Sony Alpha NEX-5

Last Updated (10 May’13):
– Review & Sample Photos @ ePhotozine
– New Firmware Ver.02
– The Winner of European Micro System Camera 2010-2011

Sony Alpha NEX-5 is a 14.2 megapixel digital camera that features HD video capable APS-C sensor (13 times the size of the typical sensor) in a small body, Interchangeable lenses, ISO range from 200 to 12,800, continuous (2.3fps) speed priority (7fps), Dual Media Slots, Sweep Panorama, and a vari-angle 3 inch Live View LCD. The camera dimensions are approx. 4-3/8 x 2-3/8 x 1-9/16” (W/H/D, excluding protrusions), and it weighs (approx.) : Approx. 8.1oz (Body only without batteries, memory card and body accessories).

Sony Alpha NEX-5
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Expert Reviews

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Reviews

ePhotozine reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The Sony NEX-5 produces DSLR image quality with extremely low noise, and Full HD video, performance is impressive with 7fps shooting, and this really is a camera that might make you think twice about taking your DSLR with you. “
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The Sony Nex-5 is a very impressive camera. Picture quality is eye catching and is a clear step up from a standard digital camera. Build quality is also top drawer. It has a set of features that is a step up from the most basic Digital SLRs. All of this is packed into a small, lightweight body. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review Video By DigitalTrends

DigitalVersus reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“Given that the NEX-5’s sensor was inherited from the Alpha 550, we were hardly surprised to see some very impressive results. Noise and blurriness are virtually invisible up to 1600 ISO, and we found JPEGs usable for small prints even at 6400 ISO.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PopSci reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“Compact lens-changers from their inception over a year ago have promised DSLR quality images in point-and-shoot packages — the best of both worlds. Until I tossed the NEX-5 into a small side pocket in my bag, though, I wasn’t really a believer. Now I am.”
Rating: N/A

NeutralDay reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“the NEX cameras are definitely highly recommended for photographers looking to move up to big time image quality in a still compact and easy to use camera. More advanced photographers should carefully consider the limitations of the NEX cameras (mostly related to lack of physical controls), but as a second camera, or as a compact solution for photographers biased by DSLR image quality, the NEX cameras again come highly recommended.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PCAdvisor reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The Sony Alpha NEX-5 performs like a digital SLR camera when it comes to image quality. Exposure, colour fidelity, sharpness, and image noise are impressive – it out-performed other interchangable-lens cameras in our lab’s subject image quality tests…. “
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotographyBay reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“In short, I’m a big fan of the Sony NEX-5. I think it’s a solid option for an interchangeable lens camera. While it is more appropriately situated as an upgrade from a point and shoot camera due to the menu-based control scheme, it is also suitable as a DSLR-alternative thanks to the still image and video quality. Aside from a few minor quibbles with regard to its controls and functionality, the Sony NEX-5 is an otherwise great mirrorless camera.”
Rating: N/A

RegHardware reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The NEX-5 is a quality compact camera with the most important feature sticking out the front. Compared to a DSLR, Sony has given us the bare bones out the back and a good, but currently narrow choice of three lenses. Admittedly, this isn’t a very big range but that will surely change and there are adapter options too.”
Rating: ★★★★½

BusinessWorld reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“So the next time you’re in the market for a compact digicam that’s as good as a DSLR, Sony suggests you get the one that has a DSLR sensor and a DSLR lens. As long as you’re not into DSLR bodies, everything will work out just fine. “
Rating: N/A

PDNGearGuide reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“though the 16mm f/2.8 lens was a joy to use, the obtrusive 18-55mm was not. (Sony, please give this camera a few more fast primes.) In the end, you have a camera that seems to straddle two groups of photographers: newbies and serious shooters. And for that reason, I can only give the NEX-5 a mixed though positive recommendation.”
Rating: N/A

