Sony NEX-5 review

Can Sony's compact DSLR create a shift in high-end consumer photography?

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For the first time, we find ourselves seriously considering the possibility that an EVIL camera could have dealt a serious blow to the consumer DSLR market.

Similarly-priced DSLRs may offer an extra notch of quality, but for many consumers, the NEX-5 offers a knockout punch of advantages.

It's better-looking, smaller and lighter, and that means it's much easier way to get high-quality images from your next holiday. And, while the lenses available for the platform aren't going to trouble Canon or Nikon, they'll do everything consumers want.

Aspiring professionals should still throw in their lot with the likes of the Canon 500D or Nikon D5000, simply because there's a lens for all occasions and either platform offers more headroom and upgradeability than the NEX-5.

We liked:

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.

We disliked:

Speaking of performance, we're not wild about the NEX-5's dated-feeling contrast detection autofocus, which can be a little slow, particularly in poor light.

There's also still a very good argument for buying a proper DSLR – you'll get a slight lift in image quality, and, if you buy Canon or Nikon, a vastly superior range of high-end lenses.


If you simply want to take good pictures now, without turning into a DSLR bore, or turning your hobby into either a career, or something that swallows all your spare cash, we can't help but like the NEX-5.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution14.2 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product Familyalpha NEX
HD Movie ModeYes
3D Type3D
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick PRO High Speed Duo
Image StabilizationOptical
Brand NameSony
FeaturesFace Detection, Smile Detection, Aperture Priority, Manual White Balance, Live View
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)229 g
Image Sensor Size23.40 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4592 x 3056
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height58.8 mm
Width110.8 mm
Depth38.2 mm
Product SeriesNEX
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNEX-5
Product Namealpha NEX-5 Mirrorless Camera
Product Linealpha
Exposure Control
  • Auto
  • Program Auto
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNEX5AS.CEH
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Capture stunning images with DSLR-like picture quality, plus the convenience of interchangeable lenses all without the size and weight of a DSLR. Compact, beautifully styled and brilliantly easy to use, with amazing features like 3D Sweep Panorama and 1080i HD video shooting.

Package Contents
  • alpha NEX-5 Mirrorless Camera
  • NP-FW50 Battery
  • SEL-16F28 Lens
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Battery Charger
  • Instruction Manual
  • European Warranty Card
  • USB Cable
  • CD-ROM
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Case for Flash
  • Product Registration CD
  • Flash
Limited Warranty1 Year