Top positive review
67 people found this helpful
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.