Review Video By WhatDigitalCamera

SteveHuffPhoto reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“At the price, you can buy yourself a Nikon D3000 or D5000 if you want a DSLR, but for those who want quite a but of power in a small package, the NEX series cameras are something to consider. It does give better high ISO performance than the M4/3 cams, better video and its smaller. IQ would be better if there were better lenses available.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
Good points: Small; tilting screen; sweep panorama is fun and effective; clip-on flash included but good in low-light anyway. Bad points: Pricey if bought with zoom lens; no touchscreen “
Rating: ★★★★★ reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
Pros: Speedy autofocus. Sturdy magnesium alloy body steady in the hand. Built-in photo guides. Lens fits snuggly. Cons: Sluggish startup. Only three E lenses currently available. Mounting the flash is fiddly”
Rating: ★★★★★

PCWorld reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“When it comes to image quality, the NEX-5 performs like a DSLR. Exposure, color fidelity, sharpness, and image noise are quite good. Sample images taken with the NEX-5 were impressive when compared with the output of full-fledged DSLRs and other interchangeable-lens cameras.”
Rating: ★★★★½

HardwareZone reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“at ISO800 noise begins to show with the G2, while the NEX-5 remains clear. Noise is apparent with the NEX-5 at ISO1600 but still usable. At ISO3200 and beyond, pictures are too noisy for comfort. All this means the NEX-5 outperforms most compact cameras on the market, which rival it in size but not performance.”
Rating: ★★★★½

TechRadar reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The NEX-5 is a truly good-looking camera, and apart from being satisfying to look at, the fact that it isn’t big, black and chunky means it’s a little more user-friendly than most. We’re big fans of the superb screen and good build-quality, and we remain seriously impressed by its performance.”
Rating: ★★★★½

DCRP reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“I love the NEX’s photo quality, live view implementation, the Auto HDR and Sweep Panorama features, and the Full HD movie mode, but users shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to enjoy them.. If you aren’t bothered by the user interface (or won’t be using it frequently), then you’ve found yourself a heck of a camera. “
Rating: N/A

PhotographyBlog reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“In terms of low light photography the NEX-5 does pretty well. Noise is fairly unobtrusive up to ISO 6400, the look of the image at that high-ish setting as good as results taken at ISO 800 on standard compacts. This suggests ISO 12800 as not a stretch too far, and so it proves”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DCI reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The Sony NEX-5 did a decent job in our video tests, with the camera putting up particularly good numbers in video sharpness thanks to its Full HD record mode…The NEX-5 definitely isn’t the best video-capable DSLR for pros or people who want to use it for B-roll shooting, but it does offer impressive video quality in a compact body.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

T3 reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“WE LOVE: Better than compact camera quality from (almost) compact camera proportions. WE HATE: Oblong design resembles more prototype than finished item, fiddly scroll wheel and function access requires period of familiarisation. WE SAY: More of an exercise in matching rivals than raising the bar further, this is a competent alternative to packing both a snapshot and a DSLR on your travels. .”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Sony Alpha NEX-5 video review by DigitalRev; reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“Pictures taken with the review camera were colourful and bright. JPEG images were relatively contrasty and saturation was elevated to the degree commonly seen in small-sensor digicams…Low light performance was outstanding with little noise visible in shots right up to ISO 3200. Noise was also well controlled at higher sensitivities, although shots taken at ISO 12,800 were free enough of noise to be printable at A5 size.”
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“If you are looking to make a step up in your photography, then investing in a proper DSLR could be a better option. But for those who want more out of their compact but still want to retain size and portability, the NEX-5 is the best choice out there. “
Rating: N/A

Pocket-Lint reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The NEX-5 turns the interchangeable system on its head by offering the most compact-like solution yet to be seen. It’s a breeze to use, if not a little limiting due to lack of buttons to adjust more advanced settings, and has snappy and accurate autofocus. However it’s with image quality where the NEX-5 really comes up trumps; crisp and clear quality stands head and shoulders above its rivals “
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The amateur photographer will undoubtedly be rewarded for its step up from a compact to the NEX-5, with a higher image quality and more creative freedom of photography. The Sony NEX-5 is an excellent choice for that target group. The serious or hobby photographer will in our opinion be a bit less inclined to look at the NEX-5, as the competition in the form of Micro Four Thirds, among others, is still just a bit too serious for that. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

CNET reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“The bottom line: For a lot of people, the excellent high-sensitivity photo quality, competitive performance, and an ultracompact body will likely outweigh the Sony Alpha NEX-5’s quirks and operational annoyances.”

