagging solutions.

All-in-all, I think this is a good camera. I'm usually not much of a Sony consumer, but I've been pleased with their hybrids, and would consider them in any future upgrades.
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on January 10, 2015
Great Camera! I get great photos with it. Love the apps. The wireless photo transfer needs work. Could be a little easier to get photos to your smart phone or computer.
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on March 17, 2014
The reason why I bought this camera was to use it to film some high school basketball games. The quality is fantastic and I can easily power it on and press record in time to get all the good shots. The only problem though is that if you are planning on recording videos anywhere near the 10 minute mark (even sometimes near the 7 or 8 minute mark) the camera will begin to overheat and will become a pain to try to use until you give it a break. I completely understand why this happens but it can be a drag.

Literally, every other aspect of the camera works great. I have been using the camera at least twice a week since the beginning of November now, and besides the overheating, the format, quality, audio, and everything else works great.
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on November 26, 2013
This is the best camera for video under $1,000. Now that's bold but hear me out.

Nex 5 pros
Quick learning curve
Ergonomic controls
Tilting screen
Adaptable to virtually any lens in an indie budget
Potential to achieve full frame qualities with a focal reducer/speed booster
Avchd format (could be a con if your software doesn't recognize it)
24p AND 60p at 1080p resolution
Portable
ISO 100 in video vs canon rebels 200
Auto features are great

5r cons
Viewfinder is around $200
Video playback loads slowly (plays fine tho)
Playback is organized by stills, mp4, and avchd..instead of everything chronologically
Mf assist is nice but annoying to switch on and off
White balance is deep in the menu (but that can be a custom button)
E mount lenses are priced high
Recording button takes considerable pressure to activate and a "recording..." Text comes up for 2 seconds
View screen is highly reflective.
Non-photo people underestimate it
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