Hands on: Sony NEX-5 review

Compact camera heavyweight competes with the world's DSLRs

Sony NEX 5 lens itself well to photography

Update: now read our full Sony NEX-5 review.

Sony unveiled its latest camera to take on the might of the Micro Four Thirds crowd this week, the Sony NEX-5.

This compact camera comes complete with an interchangeable lens system, meaning that it offers DSLR-like functionality in a smaller chassis, essentially bringing the idea of high-end photographer to a much more consumer market.

PhotoRadar, from the same publishers of TechRadar, managed to get an early hands on NEX-5 review and were impressed with what they found.

When it comes to look and feel, the camera is built to last, with PhotoRadar noting: "Unlike the cheaper Sony NEX-3, the NEX-5 has a robust magnesium body that feels nicely weighted in the (smallish) hand.

"The shell's cool to the touch and the rubberised grip with raised bumps gives good purchase. For a camera that's small enough to be tossed in a bag or coat pocket, durability is important and the NEX-5 feels like it can deliver."

The only weak spot in the design seems to be the 3-inch tilting LCD which is doesn't tilt out sideways for vertical shooting.

NEX 5

The handling of the camera is impressive, with PhotoRadar explaining: "The one-touch-does-all approach means you don't have to fumble around trying to remember which button, switch or dial activates a setting – a single press and a spin of the wheel will get you there."

For those who like more manual control, though, this system could be seen as a tad sluggish.

As for how fast the camera runs, there seemed to be some delay in start-up speeds and the camera did take some time searching for the right ISO when in Aperture Priority mode.

One of the more interesting features of the NEX-5 seems to be its Sweep Panorama mode.

Found on Sony's latest compacts, the feature stitches together a number of images to create a vista. On the NEX-5 PhotoRadar found it to be "very entertaining" and said that "those familiar with the Sony system will feel right at home pointing the camera at the start point and moving it across the scene".

NEX 5

Although PhotoRadar were playing with a production model, the signs are there that the NEX-5 could be a winner.

"The basic NEX-5 kit seems to turn in a decent performance," the review explains.

"It's a well constructed bit of kit, 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.

"We've yet to really put the 'HDR' functionality through its paces, but again, results seemed consistent."

The Sony NEX-5 has a UK release date of 1 June. Pricing for the camera starts at £550.

For more information on the NEX-5 head over to PhotoRadar where they have an in-depth review, some picture comparison and a whole host of test shots.

Article continues below