Image quality is everything Sony makes it out to be – truly DSLR-like. The kit lens is good and sharp, and kept chromatic aberration down to a bare minimum.
Colour reproduction is superb, and noise handling is excellent – a good thing considering the NEX-5 can work at ISO settings as high as 12,800.
At times, sharpness wasn't all it could be compared to top-end DSLRs, but with NEX-5 a fair bit cheaper, the compromise is easy to swallow.
Either way, you'll find the NEX-5's shots reproduce well at larger print sizes.
We're big fans of the NEX-5's low light performance – we expected it to be better than most compacts' thanks to its larger sensor, but its performance at stratospheric ISOs is impressive.
It's true that noise is noticeable at its top ISO of 12,800, but we'd still be happy to print images taken at its highest setting, albeit with a little noise reduction applied.