Sony NEX-5R review

Sony NEX camera gets apps

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The Sony NEX-5R is not only a refinement of the Sony NEX-5N, but a significant upgrade. The inclusion of downloadable apps enables quick and easy customisation, and if the service already on PlayStations and other Sony electronics is anything to go by, the implementation of the apps should be simple enough to follow and use.

The new hybrid AF system works well, with selected focus points locking on to targets quickly, with minimal refocusing through the lens. In multi-focus point mode the camera also makes quick and intelligent choices over subject matter, and again finds focus quickly.

Although the body redesign is minimal, with the inclusion of a new dial and function button, the changes that they bring make using the Sony NEX-5R a much-improved experience compared with using the NEX-5N.

The dial beneath the thumb works intuitively when shooting and is only a small step from the feel of a traditional aperture ring. While this is similar to the dial found on the Olympus PEN E-P3, the Sony control is far better.

We liked

The Sony NEX-R5 builds on the features of the Sony NEX-5N and packs some weighty advancements in technology into its small body. The inclusion of apps gives the camera an exciting edge, enabling you to customise it to your style of shooting.

The new hybrid AF system works as advertised, finding focus quickly and locking on to your target. We also found that the continuous AF system delivers a greater number of sharp shots when shooting at high speed than most other CSC systems we've tested.

The big feature when it comes to usability has to be the addition of the new control dial. Its position and ability to quickly change settings makes the Sony NEX-5R a joy to use.

We disliked

The highly reflective finish of the LCD screen can make it difficult, if not impossible, to see in bright sunlight - or when overly sticky fingers have been using the touchscreen.

The lack of an integrated flash means that you have to carry the supplied external flash around with you. Also, the resolution results are slightly disappointing at lower sensitivities when compared against those achieved by Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Early verdict

The Sony NEX-R5 shows how compact system cameras are really coming into their own. The design doesn't have to rely on retro chic, but instead uses modern research and development to create a compact body shape that both fits the electronics and also feels comfortable to hold.

The merging of the tilting screen design from the Sony NEX-F3 and the control dial feature of the Sony NEX-7 make this a very user-friendly camera for both the beginner and intermediate photographer.

If you're just getting into photography, looking for a CSC upgrade or wanting a second body to complement your DSLR, the Sony NEX-5R is the perfect companion. As well as the basic kit, which should be priced at around £500 (around $790), we'd also recommend getting the EVF accessory to combat difficulties with the screen in bright sunlight.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
Product Familyα NEX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedMemory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Secure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationNo
Optical Zoom3x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameSony
FeaturesContinuous Shooting Mode, Self-timer, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Face Detection, Smile Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MPEG-4 AVC, MP4
Weight (Approximate)218 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Image Sensor Size23.50 mm x 15.60 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4912 x 3264
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height58.8 mm
Width110.8 mm
Depth38.9 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashIncluded
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNEX-5RK
Product NameNEX-5RK Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product Lineα NEX
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNEX5RKB.CE
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

DSLR quality you can take with you

The NEX-5R might be small, but it takes pictures like a DSLR and it's got the speed of a DSLR too. It has a large APS-C sensor delivering 16.1 megapixel shots and bright images in low light. What's more, with built-in Wi-Fi you can connect to devices like a smartphone or tablet.

Package Contents
  • NEX-5RK Interchangeable Lens Camera
  • SEL1855 E18-55mm F3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens
  • Power Cord (Mains Lead)
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack NP-FW50
  • Micro USB Cable
  • AC Adaptor AC-UB10 / UB10B / UB10C / UB10D
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Instruction Manual
  • Flash HVL-F7S
  • Flash Case
  • Front Lens Cap
  • Lens Hood
Limited Warranty1 Year