Sony NEX-5: a proper camera for cyborgs like me

Unboxing Sony NEX-5

I’ve been waiting for a proper camera, one that gets as quality as a DSLR, without the bulk and bore. Sure there are micro four-thirds like the Olympus PEN series, but they just didn’t tickle my adamantium bone.

Having recently played with the Sony NEX-5, I fell in love with its features. It’s great for a DSLR newbie like me who wants to take diverse range of photos, as well as a videography hobbyist who likes experimenting with videos.

It’s a serious camera with an impressive APS-C sensor, which Sony says is 60% larger than a Four-Thirds sensor, and 13 times larger than a typical video camera sensor.

Unboxing Sony NEX-5

If you’ve seen the cameras I’ve used over the years, you’d know that I tend to go for the hybrid video/photo cameras, such as the Sony M2 and Sanyo HD1010 which tend to be pistol-grip by design. The NEX-5 lets me take everything up a notch, by having a proper image sensor, and the hardware customizability of a video camera (e.g. compact stereo mic add-on).

The physical and software interface is intended for amateur photographers. Though I’ve been taking photos and videos for years, I never really bothered with the mechanics behind camera, going instead with gut feel for lightning and composition. This camera keeps much of the controls on-screen instead of having a control dial most professionals are used to.

Unboxing Sony NEX-5

To guess at Sony’s design philosophy, it’d likely be the sheer lack of space for buttons and dials on such a tiny camera body. They turned this problem into an opportunity, by putting the controls in the software interface and adding contextual tips as well as a full-blown photography guide right in the menu system. While I prefer experimenting rather than reading the manual, it’s really handy having the guide right there to explain how I could execute specific creative shots.

BlinkBl_nk at Blu Jazz

I still getting used to the camera, but from my first run covering the BlinkBl_nk meetup last night, I’m glad that I finally have a camera that takes such sharp pictures in the dark. See what I mean by looking through the BlinkBl_nk photo gallery.

Unboxing Sony NEX-5

For those of you who love unboxing photos, I’ve got that too.

And finally if you wish to compare the Sony NEX-5 with current micro Four-Thirds as well as DSLRs, this is my favorite article detailing the NEX-5’s features, with side-by-side physical comparisons.

I bought this camera at the Sony Style store in Bugis Junction for exactly $1199 SGD, and it came with a $300 coupon for a second lens when it gets released. Comparing retail prices worldwide, this is a pretty good deal for Singaporeans.

This is only my second day with the camera, but I’ll do my best in answering any of your questions in the comments.

  • rinaz

    Urr … that tickles my “want” feeling

  • Daniel

    Oh man, I love the NEX-5's design, but the 1080i video recording is annoying to me. There's absolutely no 720p option, huh? By the way, the NEX-5 has native Eye-Fi support, meaning that there are menu options to control the Eye-Fi from the camera's settings when you insert the Eye-Fi into the camera.

    • Kevin Lim

      Fascinating. It's incredible for a camera so small. Now I definitely want an eye-fi card!

      • Daniel

        As you know I've been reading up on the Eye-Fi. The thing that was attractive about it was the Geo model which uses skyhook to determine the geolocation (they say they don't need to sign in to a network to triangulate).

        The link to the Eye-Fi being compatible with NEX-5:

        If you wanna get it (69.90 USD for Geo X2, 49.90 without Geo), let me know, so maybe we can share the vPost.

  • tobe freeman

    Thanks for this really useful post! Very informative.
    I went on to research this camera further and have just bought one.
    I am really pleased with it so far (although it is noisy).