Rating: ★★★½☆ reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“Highs: Truly compact and lightweight, Rich, accurate colors, Very good 1080i videos, Superior 3-inch adjustable screen. Lows: Very noisy at highest ISOs, Limited lens selection, Would like color-coordinated attachments, Even more of a slam-dunk if it were cheaper. “
Rating: ★★★★½

ImagingResource reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“images are quite clean at ISO 200, and ISO 400 is almost as good. Some noise “grain” is noticeable at ISO 800, and there’s a bit of chroma noise in the shadows, but the camera doesn’t smudge away as much fine detail as most others at this ISO. There’s some stronger smudging of fine detail at ISO 1,600, but the NEX-5 still does better than most at this ISO for its resolution.”
Rating: N/A

PhotoRadar reviews the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and writes;
“It’s a well constructed camera, exposures seem consistent and the kit lens and sensor deliver a good level of detail. Features such as the Sweep Panorama do ‘put the fun back into photography’ – and the results are really rather good.”
Rating: ★★★★☆


Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos

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Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ TechRadar” target=”_blank”>Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ RegHardware
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ TechRadar” target=”_blank”>Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ HardwareZone
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ TechRadar
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ DCRP
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ DCI
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ LetsGoDigital
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @ PhotoRadar
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @
Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sample Photos @


Sony Alpha NEX-5 User Manual (PDF)

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– Download Sony Alpha NEX-5 User Manual (PDF – 6.36MB)

Sony Alpha NEX-5 Firmware

NEX-5 with firmware Ver.02 [download]

* 3D Sweep Panorama function has been added;
* Improvement of ‘normal’ 2D Sweep Panorama shooting;
* Decreased power drain when the camera is switched off;
* Quicker start-up in low-light conditions.


Sony Alpha NEX-5 Features

Presenting the world’s smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera, the Sony α NEX-5. The quality of a DSLR with just about half the size and weight. Experience Full HD 1080/60i movies, astounding low-light pictures, continuous shooting up to 7 fps, incredible panorama shots and Live View on a tilting 3.0-inch LCD. Additionally, this α NEX-5 camera comes with an E-mount 18-55mm lens.

Smallest in class

This is the world’s smallest interchangeable lens digital still camera (as of April 2010). We removed the conventional mirror box, AF sensor and viewfinder, reducing the “flange back” distance from 44.5 mm to 18 mm. The result has all the quality of an α DSLR, but is 48% smaller and 49% lighter than our α230.

Interchangeable lenses

Compatible with Sony’s E-mount series of smaller, lighter lenses designed specifically for α compact interchangeable lens cameras. Opens up a world of creative options.

APS-C size HD image sensor

The same sensor format that Sony builds into the full-sized α DSLRs. With 13 times the area of the typical3 image sensor, APS-C makes the difference between “snapshots” and “photographs,” delivering an exceptional combination of high resolution, high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.

First in class with 1080/60i movies

This is the world’s first interchangeable lens still camera with 1080/60i AVCHD Full HD, exactly the same resolution and frame rate as most broadcast and cable HDTV channels. Records in 1080/60i AVCHD™ format, 1080/30p high definition in PC-friendly MP4 format and standard definition 480/30p in MP4 format.2

14.2 megapixel resolution

You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor™ APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.

Up to 7 frames per second

You get incredible detail and gorgeous enlargements. Thanks to the APS-C sensor size and Sony Exmor™ APS HD CMOS technology, the camera achieves high resolution with no penalty in low-light sensitivity or sensor noise.

ISO 12800 sensitivity

Incredibly clear low-light pictures without sacrificing detail. As of April 2010, this is best-in-class performance, made possible by low-noise Exmor™ APS HD CMOS image sensor and refined BIONZ® image processor.

Sweep Panorama

Capture expansive landscapes automatically. Press the shutter, sweep vertically or horizontally. The camera does the rest, continuously shooting images and stitching them together. Up to 23 MP image size. Up to 202 degrees maximum sweep angle (16mm focal length).

Anti Motion Blur mode

Corrects for subject movement to capture amazingly clean and sharp images in low light. The camera leverages the large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data from all six creates a single image that minimizes subject blur.

Hand-held Twilight Mode

Corrects for subject movement to capture amazingly clean and sharp images in low light. The camera leverages the large, APS-C image sensor and captures six images in a fraction of a second. Combining the data from all six creates a single image that minimizes subject blur.

Auto HDR built into camera

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography captures more scene contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining the best highlight detail from one shot and the best shadow detail from another for one incredible shot. Until recently, you needed a computer and editing software. Sony builds HDR in. Handles severe backlighting and other high-contrast scenes. Captures in a split second. (Recommended for still subjects.)

Live View LCD

The LCD monitor is active full-time for composing shots. Provides a what-you-see-is-what-you-get preview of white balance, focus, depth of field, exposure and 100% framing accuracy, plus informative on-screen displays.

Tiltable 3” LCD screen6

Empowers your photography with a different point or view. Tilts down 45° and up 80° to frame high- and low-angle shots that would otherwise be hit-or-miss.

920K pixel TruBlack™ LCD screen

Sony’s Xtra Fine LCD™ monitor has best-in-class resolution (as of April 2010). The TruBlack™ screen includes a special resin layer to suppress internal reflections, increase contrast compared to conventional LCDs. Sunny Weather mode boosts visibility even further in bright sunlight.

Fast Auto Focus

Some cameras in this class are slow to focus. That can make you miss the shot on fast-moving subjects like sports and unpredictable subjects like pets and babies. Sony’s fast Contrast Auto Focus system typically takes just 0.3 seconds. Also offers continuous Auto Focus when shooting movies.12

Intelligent Auto Focus

Pre-focuses as you compose the shot, further reducing focusing time to a bare minimum.12

iAUTO (Intelligent Auto) mode

Unifies and simplifies Sony intelligent technologies. Takes advantage of Intelligent Scene Recognition, Face Detection technology, and Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization without leaving auto mode so you always get the best shot.

On-screen Help Guide

Provides ready reference, explains the camera’s modes and settings. Walks you through camera operation so you get the best shot. Helps you advance from basic operation to greater sophistication.

BIONZ® image processor

The brains of the camera is a refined version of Sony’s BIONZ image processor. Its chroma noise reduction delivers high-resolution, low-noise photos even at ISO 12800 sensitivity. Also enables fast processing for up to 7 fps continuous shooting of data-intensive 14.2 megapixel images. Sweep Panorama and 6 image layering.

Control Wheel + Soft Keys

Unlike cameras that bristle with knobs, buttons and dials, the NEX-5 features a simple turn-and-click Control Wheel and context-sensitive Soft Keys. It’s elegant, uncluttered and intuitive.

Sony Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor

Conventional image sensors use only a handful of analog-to-digital (A/D) converters, which can slow you down. The NEX-5 Exmor™ sensor provides 4,592 column-parallel A/D converters. You get fast response, superb image clarity

25-point Auto Focus

25 sensors cover a very wide area of the scene, for accurate focusing even when the subject is far from the center of the frame.12

Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)

Dynamic Range Optimizer improves results with backlit subjects and recovers details hidden in shadows. Settings include Auto, Level with a choice of five operating levels and Off.

Accepts α DSLR A-mount lenses7

Using the LA-EA1 adaptor (sold separately), you can attach the full selection of α A-mount system lenses, which includes 28 current models and an installed base of millions of lenses worldwide. Operational restrictions apply.7

RAW image capture

The NEX-5 saves your pictures as compact JPEG files or ultra-high quality RAW files. RAW files save images prior to de-mosaicing, white balance, sharpness and color enhancement. This retains maximum latitude for enhancing the image on your PC.

Multi-segment measuring

Optimizes exposure based on 49 segments. Choice of Multi, Center and Spot metering accommodates a full range of shooting situations.

Manual Focus Assist

Greatly magnifies the viewfinder image when you touch the focus ring, making it easy to get razor-sharp images. Works with E-mount lenses only.

Powerful supplied software13

To help you refine and manage your images, the camera is equipped with computer software including Image Data Converter SR, Image Data Lightbox SR and Picture Motion Browser (PMB).13

“Background Defocus” control

Cameras with APS-C sensors take beautiful pictures because they can blur the background. That helps make your subject stand out as the center of attention in portrait photography. But you’ve had to know about aperture f-stops and shutter speeds. Now Sony makes it easy. Simply turn the Control Wheel one way for backgrounds in focus, the other for background defocus.

Accepts image stabilized lenses

Selected E-mount lenses incorporate Optical SteadyShot® image stabilization to combat the effects of camera shake. Building stabilization into the lenses enables the camera body to be remarkably thin and light.

HDMI™ output for HD viewing

Enjoy HD movies and stunning still images on a compatible HDTV. The camera includes an HDMI™ output.8 In addition, the BRAVIA® Sync system works with compatible Sony® BRAVIA HDTVs enabling you to control camera playback using the television’s remote9.

Face Detection technology

The camera can automatically detect up to eight individual faces and adjust focus, exposure, white balance and flash to help deliver crisp, properly lit images of family and friends. Can prioritize children or adults.

Smile Shutter™ technology

Captures a smile the moment it happens. Simply select the Smile Shutter™ mode and the camera takes the picture automatically. You can prioritize children or adults and adjust the smile sensitivity.

P/A/S/M operating modes

The NEX-5 offers a full range of controls from the beginner’s iAUTO mode to P/A/S/M: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. On-screen prompts help you refine your skills, build your confidence and exercise greater creative control.

Eight Scene Selection Modes

These help you get the shot by optimizing the camera for specific shooting situations. Select from Portrait, Sports, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night View, Night Portrait and Hand-held Night Shot modes.

Six Creative Style settings

Control how the camera processes your images with six finishing styles: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset and B&W. You can even fine-tune contrast, saturation, and sharpness to your personal taste.

Supplied detachable flash

To help you shoot more effectively in formal portraits, the supplied flash has a Guide Number of 7.

Anti-Dust Technology

Anti-Dust Technology helps keep the CMOS sensor clean, resulting in consistently clear pictures. First a static-free coating on the sensor’s low-pass filter helps repel dust. Then vibration automatically dislodges dust from the sensor.

Up to 300 Shots10 of battery life

Take up to 300 shots on a single charge10 with Sony® lithium ion Stamina™ battery power. Sony’s InfoLITHIUM® battery system enables you to see the percent of power remaining, so you can keep shooting in confidence.

Index and Slide Show Display

Quickly review your photos using 6- or 12-frame index views, or as an automatic slide show with fade-in/fade-out effect.

Dual Media Slots

For cost-effective, convenient storage and sharing of your images, the camera accepts Memory Stick PRO Duo™/Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ and SD/SDHC media (Class 4 or higher recommended). (Memory card is required. All are sold separately.)

PhotoTV HD compatibility11

Optimizes compatible BRAVIA® televisions for gorgeous display of digital pictures.

Ultra-light Magnesium alloy fascia

The camera combines high strength with low weight, thanks to the Magnesium alloy front fascia.

Remote capability

Works with the optional RMT-DSLR1 Remote Commander® wireless remote control

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3 Responses to “Sony Alpha NEX-5”

  1. dizzy says:

    stylish and small camera body, great ISO performance, awful video performance – no manual control whatsoever, seems to focus on the most contrasty areas, but not on the subject you want it to focus. considering that even some cheap point and shoot offer face dedection and subject tracking – nex does not – the video mode is pretty useless.

  2. mike says:

    …it does offer both face detection and subject tracking…

    Not sure if were both thinking of the nex 😛

  3. Mitra says:

    Let me share some information as Sony Alpha NEX-5R is the seventh product of cameras without mirrors – with interchangeable lens, and a third product of the Sony’s Series 5. NEX class 5-series cameras are the medium level cameras for users in this class. Meanwhile, Sony has designed the NEX Series 3 for beginners and the NEX Series 7 for professionals. Sony Alpha NEX-5R is the next model of 5N. Changes made in this model are relatively minor, however, these minor changes made this model more suitable for users. The changes which have been made to this camera are: the Function button and Control dial. The most obvious difference in the NEX-5R is that it is equipped with hybrid vision sensor.

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